Benny Jay: Thanks To Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2017

With Thanksgiving here, the time’s come to give a special Third City thank you to a few of the many who’ve done so much for us this year.

So without further ado, thanks to….

Nickle Bag Bernie, one of our valued advertisers, for keeping the editorial staff happy at all times. See you in the parking lot, Bernie.

Swami Sam, the Skokie Yoga King–where the great ones go to sweat it off.

Dr. Frankie “Disco” Lopez, our primary physician, for making sure we never run low on our meds.

El Dragon, our esteemed attorney, for squashing all those cease-and-desist orders and keeping us out of jail. By the way, the good news is that Milo’s DNA test came out negative!

Hey, corporate farmers — thanks for the fat turkey….


The Lovely Mrs. Milo for putting up with him.

The Triple A Bail Bond Company of Gary for bailing Milo out of jail on several occasions.

Elmore Stiglitz & Sons — Gary, Indiana’s most reliable bookies — for the easy-payment plan. Our next check’s in the mail!

The Corporate Factory Farms of America for the two-headed, 20-pound Cornish Hen. Can’t wait to pop it in the oven!

The Chicago Bulls and Bears and Cubs and Sox for winning all those championships once upon a time.

Denzel Washington for being the next Paul Newman.

Paul Newman for being the first Paul Newman.

Our sensational crew of superstar writers, photogs, computer geniuses, podcasters, and actors who give it all to The Third City.

And, finally, our loyal readers — all 109 of you, or 110, when Milo’s sister is sober enough to navigate a keyboard. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to make your checks out to cash!

Peace, thy most precious gift.

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Letter From Milo: Timing is Everything

November 20th, 2017

This was going to be a great weekend, a spectacular weekend, a weekend so filled with excess and debauchery that, if everything went according to plan, I’d be lucky to escape with my life.

You see, the lovely Mrs. Milo was going away for the weekend with a bunch of her slutty girlfriends. They were going to a cottage in Michigan where, they assured me, they planned to enagage in good-natured gossip, exchange recipes and knitting tips, and perhaps share a bottle or two of Chardonnay.

I would be alone for three glorious days, free to indulge in low-life pleasures on an epic scale. I was going to swim in rivers of Tennessee whiskey and float on clouds of fine California reefer. I was going to frolic with women, lots of women, preferably two or three at a time. And I intended to spend at least one evening in a brutal all-night poker game, where all the players were sure to be drunk, heavily armed and had aces up their sleeves.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. Shortly before my wife left for Michigan, I caught the damned flu.

I felt the first symptom on the morning my wife was leaving, waking up with a slight tickle in my throat. I didn’t think much of it. I often wake up with aches, pains, cuts, scratches and bruises of unknown origins. By late afternoon my nose was running and I was firing off sneezes four or five at a time. I felt like shit and sensed that things would only get worse.

The lovely Mrs. Milo exhibited the requisite spousal concern for my well-being.

“Darn, I hate to leave just when you’re getting sick, but we’ve been planning this trip for weeks,” she said, as she snapped her suitcase shut and edged toward the door.

“Don’t worry about a thing, dumpling. This is a mere bump in the road. It’s probably just one of those 24-hour nuisance colds.”

“I hope that’s all it is. Try not to drink too much. I doubt alcohol will help your condition.”

“Your advice is duly noted.”

When I awoke the next morning the flu had settled in my chest. I was feverish and coughing as harshly and steadily as a chain-smoking West Virginia coal miner. By early afternoon I was at death’s creaky door, and the door was slowly swinging open.

I called my physician at the VA hospital, Dr, Frankie “Disco” Lopez and explained my plight. He told me to come down to the hospital. “Make it quick,” he said. “I’ve got a horse running in the eighth race at Arlington and don’t want to miss it.”

Somehow I managed to drag my ailing ass down to the hospital in good time and was quickly admitted into the doctor’s office. When Dr. Lopez saw me, he shook his head and said, “Dude, you look like shit.”

“Is that your professional opinion?”

“I’m pretty sure that would be Stevie Wonder’s opinion, too.”

After a cursory examination, Dr. Lopez said, “You’ve got a real good dose of the flu. There’s a nasty strain of it going around now. I’ve seen a lot of cases in the last few weeks.”

“What’s the prognosis?”

“It depends on your lifestyle and, most importantly, your age. I had a patient last week who had a case similar to yours. He was a heavy drinker and smoker, and had a real bad cough like the one you’ve got.”

“Were you able to help him?”

“I gave him some pills, told him to drink lots of fluids and get plenty of bed rest.”

“What happened to the guy?”

“The fucker died.”

“Jesus! He must have been an old man.”

“No, I believe he was about your age.”

“Ah, shit.”

I’ve had a fear of the flu ever since I read “The Stand,” by Stephen King. The disease has been responsible for tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of fatalities over the years. Not only is it deadly, it’s treacherous, too. The virus mutates at an alarming rate. Every year science has to come up with a new vaccine to battle the latest variation of the fiendish and opportunistic affliction. Unfortunately, the vaccines don’t always work. I know people that have had flu shots and still caught the flu.

But I wasn’t worried. I was in good hands. Dr. Frankie “Disco” Lopez is a master of the medical arts. When I left the hospital I figured I was well on the way to recovery.

The good doctor had sized up the situation and come up with a solution. On my way out of his office he handed me a vial of pills and said “These will make you feel real good.”

He also recommended I drink lots of fluids and get plenty of bed rest.

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Benny Jay: Gaslight City

November 19th, 2017

This bit’s from the November 17th show. To hear it, click here


Yesterday I come into the studio after the show and Dennis tells me…

Dennis as Dennis: Hey, great show, man. But try not to open a candy wrapper while you’re on the air.

Laura as Ben: What are you talking about, D?

Dennis as Dennis: I mean, dude, during the opening you opened your health bar wrapper. Here–listen.

To prove his point, he played back a recording from the show.

Dennis as Ben: We’ll be right back–but first, man, Chicago News with Laura Vaughn. Oh, I’m hungry. [Makes sound of wrapper].

Dennis as Dennis: See?

I don’t know what got into me. But, instead of saying, oh, yeah. you’re right. I decided to do—a little Gaslighting.

Dennis plays Twilight Zone theme.

Gaslighting is a term from a movie in which a husband tries to drive his wife crazy by turning down the lights in their house and then denying it’s getting darker. Here’s a sample scene.

Dennis as wife: Oh, honey, hey, have you noticed—it’s so dark in the house?

Laura as husband: Are you kidding me? Good god, woman—it’s so freaking bright in here I have to wear my shades.

Dennis as wife, getting hysterical: No, no. It’s dark, I tell you. I can’t see. Ahhh. I’m going nuts.

gaslightGreat flick…


Gaslighting has become a political tactic. When a politician denies something that’s absolutely obvious. Or just starts babbling about something else to confuse you. Trump’s a master of that strategy. Like at this press conference with Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the tax plan.

Laura as Huckabee: Yeah, any questions. Ugh, yes, Norman Goldman from the Norman Goldman Show.

Dennis as Norman: Waa–why! Doesn’t your plan raise taxes on the middle class and cuts taxes on the rich?

Laura as Huckabee: Well, here’s how it is, if you have five reporters and they buy six beers and a pepperoni pizza…

Dennis as Norm: Waa, wah–huh?

Laura: And you have six reporters drinking four beers, but two of them are Miller Lites, then you have to carry the three and add two…

Dennis as Norm, hysterical: Huh. I can’t take it anymore. Do whatever you want—ahh!!!!

Back to gaslighting Dennis. I tell him…

Laura as Ben: I don’t hear the wrapping, D. Tell you what–let’s hear what Thom has to say.

Oh, yeah—Thom Hartmann just happen to be the studio.

Dennis as Hartman: Hello, Thom Hartman here. I love beets. what about you?

I dash into the break room where Hartman’s about to dig into a big, old beet salad.

Laura as Ben: Yo’, Thom, man, forget about the beets. I need you in the studio. Do me a favor—just say, `I can’t hear a thing.’

Dennis as Hartman: Wait, ho. The gold standard.

And into the studio we run.

Laura as Ben: Okay, Dennis, man, ask Thom your question.

Dennis as Dennis: Okay, cool, cool, cool–Thom, tell me if you hear Ben unwrapping his candy bar. Here we go…

Dennis as me: We’ll be right back but first Chicago news with Laura Vaughn. Oh, I’m so hungry. [makes sound of wrapper].

Laura as Ben: Well, Thom?

Dennis as Thom: I didn’t hear a thing.

Dennis plays Twilight Zone sound.

Dennis as Dennis: Noooo, I’m going crazy. Ahh. Wooo…

Heh, heh, heh—Donnie Trump would be proud…

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Randolph Street: Blues

November 17th, 2017

1IMG0017aBlue Door–Nebaj, Guatemala






All photos © Jon Randolph

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Benny Jay: Euphoria

November 16th, 2017

This bit’s from the November 9th show. To hear it, click here


Yesterday, I was euphoric in the aftermath of Tuesday’s Democratic victories throughout the country. I was so happy, I ran out to Rush Street and started singing one of my favorite songs…

Damien: We are the champions…of the world.

But then reality set in as I read Michael Krause article in Politico about Trump voters in a white, low-income, coal mining community in Pennsylvania. A year ago, Trump won their vote by coming to town and making big promises.

Dennis as Trump: Listen, your government betrayed you, and I’m going to make it right. Your jobs will come back under a Trump administration.

But now—no jobs. It’s as bad as it was before. And yet, when the reporter returned to see if voters felt betrayed, he discovered…

Dennis in news voice: Their satisfaction with Trump now seems untethered to the things they once said mattered to them the most.

Man, that’s an understatement. Consider the comments of one lady, whose son had died of a heroin overdose.

Laura as lady: There’s nothing good in the area. I don’t have anything good to say about anything in this area. It’s sad.

Dennis as reporter: And so what do you think about Trump?

Laura as lady: I’m a supporter of him, 100 percent.

100 percent! I’m no mathematiciaion like Dan Biss but I can tell you–you can’t do better than 100 percent. How about this exchange between the reporter and another Trump supporter.

Dennis as reporter: Now tell me, has there been any change since Trump became president?

Damien as trump supporter: No. Not at all.

Dennis as reporter: So do you support him?

Damien as Trump supporter: Yes. He’s our answer.

Dennis as reporter: And if the next three years are like the last one—will you still support him?

Damien as Trump supporter: Well, I’m not going to blame him–absolutely not.

Dennis as reporter: Is there anything that could change her mind about Trump?

Damien: Nope.

Dennis: Okay, so If he walked into this town and took a crap right in the center square?

Damien: Hey, man, at least he’s not that Obama guy there.

He didn’t really ask that question. But he might have. Later there was this exchange.

Damien as voter: Trump’s probably the most diligent, hardest-working president we’ve ever had in our lifetimes. It’s not like he sleeps in till noon and goes golfing every weekend, like the last president did.

I’m not kidding. That’s an actual quote. To which the reporter said…

Dennis: Do you realize that Trump plays more golf than Obama?

Damien as voter: Does he?

Dennis: Yes.

Damien: Well, If I was married to his wife. I don’t think I’d go anywhere.”

Hard to argue with that logic. If there’s any one reason above all else that folks in this town like him, it’s cause he denounced the black NFL football players who are taking a knee. Follow this exchange between a man and his wife.

Laura as Trump supporter: Tell him what you said the NFL is.

Dennis as Trump supporter: I don’t remember saying that.

Laura as Trump supporter: You’re the one that told me that—liar.

At this point, I should point out that the man is a retired high school basketball coach. So he was a role model to the children of this town.

Laura as Trump supporter: He called the NFL—[n-word] for life.

That’s the n-word we beeped out. Like I said, I try to be optimistic. But this is going to be harder than it looks.

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