Benny Jay: It Must Be Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014

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!

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


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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No Blaise: Thanks

November 26th, 2014

My first thought when I decided to write a Thanksgiving blog was, “How convenient that this year Thanksgiving is on a Thursday so I can write about it in my Wednesday blog.” Only to realize five seconds later that it is on a Thursday every year, and my posts rarely correspond with a reality other than my own, and so this whole theme thing was quickly becoming a wash.


Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine, mostly because it’s centered around food. It’s nice, too, because the older I get the more I realize how thankful I am. It’s easy to pick out the things I’ve always been thankful for: Family, Friends, Food and Dogs. And beer. And shelter. Since this year has been a pretty tumultuous one for me, I’d like to get a little more specific.

The year started out with my boss firing me after trying to give her a months notice that I’d be leaving, so I spent the first month of the year with no income. I’m thankful for my parents being my safety net in that scenario, and also very thankful that they sent me to Mexico while I waited to start my new job.

Then my best friend, Hannah, moved to Los Angeles and I’m thankful that we’re still as close as ever, even though we’re a million* miles away from each other. I’m also thankful that she works her butt off to make the city of Los Angeles a more just place for every person living there. In  fact, I’m thankful to all my friends for being the most admirable people I know.

In May I moved extremely close to a grocery store, which allows me to be the super weird girl who wants to make everything from scratch. But, then some days is tired and eats mac and cheese from the hot bar. I’m thankful for that hot bar.

I’m thankful for my classmates and teachers at DePaul who remind me everyday to never stop learning, and that life is so much better that way. I’m also thankful to my brain for not giving up on me after all I’ve done to it.

The boys I nanny turn one today, and I’m thankful that  I get to be with them five days a week. They make life so much less serious, and remind me how un-serious my own is.

And, well, I’m of course thankful to you my readers (aka my mom and close friends) for supporting me on my sarcastic journey through life.


Last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful for my dog, Belle, who forces me to wake up early and take a walk outside dressed like a crazy person. It reminds me to be who I am, and to just love life like she does. It also reminds me how much I fucking hate mornings.


*actual distance may be less than a million miles, but it sure does feel that way.


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Benny Jay: Feeling Dumb

November 25th, 2014

The New York Times recently ran an interview with Bruce Springsteen in which the rock star laid out his favorite books.

I think it was supposed to inspire us, but instead it was another depressing reminder of what a lowlife I’ve become.

When asked what books are “currently on your night stand”–Springsteen replied…

“I just finished Moby-Dick, which scared me off for a long time due to the hype of its difficulty. I found it to be a beautiful boy’s adventure story and not that difficult to read.”

When asked who are his favorite novelists, Springsteen said…


The Boss loves…


“I like the Russians, the Chekhov short stories, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. I never read any of them until the past four years, and found them to be thoroughly psychologically modern. Personal favorites: The Brothers Karamazov and, of course, Anna Karenina.

Of course…

He went on…

“Current favorites: Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy and Richard Ford…”

And then…

“Flannery O’Connor; James M. Cain; John Cheever; Sherwood Anderson; and Jim Thompson, the great noir writer.”

Wait, wait…

“Walt Whitman is pretty good. The summer always makes me want to pick up Leaves of Grass for a while and sit on the front porch. I come away happier.”

And so on…

In contrast, I’d just finished reading a novel called Sleep No More by Greg Iles.

I found it on the shelf at my local library when I was looking for something else. You know how that goes.




In Sleep No More, the hero is a 40-something year old dude who had a smoking-hot girlfriend with whom he splits up–even though she’s great in the sack–cause she’s nuttier than a fruitcake.

His girlfriend winds up getting murdered by this bad guy. Only the girlfriend doesn’t really die! I mean, her body’s dead, but her spirit takes over the man who murdered her.

And from him it moves to someone else. Basically, it’s like this super spirit takes over the body of anyone with whom the body in has taken over has sex with.

Provided they have an orgasm.

I know, it’s complicated.

Think of it as Stephen King meets Lady Chatterely’s Lover.

Anyway, the spirit of the ex-girlfriend eventually finds its way to the body of this smoking, hot real estate agent who lives in the hero’s hometown.

And, well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Suffice to say, that book–with all its smoking hot sex–kept me preoccupies for the better part of three nights. As I plowed through it.

I was even telling people about it…

“So, you see, she has an orgasm and…”

Anyway, you can see why I got depressed about my shitty tastes when I what Bruce has been reading.

For the sake of my self esteem, I’m hoping Springsteen’s publicist made up that reading list.

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Letter From Milo: Otis and the Shady Cats

November 24th, 2014

Several weeks ago, some feral cats moved into the neighborhood and started hanging out by the dumpster in the alley behind the bar and grill on the corner of Rockwell and Eastwood. They were a rough-looking crew, really shady tomcats, tattered and scarred, with broken teeth and chewed-up ears. As soon as I spotted them, I knew they were nothing but trouble.

I mentioned my concern to the lovely Mrs. Milo. “Sweetie, have you, by any chance, seen those thuggish-looking cats hanging around on the corner?”

“Ah, no.”

“There’s a gang of them and they’re real brutes. I can tell they’re up to no good. I’m going to keep a close eye on them.”

“Milo, have you been drinking already?”

“I may have had a smidgen of red wine with my breakfast burrito.”

As usual, my intuition proved to be correct. Shortly after the feral cats appeared, there was a sharp rise in criminal activity in the neighborhood. Most of the crimes were small-time, petty theft, vandalism, weird cat graffiti, but I was sure things would get worse.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Otis, the rotten bastard of an alley cat, who’s made my life a living hell ever since weaseling his way into my home, more than 14 years ago, was hanging out with the feral cats.

I wasn’t surprised to see Otis consorting with cats of questionable character. He is, after all, a low-life character himself. His greatest pleasures in life are killing helpless little creatures and getting high on catnip. If it wasn’t for the fact that my wife and daughters are inexplicably fond of him, I would’ve gotten rid of the mangy fucker a long time ago.

That said, I didn’t like the idea of Otis spending time with a gang of criminally inclined cats. Nothing good could come of it. Otis is weak-minded and easily led. He was sure to get in trouble, the sort of trouble that brings cops to the door. And I’m allergic to cops coming to my door.

I decided to explain a few things to Otis, the same sort of things that were explained to me, many years ago, when I was young and reckless, running with the wrong crowd, and getting into trouble.

“Hey, dumbass!” I said to the cat. “You’re going to get in serious trouble if you keep hanging out with those losers down by the dumpster. You’ll probably end up in jail and, trust me, jail is no place for a tomcat. You’ve got a sweet deal here, two square meals a day, both dry food and canned, and a warm place to sleep. Don’t be an idiot and fuck up a good thing just for some cheap thrills. Wise up before it’s too late.”

Otis didn’t pay attention to a word I said. He continued associating with his nefarious feline friends. He’d leave the house early and come home very late. I had no idea what sort of mischief he and the feral cats were up to, but I expected the worst.

Then, yesterday morning, I got a pretty good idea of what Otis and his pals had been doing. I found Otis passed out on the kitchen floor, next to a bag that contained at least a pound and a half of catnip.

I was trying to figure out how the fucker could have gotten his paws on such a large stash of catnip, when I was interrupted by a loud knock on the door. It was the cops.

“Yes, officers, what can I do for you?”

“Late last night, a gang of cats broke into the Pet Palace in Lincoln Square and burglarized the place. We’ve rounded up most of the suspects, but one of your neighbors informed us that you have a cat that’s part of this gang.”

Here was my chance, the opportunity I had been waiting for to finally get rid of Otis. All I had to do was lead the cops into the kitchen, point out the stolen catnip, and watch as they slapped the cuffs on the cat and hauled his ass away. With luck, I’d never see Otis again.

But then I thought about my wife and daughters. They love the cat. There would be Hell to pay if they found out I turned Otis over to the police. They’d probably never speak to me again. I’d be sleeping on the couch for years. In the end, I didn’t have the guts to rat the cat out.

So I lied. “I doubt the cat is acquainted with those ruffians. He’s a nerdy cat, rarely leaves the house. He was home with me last night. We were watching the Housewives of Altoona on the Bravo network. He loves that show.”

When the cops left, I went back into the kitchen and saw that Otis was still passed out. I nudged him with my foot until he woke up.

“Hey, dumbass,” I said. “You got real lucky this time. But if you ever pull any shit like this again, I’ll personally take you down to 26th and California and turn your ass in.”

Otis stared at me for a moment, yawned, licked his nuts, and went back to sleep.

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Matt Farmer: Toilet Paper Tuesday!

November 23rd, 2014

If it’s Sunday, it’s time for Chairman Matt’s tweets…

Rauner met with Madigan and Cullerton this morning for two hours; that’s $16.50/person (pre-tax), if you’re an Illinois minimum wage worker.

Taking a cue from Facebook’s TBT (Throwback Thursday) fad, CPS will introduce TPT (Toilet Paper Tuesday) to many of its underserved schools.

CPS board approves new school rating system. Schools with soap and toilet paper will be rated Level 1; schools without will be Level 2.

David Vitale tells CPS parents that Aramark cleaning crews decked out in HazMat suits are now monitoring his toxic swaps. #CPSboard

Vitale now bored with auction-rate swaps; said to be exploring other CPS gaming options, possibly a Public League sports book. #CPSboard

Vitale to explore use of reverse mortgages, payday loans, and CPS student plasma sales to recover sums he lost at auction-rate bond casino.

Emanuel tells media it’s already too late to undo whatever crazy financial deals David Vitale may get us into during the next few months.

If you’re a Chicago taxpayer looking for a low- to no-risk swap, swap out Mayor Emanuel in February 2015.

Rahm to target Aspen, Palm Springs, Wilmette and Martha’s Vineyard in first round of 2015 mayoral campaign ads, which will air on CNBC.

Sources say new Rahm TV spot will feature Diana Rauner telling voters, “I’m a lifelong Democrat, but I’d still consider voting for Rahm.”

Should the @ChicagoBears play the Philadelphia 76ers in any type of cross-league competition (e.g., darts, Scrabble, etc.), bet the under.

Trestman said to be excited after team displayed playoff-level focus and intensity during Thursday’s team meeting and film session. #Bears

Mel Tucker to address Soldier Field crowd before noon kickoff: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.” #Bears

Marc Trestman remains upbeat, saying team meetings this week focused on a smart PowerPoint presentation called “Competitive Synergy.” #Bears

No point in talking about “Bear weather”; let’s keep the focus on “Bear whether,” as in whether the #Bears decide to show up this week.

Maybe Marc Trestman can run the table and finish 10-6, which should position him nicely to become Tampa Bay’s next head coach. #Bears

Yes, readers were once able to get to the @Suntimes website in less than three clicks of the mouse, but today’s readers want a challenge.

Nixon declares emergency, calls up National Guard, appeals to Silent Majority, and seeks peace with honor. #Ferguson


Editor’s Note: Matt‘s last post for The Third City was Bear Down

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Rolando: Ithier

November 22nd, 2014

I get a lot of weird looks and odd questions whenever I tell someone my last name.

It’s Ithier….

We prounounce it ih-thee-err.

Typically, the first thing people ask is, ‘What kind of last name is that?’

To which I usually respond,”It’s French, from the south of France, specifically.”

What usually follows that question is, “But you’re Puerto Rican, aren’t you?”

To which I reply, “Yes, I am.”

Now the questions that follow after those initial ones depends on the person I’m dealing with.

You get those types that speak a little French that try and correct the way I pronounce my last name.

“It’s pronounce ih-tee-ay,” one such douchebag said to me the other day. “You’re mispronouncing your name.”

“That’s one way of pronouncing it,” I replied.

“No, that’s the proper way, the French way.”

“Well I’m from Chicago, and it’s my name, so I’ll pronounce it the way I want to.”

Then you have my fellow Ricans, some of who tend to not focus so much on the pronounciation of my last name, but on the fact that I’m of Puerto Rican ancestary and I have a French last name.

“That doesn’t even make sense, bro” one of my childhood friends said to me when he first learned my last name. “You’re Puerto Rican, you’re brown and you have a French last name?”

“What can I say? I didn’t choose it.”

“Do they even have Puerto Ricans in France?” he asked. “Do they even have brown people?”

“I’m sure they have a couple,” I said amused by his line of questioning. “I’m sure they have black people too.”

“That’s crazy, bro,” he said in disbelief. “Brown and black people in France?”

“I know, right?”

“That’s cool, bro. Your like a Puerto Rican French dude.”

I just let it go. It’s amazing the hassle a French last name can cause a Puerto Rican brown man from Chicago.

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