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Mike Royko, Slats Grobnik and Some Other Friends

I just finished reading Mike Royko's Slats Grobnik and Some Other Friends, and enjoyed it immensely. I had at least one laugh-out-loud moment for each piece I read, which undoubtedly perplexed my dour fellow train commuters. Among Royko's numerous collections, this one is particularly notable for his extended series of Slats Grobnik pieces, as well as his dispatches from Europe while on assignment for the 1972 Munich Olympics (the most hilarious of the latter being his "ugly American" dining experience at Maxim's in Paris).

While it's impossible to present just one passage that perfectly encapsulates Royko, this 1972 lament for the pitiful state of the American beer industry got a particularly big guffaw out of me.

When Chicago's only brewery--Meister Brau--closed down last year, there was some sentimental wringing of bar rags. And when new owners recently announced that they would reopen it, a few toasts were raised.

But I don't see what difference it makes, except to the brewery employees who will get their old jobs back, whether a beer is made in Chicago or the land of sky blue water or in the beer capital of the world.

I have tried them all. I've popped the top and twisted the cap. I've grabbed for all the gusto I can get. I've said it all when I've said Bud. I've joined the big beer brotherhood. I've not messed around when I'm the one who's got to get the beer.

And regardless of what label or slogan you choose, it all tastes as if the secret brewing process involves running it through a horse.

The book is long out of print, but as Jim so helpfully pointed out, numerous copies are to be had online at Abebooks.com.

April 19, 2005 in Books | Permalink


Okay, I don't know why, but I kind of think of Royko and his ilk as "guy lit" -- what I mean by this is that I haven't read any of his stuff, but I have a vague feeling that I don't have the testicles required for enjoying it. Having said that, the excerpt you wrote had me giggling. Maybe I should get over my prejudice and grab this one off your nightstand.

Posted by: Julie at Apr 20, 2005 9:50:41 AM

Be my guest! For your first Royko, I'd instead recommend "Sez Who? Sez Me", which is on the bookshelf in the playroom with all the others of his. Royko may have been a male chauvinist (or at least that's a pose he regularly assumed) but testicles aren't required to enjoy his writing.

Posted by: Pete at Apr 20, 2005 10:35:36 AM