Literary journalist Robert Birnbaum, who grew up on the mean streets of Chicago’s Golden Ghetto,West Rogers Park, is also a veteran member of the Newton (MA) Little League umpiring corps and a (bumbling but) active father of a teenage athlete. He contributes to a number of smart journals and maintains a relentless web presence at Our Man In Boston. He counts among his influences Nelson Algren, Ernie Banks, Golda Meir, Mike Royko, Leon Dupres, Hannah Arendt, Howard Zinn, Eduardo Galeanos, and Barbara Ehrenreich. He lives in the working-class section of West Newton with his pooch Beny. He claims to be working on his long awaited memoir Just Talking: Doing Things With Words.