Saturday, February 19, 2022

Minutia Men--If I Was a Hitman

 Our latest episode is out now. You can listen to it here.

A musical about a murdering rabbi, a tribute to PJ O’Rourke, a great Beatles story by someone who knew them, Jenkins at the art museum, a four-day work-week, and memories of Chris Farley are discussed by Rick and Dave. [Ep260]


Free Kicks--Kicking the Cat

 The latest Free Kicks episode is available now. Listen to it here.

West Ham defender Kurt Zouma is in trouble for kicking his cat, and Manchester United is currently a dysfunctional mess. Adam and Rick discuss. [Ep145]

Friday, February 18, 2022

Cubs Birthday Tweet of the Week

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is John Travolta's birthday. John Records Landecker was friends with Travolta in the 70s and 80s, and has reconnected with him since. Those incredible stories, including the story of their visit to Woodfield Mall when they were swarmed by 30,000 fans, are told in Landecker's book Records Truly Is My Middle Name.

*Dennis DeYoung from Styx is celebrating a birthday today. Two different Eckhartz Press books have great stories about Dennis, including Records Truly Is My Middle Name, but Bobby Skafish devotes an entire chapter to the former Styx leader in his book We Have Company. (Photo of Landecker and Skafish back in the day)

*Actor/Comedian Ike Barinholtz's birthday is today too. He is featured in the Eckhartz Press book Cubsessions, talking about his love of the Chicago Cubs. Becky Sarwate and Randy Richardson are the authors of that fine book.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

*Today is Michael Jordan's birthday. Michael was featured in two Eckhartz Press books. Chet Coppock devoted an entire chapter to him in Your Dime My Dance Floor, and Randy Merkin did the same in his book Behind the Glass. Both titles are still available at Eckhartz Press.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview

 For my rock and roll friends, this week's interview is a fun one. We talked to Loverboy's Doug Johnson. They are currently on tour with Styx and REO Speedwagon. He tells us great stories about their first gig ever (opening for Kiss), what is was like on the road back in the day (apologies to Quiet Riot), and we also talked about the Beatles documentary "Get Back" which every musician in the world has been mesmerized by.

Listen to it here.

RIP P.J. O'Rourke

 He passed away yesterday at the age of 74. I idolized him in my youth when he was the editor of National Lampoon. It was such a subversive magazine. It looked totally normal so that parents didn't have a problem with it (unless of course, they had covers like the ones below), and it was filled with unbelievably hilarious articles. Some were filthy (John Hughes' "My Vagina" comes to mind), and some were political (a lot of P.J.'s fit in that category), but all were different than the kinds of things you'd find in other magazines.

And yet, P.J. believed that he was responsible for the magazine's demise. He wrote about it a few years ago for the Hollywood Reporter. You can read it here.

RIP, P.J. O'Rourke. I didn't agree with your politics, but I always admired your wit and wisdom.

Meet Eckhartz Press Authors

 On the southside...

And on the northside...


The stories in City U, Bob Boone’s third work of fiction, feature the inhabitants of a large city school – teachers, students, old folks, volunteers, administrators and a whole lot more.  

Cubs Announcers Return

 From Robert Feder's column this morning...

Jon Sciambi and Jim Deshaies will continue in the Chicago Cubs broadcast booth as play-by-play announcer and color commentator, respectively, for years to come. Marquee Sports Network announced multiyear extensions for both on Tuesday. Mike McCarthy, general manager of Marquee, called the pairing “a tremendous partnership that was apparent from their first broadcast together last season and will only continue growing stronger in the years to come,” adding: “The duo share not only a genuine love for baseball, but also a distinct sense of humor and quick wit, making for an entertaining broadcast all summer long.” Sciambi also continues as radio voice of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”

 That is, of course, if baseball returns at all. Pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report this week, but they are being locked out by owners.

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?

*February 13, 1967, the Buckinghams hit #1 with Kind of a Drag". We spoke to the guitarist of the band Carl Giammarese about that song, and the incredible success the band achieved in 1967. (You can listenn to the entire interview here

*February 14, 1991, the movie "Silence of the Lambs" was released. We talked to one of the actors from that film, Dan Butler, about his memorable scene involving bugs. (The entire interview is here.)

*February 15 is Joseph Gannascoli's birthday. The man who played Vito on the Sopranos was a guest on our podcast. (You can listen to his entire interview here)

*February 16, 2014, Dave released the video to his promotional song "Cueball Wizard". (We have the video here)

*February 16 is John McEnroe's birthday. Randy Merkin told us a story about encountering the tennis great on our podcast earlier this year. (Listen to the podcast here.)

*Feburay 16, 1968, the Beatles arrive in India to study with the Maharishi. Paul Salzman was there when it happened, and told us all about it. (Listen to the entire interview here)

*February 17, 1984, the film Footloose came out. Mike Reno of Loverboy had a song on that soundtrack and told us the story behind the song. (Listen to the entire interview here)

*Feburary 17, 1989, the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure came out. Tubes lead singer Fee Waybill was in that movie and explained how it all came to be. (Listen to the entire interview here)

*February 18, 1998, Harry Caray died. We have audio of Harry talking about how he'd like to be remembered. We also have a song that I wrote about Harry's passing for the John Landecker show (Audio is on Landecker & The Legends, Volume 5)

*February 19, 2016, Rich King visited the White House along with the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Rich told us that story when we interviewed him last year (Listen to the entire interview here.)

Eckhartz Everyday

*Today is John McEnroe's birthday. One of the greatest tennis players of all-time is also a memorable personality. In his book Behind the Glass, Randy Merkin tells a great story about his encounter with the tennis great, and yes it does include the line "You Cannot Be Serious."

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Picture of the Week

 A horrible snow storm for adults, a great time for kids. 11 years ago this week. This kid is now running the instagram page for Minutia Men. He's 19.

Interview Tips

I realize that not many people who read this blog actually interview people, but for those of you who do, this advice today at the Chicago Writers Association blog, is excellent. It's written by Dan Klefstad. Read the entire blog post here.

“What did you have for breakfast today?”

This is the first question I asked people who came to be interviewed at WNIJ, the NPR station where I had an author interview program. This always-unexpected query immediately prompted a Proustian reverie starring a bagel, cup of coffee, or bacon and eggs. No madeleines appeared, but even the most nervous guest looked and sounded relaxed after declaiming the morning menu. The result was a recording that was more conversation than Q & A, something that engaged listeners and boosted the confidence of my guest. I hope you have a similar experience when you go on the radio, TV or a podcast to promote your book.

Eckhartz Everyday


*Ron Cey was a member of the Cubs in mid-80s, including their magical (almost) World Series season of 1984. He wasn't just memorable because of that. He also had one of the greatest nicknames in baseball history. 

They called him The Penguin. 

Naturally, he is featured in the pages of EveryCubEver. Today, on his 73rd birthday, he's featured on this blog.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Eric Litt

 Eckhartz Press author Eric Litt appeared on WGN Radio on Friday night.

You can listen to it here.

From the Writing Archives


My Minutia Men podcast co-host (and Eckhartz Press co-publisher) Dave Stern and I wrote a humor column together for three years in the late 00s. 

Today, on Valentine's Day, I thought I'd pull out this one for the married-for-many-years celebrants. It's called "Ten Ways to Make Your Wife Laugh"

The following is the natural comedic arc of a relationship between a man and a woman. 

1. She falls in love with you because you make her laugh. 

2. She marries you. 

3. She begins to roll her eyes. 

4. She begs you not to tell a joke again. 

5. She intentionally ruins your punch lines at cocktail parties. 

6. She says "When will you grow up?" 

Ah, love. Don’t feel bad if the above seven step process describes you perfectly. It happens to every man after a few years of marriage. When a wife gets to know her husband a little better, he becomes less and less funny. If you talked to Jerry Seinfeld’s wife she would say the same thing. 

It's really not her fault. You tell the same jokes. By the third year of your marriage she's heard every single one of them. Plus, now she's hearing those jokes from the guy who leaves his dirty socks on the floor even though he's constantly being asked to "pick up those disgusting socks." It's inevitable. No one is to blame. It's the way God planned it. 

So what can a man (who was chosen as a husband primarily because of his ability to amuse) do to keep his wife laughing? Between the two of us we have sixty years of marital experience. 

Unfortunately, here is the comprehensive list of things a husband (of more than a few years) can say to his wife to make her laugh. 











So is that it? Your wife is never going to laugh again? Sure she will. She just won't laugh at anything you say. But you know what will make her laugh? The one guaranteed thing that makes all women laugh every single time they see it?

Show her a picture of a guy getting in the knutchkies.

Show her a video.

It's one of those things--all women think a man's groin pain is funny.

That's free of charge.

You're welcome.

Eckhartz Everyday


*On this day in 2015, the Eckhartz Press book Truffle Hunt was officially released. It's a great novel for foodies. Here's the author Brent Petersen with the first copy of his book. Since the book's release, Brent has become the editor-in-chief of the website Destination Eat Drink, and the host of the podcast of the same name. Highly recommended. He now lives in Portugal.

*Today is Eckhartz Press author Janet Sutherland Madden's birthday. Janet wrote the book Nose Over Toes about her recovery from a ruptured brain aneurysm. She is currently working on another book (details to come later this year!)