Friday, October 20, 2017

History's Greatest One-Hit Wonder

The story behind the creation of "Chopsticks" (the song).

I did not know it was written by a 16-year-old girl 140 years ago.


Amazingly OK with Cubs loss. They were in the final four for the third year in a row. They are still good enough, young enough, and dedicated enough to contend again next year. This is the golden era of Cubs baseball and I’m going to appreciate it while it’s happening.

Theo and gang has some work to do, but they are the right guys to do it.

Safe Inside on GoodReads

Lee Kingsmill's excellent novel "Safe Inside" has been getting great reviews. Here are a few from Goodreads...

Oct 10, 2017 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written with a voice that will transport you back to the streets of Chicago. Mr. Kingsmill deals with topics of divorce, sexuality, and mental illness while coming of age during the 40's and 50's, while seeking refuge in the magnificent movie palaces of that era. A lyrical work of art that ends with a smile, or a tear, probably both. I highly recommend this book.

Oct 14, 2017 Hannah Frisch rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. So well written. The portrayal of the parents made me like them so much. A perfect ending. I want to ask the author what parts were real and what parts were fiction. The way the author imagined what was going on in the heads of the people he knew was, on the one hand so realistic and on the other hand so much more luminous than could possibly be real.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

This year's hot Halloween costume

I kid you not. It's sexy goldfish...

I am once again going as "Sexy Doughy Old Guy"

MInutia Men Prizes

Remember, if you see a Minutia Men tweet and retweet it, you could win a prize. A few of the recent winners below...

Happy birthday Tommy Kaempfer

I can't even believe it, but my oldest son Tommy is 22 years old today. He's a senior at Columbia College in Chicago, and I'm very proud of the lad. Despite my parenting, he's become an upstanding citizen.

Tommy is super low-key mellow dude, but his life began in the spotlight. When he was born, I was the executive producer of the John Landecker show. Tommy was on the radio when he was only a few hours old.

The following is a transcript of the telephone conversation on the air the morning of Tommy's birth. The participants are John Landecker (center), sidekick Vicki Truax (the only female in the group picture), and proud papa Rick.

John: Oldies 104.3 WJMK, It's 12 minutes after 6:00 with John Records Landecker and Vicki Truax. The hotline...the private ringing. Hello.

Rick: Hello.

John: Well?

Rick: I'm a papa.

(Loud cheering and whooping in the studio)

Vicki: A girl or a boy?

Rick: A boy.

Vicki: I KNEW IT!!! What's his name?

Rick: Thomas Peter.

Vicki: What time?

Rick: 4:06 a.m.

John: Wow. How's everybody doing?

Rick: Everyone is fine.

Vicki: Bridget is fine too? Is she exhausted?

Rick: Yup, she's holding Thomas right now.

John & Vicki: Awwwww.

Rick: 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

John & Vicki: Awwwww.

Rick: And I recorded the entire thing on Digital audio tape.

Vicki: You're kidding? She didn't make you turn it off?

Rick: No. I had it put in a nice place where it didn't get in anyone's way.

John: We've got Thomas' birth on tape.

Rick: Yup. And we got his first bath on tape too, and his first cry.

John: Something tells me we better get more tape. OK, here's his first eyelid opening. Better get that on tape. We're going through his first toll...let's get that on tape. Hey Rick, don't you just want to...

John, Vicki & Rick: Hug and kiss them all the time?

(That was something Vicki said so often about her daughter it was a running joke on the show)

Rick: He is so damn cute.

John & Vicki: Awwwwww.

Rick: Wait a he crying? Hold on.

Sound: A tiny baby cry can be heard.

John: Is that him?

Rick: Yup. His on-air debut.

John: Wow!

Rick: He's got some lungs on him.

John: That kid sounds like he's two years old.

Rick: Yeah, he's got good pipes.

John: Does he want to come in and do a few record talkovers?

Vicki: How long is he?

Rick: 21 inches.

So what was it like?

Rick: It was so cool. It was just like the movie "Alien." The baby kind of popped out and looked around. Then he jumped up and sucked my eyes out...

John & Vicki
: (Laughing)

John: Then Siguorney Weaver came in with some sort of a mechanical device. It was unbelievable.

Vicki: You guys. Is he all wrinkly. Does he have hair?

Rick: Yeah, he does have hair. That was the first thing we saw. I asked the nurse...ewww...what is that? That's his hair. Oh.

John: Did you get it on tape?

Rick: Of course. Uh, oh. I have to go. We need to take Bridget up to the recovery room.

Vicki: You're still in the delivery room?

Rick: Yeah.

Vicki: That's dedication.

John: How many calls have you made so far?

Rick: This is my second call. I called my mom first.

John: Wow. Well take care of everyone.

Rick: Thanks.

John & Vicki: Bye.

John: There they go. Dad Rick, Mom Bridget and now Thomas Kaempfer.

Vicki: I kind of liked the other name Rick was talking about before.

John: I don't think Bridget was ever going to agree to Ringo.

Russian Twitter

Well, Twitter has confirmed a few accounts during the 2016 election season were definitely Russians, and they were definitely pushing anti-Hillary fake news.

Guess who retweeted them? Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr.


This was in my e-mail box this morning. Thanks to "MR" for this...

"One man’s bad call, is another man’s Halloween costume…Glasses, Maddon Jersey, Jockstrap…Let’s get three more wins and keep it going."

In case you missed Maddon's post-game press conference, MR is eferring to that incredibly bad foul ball call against Curtis Granderson, after which Joe was ejected arguing the call. Maddon said if Granderson had hit the next pitch out of the park he would have charged out onto the field in his jockstrap.

We Have Company on Amazon

In addition to being named a finalist as CWA's Book of the Year, Bobby Skafish's book has been getting great reviews on amazon. Here's a sampling ...

5.0 out of 5 stars
Need a Christmas present for your favorite rock 'n roller, this is it!
By karen m daehn on September 23, 2017

This book was written by one of the hardest working on air personalites from the Chicago market. Funny, yet serious, insightful. Informative, a great read for any rock n' roll enthusiast. It's like you are right there with your cup 'o.joe. Highly recommend! !!

5.0 out of 5 stars
GREAT book!
By Rodger Long on September 7, 2017

GREAT book!! Full of memories and back stage encounters of a local Chicagoland DJ. I grew up listening to Skafish in the hey day of great music through present

5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars
By cubs34 on September 27, 2017

Great stories from one of the best DJ's Chicago ever had.

5.0 out of 5 stars
This book is fantastic! I could not put it down
By Dorel Dittmann on September 28, 2017

This book is fantastic! I could not put it down. Even the musicians I don't care for were interesting to read about. I highly recommend this book

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


The hashtag #metoo has been exploding all over Twitter as women recount their experiences of being sexually harrassed or attacked. I had no idea it was this widespread, but I certainly wasn't naive enough to think it didn't happen. In fact, although I've never done it myself, I have witnessed it, and I didn't say anything. I know it was a different era, and the people doing the harrassing controlled my future, but I still feel terrible about staying mum.

This is the personal story of former Chicago Tribune TV critic Maureen Ryan. I think she does a great job of explaining what it's like to be the object of harrassment or worse. I recommend reading it if you get a moment.

Mitch TV


When you walk a pitcher on four pitches with the bases loaded and two outs, you don't deserve to go to the World Series.

I was there last night. Watching that was brutal.

Also, how about a hit or two?

Minutia Men, Episode 70

EP70 – Rick and Dave discuss nose hair extensions, classic rave outs, McDonald’s sauce, a World Series that saved lives, and Rick’s brush with Everybody Loves Raymond star Doris Roberts.

You can listen to it here.

Tom Weinberg at the Billy Goat

We had a great time yesterday at the Billy Goat with Eckhartz Press author Tom Weinberg. He brought out some media heavyweights to help him celebrate. Thanks to everyone who stopped by...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Game 3

For once, I'm actually happy about the late start (8pm Central), because I'm rushing to the ballpark from a previous engagement (a book signing at the Billy Goat). But I will be there tonight...

Tom Weinberg at the Billy Goat

This evening I'll be at the Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Michigan from 5:30--7:30 for a book signing. Tom Weinberg, the author of a great new book "Chasing the Lost City", will be on hand. He says he'll buy a cheeseborger for anyone who buys a book.

Of course, if you can't make it, "Chasing the Lost City" is available at Eckhartz Press.

Eddie O

Great news for hockey fans. Eddie Olycyk is returning to the broadcast booth tomorrow night. From NBC Sports...

The Chicago Blackhawks visit the St. Louis Blues for Wednesday’s Rivalry Night contest on NBCSN, and there will be a familiar voice on the broadcast. Eddie Olczyk will return to the broadcast booth for this contest — the first meeting of the season between these two Central Division rivals — just over two months after it was publicly revealed that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer and was undergoing treatment following surgery to remove a tumor.

“We have some dates that we have highlighted and hopefully I will be strong to do the job,” Olczyk told USA Today. “If I am not feeling good, I just have to be honest with everyone and tell them I can’t do it.”

The Lonely Crusade of Jim DeRogatis

Mark Caro has written this piece for Chicago Magazine about Chicago music critic Jim DeRogatis, and his 17 year quest to uncover sexual abuse by Chicago's very own R. Kelly.

Great read. Highly recommended.

The Price That Journalists Can Pay

Despite what you hear about the mainstream press from some quarters, legitimate news outlets in America provide an invaluable service to our country. They are staffed with professional journalists who report what they find, even if that upsets the people in power.

In other countries it often doesn't work that way, and when it does, the journalists themselves are in danger. Daphne Caruana Galizia was a journalist from Malta who wrote about corruption. Among the stories she broke, the Panama Papers, which exposed Vladimir Putin's worldwide money laundering.

Yesterday Daphne got into her car, turned the ignition, and was blown to bits.

Doin' the Cruise on GoodReads

The reviews have been coming in about Mitch Michael's book "Doin the Cruise". Here are a few on GoodReads...

Bart Shore
Oct 13, 2017 Bart Shore rated it it was amazing

I loved this book - Doin' The Cruise was a great read, I used to hear Mitch back in his WDAI days when I was in High School, then followed him along his path of rock and roll radio. Having been in the radio industry myself, starting out in Iowa and then coming to Chicago for my own path on the radio dial, it was so interesting to me to hear Mitch's stories. In fact while I was in Iowa, we used to run some of the radio commercials Mitch talked about producing in the book, and it was always cool for me to hear Mitch on my station in Iowa, knowing that this was "the guy in Chicago" who I used to listen to. For me, there were so many names in the book that I either knew personally or heard on the radio over the years, it was like finding a long lost friend or two, in fact I just reconnected with someone in the book that I haven't talked to in years. So, even if you're not in Chicago Radio, this is a fun read to hear it from a guy who was there for some of the greatest times in FM Rock Radio. Mitch is still "Doin' The Cruise" ..thank goodness.

Sep 22, 2017 Karen rated it it was amazing

For *anyone* who grew up on a steady diet of rock radio in Chicago, this is a MUST READ. And if you're not in that category, but you have a sincere love of and passion for the music, this is a MUST READ. This is a first-class, first-hand story from a guy who helped fashion the rock-radio landscape in Chicago, and how hard he worked to survive all the ups and downs in a brutal industry...thanks to a sincere love of and passion for the music. It always comes back to the music. Mitch Michaels, currently doin' the cruise at 95.9 The River, thank you for your hard work and for your honesty in sharing your journey. And for believing in the music. KC sez "check it out!"

Oct 08, 2017 Jan rated it it was amazing

If you have any interest in Chicago radio and/or the rock music scene in Chicago, this is the book for you. Well-written and full of interesting stories. I couldn't put the book down.

Sep 20, 2017 Bob rated it it was amazing

A must-read for fans of radio and rock & roll music. Radio legend Mitch Michaels takes you behind the scenes of some of Chicago's most popular radio stations that were part of his remarkable career. An honest, in-depth, revealing look at the radio stations, DJ's, management, and rock stars that created the soundtrack to our lives. The memoir is very enlightening, and at times extremely funny, but also with moments that are heartbreaking. Mitch Michaels along with Ken Churilla have perhaps written the best book to date that captures the life of one of Chicago's most beloved radio personalities. A great read from start to finish.

Monday, October 16, 2017

This is how you play soccer, boys and girls

Absolutely amazing...

What happens when you answer spam

My Minutia Men partner Dave did this a few years ago. This guy did too, and turned it into a Ted talk...

O'Donnell Leaker Fired

Remember that embarrassing meltdown tape of Lawrence O'Donnell that got leaked a few weeks ago?

Well, the people at NBC tracked down the person who leaked it. It was an editor at the Today show.

That person has been fired.

Nimm ein Knie

The German professional soccer team Herta Berlin took a knee before their game this weekend to show solidarity with American football players protesting racial discrimination.

The Washington Post has the story.

What it's like to be an Illini fan these days

Eaten by the Dog

John Landecker got the first copy of his special Hall of Fame edition of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" and it's already been claimed by the boss of his house...his dog Colt. The rest of the books are being printed as I write this. John will autograph every copyof this limited edition (which is available for pre-order now!

We will make sure that Colt isn't around when John signs them.

Full Page Ad

Larry Flynt took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post asking for dirt on the president that could lead to his impeachment. He is willing to pay $10 million.

Here is the ad.

SNL Takes on Harvey Weinstein

By the way, you know that President Trump isn't happy this subject has come up again. It's causing people to remember that 11 (!) women accused him of similar behavior.

One of them subpeoned his campaign yesterday.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pretty Darn Funny

Tom Weinberg in the Chicago Tribune

Tom Weinberg has written an incredible book called "Chasing the Lost City: Chronicles of Discovery in Honduras". This weekend it got the attention of the great Rick Kogan, who comibined Tom's book and another book by Chicago legend Bruce Elliot (owner of the Old Town Ale House) into his column. You can read the entire column here.

Below are a few excerpts about Tom's book...

Tom Weinberg, longtime and pioneering videographer, gives us “Chasing the Lost City: Chronicles of Discovery in Honduras” (Eckhartz Press), a lavishly illustrated and compelling tale of his more than 20-year obsession (his word) with and journeys to, as he writes, “one of the wildest and most dense spots anywhere in the Americas.”

Weinberg was born and raised in Highland Park, where as a child he loved “tromping through the ravines” near his home. Elliott was born and raised in Downers Grove, which he ever refers to as “Uppers Grove.” Though both have spent most of their lives in Chicago, their paths have crossed only a couple of times, and those in recent years. They likely have some friends in common and both certainly knew (Weinberg knew very well) the author-radio host Studs Terkel who, in his fashion, gave them each a philosophical life road map when he said that he wanted his own epitaph to read, “Curiosity did not kill this cat.”

As Weinberg writes, “For me, the driving force in the exploration wasn’t so much the buried objects that might be in the jungle… (It was) the tingle, the drive, the thing that has always taken over whatever else I was doing … the gut need to go and experience what it feels like to be in an unknown place on the earth, no matter how big or small.”

Weinberg’s book is detailed and evocative, a grand adventure tale that has already received some serious praise. Preston calls it “gripping, frightening and sometimes humorous” and that it is. It makes for compelling and enlightening reading. For Weinberg it represents something more: “(This) was the personal adventure of a lifetime — with major impact on my mind and body — unprecedented and indelible. It brought out the best of my abilities and my most vulnerable feeling.”