Friday, January 07, 2022

Cubs Birthday Tweet of the Week

My Kris Bryant poem, featured in the new edition of EveryCubEver...

My parody writing brothers

As someone who used to write parody songs professionally (close to 200 of them), I tip my cap when I hear a great one. This one qualifies.

Photo of the week

This week in 2015. The little guy here is now the tallest in the family.

RIP Sidney Poitier

More sad news. Seems like there has been a slew of these lately. Oscar winner and classiest man around, Sidney Poitier, has passed away at the age of 94. You'll be seeing and hearing a lot of classic scenes the next few days, but in the back of my mind I was thinking about a few movies he did with Bill Cosby in the mid-70s. Comedies. Found a clip from one of them this morning. I'm guessing it won't be on today's highlight reel.

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is Jim Bohannan's birthday. Jim is now an overnight host at WGN Radio (a national show) in Chicago, but back in 2017, he was also the host of the Radio Hall of Fame ceremony that inducted John Records Landecker into the Hall (photo L-R, John Gehron, Bob Sirott, John Landecker, Jim Bohannan). He also contributed a story about Landecker for John's book Records Truly Is My Middle Name, which is still available at Eckhartz Press.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Video of the week

RIP Peter Bogdanovich

I strongly recommend the TCM Podcast series about him, The Plot Thickens. It's available on YouTube. Fascinating figure with fascinating stories. RIP.

OK, once again. I'm in.

Eckhartz Everyday

 On this day in 2012, esteemed magazine publisher and writer Pat Colander reviewed my book (written with Brendan Sullivan) The Living Wills. Here is what she wrote...

“If the data that suggests people are reading more now that e-readers and tablets have come along, I am living proof. Read any good books lately? I sure have. Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan’s The Living Wills, a saga of life, death, fractured relationships,lies and families. If you don’t think people can keep big secrets for many years, you are about to meet some pretty complex characters. I loved this book despite how sentimental I am. It doesn’t end happily for everyone; but it does for some of the characters — just like in real life.”

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

*Ten years ago today, Brendan Sullivan and I were interviewed about our book The Living Wills (Still available here at Eckhartz Press) by the Catalyst Ranch. Read the entire interview here.

*Today is former Chicago White Sox slugger Ron Kittle's birthday. He is featured in a chapter of Chet Coppock's book Your Dime, My Dance Floor. The book is still available here, and the free excerpt about Kittle can be read here.

Studio Walls

 Every week I send my Minutia Men Co-Host Dave Stern a list from our audio archives for this week's Studio Walls feature. These are the possibilities for this week. Which one will he choose?

*Rick interviews George Martin (1995)--George Martin birthday is January 3.

*Bill Kurtis story about "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me"--Show debuts on January 3, 1998.  (Listen to entire Bill Kurtis interview here)

*Anthony Scaramucci stories--Before break with Trump, after break with Trump. (Listen to those two interviews here and here)--Anthony's birthday is January 6.

*Essra Mohawk stories, one of the Schoolhouse Rock singers--Schoolhouse Rock debuts on ABC January 6, 1973. (Listen to entire interview here)

*National Bobblehead Day is January 7. We interviewed head of Bobblehead Hall of Fame in Milwaukee. (Listen to entire interview here)

*National Pass Gas Day is January 7. I wrote the song "King of Farts" for John Landecker in 1996. (Video/audio are here)

*Danny Bonaduce story about Elvis. Elvis' birthday is January 8. (Listen to entire Danny Bonaduce story here)

*Mike Reno from Loverboy's birthday is January 8. (Listen to entire Mike Reno interview here)

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

From the Writing Archives


For several years I wrote the back page essay for Shore Magazine. They called my column, A Fine Mess. In honor of the creation of the first "No Shoes, No Shirts, No Service" signs (which originally appeared this week in 1970), I present the following column I wrote in 2013.

I have fought on the front lines of the dress code wars for many years now.

My generation was forced to dress up for every “special” event when we were young. We dressed up to go to school, to restaurants, to movie theaters, to travel (bus, train, plane), to anywhere outside of our own homes, and we did it because our parents insisted on it. That was simply the way things were done.

When we became adults, my generation rebelled. We were against the “stuffed-shirts”, against the tyranny of formality, and we changed the rules of society. We did it so thoroughly and successfully, and brought the “dressing up” quotient down so low, a new dress code had to be established that never would have been necessary for our parent’s generation.

We became the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” generation. That was probably our lowest moment as dress code protestors; a bit of an eye-opener about how low we had gone. We had made pants the only necessary item of clothing. Can’t go much lower than that.

When we became more responsible adults, we began to see some exceptions to our dress code absolutism. Sure, a lot of us showed up to work dressed far more casually than our parents did, but we really didn’t want to see our bankers or financial advisers dressed in flip-flops.  There were certain industries where the workplace dress code still made sense.

And we also didn’t have a problem with dress codes in really expensive places trying to maintain a certain image. For instance, going to a casino in Monte Carlo shouldn’t feel like going to a riverboat in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Dress codes still seem to work when they are applied judiciously and appropriately.

But there’s one place where the dress code has never worked, and seems like it will never work, unless drastic steps are taken. That place is, of course, the golf course. Most golf courses still insist that their golfers wear collared shirts and appropriate shoes, but yet, you’ll never see a collection of more hideously dressed people accumulated in one place at one time.

I think it’s because focusing on collared shirts and appropriate shoes isn’t addressing the actual problem. With that in mind, I’ve taken the liberty of putting together a short list that should be added to the collared shirt and appropriate shoes requirements.  

These rules are presented free of charge to golf courses across America as a public service. In no particular order, they are…

*No lime green slacks

(This will put the lime green slacks-makers out of business, but shouldn’t they already be out of business?)

*No checkered slacks

(Save those for Bingo Night in the church basement.)

*No checkered shirts

(Unless you are also going to be a tablecloth after your round.)

*No tassles

(This really should be a world-wide rule, but we have to start somewhere)

*No knickers

(Note: It’s not 1927.)

*No Safari Hats

(Unless, of course, you are golfing on the Serengeti)

*No shorts with dark socks

(1967 called to say that your grandfather wants his look back)

*No sock suspenders for men

(I’ve seen it. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, but I really did)


That’s a good starting point I think. I’m sure those of you who golf more often than I do have even more items to add to the list. Feel free to send me your suggestions.

I’m accumulating the list for the betterment of society.

No need to thank me. 

Eckhartz Everyday

 *14 years ago today, we founded our corporation which remains the parent company for Eckhartz Press. We called it Just One Bad Century. The website still exists as a Chicago Cubs site, providing daily Cubs information here.

*The newest edition of EveryCubEver is now available, and features a poem about today's birthday boy Kris Bryant. It is the only baseball poem in history to use the word Numnutz. That's a guarantee.

*Sportscaster Dave Kerner is celebrating a birthday today. He is an enthusiastic endorser of the Eckhartz Press book Transatlantic Passage by Paul M. Banks. Here's what he says about the book...

“You’ll love reading about what it’s like to be a soccer (always going to be football to me!) fan from multiple perspectives. Thanks to Paul and this in depth look at the evolution of international soccer in the United States, in some ways negative for the men’s game, and in some ways positive for the women’s game.”

Monday, January 03, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

On this day in 2017, Eckhartz Press released the e-book Sepsis by Jack Hafferkamp. It's still available today. What's it about?

They say that before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. When this happens to Jeffrey Keister, it turns out to be the worst kind of cringe-inducing torture. He has many regrets and doesn’t want to be reminded of the injuries, cruelties, and abuses he has struggled so hard to bury.

But who said life (or death) was merciful? Keister can’t hide from his past forever, especially when his “forever” is ending so soon. As his body lies dying, his mind takes an incredible journey through his past.

Keister revisits all the women who shaped his life—from his abusive mother to his kindly grandmother to a bored Chinese intelligence officer to the ex-wife who broke his heart. With each new scene from his past, Keister learns something new about the many twists and turns his life took.

This dark satire uses one man’s life to show how small decisions can have huge ramifications. Keister remains defiant about his death, but as his dream grows more and more abstract, things start to get weird. Suddenly he’s dodging a dominatrix, chatting with God, and on trial for his life!