Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Milt Rosenberg Extension 720 Drinking Game

Dr. Milt Rosenberg
Once long ago on a college campus far, far away I regularly participated in a Saturday evening drinking game called "Hi Bob."

The game was tied to The Bob Newhart Show--- the first Newhart show where Bob played a Chicago psychologist who would be seen in the opening credits coming out of a condo at 5901 N. Sheridan (which still stands) and taking the El to his office at 440 N. Michigan Ave.

The rules of the game held that whenever anyone on the show said, "Hi Bob," everybody had to take a shot of whiskey.

Invariably, Emily would enter about 20 seconds into the show and say, "Hi, Bob." And about 45 seconds later, Howard would come over from across the hall and say, "Hi, Bob," and Bob would go off to work and Carol would greet him as he arrived with a "Hi, Bob" and Jerry the dentist would come by and say, "Hi, Bob" and all this "Hi, Bobbing" would require the consumption of 4 shots of cheap booze before even the first commercial break.

So by the time the Mary Tyler Moore show came on, immediately after Newhart, those who weren't already hugging the porcelain goddess would be well lubricated for a Saturday night out on the town.

But I am older now and far removed from such silly sophomoric activity.

Today, I have put aside the consumption of the cheap rotgut whiskey of my undergraduate days and I have long abandoned the mind-numbing frivolity of The Bob Newhart Show.

Today I drink only the better grades of cognac and enrich my mind with Milt Rosenberg's much weightier, scholarly interview show, WGN radio's Extension 720.

And I have invented the Extension 720 Milt Rosenberg drinking game.

Here are the rules:

When Milt makes any reference to "historical counterfactuals" -- 3 shots

When Milt says, "As you know, I was a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Chicago in my earlier incarnation" --- 1 shot

When Milt refers to his having been an assistant Professor at:

Yale -- 1 shot
Dartmouth -- 2 shots
Ohio State -- 3 shots

When Milt makes reference to the degrees he earned at:

Brooklyn College -- 1 shot
University of Wisconsin -- 2 shots
University of Michigan -- 3 shots

When Milt refers to having grown up a poor boy in Brooklyn -- 1 shot

When Milt says, "We now have to perform our own service to capitalism with these commercials" --- 1 shot

When Milt makes reference to listeners "down under in Australia" -- 1 shot

If he says "Australia" with an Aussie accent -- 2 additional bonus shots

I tried out my formula for this new game the other night and it works pretty well.

Milt's guests were two authors who dealt with historical matters.

A mere 4:36 into the show, Milt brought up his first historical counterfactual (3 shots.) Then at 6:58 he posed a second counterfactual (3 shots) and a third again at 9:27 (3 shots)

That was 9 shots of cognac in only 9:27 -- almost a shot a minute!

Later on there was a reference to Dartmouth (2 shots), three references to the service of capitalism (1 shot ea.) a Brooklyn mention (1 shot) and a bonus reference to listening down under with an Aussified accent (3 shots.)

All in all, it was an excellent broadcast.

I think it was about the Civil War ------

or something.


  1. Great posting; you seem to have Milt's show down well and you also seem to be quite a drinker. As an avid listener to Extension 720 I have long been aware of the shows quirks. If you're not drinking too much during your game perhaps you can add a shot for every time Milt uses the adverb "utterly" and two shots when he describes a book as "utterly readable".

  2. I hadn't thought of those. And "the coarsening of the culture" seems to be recurring with greater frequency these days. But, in fairness, when you have as much time to fill as he does weekly, you probably have to rely on some default sayings. I really appreciate his programming and am fearful of the day when he will sign off for good. God knows what WGN would come up with to replace him.

  3. Ha! Too funny! I remember the Bob Newhart show. How easy for the writers, "Hi Bob!" I bet they made a mint to write those lines. ;)

    I haven't played a drinking game since a friend of mine was in college, and that was the only time I think. Quarters or caps or something like that. Sounds like you need to get together with VodkaPundit! LOL :)

  4. Your blog brought to mind one of the many things I've long secretly enjoyed about WGN Extension 720 —often unaware that I was enjoying these tropes and mannerisms as quirks, which they surely are.

    But "[wait …] there's more [!]"

    - When Milt lapses into French : 1 shot
    - lapses into German: 2 shots
    [He seems to have one or two favorite phrases.]
    - lapses into Yiddish : 3 shots + a bonus shot if he mentions that it was his first language
    - Milt's imitation of the "Bvooklyn" accent

    The following are also worthy of consideration
    - a mention of [possible] listeners in Kuala Lumpur
    - the cultural literacy test Milt would administer to U of C undergrads
    - Milt's use of the euphemism "blocking on" for the occasional memory lapse

    This is obviously only a partial catalogue of additional Milt-isms —for which we love the program almost as much as we do for the quality of its actual content. A more thorough list could all-too-easily lead to serous alcohol abuse.

  5. Those are excellent additions to the catalogue of Miltisms. Thanks. I also like the one that the earlier commenter left on "utterly readable" books.

  6. I would instantly add the word, instantly to the repertoire of your Uncle Milty's drinking game.

  7. As readers must know, Milt is back on the airwaves as of Monday 6 April 2015. But the afternoon broadcast schedule poses a serious challenge to the drinking game players who either work or simply want to remain lucid during the day. As Milt himself might ask —citing either Lenin or Chernyshevsky— "What is to be done?" [p.s.: Here we have another addition to the game.]

    1. Thanks for that info on Milt's new spot. I was unaware of that as I personally have pretty well been staying away from radio, the absence of Milt Rosenberg, being a key reason.

      Here is the apparent home of Milt's show, which is aired noon to 2 p.m. weekdays on WCGO AM 1590

      I'll definitely check it out. Here also is Milt's website:



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