Saturday, May 01, 2021

Newsmax Admits Wrongdoing to Settle Lawsuit

 The damage is done, and 40+ states are making needless laws to "secure voting", but at least one of the outlets being sued by Dominion has admitted they ARE FULL OF SHIT. (Of course, this news was announced quietly on a Friday afternoon).

Newsmax, OAN, and Fox News remain the poison that is destroying America.


Right-wing cable outlet Newsmax settled a defamation suit brought by a Dominion Voting Systems executive Friday with an apology and admitted that allegations of voter fraud that it aired were untrue, the latest backtracking as Newsmax and other conservative outfits face legal retribution for amplifying former President Donald Trump’s baseless vote-rigging claims. 

Dominion security director Eric Coomer filed a Colorado defamation lawsuit in December against Newsmax, competitor One America News, the Trump campaign and several Trump-affiliated lawyers, accusing them of falsely linking him to a vast, shadowy, high-tech (and nonexistent) plot to rig the 2020 election.

In a Friday afternoon statement, Newsmax acknowledged it had broadcast voter fraud claims against Coomer and admitted there’s no evidence any of them were true.

Newsmax also admitted it doesn’t have evidence that Coomer confessed to rigging the election during a conference call with antifa, an outlandish allegation repeated on-air by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who is also facing a lawsuit from Coomer. Coomer dropped Newsmax from his lawsuit Friday after reaching a settlement with the network, his attorneys told Forbes in a statement, though they did not offer any details on the terms of the settlement.

Newsmax pointed Forbes to its statement and declined to comment further.


Coomer’s lawsuit says he suffered death threats because of the false allegations leveled against him, forcing him to flee his home and go into hiding.


“On behalf of Newsmax, we would like to apologize for any harm that our reporting of the allegations against Dr. Coomer may have caused to Dr. Coomer and his family,” the network said in a statement posted to its website Friday.


Albert Lasker

May Day

Free Kicks

Friday, April 30, 2021

Free Excerpt from "Turn it Up" by Bob Shannon: Casey Kasem

 This week marked the anniversary of Casey Kasem’s birth. Bob Shannon’s excellent book about radio (“Turn it Up”) has entire chapter about the radio legend. Today we present it to you as a free excerpt…


|Casey Kasem: America‘s Top Countdown Host

     He was working at KEWB/Oakland-San Francisco. It was 1962 and he was the night jock. His name was Casey Kasem and he was a “wild-tracker.”

     The show was scripted. It had to be for the engineer to keep up. He used audio drops – funny stuff, clips from movies, TV, records – anything he could get his hands on and bounce off of. He was as fast as a brakeless cable car; so frenetic that he drove one of his engineers to drink; yes, it’s true. Some nights Kasem would get to work, look at old red-eyes and know he was in trouble. He’d been doing the show for about a year and a half when the General Manager asked to see him.

     “Casey,” said John McRae, “I’m changing things and I want you to stop wild-tracking.”

     Kasem stared. “What do you want me to do, John?”

     “Be a regular disc jockey.”

     Kasem didn’t need to be told that the other wild-trackers at the station had been fired. He needed some direction, though. “Talk about the artists, the music,” said McRae. “And, by the way, start doing it tonight.”

     “I figured I’d do time, temperature and weather,” he says, “and be out of a job the next morning.”

     He was 30 years old and thought his career was over.

    Kamal “Casey” Kasem wanted to be a radio actor. George Shapiro, the Radio Club’s sponsor at Detroit’s Northwestern High, was skeptical. “Do you have any idea what the average radio actor made last year?” he asked.

     Kasem answered,  “No.”

     “Fifty dollars,” replied Shapiro.

     Kasem was between high school and college. He’d done a sports show over the high school PA system – he still has the scripts, he says – but he wanted to do more radio, even if it didn’t pay.

    “Shapiro recommended me to WDTR,” he says. “I became the chief sound effects man and did some drama, too.” 

     In the early ’50s, radio drama was still alive. “Detroit was the home of a few network shows,” Kasem says. “The Lone Ranger was on ABC and Challenge of the Yukon was on Mutual. And they both had the same cast.”

      In 1950, because of a part he played on WJR/Detroit’s “Scoop Ryan – Cub Reporter,” – a 15-minute show presented by the Wayne State Radio Guild – Kasem was invited to audition for “The Lone Ranger.”

     “I had the voice range to play anyone from 12 to 20,” he says. When he got the part, his national debut, were his parents impressed? “No,” says Kasem, “They just expected me to be successful. But, I do remember my Grandmother saying, ‘Maybe one day you’ll be like Arthur Godfrey.’” 

     In 1952, Kasem was drafted and sent to Korea.

     Believe it or not, the Army actually gave him a broadcasting assignment. “There were nine radio stations,” he says, “and I created a production team at headquarters to do comedy and drama.” 

     Then destiny reared its head. “There was a Saturday night Top 10 countdown show and they asked me to fill in,” he explains. All was going well until he hit the #1 song, Les Paul and Mary Ford’s Vaya Con Dios.  “I said, ‘here’s the song that’s #1 in America from coast to coast: ‘Go Buy a Dose.'” (Casey assures me it was funnier than it reads.)

     Out of the Army and back in Detroit, Kasem re-joined The Lone Ranger cast, went back to college, started acting –  he did summer stock with George C. Scott – and dabbled on the air at WJLB and WJBK/Detroit. He says he really didn’t want to be a disc jockey. “I just fell into it.” But, when he filled in on a popular night-time show and the ratings sky-rocketed, he stayed. Within three months, he was the #1 disc jockey in Detroit.

     What happened next may surprise you.

    “I quit,” says Kasem “I left at my peak and went to help my parents in their grocery business.” The family needed help and so, he worked 17 hours a day, 7 days a week – stocking, packing, and mopping. “I did it for a year, but it paid off. We quadrupled business and I was able to go to New York to become the serious actor I was hoping to be.” 

     It was June of 1958.

     Today, Eugene Victor Walsk is a successful New York Producer, but back then, he was just another Wayne State graduate starting his career. When Kasem arrived in New York some Army buddies threw him a welcoming party. Walsk was there.

     “I’ve got to be able to audition,” Kasem told him. “Do you know of anything?”

     Walsk sent him to audition for the part of a “drunk, gay Russian” in the #1 off-Broadway play that season, “Ivan of.”

     “I did really well,” Kasem remembers. “The guy I auditioned for was so impressed that he called others in to see me, and I did it again. I knew I was going to get that part.” 

     He didn’t.

     Thirty years later he discovered he lost out to Ed Asner. “I didn’t get it, but I feel better now that I know I lost it to a guy who’s won six Emmys,” says Kasem. . 

     He went in for another audition, but it was over before it began. Kasem took stock of his situation; he had no money, not even enough for a cup of coffee. “After six months I put my tail between my legs and went home.”

     When he says “home,” he means Detroit. He could just as well have meant “radio.”

     Back in Detroit, Kasem started looking for work. “I put feelers out and sent off some tapes,” he says. “Milwaukee wanted me, but then the people at WJBK heard I was back in town.”

     WJBK was owned by Storer Broadcasting and its sister station in Cleveland, WJW, had just flipped to a pop format and wanted Kasem, too. “I went there,” he says,”because they also offered me the Cleveland Bandstandshow.”

     Cleveland is the city where Kasem started wild-tracking and calling himself Casey At The Mike. “I was looking for something to keep me on the edge of my seat,” he says. “Wild-tracks were the answer.” WJW was mostly a pop station playing artists like Perry Como and The McGuire Sisters, but at night Kasem leaned heavily on rhythm and blues. Smart move.

     Within three months he was #2 in Cleveland, right behind WHK. This success took him to WBNY/Buffalo, but it was short lived, he says.  “I was fired because I was insubordinate.”  

     Then Chuck Blore entered his life. Blore programmed KFWB/Los Angeles but had also taken on corporate responsibilities for Crowell-Collier Broadcasting, as it prepared to buy WMGM/New York, where Blore wanted to send Kasem. When the FCC killed the deal, Blore sent him to KEWB/Oakland-San Francisco instead.

     There, in a trash can by the control room door, Kasem found something that changed his life.

     Farley McLuth was the janitor at KEWB and he was running late.

     “There was a big trash barrel wedged in the door that was piled high with reams of news copy,” recalls Kasem. “On top of it all was a magazine, “Who’s Who in Pop Music in 1962.” .

     The magazine was full of thumbnail sketches – birthdays, first hits, favorite foods, etc. Kasem says he knew he was on his way. “I’d always teased upcoming records,” he says. But this was different: people, lives, feelings – storytelling.

     “Coming up,” Kasem said, “the man who’s had more #1 records than anyone else since the beginning of the rock ‘n’ roll era.”  Sound familiar?

     “Ten seconds later and Farley might have moved that trash can,” says Casey Kasem. “It was supposed to be there for me to see.”

      In May of 1963 Kasem went to work for KRLA/Pasadena-Los Angeles. Bill Drake’s and Ron Jacobs’ version of KHJ was two years away, so KRLA’s only direct competition was KFWB. “Within three months, I was #1,” says Kasem, adding that, for KFWB, things were heading from bad to worse. In the spring of 1964 KRLA embraced The Beatles and the British invasion, which KFWB ignored. “That was all she wrote for KFWB,” Kasem says.

     He did mid-days at KRLA, but his real goal was to use the station as a launching pad for voice-overs, TV, even movies. In late ’63 KRLA had collaborated with LA’s Channel 13 to do a local music show. “My job was to introduce two people who’d died – Johnny Horton and Sam Cooke,” says Kasem. The script was rough, so he asked if he could ad lib his part. “I did them both in one take.”

     Several weeks later, Kasem ran into Bob Lee, the producer of a new, as-yet-unnamed Dick Clark Production that would become “Shebang.” Lee told Kasem that the work he’d done on Channel 13 was terrific. ”We’d like you to come down and talk to us about hosting a new show we’re putting into syndication.” 

      Kasem did; they did a deal and production began, but the show never was syndicated nationally, although it did become a hit in Hollywood. “I did “Shebang” for two years. It went off and then, by popular demand, it came back,” Kasem says. Six hundred and fifty episodes later, he was established on Los Angeles TV. 

     Did I mention movies? Kasem chuckles when he recalls his first flick, Dennis Hopper’s “The Glory Stompers.” “I played a bad guy, a motorcycle bandit,” he says.

     In 1967, at the insistence of his friend, record mogul Mike Curb, Kasem tried his hand at voice-overs. His first hit was as the voice of Robin in the “Batman and Robin” cartoon. “That was the beginning,” he says. “Eventually I did several other features, including “Josey and The Pussycats” and letters and numbers (a segment) on “Sesame Street.”

     I don’t have to tell you about “Scooby-Do,” do I? 

     In 1968 Kasem became the voice of Shaggy in the cartoon series. The role lasted for 23 years and Kasem says there’s always talk it may come back. In 1976 he was hired by NBC television and, over a period of five years, he recorded over 25,000 promos for the network. But still, and always, there’s “American Top 40,” a national institution. According to Ron Jacobs, AT 40 is the most listened to program in the history of radio. “I can’t imagine it having done so without Casey’s energy and creative contributions,” he says.

     On January 4, 2004 Kasem turned hosting duties for “American Top 40” over the Ryan Seacrest, the host of “American Idol.” As of this writing he continues to produce “American Top 20” and “American Top 10” for Premier Radio Networks.

     Perhaps, more than anything else, Kasem’s success comes from his connection with his audience. “We’ve flown together,” says Marty Raab, a vice president at Premier Radio, “and people will stop and say, ‘Casey, I’ve listened to you all of my life,.’ or, ‘I remember a long distance dedication you did and the song you played.'”

   Casey Kasem was given his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981. Eleven years later, in 1992, he became the youngest broadcaster in history to be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. Then, in 1997, two years after being inducted into the National Association of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame, “Billboard” magazine awarded him its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

     Kasem’s success is well earned. Perhaps it has something to do with the philosophy expressed in his optimistic “American Top 40”  sign-off.

     “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Arbour Day


A tribute to Bushes, Forrests, Trees, and Woods in honor of Arbour Day…

~Guy Bush 1901 (Cubs 1923-1934)
The Mississippi Mudcat got his nickname because he came from Mississippi and had a very strange delivery. It was described like this by F.C. Lane in Baseball Magazine (1930): “On the hurling mound (Guy) Bush has developed a curious ‘hop-toad’ lunge that is unique. When he really bears down on the ball, he actually springs forward and finishes up in a squat position like a catcher reaching for a low pitch.” He won 150+ games for the Cubs, as a starter and reliever (he led the league in relief wins 4 times). On May 4, 1927 he pitched 18 innings in one game, when the Cubs beat the Braves 7-2. He started and won Game 3 of the 1929 World Series against the A’s, giving up only one run. He also pitched Game 1 of 1932 Series against the Yankees, but this time the results weren’t quite as good. He was shelled for eight earned runs in less than six innings. The Cubs traded him to Pittsburgh in 1935. Bush always said the secret to his success was a “secret dark liniment” that the Cubs trainer rubbed into his arm. He didn’t find out until after he was traded that the secret liniment was only Coca Cola. On May 25, 1935, he came in as a relief pitcher for the Pirates against the Boston Braves. In that game he gave up the last two home runs in Babe Ruth’s career. (Photo: 1933 Goudy Baseball Card)

Smoky Burgess Cubs~Smoky Burgess 1927 (Cubs 1949-1951)
His real name was Forrest Harrill Burgess, but no-one called him that. He was Smoky Burgess, a five-time National League All-Star. He was a very good catcher, but he became even better known as one of the best pinch hitters of his era. He retired with a record 507 pinch at-bats. Only Lenny Harris, Mark Sweeney, and Manny Mota have more than Burgess’s 145 pinch hits. Unfortunately, none of that happened with the Cubs because they traded him after his second season in the majors (1951) for little remembered Johnny Pramesa and Bob Usher. If he had stayed with the Cubs, he could have been their starting catcher for a decade. (Pramesa played 22 games for the Cubs, Usher played 1.) Smoky always said that his most satisfying pinch hit was his home run off Cubs pitcher Sam Jones with two games left in the 1956 season. The Reds, his team at the time, were going for the record–most home runs by a team in a season. The record was 221, and when Smokey came up to bat, the Reds had 220. Reds manager Chuck Dressen ordered Burgess to pinch hit for Roy McMillan, and said, “Make it a home run – or nothin’!” The ball landed on Sheffield Avenue. Smoky ended his career as a pinch hitter for the White Sox—and played until he was 40 years old. (Photo: 1951 Bowman baseball card)

~Rocky Cherry 1979 (Cubs 2007)
Blessed with one of the great names in baseball history, Cherry was a journeyman pitcher who pitched out of the bullpen for the Cubs during their playoff year of 2007. Unfortunatly for Rocky, he wasn’t around anymore when the team made it to the playoffs. He was traded in August for Steve Trachsel.

~Woody English 1906 (Cubs 1927-1936)
Woody was an all-star shortstop for the Cubs, but he also played quite a bit at third base. He was part of three Cubs pennant winning teams (1929, 1932, & 1935). Woody would have had a chance to be a hero in Game 6 of the 1935 series, but he and his buddies on the Cubs bench razzed the umpire so loudly that the entire bench was kicked out of the game. Instead of Woody going up to pinch hit in the 9th, with the winning run on third base, Charlie Grimm had to let his pitcher Larry French bat. French stranded Stan Hack on third and gave up the series winning run in the bottom of the inning. English was traded to Brooklyn in 1937 and finished his career with the Dodgers.

~Kerry Wood 1977 (Cubs 1998-2008, 2011-2012)
He wasn’t even 21 years old when he came up to the majors in May of 1998, but he made his mark right away. On May 6, 1998, he took the mound on a very cold and wet day in Wrigley Field, and pitched one of the best games in Major League history. Before he was through he had struck out 20 Houston Astros batters, allowed only one infield hit, and electrified an entire city. By the end of the day, he was forever branded Kid K. He won the Rookie of the Year award that season after striking out 233 batters in only 166 innings, and leading the Cubs to the playoffs. Though Kid-K had his injuries during his Cubs career (he missed the entire 1999 season and long stretches of two other seasons), he was also on the mound for the greatest triumphs in Chicago Cubs history over the past fifty years. In 2003 he was the winning pitcher in the game that gave the Cubs their only playoff series victory. He also pitched magnificently in the NLCS that year, though his luck did run out in Game 7. In 2008 he was the closer during that magical season (which, sadly, ended so disappointingly). Wood came back in 2011 to end his career in his adopted home town. (Photo: 2003 Upper Deck Baseball Card)

~Travis Wood 

The Cubs got Wood in the Sean Marshall trade, and he has become one of their most reliable starters. In 2013, he started the season with nine quality starts, becoming the first pitcher since Three Finger Mordecai Brown in 1906. His greatest day as a Cub probably came when he hit a grand slam homer against the arch-rival White Sox. He was named to his first All-Star game just a few days later. 

~Gary Woods 1954 (Cubs 1982-1985)
He was a backup outfielder for the Cubs in the early to mid 80s, and hit in the .240s during his stay on the North Side. He also played for Oakland, Toronto, and Houston. Gary passed away in February of 2015. (Photo: 1986 Fleer Baseball Card)

~Jim Woods 1939 (Cubs 1957)
Woody, as he was known, was only 18 years old when he made his big league debut for his hometown Cubs. The recent Lane Tech grad didn’t get a chance to bat, but he appeared in two games as a pinch runner (for catcher Gordon Massa), and a scored a run. Neither of those appearances were in front of his home town fans. They were in Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Just a few years later he was part of the trade that brought Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn to the Cubs. Woods had a brief cup of coffee with the Phillies in 1960-1961, and hit three homers.

~Walt Woods 1875 (Orphans 1898)
Walt was in the rotation for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) in 1898 and started 22 games. To say he didn’t have a strikeout pitch would be an understatement. In 214 innings pitched, he struck out only 26 men. Woods later pitched for Louisville and Pittsburgh.

Cocktails and Conversation

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview


I don't know why, but I find this very amusing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Happy Birthday Walt

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Happy Birthday Rogers


~Rogers Hornsby 1897–1963 (Cubs 1929-1932)
It’s hard to imagine that one of the greatest players in history was not popular in Chicago–but Hornsby clearly was not. Hornsby had one great season for the Cubs, their World Series year of 1929, and he became the manager at the very end of the following year. Despite managing a notoriously rowdy team, he ruled with an iron fist. He didn’t just ban drinking (which, of course, was illegal at the time), he banned reading, movies, soda pop, smoking, and eating in the club house. He was so hated by his players that when the 1932 team won the pennant (after he was fired), the players voted to give him zero cents of a playoff share, even though he had been with the team for 4 months. Their hatred of him went much deeper than his strict rules. He was in deep debt to many of the players on the team. The Commissioner of Baseball, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, became so alarmed by the reports he was getting about Hornsby, that he sent letters warning the team and the players about him. He also sent one to the NL President demanding any and all information he had about Hornsby’s gambling. Hornsby was defiant about it until the very end: “Gambling’s legal,” he would say. He never bet on baseball, only the horses. Probably influenced by Hornsby’s star power, Landis chose not to punish him. But his letters to the club led to an internal Cubs investigation. Team owner William Wrigley and team president William Veeck discovered that Hornsby had borrowed $11,000 from his own players. That’s when they fired him and replaced him with Charlie Grimm. Grimm led the 1932 team to the World Series. Hornsby never experienced the playoffs again. Later in life he was hired by Wrigley’s son Phillip to become the team’s first minor league batting instructor. The same prickly personality and inability to understand why people couldn’t naturally hit as well as he did, however, made him as lousy at that job as he was as a manager. As a player Rogers Hornsby had very few peers. His lifetime batting average is .358. He hit .400 three different times. He narrowly missed it a fourth time (.397). He won two MVP awards, two triple crowns, and seven batting titles. And he did all that while gambling away nearly every dime he earned.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Happy Birthday Hack



 APR 26TH, 2021

~Hack Wilson 1900–1948 (Cubs 1926-1931)
Hack is still remembered for his record 1930 season when he drove in 191 runs, but during his Cubs days he was known for more than just slugging the baseball. He was known as a notorious hell raiser. Wilson had several run-ins with the law, his teammates, opposing players, and even fans. He was arrested for violating the Prohibition Act in 1926, but he was just getting started. Hack and his drinking buddy/teammate Pat Malone got into a fistfight in a hotel because they thought somebody was laughing at them. In 1928, he was fined after charging into the stands to fight with a heckler. Gabby Hartnett and Joe Kelly had to physically remove him off the fan–and thousands of fans swarmed the field. Hack once charged into the opposing dugout to punch a Reds pitcher…after Hack hit the ball. He was tagged out in the dugout. That same night he punched another Reds pitcher in the team train. A famous story, which may or may not be a legend, involved Cubs manager Joe McCarthy and Hack.
To show Hack the dangers of drinking, Joe took a worm and dropped it in a glass of whiskey. The worm quickly died. “Now what does that prove?” asked Joe. Wilson thought about it for a while and replied, “It proves that if you drink whiskey, you won’t get worms!” Through it all, Hack was the most feared hitter in the National League. Hack still holds Cubs career records for best on-base percentage (.492), slugging percentage (.590) and OPS (1.002). He led the league in homers four years in a row, in walks and RBI twice, and led the Cubs to the World Series in 1929. For many years he held the single season home run record (56), and he still has the single season RBI record (191). But in 1931, things started to go south. Hack and player/manager Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby didn’t get along and were constantly at odds. It got so bad, that the Cubs traded Hack to the Dodgers for Burleigh Grimes. Hack had one more good year with the Dodgers, but the end was near. He retired after the 1934 season. Near the end of his Wilson’s life he appeared on a network radio show where he spoke about the effects of “Demon Rum.” This was just a few months before his death on November 23, 1948. He was only 48. His body was unclaimed for three days before National League president Ford Frick paid for the funeral. The veterans committee named Hack to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1979.

Minutia Men

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Cocktails and Conversation with Rick and Dave

Every writer wants to know about the world from the publishers' viewpoint; how it all works, what they look for, etc. This is your chance to find out.

Join us for Cocktails and Conversation as we chat with Rick Kaempfer and David Stern, longtime friends and founders of Eckhartz Press.
Eckhartz Press was founded in Chicago in 2011 by Rick Kaempfer and his long time collaborator and friend David Stern. The name “Eckhartz” is a tribute to the men that gave them their creative genes; Kaempfer’s father Eckhard, and Stern’s father Fritz. Eckhartz Press is a boutique Chicago publishing company dedicated to serving the brave new 21st century publishing world; the laughing “E” logo a constant reminder that life is too short – don’t ever lose your sense of humor.

This conversation will be held on May 2nd at 4:00 pm Central Time. This event is free and open to the public.

Save your spot HERE.