Interview with Reduced Shakespeare Company

May 18, 2017 — I probably didn’t post this link last year, when the event happened. I was pretty out-to-lunch last year for a lot of reasons, and many simple things and deadlines fell through the cracks.

Anyway, below is the link to a very good conversation I had with my friend Austin Tichenor, one of the brains behind the Reduced Shakespeare Company. We touch on political correctness, of course, and comedy and codpieces and everything that makes life worthwhile. Enjoy!

Episode 499. On Political Correctness

Louder Than a Mom

May 9, 2017 — One of my favorite Chicago reading series is Louder Than a Mom. It’s hilarious, it hits my demographic sweet spot, it brings many of my old friends back together, and it takes place in a dark tavern that hosts rocknroll the rest of the week. The closest I will get to enjoying myself in a rock club at this stage of the game.

I’ve performed in the show 3-4 times, but in the March show, I finally had a performance I was proud of. The Link is below. If you are in or visiting Chicago, Louder Than a Mom happens every third Monday at Martyr’s, 3855 N. Lincoln. You should definitely check it out.

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Inducts Ring Lardner

May 5, 2017 — It was quite an honor to be asked to participate in the induction ceremony for Ring Lardner last night. Lardner was born in Niles, Michigan, and spent a good deal of his professional life in NYC, but his formative years were spent as a sportswriter at various papers around town, including the Chicago Tribune.

I spoke on and read from Lardner’s short stories (if you haven’t read any of these yet, grab yourself a copy of “Alibi Ike” or “Liberty Hall” pronto). Other speakers included journalist Ron Rappaport (whose new book is “The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner”), author Don DeGrazia (“What Lardner Means to Me as a Writer”), ESPN’s and GLAAD’s Christina Kahrl (“How Lardner Changed Journalism”), Cubs historian Brian Bernardoni (“The Chicago Lardner Knew”) and Lardner’s grandson James Lardner, a fine writer himself, who accepted the award for the family.

There is something so satisfying about rereading favorite writers and discovering how much they speak to my life. I love Lardner almost as much as I love Damon Runyan.

The Lardner induction ceremony, with Brian Bernardoni, two Lardner relatives, James Lardner, and Ron Rappaport.

Acknowledging Historic Milestones

April 18, 2017 — Over the weekend, the Chicago White Sox manned an outfield with three players named Garcia. They aren’t related, nor even from the same country,  but they have broken through the invisible barrier that kept guys with the same name from filling a complete outfield. Our hats are off to them. From Bardball, of course:

Three Matching Sox

The game’s been built of 3s
Since, like, eternity.
3 outs, 3 strikes,
3 bases and the like

Now add to these trios
Garcias who with brio
Manned the grass for the Hose.
Unlike the real bros

Matty, Felipe and Jesus–
The splendid Alous–
These Garcias don’t own
Similar chromosomes

But never in history
Has an outfield had 3
Confused when they hear
“Hey! Garcia! Get over here!”

 

Bob Dylan and Bardball, Part 2

April 15, 2017 — Our favorite Nobel Laureate is back with another touching ode on Bardball.  Maybe he should hang out with the guys in the Baseball Project and get some recording done! (This one was written with my friend, Jim Siergey.)

Bob Dylan’s 2017 Forecast: “I Shall Be Released”

They say ev’ryone can be replaced
Yet every lefty is still here
So I try to play second base
Or third or short or anywhere

. I only bat .190
. So my chances do decrease
. Any day now, any day now
. I shall be released

They say ev’ry man needs protection
They say you keep your eyes on that ball
The marketing guys aren’t my rooting section
My agent won’t return my calls

. I’m in the B-game lineup
. Starting to feel it’s just a tease
. Any day now, any day now,
. I shall be released

Standing next to me around the cage
Is a stud too young to buy a beer
He wants to gain the wisdom that comes with age
But I just want to play another year

. I see the rookies rise up
. Big potential, play for cheap
. Any day now, any day now,
. I shall be released

 

Presidential Lox

March 27, 2017

It’s tradition on Opening Day:
The Prez puts the first ball in play,
But with his miniscule mitts,
The Donald just quits
And tweets, “Baseball’s for losers anyway.”

 

Bob Dylan and Bardball

March 27, 2017–All through spring training, it’s a Dylan Festival at Bardball. If you didn’t know the Nobel Laureate is a baseball fan — and I have no idea myself — you can believe it now, because how else could he have written so many songs that can be turned into forecasts for the upcoming season?

Bob Dylan’s 2017 Forecast: “Sucking in the Wind”

How many innings must Verlander pitch
to have them destroyed by the pen?
How many times must Miggy get on
to be left on the base by Upton?
How many weeks before Ausmus is canned–
that’s not an “if”, that’s a “when”

The answer, my friend, is 2017
When the Tigers will be sucking in the wind

How many balls will Martinez misjudge
and watch as they roll to the wall?
How many years will poor V-Mart DH
as his trot slows down to a crawl?
How many years must fans grumble and wince
before this team wins in the fall?

The answer, my friend, is 2017
When the Tigers will be sucking in the wind