Friday, February 06, 2015

Steve Downes

This is very surprising news, courtesy of Robert Feder.

After 14 years as the morning host of the Drive, Steve Downes is stepping down to pursue other interests. That's too bad. I thought he did a very fine job as a music jock at the Drive, particularly on some of their excellent specials.

A few years ago I interviewed Steve for Chicago Radio Spotlight.

We're #1

Another publication picks Cubs farm system #1.

This time it's Baseball America

James Shields

Are the Cubs really going after James Shields?

Gotta say, I'm not a huge fan of this move, if it's for real. I know they call him "Big Game James" but I must have missed the big games he pitched well.

Obama Library in New York?

That's the speculation in this morning's Sun Times. According to Sneed, Michelle Obama gets to pick the location of the library, and she is leaning toward New York City (at Columbia), and not her hometown of Chicago.

I did point out that this was in Sneed, right?

Let's just say that her track record is not exactly 100%

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Daily Herald Article

I've been told that the article about me that was posted on-line by the Daily Herald yesterday is in the actual physical hard copy of the paper today. Front page of the Neighbor section. My mom and sister both called me. Thanks again to Matt Arado and the Daily Herald for the nice write up. The article calls me a "stay-at-home dead". It could be a typo, or it could be the most perfect description of me ever.

The Pope To Address Congress

This is a big deal. No Pope has ever addressed Congress. Pope Francis will be the first when he does it on September 24th.

As a Catholic, and one that really likes this Pope, can I ask a favor? For one day Congress, for one day, please don't embarrass us.

FCC Proposes Net Neutrality

If this really passes, it's a great day for consumers, innovators, and entrepeneurs.

The FCC Chairman proposed declaring the internet a utility (which it is). That will give the FCC power to institute complete Net Neutrality. No fast lanes or slow lanes. No blocking or throttling content. A completely equal playing field for all. The way the internet should be. The way the internet has always been.

I'm still worried that something will go wrong here, but I'm blown away that he actually agreed to do this. The president should be given the credit for applying pressure. The FCC Chairman came from the very cable industry that was rubbing its hands, preparing to gouge you. He had to be dragged into this, kicking and screaming.

The telecom giants are already threatening to sue.

The Reason I've Chosen Not to Become a Billionaire

I did it for my kids.

I didn't want them to turn out like this little snot, Conrad Hilton III. (If this story is true, it will reinforce everything you believe about entitled rich kids.)

You're welcome, boys. You can thank me anytime.

Fran Tarkenton on Jay Cutler

When I was a kid, my favorite quarterback was Fran Tarkenton (the Bears never had a good one). Here's what my favorite quarterback said about my team's current quarterback Jay Cutler (on the Score yesterday morning)...

"I don’t know Jay Cutler. I’m sure he’s a fine young man but he has not performed in any situation. He had his meltdown in the championship game when he didn’t come back in against Green Bay, and everybody remembers that. That’s a flaw. I think this is a guy that teases his coaches with his powerful arm and all that stuff, but the bottom line is he is not a player. Chicago is gonna die, keeping him and hoping he is going to become that player. He’s not going to be any different than he’s been."

I'm afraid that about sums it up.

Saved By the Bell Reunion

I think it would be fun to write for Jimmy Fallon. If you have an idea, they have the resources and connections to pull it off. Like this bit from the other night...(By the way, I'm not saying it's funny. I never really watched this show so I don't get most of it.)

Cubs Hype

Next Time Get There on Time

Got to 6th grade band concert a little late the other night. Only seats available were ON THE STAGE behind the band. A little embarrassing, yes. Everyone was waving to us--and several snapped pictures--like this one. But when your son is the smallest kid playing the largest instrument in the back row...these were the best seats on the house.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

1938 at Wrigley Field

This was posted on Chicagoist this morning. Pretty darn cool...

Catherine Johns

I'm a big fan of Catherine Johns. She and I worked together for several years at WJMK (on Landecker's show), and I saw first hand on a daily basis how smart and insightful she is. There are a couple of really nice articles about her today in the paper promoting her appearance this weekend in NW Indiana.

This first one is in Tribune: Former radio personality now helps other personalities shine

The second one is in the NW Indiana Times: Former WLS talk show host will tell professionals how to get ahead

Harper Lee's New Book

From this morning's Washington Post comes this shocking (but very exciting) news...

For 50 years, critics and readers have wondered why Harper Lee never wrote a novel besides “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

It turns out she did.

The reclusive Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist announced Tuesday that in July she will publish “Go Set a Watchman,” a kind of sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The news electrified her fans and the publishing world, which long ago gave up hope of another novel from the beloved author.

Even more surprising than the announcement of the forthcoming book was the revelation that it had been written in the mid-1950s and then, apparently, forgotten.

Wow. Middle son is reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" right now. Just watched the movie the other day. This is pretty darn cool.

The Grammy's

The Grammy Awards will be on television this coming weekend. The RAMP Newsletter, which always has it's fingers on the pulse of the Grammy Awards, has some more info about who is performing on the show this year. Spoiler alert--at least a few artists that I may watch.

Kanye West will perform twice during this Sunday's 57th Annual Grammy Awards® show -- once as a solo act and a second time with a couple of fairly well known collaborators -- Sir Paul McCartney and Rihanna, in a world-debut performance of Rihanna's new single, "FourFiveSeconds." This marks a return to the Grammy stage for the first time in six years for Kanye, a 21-time Grammy winner who is up for two awards this year -- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song for "Bound 2" with Charlie Wilson. Kanye joins a killer line-up that already includes performers AC/DC, Eric Church, Common with John Legend, Ariana Grande, Miranda Lambert, Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Usher, and Pharrell Williams, and let's not forget the other creative performance collaborations announced between Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga; nominees Hozier & Annie Lennox; nominee Jessie J & the legendary Tom Jones; and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine with Gwen Stefani. L Cool J returns as your host.

Father Knows Nothing Press (Round 2...continued)

Thanks so much to the Daily Herald for this piece in today's paper about "Father Knows Nothing".

I spoke with writer Matt Arado the other day on his last day with the paper, and he did a wonderful write up about the book.

If you're a Daily Herald subscriber, you can read it here. If not, it's behind a paywall. The title of the article is "Mount Prospect author captures the funny side of parenthood"

Father Knows Nothing Press (Round 2)

Some of the print interviews I've done for Father Knows Nothing are starting to emerge. Thanks so much to the German-language newspaper Eintracht for coming out to my book signing, and writing such a nice review of the book. It's not available on-line, so I've scanned it for you below. Click on the article to enlarge it. The photo I've attached is one of about a dozen photos they also printed. It was quite a spread. Thanks so much to Annerose Goerge for the kind words. (It's in English)

That's a photo of the actual family depicted on the cover of the book.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Truffle Hunt

Author Brent Petersen received his proof copy of his Eckhartz Press novel "Truffle Hunt" today, and happily posted a picture...

Congrats to Brent! There's never a more exciting moment in an author's life. We're still taking pre-orders for the book the next few weeks, and it will ship on Valentine's Day, February 14th. If you love food, you'll love this book. It made me hungry just reading it.

Here are a few reviews so far...

"Truffle Hunt" serves up a five-star gourmet feast of murder, hidden historical gems, deep family pride, a dash of humor and romance, topped with delicate slices of heavenly, golden truffles and a glass of nectar from the deepest Eastern European wine cellars. As a gourmand, mushroom hunter, animal lover and world traveler, I ate the delcious book up in just a couple of sittings. Now, all I need is a truffle hunting dog, a simian bartender, and I can I can bring the pages of this book to life in my kitchen!
-Vesna Plakanis, Owner, A Walk in the Woods, Nature Guide Service

"Truffle Hunt" blends a rich regional history with delectable elements of daily cooking and family traditions. Brent leaves you with a taste you'll never forget.
-Kate Payne, author "The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking" and "The Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen"

Todd Manley

My latest Illinois Entertainer article is about WGN VP of Content & Programming, Todd Manley.

You can read it here.

Super Bowl Fan Reactions

We live in an age when everything is chronicled. Not too long ago we would only have the reactions of the people in the stands.

Warning: Lots of swearing here from both Patriots fans and Seahawks fans. But still pretty funny.

5th Worse Snowstorm in Chicago History

I knew it legendarily bad, but I didn't think it was that bad. Here are the top 5:

1. 23.0 inches Jan 26-27, 1967
2. 21.6 inches Jan 1-3, 1999
3. 21.2 inches Feb. 1-2, 2011
4. 20.3 inches Jan 13-14, 1979
5. 19.3 inches Feb. 1-2, 2015

I missed the fourth worst one in '79 (lived in Germany), but I lived in this same house for #2 & #3 (Photo of #3 on the left--view out of my front "unopenable" door). #2 cost me about $14,000 because water came gushing into my house and destroyed all of my windows.

I was only 3 1/2 years old for #1, but I remember it well. It's one of my earliest memories because my Opa (grandfather) and I played in the snow for hours.

Super Bowl Sets Ratings Record

The numbers are really astounding: 114 million people watched the game.

I wonder how many other households in America had two red-blooded American males (my two oldest sons) who didn't watch a second of it.

64 Word Mistakes That Crush Our Credibility

Bookmark this article and have it handy any time you send an important e-mail or letter. It answers a lot of the common grammar questions (illicit versus elicit, etc) you may have. I find I'm having more and more brain farts lately about simple grammar issues like this. Getting old is fun.

Biondi is back tonight

He was supposed to be back on the air yesterday, but the storm held him back one more day.

Dick Biondi will be back on the air tonight.

Happy to hear he has recovered from his fall.

Stevie Wonder

Remember after last year's GRAMMY awards they did a special Grammy salute to the Beatles? This year it will be a salute to another one of my favorites--Stevie Wonder. From the RAMP Newsletter...

Current Grammy nominees The Band Perry, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and John Legend have been added to the list of performers scheduled to participate during Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life -- An All-Star Grammy Salute. They join previously announced artists Janelle MonĂ¡e, Ed Sheeran and Usher. The primetime special, which is presented by The Recording Academy®, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS, will pay homage to Stevie Wonder's amazing career featuring superstar performances that celebrate his incomparable songbook. The live concert will take place at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live next Tuesday, Feb. 10, two days after the 57th Grammy Awards, and the resulting two-hour special, hosted by LL Cool J will be broadcast on Monday, Feb. 16 from 9-11pm on CBS.

It's always a good time to listen to some Stevie Wonder. I bought this 45 RPM when it came out in 1973...

Listen to a story about a man named Jed

A poor Cubs GM trying to keep his family fed.

An excellent Q&A with Cubs GM Jed Hoyer from Jesse Rogers at

Pitchers and catchers report on February 19.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Billy's Eulogy for Ernie

It was a crazy weekend for me, so I didn't get a chance to watch this until today. Billy Williams pays tribute to Ernie at his funeral. One of my childhood heroes eulogizing another childhood hero.

Man, I know this is slightly pathetic, considering I only met Ernie a few times and I didn't really know him at all, but I really really miss him already.

RIP Ol' Gal

After 24 years and nearly 200,000 miles the old Camry finally died Saturday morning. RIP, ol' gal. Bridget was crestfallen. Here she is saying her farewell on the driveway before driving it to it's final resting place--Victory Auto Wreckers in Bensenville--and saying one last goodbye in the Victory Auto Wrecker's parking lot.

Mechanic's estimate to fix it; $1500. Blue book value: $300. Payment from Victory Auto Wreckers: $240. I'll take it.

The Never-Ending Saga of Casey Kasim

Now Casey's daughter is asking the LAPD to arrest Casey's widow for Elder Abuse.

I have to say, the circumstantial case sounds pretty darn strong to me, but with Casey buried in Norway, I don't see how they can prove it.

Whitney's Daughter

More sad news for the family. This is the report from the RAMP newsletter...

In a tragedy that eerily mirrors the circumstances that lead to her mother's death three years ago, Bobbi Kristina Brown, the 21-year-old daughter of the late Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown remains unconscious and on a ventilator in a suburban Atlanta hospital. Brown was found face down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her Roswell, GA home on Saturday. NBC News reported Brown's husband, Nick Gordon and a friend found Bobbi Kristina in the tub and performed CPR until rescue personnel arrived and performed "life-saving measures" before Brown was transported to nearby North Fulton Hospital. Her father is currently at her side. Yesterday, reported Bobbi Kristina remains unresponsive., quoting unnamed "sources connected with the family," paints a more dire picture, characterizing Bobbi Kristina's situation as "bleak," reporting that she is experiencing "significantly diminished" brain function.

The poor girl never had a chance. Only 21 years old.

Shovel This

We ended up getting up about two feet of snow yesterday. My snow blower is not starting again, so the four Kaempfer boys (including me) were out there three different times yesterday shoveling. Luckily school was canceled this morning, because the oldest Kaempfer's back locked up on him this morning, and we still have one more round of shoveling. The boys are out there right now. (Note to self: next house purchase I must remember that a long driveway is a very bad thing). Once we can get out of the driveway, we're heading over to my mom's to shovel her out.

Good times.

Super Bowl Commercials

This is one of my favorite commercial from last night's Super Bowl...

My least favorite was the Tortoise and the Hare Mercedes commercial (although I did like the one where the little kid zinged Jerry Rice). As for the "finale" of that spot...First of all, the tortoise totally cheated by driving the Mercedes. Secondly, there's no way he could reach the gas pedal.