Saturday, September 19, 2020

I officially don't have kids anymore...


Only adults. My youngest son Sean (photo above) turns 18 today. That means all of my boys are now officially adults (Tommy is 24, Johnny is 22, and Sean is 18)

When he was born, I was still the executive producer of the John Records Landecker show on WJMK Radio. Like we did with the birth of my two other sons (Tommy and Johnny), the John Landecker show followed the pregnancy on the air. I even recorded the actual birth on digital audio tape as it was happening, and then called into the radio program with a full report live from the hospital.

His brothers were both born early in the morning (Tommy at 4 AM, Johnny at 2 AM), but Bridget was in labor DURING the show for Sean. I called into the show every hour and gave updates, some of which are referenced in the transcript below. Sean was born less than hour after the show ended that day.

This is the transcript of the call the following morning, September 20, 2002. The show members at that time were John Landecker, Leslie Keiling, and Bonnie Greene.

John: Magic 104.3, 8:14, John Records Landecker along with Leslie Keiling, that's Sister Sledge "We are Family". Rick, our producer, are you there?

Rick: I'm here.

John: You're a brand new dad.

Rick: Yes I am.

John: Bridget are you there?

Bridget: Hello. I'm here.

John: Do you have a radio at the hospital?

Bridget: No. We had one down at labor and delivery, and we were listening. The anesthesiologist thought you were really funny.

Leslie: Oh great.

John: You mean when he called him "Shakes"?

Rick: And a heroin addict, I believe.

John: Ha! So, how long do they let you stay in the hospital these days after delivery?

Bridget: 48 hours, and I'm taking every last second of it.

John: Well you sound good.

Rick: She looks good too.

John: Do you feel good too?

Bridget: Yeah. And we got a little trooper here too.

Leslie: Is the trooper in there with you?

John: No hold on a second, we're not giving anything away here. OK, so Rick. So far you have Tommy...

Rick: He'll be seven next month.

John: And Johnny...

Rick: He's 4 1/2.

John: Now people want to know. Hit it, Vinnie.

(Music: Theme song from "My Three Sons")

John: It would be my three...

Rick: Sons.

John: How big was our boy?

Bridget: 7 pounds, 12 ounces.

John: How long was labor?

Bridget: I'm not exactly sure because when we got here I was already in labor.

Leslie: That's the best way isn't it?

Rick: It really wasn't that long. I think she only had to push about ten times.

Leslie: And then went to the prom.

(Everyone laughs)

John: Let's get to the tape. Now Rick, you taped this yourself?

Rick: I did.

John: Any problems?

Rick: None at all this time. I had the surgical gloves on, and was helping the doctor. I had a leg in one hand, and..

John: Now wait a second here. What leg were you hanging on to?

Rick: I was hanging on to one of Bridget's legs.

John: Oh. So let me get this straight. You're hanging on to Bridget's leg with one hand, and the microphone in the other hand?

Rick: No, I set the microphone down on the table.

John: Oh geez. I had an image in my head here...

Rick: I'm very talented.

(Everyone laughs)

Rick: I did test levels.

(Everyone laughs)

John: The first time you didn't even know the microphone was on, the third time you're testing levels.

Rick: Exactly.

John: OK, roll the tape.

Dr. Sabbagha: Hi, hi, there it is. Can you push a little more?

Bridget: Ugh

Dr. Sabbagha: Hi there. Push push.

Nurse: Hi pumpkin.

Dr. Sabbagha: God, you're beautiful. Say something, precious.

Rick: It's a purple baby. That's Johnny's favorite color.

Baby cries.

Dr. Sabbagha: There he goes.

Rick: It's a boy!

Bridget: It's a boy?!

Rick: My three sons. Good work!

John: Rick. Guess whose crying in the studio? Oh, look, I got two of 'em crying.

Leslie: That's so beautiful.

Rick: It was soooo cool. I really got to enjoy it this time.

John: (sarcastically) Oh, and I know how hard the whole birthing process is for you.

Bridget: I actually thought he was funny this time. He made me laugh.

Bonnie: Because you hated him the other two times, right?

Rick: She kicked me in the knutchkies the first time she was so mad at me.

Bridget: I did not.

 You did too.

 Oh come on now, you two. You just had a baby.

Rick: I'm actually really proud of her. You should see her. You'd never believe she just had a baby.

Leslie: How are the boys. Are they excited?

Rick: (long pause)

(Everyone laughs)

Bridget: Tommy was so excited for about ten seconds. He came running into the room, held the baby, and then...hey what's in this cabinet?

Rick: And Johnny didn't even want to hold the baby.

John: Oooooooh.

Bonnie: Johnny's the middle child now.

Rick: Yup. My mom asked Johnny yesterday how his day went, and he said...Um, let's see...I went to school...I played in the asked, 'Did anything special happen?' and he answered..."No."

John: Oh well, that will be an on-going story.

Rick: We're going to all go to a White Sox game tonight and beat up a coach. (This was the day after the William Ligue story)

John: You were gloating all morning, weren't you?

Rick: Yes I was.

John: I told you! Cubs fans are gloating all over the city. So...the name of the child is...

 Sean Harrison Kaempfer

(Baby noises in the background)

John: Is that him?

Bridget: Yup. I'll put the phone up to him.

(More baby noises)

Bonnie: He sounds like a puppy.

John: OK, Sean. That's Irish for John, right?

Bridget: Yes, technically it is. S-E-A-N.

John: Harrison, I've got to guess, is...

Rick: Let's just say it's not for Harrison Ford.

John: It's for George Harrison, isn't it?

Rick: Yes it is.

John: I knew it!

Rick: But I didn't pick Sean. That was Tommy's idea.

John: And Johnny wanted to name it...

Rick: Johnny abstained.

(Everyone laughs)

John: Johnny threw his headphones down and walked out of the Security Council meeting!

Rick: That's right.

John: Well congratulations everybody. We now have Sean's first on-air performance on tape too.

Bonnie: Are his eyes open yet?

Leslie: He's not a kitten for Pete's sake.

Rick: Blue eyes.

Bridget: He's kind of dozing right now.

 Poke him. Wake him up.

Leslie: Isn't it good that Bonnie doesn't have children? Have you taken him out for a walk yet?

Rick: We've got newspaper all over the floor...

 Bonnie, it's a baby.

Bonnie: Sorry...

John: Well thanks for procreating.

Rick: My pleasure.

John: I'll bet it was. And now we have the vasectomy next.

 Yes we do.

Leslie: And then we'll hear Rick making baby noises.

(everyone laughs)

 Sean Harrison Kaempfer. That's a cool name. You'll have to change your answering machine message you know.

Rick: I'll do that today.

John: Cause it says, Rick, Bridget, Tommy & Johnny can't come to the phone. Well thanks guys, and congratulations.

Rick: Bye.

Bridget: Bye.

Bonnie: Of course, it will be awhile before Sean can come to the phone.

Leslie: Whoa.

John: The next time we do anything with children, you don't talk.

Bonnie laughs.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Sometimes you just need puppies and laughing babies

Seth Meyers

A well-written smackdown to President "Blame the Blue States"...

Free Kicks--Peacock Plunder

This week's episode is a fun one...

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Not setting a record

Jon Lester's Last Wrigley Field Start

Last night Jon Lester might have pitched at Wrigley Field the last time. The playoffs will be at a neutral location, so it looks like it was his last home start as a Cub. His six year contract runs out after this season.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Fact Checking Last Night's Town Hall

Daniel Dale is a national treasure. Unfortunately for us, he's Canadian...

New Song by Fee Waybill

 The former lead singer of the Tubes has still got it. This song rocks...

Gone in 2020

 I've started working on updating this year's edition of Every Cub Ever. So far we've lost 10 Cubs in 2020...Glenn Beckert, Jim Bolger, Lou Brock, Angel Echevarria, Ben Johnson, Matt Keough, Don Larsen, Salty Saltwell, Dick Scott & Tony Taylor...RIP.


 The man could sing...

The Score Fires Dan McNeil

Robert Feder has all the details.

Danny tweeted a sexist joke about an ESPN reporter. The reporter responded. She was clearly offended by it. The management took swift action. Here's what management's statement said (from Feder's column):

Rachel Williamson, senior vice president and market manager of Entercom Chicago, announced that McNeil was no longer employed by The Score in an email to staff.

“For each one of us our words have power. For our brands and on-air personalities that is amplified and brings increased responsibility in how we chose to use our voices. Last night’s tweet, and its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster, was unacceptable,” Williamson wrote.

“We have the best teams in Chicago, and we must hold ourselves to high expectations to continue to be leaders in our organization, our industry and our community. We apologize to all who were offended by Dan’s words, especially Maria.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

On the side of science

Every Political Ad

This is brilliant...

Monday, September 14, 2020

Rick Kogan

Inspiring story by (and about) Rick Kogan. He's a Chicago treasure. So happy he is doing better...

Q&A with "Mob Adjacent" co-author Jeffrey Gentile

The latest book from Eckhartz Press is a wonderful memoir about growing up around the mob, Mob Adjacent. It's been very aptly described as
The Wonder Years meets The Sopranos. We recently had a chance to catch up with Jeffrey and talk to him about his book...

EP: Your book is the story of growing up adjacent to the Chicago mob, and it's really interesting to read that from the perspective of a kid. But to really understand this story, you have to know who your father was, and just how adjacent he was to the mob. Can you tell us a little about him?

Jeffrey: Dad was born on Aberdeen Street and Grand Avenue in Chicago’s Little Italy on the day the stock market crashed, and the Great Depression began – Oct. 29, 1929. When Al Capone went to prison in 1932, the next generation of mobsters came from those same streets. The Giancana family lived on the other end of Aberdeen. The Accardos lived a few blocks away on Grand. The Cerones lived nearby on Elizabeth. Dad went to school with Joe Lombardo and John DiFronzo. Grandma went to church with Carmela Lombardo, Joe’s mother. In a small, closed society, everybody knew everybody. If you weren’t family, you were family adjacent. Dad wasn’t morally opposed to crime or criminals, but he didn’t want to work for any boss in any business. For most of his life, Dad owned small businesses. But his friends from Grand and Aberdeen remained his friends until the last days of his life. 

EP: Any Chicago mob-ologist will know the names of the mobsters mentioned in this book. Guys who ran the mob in Chicago like Sam Giancana, Jackie Cerone, Joey Lombardo, John DiFronzio, Tony Accardo, and Joey Doves Aiuppa all make appearances. Tell us how you saw those guys when you were a kid, and what you thought after you realized exactly what they did for a living. 

Jeffrey: We knew mobsters hoodlums, and gangsters as the people who came to Sunday dinner, stopped by for coffee, and brought fat envelopes to weddings, graduations, and funerals. It was always a bit like Christmas morning. They might bring a trunk full of toys for my brother, sister, and me, or a mink coat for Mom. One night we’re having dinner with Frank Cerone and his wife Mamie, and the next day we’re reading in the newspaper about Frank being indicted on gambling charges and facing 10-years in prison. It didn’t make sense. Criminals? No. Tony Accardo worked for a beer distribution company. Jackie Cerone and his cousin Frank both worked in the tavern business. It took us a long time to understand the duality of their lives. The newspapers and television opened our eyes to the other side of “Uncle” Tony, “Uncle” Skip, and all the rest. 

EP: I like the way your brother polishes the edges a bit on the work they did. He referred to one guy as "specializing in removing things that didn't belong to him" from people's homes. Were you or your brother ever tempted into entering that world yourselves? 

Jeffrey: While Dad was always closed-mouth about who did what in the mob, he was very clear about the danger behind the façade of glamour. He talked about how his mother dragged him to the funerals of dead friends who got in too deep with the mob. And, of course, we regularly read in the newspapers about who got indicted, who went to prison, and who got murdered. From the time I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer, so the business of being a gangster never appealed to me, but my brother liked to party with the mob. Those guys always had the best times at the best places, so it was a lot of fun. But like Dad, he passed on the opportunities that were absolutely presented to him. We were never in the mob, but always adjacent. 

EP: Because your dad worked in the entertainment side of the business, you also had many brushes with big stars. People like Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Liza, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Eddie Fisher are just a few of the names. Do you have any favorite stories? 

Jeffrey: Though they’re not widely known today, Keely Smith and husband Louie Prima were a big jazz act in the Sixties. We watched them rehearse once at Dad’s nightclub. Keeley was very sweet, and gave me an autographed album. But for pure shock value, nothing beat running up the stairs and crashing into Frank Sinatra, who was on his way downstairs to meet Sam Giancana. The funniest moment was Mom’s reaction when Dad asked if she wanted to see Eddie Fisher’s show. This was after the scandal of Eddie dumping Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. Mom curled her nose and said she wouldn’t be caught dead in the same room with Eddie Fisher after what he did to “poor Debbie.” 

EP: Some of the most interesting characters in this book are the women in your life. The wives and girlfriends of your "uncles" had some really interesting stories as well. In a lot of books about the mafia, they are often afterthoughts, but you spent a lot of time with them and really brought them to life. Talk a little about the women in the book. 

Jeffrey: Mamie Cerone – Frank’s wife – was hilarious. A former Ziegfeld Girl, she ditched showbiz for true love. We have some great glamour photos of Mamie during her Broadway years; she looks lovely, delicate, and refined. Then in real life, she would curse her husband out in language that would make a trucker blush. Mamie had what they used to call “moxie.” Clarice Accardo, Tony’s wife, also started out as a dancer. If the mob had a First Lady, it was Clarice. She hosted afternoon meetings of her “Vodka Club” where the wives of mobsters could openly share the reality of their lives. Clara Cerone – Jackie’s wife – radiated warmth. She was an absolute bombshell, too. They had no illusions – or delusions – about what their husbands did for a living. But while those men might have been bosses on the street, once they walked in the front door, their wives ruled the roost. 

EP: I know you went away to college just as this lifestyle was starting to fade away. Your "uncles" all started to go away to a federal hotel. That life isn't really a thing as much as it used to be. Why do you think it didn't really get passed on to the next generation? 

Jeffrey: Legislation and technology. For decades, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover strenuously – and curiously – denied the existence of an organized crime network. In doing so, he allowed it to flourish. Starting in the Fifties, various government committees tried to tackle organized crime and failed. Legislation – mainly the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) in 1970 finally gave the government real power. Improved surveillance technology also allowed law enforcement to keep a sharper eye on organized crime activities. Separately, states moved in on organized crime’s traditional action with legalized dope, off-track betting, state lotteries, and riverboat and Indian casinos. The Internet played its part, too, with online gambling and the ability to hire “intimate entertainment” from the comfort of your home. Of course, larceny endures. And as long as there are degenerate gamblers, there will be loan sharks. But the glory days are gone.

For a more in-depth Q&A with Jeffrey, listen to this episode of the Minutia Men Celebrity Interview.