Friday, September 13, 2019

RIP Eddie Money

I didn't realize that Eddie had cancer. He passed away today (Friday the 13th) at the age of 70. Eddie has several hits (most famously "Two Tickets to Paradise"), but this is one I always liked the best...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

RIP Tom Phoebus

Last week (9/6) we lost former Cubs pitcher Tom Phoebus at 77 years old. He pitched in the World Series for the Orioles, but his last year in the big leagues (1972) was with the Cubs.

This is his obit in the Baltimore Sun.

Here's his writeup in Everycubever...

~Tom Phoebus 1942--2019 (Cubs 1972)
Phoebus was a member of the very impressive Baltimore Orioles starting rotation of the late 60s. He was a star right out of the gate. He threw shutouts in his first two big league starts and was named Sporting News Rookie of the Year in 1967. He won 15 and 14 games the next two years as well, tossed a no-hitter against the Red Sox, and won a game in the 1970 World Series. By the time he came to the Cubs in 1972, however, he was primarily a relief pitcher. He struggled with his control in Chicago, and the Cubs traded him to the Braves after the season for a career minor leaguer named Tony LaRussa. Not sure what happened to that LaRussa kid.

RIP Charlie Silvera

One of the oldest living Cubs is living no more. Charlie Silvera has passed away at the age of 94. He was really known more for his time with the Yankees, but his last season in the big leagues was spent with the Cubs (1957).

His NY Times Obit is here.


I'm gonna be busy this weekend. Two book signing appearances at the Green White soctoberfest. I'll also be working there the rest of those two days.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Brain Aneurysm Walk

On Sunday morning Eckhartz Press author Janet Sutherland Madden will be appearing at the College of Dupage for the Brain Aneurysm walk. She'll have copies of her book for sale there, naturally, because "Nose Over Toes" is the inspiring tale of her recovery from a brain aneurysm. The walk starts at 10. Books will be on sale before and after. I'll be out there in the morning too. Stop by if you can.

A Very Brady Renovation

I thought this idea was genius when I first heard about it. The Brady kids were enlisted by HGTV to renovate the home (used for outside shots only) from their TV series. HGTV bought the house, got all six Brady kids to participate, and it debuted on Monday night.

HGTV scored their highest ratings ever. Details are here.

Great Article About Abbey Road

Mark Lewisohn is the foremost expert on the Beatles. This piece is about his new stage show, which discusses the making of Abbey Road. It includes a tape recording of a meeting they had, which reveals some truly shocking news: They were planning their "next" album, which they never did.

This one is for the Beatle nerds like me.

h/t to Brent Petersen for pointing it out to me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Interview with me

This is from the CWA (Chicago Writers Association) website...

Behind the Pen: Meet CWA board member Rick Kaempfer
Interview by Meryl D'Sa

Interview with Chicago Writers Association board member, Rick Kaempfer

Rick Kaempfer, author of four books and co-founder and publisher of Eckhartz Press, has a wide range of writing experience from writing for radio, hosting a weekly podcast, to writing fiction, nonfiction, and collaborating on novels with fellow writers. Kaempfer has utilized and developed his writing skills across different forms of media and continues to do so by forming important connections and relationships within Chicago’s media.

Q: Would you say your writing process has evolved over time? If so, how?

A: My writing process is probably pretty unusual because of my background. I began my professional career in radio (with Hall of Famers Steve & Garry at WLUP and John Records Landecker at WJMK). That was a very different type of writing than I do now. My process has changed a lot over the years.

When I wrote my first book (The Radio Producer’s Handbook), I was given three months to deliver the manuscript. I’ve written seven books since then on wildly different subject matters, and each one required a different process. For my first novel ($everence), I mapped out every twist and turn before I wrote the first word. My second novel (The Living Wills) was on the opposite end of that spectrum. I wrote it with another author, using improvisation techniques to unlock intersecting storylines. I’ve since written a non-fiction book that took me ten years to research (Everycubever) and that was a totally different process. Another book required me to cull ten years of my newspaper and magazine columns (Father Knows Nothing). I adapt my process to the project, if that makes sense.

Q: How do you handle writer’s block?

A: I’ve never experienced writer’s block and I think there is a very good reason for that. When I wrote for radio, my job was to come up with four hours of material every single day. There’s no room for writer’s block in that situation. Necessity is the mother of invention. It forced me to find great stories, and they are all around if you pay attention.

Now that life has slowed down a bit from that frenetic pace, there are a few things I do that help. I’ve found that when I am super busy, I must allow myself some thinking time. I sit on the deck in the summer with my dog and enjoy the summer air. I come up with some of my best ideas doing that. If I’m on the other end of the spectrum and spending too much time thinking about a project, I keep myself busy doing something else for a while. Just going to the grocery store can unlock ideas that my myopic mind hasn’t allowed me to think about.

Q: Do you have a routine in place daily, or is it always random how you write?

A: Yes, I definitely have a routine. I write first thing in the morning before I do anything else. The thoughts have been gestating overnight and need to come out of my brain before I do anything else. Once they are on paper (or in a computer file), I can leave them behind for a while. I own a publishing company (Eckhartz Press), host a couple of podcasts (Minutia Men, and Free Kicks), and I’m on four board of directors for not-for-profits, so when my writing is done, it’s time to do my actual day jobs.

Q: What, in your opinion, establishes someone as a “writer”?

A: If you write, you are a writer. I don’t differentiate between people who write for print (newspapers, magazines, etc) and those who write for other media like I did. I guess I’m not a purist in that sense.

Q: What literary workshops or opportunities do you think have made you a stronger writer?

A: The only conferences I’ve ever attended are the ones we’ve done for the CWA. I found those incredibly inspiring. There’s something about hanging out with other writers. I have found that collaborating is a great experience. Four of my books are co-written, and they wouldn’t have been nearly as good if I had written them by myself.

Q: What is your role within the Chicago Writers Association?What special projects have you worked on?

A: My job on the CWA board is publishing our yearly writers journal. I’m the only publisher on the board, so I suppose it was an easy choice to have me handle that. I’m also very connected to the Chicago media after being a part of it for so many years, so I help make connections when we need speakers or publicity.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: It’s not from a book, it’s from a song. I’ve been saying it to my kids their whole lives. At first I said it pompously on purpose, as if I was going to dispense important wisdom, which instinctively caused them to roll their eyes. I live for their rolling eyes. That’s my fuel. But now I’ve said it so often, I’ve grown to actually consider it profound. It’s this: “Life…is a highway, and I’m going to ride it all night long,” (Tom Cochran). Sounds ridiculous I know, but think about it. Life is all about the journey. You never actually reach your destination. But if you ride it all night long, you’re going to see some incredible things. Like kids rolling their eyes.

Q: Any advice you would give to any new aspiring writer? What do you want them to know that you wish you had known when you began your journey?

A: Write as often as you can to improve your craft. It almost doesn’t matter what you are writing. I wrote commercial copy for years and it helped me learn to economize my words.

As for ‘what,’ I didn’t know. I had no idea how difficult it was to get published. I consider it a blessing in retrospect. It allowed me to keep on writing without always thinking, “How can I sell this?” or “I’ll never sell this.”. I know myself well enough to realize I never would have finished a few of those early projects if I knew what awaited me when it came to selling them. Finishing those never sold projects taught me so much. Because of that, when opportunities arrived later in life, I was ready to pounce on them


Went on a night boat trip down the Chicago River last night with my sister for her birthday. Some incredible views. Sometimes it's important to remember this is in your own backyard...

Monday, September 09, 2019

Love Reign O'er Me

Took the family to the Who last night at Alpine Valley. Lawn tickets were only six bucks, so I figured, what the heck?

It was a great show, highlighted by this great song. When the piano solo finished, the rain actually began to fall on us. Incredible moment. Gave me chills.

Kid Catches *Two* Foul Balls in One At-Bat

Minutia Men--Brexit, Beatles, Bacon, and Ballplayers

In this week's episode, former Sox slugger Eric Soderholm tells us the funniest Jimmy Piersall story ever.

Listen to it here.


The best Oktoberfest in the area is always the first one--on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. Bridget and I went out there on Saturday night (along with our friends Dane Placko and Dave & Michelle Stern) and had a great time. Best beer ever.

Blue Village Vinyl

Great time at Blue Village Vinyl. Saw some old friends, made some new ones, and talked about one of my favorite subjects: Rock and Roll. Thanks to everyone for making us all feel welcome. Bobby Skafish was thrilled to see his old buddies Wendy Snyder and Jimmy Mac McInerney. (Their son Michael also performed)