Randolph Street: Mother & Child Reunion

July 19th, 2019

1DSCF1273Downtown Chicago

 

2DSCF0604John–Lac Seul, Ontario

 

3DSCF0848Trestle–Chicago

 

4DSCF0211Mother & Child–Guanajuato, Mexico

 

5_MG_6331Two Girls–Wrigley Field

 

6DSCF1245 copyCouple–Uptown

 

All photos © Jon Randolph 2016

jonrandolph.com

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Letter From Milo: Living To Learn

July 16th, 2019

You’d think that someone who had heart surgery a few months ago would know better. You’d think that the person would have learned a lesson. You would suppose that someone who came this close to riding shotgun with the Angel in the Sharkskin Nightgown, would consider changing his wicked ways.

Well, I had open heart surgery recently and the only change in me is that my body has a few more scars to show off at the beach.

Against all common sense, against all medical advice, despite the anguished pleas of my wife and children, Ol’ Milo is at it again. Yes, folks, I’m drinking, eating red meat, sneaking the occasional cigarette, toking on the occasional joint and, once again, enjoying impure thoughts. Yes, sir, the Bum Gene (see one of my earlier posts) is in full roar.

Now, the obvious question is: How fucking stupid does a man have to be to continue a lifestyle that nearly killed him?

The obvious answer is: Very, very fucking stupid.

A short while after coming home from the hospital, my good friend, I’ll call him Bruce Diksas to spare him undue embarrassment, came by to visit. He brought along a few bottles of wine, a joint and a pack of Camels.

“You look pretty good,” Bruce said, uncorking one of the bottles. “Got some color in your face.”

“Yeah, I feel pretty good,” I replied, though I was still sore from the surgery where they had cracked me open like a lobster tail, then sewed me up like a hog being prepped for the barbeque spit. “Should be as good as new in a couple of days,” I added, lying.

“Here, have a drink. You’ll feel even better.”

“Good idea.”

As we sat at the kitchen table talking about the White Sox, the economy, pussy, the criminal incompetence of the Bush Regime, and Bruce’s upcoming trip the Bali, it occurred to me that just a few years ago Bruce had undergone some pretty serious surgery himself. I won’t go into details, but he came through it with his flag waving high.

It also occurred to me that many of our friends are suffering health problems. Granted, most of my friends have lived rather checkered lives, overdoing just about everything there is to overdo. But the undeniable fact is that they are all aging baby boomers, living at the tail end of the great post-war bubble . If our lives were basketball games, we would be entering the fourth quarter. Although there is always the chance of overtime, the sad truth is that you can’t count on it. I’ve had good friends die in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. In one case a good friend died at the biblical age of 101.

They’ve died in all sorts of ways — car accidents, gunshot wounds, explosions, diseases, drug overdoses, jealousy, broken hearts, suicides and poor judgement. The common thread running through all these deaths is that, except for suicide, most people don’t have a say in the time and manner of their passing. It’s a lottery where the main prize is oblivion.

So, I suppose living into your 60s is an accomplishment of sorts. Although it’s a piss poor accomplishment, at best.

As Bruce and I started on the second bottle of wine, toked on the joint and lit up Camels, we smiled at each other, both of us aware of the game clock but happy to still be in the game and able to partake of some of our favorite vices. We clinked glasses and made a toast.

“To your health,” Bruce said.

“And yours, pal.”

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Randolph Street: Trois

July 12th, 2019

1DSCN3341Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre–Paris

 

3IMG_6311Metro–Paris

 

2IMG_5947Cafe–Paris

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

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Letter From Milo: The Bump On Uncle Rudy’s Head

July 9th, 2019

Here are the last few pages of the 1st chapter of “The Aristocrat House,” in which Uncle Rudy learns one of life’s great lessons (see the last sentence).

The Aristocrat House

The bump on the head seemed to calm Uncle Rudy down. He sat up and looked around curiously, blinking his eyes, as if he had just awakened and was confused about his whereabouts. His chafed, swollen and bleeding face had a placid expression that slowly turned to a look of great sadness. Shaking his head and sighing deeply, he rose unsteadily to his feet and stumbled into the kitchen.

I followed him into the kitchen, just in case he attacked Vivian again. I didn’t know how I could stop him, or even if I could stop him, but I knew I couldn’t let him do anything more stupid than he had already done.

Uncle Rudy ignored Vivian, however, and went directly to the sink, where he turned on the tap and began splashing water on his abused face. After gingerly patting his face dry with a paper towel and lighting a cigarette, he turned to Vivian and said, “Viv, baby, we can work through this. It was just a little misunderstanding.”

Still seated on the floor and crying, Vivian blubbered, “Get out! Just get out!”

Trying to compose his battered face into a smile, Uncle Rudy replied, “Come on, honey, be reasonable. Every love affair has its rough spots.”

Vivian looked up and laughed bitterly. “Are you crazy! Get out before I call the cops.”

“Baby, baby, there’s no reason to…”

“I mean it! I want you out of here.”

Uncle Rudy tried to turn on the charm. “Sweetheart, you mean the world to me. What about all those great…”

“If you’re not out of here in 10 minutes, I’m calling the cops.”

“Ok, ok,” Uncle Rudy said, holding out his hands in supplication. “If that’s the way you want it.”

“10 minutes or I’ll have you arrested for stealing from me,” she said, angrily. “And take that pimply brat with you,” she added, unnecessarily, I thought.

20 minutes later we were driving away from Vivian’s, all of our belongings stuffed into the trunk or piled on the back seat. Uncle Rudy had pinched a couple of whiskey bottles before we left and had one propped between his legs, sipping from it as he drove.

“I can’t believe that one-legged cunt had the nerve to throw me out,” he commented, morosely. “And just when I was getting close to her money, too.”

“What makes you think she had any money?” I asked. I wouldn’t have guessed that Vivian had any real money. She dressed plainly, lived in a small apartment and drove a car that was three or four years old. If she had any substantial money, she hid it well. It seemed to me that she was just a lonely woman, desperate for company, who had run into some bad breaks, one of them being Uncle Rudy.

“Think about it,” Uncle Rudy continued. “She must have gotten some compensation for that leg. They’ve got laws in this country. You lose and arm or a leg on the job, they’ve got to pay you for it. I bet she was sitting on 10 or 15 thousand dollars.” Wistfully, he added, “You know what I could do with that kind of money?”

He drove a while in sullen silence, muttering and drinking, no doubt thinking about the fortune that had just slipped through his fingers. After working his way through a third of the whiskey bottle, he seemed to snap out of his self-pitying funk.

“It just goes to show you,” he said, ruefully, his words beginning to slur. “A woman doesn’t need two legs to walk all over a man.”

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Randolph Street: Sightings

July 5th, 2019

3_MG_4843Garage

 

2DSCF6189Tent

 

1aDSCF5590Bench

 

All photos © Jon Randolph

jonrandolph.com

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Benny Jay: Nobel Bob

June 30th, 2019

I was walking through Greenwich Village on a gorgeous October morning, when I got the word that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize in literature.

What a coincidence.

Greenwich Village is where a young Bobby Zimmerman came to when he got the hell out of Minnesota all those years ago.

To get in the spirit of the moment, I stood in the middle of Washington Square Park, closed my eyes, and chanted a few lines from Talkin’ New York, one of Dylan’s earliest songs.

I swung on to my old guitar
Grabbed hold of a subway car
And after a rocking, reeling, rolling ride
I landed up on the downtown side
Greenwich Village…

I was hoping to magically transport myself back in time to 1961, so, when I’d open my eyes, I’d see young Bobby D sitting by the fountain, playing his guitar…

Alas, it didn’t work. When I opened my eyes, it was still very much October 13, 2016. And there was no Bob Dylan, young or old, anywhere in sight.

bobdylandwashingtonsquare

Bob Dylan in Washington Square Park…

Unable to talk to Dylan, I did the next best thing. I sat on a park bench and called Milo, my partner in this blogging empire.

“Milo,” I said. “If you were to create a Mount Rushmore of cultural icons from our generation, you’d start with Dylan and Muhammad Ali. Right?”

“Right.”

“Then who?”

“Elvis.”

“Good choice. Now, you need one more–cause Mt. Rushmore has four.”

He gave it some thought, then said: “Nixon.”

“Nixon?” I exclaimed.

“Well, he was influential.”

“But he was a maniacal, drunken insomniac who bombed the shit out of smaller countries.”

“Benny, you make a good point.”

Folks, just between you and me, Milo hasn’t been the same since the titanium.

Eventually, we agreed that no such Mt. Rushmore would be complete without Jimi Hendrix.

Think about that–this must be an awfully great country to have produced Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan within a span of about ten years.

On the other hand, it produced Donald Trump.

Well, no country’s perfect.

Congratulations, Mr. D.

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