2014 Lexus RX 450h Video Road Test

Is the phrase “hybrid SUV” an oxymoron or an idea who’s time has come?  Take a look at our Video Road Test of the 2014 Lexus RX 450h on Consumer Guide Automotive’s Daily Drive website and see what you think?

And don’t forget, if you want to check some of our previous road tests and some of the other goodies we’ve been pouring into the Daily Drive tank, just point your browser right here.

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And, that’s “30!”

We know what you’re thinking.  In newspaper jargon, “30″ means the end.  Well, in our case, yes, today we put a wrap on 30 … years and we’re looking forward to, at LEAST, 30 more.

Some thoughts on “30″ from Him …

I know this isn’t “Throwback Thursday,” but allow me to share a memory or two. This picture was taken in 1982. It was just after Johnnie and I had finished broadcasting from the “Air & Water Show.” We had been working together for quite a while but, this day, for some reason, while walking down Michigan Ave. back to WIND’s studios, we both realized that, beyond the personal appearances we’d been making, SOMETHING was going on. On a beautiful sunny day we went into the Hancock Center and this photo was taken. Today, April 7, marks our 30th Wedding Anniversary. All these years later, I am still struck by, among other things, her beautiful smile and how lucky I am to wake up to it each day. Happy Anniversary, baby…I love you.

S&J Hancock photo

Some thoughts on “30″ from Her …

It was Christmas of ’83 when we were engaged under my folks Christmas tree. 3 months and 13 days later we were married. Why wait we asked? People, including complete strangers were compelled to say “you’ll never get a church”, “dress…areyou kidding?”, “reception halls are booked years in advance”! But, we did it! 30 years ago today we got all of the above and more (like a free professional video of our wedding thanks to CBS TV’s Lee Phillip who needed wedding footage for a documentary she was doing on divorce!). To this day I’m amazed that everything, including the dress of my dreams came together even within our measly budget. Finally, at 2 that Sat. afternoon we stood before a priest, rabbi and minister* and said “I do”. Everyday since, I DO know how lucky I am! I married the kindest, most unselfish (both very sexy traits) loving person I know and that makes me the luckiest girl in the world! Thank you Steve, for a wonderful 30 years…I love you.

*Our wedding was officiated by members of WIND Radio’s “God Squad”.

S&J engagement pix

And that’s “30″ … and it’s just the beginning.

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WGNGold.com is back!!

For those of you who have been asking about WGNGold.com, we’ve got some VERY good news.  It’s back!!

Now you can check out some of our WGN Radio audio archives.  And, for a time-warp look at just how much black Steve has dressed in over the years as well as some pretty cool pix of some of the many talented people who were nice enough to share some time with us, check out our WGN Radio photo archives.

Of course, it’s not just all about us.  If you’re one of the many who have been a fan of one of the world’s great radio stations you’ll find a lot of your favorite broadcasters and a lot of great radio history sprinkled all over the site.  WGN Radio’s “Web Daddys,” Dave Marzullo and Art Nasseri, have been hard at work making sure this would be something special.  We may be biased, but we think they’ve done a terrific job.  Knowing Dave and Art, this is just the first installment of what promises to be a fun adventure.

Hmmm … that reminds us, as we’ve been going over some of our personal archives for research on one of the books we’re working on, we’ve come across a stash of some of our in-studio video performances.  Now, what should we do with them?

We’ve got a few ideas, but they may take a little time.  We know Dave and Art are more than a little busy and we’re under a couple of deadlines ourselves.  But, you never know what the future holds and while you’re waiting you have a fun new/old place on the Internet to hang out.

 

 

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2014 Hyundai Azera Limited Video Road Test

A brand new model of our Video Road Test has just pulled on to Consumer Guide Automotive’s Daily Drive website.  To see our review of the 2014 Hyundai Azera Limited just click on this link.

And don’t forget, if you want to check some of our previous road tests and some of the other goodies we’ve been pouring into the Daily Drive tank, just point your browser right here.

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Half A Century Of Beatles Already?!?

It’s hard to pick up a paper or magazine, turn on your TV or radio, troll Facebook or just about any other place on the Internet without being reminded of the fact that this Sunday night, Feb. 9, marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Pundits are doing what they do and weighing in with just how much of a cultural event this was and is.  So, we’re going to leave that part to them.  However, since, partly due to our age difference, we both have a little different perspective on that landmark Sullivan show, we thought it might be fun to share some of our individual thoughts about that night and a few other bits of “Beatlemania” that found their way into our lives.

Steve “Saw them STANDING There” …

By 1964 I had already made several records and, as a working musician, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about and, additionally, see if there were any songs or parts of their performance that I might want to incorporate into my own live shows.  So, along with 73 MILLION other viewers I made sure I was in front of the TV that night.

It may seem like heresy but, although I was tuned in, it took a while before I got turned on to The Beatles.  Honestly, my first reaction to their live performance was that it was OK, but it didn’t knock me out.  See, I was used to the gyrations of Elvis, the duck walking of Chuck Berry, the piano bench kicking and piano burning of Jerry Lee Lewis or the splits and jumps of Jackie Wilson and, given all the pre-show hype, I was a little surprised that, for the most part, while The Beatles played they just stood there.  Add to that their inclusion of “Till There Was You” from Meredith Wilson’s Broadway production “The Music Man” and I found myself really needing the straight ahead Rock & Roll chaser of “I Saw Her Standing There” to grab my musical palate.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t like them at first look.  It just took a little longer for me to become an absolute FAN.  By the release of The Beatles’ Second Album the transformation had taken place, I was paying a lot more attention to their writing and harmony and knew that something special was going on.  I guess the “take away” from my introduction to The Beatles is that, while I knew that first TV appearance was important, that appearance, in and of itself, didn’t have the impact on me that it did on most people.

The REAL impact, for me as a working musician, was becoming aware of the incredible musical talent that group contained.  It became the norm for me to have my reel to reel tape recorder turned on anytime a new Beatles “exclusive” song was being premiered so I could see where they were going next and try my best to learn what they were doing as quickly as possible.

By August of 1965 I was a full-blown FAN and was in the audience for The Beatles afternoon appearance at Comisky Park.  My lasting memories are trying to hear the songs in the midst of the deafening screams that were a constant from the start to the end of their performance.  I also remember John Lennon sending the crowd into an even bigger frenzy when, at the end of their performance, while the rest of the group was exiting one side of the stage, he ran to the other as if he was running toward the fans.  The crowd went wilder, if possible, and John quickly ran back to join the rest of the group.

Many years later, I got the chance to play a small part in The Beatles’ history.  While at WLS, in the 70′s, we started featuring “Got To Get You Into My Life” from The Beatles’ “Rock ‘N’ Roll Music” album.  The spotlight we gave that cut helped it to become a major hit.  Capital Records showed their appreciation by presenting us with a gold record.

Steve's gold record for helping make The Beatles' "Got To Get You Into My Life" a hit.

Steve’s gold record for helping make The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life” a hit

Johnnie’s “Hard Day’s Night” …

Unlike Steve, 50 years ago I wasn’t “tuned” to the radio…I was 8 and busy with my Barbies, Easy Bake Oven, accordion lessons and television.  If I wasn’t in church on Sunday nights I was in front of the television for the Ed Sullivan Show.

The week leading up to February 9th I made plans to spend the night at my girlfriend’s house down the street so we could watch the Beatles together.  I hurried to Linda’s house before dark already in my pj’s.  I’d had dinner at home so, we planned on ice cream and cookies for the “big shew.”  We were going to be sleeping on the living room hide-a-bed sofa which was already pulled out and made for us with the television warmed up beside it.  We got two big bowls of ice cream and crawled up in the bed as the show was starting.  By a minute into the Beatles first performance we were on our knees in the middle of the bed.

Whew…finally a break and the knowledge that they would be coming back for another performance! I leapt off the bed with two glass soup bowls in hand intending to run them into the kitchen.  The tail of my gown caught on a bar that extended from the sofa bed. I was yanked back and lost my balance dropping the bowls onto the hardwood floor and I landed on top.  

It took a minute to realize all the blood was coming from me.  Linda was in the bed bouncing and begging me to hurry, hurry or I’d miss the next song and then…I heard her scream.  It was a B-horror movie blood curdling kind of scream! Her dear mother, Alice swept in with a bath towel and quickly wrapped my hand in it all the while begging me to look away.  I have a vague recollection of sitting on the closed toilet seat in her lap watching blood soak through the towel while her husband, James, called my parents.  

I have few clear memories after that. I remember my Dad being told he shouldn’t look and we had to get to the hospital fast. I must have been in shock because the next thing I remember is my Dad passing out!  It seems once I was taken into the ER at Augustana Hospital he followed and looked in the bowl where my finger was floating.  My pinky was actually hanging on by a ligament thread.  

The amazing thing is 50 years ago a good doctor decided to “try” and reattach my finger using a RUBBERBAND to give it flexibility.  It worked!!  Of course, I wouldn’t know that until I had completed weeks of physical therapy.  But, I look at that little finger today and I’m thankful it wasn’t thrown in the trash and that a doctor who was probably ahead of his time did some inventive surgery.  He thought enough of it to save it so, I treasure it and the memory of Linda saying ‘I can’t believe you missed the Beatles singing … “I Want to Hold Your Hand!”‘  Ouch!

Johnnie's pinky sacrifice for The Beatles

Johnnie’s pinky sacrifice for The Beatles

“And in the end” ….

So, as you can see, we each have our own, rather unique, Beatles’ souvenirs.  Together, one of the highlights of our concert going remains seeing Paul McCartney at the Rosemont Horizon.  Being a part of that audience as we all listened and sang along to some of The Beatles’ classics really brought home how wonderfully galvanizing The Beatles music was and is to multiple generations of fans.

The Beatles 50 years on?  Yeah, yeah, yeah!!

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2014 Dodge Durango Limited Video Road Test

The latest edition of our Video Road Test has just pulled on to Consumer Guide Automotive’s Daily Drive website.  To see our review of the 2014 Dodge Durango Limited, just click on this link.

And don’t forget, if you want to check some of our previous road tests and some of the other goodies we’ve been pouring into the Daily Drive tank, just point your browser right here.

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Happy New Year!!

As we end, what has been for us, a very busy, fun 2013 and welcome in 2014, we had to take a minute and say a VERY sincere THANK YOU to you for continuing to hang out with us and extend our wishes for 2014 to show you all the kindness, friendship and love you have shown us.

Steve & Johnnie under the Tribune Tower tree

Steve & Johnnie under the Tribune Tower tree

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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