Musings, observations, and written works from the publisher of Eckhartz Press, the media critic for the Illinois Entertainer, co-host of Minutia Men, Minutia Men Celebrity Interview and Free Kicks, and the author of "Back in the D.D.R", "EveryCubEver", "The Living Wills", "$everance," "Father Knows Nothing," "The Radio Producer's Handbook," "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", and "Gruen Weiss Vor".
Friday, August 25, 2017
Minutia Men, Episode 63
EP63 – Rick and Dave discuss secret birth control, nuclear minutia, making chowder with sailor Ned, the man called Fear, and Rick’s brush with Penn & Teller.
Listen to it here.
Chip off the old block
My youngest son Sean is wearing #8. Same as his Uncle Peter 30 years ago.
Praying for Texas
I have a lot of friends and relatives in Texas. Hope this Hurricane Harvey doesn't meet expectations. Sounds like it could do major damage. Praying for the best.
(Photo: Our last visit to Texas a few summers ago)
Draining the Swamp
Totes normal that Steve & Marie Antionette Mnuchin flew a gov jet to sit atop $200B while viewing eclipse https://t.co/st29AHhhFC— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) August 25, 2017
A great analysis of our president
The most significant thing to know about Donald Trump’s politics or process, his beliefs or his calculations, is that he is an asshole; the only salient factor in any decision he makes is that he absolutely does not care about the interests of the parties involved except as they reflect upon him. Start with this, and you already know a lot. Start with this, and you already know that there are no real answers to any of these questions...
He watches a lot of cable news, but he struggles to follow even stories that have been custom built for people like him—old, uninformed, amorphously if deeply aggrieved. There’s a reason for this. Trump doesn’t know anything or really believe anything about any topic beyond himself, because he has no interest in any topic beyond himself; his evident cognitive decline and hyperactive laziness and towering monomania ensure that he will never again learn a new thing in his life...
Trump now “executes” by way of the The Junior Soprano Method. When he senses that his staff is trying to get him to do one thing, Trump defiantly does the opposite; otherwise he bathes in the commodified reactionary grievance of partisan media, looking for stories about himself. It takes days for his oafish and overmatched handlers to coax him into even a coded and qualified criticism of neo-Nazis, and an instant for him to willfully undo it. Of course he brings more vigor to the latter than the former; he doesn’t really understand why he had to do the first thing, but he innately and deeply understands why he did the second. The first is invariably about someone else—some woman, there was a car accident, like during or maybe after that thing—and therefore, as an asshole, he does not and cannot really care about it. The second is about him and therefore, as an asshole, he really, really does.
Here's a thought: let's build the wall out of Hillary's emails. No one seems to get over them.— Vivian Copeland (@Belairviv) August 24, 2017
Unfortunately, I loved REM less and less with each successive release, and by the time they broke up, I only casually listened to them. I never disliked them, but the thrill was gone.
But that doesn't diminish the brilliance of that first one. I have an autographed copy of it in my office.
RIP Jay Thomas
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Doin' The Cruise
The book ships in a few weeks, but it's available for pre-order right now.
Mitch and co-author Ken Churilla are also holding a book release party on Thursday August 31 at Lloyds Chicago (1 S. Wacker) from 4-7pm. You can buy your copy there that day and they'll happily sign it for you.
Boys, this is how you pass
So smooth, @JozyAltidore. #TFC pic.twitter.com/8rOd9nj3ss— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 24, 2017
Losing a No-Hitter
Last night Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill gave up his first hit of the game in the 10th, and lost the game 1-0. The hit was a homer.
Yes, Rich Hill is an ex-Cub.
When the Germans Say It
But when the Germans say it, they do have a little more credibility...
When magazines in Germany compare the US President to Hitler. pic.twitter.com/1BOJlHq2CA— ChristianChristensen (@ChrChristensen) August 23, 2017
Trump Word Cloud
Ben Zobrist's Seinfeld Moment
Zobrist was late to the Cubs’ game in Cincinnati on Tuesday night, because he went home during Monday’s off-day, then flew into Nashville, rented a car and drove to the ballpark.
One problem: there was no car when he first got to Nashville.
“Zo made it into a ‘Seinfeld’ episode today where he had a reservation for a vehicle in Nashville,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon explained to the Chicago Tribune. “When he got there, they failed to hold the reservation. Thus he was late getting the vehicle, thus he got caught in traffic.”
In season three of “Seinfeld,” Jerry reserves a car only to find out that the vehicle he wanted (a mid-size car) is not there when he arrives. That led to his quote (“See, you know how to take the reservation. You just don’t know how to hold the reservation, and that’s really the most important part of the reservation — the holding. Anybody can just take ’em.”)
Zobrist’s situation was worse: there were no cars at all. Zobrist blamed Monday’s solar eclipse for his predicament. People in Nashville traveled to be in the path of totality and didn’t return their vehicles before he arrived, Zobrist said in an interview with reporters.
“And every other place we went, there was nothing,” Zobrist told the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. “It took about 1 1/2 hours to get anything available.”
He got to Cincinnati just in time to pinch hit and delivered a two-run single.
Ryen Rusillo Found Naked
Police were called to the condo about a “highly intoxicated male who was refusing to leave.” The two occupants asked him to leave but he did not. Police say Russillo didn’t know where he was and thought maybe he was staying in the condo. “He appears to have just walked in,” one officer told the newspaper. “He didn’t force entry.” Police say he was too intoxicated to follow through with a request to leave and he couldn’t coherently answer questions.
An ESPN spokesperson told Radio Ink last night the company “is looking into it.
I've been drunk before, but I've never been THAT drunk.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Rooney's National Team Days are Over
After 53 goals in 119 games, England's all-time top scorer has called it a career with the Three Lions. pic.twitter.com/89dlVXpUoW— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 23, 2017
Turn it Up!
Bob Shannon tells radio stories about Casey Kasem, Dick Biondi, Larry Lujack, Rick Dees, and a bunch more bold-face names, in a newly-expanded book titled “Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996.” That time-frame lets Bob range from the dawn of what would become rock & roll to the late 20th century. Shannon’s the Minneapolis-based president of SpotMedia Services and executive director of The Conclave, and a onetime jock, PD, writer, and executive at TM Century. More about the latest edition of his “Turn It Up!” from Chicago-based Eckhartz Press here.
Turn it Up is now in the Top 100 on Amazon!
Safe Inside: An Excerpt
All traces of 79th Street, indeed, of America itself, fell away as they pushed into the outer lobby. Such was the power of this small room to suggest what awaited them. Crammed with extraordinary shapes and oddly painted tiles, it did not contain a familiar sight from one end to the other. It was nothing compared to the extravagance of the vast main lobby they were about to enter, which, in turn, paled in comparison with the staggering auditorium itself. Still, he knew it served an important function of its own, like the decompression chamber he had seen in a newsreel about submarines. Without this little room, you would step unprepared from the street to the main lobby and lose all reason. At least he felt he would.
A few steps ahead of them rose an array of golden doors, each hollowed out to frame its own tall window in a shape that suggested to Shorty a caped palace guard in a pointed hood. They had only to choose one to enter and present their tickets, but this was not a space to be hurried through.
Unsurprised, his mother let him crisscross the room, drawing her to the gallery of coming attractions that hung about the sidewalls. On the right, below the sign “Friday for One Week,” was a large poster for Anchors Aweigh. The grinning faces of Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in sailor hats flanked Kathryn Grayson in a high white headdress, pursing her mouth into a pretty, smiling heart. “That looks good,”, he said aloud. He could tell that the people who ran the Avalon expected it to be popular because in the adjoining glass case was not a poster, but a plain white sheet lettered “Added Feature”: Hollywood Caravan, whatever that was. Clearly, it was so short, or so crummy, that nobody bothered to make a poster of it. Shorty was annoyed. Movies (except when they first came out downtown) were meant to be seen in pairs, setting each other off.
The left wall, thankfully, presented the rightful order of things. Under the words “Week After Next”, two posters in starkly contrasting moods confronted each other. Striding toward you from the Pride of the Marines poster were John Garfield, Eleanor Parker, and Dane Clark. Arm in arm and smiling their faces off, they looked like they were at the head of a victory parade because they had just won the war triple handedly. It looked too cheerful to be a war movie, and the lettering bragged that it was an inspiring true story, something that Shorty did not automatically consider a recommendation. No, this one could be skipped without pain. The second poster made him reconsider. It too showed three figures, but what a difference. George Sanders, who could usually be counted on to be in movies where people were up to no good, stood looking grim and troubled. At his feet, looking up with her arms around his legs, was Ella Raines. What was going on here? To make things even more interesting, a big Geraldine Fitzgerald was leaning back and looking like when she was through causing trouble for them, she might start in on you. The very title drew him in: The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry. For Shorty, “strange” was a spicy seasoning, certain to improve the flavor of whatever was being offered. The lettering heightened his enthusiasm. “The shocking play that stunned Broadway!” If “strange” was good, “shocking” was even better, and “stunned”! He had to see it. He hid his excitement from his mother. They wouldn’t take him to this blindfolded unless he could think up a truly clever plan.
“Okay, Momma, let’s go in.”
As they neared a door, a uniformed arm on the other side drew it open for them, and once again, he felt pitched headlong into a kaleidoscope, beset from top to bottom and on all sides with dense layers of elaborate and richly colored designs that had no counterpart in the rest of his universe. No inch of this immense hall had been left undecorated. Nowhere could Shorty’s eye escape, or penetrate the mysterious plan of the architect. Only in the sheer size and openness of this spectacular lobby was mercy to be found. In a smaller room, he could imagine such visual intensity driving people to cry out or flee.
The gentle splashing of a fountain drew his eyes to a tiled pool on their left. He felt his mother slipping the ticket stubs into his pocket, and they began to move easily across the length of a shimmering marble floor so reflective that its farthest edges seemed to lie under a thin film of water. On a weekend night, their swift progress would have been impossible. Then, they would have stood penned in long lanes, inching ahead only when an usher would emerge from the auditorium, unhook the velvet restraining rope at the front of one of the lanes, and call out “Two together on aisle four in the balcony,” or whatever location had just been vacated. If you were at the head of the lane and the seats sounded good, or you were just tired of waiting, you would follow him through the dark as he shined his flashlight on the floor and led you to the exact spot.
Even though they had just finished supper, his mother would know that he would want popcorn for his “separate popcorn stomach” as she called it. In their current circumstances, however, he wasn’t sure it was right to ask. Shorty kept silent as they passed the silver machine whose eruptions filled the glass case with popcorn enough for the Blue Leopard to dive into and splash around. “Wait right here for me, Shorty.” Parking him at a marble bench, she descended one of the wide, twisting staircases that led to the restrooms.
The sleek black and white bathrooms in the Avalon, and the lounges that surrounded them, were the worst places in the world for someone like his mother, given to chronic lolligagging, to be turned loose. Even a speedy washroom visitor would find interesting distractions there, like the pond with the jumbo goldfishes, the fountains, or the writing room. If you were watching a movie and suddenly realized you needed to write a letter, or send a secret message, you could do it here. A writing desk with pens, ink, envelopes, and special stationery waited for you, though he had never observed anyone using them. The management of the Avalon thought of everything! Luckily, for some reason, his mother never kept him waiting as long here as she did most places. Or if she did, he didn’t notice; there was too much to see, and he would never be done examining it.
So few people were walking around in the lobby that, for once, he could get a really good look at the floor. It didn’t seem like a floor at all, and it was certainly too pretty to be walked on. Tonight it looked to Shorty more like a giant board game, backgammon maybe, if people from another planet had designed it. His eyes rode the patterns to the far edge of the floor and moved upward. A dark border of busily splashed marble as high as his waist, and inset with squares and rectangles of contrasting colors, ran the length of the hall. Here and there, the wall receded and the border became a bench with room enough for him to scoot back and sit among the tall columns that rose from it to support stone walls bursting with carved and painted images that might be flowers, but weren’t exactly. Cut into these walls were rows of the pointy hooded arches. Behind the pillars and under the arches were painted scenes of Arabians lounging about in an oasis or at a bazaar. Shorty could even see a naked lady from the back. She was stretched out relaxing and none of the Arabians were paying any attention to her. Enclosing each of these areas were borders studded with jewels as big as your fist. In between, and up above were jutting balconies and wonderful tall windows screened by stone arches with holes cut into them and so many curves and scrolls and zigzags that it made his head spin. If this was what Arabia was truly like, he would move there in a minute and say goodbye to everything he knew.
His head leaned back against a pillar and his eyes reached the ceiling. A gigantic oriental rug of stone spread out upon an even larger and more complicated stone carpet. This should have been the floor. It was though he were hanging upside down. He blinked his eyes but still felt dizzy.
“Are you ready?”
Through a side door, he followed his mother into the darkness.
He could make out only a few empty seats, no two of them together. The audience was completely silent. One of the pictures was already in progress. He knew it was Christmas in Connecticut because there was snow and no soldiers. People were inside a wonderful home with a fireplace so huge you could stand up in it, and the biggest window he had ever seen . It took up most of the wall and looked like they put about a dozen normal windows together. This was going to be a great house, and he couldn’t wait to see the rest of it. The music, too, let him know that this couldn’t be Back to Bataan. That was RKO, and this was definitely Warner Brothers music. In a Warner Brothers movie, the music didn’t leave any empty spaces. It was louder and ran all over the place helping you figure out what the characters were really up to, and what was going to happen later on.
“Shorty,” his mother whispered and tugged at his sleeve. It was always a big mistake for him to look at the screen before he got to his seat.
When they’d settled in, he looked back up and the softest of sounds escaped his lips. “Ohh….” It was his first glimpse of Barbara Stanwyck. He had seen her photograph, and heard her voice on the radio, but here she was, twenty feet tall, moving about in front of him, wearing a checked aprony sort of dress with white sleeves and collar, her long dark hair bouncing around her shoulders, and looking – well, absolutely perfect. She was so pretty, but friendly, and kind of flirty. She seemed to be keeping a really good joke to herself, but at the same time, you knew she needed your help, and you wanted to give it. Her smile would make a cat purr, and at the moment he was feeling very catlike. There were some people you wanted to get to know the moment you saw them, and she was certainly one.
The help she needed involved flapjacks or “flip flops” as S.Z. Sakall, in a tall chef’s hat, kept calling them. For some reason, which would be made clear when they saw the beginning of the movie, it was very important that she flip a pancake for Sidney Greenstreet; otherwise, he would find out that everybody had been telling him a pack of lies, and terrible things would happen. But she couldn’t do it, not even with S. Z. Sakall helping her practice, and telling her how easy it was. It certainly didn’t look easy, and she was making a terrible mess of the kitchen, flipping them on the stove, on the ceiling, and just about everywhere except the frying pan where they were supposed to go. Finally, Sidney Greenstreet arrived for the flap jack showdown, and Barbara Stanwyck tried all kinds of feeble excuses to get out of it, but nothing would work. Shorty wished he could be with her in the kitchen to try to help her out, but he knew he couldn’t think of anything either. With a hopeless shrug she picked up the frying pan, closed her eyes, and flipped. Shorty couldn’t stand it when people made fools of themselves in public, and he squirmed in his seat looking at the screen though the fingers of his right hand. But then, an amazing thing happened: the pancake came down out of the air and landed exactly where it was supposed to. People in the audience laughed, and some of them clapped. They were as relieved as he was. He felt glad to be part of this mass reaction. It was so good not to be peculiar for a little while, and here in the dark he was just like everybody else. It was a feeling he longed to carry back outside with him, but he knew it would evaporate before he could reach the sidewalk.
Safe Inside is available fo pre-order now at Eckhartz Press. It ships in early September.
Say it ain't so, Louis CK
But this story about him in the Daily Beast is really disturbing. It strongly implies that Louis is known for forcibly making female comedians watch him masturbate. There are a few examples in the article. I hope it's not true, but after the Bill Cosby story, I suspect it is.
100 police officers escort the son of a fallen officer to his first day of kindergarten. "We're all a blue family" https://t.co/ufeRJqkXSA pic.twitter.com/MmolSTmvvM— ABC News (@ABC) August 22, 2017
I'm curious to see the ratings for last night's unhinged rally, in which he re-litigated (again!) his words about Charlottesville (by quoting his prepared text and ignoring his off-the-cuff remarks that completely offset those remarks), before once again undermining every word he said with further dogwhistles to racists including a promise to protect "our culture" (clearly meaning white culture), and a promise to pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
It doesn't take an expert in human behavior to see his heart. Those who don't see it now are willfully not seeing it.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
This is the best thing I’ve ever seen on the Internet pic.twitter.com/PrzNolQ5In— Carl Hendrick (@C_Hendrick) August 20, 2017
Total Eclipse (Literal Video)
Mark Your Calendars
Barry Butler Nabs Best Eclipse Photo
I'm at a Total Loss for Words.— Barry Butler (@barrybutler9) August 21, 2017
Totality, the Solar Eclipse over Southern Illinois #ilwx #chicago #news #eclipse #illinois pic.twitter.com/VNfZcfunQv
Bob Shannon's "Turn it Up"
Eckhartz Press just released an updated version of Bob Shannon's awesome book, Turn it Up: American Radio Tales 1946-1996 as an e-book. Turn It Up features amazing true stories about 58 radio greats -- Lee Abrams, Jack Armstrong, Dick Biondi, Chuck Blore, Jerry Boulding, Scotty Brink, Kent Burkhardt, Al Casey, Ron Chapman, Dick Clark, Frank Cody, Larry Daniels, Rick Dees, Tom Donahue, Ken Dow, Bill Drake, Paul Drew, Chuck Dunaway, Bill Figenshu, Alan Freed, Jack Gale, Les Garland, Bob Henabery, Dan Ingram, Ron Jacobs, Tom Joyner, Casey Kasem, Murray the K, Art Laboe and Larry Lujack.
But wait! There's more! There are also stories about Bill Mack, Gordon McLendon, John McRea, Ruth Meyer, Robert W. Morgan, "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, Pat O'Day, Gary Owens, Dewey Phillips, Dick Purtan, Bobby Rich, Steve Rivers, Art Roberts, John Rook, Dr. Don Rose, Tom Rounds, Ed Salamon, John Sebastian, Scott Shannon, Rick Sklar, Michael Spears, Gary Stevens, Todd Storz, Charlie Tuna, Rusty Walker, Todd Wallace, Fred Winston and Wolfman Jack.
The updated Kindle version of Turn It Up is now available for only $5.99 (the paperback is $17.25) at Amazon.com. And as a special bonus, enjoy an audio feature about Dewey Phillips, the first jock to play Elvis Presley, which is posted on the Eckhartz Press website
The Hallmark Channel
What is the reason for this boom? Bill Abbott is the CEO, and he has his own theory. “The environment is undeniably contentious. We are a place you can go and feel good."
Yup, I get it. Bridget and I watched an hour long show on the National Geographic channel last night about the jungles in Columbia. The two nights before that we binge-watched "Fawlty Towers" and "Arrested Development".
We used to watch the news. The news sucks now. It's exhausting. It causes headaches and agita. The news desperately needs a new leading man.
My Eyes, They Burn
This captures the entire presidency in a single picture. Doing exactly what he's not supposed to do at the risk of lasting damage. pic.twitter.com/Mw3aC41Gtr— Joel Searby (@Joel_Searby) August 21, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
Your Total Eclipse Playlist
I'm sure you can guess #1 on the list. The first one I thought of was #3. His scarf was apricot.
Happy birthday Joel Daly!
Rick and Dave on WLS
Why, yes it is.
The entire show is here (minus commercials, news headlines, and traffic).
We think it went pretty well.
Tubas Playing Cartoon Music Trolling Nazis
Tubas trolling Nazis with cartoon music is my new favorite thing. pic.twitter.com/R5PsRt9ps7— Chris Sacca (@sacca) August 19, 2017
Steve Bannon's New Project
But it was this quote from Axios that got my attention: "Axios' Jonathan Swan hears Bannon has told friends he sees a massive opening to the right of Fox News, raising the possibility that he's going to start a network."
To the right of Fox News. The same Fox News that has dozens of commentators who have defended Trump's "lots of fine people there" reaction to Charlottesville. That's not right wing enough.
Pray for this country.
Critics and Readers are Loving Bob Shannon's "Turn it Up"
Here are a few...
I bought the Kindle version about five minutes after you posted it. I'm probably 40% through it already (Just finished the Casey Kasem entry - sad!) because I could NOT put it down, and it was hugely entertaining to read about some of my idols. I think you should put together a Volume 2."
"The people you've chosen to profile are awesome; however, it's your writing that truly makes the work sizzle. Congratulations!"
"good book, great author."
--Broadcasting legend Walter Sabo (Westwood One)
"Anyone who has worked on air and loved radio or wondered what the biz was like in the glory years, needs to buy 'Turn It Up' by Bob Shannon. It's impossible to put down."
RIP Dick Gregory
RIP Jerry Lewis
He talks about the love of French people in this clip with Johnny Carson...
This is a clip we played all the time on Steve & Garry's show. It's an outtake of Jerry and Dean recording the promo for the movie "The Caddy". Got a little randy...
Tell me again that animals don't experience emotion
A woman adopted 2 lion cubs but had to give them up to the local zoo— Learn Something (@EarnKnowledge) August 20, 2017
Here's what happened visiting them 7yrs later pic.twitter.com/q8HRuox9sY
Gotta Love Javy
Javy Suave. pic.twitter.com/jOAPwuD0vb— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 20, 2017
This is how you interview someone
This clip is justifiably gaining fame as an example of live fact checking and the refusal to grant talking points. pic.twitter.com/RPFCO0L7DA— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) August 19, 2017
Give us a sign, Lord
Amen! pic.twitter.com/fV3O9KsHN2— John Dean (@JohnWDean) August 19, 2017