Royko, syndicated columnist and author of the controversial but formidable Boss: Mayor Daley of Chicago (1971) continues in the posture of a city hand with liberal empathies and hard-hat diction in this collection of short pieces. Nostalgia cum folksy humor sketches lead off featuring the neighborhood slob, Slats Grobnik -- first class knuckle cracker, the one who set traps for the Easter bunny, whose baby brother swallowed his supershooter. But lacking the foam-flecked hyperbole of Jean Shepherd, the pieces are generally bland. Royko shifts into media center for such matters as women's lib, foreign lands, income tax, etc. but then there are some really bright forensics concerning universal pains in the coccyx: dispenser machines that don't work (punch, kick, bash); truly lousy American beer (it must have been processed by running it through a horse); Brando in Last Tango (a boring slob), praying ball players and stadium patriots, etc. Royko also zeroes in with some heat on the victims of social service cuts, unequal taxation and general screwing by the establishment. Some whole grain, some filler but worth sampling.