Friday, July 29, 2016


This is one of those songs that is impossible to get out of your mind. A star-studded version from the DNC...

John Kass Praises Hillary

This is an amazing column from Hillary-hater John Kass (Chicago Tribune).

He still isn't going to vote for her, but he has to tip his cap to her, because he can't help admiring her grit and determination...

Open your eyes. All I'm suggesting is that if you adore her for her gender alone or loathe her for her history with the truth, step outside your own tribal politics and behold the woman.

She's remarkable.

Given what she's gone through over the years, what she's endured, what she suffered, a tip of the hat isn't only expected, it's required, and today it is offered with admiration.


This is from February, but it still works for me...

My birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. It was a quiet birthday because two of my kids are out of town at boy scout camp. Those two did text me the following picture from the campsite...

My mom called me at exactly 12:57pm...the time of my birth. She does that every year. Thanks Mom.

My aunt Trudy sent me this picture, from my 11th birthday. It was the day she was married in 1974, and I was standing up to the wedding...

My wife also wished me a happy birthday on the phone. She didn't get to see me all day, because I spent my birthday at my favorite place in the world...Wrigley Field. I was really rolling the dice on this one. I attended the Cubs/Sox game with my Cub-hating friend (and business/podcast partner) Dave.

God smiled on us in the very last row of the upper deck. The Cubs won the game!

When I got home from the game (around 11:30), my oldest son wished me happy birthday and gave me a present (left at the house by sister), and a sheepish look that clearly said "Whoops, if she hadn't of dropped this off there's no way I would have remembered."

He asked, "Did you get a few birthday greetings at facebook?"

"A few," I replied.

"How many?"

I looked it up. "Around 400 or so."

"How many facebook friends do you have?"

I looked it up. "Around 2200."

"So, I'm not the only one who forgot your birthday," he said.

He had a big grin on his face.

7 Healthy Reasons To Drink Beer

I figured this must be a joke of some kind. It appears to be a real article in Men's Health magazine.

According to the article, drinking beer (in moderation, of course) can...

*Reduce your risk of heart disease
*Lower your risk of Type II Diabetes
*Increase your bone density
*Prevent Dementia
*Reduce cholesterol
*Prevent kidney stones
*Fight cancer
*Get people to forward this article and make it viral

I added that last one, because there's no way that beer does all those other things. I wish. I just don't buy it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ba dump bump

Made me chuckle. Thanks "OG" for this one...

Minitua Men--Episode 13

Rick and Dave discuss marauding monkeys, a divine letter, sausage-wielding Neo-Nazis, Rick's 14th birthday, and his incredibly politically incorrect brush with Mel Brooks.

Listen to it here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bayern Munich

Going to Soldier Field tonight to watch me some soccer. Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan. Guess who I'm rooting for?

Weather Report

Love this! Thanks to "ML"...

Marconi Award Finalists

The Marconi Awards are given out to radio broadcasters by the National Association of Broadcasters every year, and they are considered quite prestigious.

Not many Chicago radio stations/personalities made the list this year, but a few did.

*WGN-AM (Major Market Station of the Year)

*WGRB-AM (Religious Station of the Year)

*WSCR-AM (Sports Station of the Year)

Congrats to those three for their excellent work this past year.

Bill Clinton's Speech

Every time he gives a big speech like he did last night, I remember how much I liked him as our president. Deadline Hollywood compiled some of the tweets from Hollywood last night. Not everyone loved it like I did...but most of them did.

Check it out here.

Rupert's Back in Charge

He has always been more of a hands-off leader of Fox News, but Rupert Murdoch stepped back into the morass to replace Roger Ailes, and sent his staff a memo. Emily Steele got her hands on it...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stealing Home Through a Teammates Legs

This is just fantastic. From a high school game...

Aroldis song

Sung by and written by Danny Rockett...a new song abour our newest Cub.


By the way, just wanted to say that I'm sorry the posts have been so political lately. It's just been the biggest story in the news the past two weeks (because of the conventions), and it's nearly impossible to avoid.

Beginning next week, I'll return to Minitua-land.

Actually...I'll be in Minutia-land by Thursday. That's when our next episode drops. That's a politics-free zone.

Thoughtful Point of View

Sam Harris is not a liberal. He's anti-liberal. He's not a Hillary fan. He openly criticizes the same things about her her enemies pretty strong terms. He's very strongly anti-Islamic Jihadist, thinks Obama has made a terrible mistake by not labeling terrorism as such, and believes political correctness is killing us. But he thinks its obvious that she is a better choice than Trump, and it's not even a close choice.

Trump video

From last night's convention...

Best Speech Last Night

She has a future in politics if she wants it. Absolute home run last night...

Is Russia Trying To Influence This American Election?

According to this Defense-related website, there's a very good chance that's exactly what's happening. Here's the opening paragraph to the article...

Close your eyes and imagine that a hacking group backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin broke into the email system of a major U.S. political party. The group stole thousands of sensitive messages and then published them through an obliging third party in a way that was strategically timed to influence the United States presidential election. Now open your eyes, because that’s what just happened

That's slightly terrifying, isn't it?

Donald Trump's business ties to Russia go way back. Trump's campaign manager has been an advisor for the Russian-friendly Ukraine dictator who was just overthrown. Trump is suddenly talking about getting out NATO, which would be a huge boon for Russia.

I'm not a conspiracy theory guy--just don't believe them nine times out of ten--so I'm sure there's something not quite right about this story. But the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong.

(This is a great column by the Washington Post's Dana Milbank speculating how Trump would handle this news if it was about Hillary.)

Also, just as a side note, the content of those DNC e-mails is pretty sickening, especially the one suggesting the use of Bernie's religion against him. (Ironically, it's the same religion as Debbie Wasserman Schultz's religion.)

I know that this is the kind of stuff that campaigns talk about--how to beat the other guy--and they did make the right choice by not going after his religion, but it still makes me a little sad to see they actually considered it.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Around the Publishing World (July 25)

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. Ten Book Marketing Mistakes New Authors Make
Great advice here.

2. Screenwriting class by Aaron Sorkin
If you're on facebook or twitter you've probably already seen this, but if you aren't, this is the same organization that offered novel writing tips from James Patterson last year. Sorkin is one of the great screenwriters of our time.

3. Ten Tricks to get your book reviewed by a book blogger
Reviews are a tricky business, but if you really want one, here are some tips.

4. Ten Ways for authors to react to bad reviews
This is why reviews are a tricky business, but you have to thicken your skin regardless.

5. Reviews are a double-edged sword
This is advice from Publishers Weekly, who really has a bias against self-published authors, so keep that in mind when you read it.

6. Four Tips to Improve Your Writing Instantly
Start using your math. The tips are coming now, fast and furious.

7. Ten Tips for Young Writers
That brings us up to 14 tips.

8. 27 Tips that will help anyone become a better writer (even you!)
Now we're up to 41. Top that, anyone else who is compiling writing tips.

Q&A with Ann Wilson, Author of "In Small Boxes"

Ann R. Wilson

Ann Wilson is the author of In Small Boxes which is available for pre-order now at Eckhartz Press (the book ships in mid-August). Ann is having her book release party on August 10th from 7-9pm at Vintage Charm (729 W. Hillgrove Avenue in Lagrange).

We recently caught up with her to ask her a few questions. As you can tell below, Ann has lived a pretty interesting life...

What inspired you to write this book?

Ann: In my work, I spend a lot of time with adolescents, and I notice that many struggle with their identities, their confidence, and their ability to self-advocate. I empathize with them because I was incredibly shy as a young person, and I struggled with anxiety. And as girl, I linked my self-worth to my appearance.

In addition, as the world has become more of a global marketplace, families move more often; whether it is across the country or around the world, moving can be particularly difficult for children. I wrote this story because I thought my experiences might help others navigate similar challenges. Whether you are a parent trying to smooth the bumps for your children or a child trying to understand your parents’ struggles, this story reveals that problems that seem monumental in the moment are not only ‘survivable’ but ultimately give us the gift of resilience.

I know you are an avid reader. Who are some of your favorite authors, and how did their styles influence this work?

Ann: I love so many authors, but my favorites are probably Ann Patchet, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathon Franzen. It feels awkward to say that these authors influenced this work because I could only hope to be half as good as they are, but of course, everything I read influences how I write. I have always been drawn to characterization revealed through dialogue. When I think of memorable characters, I often think about Patchet’s Truth and Beauty, which sensitively tells the story of a college friendship, and Strout’s Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton, which both feature lovable, flawed characters. I love Franzen for his ability to nail all that is quirky in people, and for his subtly sarcastic tone. I enjoy books about relationships, the more flawed the better, and people who openly face their weaknesses. I think some of these elements are present in this memoir.

It's always tricky writing about your own family. How has your family responded to this?

Ann: It was tricky writing about my own family! It wasn’t easy. At first, the men in my family were skeptical, and the women encouraging. But now that the book is finished, my entire family has been very supportive and enthusiastic.

While this story ‘airs some of our dirty laundry,’ it is nothing new to anyone who already knows us. And the topics are more familiar to today’s readers than they were to my family in the 1970’s. Today, anxiety, depression, and divorce are better understood and less stigmatized, and I hope this story keeps those conversations going. Most important, this story focuses on my own shortcomings and my own rush to judgment of the adults around me when I was a self-centered, emotional, insecure teen. So yes, my family supports me in revealing how ridiculous I sometimes was, though they probably do not fully understand why I would want to share such information!

In addition, it is very clear that the weaknesses of all the people in this book are also their strongest assets. Isn’t that how it is for most people? A person with anxiety is also incredibly empathetic and nurturing; a person who is strong-willed is not only domineering, but also inspiring and fun. I know that my family enjoys reading and reliving some parts of this memoir, and other parts they would rather not relive. But this book was not written for us. It was written for people who might be experiencing similar struggles right now.

As someone who also was uprooted and moved overseas in my youth (in my case, Germany), I could really relate. I was really upset about it at the time, but in retrospect, I realize there were also many positives. Now that you've had time to reflect, and write a book about the experience, what are the most positive elements of that move?

Ann: The most positive aspects are the connections I feel to Asian Americans now that I am back here in the United States. I can imagine what America must look like to them, based on my understanding of their native homes, and I love visiting Asian communities, whether it is China Town, or smaller communities like the Asian grocery store in Westmont that is patronized almost exclusively by the Asians living nearby me in the western suburbs. When I go places like that, I feel ‘at home’ in a new way, and I feel blessed that I can have those feelings within a different cultural environment.

Another positive is that as a person, I reject stereotypes, because through traveling, I have seen more people who defy stereotypes than those who fit them. But one of the biggest positives is how that experience strengthened our family and all of us as individuals: even though we hit rough waters, we came out of that time with our senses of humor intact and a willingness to redefine what ‘family’ meant to us. Not too long after my parents’ divorce, we were still doing things as a family – graduations, weddings, grandkids birthdays – we do all those things as a family, and even included my father’s new wife. We moved on from those difficult times, and I think that travel experience gave us the resilience to do that.

When was the last time you were in Hong Kong and do you stay in touch with the friends you made there?

Ann: I have never been back to Hong Kong. It’s pretty darn far! My dad went back several times for work, but I have never returned. Recently, my husband spent a couple years travelling to China for his job, and I could have figured out a way to tag along and visit Hong Kong with him, but in the end, we decided to use our vacation time and his miles to visit our son who was studying abroad in Europe and visit another international home – London – where my husband and I lived in the early 1990’s. I hope that someday I will go back.

I am still very close to our friends ‘Neil’ and ‘Sherry’ in my memoir, and we never tire of recalling our adventures from that time. I feel a very deep connection to them, unlike with any other couple I know, simply because of all we shared in Hong Kong.

An amazing thing happened about ten years ago. I was walking our dog across a park one morning and a woman called across to me from about a block away. It was a girl whom I had known at the international school – she was a classmate of mine but not someone whom I hung out with regularly. It blew my mind that not only was she living in Western Springs, but that twenty years later, she recognized me. It turned out we both have kids the same age. She has since moved away, but I look forward to seeing her again at our class reunion which I am attending for the first time this summer. It is being held in Chicago. What a small world.

Can you describe your feelings when Dave handed you your book and you held it in your hands for the very first time?

Ann: Just WOW! Butterflies and goose bumps all at once! It is so exciting, but I must admit, I am also a little nervous. I have been working on this project for a long time, and now it will finally be ‘real.’ The book is beautiful – just lovely. You guys have done such a great job helping me through this process.

You've probably heard that the lead singer of Heart ("Barracuda", "Magic Man", "Crazy on You") is also named Ann Wilson. Do you have a standard answer when people point that out?

Ann: That’s so funny that you ask that! People ask me that question a lot, and it stumps me because ‘Ann Wilson’ seems like the most common name in the world. There must be so many people with my name! I always just say something boring like, “No, I’m not that Ann Wilson.” Now I can say, “No, I am Ann Wilson, the author,” haha!!