With Thanksgiving here, the time’s come to give a special Third City thank you to just 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.
Madame LeFarge’s Whorehouse, another valued advertiser, for the group rates.
Swami Sam, the Skokie Yoga King — Sam doesn’t do much for us, but he’s done wonders for the ladies.
Dr. Frankie “Disco” Lopez, our primary physician, for making sure we never run low on our meds.
Dr. Matt Farmer and El Dragon, our esteemed attorneys, 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!
The Lovely Mrs. Milo for refraining to hire a hit man to get rid of her loving but somewhat erratic husband.
The Triple A Bail Bond Company of Gary for bailing Milo out of jail after that Labor Day escapade with Mrs. Shimkus in Skokie.
Mr. Shimkus for dropping the charges.
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 last year….
Oh, forget that one.
As always we’re thankful for the great Pam Grier!
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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Here I am writing my obligatory “I’m thankful for..” post the day before Thanksgiving. It is so cliche, but also one of my favorite posts to write. I all too often look over the things I’m thankful for and turn immediately to the things that make me angry, and the things I haven’t accomplished yet. But Thanksgiving is the holiday to stop and take a look at what I have, rather than what I want.
I am thankful for the support net I have sitting under me, also known as my friends and family.
I’m thankful and so terrified that I’m almost done grad school.
I’m thankful for the 27 years of life I’ve lived and the experience it’s given me.
I’m thankful for social media that keeps us aware of the atrocities that happen around us. I am thankful that it can serve as a call to action.
I am thankful to CPS teachers who are working their fucking ass off despite being the toilet of the city’s budget.
I am thankful to the judge that ruled the video of Laquan McDonald be shown to the public so that we all could get a taste of gruesome and unapologetic his murder was.
I am not thankful that it took 400 days for the public to see it.
I am not thankful for Rahm Emmanuel and his suppression of the truth in Laquan McDonald’s murder. This can only lead me to wonder what else he and his administration is hiding.
I am thankful to all the organizations and activists who carried out the protest last night in the name of justice for the minorities in our city. I am grateful that the lit fuse of Laquan McDonald’s murder turned into their beautiful explosion of an outcry and demand for justice.
I am thankful to the activists who led this afternoon’s rally to #FreeMalcolm, and I am thankful for their message of love and understanding. I am almost hopeful because of them.
I am thankful that the charges against Malcolm London were dropped. I am not thankful he was arrested in the first place.
I am grateful to the Black Youth Project for sharing examples of their resilience with me. I am thankful to them for contributing to my understanding.
I am thankful just to be here.
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After years of investigation, I’ve figured out a secret that’s vexed Baby Boomers for decades–the mystery men in You’re So Vain, Carly Simon’s big hit from 1972.
That’s the song with the following chorus: “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.”
One of the cleverest lines ever written.
If you were Carly, how could you resist…
In her newly published autobiography, Carly says the song’s about three former lovers, one for each verse. Starting with…
You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner…
Many pop critics claim she’s referring to Jack Nicholson or Mick Jagger. But what do pop critics know!
I believe Carly’s singing about Frank Coconate, the reigning world champion of The Third City’s Hairy Ass Contest.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but Frank was a dashing young man back in his day at Willowbrook High School. Especially, when he wore his beret.
He used to woo the ladies with Italian love songs: ”Volare–oh, oh…”
Frank Coconate or…
You’re So Vain’s second verse goes…
You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
Well you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me…
Carly claims she’s singing about Warren Beatty. But I think she only mentioned Beatty to hype book sales.
I think she’s really singing about Jon Randolph, TTC’s superstar photographer.
Back in the `60s, Jonny was always serenading beautiful women with lines, like: “Hey, sugar, I think we make a pretty pair. Wanna visit my dark room and check out my single-lens reflex?”
Now, you tell me–what woman could resist a come on like that?
Finally, there’s the third verse…
Well I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear Jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun…
Again, there’s much debate over who this could be. James Taylor? David Bowie? Cat Stevens?
I think it’s Milo, my partner in the TTC blogging empire.
Okay, Milo never flew a Lear Jet. Or went to Nova Scotia. Or saw the total eclipse of the sun. I’m not sure he’s even heard of Saratoga.
But back in the `60s, he was a regular at the sulky races at Sportsman Park in Cicero. Why, he once won the Daily Double by betting on Drunken Serbian and My Grandfather The Pig Farmer.
When I called Milo for comment, he snickered and said…
“Benny, there are some secrets a gentlemen never tells.”
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Otis did it again. The dumbass tangled with the wrong alley cat and got his ass kicked.
This beating wasn’t as bad as the one he suffered last year, when my wife and daughters had to take him to the vet and spend close to three hundred of my hard-earned dollars to get the fucker patched up. On this occasion, he just got his face badly scratched and one of his ears chewed up.
Of course, the lovely Mrs. Milo immediately blamed me for the cat’s predicament.
“I wish you wouldn’t let Otis out of the house so often,” she said, giving me the evil eye. “If he stayed inside, he wouldn’t get in trouble.”
“Honey, he’s an outside cat. He needs to go out and take care of business. He’s got important cat shit to do.”
Otis’ problem is that he’s an aging cat. He was two or three years old when he conned his way into my household, and that was more than 15 years ago. The dumbass doesn’t seem to understand that time is no longer on his side.
I know a few guys like Otis, hell-raisers in their 40s, 50s, even 60s, who are determined to defy time. They carry on like frat boys, drinking, smoking, and chasing women, living the high life. They know it will eventually get to them but they just don’t care. They intend to keep the party going until their hearts, livers, or lungs or give out.
Personally, I don’t give a shit about Otis. He’s mean, treacherous, unreliable, and a degenerate catnip abuser. I would have gotten rid of him a long time ago if it wasn’t for the fact that my wife and daughters have, inexplicably, grown very fond of the bastard. They have made it clear that there will be hell to pay if anything happens to the cat.
The last time Otis got his ass kicked, he fell into a depression that lasted for several months. He lost weight, slept poorly and was reluctant to leave the house. He spent most of his time in a catnip stupor, hiding in the basement and feeling sorry for himself.
I was hoping that Otis wouldn’t become despondent again. Let’s face it, nobody likes having a depressed cat in the house.
But, to my surprise, Otis took his ass-kicking in stride. It was almost as if he had expected to lose the fight.
Then it occurred to me that Otis had reached a point in his life where he no longer cared if he won or lost fights. For an aging cat, there’s not much difference between winning and losing anyway.
The important thing, the only thing that matters, is the action.
In that respect, Otis is like some gamblers I know. Winning or losing are secondary considerations. Their primary motive is the action, playing the game.
As gamblers have been known to say, “The next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing.”
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As a fan of Northwestern football, allow me to extend my deepest, most heartfelt sympathies to the fans of the University of Wisconsin…
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…
The Badgers lost a heartbreaker yesterday to my beloved Wildcats after the referees reversed what looked like a winning touchdown catch by Jazz Peavy…
Aw, poor babies…
The refs ruled that Peavy didn’t have both feet down long enough to merit a catch…
Wah, wah, wah…
Believe it or not, it was the third touchdown the refs took from Wisconsin in that game…
I believe it, I believe it…
So, if you add the scores Wisconsin got to the ones the refs took away, they’d have won the game…
Too bad you can’t do that…
As NU coach Pat Fitzgerald said afterward: “I’ve been on the other side of those games…”
You’re darn tootin’, you have. Remember the Ohio Stage game in 2013, when the refs spotted NU shy of a first down on that key 4th quarter drive?
Fitz also said: “That’s a tough way to end up on the short end of it…”
It’s been all downhill for NU since that call…
And: “I feel for those kids from Wisconsin…”
Is there anybody out there who thinks Fitz really gives a hoot about “those kids from Wisconsin…”
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst was obviously very disappointed…
I didn’t think so…
Coach Chryst said: “It was a tough game to lose…”
You know, it’s funny, I didn’t hear old Coach Chryst weeping about tough games after Hue Hollins made that call against Scottie Pippen…
Sorry, coach, but sometimes the calls go the other way…
Chryst said he agreed with one of the ref’s touchdown take-away calls…
That Hollins call came in a Bulls/Knicks playoff game in 1994.
But he said he disagreed with the call on Peavy…
I know, I know–different sport, different league, but still…
About Peavy, Chryst said: ”I thought he had gotten a couple of feet down…”
And I thought that Pippen only incidentally touched Hubert Davis…
Chryst added: “But it doesn’t matter what I think…”
You got that right!
Twitter feeds have lit up with comments from aggrieved Badger fans…
Name one Badger fan who tweeted about that Hue Hollins call!!
Sometimes you have to learn to persevere in the face of senseless disappointments…
Okay, Twitter hadn’t been invented in 1994–but, still…
As you move on with your life…
While I’m on the subject–Fuck the Knicks!!!!
So in conclusion–good luck and Happy Thanksgiving to all…
Better luck next year, Cheeseheads!
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It’s Saturday, time to write my weekly post, and I’m faced with the same problem that’s been nagging me for months now: I can’t seem to write anything that’s even remotely funny.
I used to be able to with no problem. I’d sit down at my computer, and the humor would come pouring out of me.
I’d write about the countless tragically humorous stories that have happened in my life. I’d write about funny stuff that happened to other people. Hell, if I couldn’t think of any true stories to tell, I’d just make something up.
And it was always a hit with the thousands of readers that frequent this site.
But I don’t know what’s going on lately. I just can’t manage one funny story to save my life.
Even if something comical does happen to me or someone else I know, by the time I transfer it from my brain down onto the page, it’s lost its funny edge.
I don’t want to lose this sweet gig. You know, with great pay and perks, it’d be a shame to get fired cause I’ve lost my funny edge. I mean, it is a humor website.
They recently called me into a meeting at our plush Michigan Ave. offices.
The moment I stepped out of the elevator, I knew it was going to be a rough meeting. I could hear Milo cursing at an intern in Serbian for buying the wrong brand of whiskey and smokes for his mid-morning drink and smoke break.
“Govedo jedno, how many times do I have to tell you I don’t drink or smoke this shit?” he roared.
“I’m sorry, Milo, it’s just that….”
“My ass. You’re fired, Kurac. Get out of my face.”
The poor intern ran passed me in tears as I made my way down the hallway and into our offices.
Luckily for me, though, I picked up a bottle of Slivovitz for Milo and a box of Popeyes for Benny Jay on the way in to help smooth things over.
When I walked into the office, I handed Milo the bottle and Benny Jay the chicken.
Milo looked at me suspiciously, unscrewed the top and took a big pull from the bottle.
“Sit down, fuck face,” he said
I went to sit down on a chair across from them.
Benny Jay had already started to go to work on the chicken before I was in my seat.
He paused for moment, mouth full of fried chicken, and said: “The stuff you’re turning in is shit.”
“Complete horseshit,” Milo chimed in as he drank from the bottle again.
“I mean, I know it hasn’t been my best stuff, but….”
“But nothing, asshole. We do humor here and your shit ain’t funny.”
“Well maybe it’s not funny to you guys, but I’m sure it’s funny to some people. Like our younger readers.”
Benny Jay stopped eating the chicken and looked at Milo, then he hit the speaker phone button and dialed a number.
By the sound of the voice that answered on the other end I could tell it was No Blaise.
“Yeah,” she answered.
“No, darling, it’s Milo, we got fuck face over here. What do you think about his writing lately?”
“It’s shit, Milo. Actually, horseshit. Not one funny word to it.”
Milo took another long pull from the bottle and gave me a stern look, as if to say, ‘We told you so.’
“Alright, babe, we’ll let you go,” Benny Jay said, mouth still full of fried chicken. “You’re a superstar, remember that. That last bit you did was hilarious.”
“Thanks, Benny,” she said.
Benny Jay hung up and looked me in the eyes.
“She’s around your age. She thinks it’s shit,” he said, both sides of his mouth stuffed with chicken and his hands and face all greasy. “What should we do, then?”
I just stared back. I didn’t have an answer. I just hoped he wouldn’t fire me.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see Milo periodically taking swigs from the bottle.
It felt like an eternity.
The stare was so intense that I broke eye contact for moment and looked to the ground.
Then I heard two thuds and looked up to see Milo passed out drunk on the floor and Benny Jay in a food comma face first in a box of fried chicken.
I tiptoed out of there and made my way outside.
As I was walking down Michigan Ave., I thought, ‘Huh, saved by Slivovitz and a box of Popeyes.’
Let’s just hope I get my funnies back before the bosses wake up.
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Every Sunday there is a fair in the Mataderos neighborhood where people come to dance to traditional music from the provinces. They also sell the provincial foods and crafts in an avalanche of kiosks and even have Gauchos competing on horseback. More later…
All photos © Jon Randolph