Saturday, November 26, 2022

Paul M. Banks on the World Cup

Friday, November 25, 2022

Media Notebook


A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago…

I'll return with a full column next Friday. Just two quick news items from this week.

*Also, I appeared on the Destination Eat Drink podcast that dropped today. You can listen to it here. Had a great time discussing my new novel "Back in the D.D.R" 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2015, Eckhartz Press author Pat Colander (Hugh Hefner's First Funeral) had a book signing at The Old Town Ale House...

Back in the D.D.R.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

World Cup

 The following piece was written by Paul Banks for his site. (Reprinted here with his permission) Paul is also an Eckhartz Press author, the writer of Transatlantic Passage: How The English Premier League Transformed Soccer in America.

Christian Pulisic Ready to Lead USMNT, World Cup’s Youngest Team

Christian Pulisic, “Captain America” as he’s often called (but doesn’t like it), is a lot of things. He’s the first American to play in, and win a UEFA Champions League final, a three-time U.S. Soccer Federation player of the year and, arguably, the greatest June and July player in English Premier League history.

Look up the stats from “Project Restart” in 2020, and you’ll see that his most prominent purple patch as a pro came during that summer with Chelsea.

That summer, the first time in which Premier League football had ever been played during those calendar months, has been the highest high for Pulisic at Chelsea so far.

Unfortunately, the 24-year-old enters the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar coming off what could be considered the lowest low of his pro career. He’s started only six of Chelsea’s 23 games this season, going the full 90 only once.

Despite the diminished role at his current club, Pulisic remains as valuable as ever, as an individual footballer. He’s already top five all-time in USSF men’s history, and he could easily end up the USA Soccer G.O.A.T. Provided he stays healthy of course.

Last winter Pulisic discussed how his role at Chelsea is also a hot topic of conversation whenever he’s at U.S.A. camp.

“It’s always when I come to the national team, it’s: ‘How are things at Chelsea? How — what’s this, what’s that?”, the Hershey, PA native said. “and, yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough. It’s definitely played a lot on me, and mentally it’s been difficult at times.”

The 24-year-old struck a very different tone during a press conference this week.

“It’s unreal for me to be here at a World Cup,” Pulisic said ahead of the World Cup opener against Wales on Monday.

“Just the whole feeling to be with these guys to play on the biggest stage. You know, it’s been a dream of mine my whole life, so I’m just very excited to be here.”

Captain America is indeed ready to put on the captain’s armband for America’s team, the youngest of any side at the World Cup.

“You feel the big moments coming every day. Laying in bed at night, when it gets a day closer, you feel it a little bit more, so that’s how it goes.”

He added: “I know I can overcome those feelings and bring out hopefully my best work out on the field. So that’s the goal.”

The USA are not just the youngest side at this World Cup, they are the youngest by a considerable margin.

Remember that when watching this tournament, with an eye on the fact that next time, when the USA hosts with Mexico and Canada in 2026, this young nucleus, led by Pulisic, will be at their prime.

In other words, this is only the start, with bigger things to come.

“I feel like I’ve played in some big games,” Pulisic said this week.

“I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve done a lot of things, but what I want to do with the World Cup is something on top of all of that. It’s something when I was a kid in Pennsylvania growing up, 5 to 10 years old, that’s all I thought about was the World Cup.”

“All those emotions and stuff that you’re not ready for, it always hits you. It hits you, and you feel it,” he said.

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is Stevie Van Zandt's birthday. He is the star of the Eckhartz Press children's book "Grace's Rockin Roll Adventure."

*Today is also the anniversary of JFK's assassination. John Landecker wrote about his memories of that day in his book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name." Read the excerpt here.

*On this day in 2011, our first book got this nice write up from media writer Robert Feder, who at the time was writing for TimeOut Chicago...

    Two former Chicago radio producers, Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan, have co-written The Living Wills, a novel about “a split-second decision made 30 years ago and the ripple effects it caused.” Harnessing the power of collaborative creativity, the two improvised the book’s three interweaving story lines. Set for release December 1 by Eckhartz Press, it’s available online at Kaempfer, whose previous novel, $everance, was a brilliant satire about the radio business, also writes an impressive series of blogs, including the Chicago Radio Spotlight.

Back in the DDR