Randolph Street: Beisbol

April 3rd, 2020

1WooWooRonnie Woo Woo–Chicago


Grand Slam   Blue Grass, Iowa

Grand Slam–Bluegrass, Iowa


3bv31Opening Day 1976Chicago


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: Chino Wife

April 2nd, 2020

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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Randolph Street: Opening Day

March 27th, 2020

1SWRIGLEY-NIGHTWrigley Field–Chicago


2StPat70's 3St. Patrick’s Day–Chicago




All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: Chicken

March 23rd, 2020

Get an email from Peter Fuller, a faithful reader, who wants to know….

“Mother fucker – where’s my money?”

Sorry, that’s Milo’s joke. Couldn’t resist….

What Peter really wants to know is this: “Where do you suggest I go for great fried chicken, oh, great chicken cognoscente?

Hmm, interesting question…

Here’s the thing. I love chicken.  I love it so much I could eat it every day. Matter of fact, I do eat it every day.

Well, almost.

Now, here’s the problem. I love chicken so much I’m not very discerning – unlike, let’s say, with clam chowder.

Most of which I won’t eat cause it’s too gluey.

I said it once, I’ll say it again – you can’t get a good cup of clam chowder in Chicago.

But I digress….

Yes, I love all chicken. Which leads to the following philosophical quandary: If I love all chicken, how can I know if it’s bad?

Ahhh — this question’s plagued great minds since ancient times.

In fact, just posing it has exhausted me. Hold on – gotta take a nap.

Just looking at it makes me hungry….

An hour later….

Feeling much better. Now where was I? Oh, yes – great chicken….

First – let me give a shout out to my mother and my sister — they make a mean barbecue chicken.

And my wife? Man, on Sunday she made a mustard chicken to die for.

But the best place to buy it?


For a long time I was really into the fried chicken at the Popeye’s on Howard just east of Clark.

As you may recall, I went there the night the Bulls defeated the Pacers in game three of this year’s playoffs.

Worked up a big appetite watching the game at Cap’s house with the rest of my bowling buddies. Took a coupon from Cap’s brother J.R. and went straight on over.

J.R. kept the coupon in his car cause you never know when a coupon from Popeye’s is gonna come in handy.

By the way, Cap makes great fried chicken.

And the Young One, another guy on my bowling team, cooks a delicious grilled chicken.

Who would have thought one bowling team would have so many great cooks?

Ella Fitzgerald….

As you recall, the Young One cooked us grilled chicken during game four of last year’s Bulls/Atlanta series.

It was so good I wept when I ate it.

Then a bunch of chicks came over and the Young One had an orgy.

Well, I’m not certain about the orgy, but you never know with the Young One….

Here’s another surprise. Milo makes a good fried chicken. I know – it’s amazing what he can do for being a drunk.

His only drawback is he tends to use chicken legs.

I’m not a big chicken leg guy. It may be the only part of the chicken I don’t like.

In fact, when my wife and I eat out, I usually give her the chicken leg. Scores me points with her cause she thinks I’m being generous.

My little secret….

My old friend, Helena Appleton, made the best fried chicken I ever ate.

May she rest in peace….

One time years ago she made a big batch of it and took it to an Ella Fitzgerald concert in Grant Park.

We watched Ella Fitzgerald and ate Helena’s fried chicken.

Life doesn’t get much better than that….

Anyway, I haven’t been much help to Peter. So I call the best authority I know.

“Hey, Cap – Peter Fuller wants to know: Who makes the best fried chicken in Chicago?”

“I do….”

“Okay, but I’m not going to send him to your house….”

“Captain Hook’s Fish & Chicken, 1600 W. 13th Street.  Uncle Remus Chicken and Barbecue, 41411 W. Madison. J & J Fish and Chicken on 43rd and Harold’s – any Harold’s.”

There you have it – straight from the master.

When you go there, tell `em Benny Jay sent you.

And they’ll tell you, that’s all fine and well, but, where’s my money, moth….

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Randolph Street: Roadies

March 20th, 2020

1Beach BoySRiver Beach–Minnesota


2Marching BandSHalloween Parade–Mississippi





All photos © Jon Randolph



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