Piffcast: The Thirteenth – Jessica Kleinschmidt and The Winter Soldier

Making her return to The Piffcast is FanDuel sportswriter Jessica Kleinschmidt! With Chicago being the hottest town in baseball at the moment, we ask Jessica to settle a few Cubs/White Sox arguments for their respective fanbases that will likely come up before the Crosstown Cup series. We also cast our own version of the Space Jam sequel, but with Major League Baseball players. Find out if your favorites make the cut! (27:21 mark, if you’d like to jump ahead)

Now that Captain America: Civil War is finally here, TJ and I (WITHOUT ANY SPOILERS) discuss what the movie got right compared to Batman v. Superman. I also reveal where it ranks in my “Favorite Movies of 2016 so far” list.

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe on iTunes here and listen to our past Piffcast episodes

Piffcast: The Twelfth One – Dad Bands, blink-182, and Parts Unknown

Musician, web-artist, woodworker, and friend of the show, Nic Kaiser joins us “in-studio” for the whole episode. Checkout his work at NicKaiser.com! We discuss some of the projects he’s worked on, the bands he’s played in (Farraday and Robot Love Story), TV shows we’re watching, the new blink-182 album, guilty pleasure music, the Dad Band he and TJ play in, Anthony Bourdain and more.

We also make our final predictions for what will go down in Captain America: Civil War. Be sure to get your own predictions in to us. Best one (most entertaining) will win a Piffcast Prize!

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe on iTunes here.

Piffcast: The Eleventh One – NFL Draft 2016

It’s Draft Week in Chicago and Eric Edholm (Shutdown Corner on Yahoo! Sports) joins the Piffcast to preview it. We talk about his process in preparing for the draft, the best overall player, trading up for the “Big 2” quarterbacks and who will be available later.  We discuss who could slide as well, and what the draft experience is like in Chicago. (31:30 mark, if you want to jump ahead)

TJ and I also go back and forth on Chicago baseball (he’s a Cubs fan, I’m a White Sox fan), moving to the city, some ideas we have for the show, and how we want to promote the things our listeners are doing. We want to hear from you! Let us know if you’re working on anything cool!

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe on iTunes here.

Piffcast: The Tenth One – Prince, Thrones, and The Winter Soldier

After the Season 6 premiere, Manu Mishra joins the show to breakdown what happened in the episode and what Game of Thrones fans should expect going forward. We also discussed Captain America: Civil War, which matchups we’re pumped for, and more. (24:06 mark, if you want to jump ahead)

Before then, TJ and I talked about what Prince meant to us and recapped how the music icon was remembered over the weekend. 

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe on iTunes here.

Piffcast: The Ninth One – Better Call Saul Finale & Game of Thrones Week

Aaron Couch, from People Magazine and the Better Talk Saul podcast, makes his return to discuss the Better Call Saul S2 finale. We also kick off Game of Thrones week with the storylines we look forward to most and pick our favorite Captain America: Civil War matchups before it hits theaters May 6th. (23:26 mark, if you want to jump ahead)

TJ and I breakdown all the awesome trailers and news from the past 2 weeks, and explain why it’s good to be “us”. Take a listen and you’ll understand why that’s in quotation marks.

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe on iTunes here.


Also, don’t forget that the Thrones Power Rankings start NEXT WEEK! Here are the Pre-Season 6 Character Rankings going into the premiere.

Piffcast: The Eighth One – Pizza, TV and Stuff

This week we took the show outside, and I don’t think we’re coming back in…

TJ and I played a little catchup regarding the Old Style Pizza Summit, The Walking Dead finale and then some. We also talked about the things that make us feel older, some exciting plans for the show, and TV recommendations that can carry you to the new season of Game of Thrones. Somehow The O.C. and One Tree Hill came up too, you’ll have to listen to find out why. 

We’re also in the hunt for a show grill master, so if you know anybody or want to hang…?

Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter! Subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes here

Piffcast: The Seventh – Batman v. Superman and WrestleMania

On Episode 7 of The Piffcast, we took on a number of Heavyweight matches.

We started with the heaviest of fights, as Erik Childress (eFilmCritic, WGN Radio) joined the show to breakdown Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We discussed what worked and what didn’t for the tentpole of the new extended DC Justice League film universe. Erik also recommended a few films to look out for from SXSW and Sundance. You can hear more of his work the Movie Madness Podcast. (Jump ahead to the 11:50 mark if you’d like)

Then we looked toward WrestleMania 32 with Rajiv Nathan (Idea Lemon). We went through each match on the card and what will be the biggest draw. He also has very cool project that will bring longtime WWE fans and creative likeminded individuals together! Find out how you can get involved. (43:41 mark)

Let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe to the show on iTunes too!

Piffcast: TV Character Madness Bracket – Selection Show


Just a day after the NCAA Tournament’s Selection Sunday show, The Piffcast announces its own bracket for TV and sports fans alike…

TJ and I reveal the participants of our new TV Character Madness tournament. Voting will begin here on MichaelPiff.com Thursday morning (3/17), as the NCAA Tourney tips off, and YOU will decide who advances toward Television Supremacy.

Also, take a listen for how you can enter our TV Madness Contest and win a Piffcast Prize Pack (Trust us. It’s worth it). Below is the full bracket and you can get copies of your own to fill out on Facebook and Twitter

(Before you freak out about some of your favorites being left out, the bracket goes back to 2000.)

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For a closer look at each region…

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Subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes here. Again, voting begins Thursday morning, March 17th. Have a favorite character you want to win? Let your friends know, and follow along on Facebook or Twitter.



Piffcast: The Fifth One – March Madness

This month, college hoops takes center stage. What better way to get you prepared for March Madness than talk to a pro that knows everything going into the tourney? Scott Phillips from NBC Sports and I talk about the elite teams, stars who should shine, the bubble teams, potential Cinderellas and more. (Interview starts at the 30:35 mark if you want to jump ahead)

TJ and I also get into some TV talk, the Ballpark Foodie series, and tease next week’s “Selection Monday” show for our TV Character Madness Tournament. We also introduce the Piffcast Cork Board for those of you who have a project, event or cause you’d like to promote. Listen to find out more about it.

Join the conversation by interacting with us on Facebook or Twitter!


Piffcast Book Club: The March Reading List

As promised to listeners of The Piffcast (and an effort to bring people of similar and different interests together), we’re kicking off the first of multiple show “clubs”.

This one…?

The Piffcast Book Club!

Here’s a list of recommended reading material for you to choose from. At the end of the month, those in the Chicagoland area can meet up with me for some pizza and brews while others can join us digitally…either by Twitter tChat or a possible livestream chat on this site. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, let me know which books you choose to read on either Facebook or Twitter.

Midnight Sun

by Jo Nesbo

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A fugitive Norwegian hitman attempts to find himself in the Arctic wilderness.

Released: November 5th, 2015. Can order on Amazon here.


Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers

by Nick Offerman

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Nick Offerman, aka Ron Swanson from ‘Parks and Recreation’, humorously highlights twenty-one figures from our nation’s history, from her inception to present day—his personal pantheon of “great Americans.”

Released: May, 2015. Available on Amazon here.


The Yiddish Policemen’s Union: A Novel

by Michael Chabon

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A detective story set in an alternative history version of the present day, based on the premise that during World War II, a temporary settlement for Jewish refugees was established in Sitka,Alaska, in 1941, and that the fledgling State of Israel was destroyed in 1948.

Released: May, 2007. Available on Amazon here. (Recommended by Johnna Silver)


Songs of a Dead Dreamer

by Thomas Ligotti

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Short-story collection, acknowledged as one of the seminal collections of modern weird horror fiction, that shows the influence of Ligotti’s literary idols of horror such as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.

Released: March, 2010. Available on Amazon here. (Recommended by Andrew W.K. on The Piffcast)


A Just Cause

by James H. Holzrichter Sr. 

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When a seemingly ordinary and seriously underestimated family man discovers evidence of potentially massive mismanagement and fraud on the part of the US defense contractor he works for, his desire to help the company itself and his need to protect his newly healing family and newfound sobriety crash headlong into the seventeen-year-long corporate assault on everything he holds dear for knowing too much and refusing to ignore or help bury the truth.

Released: May, 2013. Available on Amazon here. (Recommended by Dan Doherty)


The Nightingale

by Kristin Hannah

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Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

Released: February, 2015. Available on Amazon here.

Blood Brothers

by Randy Roberts & Johnny Smith

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Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm X’s personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of this complex bond between he and Cassius Clay. Acclaimed historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith reconstruct the worlds that shaped Malcolm and Clay, from the boxing arenas and mosques, to postwar New York and civil rights–era Miami.

Released: February, 2016. Available on Amazon here.



by Colleen Hoover

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Following the unexpected death of her father, eighteen-year-old Layken becomes the rock for both her mother and younger brother. She appears resilient and tenacious, but inside, she’s losing hope. Then she meets her new neighbor Will, a handsome twenty-one-year-old whose mere presence leaves her flustered and whose passion for poetry slams thrills her.

Released: September, 2012. Available on Amazon here. (Recommended by Libbey Hanley)


Risk Savvy: How To Make Good Decisions

by Gerd Gigerenzer 

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In this age of big data we often trust that expert analysis—whether it’s about next year’s stock market or a person’s risk of getting cancer—is accurate. But, as risk expert Gerd Gigerenzer reveals, most of us, including doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors, often misunderstand statistics, leaving us misinformed and vulnerable to exploitation…Here, showing how ordinary people can make better decisions for their money, their health, and their families.

Released: March, 2015. Available on Amazon here. (Recommended by Jamie Duff)


Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA

by Joe Nocera & Ben Strauss

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Fans have begun to realize that the athletes involved in the two biggest college sports, men’s basketball and football, are little more than indentured servants. This is the dramatic story of a loose-knit group of rebels who decided to fight the hypocrisy of the NCAA, which blathers endlessly about the purity of its “student-athletes” while exploiting many of them: The ones who get injured and drop out because their scholarships have been revoked. The ones who will neither graduate nor go pro. The ones who live in terror of accidentally violating some obscure rule in the four-hundred-page NCAA rulebook.

Released: February, 2016. Available on Amazon here.


It’s. Nice. Outside.

by Jim Kokoris

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An ex-basketball player, husband, english teacher and author is secretly planning to do something to change his family forever. Funny, heartbreaking, and generous..This story asks: What happens when you have to let go of the person who has been holding you up?
Released: December, 2015. Available on Amazon here.


by Kevin Barry

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It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island off the west coast of Ireland he bought eleven years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to calm his unquiet soul in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour.
Released: November, 2015. Available on Amazon here. 

Let me know what you choose to read on Facebook or Twitter. Feel free to make recommendations for April’s list too.