Friday, March 25, 2016

(Wilbur) Good Friday

On Good Friday we tell you about former Cub Wilbur Good…

~Wilbur Good 1885 (Cubs 1911-1915)
Wilbur came to the Cubs in the trade that sent popular catcher Johnny Kling to Boston. His nickname was “Lefty” and he played for the Cubs in the years after their dynasty (1906-1910) and before their move to Wrigley Field (1916). Good was a backup outfielder his first few years in Chicago (he hit the first pinch hit HR in Cubs history in 1913), before being given the fulltime rightfield job in 1914. Wilbur responded by stealing more than 30 bases and hitting .272. Those numbers went down the following year, and when the Cubs moved across town to Wrigley Field (then known as Weeghman Park), Wilbur was not invited to join them. He was sold to the Phillies. Good holds the distinction of being the very last player to hit a homer at West Side Grounds. It came on September 29, 1915 in a 5-4 victory over the Braves. (Photo: 1909 Tobacco Card)

An Offended Massachusetts Writer

I love this. I made this same point when Donald Trump ripped the Cubs owners, but I'm biased. I'm a Cubs fan. The writer of this piece is in Massachusetts...

He has attacked the Chicago Cubs. He has threatened to take out ads telling everyone what a "rotten job'' the team's owners are doing with a club that regularly packs beloved Wrigley Field with adoring fans, rebuilt a struggling team with loads of young talent and a Yoda-like manager, and in 2015 had the third-best record of 30 teams in baseball, not counting a playoff series victory over the mighty St. Louis Cardinals - 101 victories in all.

Some places, you just don't go. Come on, now, who among us could not forgive Trump for ridiculing John McCain, a man beaten to a pulp by the North Vietnamese for five years in service to America while Trump was investing daddy's millions?

Shoot, that's just a guy telling it like it is, right, you Trumpies? But not this.

That's because with the Cubs, Trump is telling it like it isn't. This is worse than being repugnant, it's being ill-informed to the point of being clueless and stupid, which for a President would not seem like a good thing.

Say it, brother. Say it.

RIP Garry Shandling

Sad, shocking news yesterday. Garry Shandling, dead at 66. Variety has a good write up about his life.

I was a fan of Garry's since the first time I saw him--guest hosting the Tonight Show for Johnny Carson. Over the years he created a lot of high quality entertainment, including "It's Garry Shandling Show" on Fox (which I watched religiously). But his masterpiece was The Larry Sanders Show--one of the top five comedies of all-time. That really was a show about something. Garry explains it in this first clip...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nick Lowe

Nick Lowe is 67 years old today. Happy birthday Nick! This is my personal favorite Nick Lowe song...

Keeping it Classy

Is there anything classier than a politician saying "My wife is better looking than yours?" That's what Trump just did to Ted Cruz...

Andrea Darlas

From this morning's Radio Online...

WGN-AM/Chicago Radio anchor and reporter Andrea Darlas will receive the Diogenes Award for Excellence in Media from the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) at the organization's 90th Anniversary Dinner Meeting on Thursday, March 24. Darlas is currently the morning news anchor on WGN Radio, a reporter on WGN-TV and CLTV as well as a contributor to the nationally-syndicated TV show "House Smarts."

"The Diogenes Award is presented to a media person who exemplifies the goals and principles of the Better Business Bureau to support and foster an ethical marketplace benefiting both consumers and businesses," said BBB President/CEO Steve J. Bernas.

"Andrea was born to chase compelling stories," added WGN VP/Programming & Content Todd Manley. "She's a passionate journalist and a trusted voice in Chicago. We're so proud of her work and this great honor."

Congrats to Andrea, a fellow University of Illinois alum.

RIP Ken Howard

He was the President of my union (SAG-AFTRA), but he will always be The White Shadow to me. Ken Howard was just a few days shy of his 72nd birthday when he passed away.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

RIP Joe Garagiola

Sad news from Arizona, Joe Garagiola has passed away. Here is his entry from our "Every Cub Ever" feature at Just One Bad Century...

~Joe Garagiola 1926 (Cubs 1953-1954)
He was a backup catcher for most of his nine-year big league career, and that’s the role he served in Chicago. His big claim to fame with the Cubs was catching all nine innings of a game in what was at the time, the hottest day in Chicago history, June 20, 1953. Despite the 104 degree heat, 17,000+ fans came out to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs lose to the Dodgers 5-3. Of course, Joe became much more famous after his playing career as a sportscaster and television personality.

Sarah Palin on Court TV?

The Hollywood Reporter has a story today claiming that Sarah Palin is being eyed for a daytime show on Court TV. The producer of Judge Judy and Judge Roy Brown is attached to the project.

At her introductory press conference, I hope nobody in the lamestream media asks her an unfair 'Gotcha' question like "What's a plaintiff?"

Bill Murray's Son

Shocking revelation at the end of this father/son interview...

Woman Arrested For Smoking Pot in Police Parking Lot

Brazen or stupid? You decide.

There's a WBBM News radio audio report of the incident at this link.

Wiener Circle

I was in the neighborhood yesterday and snapped this photo. I had heard about the promotion already, but it still cracked me up to see it on the sign...

When You Just Don't Care Anymore

What does Dave look like these days?

Uh Oh

Cover of SI...

John Cleese Discovers Fawlty Towers Restaurant

I'm no legal expert, but I suspect that the owners of the Australian "Faulty Towers" restaurant might expect a phone call from an attorney in the coming days. I was following these tweets last night from John Cleese. He doesn't appear to be happy.

Goodbye Mickey D's

Drove son #1 to a school event in the Wrigleyville neighborhood yesterday and saw the construction going on. The old McDonald's across the street from the ballpark has been bulldozed. Nothing left except the remnants of the sign. Son #1 was sad...he always wanted to eat there before the game because he doesn't care for hot dogs.

"It's the end of an era," he said with a sigh. That made me chuckle.

This guy wrote a song in tribute to the old landmark. That made me chuckle even more.

"Defending Your Life" at 25

It's hard to believe it was 25 years ago already. Love, love, love this movie.

Rolling Stone talked to Albert Brooks about his movie "Defending Your Life" on the film's 25th anniversary. It's apparently become a cult hit among the young hipsters.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pee Wee Plays the Balloon

Company seeking paid interns to drink beer for four months

UPI has the details.

"The interns, who would each be paid $12,000 in addition to their food, lodging and travel expenses, would be required to write about their beer-tasting adventures for the company's website."

Uh oh. Wish I hadn't seen this.

RIP Rob Ford

The former Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, has passed away at the age of 46. TPM has the details.

Ford became an international punchline a few years ago for smoking crack and making incredibly incendiary comments. His death was not drug related, however.

Ford died of cancer (Malignant liposarcoma in his abdomen).

Trump To Take On The Cubs

The most thin-skinned man in America is ready to lash out against the Cubs because their owners are part of the Stop Trump movement. Here's how he responded to the Chicago Tribune...
"I'll start spending on them. I'll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they're doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me. I mean, so am I allowed to say that?"
One problem with that Donald. They are actually doing a fine job with the Cubs these days.

Gracie Awards

The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards honor exemplary programming for, by and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. According to Radio Ink, WBBM News Radio in Chicago picked up a few of those awards.

*Felicia Middlebrooks, WBBM Newsradio (Chicago) for Anchor of a Local News or News Magazine

*Lola Vanderpuye, WBBM Newsradio (Chicago) for Local Imaging for the Chicago Cubs

According to Robert Feder's column this morning, Shila Nathan (formerly) from US-99 also won a Gracie, but CBS didn't include her in their press release.

Congrats to all the broadcasters who won.

What Effect Will Hulk Hogan Case Have on Media?

Most media-types were shocked when the jury awarded Hulk Hogan $140 million in his case against Gawker. Today the Washington Post examines the potential effect this case will have on future reporting.

I'm not too worried whether or not this will have a chilling effect on legitimate reporting. This was a special case--a sex video filmed without his knowledge, and posted online without his permission. Not exactly the type of story the mainstream media would report.

Gawker is known for pushing the boundaries. This time, the boundaries pushed back.

Dobie in Milwaukee

Dobie made the rounds yesterday in his hometown of Milwaukee. In addition to the TV interview above, he did a couple of radio interviews, and a newspaper interview.

And then he hosted a fun event at Shank Hall. He might not have drawn as many people as the Who, who were playing down the street at the Bradley Center, but he did pack the joint and sold quite a few books.

Here are a few pictures...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Shank Hall in Milwaukee

I'm hopping in the car and driving up to Milwaukee for a book signing event tonight at Shank Hall (1434 North Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202). This is the first place that Dobie Maxwell ever performed comedy (Milwaukee is his hometown), which is why he chose it for the unveiling of his book to his hometown fans.

This is the way Shank Hall describes the book on their website...


For years Dobie Maxwell has been told that his incredible life story should be a book. This is it. Dobie was born in Milwaukee, to a biker father and drug abusing mother. When he was only five months old, his mother abandoned him and his two older siblings. Dobie was separated from his siblings and sent to be raised by his paternal grandparents. It was there, in his grandparents' neighborhood, that Dobie befriended another societal misfit. The two became best friends.

Years later as Dobie pursued his dream as a professional comedian and radio personality, that same "friend" robbed a local bank. He used Dobie as his unknowing getaway driver as they took a cross country trip to Las Vegas in a rental car in Dobie's name. The same friend robbed the same bank again two years later. This time he did it disguised as a Gorilla Gram--a robbery so audacious it made all the local television news programs. Who would have done such a thing? Law enforcement thought it just might be the work of a comedian, and all trails led to Dobie.

Dobie was dragged into the story against his will, and eventually had to make the excruciating choice of either testifying against his life-long friend in court or going to prison for crimes he did not commit.

Monkey in the Middle is hilarious, tragic, joyous, dark, and smart. In short, it's just like the real life narrator of the story; Dobie Maxwell himself.

10 Years of Blogging: A Bonus Father Knows Nothing

This year marks my tenth anniversary as a blogger. Throughout the year I'm going through my 30,000+ posts and re-posting a few of my favorites. This is a bonus Father Knows Nothing that didn't make the book. I'm re-posting it today because the kid described in this article from five years ago has just earned his Eagle Scout award. If he can turn it around, anyone can. Keep the faith, parents!

Somebody once described being German to me as similar to being Vulcan. That is, you use logic to assess every situation, and emotion isn’t really a part of your life. I confess to more than my share of German/Vulcan-like tendencies.

Not much I can do about it. It’s in my blood.

My middle son Johnny, on the other hand, has seemingly inherited none of the German/Vulcan characteristics at all. He’s 100% raw emotion. Johnny has an unlimited amount of love and empathy, but if he has logic in his arsenal at all, I’ve yet to see it.

This becomes painfully obvious when he loses something. This week he lost his third or fourth calculator (I’ve lost count over the years–it’s probably more.) It’s not shocking that he loses things; we all do. The shocking thing is his complete inability to use logic to find it.

This is an actual conversation we had…

Johnny: “Dad have you seen my calculator?”

Dad: “Did you lose another one?”

Johnny: “If you haven’t seen it, then yeah.”

Dad: “Where did you look for it?”


Dad: “Is it in your backpack?”

Johnny: “I don’t know.”

Dad: “You didn’t look there?”

Johnny: “No.”

Dad: “Where did you look? Did you look in your locker at school?”

Johnny: “It’s not there.”

Dad: “Did you look?”

Johnny: “No, but it’s not there.”

Dad: “How do you know?”

Johnny: “Because I always carry it in my hand.”

Dad: “Did you put it down somewhere?”

Johnny: “No."

Dad: “Look at your hand. Is it there?”

He actually looked at his empty hand.

Dad: “You obviously put it down somewhere, didn’t you?”

Johnny: “Oh. Yeah, I guess.”

Dad: “Where would you likely put it?”

Johnny: “I do my homework on the table here, and I keep my backpack over there."

Dad: “Did you look around between here and there?”

Johnny: “No.”

Dad: “How do you know it’s even this house? Why couldn’t it be at school?”

Johnny: “I didn’t see it today."

Dad: “Did you ask your teacher if she found one?”

Johnny: “No.”

Dad: “Did you look around your classroom?”

Johnny: “No.”

Dad: “And you haven’t looked in your backpack, your locker, or anywhere in this house, either, right?”

Johnny: “Right.”

Dad: “Then how do you know it’s lost?”

“You haven’t seen it have you?”


Maybe if I perform some sort of Vulcan mind-meld, he can give me some emotion so I can be a little more sympathetic, and I can give him the gift of logic.

He desperately needs it.

Around the Publishing World (March 21)

At Chicago Author Solutions (a division of Eckhartz Press), we stay on top of happenings/trends in the publishing world to help out busy writers who are spending their time doing what they should be doing: writing.

1. 12 Social Media Tools You Might Not Know
We are not social media experts, but the writer of this piece surely is. He reveals several new places to explore in this social media world.

2. The difference between ebook formatting and conversion
We offer both of these services at Chicago Author Solutions, but most writers don't quite understand the difference. This is a good primer.

3. Books that have been unfairly maligned
Two New York Times writers debate which books they believe have been unfairly criticized. See if you agree with them, and add your own suggestions.

4. How pitching a novel is like being in the Secret Service
This is a comparison we would never make, but that's because we've never been Secret Service agents. The writer of this piece has. Interesting read.

5. Conan's grammatical take on classic rock:

Paul McCartney is Reacquiring Rights to His Back Catalog

I've always thought it was ridiculous that John & Paul didn't own the songs they wrote for the Beatles. That may be (sort of) changing in the next few years. From the Independent...

According to Billboard, the US Copyright Act of 1976 allows writers to reclaim their songs from publishers, with songs written before 1978 reclaimable 56 years after initial release. In other words, the McCartney-Lennon back catalogue will be reclaimable starting 2018.

"In order to reclaim publishing ownership of a song a songwriter must file with the U.S. Copyright Office, terminating the publishing anywhere from 2 to 10 years before the 56 years elapse, in order to obtain ownership of that song’s publishing in a timely manner,” Billboard notes. Accordingly, McCartney reportedly filed for termination for 32 of his and Lennon’s songs on the 15 April 2015. Unfortunately, the copyright will only belong to McCartney in the US.

While the bassist’s half of the songs will return to him, Lennon’s will not belong to his estate. Yoko Ono sold the rights to his music to Sony/ATV Music in 2009, those rights lasting the entire copyright’s lifetime (70 years).

Spring Has Sprung!

Happy First day of Spring, on behalf of the only Cub ever named Spring....

Jack Spring Cubs~Jack Spring (Cubs 1964)
He pitched for seven teams in his eight big league seasons, and for exactly one month that team was the Cubs. They acquired Jack in May of 1964, and he pitched in seven games over the next few weeks. But then on June 15, 1964, Spring was called into the manager’s office and told he had been traded again. This time he was the throw-in in the trade that sent Lou Brock to the Cardinals. In St. Louis, Spring won a ring (although he didn’t make the postseason roster that year). Not sure what happened to that Brock character. One of the most miraculous stats of Jack’s career is this little tidbit: He once went 19 consecutive outings without recording a strikeout. That’s the longest streak since 1957.

My Candidate

Rick Astley, not Mancow...

Say it Aint So, Chachi

Scott Baio endorses Donald Trump. He explained why to Variety...

“We need somebody to relentlessly, relentlessly attack Hillary. It’s the only way we’re going to win. I’m trying to be a classy guy, but to win elections nowadays, the Democrats and liberals attack viciously.”

Put your finger on it there, Chachi. I think all Americans can agree that we need much meaner and more vicious elections.

Steve Dahl's Grandson

Steve Dahl's grandson Henry makes his debut in this commercial for the White Sox.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm(ball) Sunday

I'm not besmirching Palm Sunday. In fact, I'm at church right now.

On the other hand, Palm Sunday does seem like the most thematically appropriate day to present for you two Cubs pitchers who famously used the palmball.

~Ray Culp 1941 (Cubs 1967)
Ray Culp was already a two-time 14-game winner when the Cubs acquired him before the 1967 season, and they gave up former 20-game winner Dick Ellsworth to get him from the Phillies. But in his only season with Chicago, Culp was mediocre, managing only 8 wins. He also didn't hit it off with the manager of the team. Leo Durocher felt he couldn’t trust Culp to be a big contributor, so the Cubs shipped him off the Boston Red Sox after the 1967 season in exchange for minor league outfielder Bill Schlessinger. This turned out to be one of the worst trades of the Durocher era. Schlessinger never played in a single game for the Cubs, while Ray Culp discovered the palmball and became one of the best pitchers in the American League. He won 16 games in 1968, 17 games in 1969, 17 games in 1970, and 14 games in 1971. During those same years, the Cubs always seemed to be one starting pitcher short of competing for a title. (Photo: Topps 1967 Baseball Card)

~Dave Giusti 1939 (Cubs 1977)
Giusti won 100 games and saved 145 more in his outstanding career, including 30 in his all-star 1971 season, when he led the Pirates to the World Series. His best pitch was the palmball. By the time he came to the Cubs, however, he was a whisper of what he once was. He did get one save in 20 appearances, but his ERA was 2 1/2 runs higher than his career average. It was the last gasp of his big league career.