Friday, November 20, 2015

Free Excerpt From "Father Knows Nothing": Don't Eat the Snow

This is one of my favorite conversations from the pages of Father Knows Nothing.

It features an 8-year-old Johnny discussing the subject of eating snow with an even younger Sean (4 years old) as they get their boots and snowsuits on. I was listening in around the corner and recorded it for posterity. So happy I did! I always think about it when Chicago braces for a big snow storm (like the one that's coming tonight).

By the way, we've noticed a big uptick in Father Knows Nothing sales the past week. Thanks so much for your support (even though I'm not sure exactly what is causing it)

Sean: Why did Dad say we shouldn’t eat snow?

Johnny: He just means the yucky snow.

Sean: What’s the yucky snow?

Johnny: Anything that isn’t white.

Sean: All snow is white.

Johnny: Nuh uh. Sometimes it’s gray or black. That means it’s dirty. If you eat it, it’s like you’re eating mud.

Sean: What if it’s blue?

Johnny: It’s never blue.

Sean: What if it is?

Johnny: It won’t be. It could be yellow, though. Don’t eat that. It’s animal pee. And brown is animal—

Sean: What if it’s green?

Johnny: That’s just the grass underneath it.

Sean: What if it’s orange?

Johnny: It won’t be orange.

Sean: But if it’s a snowman’s nose, it could be orange. Snowmans have orange noses.

Johnny: They do not.

Sean: (forcefully) YES THEY DO. They have carrots.

Johnny: Fine.

Sean: What if it’s red?

Johnny: That’s blood.

Sean: No, it’s not. It’s diarrhea.

Johnny: (forcefully) NO, it’s NOT. Diarrhea is brown.

Sean: I had red diarrhea one time.

Johnny: No you didn’t.

Sean: (forcefully) YES I DID.

Johnny: Not outside in the snow.


Sean: Maybe an animal has red diarrhea.

Johnny: What kind of animal?

Sean: A red fire Pokemon.

Johnny: Those aren’t real.

Sean: What about a cardinal?

Johnny: All birds have white poop.


Sean: But I thought you said that white snow…

Johnny: Uh oh.

Colbert Smackdown

Glad to see he still does these a few times a week...


The Subway pitchman was sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday. Pretty harsh, but after hearing the audio tape of him talking about the methods he uses to entrap young boys and girls, I totally understand where the judge is coming from. From what I understand, child molesters are considered the lowest form of life in prisons by their fellow prisoners. Could be a very long 15 years, but after what he did (apparently many many many times), it sounds pretty fair to me.

I'm not going to stoop to doing a foot-long or six-inch or BMT (Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest) joke here. That would be distasteful, and I promised I wouldn't do any more Jared jokes.

New Studios Story

Thanks to Tom Taylor's NOW column for posting my Martin Short/new studios story today (last item).

You can read it here, if you're interested.

Germans Who Say Nice Things

I loved this bit so much when I first saw it. Still funny today...

What Makes Me Laugh

OK, here's the thing about laughter. You can't train yourself to laugh or not laugh. Sometimes it just happens, and it happens in a way that is highly embarrassing. Tonight I was flipping through the channels with my wife, and I stopped on a film. There was a joke in the movie that made me laugh so hard I almost lost consciousness. I looked at Bridget while I was choking, and I could see her losing respect for me. Why was she losing respect? Because of the joke, and because of the movie it was in. Here is the joke...

Character 1: I don't want to be indelicate, but does your friend have Aspergers?

Character 2: Probably. He doesn't wipe too well.

The movie was Dumb & Dumber To.

I'm deeply ashamed.

Mr. Blue Sky

My favorite ELO song...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pat Colander Book Signing

Olde Town Ale House

Roger Ebert once called the Old Town Ale House "the best bar in the world that I know about". The Ale House is also the setting for one of the true tales in Pat Colander's Hugh Hefner's Last Funeral and Other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago. In this classic bar some 30 years ago, a regular customer talked openly about a certain type of poison that would mysteriously turn up in Tylenol bottles shortly thereafter.

Naturally, this is the perfect setting for Pat Colander to stage a release party for the book that tells that tale.

Here are the details of the party...

Date: Sunday, November 22nd
Time: Noon to 3pm (Don't worry, the Bears will be on TV if you want to watch)
Address: 219 W. North Avenue in Chicago

The details of the story are in the book. And of course, the book will be there for sale, and Pat will be there to sign it.

Come for the book and stay for the atmosphere, or come for the amosphere and stay for the book. Both are well worth your while.

Plus, it's an Ale House. That means your humble Eckhartz Press co-founders Rick and Dave will be there too. I will buy a drink for the first ten people who buy Pat's book and sing the first verse of "Bear Down Chicago Bears" for me.


Commas Save Lives

Thanks to "BD" for this one...

Cumulus Stock

It's gotten to the point that Cumulus stock is very likely to be de-listed. From today's Tom Taylor's column...

How much lower can Cumulus stock go? “CMLS” touched 20 cents early in yesterday’s trading, a new all-time low. The eventual close of 22 cents (down about 2%) wasn’t quite as bloody, but this isn’t going to show the NASDAQ exchange that Cumulus merits continued listing, once its 180-day grace period expires.

Biondi Moves To Weekends

Dick Biondi's fans have long been frustrated that Dick is on the air at such a late hour. Well, beginning this weekend, that is going to change. From Chicagoland Radio & Media...

While the move to weekend mornings appears to be a demotion, and it certainly is in terms of dramatically less on-air hours, this is a move that Biondi welcomes. The change will allow him to have more normal hours which are better for a man of his age.

Said Biondi to his fans tonight: "I'm going to miss you, but I've got to take this opportunity to have some fun in a morning. Thank you all..."

Starting this weekend, Biondi's new hours will be Saturdays from 6:00am-10:00am and Sundays from 7:00am-10:00am. Unlike some weekend shifts on WLS-FM which are voice-tracked, Biondi will be doing his shows live from the WLS-FM studios.
I'm happy for Dick. He has slowed down a little, but at the age of 83, he's still a dynamo. Honestly, I wish I had his energy level and I'm 30 years younger.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Congrats to Jake Arrieta

Excellent Advice

I'm showing this to my kids. Thanks to "GD" for this...

Where did the guns used in Paris attacks come from?

Eckhartz Press author Brent Petersen ("Truffle Hunt") has done extensive research about the Balkan War ("Truffle Hunt" takes place in the years just after the war). Here's what he wrote on the Truffle Hunt blog today...

Guns are illegal and very difficult to obtain in France as well as most of Europe. You need to pass rigorous background checks and obtain licenses to get a gun for hunting. And automatic weapons like the ones used last Friday to massacre dozens of people in Paris are prohibited outright. So, where did they come from?

It turns out they’re probably remnants of the Balkan War of the 1990’s. Before there was an independent Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, etc, there was Yugoslavia. General Tito, the WWII guerrilla fighter turned political leader, created the state of Yugoslavia after defeating the Nazis, pulling together disparate ethnic groups and placing them under a single flag.

After Tito’s death, Yugoslavia began to fracture and war erupted in the early 1990’s. After the war, the former Yugoslavia became 7 independent countries (counting the semi-autonomous Kosovo). The weapons from the war in the Balkans started to show up in other countries at war. The weapon of choice was the AK-47 (Kalashnikov) and copies and knock-off manufactured by the Yugoslavia arms manufacturer Zastava Arms. Millions of these automatic weapons (like the M70) were manufactured and are now common in war zones like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya

If you'd like to read the rest of his piece, click here.

Reading Signals from Women

This is courtesy of "BD". Made me laugh...

Moving Into New Studios

Robert Feder has the details about the move of Cumulus radio stations from 190 N. State (WLS AM/FM) and the Merchandise Mart (The Loop/WKQX) to the NBC Tower. It sounds like it's a two-step process for the stations at the Mart, first to 190 N. State, and then to the NBC Tower. As someone who has been part of one of these radio station moves to brand new studios, and the usage of temporary studios, all I can say is God Bless. It's gonna be icky for a while.

There's a funny story in "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" about our move into new studios. Here's the Reader's Digest version. After suffering through studios that were so terrible for several months that we had to reduce our interviews to zero, I booked Martin Short to christen our new studios (on the phone) during our first show there. Unfortunately, the phones didn't work. We could hear him, but we couldn't get his audio through the control board. At that time we had one incredibly overworked engineer working on five different stations trying to meet impossible deadlines--and when we tried to reach him for help he was nowhere to be found. So...we had Martin Short call John's cellphone, and John interviewed him on the air by holding the phone up to the microphone. It was hilarious and ingenious, and Martin Short kept saying things like..."You're owned by CBS right? Imagine what the stations that aren't owned by multi-billion corporations have to do. Smoke signals?" Martin Short has done hundreds (if not thousands) of interviews, but I bet he still remembers that one.

By the way, it took another two weeks to get the phones fixed. And we did a show that featured listener calls every day. That was a lot of fun completely changing our show just because the equipment didn't work. Enjoy the move, Cumulus.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Where did Sammy Sosa celebrate his birthday?

Sammy is just like you and me. He held his birthday party in the most typical place you could imagine.


Equal Time

When NBC allowed Donald Trump to host SNL, they opened themselves up to this. Other candidates are now demanding equal time--which is still a rule. That means each of them is technically entitled to the twelve minutes of air time that Donald used on SNL. No word on whether or not they want to also dance in a fake Drake video.

Charlie Sheen

Zero people in the world were surprised by Charlie Sheen's announcement this morning on the Today show. He is HIV Positive.

Variety has the details.

To me, the only interesting part of the story is that people were shaking him down for millions of dollars to keep the information secret. Why would someone like Charlie worry about people knowing?

FCC Reform

I'm hesitant to support this FCC Reform because it was passed by the House of Representatives, who famously likes to use opposite language to describe their bills (The Pure Water act? Mmmm hmmm.)

Inside Radio has some of the details. What they report sounds reasonable enough, but I'd still like to see the full bill, because there is always something buried in the there.

The Cubs Network

The Cubs confirmed yesterday that they will be starting up their own network in 2020.

I have just one question for them: What if cable television doesn't matter any more in 2020? At the rate that everyone is unplugging, they better have a plan in place for this new reality.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy Anniversary

To my lovely bride. We were married 24 years ago today.

Super Caleb!

My little nephew Caleb is just 2 years old and he's been diagnosed with cancer. The little guy is in the midst of his fifth stage of chemotherapy, and it's been so hard on him. But he's a tough little fighter, and he still smiles when he gets his strength--and he returns to the same little boy he used to be.

My cousin Derek and his wife Stacy are going through a very tough time--and so is the rest of the family. Of course, everyone offers to help in whatever way they can, but there's very little that can be done, and the whole situation just makes everyone feel so helpless. They are doing a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds to pay for Caleb's bills, and they'd appreciate your help.

This is my contribution to the cause. I dreamt this story the other night, a little children's Super Hero tale. I call it Super Caleb.


Our hero Super Caleb, awakens in a haze,
Trapped on planet Mayo-naise,
Where the bad Sea monster stays,
And makes people sad all day

Super Caleb knows that he just has to get away,
Remove the tubes and tape,
So he can reach his super cape,
And make his brave escape

He is Super Caleb,
You should see our hero fly,
He turns the Mayo people’s, sad faces into smiles,
He is Super Caleb,
And he’ll show you in a while.

The bad sea monster doesn’t know, that Caleb has some friends,
Who can give him strength again,
And he better look out when,
Super Caleb flies again.

As Super Caleb sleeps, his friend in the white coat,
Sails through the sea monster’s moat,
In a very quiet boat,
And he’s bringing Caleb hope.

He is Super Caleb!
And he makes sad people smile,
The sea monster can’t keep the people sad when Caleb flies,
He is Super Caleb!
And he’ll be here in a while.

Super Caleb opens up his eyes after a rest,
Looks down upon his chest,
Tubes are gone and he is dressed,
He knows how to do the rest.

He is Super Caleb!
And it’s time to watch him fly,
When they see him all sad people, cannot help but smile,
He is Super Caleb!
And he’s gonna win this time.

Weird, but True

Dylan and Lennon in a Cab

I think this is actually authentic...very odd.