Randolph Street: On Broadway

July 20th, 2018

1Scans140718038Parking Lot–Broadway

 

2Scans140718034Yellow Cab–Broadway

 

3women016Dapper Man–Broadway

 

4Scans140718036Two Women–Broadway

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

 

 

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Benny Jay: Party People

July 19th, 2018

I was driving in the car when onto the radio came — Off the Wall by the great Michael Jackson!

I cranked up the volume and started singing.

“Cause we’re the party people, night and day — livin’ crazy that’s the only way….”

I hadn’t heard that song in years. Brought me back to a wild New Year’s Party, as `79 turned into 1980. A young Benny Jay with a ton of hair was acting crazy. Thank goodness there are no negatives that can be used against me.

Thing is — once the song ended, it stayed on my mind. I’ve been singing it day and night ever since.

Eventually, I boiled it down to those two lines, which I started saying over and over, even if they were apropos to absolutely nothing. I fear this may be the first sign of some odd form of dementia.

I’d be on the phone and the receptionist would say, “Hold for Mr. Jones.”

And I’d say, “We’re the party people night and day — livin’ crazy, that’s the only way.”

And she’d say: “Excuse me?

And I’d say: “I’m sorry — just ignore me.”

Michaeljackson21

In my mind, I dance like this….

 

One day I was talking to this twenty-something year old I’ll call Adrienne. Cause that’s her name.

“Do you know where this line comes from?” I asked. “`We’re the party people, night and day — livin’ crazy, that’s the only way.'”

“No,” she said.

“That’s cause you’re too young,” I said. “Ask your mother — she’ll know.”

So she texted her mother. A few minutes later, her mom texted back: “Michael Jackson.”

“See!” I said. Then I said the following line from the song: “`Gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf, and just enjoy yourself.'”

“Oh,” said Adrienne. “If you’d asked about that line, I’d have known the song.”

Like I did something wrong.

The next day, I’m in the county clerk’s office, chatting with the nice lady at the desk. When I get the urge.

“Do you know this line?” I asked. Then I say, not sing: “We’re the party people, night and day — livin’ crazy, that’s the only way.”

whiteguydancing

But in reality, I’m more like this….

 

“Oh, I know that line,” she said. “But I can’t remember where it’s from.”

“I’ll give a hint,” I said. “The writer died in 2009.”

Looking at me as if to say — Duh! — she pulled out her cell phone and showed me her screen-saver picture: A young Michael Jackson, doing the moonwalk.

Then she started singing — right there in the clerk’s office! “Gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf — an’ just enjoy yourself.”

At which point, I said: “Yeah!”

Which didn’t have any applicability to anything. I just got caught up in the moment.

When I left the clerk’s office, I was still singing that song. In fact, I’m singing it now.

C’mon, everybody….

“We’re the party people, night and day — livin’ crazy, that’s the only way!”

Yes, he was weird. But I miss Michael Jackson.

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Randolph Street: Blue Blanket

July 18th, 2018

 

jonranargen1

Blue blanket…

jonranar2Waiting…

 

jonranargen3

Boredom…

 

 

jonrand4

Who’s that guy with the camera?

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

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Letter From Milo: Great Drunks

July 16th, 2018

Every few years my Lovely Wife becomes dissatisfied with the state of our marriage. Of course, it’s all my fault. I don’t pay enough attention to her. I’m uncommunicative. I drink and smoke too much. My hygiene is not what it should be. My friends are beastly. I’m inconsiderate to her friends. I snore. I say and do stupid things. I fart at inappropriate times. I’m a hopeless loser whose place in hell is pretty much guaranteed.

Okay, so I’m not perfect. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a couple of minor faults. I mean, who the hell gets through this life without developing a couple of character flaws. Even the great ones have chinks in their armor. Winston Churchill was a drunkard. Barack Obama smokes. Michael Jordan is a degenerate gambler. Bill Clinton is a liar. JFK was a womanizer. Louis Armstrong was a pothead. Catherine the Great was overly fond of horseflesh. The list goes on and on.

When I point these facts out to my wife she just laughs at me.

“While you’re at it, why don’t you compare yourself to Jesus and Mother Teresa.”

“Sweetheart, you’re missing the point.”

“There’s no point, you’re just trying to bullshit me.”

“Angel, be reasonable. All I’m saying…”

“I know exactly what you’re saying and I’m not falling for it.”

“Honey…”

“Don’t honey me. We have serious problems in our marriage and we need to do something about them.”

For the next few days after this conversation there is a distinct chill in our household air. Silences, cold shoulders, slamming doors, angry muttering, ugly looks, sleeping on the couch — my lovely wife throws her entire arsenal at me. And that’s just the beginning. I know what’s coming. I’m a scarred veteran of the marital wars. She’s getting ready to drop the big one on me.

“Milo, I made an appointment with a marriage counselor.”

“Shit, not again.”

“If you love me you’ll cooperate.”

“Can I love you and not cooperate?”

“That’s not an option.”

“Shit.”

In nearly three decades of marriage we’ve been to three different marriage counselors. The one thing they all had in common was that they were expensive, charging an hourly rate that would have made Johnny Cochran rewrite his business plan.

Our first counselor was a very attractive woman who we quit seeing when she began going through an ugly divorce, leaving her husband for a much wealthier man. We gave up on the second counselor when my wife got the impression that she was too sympathetic toward me. The third counselor lasted the longest. She was a young woman who seemed to have a good grasp on the marital condition. She understood that marriage is an unnatural state, a con game foisted on humanity by a pitiless, vengeful God. We stopped seeing her when she and her musician boyfriend moved to California.

It recently occurred to me that there are plenty of other poor souls being dragged off to marriage counselors by unappreciative wives. It also occurred to me that I owe it to my fellow married men to help them out in their times of trouble and woe. Therefore, I have compiled a few tips, suggestions, and defensive stratagems that will help them survive even the most savage counseling session.

Agree with everything your wife says. If she tells the marriage counselor that she caught you cooking and eating one of the neighbors, just say, “I can see how that would upset you, dear, and I’ll try to do better in the future.”

Never admit to affairs, gambling debts, drug habits, or that minor indiscretion with Sarah the Slut at last year’s New Year’s Eve party.

In the rare case that you actually like your marriage counselor, immediately begin complaining about her. The more you complain, the more your wife will think the counselor is doing a fine job.

Try to moderate your bad habits for a couple weeks at the onset of counseling. Bring your wife flowers and chocolate. If you can stand it, try to watch Oprah and the Lifetime Channel together, at least twice a week.

Avoid lesbian marriage counselors at all costs. They won’t succumb to your manly charm, are notoriously hard-headed and nearly impossible to bribe.

I’m not saying that these five tips will turn your counseling into a walk in the park. That’s impossible. Marriage counseling, by it’s very nature, is a brutal, take-no-prisoners assault on your manhood. It’s designed to break you down and reshape you into the wimpy, neutered wuss that your wife has always wanted for a husband. What I am saying is that by following these rules, you might, just might, come out of counseling with your manhood and dignity intact. Ignore them at your own peril.

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Randolph Street: Street Level

July 13th, 2018

1women015Lookout–Chicago

 

2Scans140718033The Bench–Chicago

 

3women014Broadway–Chicago

 

4StPatSt. Patrick’s Day–Chicago

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

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Benny Jay: Kill Those Emails

July 12th, 2018

I’m chatting with Chuck, while he’s sending an email on his cell phone, and what do I see?

My old friend’s got something like 3,700 unopened emails.

I’m like–Chuck, how can that be?

He shushes me, like sending an email is so important, he can’t be interrupted. That’s when I realize–everybody’s not like me.

Okay, I may have realized this a few hundred times before. But I’m realizing it again in a new context.

More precisely, I’ve discovered another subset of the species: Those who routinely kill their unopened emails, and those who let them pile up.

Chuck’s just the tip of iceberg.

My old friend, Karen’s, got about 12,000 unopened emails.

That explains why she never responds to any of them.

I’m like–Karen, why even have an email address?

A few days ago, I discovered the champ of the unopened email. Let’s call her Jen–cause that would be her name. Other than that, her identity’s a secret!

At last count, Jen had 50,000 unread emails.

That’s 50 as in–fifty-fuckin’ thousand. I mean, on some level, you gotta be impressed.

IMG_1992 (1)

The unidentified Jen is somewhere in this picture…

 

I think I know how this happens…

You’re busy when an email comes in. So you say, I’ll look at it when I have time. But, by then, five others have come in. And while you now may have time to read one email, you don’t have time to read six. So you hold back until you have time to read six. But by then you have 66.

And so on and so forth until one unopened email’s become 50,000.

In contrast, I view killing unopened email as a form of Ms. Pac-Man, a game I spent much of the 1980s playing.

Just send them to trash–it’s like getting Ms. Pac-Man to swallow those little pellets.

It’s second nature. I do it all time.

In fact, while writing this post, I’ve killed the following unopened emails…

Love your body again.

Charmin toilet paper–you just won free samples.

Real rock hard–drive your partner crazy in bed.

As well as one or two having to do with varicose veins.

Hold it!

Just got an email about hair restoration…

Killed it.

Oh, how satisfying.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes, Jen and her 50,000–probably close to 60,000 by now.

Please, Jen, give me access to your phone. I’ll kill those suckers in no time.

It’ll be more fun than playing Ms. Pac-Man.

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