Saturday, June 19, 2021

A Tribute for Father's Day

One day I sat down to write a column about the inspiration for my column "Father Knows Nothing". I had no idea this is what would come out. I'm re-running it this weekend because Dad's been on my mind a lot lately. I'm working on a novel with a character based on him, and my very strange globehopping childhood. That's a photo of Eckhard. He's been gone now more than half of my life, but he's never left me. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Losing a parent has a tendency to change your outlook on life. I know it happened to me. When my father died, I was 25. That’s a pretty young age to become fatalistic, but I’ve chosen to look on the bright side of being fatalistic. For one thing, I no longer take things for granted because I know that my time on this earth is limited.

I know this is going to sound bad, but I wish my father had been a little more fatalistic. Of course, it’s totally unfair to say that about a man who walked into a hospital emergency room one day at the age of 54, and never came out again. His mindset was understandable. Both of his parents were still alive when he died. He had no reason to ever think about death. And even if he had, all three of his children were already adults (25, 24, and 19), and he had done a pretty good job of raising relatively normal functional members of society. Why would he bother thinking about what life would be like without him?

I know I’m being greedy here. I realize that. He gave me all he could give...and then some. But now that I’m a father myself, I find myself wanting something I never wanted before. His advice. I always considered Dad to be a source of wisdom, even when I strongly fought against it. He was a reasonable man, a thinker, someone who gave quite a bit of thought to his words before they came out. He wasn’t always right, but he was never rash or emotional. In short, he was the perfect kind of person to ask for advice.

And I never did.

And now that I’m a father myself, I have a million questions.

That’s probably one of the reasons I have so overcompensated with my own boys. I’ve tried to use my father as a model—his steady temperament and his guiding hand, while trying to give them what he couldn’t give me. It’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to stay home and raise them. I’m part of virtually every phase of their lives, and I’m constantly giving them unsolicited advice about every subject under the sun just in case they ever need it someday.

Unfortunately, I don’t quite have the fountain of wisdom my father had. He had knowledge that came from a difficult childhood of emigration and language barriers and hardship that I couldn’t even imagine. You learn things when you experience difficulty—and he must have learned so much. Most of those lessons learned, however, died with him. I didn’t have the foresight to ask about them, and he didn’t have the foresight to commit them to paper.

So I write.

That way, what I know will not go away when I go away. Even if my boys choose to ignore it for most of their lives, I’m fairly confident there will come a time when curiosity will get the best of them, and they will seek out wisdom from their father. When that time comes, there’s a possibility I won’t be around to deliver it in person.

The son spends his life trying to distance himself from his father, trying to make his own way in the world, trying to become a man. There’s nothing wrong with that—it’s part of growing up. I certainly don’t take it personally when my boys ignore my advice and insist on making the same mistakes I made. Some kids just learn better that way. I know I did. But there will come a day when they need me. And I just can’t bear to think that I won’t be there when they do.

So I write.

When they do seek me out, even if I’m not around, my words will still be here, to bring me back to life. They won’t have to wonder what was going through my mind when I was in their shoes--because they can read it. And if they end up having boys just like themselves—and my experience tells me they just might—they can see how and why I did what I did.

Why do I write? I know that part of the audience for every word I write includes three grown men I’ve never met. Three men who may one day want to ask Dad for advice. I only have my time, my love, and my words. I give those with all of my heart.

That’s why I write.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Available for Pre-Order Today!



Judd Legum

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Chicago Radio Ratings

Numbers courtesy of Robert Feder column this morning. For the daypart breakdown, click here.

1. WVAZ 102.7-FM R&B, 7.1 (6.9)
2. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 5.9 (6.3)
3. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 5.8 (5.6)
4. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 5.4 (5.1)
5. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 4.2 (4.9)
6. (tie) WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 3.8 (4.1); WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 3.8 (4.0)
8. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.5 (3.6)
9. WGN 720-AM news talk, 3.2 (3.4)
10. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 3.1 (2.7)
11. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 3.0 (2.8)
12. WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.9 (3.2)
13. (tie) WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 2.8 (2.6); WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.8 (2.7)
15. WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip-hop, 2.6 (2.8)
16. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.5 (2.2); WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 2.5 (1.9)
18. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.2 (1.8); WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.2 (2.0); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 2.2 (2.3)
21. (tie) WGCI 107.5-FM hip-hop, 2.1 (2.0); WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.1 (2.5)
23. WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.6 (1.4)
24. WCHI 95.5-FM rock, 1.5 (1.5)
25. (tie) WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.4 (1.1); WPWX 92.3-FM hip-hop, 1.4 (1.4)
27. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.3 (1.1)
28. (tie) WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian music, 1.1 (0.8); WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.1 (1.2)
30. (tie) WCCQ 98.3-FM country, 0.7 (0.6); WSRB 106.3-FM R&B, 0.7 (0.6); WXLC 102.3-FM hot adult contemporary, 0.7 (0.8)

Monday, June 14, 2021


Happy birthday Hal Manders


~Hal Manders 1917–2010 (Cubs 1946)
Hal pitched for the Tigers before being drafted into military service during World War II. When he returned, he pitched briefly for them again before being sent off to the team they beat in the previous year’s World Series. He got one start in September for the Cubs and was hit pretty hard. It was his last hurrah in baseball. In all, Manders pitched three seasons in the big leagues, which under normal circumstances would have given him bragging rights at family gatherings. Unfortunately for Hal, his cousin was Bob Feller.

Minutia Men