Randolph Street: Chicago Brick

January 18th, 2019

27th and State St.27th and State


2aIMG_6954West Loop


Lyon & Healy loading dock, 1423 W. Lake  St.

Lyon & Healy 


All photos © Jon Randolph

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Randolph Street: In Fashion

January 16th, 2019

1_MG_6058Nordstrom–Michigan Ave.






Pioneer Court






Pioneer Court


All photos © Jon Randolph 2015


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Letter From Milo: Good Advice

January 13th, 2019

As I mentioned in a few earlier posts, money is tight and jobs are hard to find. Like many others I’ve been looking around for something to supplement my income. I was reading the newspaper the other day when I came across the answer to my economic woes. I saw that the newspaper was packed with advice columns. After reading several of the columns I realized that giving people advice is an easy way to make money. After all, if people like Ann Landers and Dan Savage can do it, why can’t I? I mean, shit, it looks easy enough. So, I decided to set myself up as an advice columnist and just wait for the money to come rolling in. Here’s my first column.

Dear Milo:
I am 15 years old and a sophomore in high school. I’ve always had a great relationship with my mom and dad. I thought they were cool. They always told me that I could talk to them about anything and there would be no consequences. Well, the other day we had one of our regular heart-to-heart talks. They asked me if I ever thought about smoking weed. I told them the truth and said yes, I smoked weed a few times a week. Suddenly, they went all ballistic on me, screaming, yelling and calling me all sorts of names. Then they took away my cell phone and grounded me for three months. I don’t know if I can ever trust them again. What can I do?

Milo says:

How can you be so fucking stupid! You must be the dumbest little shit in your class, and maybe the entire high school. What on earth possessed you to tell your parents the truth. Never, ever, tell your parents the truth – about anything! I don’t even know why I’m wasting my time on a dumbass kid like you. I suspect you’re a nerdy little bastard who spends all of his time in his room, watching porn on the internet and jacking off. What you need to do is get out of the house and hang around a pool room or the race track. Maybe you’ll wise up and learn a few things.

Dear Milo:
There’s a guy in my neighborhood who’s making my life miserable. He’s the worst sort of bully and for some reason he’s made me his prime target. Every time he sees me he abuses me. I mean he literally beats me up. I’m always covered in bruises. It’s gotten so bad that I’m afraid to leave the house. Please help me. What can I do to get this guy off my back?

Milo Says:
Oh, man, I hate assholes like that. Here’s a surefire way to get him to leave you alone. It’s always worked for me. Get yourself a gun and shoot the cocksucker. Make sure you kill him. If you just wound him he might recover and come after you. He sounds like a vindictive brute.

Dear Milo:
I married a beautiful woman. She’s got the face of a supermodel and the body of a centerfold. We’ve been married for a little more than a year and some serious problems have come up in our relationship. You see, my wife is sexually insatiable. She’s a wild woman in bed and, to be brutally honest, I can’t keep up with her. There’s nothing she won’t try and she’s getting kinkier all the time. Recently she started bringing sex toys to bed and then she started talking about threesomes and making nasty home videos. But last night was the worst. She told me that I no longer satisfied her and that she wanted an open marriage. She wants to be free to make love to any man or woman who strikes her fancy. Milo, I can’t stand the thought of my gorgeous wife in bed with someone else. I’m at my wits end. Please help me.

Milo says:

You’ve found yourself in a very delicate situation, my friend. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right man for help. I just happen to have quite a bit of experience with marriage counseling. In fact, I’ve got a diploma from the Triple A Marriage Counseling & Bail Bondsman School in Gary, Indiana. As I said, this situation has to be handled very carefully. In order to help you, I’ll have to schedule several private counseling sessions with your wife. My Michigan Avenue office is closed for the summer, due to costly and extensive renovations, which I’m paying for out of my own pocket. While the construction is in progress I’ve rented temporary office space in the Diplomat Motel on North Lincoln Avenue. If you can have your wife meet me there this Thursday at two o’clock, we can begin the process of saving your marriage and restoring peace and tranquility to your home. Don’t forget, Thursday, two o’clock at the Diplomat Motel.

Note From The Eds:
Due to the staggering number of complaints, bomb threats and police queries we are receiving concerning Milo’s advice column, we are suspending the column indefinitely. We wish to sincerely apologize for the offensive nature of Milo’s comments. We do not in any way condone criminal activity, juvenile delinquency or marital infidelity. On the advice of our attorneys, the firm of Leopold and Loeb

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Randolph Street: Forms

January 11th, 2019



2DSCF1352Shadow Sign–Chicago




All photos © Jon Randolph


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Letter From Milo: The Old Man’s Grave

January 7th, 2019

I gave my mother a call over the Fourth of July weekend just to see how she was doing. I don’t see her as often as I’d like so I make it a point to call her a couple of times a week. Mom’s in pretty good shape for an 84-year-old lady. She’s in good health, still drives her car and lives independently in a small apartment a few blocks from my sister’s house.

Talking with my Mom is always an adventure. She speaks broken English and sometimes she can be hard to understand. For example, when I ask her about some of her old friends and neighbors, like Mr. Popovich, she’ll say something like this:

“Mr. Popovich is just fine. He’s been retarded for about 20 years.”

Retarded? What do you mean retarded?”

“You know, he doesn’t work anymore.”

“Oh, you mean he’s retired.”

“That’s what I said.”

“How about Mr. Vukovich? How’s he doing?””

“Not too good. He’s got the old timer’s disease.”

Old timer’s disease?”

“”You know, his brain is not too good.”

“Are you talking about Alzheimer’s disease?

“That’s what I said.”

Anyway, when I called Mom on that Fourth of July weekend she told me she was going out to the Serbian Orthodox monastery in Grayslake, on the grounds of which my father, Nikola Samardzija is buried. She was making the trip with several other widows and they would spend the day fussing over their husbands’ graves, the same way they fussed over their husbands when they were still alive. They would bring flowers, light candles, pray for the departeds’ souls and, most importantly, clean up the gravesites.

When Mom told me what she had planned, I felt a pang of guilt. You see, I haven’t been out to visit the Old Man’s grave in a long time. I guess I’m a bad son. I don’t have the same sense of veneration for my ancestors that the Chinese do. My bad.

The last time I visited the cemetery, I also had to spend a few minutes cleaning up the site, clearing away the “gifts” that some of the Old Man’s friends had left behind. Serbians have a tradition of leaving tokens of esteem at the graves of friends and loved ones. A pious person’s grave might be gifted with pictures of the saints or other religious artifacts. A housewife’s grave might be festooned with knitting needles, coffee cups or smidgens of her favorite foods.

In my Old Man’s case, his grave was littered with cigarettes, shot glasses filled with Christian Brothers brandy and decks of playing cards. It sometimes looked like Jim Morrison‘s grave in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, minus the graffiti.

The Old Man, you see, enjoyed the high life. He drank, smoked and gambled – and those were just the things I knew about. He no doubt had other vices but I wasn’t privy to them. I had heard stories over the years of epic drinking binges, substantial amounts of money won and lost in savage all-night card games, and bar room brawls from Gary to Milwaukee. But, as I said, those were just rumors.

I remember the day we buried him in the hallowed grounds, more than 20 years ago. There were about 50 of us in the monastery dining hall, having a post-funeral luncheon. These events always feature plenty to eat and drink, the favored beverage being Slivovitz, a plum brandy of indeterminate proof but undeniable potency. There were still several of the Old Man’s drinking buddies alive then and most of them spoke a few words about him. It was the usual bullshit that is said of dead people – Great father, wonderful husband, a friend to all, etc.

Finally, one old-timer, Petar Pepich, who was one of the Old Man’s favorite partners in crime, rose unsteadily to his feet, knocked down a shot of whiskey and said, “God damn it, I’ve got three children and they all look like Nikola.” Even Fr. Jovan, who was sitting at the head of the table, had to laugh at that one.

After the funeral luncheon I spent an hour or so wandering around the cemetery. There must have been more than a thousand graves in sight, all of them filled with dead Serbians. Like any other group of people I’m sure there were good people and bad people buried there, honest men and crooks, loyal husbands and philanderers, successful men and losers, religious men and whoremongers. I wondered where my father fit in that human spectrum. Probably somewhere in the middle, I guessed.

The one thing all these dead Serbians had in common was that they all wanted to be buried in the hallowed ground of the monastery. Maybe they figured proximity to a holy place might give them an edge in Saint Peter‘s entrance exam. Maybe they figured they’d catch a break on Judgment Day. Or maybe they just wanted to be close to old friends and neighbors. Who the hell knows?

Getting back to the conversation I had with my mother on the July Fourth weekend, I asked her, “What are you going to do after you visit the Old Man’s grave?”

“After we leave the cemetery me and my friends are going to the casino.”

Hmm, first the graveyard, then the casino. My guess is the Old Man would have approved.

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