Thursday Night We’re on WGN with Patti Vasquez!

Just a quick reminder in case you didn’t see it on our Events page.

Thursday 4/19/18

11PM till ??  — Since WGN Radio is moving to a new location in the not to distant future, we’ll be stopping in to the Michigan Ave. Showcase Studio for one last time to stay up “Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez.”

Steve & Johnnie with Patti Vasquez

We hope you’ll tune in to 720 AM or, if you’re not in the Chicago area, you can still join listen and watch by clicking this link to WGN Radio’s live stream.

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34 years ago, April 7th, 1984, we started an exciting journey.

HimNHer, April 7, 1984

34 years later, as we look back, we cherish the memories, but we’re also excited to take each others hands and step into the future as the next chapters unfold.

HimNHer, 2018

We’re truly blessed and we know it!

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

As I (Steve) write this, it’s March 17.  Today would have been my Mom’s 108th birthday.  I’ve always appreciated how the city of Chicago turns the Chicago river green to remember my Mom.  Oh, I know some people think it has something to do with St. Patrick, but Johnnie, my brother, Lee, and I know it’s really all about Mom.

Steve, Johnnie, Mary Elizabeth Carroll and Steve’s brother, Lee.

Yes, she was as Irish as they come.  The former Mary Elizabeth Carroll’s parents met in County Cork, in Ireland and, not that long after, a boat landed them on this country’s shores.  Mom LOVED potatoes and it was not unusual for her to have a potato along with her potato soup.  She also loved Johnnie’s seasonal decorations.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

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2017 & a Half (?!?) Mazda 6 Touring Road Test!

Our Video Road Test of the 2017.5 (REALLY!) Mazda 6 Grand Touring has just been posted on Consumer Guide Automotive’s Daily Drive website.  So, just what the heck does 2017.5 mean and does it still come equipped with Mazda’s “zoom-zoom?”  Just click on the link above and see for yourself.

2017.5 Mazda 6 Grand Touring

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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A Blatant Plug Brought To You By The Letter “B”

Over the years, those of you who joined us while we hung out inside your radio speakers would, now and then, hear us turn on the “Blatant Plug Light” which meant that we were about to suggest you think about listening to, reading, seeing or buying something we were going to talk about.  Many times these “Blatant Plugs” would not be sponsor related, but something we were just enthusiastic about and wanted to bring to your attention.

Well, we’re turning on the “Blatant Plug” light for this blog post and it’s brought to you by the letter “B,” not for “Blatant” but, rather , for book, blog and brother.

Full disclosure, the brother, Lee, is mine (Steve) and the book and the blog are his.  And, full disclosure not withstanding, this isn’t being written because Lee is my brother, it’s being written because the book and the blog are really THAT good.

The book is called “Safe Inside” and it’s published by Chicago’s Eckhartz Press.  So, what’s it about?  Well, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so let’s go with this synopsis from the Eckhartz Press website.

“The south side of Chicago in the 1940’s, a time when divorce, mental illness, and one’s sexuality were not discussed. A Catholic child finds escape inside opulent movie palaces and the equally opulent world of his own fantasies. As a young man, he attempts a final escape to the army, only to discover, in Alaska, that he has not left all his demons behind.”

And, if you’d like a little more of a peek at what’s between the covers, just click on this link to Lee’s WGN radio interview with Nick Digilio.

Over the ten or so years that Lee was writing the book he would let Johnnie, me and a few other friends see chapters as they were finished.  From the very first chapter I was swept up into the story and wanted more.  This book did what the best books I have ever read did to me.  It made me want to keep reading and not put it down but, on the other hand, it made me want to take-my-time because I really wanted to savor this experience.  I wouldn’t have turned on the “Blatant Plug” light if I didn’t think you’d want to savor it, too.

So, what about the brother’s blog?  Well, you can read Lee’s “Me Now” blog just by clicking on this link.  It is, not surprisingly, a very personal take on life, movies, plays, Opera and whatever else Lee’s muse puts in his keyboard’s path.  If you like it as much as I think you will, I hope you’ll click on the option to follow the blog via e-mail so, just like this blog, you’ll be notified when something new is posted.

I know, I know, some of you are rolling your eyes and saying/thinking “Yeah, sure, not because he’s his brother, it’s really THAT good.”  Well … yeah.  The book and the blog are really THAT good.

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the fact that, along with being a REALLY good brother, Lee is a REALLY good writer.  He really does have the best words and he knows how to use them.  I hope you’ll take a look at them.


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St. Paddy’s Day Is Nigh!

And, if you follow our adventures with any regularity, you know that means the  leprechauns have busy at our house!

Sure n’ begorrah there are TWO trees this year!!

And, sprinkled among the trees….

And ….

Here’s hoping the luck of the Irish finds itself smiling down on you, too!

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Autoimmune Hepatitis And Guitars?!?

Trust me, they’re related.  And, not just because I have both.

So, I guess I have some ‘splaining to do.

I’ll start with the Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) side of the equation and, for those of you who have been nice enough to request another update on how I’m doing and for those from some of the Autoimmune Hepatitis groups who are now checking this blog, fill you in on the latest part of my AIH adventure.

Honestly, while my weekly blood work results underscore that things are continuing to improve and some days I can absolutely tell that’s true, some days continue to be a lot more challenging than I might like.  Medicine induced insomnia means that, more often than not,  I’m up in the middle of the night.  Fortunately, my years spent in bands and inside your radio speakers overnights have me more than a little familiar with that “Life After Dark” lifestyle.  Still, a night or any combination of more than one hour’s sleep would be more than a little welcome.

Fatigue and lightheadedness rear their heads quite regularly.  Some days, the best course is to just hunker down and let the rest of the world do the best it can without my help.  For the lion’s share of our time in Panama City Beach the days when the world has been left to it’s own devices have outnumbered the days when I felt well enough to be in the on deck circle.

BUT, there have been some days when I felt a bit better and wanted to get up and out.  On those days, because of my suppressed autoimmune system, a destination such as a mall or busy restaurant crowded with people doesn’t even come close to the agenda.

So, here is where the guitar part of the equation comes in.

Being the wise woman that she is and having been through this drill before, Johnnie understands the importance of maximizing the good days.  She also understands that the only curvy blondes other than her that I want to hold have names like Taylor, Gibson, Gretsch, Epiphone and Fender.  So, when she saw there was a guitar listed on Facebook’s local marketplace that I had expressed an interest in, she was all about “Let’s take a drive and see it.”  Fortunately, not only was it a day when I was feeling better, but it was also a warm day when the sun was out and providing us with some of the Gulf Coast’s great visuals as we drove to meet the seller.

When we met the seller and were introduced to the guitar, a 1989 Epiphone Emperor, not only was it love at first strum but, as it turned out, this guitar had a rather interesting history.

The gentleman selling the guitar was a music teacher who bought it from a friend whose father used to play it on the Grand Ole Opry. Apparently, it was a custom order that included the Chet Atkins style Bigsby. Inside the case were some set lists, some with just song titles and keys along with some religious set lists.

Supposedly, the original owner also was associated with American Bandstand.  I’m doing what I can to research these stories but, regardless of the outcome, I fell in love with the guitar and it’s now happily hanging around my neck and, on those days when I need to let the rest of the world function on its own, a little “guitar therapy” helps me to feel a lot better than I might. 

On another of the “better” days, I took the guitar to Matt Law, a terrific local luthier and performer who did a little tweaking that my new found friend needed.  It feels and plays like a new guitar and now does an even better job of making me feel even better.

Some of you have probably already figured out what this guitar has to do with my current adventure with Autoimmune Hepatitis but, in case you haven’t and, in particular, if you are one of this blog’s readers who is also wrestling with Autoimmune Hepatitis, here is the point I’m trying to make.  This is about as far from a fun adventure as you can find.  And, in most cases it is a long haul.  So, anytime you can do something that helps lift your spirits, fight the depression and get through a better day feeling even better or a bad day feeling not quite as bad DO IT!

If, like me, guitars trip your trigger, great!  But, obviously, it doesn’t matter.  If it’s knitting, cars, games, books, computers, reading, painting, writing …. whatever, DO IT!  Yes, there will be a lot of days when even making the effort to do something you enjoy is taking all the effort you can muster, but it’s REALLY worth it.  BE GOOD TO YOURSELF.  The more you can use whatever your “trigger-tripping” thing is to make you feel better, the more you’re helping your mind and body to relax and get better.  Stack the deck in your favor.  There is no downside.

OK, sorry if I’ve rambled on too much for some of you.  Today has been a VERY good day and I just wanted to share.

Now, I’m going to back away from this computer go hug my cute blonde live-in nurse and then go put my arms around that Epiphone.




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