Friday, October 16, 2015

Goin' to the Game!

I got tickets to Game 3 Mets vs. Cubs!

Thanks to my buddy (and business partner) David Stern!

Dave, I take back most of the horrible things I've said about you in the past, and your price of displaying a framed photo of Ron Santo in a White Sox uniform in my home is accepted.

Adult-Sized Little Tikes Car

According to this article in the New York Daily News, they are now selling an adult-sized Little Tikes car, and it goes for $33,000.

Of course, anyone who has Little Tikes toys knows that all Little Tykes toys are adult sized. I had to buy a second house just to store this crap when my boys were little.


Who is ready for this?

Alcohol & Fats

Thanks for this encouraging note, "KR"...

Not What He Appears to Be

Brian Williams was forced out of his network anchor chair for exaggerating his own personal involvement in a story. A very bad thing, but nothing compared to this...

Wayne Simmons, a regular Fox News commentator who claimed to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost three decades, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly fabricating his agency experience.

CNN Money reports that Simmons appeared in court on Thursday, where he faced charges of major fraud against the United States for falsely claiming to be a former "outside paramilitary special operations officer"—a padded resume that federal officials say he used to successfully gain government security clearances.

The frequent Fox News guest was often credited as a "terrorism analyst" and former CIA operative, who would routinely issue outlandishly false claims on national security matters, including the assertion there are "19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities" in the country.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Has Hell Really Frozen Over?

David Stern, black-hearted Sox fan and life-long Cubs despiser, actually made this call. It reminds me of the scene in the Grinch. They say his heart grew three sizes that day.

Don't be a Dickey

Everyone I know who works in radio has their opinions about the Dickey brothers who controlled Cumulus broadcasting until being kicked downstairs in a recent shakeup. Those opinions are almost universally negative. I never met them personally, so I can't comment on that, but I certainly agree with Don Imus' take, which he aired publicly on a Cumulus station yesterday. From Tom Taylor's NOW column today...

Don Imus unloads on the Dickeys. They “went around the country and ruined radio stations,” says the Westwood-syndicated I-man on yesterday’s show. He says his flagship, WABC New York, is one of them. When he lashed out, Imus was coming out of a lengthy spot break in his third hour that was larded with promos for weekend infomercial shows. He says “Now [WABC] is being programmed by the sales department. It’s a disgrace…I know they have to make money, but that’s why they got rid of the Dickeys.” He went on – “They went around the country and ruined radio stations. This [WABC] is one of them.” He reminisces a bit – “When I first came to New York and went to work at WNBC [Don stressed the ‘N’], our big rival was WABC, with Cousin Bruce Morrow, the great Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison and all those people.” He says now, “they sell time to these idiot doctors who have programs on the weekend” – and who’re entitled to promos during the week, sometimes stacked up in morning drive.

Art Vuolo

I got to know Art during my time with Landecker. He and John have known each other since high school. Sad news about his dad, courtesy of the RAMP Newsletter...

We want to offer our most sincere condolences to "Radio's Best Friend," Art Vuolo, Jr., who lost his father, Art Vuolo, Sr. over the weekend. The elder Vuolo passed away in Bellingham, WA at the awesome age of 95. To say this has been a challenging month for Art would be putting it mildly -- right after he attended the recent Radio Show in Atlanta, he spent 10 days at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield, MI undergoing treatment for his ongoing issues with cellulitis in his leg. Art's many friends and fans are invited to send your condolences to him at P.O. Box 55, Walled Lake, MI 48390, email him at or find him on Facebook.

My new follower

I thought this was interesting. Yesterday afternoon just before he led the Blue Jays to a dramatic Game 5 victory against the Rangers, I got this notification at Twitter...

Jose Bautista

I have no idea why, but welcome aboard Joey Bats.

The Rules of Swearing for Kids

I didn't write this post, but I did get a kick out of it, especially this piece of advice...

Don’t overdo it. A sundae is not delicious if you put too many sprinkles on it. Treat obscenities like sprinkles. They should enhance, not detract from, the message you are sending. Use the words for emphasis. And only occasionally.

I actually never swear around the boys. I'm just not a big swearer in the first place, but it's more of a compartmentalized thing for me. After years of working in studios with hot mics, I learned not to swear in certain situations. When the boys were little, I treated being around them the same way. Their brains were the hot mics, ready to pick up words and broadcast them elsewhere. I didn't care if they knew the words; I just didn't want them to casually flop out some spicy language at my mom's house. Or at school. Or at church. Or really anywhere I'd have to see the judgemental glances of the easily offended.

Bridget and I never really discussed this, but I'm pretty sure I know her opinion about this too. Those words should only be used in the car, while experiencing road rage, the way God intended.

Carl Sandburg Literary Awards

Eckhartz Press' very own Randy Richardson (Cheeseland, Lost in the Ivy) is one of 70 guest authors (alongside the likes of Steven Sondheim, Rick Bayless, Scott Simon, Bill Kurtis, Marv Levy, Sara Paretsky, Jim Peterik and Scott Turow) at the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner next Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Forum at UIC, to benefit the Chicago Public Library Foundation. It's a big deal to be included in an event of this stature, and we're proud of Randy! Here's a link with a little more information about the event and the authors participating.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cubs Win!

Unbelievable moment last night for this Cubs fan. I didn't experience it exactly the way I wanted...I was out at the soccer fields with my team, helping conduct soccer practice. But I snuck out to the car and heard the last out on the radio. Go Cubs!

My buddy (and JOBC attorney) Scott Redman was there though, and was part of the high five parade after the win...

Rick on the Rabbi Doug Show

Taped with Rabbi Doug asked me to come on the show to talk about "Father Knows Nothing"...

F The Goat

Tom Latourette has created a new Cubs song for this year's team. He included a few photos from Just One Bad Century...including a few of me and Sean.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This Week in 1908

1908 Cubs champs

The World Series begins in Detroit amid much fanfare, but not a great deal of excitement. The Tigers, led by Ty Cobb, are the prohibitive underdogs and the city of Detroit isn't optimistic that they can win it all.

Big Ed Reulbach, who has been on fire for the past month, is given the ball to start this game and he doesn't quite have it. The Cubs go to the bullpen in the seventh and eighth, calling on their big guns Orval Overall and Mordecai Brown to rescue the win. Neither man pitches that well, but the Cubs come back to score 5 runs in the top of the ninth to win the game 10-6. The bottom of their order, Solly Hofman and Johnny Kling (each with two RBI), are the heroes of this Game 1 victory.

The World Series comes to Chicago for Game 2, but Chicago also isn't nearly as excited as it had been the last few years. There are a couple of good reasons for that.

First of all, many Chicagoans are disappointed the White Sox faltered in the closing days of the season. Another series with the Detroit Tigers isn't nearly as compelling as a rematch of the 1906 crosstown series would have been. But secondly, and most importantly, Cubs owner Charles Murphy takes this opportunity to gouge his fans. He charges 4 times as much for the tickets and conspires with scalpers to charge even more. This blows up in his face. Already wildly unpopular in Chicago, Murphy becomes a pariah. Cubs fans try to organize a boycott to protest Murphy's actions.

1908 world series ty cobb

Only 17,700 show up for first game in Chicago. This is a respectable crowd, but the Cubs have drawn more for their games against the Giants and Pirates. On the field, Orval Overall pitches a masterpiece. In the eighth inning he is working on a three hit shutout, when the Cubs explode for six runs. Joe Tinker hits a two run home run and Wildfire Schulte adds a triple. Ty Cobb (photo) knocks in the only Tigers run in the top of the ninth, but it's too little, too late, and the Cubs take a 2-0 lead in the series.

The protest continues before Game 3 at West Side Grounds. This time only 14,543 show up. Jack Pfiester, who doesn't have much left in the tank after an injury prone year, has another bad outing. This time he gives up 8 runs and the Cubs are never in the game. The crowd lets them have it, and after the needless drama caused by their despised owner, the Cubs are happy to return to Detroit for the rest of the series.

Bennett Park is not exactly a palace. It's built on a former haymarket and beneath the thin layer of grass is cobblestone. But the Cubs are in no mood to let this series linger long enough to return to Chicago. They finally pitch their ace, Mordecai Brown, and he throws a three-hit shutout. A third inning Harry Steinfeldt RBI single is all the Cubs need to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

Even the Detroit fans lose interest in the series now. It's obvious that their team isn't in the same class as the Cubs. That fact, in addition to the fact that so few Cubs fans went to Detroit, plus the blustery October weather, conspire to bring out only 6210 fans to the clinching Game 5. It remains the smallest crowd in World Series history.

Those 6210 die-hards on October 14, 1908 witness another dominating pitching performance by Orval Overall. Like his teammate Three Finger Brown, Overall pitches a 3-hit shutout. He strikes out ten Tigers and rides the first inning Frank Chance RBI single to victory. (The Cubs added another run in the 5th to win 2-0).

There was no way anyone there could have known it then, but when Tigers catcher Boss Schmidt nubs one off the end of the bat and is thrown out by Cubs catcher Johnny Kling, it marks the final time the Cubs will celebrate a World Series championship.

Charles Murphy

Charles Murphy (photo above) begins dismantling the team (beginning with a contract dispute with Johnny Kling) soon thereafter. He will later get rid of Frank Chance (while he is in the hospital for brain surgery), Johnny Evers (who wins another World Series with the Braves), and Joe Tinker (who returns after Murphy is gone). Murphy will also run off Mordecai Brown and Orval Overall in contract disputes. But maybe his worst sin is that he lets West Side Grounds deteriorate so badly that fans fear for their lives in this wooden ballpark. The city threatens to condemn it, but Murphy stubbornly refuses to lay out the money to improve it or build a new stadium. Murphy will become so despised that his fellow National League owners will run him out of the game in 1916.

The new owner, Charles Weeghman, will move the Cubs from the west side to the north side, and begin playing at what is now known as Wrigley Field.

Alexander Butterfield

I was a kid when the Watergate story broke. I remember my teachers trying to explain it to us, and it was very difficult to understand. All we really knew about it was that our favorite cartoons and reruns were being pre-empted every day for those dry Watergate hearings.

In high school I read "All the President's Men" and later saw the movie. I became intrigued by the story and really immersed myself in it. Like many other kids from that era, it made me want to be a journalist. It also schooled me on the potential abuses of government. Real abuses. Spying on your political opponents. Using the Secret Service, the FBI, and the CIA...for political gain. No one has done anything like that since, despite the constant use of "gate" at the end of every political scandal.

Well, if you're a Watergate junkie like me, you'll love this piece in the Washington Post today about Alexander Butterfield. Great stuff. He's the former Nixon aide who revealed the existence of the taping system in the White House, and he hasn't really spoken out until now. Naturally, Bob Woodward is the one that got him talking. Highly recommended.

Fantasy Football Scandal

The fantasy football scandal (employees winning big money with insider information) reached a new level over the weekend when it was announced that a federal grand jury was looking into the whole business to see if it's illegal gambling.

You know who is really sweating this (other than the fantasy football sites themselves)?

Radio & Television stations/networks. At a time when it's harder and harder to sell ads, the fantasy football industry spent millions. Inside Radio has more information about that.

Best Day Ever

The youngster and I had a day at the ballpark that we will never ever forget...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just Like Columbus Did

My annual posting of this gem...

Big Game Tonight

Over the years I've taken my youngest son Sean to many games. (The picture below was a game against the Nationals last summer--he caught a BP homer). But tonight's game is, without question, the biggest game the two of us have seen together. I'm shutting down the office at 1:30pm, and we're heading into town. Sean wants to be there when they open the gates.

Go Cubs!

Amy Schumer on SNL

Very funny opening monologue...

Cubs Mess With Weddings

Lots of die-hard Cub fans have been needlessly avoiding scheduling October weddings for years--just in case. I was married in November myself. Turns out I didn't exactly need to worry about those 1991 Cubs winning it all. People mocked me then, but what about the unfortunate flipside happening this year? What about people who didn't take the Cubs seriously the one year they should have?

Burt Constable of the Daily Herald wrote about that over the weekend.

Return to Champaign-Urbana

I was in my college town this past weekend with my son Sean for a soccer tournament. The soccer part didn't go great, but it was a really fun time. Sean was in awe of the campus. We even watched the Bears game in what was once known as Round Robin or Double R. It's the Firehouse now. Good burgers.