Randolph Street: Andes

February 23rd, 2018

1DSCF3672Lake–Beliloche, Argentina

 

2DSCF4056Lupins–Beliloche

 

3DSCF4180Andes–Beliloche

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

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Benny Jay: Dog Revolt

February 22nd, 2018

I finally got around to watching White God, a sensational movie that everyone should see.

It’s a Hungarian flick directed by the great Kornel Mundruczo that you can watch on Netflix. Only not the streaming Netflix account that everyone has.

But the DVD-through-the-mail account that I may be the only remaining American who gets.

You know, there’s something wrong when the good flicks are are hard to find. And the crummy flicks are the ones they shove down your throat.

White Dog is an allegorical statement about humans being so shitty to animals that the animals counter attack.

Think of it as Planet of the Apes–only with dogs.

There’s these horrifying scenes of hundreds of dogs–led by Hagen, who’s like the Spartacus of this rebellion–galloping through the streets of some unnamed Hungarian city, chasing down the humans who have been especially beastly.

Then they corner the malicious bastards and–well, watch it yourself.

 

whitegoddogsHere come the dogs in White God…

 

The thing is–since I’ve seen the movie I’ve been keeping a closer eye on Nicky, my own dog.

It’s not that I’ve been mean to her. On the contrary–that dog lives the good life.

But you never know what’s going on in her doggy mind.

I find myself looking for tell-tale signs that she’s getting ideas about rising up angry against her human oppressor. Which would be–me.

So this morning, I gingerly approach Nicky as she was flaked out on my bed–I’m telling you, this dog’s got it good. And I say…

“Nicky, I’m really sorry about the time I stepped on your tail.”

She flashes me that look of annoyance.

“I didn’t mean to do it–I swear.”

She hops off the bed and hides in an alcove. Which is what she does more and more as she gets older and finds the whole lot of us irritating.

At least she’s not leaping for my jugular.

I’ve also started watching other dogs. Like Louie-my neighbor Sam’s dog–who looks like a cross between a Poodle and a Chihuahua.

nikki

So far Nicky’s pretty chill…

 

I recently bumped into Sam & Louie as they were walking down the street. As we walked along, I kept eyeballing the dogs to see if they were conspiring.

But mostly they only sniffed each other’s ass.

Perhaps ass-sniffing is itself a secret form of communication. As in…

Nicky: How’s the fucker treating you?

Louie: Shitty. You wouldn’t believe the crap he feeds me.

Nicky: I hear you, man.

So far there’s been no rebellion.

On the other hand, man keeps getting more savage. So you can’t be too careful.

Hey, Nicky & Louie–if you’re reading this…

Whatever stupidity man’s perpetrating–

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Letter From Milo: Scared Shitless

February 19th, 2018

A while ago, I went to the Jesse Brown V.A. Hospital to see my physician, Dr. Frankie “Disco” Lopez, and hit him up for some new meds, preferably industrial-strength opiates. Dr. Frankie is a notoriously easy touch when it comes to handing out pain-killers. But just to be on the safe side, I Googled some exotic diseases and their symptoms to help make my case.

When I walked into Dr. Frankie’s office, he said, “Dude, we’ve got to make it quick. I’m meeting a nurse from ER for a nooner at the Diplomat Motel and I don’t want to keep her waiting. How are you feeling?”

“Not too good. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a case of Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia and I need something for the pain.”

“No problem. I’ll prescribe some shit that’ll make you feel real good. Hey, you’re a smoker aren’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“How long have you been smoking?”

“I started when I was three, about the same time I started drinking.”

“It’s time you had a chest X-ray. I’ll set it up.”

Two days later, as I was out on my back porch, enjoying a cigarette with my morning whiskey, I got a call from Dr. Frankie. “Dude,” he said, “I’ve got your X-ray in front of me and it looks like you’ve got a spot on the lower right lobe of your lung.”

“Ah, fuck!”

“I’m going to order a CAT scan so we can get a better look.”

“Doc, should I be worried?”

“If it was me, I’d be shaking in my boots and crying for my mama.”

I’m not the kind of guy that rattles easily. Anyone that reads my blogs knows that I’m a badass, tougher than concrete, meaner than a snake, as fearless as an Acapulco cliff diver. I’ve stared death in the face more often than a mortician. I’ve survived growing up on the mean streets of Gary, Indiana, a war in Southeast Asia, 30 years of marriage, the Bush administration, and a career in the advertising business.

That said, the possibility that I might have lung cancer scared the shit out of me.

After giving it some thought, I decided to keep the information to myself. I didn’t tell anyone, not even the lovely Mrs. Milo. I figured the situation would upset her worse than it upset me. I knew she’d be angry with me for not telling her, but I didn’t want my wife to worry until I knew that there was definitely something to worry about.

I had to wait three weeks for the CAT scan and, trust me, it was a very long three weeks. Everything slowed down. The days dragged by. I felt like I had a ball and chain attached to my leg. My thinking was scattered and murky. The words biopsy, major surgery, chemotherapy, and painful lingering death were never far from my mind.

My wife sensed there was a problem. Every few days she’d give me an odd look and ask, “Milo, are you okay?”

“Sure, babe, I’m fine. Everything’s peachy. Why do you ask?”

“Well, you’re acting weird. I’ve seen you staring off into space and muttering to yourself. Plus, you’re drinking more than usual.”

“Heh, heh, you’re probably just imagining things.”

There were a dozen other miserable-looking fuckers hanging around in the waiting room of the Radiology Department when I arrived for my CAT scan. And all of us were there for the same reason. Doctors had found something in our bodies that required further investigation. We were all hoping for the best.

Later that day, a few hours after the CAT scan, I was in my back yard, enjoying a cigarette with my afternoon whiskey, when the phone rang. It was Dr. Frankie. “Dude,” he said, “it was a false alarm. Other than a touch of emphysema, your lungs are clear.”

“Doc, that’s great news.”

“Well, I’ve got to call a couple of other guys who won’t be as happy to hear from me.”

That night, at supper, I told my wife the story. As I suspected, she didn’t take it well. “Oh, you’re such an asshole! I’m your wife! We’re partners! How could you keep that from me for three weeks?”

“Honey, it wasn’t easy.”

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Randolph Street: Portraits

February 16th, 2018

1DSCF4145Tourists–Lago Puelo, Argentina

 

2DSCF3869Face–Beliloche, Argentina

 

3DSCF3331Shoe Shine Man–Buenos Aires

 

4DSCF4341aFather with Child–Beliloche

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

 

 

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Randolph Street: America’s Pastime

February 14th, 2018

1jon8nosharp15x10

Baseball–Blue Grass, Iowa

 

These pictures were made from 1975 to 1982. Highway 61 ran from New Orleans to Thunder Bay–along the Mississippi up to St. Paul then along Lake Superior to Thunday Bay, Ontario, where it ended.

 

210x15mandog6a

Man & Dog–Vicksburg, Mississippi

 

3TrailerboyFIN3-2

Trailer Boy–near Burlington, Iowa

 

4PorchdollAAA

Porch–Blytheville, Arkansas

 

510x15Paperhat5a

Paper Hat–New Orleans, Louisiana

 

6Wreaking10x15bb

Demolition–Thunder Bay, Ontario

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

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Benny Jay: Sombreros

February 13th, 2018

I’m in my car with my old friend, Kitty.

What up, Kitty!

And we’re driving north on Pulaski near 39th street, on the southwest side of Chicago.

I’m hungry. I mean, really hungry. Haven’t eaten all day. Skipped my usual cereal breakfast. And now I’m fighting the fatigue and grumpiness that comes from missing a meal.

God help me, if I was every really deprived.

I think Kitty’s feeling the same way, cause she says…

“That looks like a good place to eat.”

On our right’s a tiny joint called Sombreros with a sign that’s got me salivating like Pavlov’s dog: “Tacos, tortas, burritos and enchiladas.”

Man, what I wouldn’t do for a burrito right now.

“Yeah,” I say. “Let’s eat there.”

But…

We’re in the left lane and to get to the Sombreros I have to cross to the right lane, which is heavy with traffic.

And by the time the traffic’s cleared, we’ve gone another block. And it’s like a great opportunity has passed.

And I’m hungrier than ever.

“We missed it,” I say.

Kitty smiles and says: “Well. It’s not like you can’t turn around and go back.”

IMG_1870It was a little joint on South Pulaski…

 

Wow! As soon as she says it, I think–My God, she’s right!

You know, it’s always the simplest observations that have the deepest meaning. Especially when you’re almost hallucinating with hunger cause you skipped breakfast.

So I do as Kitty suggests.

I turn right at the next street and circle the blocks till I’m back on Pulaski going north.

There’s a parking spot right in front of Sombreros–like this was meant to be.

Inside, it’s cozy. Maybe four tables and a half dozen chairs at the counter. No kitchen–just a grill.

The woman behind the counter asks: “Have you been here before?”

We say no.

“I didn’t think so,” she said.

I’d say all heads turn to watch as we, the strangers, walk to our table. Except there’s no one else in the restaurant.

We order the huevos rancheros. And the orange juice. And the lady brings a bucket of corn tortillas.

Folks, let me tell you–this meal’s delicious!

I wolf it down. Mop up the yolk with my tortillas.

As we leave, I’m like old friends with the lady behind the counter. I tell her I’ll stop in again–next time I’m on this part of Pulaski.

“Kitty,” I say. “You’re a genius. Heading back was the smartest thing I’ve done all day.”

In lunch, as well as life, sometimes you just have to turn around and start again.

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