Friday, May 13, 2016

Three Carays

On this day in 1991, three generations of Carays broadcast the same game. Skip and Chip did the Braves broadcast, and Harry did the Cubs. Hall of Famer Tom Glavine pitched a complete game, and the Braves won the game 5-3.

Donald Trump's Publicist

I've only met the Donald a few times. Each time I met him, and this was in the 90s, I couldn't believe how insecure he was. He was bragging to lowly producers about the babes he nailed.

That's why I wasn't shocked by this piece in the Washington Post. It's a story from the same era. A reporter gets a call from Donald's publicist (named John Miller), and there's no doubt at all that John Miller is actually Donald himself. She has it on tape. Listen to it. It's pathetic.

This is the guy over 40% of the country is prepared to vote be President of the United States. The leader of the free world.

We've clearly entered the Twilight Zone.

Sound of Music Quiz

I can't decide what is the worst part of this.

Is it that someone sent me a link to take this quiz? Is it that the quiz was on a site called Or is it that I got 100% on the quiz, and it's not easy?

Please don't answer the questions. They are rhetorical.

A feel good story

This feel good story in yesterday's Daily Herald is about a 68-year-old woman who went back and got her college degree. If that wasn't a big enough story, she is also being given her degree by her own daughter, who is an academic advisor at the school.

One more thing that's not in the article.

The woman in question is my aunt Terry Ruscheinski. I was the ring-bearer at her wedding in a three year old.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Another Talented Landecker

It's a never-ending fountain of talent, I'm telling you.

This is Tracy Landecker, John's oldest daughter, singing lead for the LA-based band "Walker Brigade" on the classic tune from "Blazing Saddles"

Click here to hear "I'm Tired"

Who is Shields?

I never heard this story before. It's about the guy who they named the street after (as in 35th and Shields--home of US Cellular Field). Fast forward to about the 3:30 mark.

Minutia Men, Episode 2

The second episode of "Minutia Men" has been posted. Here's the description: "Rick & Dave discuss the cost of body parts, a Cubs shortstop shot by a dancer, the various types of combovers, and brushes with D-list celebrities."

Click here to listen.

Ivy Kaempfer

6 years ago today we rescued a puppy who had been abandoned in Kankakee. She was found chained to a log. According to the paperwork, her previous owner had been sent to prison. We called her Ivy. She isn't a puppy anymore--she's part of the family. As someone who never had a pet before, I'm surprised how much she has changed our lives.

George Carlin

Happy birthday George! Still miss ya...

Bassist True Grit

Otto Schimmelpenninck is the bass player for the Dutch metal band Delain. During a show the other day, he took a confetti cannon shot right to the groin.

Did he stop and whine about his ruptured balls? No, he rocked. Only after the show did they drain the 500ml of blood from his scrotum and stitch up the ruptured testicle.

Don't be surprised if his name becomes a confetti cannon shot catch phrase--"He got Schimmelpennincked!"

Building a New Chicago Neighborhood from Scratch

The very last large swath of green space in Chicago (62 acres in the near south loop) has been sold to a developer, who is planning on creating an entire neighborhood.

The Chicago Tribune has all the details.

I had no idea there was still 62 acres of undeveloped land so close to downtown.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Free Excerpt from "Rantings of a Bitter Childless Woman"


Our latest book "Rantings of a Bitter Childless Woman" has just arrived from the printer and will be going out in the mail over the next few days. So what can readers expect from this book by Jeanne Bellezzo? It's better to show than to tell. Here's an excerpt...

Remember when we took long car trips as kids and amused ourselves for hours on end by playing The Alphabet Game? You know, where you had to point out an object starting with each consecutive letter of the alphabet before your bratty sister could? And if you both spotted the same object simultaneously, you fought about it, thus passing another 15 to 20 minutes of the trip until your dad finally warned you not to make him stop this car and turn around right now?

Life was so simple then.

Now, kids on long car trips (defined as 10 minutes or more) have a plethora of entertainment options we couldn’t even imagine. DVD players. Cell phones. Nintendo DS. Online shopping. Mobile investing. Personally, I think it would have been the coolest thing in the world to have movies in the back of our old Wrangler and then fight with my sister about what to watch.

But apparently, it isn’t enough for today’s short-attention-span generation. Barely an hour into an 8-hour family roadtrip to Arizona, my friend’s six-year-old son turned off the DVD player, tossed his DS impatiently into his pile of books, and announced, “I’m bored.”

A few months ago, my boyfriend and I volunteered to watch his twin niece and nephew while mom and dad went to a baseball game with friends from out of town. They dropped the kids off early on Sunday morning. (For us, any time before 8 a.m. on Sunday is early. Thank God for coffee.)

We spent the next few hours playing games with them (side note: if you’re ever having issues waking up, a few games of Jenga will resolve them immediately). We watched cartoons. They chased the cats around. We took them to lunch (the kids, not the cats). We took them to a movie, stopping first to get something to drink at the grocery store, and while we were there we bought them each a doughnut. Yes, they just had lunch, but as the fun aunt and uncle we are required by law to overdose them on sugar. And they’re both thin little Energizer bunnies, so we weren’t particularly concerned about childhood obesity.
As they wolfed down their fried sugary goodness, one mentioned that it was the second doughnut she’d had. I asked, “Today?” She replied, “No, ever. Mom doesn’t let us have doughnuts.” Awesome. This will be our little secret, right?

So after games, cartoons, lunch, clandestine doughnuts, and a movie, we returned home and made a beeline for the couch, exhausted. (Ok, the adults were exhausted. Seriously parents, how do you do it?)

At which point one of the twins asked, “Can we do something fun now?”

Yes. Go outside and play The Alphabet Game. Twice.

10 Years of Blogging: The Nigerian Prince

This year marks my tenth anniversary as a blogger. Throughout the year I'll be dipping into my archives of over 30,000 posts to re-post a few of my favorites. I posted this one in 2011. It involves my good buddy Dave (of Minutia Men and Eckhartz Press fame) and a Nigerian business man. Enjoy...

I recently joined Twitter (I know, I know...I'm a little behind), and when I joined, Twitter gave me a special present in return: A whole new batch of spammers/scammers.

I'm sure I accidentally followed someone I shouldn't have, and I will go through the list one by one later today, but it made me realize that spammers and e-mail scammers have really come a long way in the past few years.

My favorite one is the one that digs into your contact list and sends out e-mails to people you know, saying you are lost and stuck in (insert foreign town name here), and all you need is a cash transfer.

Pretty clever.

But even with all the advances in the spam/scam world, I still occasionally get an e-mail or two from a classic: The Nigerian businessman.

A few years ago my buddy Dave did something amazing. He actually corresponded with one of those Nigerian guys...and returned the favor.

To one scammer who claimed Dave would be receiving $18.5 million for foreign investment, Dave responded with a joke. Instead of ignoring Dave, the scammer responded back. Here are the e-mails that followed in order…(I redacted his last name, but I left all of the grammar and spelling mistakes)

Scammer response:

“Dear David,
I got your mail and before I say anything, I would like to correct the impression you already have. I am not joking with my proposal to you, I mean real and genuine transaction and that is why I contacted you for assistance. I appreciate your response.

I am entrusting you with confidence based on trust that you will not let me down. all machineries has been perfected, ok, to ensure a risk-free transaction. Arrangement has been ascertained to safely transfer the fund to your nominated account. I am counting upon you and having the interest of both families at heart for our upbringings. My late father's struggle before demised has been to commercialize investment abroad with a trusted capable foreigner. I hope this opportunity must not be jeopardized because of my career, future of my family lays in your hands.

Truth, honesty and sincerity must be our watch word. all related documents will be sent to you after our discussions and for further details of arrangements. I look forward to speaking with you today. Also, forward your contact phone/fax numbers the name and address of your bank where we can transfer the US$18.5Million to, the account, name/beneficiary, the account number etc.

As soon as I receive the above information, I would apply on your behalf to the bank where this fund is for the fund to be moved to your account using the above requested information and depending on the level of co-operation we are able to get from you, this transaction will take a maximum of 10 days to be concluded.

Best regards.
Dave, of course, answered him.

“I will be arriving on the 22nd November on flight 9002 from Frankfurt. I will be staying the 22, 23, 24 and 25 at the Protea Hotel, Victoria Island.

I will be free the evening of the 23rd, all of the 24th and morning of the 25th. Mr. Brusky and my lawyer are already in country and will be meeting with you as well.

Please let me know which day is best for you.

Best Regards.
David Stern”

Godwin responded:




Dave responded:

“Just give us the certified cashiers check when we see you this week. We will cut you a commission check the same day.”
Godwin responded:

“Attention David
When every documents is obtain and forward to bank, you will demand for cashier check, as a matter of fact, if you really want to do this business with me kindly let me, because this is not a childs play, let me know your position.
Looking forward to hear from you.
Thanks for your co-opration
Mr Godwin”

Dave responded:

“We will meet with you on Monday the 27th at 6:00 PM at our hotel, Protea Hotel, Victoria Island. Let me know what we need to bring.”

Godwin responded:

“Attention David

I have told you that, this is not a childs play, if you want to handle this business with me kindly send your telephone number to me for oral discussion, first before anything could be done.

Dave responded:

“First off, the phrase is "child's play" not "a child's play". Little Red Riding Hood is "a child's play". Your insinuation of my apathy toward your business proposition is "child's play". Got it?

Second, I should be given the respect I deserve for extending my trip 4 extra days to accommodate a face to face business meeting with you. Sadly, the tone you are using is far from indicative of such respect.

Since I am in a giving mood due to our Thanksgiving holiday I can be reached at 234 1 461 0236 x 310.

David Brusky (United States Foreign Affairs Bureau),Johnny Cochrane (my lawyer) and myself will be dining at the Baywatch Restaurant 35, Ojo Olobun Close, Victoria Island, Lagos, This Friday and Saturday evening. Come on by and we'll talk about your proposal. I hear the veal is excellent.”

Godwin responded:

“Attention David
Sorry for the delay, I went for a meeting in london and will be back 2weeks time, i do not know if you will be around till i come back from the trip.
You can reach on my telephone 44-703-190-XXXX Or 44-707-190-XXXX
Thanks for your co-opration
Mr Godwin”

Dave responded:

“Greetings Godwin,

We have arrived in London! We are staying at the
Stafford Hotel
6 Waterloo Place
London SW1Y 4AN United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7629 7688

We are registered under the name URA DUMBASS. Let's meet this evening at our hotel bar. I will assume 8:00 PM will be OK. If I don't hear from you I'll assume you'll be there.”

And that’s the last Dave heard from Godwin.

No need to thank Dave. His thanks comes from knowing that while Godwin was running around trying to figure out what was going on, he was unable to scam other Americans out of their bank account information.

It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.


This story from the Washington Post caught my eye. It's about a restaurant in Virginia.

Apparently, employees at this restaurant didn't much care for one of the customers (who had been rude to them), so they goofed around with the receipt--typing in things like "I'm a plaid asshole" and "I have a small penis". The only problem is that they forgot to delete those messages and actually gave the check to the customer that way.


On the other hand, the fact that this customer immediately took it to the press is an indication that they just might have correctly identified him.

Doug Banks Tribute

The recently deceased Banks is being honored by Chicago, and his former colleagues at V-103. From this morning's RAMP newsletter...

The late, legendary Chicago radio personality Doug Banks will be honored in a very public fashion on May 21 as iHeartMedia Urban WGCI, Urban WVAZ (V103) and WGRB (Inspiration 1390)/Chicago hold a public tribute. Banks, who was based at V103, died on April 11 from complications related to his battle with diabetes.

The tribute will be held on Saturday, May 21 from 11am-12:30pm at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60615. The festivities will be hosted by V103's Joe Soto and Ramonski Luv, along with Banks' former co-hosts DeDe McGuire, DeeDee Renee and Bonnie DeShong.

Holy Crap! They fired Greg.

That was my reaction when I saw the Robert Feder article late yesterday afternoon. Greg Solk, the VP of programming for Hubbard Broadcasting, has been fired in what the company is calling a "restructuring".

This story is shocking on a couple of levels. First of all, he was fired by Drew Horowitz, who was his mentor over these past twenty years. Secondly, this is not just some executive being fired. Greg Solk is one of the top programmers in radio history. He created the Drive format--that was his baby. He oversaw those Chicago properties on a very "hands on" basis. Don't kid yourselves, the employees of those stations considered Greg to be the boss man. Nothing happened there without Greg's approval. To say Greg's departure is a big loss is an understatement.

If you really want to know more about Greg, read this interview I did with him in 2010. He was about as unguarded as he's ever been during an interview. There are some great radio stories about his Loop days.

Greg was my boss for many years at the Loop. He was a tough boss, but he was always fair to me. On at least three different occasions during my Steve & Garry days, Greg came out to the elevator on the 37th floor of the Hancock and talked me out of quitting DURING the show. He did it in a very calm way (not exactly Greg's calling card), by telling me stories of things he had gone through in the exact same position (he was their producer too--it was his first radio job), and promising me that he had my back. Greg is the one who gave me my first on-air shift in Chicago, putting me on the Loop FM doing weekend overnights, and the Loop AM hosting "The Best of Steve & Garry". He also re-hired me a decade after I left the Loop to work with a new show he had brought in featuring Spike Manton, Dobie Maxwell (now an Eckhartz Press author), Max Bumgardner, and Bruce Wolf.

Robert Feder printed Greg's farewell message to the staff. I want to reprint a portion of it, because it impressed me very much...

As far as thanks, there are far too many people to mention, as it took an army to help me succeed, but I certainly want to thank my mentor these past few decades, Drew Horowitz, and three of my longest running partners in crime, production wizard Matt Bisbee, chief engineer Kent Lewin and assistant Fina Rodriguez, all who helped me more than they will ever know.

Not many radio executives thank their production guy, their longtime assistant, or their engineer. That was a classy touch by Greg. Those three people followed Greg from station to station, from company to company. And, by the way, all three are pretty great people.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Star Power

Getting very excited about Euro 2016. Looks like the commentators are going to be a notch bigger than usual too...

Brits on Lufthansa

Love this.

Free Excerpt from "The Balding Handbook"

This is an important day in balding history, as this excerpt from David Stern's masterpiece ("The Balding Handbook: 5 Stages of Grieving for your Hair Loss") reveals...

The official origins of the combover can be traced back to May 10, 1977. Frank Smith, an Orlando police officer, was issued United States Patent #4,022,227 for the creation recommended by his son Donald. Donald advised his father to grow his hair longer on one side, and comb it over his gigantic bald spot. Frank agreed, and became the first one to proudly put his name to the “Combover.”

Needless to say, he wasn’t the last.

Are you one of Frank’s followers? If so, you need to know something very important. All Stage One balding men in the midst of Denial face ridicule, but it’s hard to find one that is ridiculed more than you are.

No offense.

“But Dave,” you might say, “I definitely do not have a combover.”

Are you 100% sure about that? Combovers come in all shapes and sizes. Here are just a few different types, and it’s not even an all-inclusive list.

The original combover trademarked by Frank Smith is commonly referred to as The Flip at our balding conventions. (It’s also quite commonly used at another convention held every four years.) If you’re spending an hour after every shower flipping your hair from one side to the other, you may not be a Republican, but you’re most definitely sporting the Republican Party’s combover of choice ever since former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani “flipped” his way into the hearts of voters nationwide after 9/11.

The Frontal Tuft Fluff Up is probably the most sophisticated combover. A FTFU wearer takes the few remaining hairs on his frontal scalp, and teases them, or “fluffs them up” above the forehead to disguise the vast wasteland behind the tuft. The Frontal Tuft Fluff Up became the Democratic Party’s combover of choice when former Vice President Gore used a tiny little tuft of frontal hair to create the magical illusion of a full head of hair. Unlike most FTFUers, Gore managed to pull it off by never allowing photographs to be taken from behind, and employing round-the-clock hair magicians to make his trees look like a forest. Unless you’ve got the Secret Service protecting you from rogue photographers (which you don’t), invented the internet (which you didn’t), you’ve got millions to waste on hair magicians (which you don’t), or you’re planning on participating in thousands of police line ups, the only thing your FTFU will create is a maximum amount of snickering behind your back. After all, anyone looking at you from that angle can see how ridiculous you look.

The Taliban, also known as The Swirl and The Soft Serve Ice Cream, is one of the more creative combovers. The hair is grown especially long on one side, just like The Flip, but instead of simply flipping the hair, the Talibaner swirls his hair into a hair mat on top of his head. Former University of Illinois and New Mexico State basketball coach Lou Henson was probably the most famous devotee of this technique. He was also widely mocked. On the other hand, the Taliban has been around for hundreds of years in the Middle East. Some historians believe it was the original inspiration for the turban.

The Trump is probably the most recent combover innovation. Trumpers grow their hair really long in the back, flip it toward the front, and keep it in place with ozone-layer-killing industrial strength hairspray. There’s no need to see the certificate of the bozo that “birthed” this movement, but suffice it to say that baldologists everywhere get a certain glee when they tell their clients that this ridiculous combover must be told: “You’re fired."

Chicago Radio Ratings

From this morning's Tom Taylor column...

Chicago Cubs fans are finding the new radio flagship, “Score” WSCR (2.4-2.5-3.2). In the off-season, CBS exercised its option to transfer the Cubs from all-news WBBM to the all-sports Score, and the Score is now tied with classic hits sibling WJMK (3.2-3.2-3.2) in ninth place. Up-top there’s the no-longer-split-up all-news simulcast of WBBM/WCFS (6.9-6.6-6.5). It wins mornings and middays and runs second in PM drive. Second overall (and winning PM drive) is iHeart’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ (5.5-5.6-6.1), followed by Hubbard hot AC “Mix 101.9” WTMX (5.5-4.9-4.8) and Tribune’s talk WGN (3.6-3.8-4.3). There’s a fifth-place tie between two iHeart properties, hot AC “93.9 My FM” WLIT (4.5-4.0-3.9) and urban WGCI (3.8-3.8-3.9). Ratings historian Chris Huff tells this NOW Newsletter “The 3.9 share is ’GCI’s best since the Holiday book of 2014,” over two years ago. Climbing again is Hubbard’s classic hits “Drive” WDRV (3.2-3.2-3.4, up from a 2.6 share in January). Cumulus classic hits WLS-FM breaks a 3-share (2.9-2.9-3.1). CBS Radio’s adult alternative WXRT may have just lost signature programmer Norm Winer, but his baby gains altitude (2.6-2.6-3.0). The country matchup is “US 99.5” WUSN (CBS, 2.7-2.4-2.8) versus iHeart’s newer “Big” WEBG with a clothesline of four 1.8 shares. Despite White Sox play-by-play, Cumulus talker WLS stays in its range (1.8-2.2-2.0). iHeart CHR “Kiss 103.5” WKSC ranks #7 in AQH share (3.7-4.0-3.7) – but first in cume (2,124,100).

Jon Stewart at the University of Chicago

I really really miss him.

Who is older and younger than you?

The folks at flowing data have created a chart that will answer that question for you.

As a 52-year-old male, I'm older than 73% of all living human beings. That's a stat that will ruin my entire day.

Sorry if I've done the same to you. If you're older than me, don't click on that link.

The Howard Stern Election

I think it's fair to say that talk radio has been one of the driving forces in American politics the last twenty years. People like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity helped create the gridlock we have today by threatening to lead charges from the right against anyone who deviated from their pre-determined orthodoxy (and their scalps included people like Eric Cantor and John Boehner). Compromise was considered capitulation, and they screamed it over the airwaves every day.

But this year something funny happened. Those screams didn't work. The voters declared conservative orthodoxy immaterial by choosing the candidate who deviated the most from traditional conservative principles. Talk radio hosts have been sputtering, trying to figure out how to stay relevant. After railing against anyone who deviated from their talking points the past twenty years, how can they pivot and accept this guy? Don't get me wrong, they are trying to do it, but it doesn't take a bloodhound to smell their discomfort.

Is it possible that radio will have no effect on the election?

Not so fast. There is one radio show that will have an effect, and it's not a political show at all. It's the Howard Stern show. Over a span of 15 years (1990-2005), Donald Trump appeared on Stern's show many many times. Those tapes are out there, and trust me, they will be front and center in the presidential campaign.

Every time Donald Trump calls out Bill Clinton, these tapes will come out. Trump, in his own words, in his own voice, saying things worse than Clinton ever said. A million times worse. It's pretty hard to make the case that Hillary was terrible to women when there is actual tape of Trump dismissing flat-chested women, or talking about boning a princess, or not giving a crap about raising his kids, or cheating on his wives, or discussing the intimate details of his sex life with his current wife, or calling a woman a dog or ugly, or sending pictures of dogs to women who criticize him. Want to hear some of that? Buzzfeed has it all right here.

Radio will not be irrelevant this year. This will be the Howard Stern election.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Follow Your Passion

This cracked me up. Thanks "MA" for pointing it out...

PJ O'Rourke Announces He Will Vote for Hillary

This is one of the funniest endorsements ever. PJ O'Rourke is a well known conservative writer and pundit, and here is what he said yesterday on NPR...

"I have a little announcement to make. My whole purpose in life basically is to offend everyone who listens to NPR. No matter what position they take on anything, I'm on the other side of it. But I'm voting for Hillary. I am endorsing Hillary and all her lies and all her empty promises. She's the second worst thing that could happen to this country, but she's waaaay behind in second place. She's wrong about absolutely everything, but she's wrong within normal parameters. You can't let the other guy win. I mean there's a button he can't be allowed to touch. It may be hidden in a briefcase somewhere, but he'll find it."

Bill Zehme

There's a great article in the Tribune this weekend about Chicago writer Bill Zehme. Zehme is the author of a lot of books about celebrities (including Johnny Carson, Hugh Hefner, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Kaufman), and he also contributed to the Eckhartz Press book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name".

The article is all about his struggles the past few years. He has been suffering through colon cancer. It sounds like things are looking up for him, and that's great news.

He's a great guy. Rooting for you, Bill.

My weekend in Oak Brook

I spent the weekend coaching my son Sean's soccer team at the Hawk's Cup tournament in Oak Brook. We made it all the way to the finals in the U13 division. Great job, boys! (That's Sean in the second picture. White boys can jump, after all)

Pat Colander on WGN Radio

Rick Kogan did a wonderful interview with Pat Colander on WGN Radio last night. You can listen to it here.

I was in the studio with her, and Rick also said some very kind things about Eckhartz Press. This is the photo that WGN posted of the three of us, with the caption..."He was like an F. Scott Fitzgerald character, as though he had forgotten the end of the story." (In reference to Hugh Hefner, from Pat's book "Hugh Hefner's First Funeral and other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago.")

I snapped a few photos too. The quality isn't great because Rick likes to do his show with mood lighting, but I did want to chronicle the event...

As the Sumner Turns

Last we checked in at the Sumner Redstone trial, I was expressing first-ever sympathy for the man. I heard he was going to be forced to testify, and feared the 90-something-year old was going to be humiliated because he has essentially turned into a vegetable. Turns out, not only was able to testify, the real Redstone is still alive inside that old shell of a body. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

As the L.A. Times says, Sumner Redstone “became his own star witness” in the suit brought by Herzer...During the pre-trial wrangling, the judge kept asking where Sumner’s own voice was, and now he’s heard it – Redstone doesn’t want Herzer in his life. That should please his daughter Shari, who’d like some security as her dad’s health-care guardian. But not his granddaughter Keryn. The New York Times says she’s “formed an alliance with Ms. Herzer that essentially pits her against Shari Redstone, her aunt.” Keryn’s on record saying that her grandfather’s “a prisoner in his own home.” We could get a verdict in Herzer’s bid to be reinstalled as Sumner’s health-care guardian as soon as today. There’s some graphic NSFW language in here, but if you’re curious, the Times has a transcript of Sumner’s deposition here.

I read the transcript. He had a hard time speaking. He needed to adjust his dentures. He had an interpreter helping interpret his sign language. But when he actually spoke real words, the words were "I kicked her out" and "Manuela is a f**king bitch."

That's the real Sumner right there. An SOB to the bitter end.

UPDATE: It's all over.