Jesse Thorn talks to the singer/songwriter Bill Withers, of Lean on Me and Just the Two of Us fame, about making it in the music business and then retiring from performance. Plus comedy writer Joe Randazzo shares his secrets to an "unpredictable career in comedy" as outlined in his new book Funny On Purpose, and Jesse explains why his great American hero is one of the kid spellers from the 2002 documentary, Spellbound. Show notes
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In the late 1970s, Bill James started writing "The Baseball Abstract," a new kind of baseball annual. James used statistical analysis to study baseball's conventional wisdom, and often found unexpected results. The first Abstracts were hand-mimeographed and mailed by James himself, but by the early 1980s, James was at the forefront of a new movement, which he called sabermetrics, that argued for objective analysis of the game. James and his cohorts were often derided by baseball insiders, but today James is an employee of the Boston Red Sox, and his ideas have helped transform how baseball teams are run. James also runs billjamesonline.net and has just released his first in a new series of annuals, The Bill James Baseball Goldmine. Discuss this episode on the forum! Download This Show (MP3)