Randolph Street: Off to the Side

June 22nd, 2018

1DSCF3923aBus Stop–Argentina


3DSCF4198aTourists–Bariloche, Argentina


4DSCF3590aHomeless–Buenos Aires


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: Sir Charles

June 22nd, 2018

This bit’s from the December 15th show. To listen click here


So yesterday I got a call from an outraged listener, who said…

Laura as outraged listener: You’re mean to Republicans. You hate Republicans. It’s not fair. Wah, wah, wah….

First of all, I do not hate all Republicans. Second of all, don’t you just hate it when Republicans whine like little babies?

Laura as Republican whiner: I’m a Republican and I’m mad cause you took away our precious right to say mean, nasty, evil things about those gays and women and blacks. Wah, wah, wah—political correctness.

Anyway, to prove my point, I will now name a Republican that I like. Ugh. Hold on. Let me prepare by drinking this big glass of water. Ah—dee-li-cious. Okay, drum roll, please.

Dennis: makes drum roll sound.

The name of the Republican I like is…basketball superstar Charles Barkley!

Dennis plays studio audience clapping.

I remember when Charles announced he was a Republican in a TV interview many years ago.

Dennis as Barkley: Hey, I’m Republican.

Laura as interviewer: But, Charles, Republicans are for the rich.

Dennis as Barkley: So? I’m rich.


Mr. Barkley…


The thing that makes Barkley such a great Republican is that he never votes for Republicans. Consider this interview from 1996.

Dennis as Barkley: I’m a Republican.

Laura as interviewer: So you’ll be voting for Bob Dole?

Dennis as Barkley: No, I’m voting for Bill Clinton. I like Bill Clinton.

Then in 2000.

Laura as interviewer: So, Charles, as a Republican, will you be voting for George W. Bush?

Dennis as Barkley: Nope. I’m voting for Al Gore. I like Al Gore.

In 2004…

Dennis as Barkley: I like John Kerry.

And 2008…

Dennis as Barkley: I really like Barack Obama.

And 2012…

Dennis: Did I tell you I really, really like Barack Obama?

And 2016…

Dennis as Barkley: I love Hillary Clinton–just like I love Bill.

That led this classic exchange with an interviewer.

Laura as interviewer: Charles, how can you call yourself a Republican, if you never vote Republican?

Dennis as Barkley: I don’t know. Why you gotta ask so many hard questions?

And, of course, Charles campaigned for Doug Jones over Roy Moore in the Alabama senatorial election. Where he gave his fellow Alabamians some excellent advice.

Dennis as Barkley: At some point, we’ve got to stop looking like idiots to the nation.

Good advice for all Republicans in these days of Trump. He even gave election-night advice to Democrats.

Dennis as Barkley: It’s time for Democrats to get off their ass and start making life better for black folks and people who are poor.

Laura as interviewer: But, Charles—you’re rich.

Dennis as Barkley: Oh, yeah. Drinks on me!

So there you have it, folks. The best Republicans are the ones who buy drinks for everyone and never vote Republican. And that’s my guide to being a good Republican.

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Randolph Street: The Bluest Dog

June 20th, 2018

No one captures blue like the great Jon Randolph…


1StreetkidsSStreet Kids–Guatemala City


2TableRestaurant–Quiche, Guatemala


3IMG0017Blue Dog–Nebaj, Guatemala


4IMG0005aTwo Girls–Xecotz, Guatemala


5BoyScan3-2bbfinalStreet Vendor–Guatemala City


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Letter from Milo: Penny Pinching

June 18th, 2018

Like the rest of the USA and the world, my family has been affected by the “Big Meltdown,” a term I prefer to recession or depression. My wife and I are both self-employed and we hit the financial bust-out perfecta. She’s in real estate and I’m in advertising. You know what happened to the real estate business, and the ad business is not far behind, especially when several of your clients are also real estate agencies.

A lot of our recent family discussions have been about ways to cut spending. We include our two daughters, 16 and 21, in these discussions because we figure it’s important that they understand the rotten financial situation we’re in. Not much gets settled at these family round tables, but at least everyone gets a chance to voice an opinion and present money saving ideas.

Mom: How about we cut out cable TV?

Kid 1: (Indignantly) No way. I’m not giving up MTV.

Dad: (Also indignant) I can’t believe you’re asking me to give up watching the Bulls.

Mom: What if we sell one of the cars?

Kid 2: You can’t be serious. Do you really expect me to ride the el and buses everywhere I go?

Dad: (Reasonably) Now, now. Let’s not get upset. We’re simply discussing options.

Kid 1: Here’s an option. Why don’t you and Mom quit drinking so much wine?

Dad: (Angrily) Don’t be a wiseass.

Mom: Ungrateful brat.

Kid 2: Now who’s upset?

Dad: Let’s all calm down. (Pathetic attempt at humor) Here’s an idea. Let’s sell the cat and dog to the Korean restaurant down the street.

Mom: (Aghast) That’s a horrible thing to say.

Kid 1: That’s not even close to funny, Dad. It’s just gross.

Dad: Just lightening the mood, trying to make everyone feel better.

Kid 2: Want to make us all feel better? Quit smoking. What do cigarettes cost anyway?

Dad: (Grumbling and obscenities)

In the end, we came up with a money saving solution that satisfied almost everyone. Dad got taken off of the health insurance policy. Being self-employed, we pay for health insurance out of our pockets, a little over $800 a month. That’s a lot of money right now or any other time. By removing me from the policy we save nearly four hundred a month.

Fortunately, I have a health insurance option. As a veteran of the United States Army, I’m entitled to care and treatment at any veteran’s hospital in the country. It’s one of the perks of having risked life, limb, and sanity for my country. The only problem is that veterans’ hospitals are not considered to be in the top echelon of medical facilities. I can see the conversation with my doctor.

Me: I need brain surgery, Doc.

Doc: That’s too bad.

Me: And I need a septuple heart bypass.

Doc: That’s a shame.

Me: What’s the prognosis?

Doc: Dude, you’re probably gonna die.

The good thing, however, is that VA doctors are experienced in dealing with traumatic injuries. So if I get shot or stabbed or step on a land mine in Lincoln Park, I’ll be in good hands.

I’m going down to the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center on South Damen Avenue next week to register in the system. I’ll bring along my discharge papers and my good conduct medal and my dog-eared copy of the US Army Survival Manual, just in case things get rough. I’ll let you know what happens.

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Benny Jay: Chino Or China

June 17th, 2018

Sitting in the living room, late at night, listening to my wife singing the Dead and playing the guitar.

She’s been taking guitar lessons for the last few months and she’s getting pretty good.

She sings….

“Got a wife in China, baby, and one in Cherokee….”

“Chino,” I say.

She stops playing.


“It’s Chino.”

“What’s Chino?”

“In the song. He’s got a wife in Chino.”


“You said China. It’s not China. It’s Chino.”

“The paper says China.”

And she points to the lyrics sheet, which clear as day, says: “Got a wife in China….”


Everybody loves the Grateful Dead!


So now it’s my word against the lyric sheet.

“That’s a typo.”

“I’m gonna say China.”

“It doesn’t make any sense. It’s a song by the Grateful Dead, they’re from California. Chino is a town in California. They wouldn’t have a wife in China.”

She gives me a look and sings….

“Got a wife China, one in Cherokee. The first one says she’s got my child, but it don’t look like me….”


It reminds me a conversation I had almost 50 years ago with my father over a Bob Dylan that goes….

“You got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend, when I was down, you just stood there grinning.”

One of the greatest songs ever written!

He said the song was named Positively 4th Street. But I insisted it was Positively 14h Street.

Not sure why I was so insistent. Probably my way of telling him that just cause he said something, didn’t make it true.


Washington Square Park — Positively, Greenwich Village!


So my father explained that it’s about people who live in Greenwich Village.

And that 4th Street — not 14th Street — is the heart of Greenwich Village.

And that Dylan’s singing about a special breed of back-stabbing Greenwich Village hypocrites.

Or people who are positively 4th Street — like the name says.

Thus igniting the following debate.

Me: It’s 14th Street.

Father: Benny, that makes no geographical sense.

Me: Yes, it does!

And so on….

Many years later, I was walking through New York City on a wonderfully gorgeous day and I found myself in Washington Square — in the heart of Greenwich Village!

And sure enough, the street sign said: 4th Street.

Holy shit — the old man had been right after all.

Right then and there I wrote him a post card, telling him all about it.

Here’s the thing….

When I got home to Chicago, he told me he didn’t even remember the conversation

Oh, well.

But back to Friend of the Devil….

My wife sings the song again. And when she gets to the critical line, she goes….

“Got a wife in China, and one in Cherokee….”

Just to let me know that just cause I say something doesn’t mean it’s true.

One day I’m gonna have to take her to California so she can see for herself.

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