Posts Tagged ‘Max Bumgardner’

High School Confidential

March 18, 2014

Sunday March 16th, 2014 – Petersburg, IL

By all that is logical, I should have gotten up early this morning and driven home to get at least a little work done on at least one of the too many projects I’ve got going. It’s not all that long of a drive from Springfield, IL to Island Lake, IL but I decided to veer off course and take a detour.

My friend Max Bumgardner’s son Dustin landed the lead role in his high school musical called “Back To The ‘80s”, and the last performance was this afternoon at 4:30. Max and his family are based in Petersburg, IL which is about 30 miles from Springfield. His wife Chris was born there, and went to the same high school Dustin and daughter Skylar now attend. Dustin is almost done.

Max and I have been friends since we worked in radio at 97.9 ‘The Loop’ in Chicago in 2004, and since then we have transitioned from friends to virtual family. I’ve watched both of his kids grow up from cute little tykes to now high school students with bright futures. He and Chris did a terrific job as parents, and both Dustin and Skylar have paths of ripe opportunity ahead of them.

I have watched them both grow up, and couldn’t miss the chance to watch Dustin’s moment of glory in high school. He graduates in June, and this was his finest hour. He’s always been a super sweet kid, but he’s very sensitive and shy to the point of appearing distant. I was thrilled for him.

Max has always been concerned that Dustin might have a challenge finding his stride because of his low key demeanor, and I can see a parent’s concern for a child. It’s only natural to want to protect one’s flesh and blood, but after seeing Dustin on stage for his big showbiz debut, I know beyond certainty Max and Chris have nothing to worry about. That kid has a glowing hot future.

It sure doesn’t hurt that at 18 Dustin is 6’2” and has movie star good looks. He and Skylar both hit genetic grand slams, as she is a stunning blonde beauty herself. It’s one thing for parents to be proud of their kids, but I have nothing at stake here. Max and Chris are both good looking human specimens in their own right, but their kids are off the charts. Both of them should be in movies.

According to Max and Chris, Skylar has no interest in pursuing anything in show business. She is an athlete all the way, and loves to play basketball. I’ve seen a couple of her games in the past, and I cheer loudly and proudly for both of them no matter what they do. They are family to me.

Max always tells me how big of a fan of mine Dustin is, and he plays my CDs and DVD all the time and can do my routines by heart from memory. Last time I was in town he was finally of the age where he could sit in the audience at Donnie B’s and he had a blast. It was his first live show and he really loved it. The least I could do was support his show in return. This was his big day.

I arrived at Max’s house right at 3pm. Dustin and Skylar happened to be leaving, and their faces lit up upon seeing mine. It immediately told me I made the correct decision, even though it ended up using an entire day I could have used to work on my own stuff. I’m glad I went. Dustin was a smash, and I was just as proud as if he was my own son. Skylar too. This is what life is all about, and I’m especially proud of Max for breaking the chain. These two kids are SO not dented cans.

My friend Max Bumgardner and his wife Chris are breaking the chain with their two children who are not dented cans.

My friend Max Bumgardner and his wife Chris are breaking the chain with their two children who are not dented cans.

Their son Dustin had the lead role in his high school musical 'Back To The '80s'. I had to be there.

Their son Dustin had the lead role in his high school musical ‘Back To The ’80s’. I had to be there.

Advertisements

The Polish Princess

December 29, 2013

Saturday December 28th, 2013 – Tucson, AZ

I’m still riding sky high and then some from all that’s been happening in the last few days, but I’m not naïve enough to think my problems are over for good. Life will still go on – troubles and all – and I’ve still got lots of work to do in a lot of areas. The thing that will make it better is that I will finally have an opportunity to live my life without the tumor that’s been there for so long.

I called my radio friend Max Bumgardner to tell him what’s been developing. Max is a dented can too, and we’ve really bonded because of it. He totally gets my situation, and I get his. We’ve often talked each other off of the ledge, but today I called to tell him how thrilled I was that all of this is happening. I couldn’t get through it without weeping openly, but they were all tears of joy.

There is such strong emotion here, it’s almost scary to talk about it. These feelings run so deep I’m not sure where they end. These are feelings we’re all born with, and the need to bond with a family is something we all share. When it’s been amputated early, there’s a lot of damage done.

This all feels so good I can’t fully describe it in words. Even if it blows up in my face – and for all I know it totally could – I’m not going to let it defeat me. I don’t think it will at all, but I have a thick skin about it since it’s been a source of pain for so long. I assumed it would be permanent so this is nothing but a huge bonus. I am loving every second of it, and it’s been a blissful event.

The other thing that’s been missing in my life is the closeness of a family of my own. Now that the healing process has begun on one end, the next step will be to find someone with whom I can build a lasting love relationship. I’ve always been guarded in this area, and the reason is obvious.

That blockage is gone now, so there’s no excuse for me not to have someone special in my life to share my adventure with. I’m not sure who it will be, but I know there’s someone out there for me and I’m putting it out there to allow it to happen. I never thought it was possible for what has begun to happen with my siblings, but it has. If that can take place, anything else is a possibility.

When I was about 21, there was a girl named Kim who worked at a bank that totally did it for me. She was 18, and what a knockout. She had beautiful eyes, a mane of hair that always looked great and a dazzling smile. She was a Polish girl, and had a pair of pierogis that were hypnotic.

I was totally smitten, and would wait in line at the bank to have her wait on me. Sometimes the line would move to where I’d miss her, but then I’d pretend I forgot to fill out my deposit slip or something and go back to the end of the line so I’d get to talk to her. Geeky yes, but so worth it.

Through the miracle of Facebook, I was able to reconnect with Kim a couple of years ago, and we’ve written back and forth and even talked on the phone a few times. She’s divorced with two beautiful kids, and of all the women I’ve ever met she’d be my first round draft choice if I had to choose just one. She still looks great, and there’s just something about her that rattles my cage.

I wrote her a letter and told her of what’s going on in my life. I’m not sure what her situation is but I told her if she’s single I’d love to get together at least for lunch and just talk a little. Maybe she’ll blow me off, but that’s ok. If it’s not her, someone will eventually say yes. I’m ready now.

When I was 21, the hottest woman I ever saw was a Polish girl who worked at a bank in Milwaukee.

When I was 21, the hottest woman I ever saw was a Polish girl who worked at a bank in Milwaukee.

An Infamous Anniversary

December 18, 2013

Monday December 16th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

This is a date that has lots of personal significance – none of which I care to celebrate. It was in 2004 on this infamous date that I was unceremoniously shown the door at ‘The Loop’ in Chicago along with my friends Max Bumgardner and Spike Manton. It was a blow that we still feel today.

That was our shot at the big time, and we were just starting to hit stride. Nobody predicted that the company would be sold, and we were classic examples of ‘wrong place, wrong time’. It’s too late to change it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. We all took a direct shot to the face.

And if that wasn’t enough, December 16th is also the date in 1991 I rented a car and picked up my childhood best friend and my cousin Brett and we set off for Las Vegas. None of us had ever been there before, and it was supposed to be an adventure. It turned out to be a whole lot more.

Little did Brett and I know that my lifelong friend had robbed a bank where he used to work as head of security, and had two duffle bags full of stolen bank money in the trunk of that rental car as we drove across America. I wouldn’t find out for almost a year, and it ended up becoming the most painful thing I ever had to do – testify on a witness stand and send that “friend” to prison.

I still have nightmares occasionally, and I try not to let my mind go back there but on days like today I can’t help it. It seems like a different person in a different lifetime, but it really happened and it’s a hell of a story. I can say that with full confidence because I didn’t write one word of it.

It just happened, and I got tangled up in the middle. He decided he was going to rob that bank, and I had no idea I would end up involved. Then he decided to pull it off again a year and a half later, and circumstances forced me to have to testify against him and clear my name. At the end of the day he robbed the bank and I didn’t, and I wasn’t going to prison on anyone else’s behalf.

The whole story saddens me to think about, but the fact remains it is a hell of a story. There are lots of twists and turns, and anyone who hears it always says “Wow, that’s a movie!” I agree, but I wish I didn’t have to live through the nightmare that ended up taking several years to play out.

The “happy” ending was that I testified against someone that was closer than my blood brother, and he went to prison. It was a relief when the trial was over, but it was also painful. We’d come through a lot together, and he decided he wanted to be the bad boy and get even with life for the hand he was dealt. He’s a dented can too, and that was his way of fighting back. BIG mistake.

Tonight I was interviewed on WGN radio with Patti Vasquez. Patti does standup comedy, but also goes back and forth to Los Angeles pitching ideas of all kinds. She takes a cut of what gets sold, and she really hustles. I respect her tenacity, and she has agreed to pitch this story when she has an opportunity. We thought it would be a good idea to get the main outline recorded on air.

I told the story in about twenty minutes over two segments. I could see the others in the studio become riveted as usually happens. I’m telling you, it’s a fascinating story that listeners get lost in when they hear it, and I know it needs to see the light of day. Was it coincidence that Patti’s radio invite came on the anniversary? Who knows? What I do know is it’s an unforgettable tale.

I was on AM 720 WGN radio this morning telling a true story I still can't believe happened, but it did.

I was on AM 720 WGN radio in Chicago this morning telling a true story I still can’t believe actually happened – but it totally did.

Patti Vasquez has a show from 11pm to 2am on Sunday night/Monday morning. Thanks to her for having me on the air. www.pattivasquez.com.

Patti Vasquez hosts a show from 11pm to 2am on Sunday night/Monday morning on WGN. Thanks to her for having me on the air. http://www.pattivasquez.com.

One Man Bind

October 1, 2013

Sunday September 29th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I’m working about as hard as a one man band can, but it’s becoming very obvious I need to put a functioning team together if I’m ever going to rise above my current level of achievement. That can be a challenge for anyone, but it’s especially tough for anyone with deep rooted trust issues.

Dented cans share the unfortunate common experience of being deeply scorched emotionally at an early age – usually by those closest to us that are traditionally supposed to be our most trusted and biggest supporters. Are there any strippers or porn stars that don’t have some daddy tweak?

What about serial killers? Do any of them come from healthy and productive homes? There are almost always exceptions to every rule, but try as I might I can’t think of even one example here. I highly doubt Ted Bundy’s pop took him fishing every summer or his mom baked him cookies.

I realize nobody’s life is perfect and we all have humps in our past we’re trying to get over, but some of us have had to go through certain levels of hell that were simply not designed for a child of any age to endure. It’s not our fault, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to live with the pain.

There are only a precious few I can talk about this with who truly get it. My cousin Brett is one and my friend Max Bumgardner is another. Most others will casually say “Get over it,” or “Let it go.” That’s like telling an alcoholic to “Stop drinking” and expect that to be a one time cure all.

It didn’t help that I chose the career with the biggest failure and rejection rate of all, but maybe it was because I’m so used to disappointment it just felt comfortable. At this point I don’t have a clue other than I know I need to do something other than I have been doing. That isn’t working.

If I’m ever going to have a chance at the big prize, I’m going to have to trust someone – even if it ends up grinding my heart into confetti as it has so many times before. That doesn’t sound very appealing, but it’s a risk all winners must take. It’s just harder for dented cans, as we’ve felt such severe pain when everything blows up. It clouds our thinking when it comes to picturing success.

I wish I didn’t have to talk about this at all, but it’s very real and I put it out there because I am by far not the only one dealing with it. I know for a fact it has held me back in many areas of my life from business to personal relationships, and if I don’t overcome it soon I will never succeed.

Today I went through all the projects I’m working on, and came up with a list of the top dozen people I think could help me most right now. That would be a great place to start practicing what I’m preaching, and throw it out there. I have a rock solid list of contacts, but I am often reluctant to ask for anything because I’m afraid I’ll owe them or something. I don’t know, but it’s a quirk.

I read an article recently that talked about the way to get over one’s biggest fear is to look right down the barrel of the gun and do it anyway. It takes a prodigious pair to pull that off, but I have rarely backed down from challenges in my life so it’s either get it done or live a life unfulfilled.

I need to be the head of several winning teams for all my projects to succeed. Period. I can’t do it myself, and I’d be stupid for trying. As much as it scares me, I need to trust some other people.

cartoons

The Chain Breaker

August 23, 2013

Wednesday August 21st, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

    For one million dollars free and clear in unmarked $50 bills, I couldn’t honestly tell you what I did on my 18th birthday. That was such a long time ago now it just blends in to the big blur that is life. One would assume it should be a special event to be cherished forever, but it wasn’t for me.

   I know what I didn’t do. I didn’t get high or drunk, as that’s never been my style. I didn’t have any parties or celebrations either. There was no big family get together or anything like that. My life was never ‘normal’, and by that time it was already going in a different direction than most.

   That direction was south. I was on my own by 17, having to scrape together a living by night as I finished high school during the day. I seriously thought about dropping out, but my grandfather was in the final stages of cancer and made it his last request that I finish. My father dropped out, and Gramps was completely embarrassed by it. I didn’t want to cause him more pain so I did it.

   I started my adult life in a big hole, and I’ve been digging my way out ever since. I had no time to party and chase chicks like most other kids my age, so I did what I had to do to survive. By the time I was 21 I was already getting started in comedy, and it was a long uphill climb from there.

   My birthday is in March, and Gramps died in December of the year I turned 18. That’s when I needed him most, but too bad for me. When he died, the already delicate relationships I had with the rest of the family collapsed immediately and World War III broke out in full bloody combat.

   My belligerent old man who was never there for me suddenly tried to step in and call the shots in my life and that went over like an accordion in Led Zeppelin. At first I tried the polite route to make an attempt at a father-son relationship, but that lasted just a few weeks before it got ugly.

   I don’t take bullies well, and that’s exactly what that bastard was – especially to anyone weaker or smaller than him. He treated all of his children like personal property, and I for one absolutely refused to take it. I got in his face, and the more I stood up to him the more he would back down.

   It’s never a pleasant time to be at war with one’s father, but that was an especially volatile time to be in that situation. Adolescence and puberty and all that goes with them are difficult enough, but not having parental support makes it downright scary. I’m surprised I didn’t turn to booze or drugs or crime, but I didn’t. For whatever reason, that just wasn’t in me. It’s not my personality.

   I vowed I was going to prove to everyone – especially the cantankerous ogre that was supposed to be a nurturing father and not my most hated enemy – that I was better than where I came from, and I wasn’t going to let anyone take my life or my dreams away from me. I chased the showbiz dream thinking I’d ace it in a hurry, but that provided a whole new set of political games to play.

   I made a ton of mistakes in comedy, but there was nobody there to reel me in. Gramps was the one steadying mentor figure in my life, but he was long gone at the time I needed guidance most. I made my choices with very limited perspective, and it launched my life path on an unnecessary detour that diluted my dream. With all of that on my plate, I’m surprised I made it as far as I did.

   What really hurt was the bubbling cauldron of anger I carried with me for so many years. I lost years of productive time I should have been growing and learning to focus on getting revenge on a psychopath who shouldn’t have had children in the first place. What a useless waste of youth.

   The reason I’m trudging up all this ancient mud from the past is my friend Max Bumgardner’s son Dustin turned 18 today. I couldn’t be more proud of Dustin if he was my own son – and Max is as high on my list as anyone can get. He’s one of my closest confidants and has been for years.

   Not only do I think Max is unbelievably talented and one of the smartest people I know – he is also a big time dented can. Max’s father is frighteningly similar to mine, and I knew right away when we first met that we were kindred spirits. Max has fought his whole life to break out of his father’s shadow, and his path has been no easier than mine. It’s like trying to sprint in knee deep sloppy mud while carrying two full bags of groceries and a watermelon. It’s an impossible task.

   Max and I became close when we worked on the morning show at 97.9 ‘The Loop’ in Chicago in 2004, but after we got fired we became even closer. He struggled with a lot of the same issues I did, and more than a few times we’d talk each other off a cliff when things got really difficult.

   We kept each other going, and were one of the few people the other could go to when life took a nasty turn. Dented cans can only relate to the pain of other dented cans, much like women trade stories about how painful their pregnancies were. I can sympathize, but I can’t truly empathize.

    I knew exactly where Max’s pain was coming from, and he knew mine. I never met his father, but we talked on the phone a few times on the radio. He actually seemed kind of nice, but that’s a very common trait of psychotic tyrants. Ted Bundy was nice enough to lure his victims to where he could do his deeds, and that was it. It was an act. My father often appeared gentle to outsiders.

    The pride of Max’s life has always been his two kids Dustin and Skylar. I have watched them both successfully grow from cute kids to solid young adults. Max has gone out of his way to be a world class father, and he has done a spectacular job. I remember sitting with Max and Dustin at a Bears game in Chicago in 2004, and what a beautiful father-son moment it was for those two.

   Max tells me all the time that Dustin looks up to me as an uncle figure. He plays my CDs over and over and Max told me I’m his ‘personal Rodney Dangerfield’. I remember how much I loved Rodney when I was that age, and to be put in that class is as flattering as it gets. I’m very grateful to have had Max and his family as friends all this time, and to see Dustin turn 18 is a major thrill.

   I don’t see Dustin all that often these days, but through the years we’ve enjoyed all kinds of fun times. I could see at an early age he was a wonderful kid filled to the brim with potential. He has an extremely sharp mind and is a gentle and loving soul – just like his dad. He’s got all the tools.

   He will have problems as we all do, but there won’t be that ugliness that goes with being from a rotten family situation. Any of us who have been through it know how sickening it is, and those who didn’t never truly will. I’m glad they won’t, and wish nobody had to. It’s not how I thought life should be – but for some of us it is. Dustin Bumgardner caught a break, and I’m glad he did.

   Max and I are always going to have deep scars of a painful childhood, but he showed courage to the tenth power for not turning right around damaging his own kids. It takes guts to break the chain of dysfunction, and Max has totally done it. I couldn’t be more delighted to see it happen.

   I called and left Dustin a message wishing him a happy birthday and telling him how proud he has made both his parents and me, and I meant every word of it. Max said it was a special day in his life, and he’s already ahead of ours by light years. Good for him. Dustin is the chain breaker.

Spike’s Big Night

July 22, 2013

Sunday July 21st, 2013 – Evanston, IL

   I can’t think of too many things that feel better than a friend remembering a birthday, so that’s why I try to do it whenever I can. It’s not all that difficult, but it really makes a difference. I love the beaming look of joy on someone’s face when they are truly surprised, and it never gets old.

   Today was my friend Spike Manton’s 50th birthday. He’s a very low key guy when it comes to any kind of celebrations, and I learned from his wife Tami that he’d made specific instructions to NOT under any circumstances have any kind of party or make a big deal of it. That’s how he is.

   As luck would have it, our mutual friend and fellow member of the morning show on 97.9 ‘The Loop’ in Chicago Max Bumgardner was going to be in town for a Monday business meeting so I suggested we go over and pay Spike a surprise birthday visit – especially since he didn’t want it.

   Spike, Max and I are like brothers, and I’m sure it will be that way for life. Being on a morning radio show tends to bond people together, as it can be such an intense experience. I can’t think of many jobs other than an astronaut where that much intimacy between workers exists constantly.

   How many spouses speak to each other four hours a day, five days a week from 5-9am? I doubt if there are many, and those that do probably have some epic battles. Spike, Max and I got along extremely well, and we enjoyed each other’s company on air and off. We had a rare chemistry.

   The human dingle berries of the vaunted Emmis Communications happened to be way too full of themselves to know what they had, so they chose to blow us out the door when the station was sold in 2004. They proceeded to make stupid decision after stupid decision, and now they’ve lost the station and their stock is worthless. I can’t say any of the three of us have ever shed one tear.

   What I can say is that we’ve remained friends, and every time we get together it’s like we were never apart. I’ve heard pro athletes talk about that feeling, as have military veterans. The bonding in intense situations lasts for life, and believe it or not a morning radio show can be very intense.

   There’s no use bitching about what went wrong, but the bottom line is that we got a bloody red raw deal and it’s too late to do anything about it now. What we have is our lasting friendship that will continue as long as we’re alive, and I thought it was important to visit Spike on his big day.

   I met Max at his hotel in Schaumburg, and we had about a half hour drive to Spike and Tami’s house in Evanston. We stopped and got a card, and bought him a Dunkin’ Donuts gift certificate because he used to suck down their coffee by the gallon every morning. It was the perfect gift for him, and I had some obscure sports books I knew he’d like so we threw those in to top it all off.

   We arrived at 6:30 – to the minute when Tami told us to be there. He was in the basement with his daughter, who was distracting him so he’d stay down there so we could surprise him. It was a perfect plan, as we walked downstairs and ambushed him with his gifts. He was truly surprised.

   Even though Spike is very dry and non emotional, we could tell he was glad to see us. The look in someone’s eyes in a situation like that never lies. We had a wonderful dinner, and had a lot of laughs to go with it. Spike and Tami’s kids Mickey and Samantha have grown into beautiful and well behaved teens, and that also reminded us how time waits for nobody. Spike is a great friend, as is Max. Was it worth losing our jobs how we did for their friendships? I say absolutely yes.

Grandiose Visions

September 15, 2012

Thursday September 13th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL/Hoffman Estates, IL

   Every day I’m plugging along, trying to do my very best. I’ve been humping it extra hard lately on a number of projects, and I’m actually making some noticeable progress. But I think I’ll need about six more lifetimes and a staff to get everything I want to accomplish running how I want it.

I’ve got these grandiose visions of what I’d like to be doing, and then I get in my beater Chevy Cavalier with the ‘URANUS 2’ license plates and watch people’s looks of amusement in my rear view mirror as I drive around running errands and wondering if my ship is ever going to come in.

Everything I’ve got going is hanging on by a shoestring right now, and that shoestring is sitting on top of a house of cards that was built outside on a three legged picnic table during a hurricane. I don’t feel any stability anywhere, nor do I feel any support from anyone who has any influence and can help move my cause along. That’s frustrating to the point of sadness, but what can I do?

I can keep working, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m getting up early and staying up late, and my days are built around how much I can accomplish doing something positive. Between keeping up with my exercise program and answering calls and emails, it doesn’t leave much time for a life.

As much as I’d love to have a family of my own, I just don’t see it happening in this lifetime. If it was going to happen it would have happened by now, but it just wasn’t in the cards. It’s getting pretty late now, and having kids would be a stretch. I’d likely be dead by the time they turned 21.

I’ve had to spend so much time navigating through the treacherous waters in my own life that I never had time to be ‘normal’. I’m not thrilled about it, but who do I complain to? God? That’s a whole other issue I’m struggling a lot with lately. I just don’t see there being one like I once did.

Whatever is out there or up there or behind there or wherever he or she or it may be, I’m numb to it at this point. There’s enough to worry about trying to pay my bills every month that I’m not able to dig very deep on it. I don’t care if there is or isn’t any pie in the sky, because all any of us have is today. My yesterdays were pretty rough, but that’s over. I’m trying to enjoy my todays.

Today I worked very hard cranking out five – yes, FIVE – articles I’ve been meaning to write for years about starting out in standup comedy. I’m going to use them as pass outs in my comedy classes, and I also started another blog at www.maxwellmethodcomedy.wordpress.com/  that I’m going to use to write articles that will hopefully be able to help aspiring newbies on the way up.

To me, these are the only kinds of things I want to be doing for the rest of my life. Mopping or mowing or hauling or cleaning doesn’t interest me in the least. I’m not above working hard, but I want to do what I want to do. What I did today will hopefully help others long after I’ve croaked.

On a pleasant note, the Green Bay Packers stomped the Chicago Bores and I watched the game at Jim McHugh’s house with Max Bumgardner who was in town training for a new job. Any day the Bears lose and I can share it with friends is a good day. Getting my work done is even better.

The Power Of Nice

January 26, 2010

Saturday January 23rd, 2010 – Chicago, IL

Today I was surrounded by flat out nice people. All day. And all night too. What a treat it was, and I’m recording it here so next time I’m forced to deal with any one of a number of rotating pukes, maggots and wankers, I can look back and find some encouragement in the fact that there absolutely are a number of quality souls sprinkled throughout this life.

I think they’re sprinkled way too thinly, but they’re around and I cherish every one I get a chance to meet in person. They stand out like a rapper with an accordion and their life’s goal is to please others. Period. Nothing else matters. That’s how I’ve tried to live my life, even if I haven’t always achieved it. More often than not though, I’ve been able to nail it.

Nothing feels better than making someone else feel good, and those who know that will go to the ends of the earth to do it for as many others as possible. A few get recognized as celebrities, like Mother Theresa or Gandhi, but most good people live very low key lives.

I had lunch with Cara Carriveau today. We worked at The Loop back in 2004, and now she works at WTMX “The Mix” following Eric and Kathy‘s morning show. She also has a website at http://www.carasbasement.com where she interviews mostly music related people, but occasionally a few others. I was her first interview when she started and it was a blast.

Cara is a total pro and works relentlessly on not only her career, but at being a mom too. She has two wonderful kids named Jeri and Sam, and they came to lunch too. I met them years ago when Cara had station staff parties at her house and they’re both just super kids.

People like Cara and her kids make life worth living. That whole staff at The Loop was loaded with top notch people from Spike Manton and Max Bumgardner who were on the morning show with me, to Cara who did middays, to Seaver who did afternoons, to Byrd at night, to Mark Zander overnights. We all got along and should all still be there today.

But, that’s only our opinion. Those intellectual gorillas at Emmis Broadcasting decided to blow us all out the door except Byrd. Byrd is a major league rock jock talent, nobody is disputing that. I’m glad he has a job and he deserves one, but so do the rest of that group.

Cara has bounced back nicely at the Mix and she still sounds like the big time talent she always has been. I know how hard she works at everything and was delighted to hear that she’s happier now than at any other job she’s ever had. That’s rare in radio. Good for her.

Tonight I did two more shows at Riddles and the entire staff there are unbelievably nice from top to bottom. Ken Stevens if the owner and it starts there and trickles down to Rick the manager and Patty the bartender to the wait staff and everyone else. The vibe radiates.

How can a person not want to cheer for a Cara Carriveau or a Ken Stevens or any other quality person to thinks of others and makes life better for everyone around them? These are people I want to not only be around more, but emulate as well. They‘re the real deal.