Benny Jay: Time Lost

March 20th, 2018

This bit’s from the November 7th show. If you want to hear it, click here


Sunday was daylight saving day and, as such, my wife faced a monumental decision when she turned back the kitchen clock.

Laura: Hey, Benny, should I set the clock so it’s a little ahead of time?

If it’s ahead, we won’t be late. Or, at least we’ll be rushing to get out of the house, thinking we’re going to be late, when, in fact, we’re on time.

Laura: What do you think, Benny—late or not late?

To which I say…

Damien as me: Freaking Jerian Grant—he never passes to the rookie.

True to form, I’m reading about the Bulls and not concentrating on what she’s saying.

Laura: Fine. I’ll do whatever I want, since you’re obviously not listening to what I say.

Fast forward to Monday, I’m late. Always late. Dashing out of the house to get to the studio. But first gotta take a shower. So into the shower I hop. Singing one of my favorite tunes.

Damien: Dead in the middle of little Italy…

Not sure how I got so good at hip hop. Must be from hanging out with Damien. Then out of the shower I hop. As I dash out of the bathroom, I see the clock on the kitchen wall.

Damien: Holy, Moses, man! It’s 1:45. I’m late!!!

Up the stairs I run, kicking over the dog.

Dennis as Nicky the dog: Oh, dude, watch it, manude. Can’t a dog sleep around here?

Damien: Sorry, Nicky.


Running late, like Dagwood…


Then I trip over a baby that’s in the living room.

Dennis as two year old: Goo, goo gah, gah.

Actually, there’s no baby in the room. I just wanted to irritate Dennis by making him play a baby again.

Dennis as baby: Goo goo, gah gah. Wait till my agent hears about this!

I throw on some jeans and a T-shirt and dash down the stairs two steps at a time flying past my wife.

Laura: Did you walk the dog?

Damien: No time! Gotta go. I’m late!

Laura: Yeah, well that dog’s gotta go.

Dennis as Nicky: Yeah, man. I gotta go

Damien: Okay, fine. C’mon, Nicky—hurry up!

Dennis as Nicky: This dude’s crazy.

As I look at my phone, I realize…wait, it’s only 1:40. My wife had set the kitchen clock ahead. If I leave right now, I won’t be late at all.

Damien: Oh, man, happy day.

Just then my cell phone ring.

Dennis as Milo: Hey, Benny.

It’s my old pal, Milo.

Dennis as Milo: How come Jerian Grant don’t pass to the rookie?

Obviously, great minds think alike.

Dennis: Have you ever noticed that Jerian spelled backward is Narije.

Clearly, Milo’s got a lot of time on his hands.

Dennis: Have you heard me imitating Bernie Sanders reading the Paradise Papers?

Oh, man—can’t resist this.

Dennis: Hey, waiter—twenty-seven dollars.

I spend five minutes listening to Milo do Sanders. And then I realize—ugh-oh, I’d used up all the time that my wife had put on the clock.

Damien: Gotta go—now I’m really late.

You know, some guys are late, even when they’re early.

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Letter From Milo: Re-Adjustment Blues

March 19th, 2018

Every Friday afternoon, I go to the Vet Center in Evanston and spend about an hour chatting with a psychologist named Dr. Betsy. When Dr. Betsy’s done with me, I like to hang around the place for a while, drinking coffee, making small talk with some of the guys, or just sitting in an easy chair reading a book or magazine.

I like the Vet Center. I’m comfortable there. I feel at ease.

The Vet Centers were established, by Act of Congress, in 1979, as community outreach programs to help Vietnam Veterans who were experiencing re-adjustment problems. After years of being ignored, Vietnam vets now had access to counseling that helped with PTSD, substance abuse problems, homelessness, employment issues, violent or suicidal tendencies, and other situations that plague combat veterans.

In 1991, following the Gulf War, Congress extended eligibility to the men who served in post-Vietnam hostilities. By 1996, the Act was extended to any veterans who had served in any war zone, going back to Korea and WW2.

I’ve been making the weekly trip to Evanston for about eight years now. I keep going back because Dr. Betsy and some of the other counselors have helped me weather a few stormy episodes.

But the real reason I keep going back is because I like to spend time, even if it’s just a few minutes or half an hour, with my fellow veterans.

I don’t know any of the guys very well. We’re just casual acquaintances. Many of them seem like regular guys, working stiffs, family men, retirees, the kind of people you’d run into at the grocery store, corner tavern or bowling alley.

But some of the guys that frequent the Evanston Vet Center – and I say this with love, understanding and compassion in my heart – are fucking crazy. These poor souls may be physically present, right here on the USA, but some essential parts of them are still wandering distant battlefields.

One guy I run into at the Vet Center constantly threatens to get vengeance on people who have offended him or treated him shabbily. He’s got a long shit list and adds names to it daily. To hear him tell it, one of these days there’ll be a bloodbath in the streets of Chicago that will make Iwo Jima look like a brawl at a Serbian wedding.

The guy is in his late 60s or early 70s and, as far as I know, has never harmed anyone.

Another guy I see regularly is a Vietnam vet who sits in a corner and talks to himself. He doesn’t just utter a few phrases. He has long complicated conversations with himself, complete with hand gestures, song fragments, and snorts of disgust. Occasionally, he’ll slap himself on the forehead and say something like, “Serves your ass right for fuckin’ around like that.”

One old-timer brings his wife to the Vet Center, and they bicker constantly. I can’t say for sure, but I believe they have the same argument every time. Once in a while the husband turns to others in the room and asks, “Did you hear that? Did you hear what she just said to me?”

Most people have the good sense not to get involved. When he asks me the question, I usually say, “Sorry, man, I wasn’t paying attention.”

When I mentioned what I had observed in the waiting lounge to Dr. Betsy, she said, “PTSD. Some have it worse than others. The stress of combat on young, not yet fully formed minds can be devastating. And sometimes the damage doesn’t show up for years.”

As I was driving home from my Friday appointment, thinking about my fellow vets, an odd thought occurred to me. What did those old soldiers see when they looked at me?

“There’s something wrong with that guy. He never says shit to anybody, just sits in the corner, drinking coffee, reading a book or scribbling shit in that note pad he carries.”

“I don’t trust him. He’s probably got a lot of nasty shit going through his head.”

“He’s got an evil look in his eye, too.”

“The dude don’t look right. I expect he’ll snap one of these days and do something stupid or dangerous.”

“Best keep an eye on him.”

Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not.

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Randolph Street: Three Picks

March 16th, 2018

1DSCF3072Window, Colon Opera–Buenos Aires


2DSCF3295Butterfly, Museum 0f Modern Art




All photos © Jon Randolph

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Benny Jay: Saul To The Rescue

March 15th, 2018

This bit’s from the Friday, the June 16 Ben Joravsky show. If you want to hear it in action, click right here…

We’re calling this Better-Call-Saul Friday, and here’s why…

So about a week ago I discover Better Call Saul, this TV show about a sleazy lawyer. And I love it. Can’t stop watching it. I know, I know, it’s been around forever–once again, I’m late to the party. But here’s the thing. I love it so much all I want to do is talk about it. But even though it’s super popular, I can’t find anyone who’s seen it. So I can’t find anyone to talk about it. Cause, who wants to talk about a show they haven’t seen? Nothing duller than that. Why, the other day I went to Dennis…

Me: Hey, Dennis—have you seen Better Call Saul?

Dennis: You mean that show with Bob Odenkirk?

Me: Yes—that one.

Dennis: I love Bob Odenkirk.

Me: Well, in Better Call Saul, he plays this sleazy…

Dennis: Have you seen Mr. Show?

Me: Mr. Who?

Dennis: Mr. Show. It’s a TV show from back in the day. Odenkirk was in it.

Me: No, but in Saul he plays Jimmy McGill and…

Dennis: By the way, have your heard Brian Regan?

Me: Who?



Dennis: Brian Regan. The comedian.

Me: No, but…

Dennis: Man, that dude’s so funny. He’s got this bit about going to an emergency room where he goes, `Have you ever had to call your own ambulance…’

All right—obviously, I’m not going to get any decent Better Call Saul conversation out of Dennis. So I try Patrick, the WCPT computer whiz. I catch him in the break room.

Me: Hey, Patrick you see better call Saul?

Patrick: Uh-uh.

Me: Great show. This sleazy lawyer gets caught up with the mob and…

Patrick: Hey, what’s a six-letter word for alternative to olives?

Me: Huh?

Patrick: I’m doing the crossword.

Me: Okay, but in Saul…

Patrick: Capers! That’s it!

Oh, brother. He’s not much help. Now I’m desperate. I gotta talk about this show. But if I didn’t know better, I’d say word’s got around. Uh-oh, look out for Ben! Cause, it’s like–guys are getting weird. Like Yoda, the station manager.

Me: Hey, Yoda…

Matt: Let me guess—Better call Saul.

Me: How did you know?

Matt: I’d love to talk to you about it but, I, ugh, uhm, gotta switch the laundry.

Me: Laundry?

Matt: Yeah, my clothes are in the washer and I gotta put them in the dryer.

Me: We have a laundry facility in the studio?

Matt: Gotta go—don’t want my shirts to get wrinkled.

Finally, I corner Mark, the guy, who sells ads.

Me: Mark—my man. I know you must have seen Better Call Saul.

Dennis as Mark: Oh, no, I’ve broken out in a rash!

Me: What?

Dennis as Mark: First it was my hands. Then my back. Now, it’s my knee, arms and thighs. Quick, get out before you catch it.

You know I’m starting to think these guys really don’t want to talk about Better call Saul.

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Randolph Street: Love These Pictures!

March 14th, 2018

1Aimg080Travelin’ ManOakland, CA


These images are from the mid 1970’s.


2Aimg082Catenary–San Francisco


3Aimg084ChinatownSan Francisco


All photos © Jon Randolph

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