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.

The Piffcast: The Fourth One – Netflix and Oscars

With the Academy Awards taking place this weekend, film critic Brian Chimino and I discuss our favorite films from the past year and the contending nominees. We wanted to debate every category, but that show would be too long…so we made our picks for each of the major prizes.

TJ and I also got our two cents in on TV revivals, Full House on Netflix, and what we would like to see brought back for another season. We also awarded the winner of our #SaddestPizza contest and we’re looking for recommendations for the Piffcast Book Club. We’ll post the Reading List to MichaelPiff.com on March 1st.

You can comment here with your suggestions or post them to Facebook and Twitter.

The Piffcast – Ep. 3 – Andrew W.K. & The Chicago Pizza Summit

The King of Partying, Andrew W.K., joined The Piffcast to discuss the Old Style Chicago Pizza Summit (taking place April 3rd at The Chop Shop in Wicker Park) where he’ll be a keynote speaker. The event sold out in 3 minutes after tickets went on sale, but we have some important info that you’ll definitely be interested in.

If you wish to jump ahead, the interview starts at the 15:15 mark.

Along with epic PARTY insight and advice, Andrew also contributed to our new Piffcast Book Club Reading List. Listen to how you can participate and win some pizza too.

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter

Subscribe on iTunes here.