Randolph Street: Elevator

August 10th, 2018

1DSCF4727Mack–Donnellson, Illinois


2DSCF4713Grain Elevator–Donnellson, Illinois


3DSCF4729Grain Elevator–Donnellson, Illinois


4DSCF4720Grain Elevator–Donnellson, Illinois


5DSCF4732Grain Elevator–Donnellson, Illinois


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: Chill Time

August 9th, 2018

As part of my duties to keep my partners informed of everything I’m up to, I tell Milo about my big plans to take a break.

I’m beat up, worn out and on the brink of break down. Gonna go north–far from this madness to re-charge my run-down batteries. Yes, sir, that’s what I’m gonna do…

Soon as I finish, Milo tells me about his friend who did 22 years of hard time on a prison farm in Mississippi. They made him pick cotton in the hot sun all day long–didn’t even let him wear gloves to protect his fingers.


Well, don’t I feel like the big wimp, complaining about my easy existence while this guy’s picking cotton in the broiling sun?

Just goes to show you–as bad as I may have it, someone, somewhere has got it worse. It’s always good to have a little perspective on life.


Gonna be jumpin’ for joy on a beach…


That said, I’m not giving up my vacation time just cause Milo’s friend did 22 years of hard time.

Oh, no, I’m gonna lie on a sand dune and watch the clouds meander across the blue sky. And then when I get hungry, I’m gonna get up and make a cheese sandwich–slather it with Mr. Mustard.

Man, I love Mr. Mustard!

When I come home, I’ll be like a marshmallow–all soggy and soft. People in Chicago will be going one-hundred miles per hour, and I’ll be going ten. I’ll be the slow car in the fast lane. It’ll take me at least a week to catch up to speed.

And then I’ll start dashing until I can dash no more and I need to take a break.

Like I said, every battery needs a re-charge when it’s running low. That’s just how it goes. No need to apologize. Even in that prison farm, they got Sundays off.

See ya’ soon…

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Letter From Milo: Smoke Out

August 6th, 2018

Okay. Here we go again. I’m trying to quit smoking for the 300th time. I’ve got all my shit with me – Nicorette gum, Tootsie Pops, sugarless chewing gum, literature from the alarmists at the American Heart and Lung associations, and a hotline number to call when the urge to smoke comes over me.

How hard can it be to quit smoking? I’ve given up a lot of other vices. I don’t use drugs anymore. I gave up hard liquor, although I do enjoy a glass or two of wine on occasion. I quit gambling. I gave up having crazy, acrobatic, and unprotected sex with supermodels. Matter of fact, now that I think about it, smoking is one of my only remaining vices.

So, how hard can it be to quit? For me, it’s close to impossible. I’ve tried acupuncture and laser treatments. The laser thing, in my opinion, was a rip-off. It cost more than $300 and I was smoking again half an hour after I walked out of the clinic.

I tried acupuncture about 20 years ago and it worked – for three weeks. I was smoke-free, on my way to a healthy life style. I was planning to join a health club, lift weights, and run marathons. I was going to become a better person, a Milo 2.0. The world was going to be my oyster.

Then, darn the luck, I had an attack of kidney stones. For those who have never been afflicted by kidney stones, consider yourselves lucky. It is one of the most painful conditions you can imagine. The only thing doctors can do is make you comfortable, and that means keeping you doped up on Demerol and running IV liquids through your system until you piss the damn stones out.

So, there I was at Illinois Masonic Hospital (as it was then known,) blissfully under the influence of a primo opiate, when I noticed that my attending nurse had a pack of cigarettes in her pocket. Of course, I bummed one, then talked her into buying me a pack of Marlboro Lights. I doubt Florence Nightingale would have approved.

I’ve tried to quit a couple of times since then but never lasted more than a few days. But this time – this time – I’m going to do it. For one thing, cigarettes are just getting way too expensive. At more than $8 a pack, I’m spending over fifty bucks a week. And the city and state are planning to raise the cigarette tax again in a month or two.

Another reason I’m going to quit is that my Wife and Kids are driving me crazy. They won’t let up. They’re on my case every day.

Wife: “Didn’t you feel like an idiot at the Ivcich‘s last night, going out on the porch and smoking those stupid cigarettes. It was freezing.”

Me: “It was pretty cold, heh heh.”

Daughter #1: “We don’t want you to die, Dad. Please stop.”

Daughter #2: “Nobody else smokes. It’s like totally embarrassing.”

Wife: “Plus you reek of smoke and you get those big bags under your eyes.”

Me: “What bags?”

Daughter #1: “More like suitcases.”

Daughter #2: “Duffle bags, actually.”

Me: “Very funny. Haven’t you kids got something to do, like homework?”

Wife: “Everybody’s just very concerned. It’s not like you’re a kid anymore.”

Me: “Let me get this straight. You’re telling me that I’m old, I stink, and I’m ugly. Is that what you’re telling me?”

Wife: “Kind of, yeah.”

Me: “Well, shit, honey. I already knew that.”

I don’t have great hopes about quitting. I know myself too well. But I have to give it a serious try, if only to have some peace and quiet at home. Still, when I think about it, it would be nice to get back in shape, lift some weights, do a little running. You never know, those nymphomaniac supermodels might come calling again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Randolph Street: Just Kids

August 3rd, 2018

1aStreetkidsStreetkids–Guatemala City


2aChild vendorVendor–Guatemala City


3women022Three Boys–Chicago


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: Keep The Secret

August 2nd, 2018

Working at home on a snowy afternoon, when my phone line crashes.

Don’t know why.

It just doesn’t work. Internet. Phone. Nothing.

So I get out my cell phone and call AT&T. Wind up talking to a nice lady named Stephanie, who tells me I should unplug the phones.

“You want me to unplug the phones?” I ask.

Just to make sure.

“Yes — all the phones,” she says. “Keep them off for about five minutes and then plug them back in.”


I crawl under the desk and look at the snake tangle of wires — red, blue and gray — hooking phone, computer, printer, etc. into the surge protector.


Not sure which is which, I just start pulling plugs out of sockets.


Stephanie, the phone operator, looked a little like Raquel Welch….


Then I go downstairs to have a delicious glass of chocolate milk. Ahhh.

Then I read the sports section. Then I call Cap on the phone to talk about Derrick Rose’s knee….

Next thing you know — 15 minutes have passed. So it’s back to the phones I go.

I plug this plug here and that plug there and….


I call Stephanie — my new best friend — and she says she’ll send over a repairman.


I killed time talking about D. Rose’s knee….


Fast forward an hour or so….

My wife comes home.

“My phone died,” I tell her.

“Let me look,” she says.

“Oh, like you can fix it.”

She goes to my room and crawls under the table and then announces….

“You didn’t plug in the phones.”

“Yes, I did,” I say.

“No, you didn’t.”

I’m starting to get a little annoyed.

“Of course, I did.”

“No, you plugged the surge protector plug into itself….”


“It’s not plugged into the wall socket — it’s plugged into itself.”

She points to the problem.

“Oh,” I say.

“It’s like electrical masturbation,” she says.

She likes that line so much, she says it again.

Then she unplugs the surge protector plug from the surge protector and plugs it into the wall. Voila! The computer and phone come back to life. And I call Stephanie to cancel the repairman.

“That’s really funny,” says my wife.

“You can’t tell anyone about this,” I tell her.

“How `bout Jenny — can I tell her?”

Jenny works with my wife.

“Especially not Jenny.”

“Oh, all right.”

“And whatever you do, don’t tell Milo. I’ll never hear the end of it.

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Randolph Street: Couples

August 1st, 2018

1DSCF1245 copyCouple–Uptown


2DSCF0952Woman in WhiteLakeview


3DSCF1282Rest–Art Institute


4DSCF1278Wait–Art Institute


5DSCF1247 copyCouple 2–Uptown


All photos © Jon Randolph 2016


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