Here Comes The Sun

A sunny day is always a good thing.  Today was one of those.

Since mid-day in the middle of the week usually means fewer people at the store, we ventured out for some groceries with him staying in the car and finding a place to park close to the entrance while her, fashionably attired with mask and gloves, used her shopping list to quickly navigate the store.

When we got home, we heard a little noise outside and looking out the window, we were pleased to see that one of our next door neighbors was safely home after an emergency operation and enjoying a little time on their patio with the rest of his family at a social distance, but obviously happy to have him back.

Later, in the afternoon, we heard the sound (rare, these days) of laughing kids.  Looking outside we saw 2 kids from the house on the other side of us playing soccer on the grassy area between our houses.  They didn’t have masks on, but they were wearing gloves.

The sun continued to shine.

It was not the end of this crisis, but just a couple of nice moments that reminded us of what normal used to be.

For now, we’ll take it.

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Jim Peterik’s “Empty Arena”

We shared this with our Facebook friends but, because we know that not all of you who follow this blog follow us on our other social media sites, we thought it might be a good thing to share it with the class here, too.

Most of you know our friend Jim Peterik of The Ides Of March and Survivor fame. Jim is truly one of the most positive people we know and now he’s put his creativity to work in a message of hope for this troubled time. For over 35 years we’ve been proud to call him a friend. We couldn’t be more proud of his latest creation and we had to share it with you.

We hope you’ll watch, listen and, if you can, please consider clicking on this link to donate to the MusiCares foundation from the Grammy organization, helping musicians in need.

Thank you … and don’t forget to wash your hands.

Posted in Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Music, Partly Personal, WGN, WKGC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



No, we’re not talking about the biblical kind.  Although, given our current “safer at home” state of affairs, it wouldn’t be hard to make that leap.

But, for the purpose of this blog post, we’re talking about the kind of thing that our current state of affairs made you realize.

For example, there is a low power radio station that we listen to as often as we can.  “As often as we can” usually means not very often because we lose the audio, quite frequently, when a passing plane interrupts the signal.   Yesterday we were enjoying one of the programs and commented on how clear the signal was and then realized why the signal was so clear.

There were no planes passing overhead!

Our Chicago area home is located in one of the flight paths for O’Hare International Airport.  Usually, during the day, we hear several planes a minute.  In fact, one day we decided to time them and found that, on average, we heard and/or saw a plane every 23 seconds.  Now, with airlines halting flights due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we’re lucky if we hear one or two an hour.

As much as we enjoy being able to hear more of our low powered audio favorite, when we realized the reason for the clear audio, we found it to be more than a little … unsettling.

Indeed, a revelation from our new, smaller world.

As more things reveal themselves to our eyes, ears and … hearts, we’ll share them with you.

And, as we travel through this uncharted territory, if you have any revelations to share with us, please do.  You can use the “Leave a Reply” section below this post.

We’d love to hear from you.

Stay safe!

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Isolation & Pie!

The upside of arranging the pantry…I (Johnnie) found a can of pumpkin.

Isolation and pie go well together!

Johnnie’s Isolation Pumpkin Pie

Here’s the recipe:

1 can plain ol’ pumpkin

1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

2 large eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or 1/2 tsp nutmeg & 1/2 tsp ginger 1/8 tsp salt

1 9″ unbaked pie crust

Mix pumpkin, milk and eggs til blended add salt and spices and stir well til smooth and blended.

Pour into 9″pie crust

Bake in pre-heated 425 oven for 15 mins. Lower the temp to 350 and continue baking 35-40 mins longer.  A knife tip stuck into the center should come out clean.  Center of the pie may still look a little jiggly.

Let cool and enjoy!

Store bought crusts are fine. I make a Bisquik crust that doesn’t require rolling. The dough is patted out in the pie pan.

Spray a 9″ pie pan with Pam

1 cup Bisquik (I use gluten free available in groceries & on Amazon)

4 TB (half a stick) of very cold butter. I pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Grate butter with cheese grater

Pour Bisquik into butter and mix with a fork. It will look wrong, but it will come together with the next step!

Add 2 TB of boiling water and mix add a splash more water til you can pinch dough and it sticks together.

Pour crust mix into pan and spread. Once it’s spread evenly over the bottom start pressing/patting it down. Pat it up the sides of the pan.

*You can spray you fingertips with Pam to pat and keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.

Done and yum!

Posted in Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Gluten-Free Diet, Partly Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Little “Safer At Home” Reading

Most of you know that we think Steve’s brother, Lee, is an extraordinarily good writer.

His latest blog post only underscores that point and gives one man’s perspective on this “safer at home” time we’re all going through. After you read it, you might want to scroll through previous posts and subscribe (free) to his blog. We think you’ll find a lot to like. We know we do. Here’s the link to Lee’s latest blog post.

And, if this whets your appetite for more, you might want to check out Lee’s book, “Safe Inside.”

Lee Kingsmill holding a copy of his book, “Safe Inside.”

Yeah, we know we’re biased, but we’re not going to apologize.  He really is that good!

Stay safe … inside.

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Cocooning Comfort Food

Like us and everybody we know, you’re probably spending most of your day cocooning, staying inside and venturing out only when necessary or just for a breath of fresh air.

Since we’re NOT hoarding and just trying to buy our groceries on a week to week basis, today I (Johnnie) went to the grocery store.

It was a pleasant surprise to find an abundance of fresh squeezed orange juice and equally surprising to find there are no potatoes or onions in the produce dept.😒 BUT … there are tons of packages of “Simply Potatoes” which are the base for a fantastic loaded potato soup.

If you want to give it a try:
A 20 oz bag of Simply Potato hashbrowns or chunks with onion.
Toss either or both into a soup pot.  Add a box of chicken broth or 2 cans depending on the number of bags of potatoes.
Since onion wasn’t available I’m using dried onion flakes-a palm full.  Add crushed garlic if you like.
Bring to a simmer and add a small pkg of cream cheese (in chunks) and a cup of grated cheddar (more if you want cheese potato soup).
Stir til cheeses melt.
Add a cup of milk (1/2&1/2 which was not available) or a small can of evaporated milk. Pour slowly so you can stop when the soup is thinned to your taste.
I use a potato masher and mash the combo until I get the soups consistency thick but not too thick.
I crumble up 3-4 slices of cooked bacon and stir in the soup.
When its served you can add more cheese, sour cream & more bacon ala loaded baked potato!
No it is not low cal, but it IS a meal in a bowl!

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R.I.P. Clark Weber

Like many of us who lived in the Chicago area, I (Steve) first knew him as “Mother Weber’s Oldest.”  It was a nickname Clark Weber used from the very first time I heard him on WLS.

That first time, by the way, was not in his high-profile morning slot but, rather, what may have been his very first NIGHT on WLS.  It was a night in the early 60s and, as has been the case with much of my life, I was up after Midnight.  I heard this new voice on the radio and stayed with the show long enough to know I liked what I heard.  I believe that, at some point in the show, Clark made a reference to having just segued to WLS from a station in Milwaukee.

Clark, of course, went on to a very successful run as WLS’s morning man and program director.  It was during that period, back before large corporate ownership and consultants determined a station’s playlist, that Clark played a significant role in helping to give exposure to many of Chicago’s talented groups who went on to national fame.  Speaking of talented groups, Clark was also on stage doing the introductions when I saw The Beatles at Comiskey Park, in 1965.

After WLS, Clark spent time at Chicago’s WCFL, WMAQ, WIND, WJJD and WAIT.

It was during his successful run as a talk show host at WIND that I met Clark.  He was doing the evening slot and I was doing overnights.  I have to admit that, although, at that point, my resume also included spending several years at WLS, I was more than a little “star-struck” at meeting one of my long-time radio heroes.  Clark’s personality and wonderful sense of humor put me at ease and we quickly developed a genuine friendship that lasted throughout the years.

Clark’s many accomplishments have been and will be recounted in many forums but, for the purpose of this post, I’d like to focus on a rather personal, life-changing, event or two.

While working at WIND I was living in Bolingbrook, a southwestern suburb of Chicago.  On my ride to and from the city I would scan various radio stations.  As I was scanning I noticed that the same voice I heard doing talk on an AM station was the voice I heard doing a music show on an FM station.  It was a very talented female named Johnnie Putman.

One night while getting ready to head in to WIND, I was listening to Clark and heard a female voice calling in to comment about his current topic.  It was Johnnie.  When I got to the station, I mentioned the call to Clark.  I told him that I recognized the caller as the versatile suburban radio personality I’d been listening to.  He remembered the call and said he’d been impressed by her.   It just so happened that, at that time, there was an on-air opening at WIND.  Clark and I went to WIND’s Program Director, Susan Eggleton, and suggested she might want to take a look/listen to Johnnie.

I’ll let Johnnie jump in and pick it up from there.

In the late 70’s I (Johnnie) was a baby talk show host in Aurora when Clark would hear me while flying his plane in and out of the Aurora Airport.  One evening on WIND, Clark’s topic was “Getting The Job Of Your Dreams” and his in-studio guest was an actor I’d done an independent film with.  I called in to say hi and Clark turned the tables and started interviewing me.  Steve (who I had not yet met but, who had heard me from his home in Bolingbrook) happened to be listening as he was driving in to the station, recognized my voice and mentioned the call to Clark.

The planets were in alignment and, indeed, there was an opening at WIND Radio and Clark and Steve recommended me to the PD.  I was hired by phone based on their recommendation.  No tape, no audition!

When I got to WIND to train Clark invited me to spend Friday nights with him on the air in “The Boom Boom Room”.  By having me on Friday nights he was telling the audience to give the girl a chance.

A few years later my family heard I was getting married when Clark announced my engagement to Steve on the air.  We newlyweds spent lovely evenings with him and Joan enjoying Clark’s homemade peach ice cream.

Clark was a walking history of rock radio and a pioneer in the art of hosting talk shows.
I’m sorry we hadn’t talked in a awhile but, happy that when his book came out he spent a few late night hours in the WGN studios with us talking about his amazing life.

Steve, Clark Weber & Johnnie at WGN

Clark will always be remembered for helping to put our lives on the wonderful trajectory it has taken.  We’re so glad we got to thank him.

Rest in peace dear friend.

Posted in Partly Personal, Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments