Friday, March 17, 2017


Made me laugh...

Minutia Men, Episode 43

EP43 – Rick and Dave discuss the viral BBC Dad, rock star backstage riders, porn samaritans, every Pat who ever played for the Cubs, and Rick’s brush with Dick Butkus.

Listen to it here.

Setting the DVR

9:30 on March 27 on CSN.

It's Just Embarrassing Now

Fox News viewers, please sit down. You know that "exclusive" Fox News aired the other day? The British spying for Obama never happened, the president knew it was bullshit, but still had his press secretary repeat it to the world yesterday.

Today he had to apologize to England. Seriously.

I know it feels good to only watch news that agrees with everything you think, but it's actually harming this country. We are becoming an international embarrassment.

Sean Hannity Once Pulled a Gun on Juan Williams

This is an interesting story published by CNN Money.

After a spirited on-air debate, Sean Hannity once pulled a gun on liberal commentator Juan Williams during a commercial break.

He says it was a joke, and Williams says he wasn't worried for his life or anything. It was just wacky.

Get it? I could kill you right now. Whoo boy. Hilarious.

The Case Against Further Deregulation

As the two biggest radio companies wallow in red ink and financial difficulties, the powers that be are urging further deregulation to allow others to join them. That seems a foregone conclusion based on the comments of the new F.C.C. Chairman.

Why would he seriously consider this? He merely needs to look at the decade-long struggle of iHeart (formerly Clear Channel), which has realized they will never emerge from their staggering debts. Or look at Cumulus, which is about to be de-listed by NASDAQ, and whose stock price is about fifty cents a share now. That's the future of further deregulation in radio.

Entercom and CBS are about to merge to form another gigantic radio company. They will try to install the same efficencies, streamlining and synergy, and they will fail too. Why? Because the radio stations are not worth what they are paying, they are incurring huge amount to debt to buy them, and they are only going to be worth less and less--not more.

I wrote a whole book about this. Check out my satirical novel "$everance", which is starting to read more and more like a textbook.

And yet, I read the radio trade magazines every day, and they are unanimous in their calls for further deregulation. The people running radio companies see a way of getting personally rich (that's what happened to the executives last time), and they don't really care if it brings down the industry they claim to love.

Glad to finally read a differing view this morning at Radio Ink. It's written by someone who has retired from the business (like me), so he has the advantage of not fearing speaking out.


Could my favorite German name soon be lacing up his boots in Chicago? It's being rumored again...

Mr. Potter Takes Questions

Incredible sight yesterday in the White House press room. Budget director Mick Mulvaney stepped to the microphone to explain Trump's budget, and came off as one of the most heartless pricks in the world. And he seemed to relish it. There was palpable contempt in his voice for the less fortunate.

After a question about a world wide humanitarian crisis--millions are starving--he was asked if he was REALLY going to cut foreign aid to those impoverished areas. He smiled and said "Yes".

After a question about Meals on Wheels he said there was no evidence it was a successful program. "If it doesn't get results, we won't fund it." (What results? It's feeding people)

He said the same thing after a question about after-school programs that feed needy kids. Bye bye now.

Now, I don't believe some of these things are really going to be cut (a third of the State Department? At a time of unprecedented strife around the world? I don't think so). But it was still startling to see him in action.

I get that we're in financial duress. I get that things will need to be cut. But you don't have to love doing it. He clearly does. He practically had a boner when he was discussing these things.

Mr. Potter would have been proud.

St. Patrick's Jokes

Thanks to "SK" (an Irishman) for sending these...

What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a four-leaf clover? A rash of good luck.

Why can't you borrow money from a leprechaun? Because they're always a little short.

Why don't you iron 4-Leaf clovers? Because you don't want to press your luck.

I went out drinking on St Patricks Day, so I took a bus home...That may not be a big deal to you, but I've never driven a bus before.

What's Irish and stays out all night? Paddy O'furniture!

Why wasn't Jesus born in Ireland? He couldn't find 3 wise men or a virgin.

How does every Irish joke start? By looking over your shoulder.

What do you call an Irishman who knows how to control his wife? A bachelor.

What's the main difference between an Irish wedding and an Irish funeral? 1 less drunk at the party

What is Irish diplomacy? It's the ability to tell a man to go to hell. So that he will look forward to making the trip

"I married an Irishman on St. Patrick's Day." "Oh, really?" "No, O'Reilly!"

Why do leprechauns giggle when they play soccer? Cause the grass tickles their balls

"I named my pee-pee 'Guinness' Ye can see 'e's 'angin' out. And when 'e saw ye with 'is eye 'e went from pale to stout!"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Very Bad Day for Poor People

The Washington Post went through the proposed Donald Trump budget. Virtually every cut harms poor people.

Or as I heard a Republican congressman (Mo Brooks) say on television: "it creates incentives for people to work."

Otherwise, you'd just sit there and live the good life. They are doing it for you, poor people. It's about time you got off that gravy train. God invented poverty for a reason. (Other than to give people of means someone to hold in contempt.) Maybe if you stopped some of that selfish leeching (eating, having a roof over your head, educating your children), you'd be a better person in the mold of Congressman Mo Brooks.

I'm sure that's how Jesus sees it.

Jesus was also a big fan of tax cuts for the rich.

Another way of looking at it...

You deserve a break today

Looks like somebody who shouldn't have had access to McDonald's Twitter feed had access for a little while today. It has since been deleted...

Weird Parenting Trends

Good Housekeeping has a piece today about some of the weirdest parenting trends of the last 100 years.

Among them, lard baths, training away left-handedness, putting babies inside shoes, and my cages.


Heads up Irish friends (and relatives)...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Best Quality of Living

Six of the top ten places to live, according to the Mercer 2017 Quality Living study, speak German (Vienna #1, Zurich #2, Munich #4, Dusseldorf #6, Frankfurt #7, and Basel #10). Three of them speak English (Auckland #3, Vancouver #5, Sydney #10--tied with Basel). That's good news for me.

Geneva (in the French part of Switzerland) and Copenhagen are the only two that don't speak a language I can understand.

Just trying to figure out where Bridget and I will go when (if) the kids move out.

Backup plan, of course, is still Chicago. It's in the top 50 (#49).

End of Story

The crazy claim made last week by President Trump about Obama tapping his phones? His biggest ally in Congress now admits it wasn't true.

We have a president that makes completely unsubstantiated claims of criminal wrongdoing without a whiff of evidence. Even if it had turned out to be true (which it didn't), he was totally out of line. You don't accuse first, then look for the evidence. He's the president for cryin' out loud. Not a talk radio host.

The media folks hammering him for this (like Jake Tapper) are not on a witch hunt. They are doing their jobs appropriately.

Javy Celebrates Before Tagging

He also wasn't even watching the tag. Hard to imagine having this much confidence...


One of my favorite writers, Jim O'Donnell...

The Ides of March

My favorite song by the Chicago-based band on the actual Ides of March (March 15)

The Loop at 40

I had never heard this full story of the Loop's first days. Thanks so much to Larz at Chicagoland Radio & Media for posting it, and my old buddy Byrd for pointing it out to me.

The radio station has been doing a 40th anniversary celebration for the past few months. I gave them permission to reprint many of my interviews with old Loop people from my Chicago Radio Spotlight site. You can check that out here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Made me chuckle

The Loop

I hear that the Loop is 40 years old today. Happy birthday. Spent seven of the best years of my life working there. Here's a few photos from that era (late 80s/early 90s), with fellow producers Jim Wiser and Shemp DeYoung, and with my Ebony & Ivory partner Stan Lawrence...

Dobie Maxwell

Happy birthday to Eckhartz Press author Dobie Maxwell! His book "Monkey in the Middle" came out a year ago today and is still among our top selling books!

Riding the Anti-Trump Wave

First it was Stephen Colbert, climbing to the top of the late-night TV ratings.

Now, would you believe, it's Rachel Maddow from MSNBC?

It's true, last week she even beat Bill O'Reilly.

Instead of focusing on the crazy things Trump and his cohorts are saying, she is concentrating on the crazy things they are doing...

Most Unusual Contract

Remember Manny Ramirez? Of course you do. He was the great slugger for the Red Sox and Indians (among other teams) who was eventually suspended for PED use...multiple times. The Cubs used him as a hitting instructor the last few years.

Well, Manny is playing again at the age of 44. Now he is in Japan. To say he has signed an unusual contract is to understate the case. Check out these odd contract provisions. They include:

A Mercedes car and a driver

Optional practices

His own hotel suite during road trips

Unlimited sushi all season long

Or as people have been saying since Manny arrived in baseball. It's just Manny being Manny.

The Fired Attorneys

I noted yesterday that one of the cases before the fired US Attorney in New York was about Fox News. I thought that might have been a contributing factor to his firing because Trump had previously assured him he would remain in office.

Turns out, I might have missed a bigger story. The last Attorney General pointed it out via Twitter yesterday...

Hawks Fans

Not a surprise to any of us living in Chicago...

RIP Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Last week I posted a piece the dying woman wrote offering up her husband to another woman. It was beautiful and eloquent and probably brought a tear to your eye when you read it.

Amy died yesterday.

She was only 51.

And That's the Way it is

The winners of this year's Walter Cronkite award for excellence in political journalism have been announced.

They are Katy Tur (NBC/MSNBC), Jorge Ramos (Univision), and Jake Tapper (CNN).

Good choices. All of them have been angrily called out by President Trump for various reasons. He singled out Tur in front of an angry mob once and she needed police escort to leave the event. He threw Ramos out of a press conference. And Tapper has been an absolute bulldog in pursuit of the truth, or as Trump calls it "fake news".

Monday, March 13, 2017

Paul & Elvis

Great piece in Rolling Stone magazine about the Paul McCartney & Elvis Costello team up from the late 80s, which produced a few incredible songs like "My Brave Face" and "Veronica".

You can read it here.

Trump Unfollows Morning Joe

Until recently he followed Joe Scarborough (a Republican) and Mike Brzezinski on Twitter. He unfollowed them when they got too critical.

Here is the list of media people Trump follows now: Laura Ingraham, Piers Morgan, Geraldo Rivera, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Eric Bolling, Mark Burnett, Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren.

And he calls people who can't take the heat snowflakes. Is there a bigger snowflake than someone who only follows people who slather him with praise?

This morning he tweeted that the media was being too mean to his people, particularly Kellyanne Conway, after interviews on ABC and CNN, where she was lamely trying to defend the indefensible. A man who viciously rips anyone and everyone (except Putin) at the drop of a hat thinks the criticism is too rough because people are rightly calling him (and his people) out for the baseless and ridiculous charge he himself made (Obama was wiretapping him).

For all his bluster and bullying, there has never been a weaker President. He's an emotional toddler.

I pray for us all if we have an actual crisis.


A new look at an old song...

Mistress Hunters

In China there is a service that will persuade mistresses to leave married men. From Mashable...

The "mistress hunters" — like those employed by Shanghai Weiqing Network Technology — can charge hourly rates from 800 to 1,000 yuan ($115.74 to $144.67), and they are private investigators and marriage counselors combined. The company's founder, 49-year-old former journalist Shu Xin, earns up to 3,000 yuan ($433.91) per hour.

Cases that Shu Xin takes under his wing would typically cost upwards of 300,000 yuan ($43,391), while regular "solutions" will cost around 50,000 yuan ($7,231).

Therapists evaluate the crises within the marriage and work out a way to maintain it, while "mistress hunters" — mostly women psychology, sociology or law graduates — use psychological methods to persuade third parties to end affairs.

For the record, I'm mistressless. If you hear me fawning about a female that isn't my wife, her name is probably Ivy. This is what Ivy looks like...

An Evening with Scott Turow

I'll be in attendance at Cliff Dwellers in Chicago (a truly cool spot on the rooftop of 200 S. Michigan Avenue if you've never been there) on March 22nd for this Evening with Scott Turow.

Click here if you want to join us.

Here is the description of the event...

Cliff Dwellers is pleased to welcome its Honorary Member Scott Turow, a highly-acclaimed author and attorney, for an evening of dinner and conversation. The program, organized by Cliff Dweller Donald G. Evans, Founding Executive Director of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, will focus on Scott’s literary accomplishments, his writing process, and the intersection between his legal and literary careers.

His 11th novel, Testimony, will be published in May of this year. He is the recipient of many literary awards, including the Heartland Prize in 2003 for Reversible Errors, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 2004 for Ultimate Punishment, and the Carl Sandburg Award in 2016.

The evening will begin at 4:30 when the bar opens. Dinner will be served at 6:30 with the salon to follow. The Book Stall will be on hand to sell Scott's books.

The River is Green

Didn't get a chance to watch this happening on Saturday...

The Blank Book

A new book called "Reasons to vote for Democrats: A comprehensive guide" is selling very well at Amazon.

It's blank.

Get it? Because there are no reasons. Whoo boy, that's some funny stuff right there. We'll have to get a copy for the 20 million that are about to lose their health insurance. Tee Hee. Funny funny stuff.

Bobby Skafish at WGN Radio

I went to WGN Radio with Bobby Skafish on Saturday night and had a great time with Bobby and Dave Hoekstra. You can listen to the audio here.

Here are a few of the pics from that interview...

Johnny Kaempfer

This little guy turned 19 years old yesterday. I remember that day well...

The headline on the Chicago Sun Times front page: “Cicero deal halts Rally by Klan”

The headline on the Chicago Tribune front page: “Clinton plans to join Ulster peace talks”

The headline on the Daily Herald front page: “Clinton refuses to say whether he will testify to grand jury”

The headline on the New York Times front page: “The World of Paula Jones”

But the biggest story was happening in Mt. Prospect, and only one reporter was on hand to break the story....Me. I called into the John Landecker show that morning to report the news flash. The cast of characters included John Landecker, sidekick Catherine Johns, and newsman Richard Cantu.

The following is a transcript of that important phone call.

John: Oldies 104.3, John Records Landecker, it’s 8:27, and joining us on the phone from the maternity ward is the producer of the program, Rick the German Boy Kaempfer. Good morning, Rick.

Rick: Good morning.

John: Rick, tell us what’s going on.

: Well as long as we’re plugging our kids (John had just plugged his daughter’s play), I’ve got a new one to plug.

John: Aaaawwwwright!

Rick: Last night around eleven thirty Bridget’s water broke and we didn’t even have time to make it to the hospital downtown, so we went to the one out here.

: Oh, is that right?

Rick: And we have a new baby boy!

(Cheering and clapping in the studio)

Richard: Whoo Hooo! Congratulations. Two knucklehead boys!

Rick: And it’s a big one too.

: How big?

Rick: 8 pounds, 6 ounces.

Catherine: That is pretty big. How’s Bridget doing?

Rick: She’s doing real well. I’m at home now. I came home to check on Tommy...

John: Wait a doggone minute! You went home to check on your other child before you called the show? Where are your priorities?

Rick: Sorry, forgive me. I’m hopelessly out of whack.

John: OK, 8 pounds. How long was it?

Rick: 21 inches...if you know what I’m saying.

Catherine: We know what you’re saying.

John: No, how long was the baby?

Rick: Oh, the baby?

Richard: Once more into the gutter.

John: So what time was this kid born?

: Two o’clock in the morning. They kicked me out of the hospital at 4:00, because Bridget has to share a room, and I came home and got a little sleep, and Tommy just woke me up, so I’m calling you right away.

John: So you’ve called all your family I hope.

Rick: Bridget called them.

John: But she had the baby.

Rick: Yeah, she had the baby in about two hours. It wasn’t that bad, although that’s easy for me to say. She was fine, what a trooper.

Catherine: And she wanted to chat, right?

Rick: Exactly.

Catherine: Now I want to know something. Does this child have a name?

Rick: Oh yes he does. His name is John Richard Kaempfer.

John: Wow.

Richard: You honor us, Sir.

John: Was he named after anyone?

Rick: Well, my favorite Beatle is John.

: John Lennon.

Rick: And of course, my favorite DJ....

: Really?

Rick: Yup. John Brandmeier.

(Everyone laughs)

John: OK, you got me.

(Call waiting clicks)

Rick: And actually John is also a name in Bridget’s family. Her grandfather was named John. And so is her brother.

(Call waiting clicks again)

John: I see you got baby waiting there.

Rick: Yeah, I think I may be popular today.

John: Well, we’ll let you go. Congratulations on the big news! So you’ll be back to work tomorrow, right?

Rick: Uh...well...

Catherine: John!

John: Just kidding, just kidding.

Rick: See you later.

John: There he goes. Proud papa.


John: Oh wait! Darnit! I forgot to ask him if he taped it.

Richard: Are you kidding? Of course he did.

John: Because if there was ever a disc jockey who knows how to exploit a child, it’s....

2 year old Tommy Kaempfer singing the jingle: John Records Landecker, Oldies 104.3.

Of course, I did tape it, by the way. It aired the next day. Friday the 13th.