Friday, July 20, 2018

Looney Tunes

Maybe not so much a racist as a flat-out crazy person.

RIP Adrian Cronauer

From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW column...

“On my tombstone, it’s going to say ‘Vietnam DJ,’” said Adrian Cronauer. Sorry to report that the man who inspired the manic Robin Williams role in the hit 1987 movie “Good Morning, Vietnam” has died at 79. But what a life – Adrian was a ham radio operator by age 12, he enlisted in the Air Force to do radio and TV, was stationed in Crete and then (1965-1966) Vietnam. In the Mediterranean, he’d used the catch-phrase, “Good morning, Crete” – and at Armed Forces Vietnam Network Radio and Television, that became “Good morning, Vietnam,” later stretched out by Robin Williams to comic proportions. After Cronauer got back stateside, he worked in radio and TV, and thought he had autobiographical material for a TV series or movie – and when it eventually came on the big screen, it made him some nice money. He earned his law degree and worked as a communications attorney (including at the FCC). Later came work as an advisor to the Pentagon and to numerous groups focused on issues around veterans affairs and POWs. Following 9/11, Cronauer served in the George W. Bush Administration as an advisor. (Though in 2014, he agreed to disbarment in DC owing to his involvement in a company that advised consumers on problem loans.) Cronauer worked in radio extensively in the Roanoke area, immediately after his military time and then later. Among his stations was the predecessor to today’s WVTF/89.1. The Roanoke Times says Cronauer “started an advertising agency, which led him to doing voice-over commercials for Lipton, Columbia Records and Welch’s Grape Juice. The William Morris agency in New York offered him work, so he left Roanoke.” Cronauer died Wednesday in the Roanoke area, after time in a nursing home.

Not Viva-ing Viagra

When Viagra was introduced I wrote a parody song about it called "Viva Viagra" to the tune of Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas". In the song, the Elvis character was all excited about the possibility, while the wife was a lot less excited about it.

Turns out, that's pretty much the way it has gone down. Take these comments from famous designer Diane von Furstenberg in E! Magazine...

Diane Von Furstenberg says Viagra is "worst thing that has happened to women in the last 15 years."

The iconic designer made the statement during a recent interview with The Times UK. Von Furstenberg argued that men could father children long after a woman's fertility declines. So, she said men's struggle with "getting it up" created a "certain fairness."

"For men, it used to be all about getting it up. ‘Did I?' ‘Can I?' There was a certain fairness,'" she continued in the interview published Wednesday. "A woman couldn't have a child after 40, right? Though even that doesn't exist any more. But the man could have a child until 65, but sexually after a while…Now, with Viagra…they just feel…I think Viagra is the worst thing."

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Green White Press

I've been bragging about the Green White girls team winning the national title in the President's Cup for a few days now. Here's the local paper covering the game: Van Fleet on Point, Helps Green White Win President's Cup.

Also, our old-timers team (Over 48s) is going for the state championship on Saturday. Details on that here.

Free Kicks, Episode 11

Our final podcast about the World Cup--including a full recap, a World Cup quiz, some World Cup trivia, World Cup TV ratings, and a shout out to the local youth teams who won national championships (including Green White Soccer Club).

Listen to it here.

FCC Won't Let Sinclair Off the Hook

I would love to know what is going on here. The Justice Department was ready to rubber stamp this merger, and it appeared the skids had been greased with the FCC. How did Sinclair screw this up? (Don't get me wrong, I glad they did). From today's Tom Taylor column...

Sinclair tries to save its deal for Tribune. But late yesterday afternoon the FCC revealed it had “unanimously voted to adopt a Hearing Designation Order regarding the Sinclair-Tribune transaction.” That’s lousy news for Sinclair. The text should be released today, but it’s notable that FCC Chair Ajit Pai thought the 4-0 vote was important enough to release just the headline news. That came just hours after Sinclair went public with yet another revision to its deal, proposing to directly acquire Chicago’s WGN-TV, instead of having it assigned to a Baltimore car dealer with close financial ties to Sinclair’s David Smith (but with zero broadcasting experience). Sinclair would also re-set the spins of KDAF-TV Dallas and KIAH-TV Houston, so they’d sit in a trust instead of a company with close connections to Sinclair. The FCC (said Reuters) had questions about potential misrepresentation and lack of candor – and if that’s the case, no wonder the Commission’s not willing to back off referring the applications to an in-house Administrative Law Judge.

Chet's Book

Look what's available for pre-order beginning today! Chet Coppock's brand new book "Your Dime, My Dance Floor: Chet Coppock in Pursuit of Chet Coppock"

What's it about?

There are tears of joy and tears that challenge your threshold for emotional pain. Chet Coppock’s fifth book will make you smile but also leave you aching. Coppock does not compromise as he reflects on five decades of examining the psyche and frailty of linebackers, third basemen and left wings. The book is at once passionate and defiant - like Chet Coppock himself.

Pre-order your copy today.

It's also chockful of pictures like these...

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


I will be at the Book Cellar (4736 N. Lincoln Ave in Chicago) tonight to support authors Randy Richardson and Becky Sarwate-Maxwell and their incredible Eckhartz Press book "Cubsessions". If you're in the Lincoln Square area tonight, stop by and pick up a copy. The festivities begin at 7pm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Beatles Versus Stones

I recently got into a friendly discussion at a party regarding the Beatles. My opponent in the discussion was arguing that the Beatles are overrated, and that the Stones were actually their superior.

Most of his points were easily dismissed. The Stones don't make it here without the Beatles. I think it's hard to argue otherwise.

On the other hand, he did have a point when it comes to the post-Beatles era. He argued that the 70s were the heyday for the Stones, and during that time, the Beatles were already gone. My argument was that they were still around, and still producing music. It just wasn't together. Imagine, I suggested, if all of their best efforts were on one album every year or two. That would still blow away the Stones.

Well, this morning I actually went through the solo Beatles catalogue to see if I was right. First, lets take a closer look at the early 70s, and tell me what you think.

If the united Beatles released an album in 1970, it would have contained the following songs...
Maybe I’m Amazed (Paul)
Come and Get it (Paul..given to Badfinger)
Every Night (Paul)
Cold Turkey (John)
Give Peace a Chance (John)
Working Class Hero (John)
Mother (John)
Love (John)
Instant Karma (John)
God (John)
Isn’t it a Pity (George)
My Sweet Lord (George)
What is Life (George)

That's a pretty great album. Three of the top 100 songs of the year (Instant Karma, Come and Get It, and My Sweet Lord--which technically became a hit in 1971). Plus, one of the greatest songs of all-time ("Maybe I'm Amazed") And they also put out "Let it Be", which included "Let it Be", "Get Back", and "The Long and Winding Road". I also say that if they were still together, John would have pushed Paul to have better lyrics, and Paul would have pushed John to have better production, and all of their songs would have been even better.

The Stones put out a pretty good album in 1971 too, but not as good as this. They put out Sticky Fingers, which included the following songs...
"Brown Sugar"
"Wild Horses"
"Can't You Hear Me Knocking"
"You Gotta Move"
"I Got the Blues"
"Sister Morphine"
"Dead Flowers"
"Moonlight Mile"

Pretty damn good. Only "Brown Sugar" was one of the top 100 songs of the year, but let's face it, "Wild Horses" and "Bitch" stand the test of time, and so does "Can't You Hear Me Knockin". But does it eclipse the Beatles output? I'd argue no way.

Let's say the Beatles combined to put out another album in 1972. These are all songs that the individual members of the group put out in 1971/72. Again, pretty good batch of songs.

Jealous Guy (John)
Imagine (John)
Oh Yoko (John)
Power to the People (John)
Happy Xmas (War is Over) (John)
Woman is the Nigger of the World (John)
Another Day (Paul)
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Paul)
Too Many People (Paul)
C Moon (Paul)
Give Ireland Back to the Irish (Paul)
Hi Hi Hi (Paul)
Bangladesh (George)
It Don't Come Easy (Ringo)
Back Off Boogaloo (Ringo)

Pretty strong album, right there. Three of the top 100 hits of the year ("Another Day", "Uncle Albert" and "It Don't Come Easy"), and a few of the most timeless classics ("Imagine" and "Jealous Guy").

Top that, Rolling Stones.

Well, it turns out the Stones had a pretty good one that year too. They came out with Exile on Main Street which includes the following songs...

"Rocks Off"
"Rip This Joint"
"Shake Your Hips"
"Casino Boogie"
"Tumbling Dice"
"Sweet Virginia"
"Torn and Frayed"
"Sweet Black Angel"
"Loving Cup"
"Turd on the Run"
"Ventilator Blues"
"I Just Want to See His Face"
"Let It Loose"
"All Down the Line"
"Stop Breaking Down"
"Shine a Light"
"Soul Survivor"

No huge hits on that album, but the album itself was a mega-hit. It was the #1 album for half the summer of 1972. Sorry, but I still give the edge to the Beatles.

In the next two years, the Stones put out two great albums, Goat's Head Soup and It's Only Rock and Roll. Those two albums contained the following songs...

Stones--Goat’s Head Soup
"Dancing with Mr. D"
"100 Years Ago"
"Coming Down Again"
"Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"
"Silver Train"
"Hide Your Love"
"Can You Hear the Music"
"Star Star"
Stones--It's Only Rock and Roll
"If You Can't Rock Me"
"Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (writers: Norman Whitfield, Eddie Holland)
"It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)"
"Till the Next Goodbye"
"Time Waits for No One"
"Dance Little Sister"
"If You Really Want to Be My Friend"
"Short and Curlies"
"Fingerprint File"

Some big hits ("Doo Doo Doo", "Angie", "It's Only Rock and Roll" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg") and some classics ("Star Star" and "Dancin' with Mr. D"), but does it hold up to the Beatles output in 1973 and 1974. Judge for yourself...
Band on the Run (Paul)
Helen Wheels (Paul)
Jet (Paul)
Let Me Roll It (Paul)
Live and Let Die (Paul)
Mrs. Vanderbilt (Paul)
My Love (Paul)
Picasso’s Last Words (Paul)
Juniors Farm (Paul)
Mind Games (John)
Whatever gets you through the Night (John)
#9 Dream (John)
Give Me Love (George)
Oh My My (Ringo)
Photograph (Ringo)
You’re Sixteen (Ringo)
Goodnight Vienna (Ringo)
I’m the Greatest (Ringo)
No No Song (Ringo)

That's a pretty good list, right there. Paul was really on his game, and Ringo must have been hit by lightning or something (John wrote a few of those songs for him). Nine of those songs were in the top 100 hits of the year in either 73 or 74. ("Band on the Run", "Helen Wheels", "Jet", "Live and Let Die", "Give Me Love", "You're Sixteen", "Oh My My", "Photograph" and "My Love"). Several others were also hits ("Junior's Farm", "Whatever Gets You Through The Night", and "Mind Games"). This would have been a multi-platinum album, to say the least.

Now, both Stones albums were also #1 hits. But the Beatles songs contained above came from three different #1 albums, including the best selling album of all of them--Band on the Run.

Have to give this one to the Beatles too. The Beatles also win 1975/1976 because the Stones didn't release any albums. The list of Beatles songs, however, do start going downhill a bit, thanks to John essentially dropping out...

Stand By Me (John)
Be Bop a Lula (John)
Listen What The Man Said (Paul)
Magneto and Titanium Man (Paul)
Venus & Mars (Paul)
Rock Show (Paul)
You Gave Me the Answer (Paul)
Let Em In (Paul)
Silly Love Songs (Paul)
Crackerbox Palace (George)

But the Stones win 1977-1979 with ease. The Beatles put out crap, except for a track or two on Paul's London Town. And the Stones put out "Some Girls" which includes "Miss You", "Beast of Burden" and "Shattered".

I think the last fair year to check is 1980, which I also give to the Beatles. The Stones put out "Emotional Rescue", which wasn't exactly their greatest album. The songs are...

"Dance (Pt. 1)" – 4:23
"Summer Romance" – 3:16
"Send It to Me" – 3:43
"Let Me Go" – 3:50
"Indian Girl" – 4:23
"Where the Boys Go" – 3:29
"Down in the Hole" – 3:57
"Emotional Rescue" – 5:39
"She's So Cold" – 4:12
"All About You" – 4:18

A couple of good ones, but really only "She's So Cold" is considered a classic. Meanwhile the Beatles (led by John) put out...

(Just Like) Starting Over (John)
Watching the Wheels (John)
Stepping Out (John)
Woman (John)
I'm Losing You (John)
Beautiful Boy (John)
Cleanup Time (John)
Coming Up (Paul)
Blow Away (George)

After that, the whole death of John makes comparisons a bit unfair, but I will give the Stones the early and mid 1980s ("Tattoo You" is a classic, and "Dirty Work" is pretty good), and I'll give the Beatles the late 1980s (George was at the top of his game with Cloud Nine and his work with the Wilbury's, and Paul had a great album Flowers in the Dirt).

Both the Beatles and Stones have been underwhelming since then, but again, to be fair--George died in 2001. His Brainwashed album (released after his death) is fantastic, and Paul had two good albums Flaming Pie and New. The Stones have released five albums in that time, but let's face it, only Steel Wheels (1989) had anything memorable.

To be fair, I'll call it a draw during the past three decades.

I'm obviously a Beatles partisan, but I still think the Beatles were better.

What do you think?


What do Pabst Blue Ribbon, Cracker Jack, Heinz ketchup, Vienna Hot Dogs, and Aunt Jemima pancake mix have in common?

All five of them debuted at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

WBEZ has the story.

Sinclair/Tribune Fall Out

Yesterday's FCC announcement about the potential downfall of the Sinclair/Tribune merger rocked the market. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Stocks tank for Tribune and Sinclair. Particularly Tribune, whose board enthusiastically backed the $3.9 billion merger and may not have a Plan B. Stock in Tribune (“TRCO”) plummeted 16.7% yesterday, down $6.44 a share to $32.12. Trading volume was a rollicking 15 times the average. Sinclair was down nearly 12%, off $3.85 a share to $29.10, on five times the typical volume. The damage could go even further. The June 20 NOW quoted one observer saying that due to “the clumsy way it’s handling the Tribune deal,” Sinclair has “kind of screwed this ownership thing up for radio.” If the outcry grows too loud over Sinclair swallowing up Tribune to become the largest TV station operator, the backlash could be felt in the effort to relax the radio ownership rules. (Something we believe FCC Chair Pai wants to do, and told industry leaders about at the April NAB Show.) And a reminder that short-term, the fate of Tribune’s only radio station, Chicago’s talk WGN/720, hangs on the balance. (Folks in Chicago are fearful about Sinclair.)

Big Balz

Dan Balz is an opinion writer for the Washington Post. He is known not as a partisan, but as an old hand who has seen it all, and often comes down right in the middle of the political spectrum. He bends over backwards to give each side the benefit of the doubt.

That's why this morning's column should be seen as scathing. Here's a small sample. The first and last paragraphs of his piece...

When the history of Donald Trump’s presidency is ultimately written, July 16, 2018, will have a special entry. On a day when the setting called for a show of strength and resolve from an American president, Trump instead offered deference, defensiveness, equivocation and weakness.

All of which raises the obvious question: If the president’s comments in Helsinki reflect his true thinking, if he sees the United States as being as responsible for poor relations with Russia as the Russians are, if he is not willing to stand behind the intelligence agencies sworn to protect this country, what exactly does “America First” really mean?

High Heeled Crocs

It's a thing.


Fox Grills Putin

I have to say--Chris Wallace did a great job interviewing Putin. This had to be scary. He basically called Putin a murderer to his face. You can see that Putin is not used to being treated like this. He had probably previously watched the softball interviews Trump himself does on the channel and thought it was going to be an easy interview...

World Cup Ratings

How do you assess the World Cup ratings? You might have heard that they are down 15% from last World Cup in 2014. That's true, but I'd argue that means they did very well.

Most importantly, the games were all played here in the morning. Last time they were in our time zone, so games were often played at more accessible times.

Also, the US wasn't in it this time. The idea that a World Cup could garner these ratings with morning games featuring zero US teams is absolutely amazing.

Thirdly, many of the games aired on FS1, which isn't even available on all cable outlets. The World Cup set ratings records on that channel. The games that aired on the Fox network also did well. The Final game was the highest rated soccer game on Fox since the Women's World Cup Final in 2015--and that game featured America.

And the ratings don't include live streaming--which is a much bigger deal than it was four years ago.

Here's a full analysis on Deadline Hollywood. I'd say the executives at Fox are thrilled with these numbers.

Local Pub for Yours Truly

Thanks so much to Voyage Chicago for this nice piece about me and Eckhartz Press: Meet Rick Kaempfer of Eckhartz Press in Old Irving

Monday, July 16, 2018

Richard Reeder Book Release Party

A few photos from Sunday's Richard Reeder book release party. A good time was had by one and all...

Another indictment

Thomas Friedman

Respected intellectual columnist from the New York Times, Thomas Friedman, is out with a column essentially accusing the president of treason.

Here it is.

A small snippet...

There is overwhelming evidence that our president, for the first time in our history, is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior — behavior that violates his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Trump vacated that oath today, and Republicans can no longer run and hide from that fact. Every single Republican lawmaker will be — and should be — asked on the election trail: Are you with Trump and Putin or are you with the C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A.?

That Bird and other (very short) stories

Eckhartz Press author Brent Petersen ("Truffle Hunt") has a new Kindle book out featuring some of the great short stories he wrote for his blog. I highlighted a few of them when they were still posted on his blog. Great stuff.

Now they are all available in this one collection.

Get it on Amazon.

Bob Stroud

FCC Might Shut Down Tribune/Sinclair Merger

This is an incredible development. From Robert Feder's column...

FCC chairman Ajit Pat said Monday he has “serious concerns” about the $3.9 billion merger, which would have created the country’s largest television station monopoly.

“Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction,” Pai said in a statement posted on Twitter. “The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law.

Of course this has been obvious since the very beginning, so it makes you wonder what has brought this on. The pressure from the public must be intense.

I hope that's what is happening.

I suspect this is just another CYA round, in which Sinclair will have to forgo their plans for those specific television least at first...until the furor dies down.

MInutia Men, Episode 100

EP100 – Rick and Dave celebrate their 100th episode with a star studded Minutia parade, including their very first Celebrity Minutia Minute guest, legendary broadcaster Mitch Michaels.

Listen to it here.

Time to start using the word treason

This is an unbelievable exchange, especially in the wake of the incredibly detailed indictment which names names and exposes methods of the Russians. This isn't a debate anymore. The Russians did it. Period.

And just a few days later, the president of this country (not Russia) says the following...

Who is America?

Yikes. This is slightly terrifying work by Sacha Baron Cohen...

World Cup Final

I thought it was a pretty entertaining final game (6 goals!) and although I think France never really played up to their capabilities, they are a deserving champion. Makes you wonder how good they can be. They are still a very young team.

A few observations about the game...

#1: France is notoriously anti-immigration and anti-Muslim but the majority of the players that won that game for them yesterday were one or the other.

#2: I was just remarking to my wife that the World Cup had gone on without a hitch, when those people ran out onto the field. Turns it out it was the dissident Russian rock group Pussy Riot, reminding us that Russia is still a brutal dictatorship. Nicely done.

#3: Even though all of my favorite teams lost (I was even going for Croatia in the final), I think this was one of the best World Cups ever. Great teams. Great games. Great sport. I'm already sad it's over.