Randolph Street: Three Sax

September 4th, 2020


3Aimg20200904_13110045Sonny Rollins


2Aimg20200904_13093755Zoot Sims


1Aimg20200904_13125655Rahsaan Roland Kirk


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: Cancel Culture

September 2nd, 2020

I didn’t start the day looking to go on a rant…

I was peacefully resting on a porch overlooking a little lake, watching ducks swim in circles, enjoying my vacation. Then I decided to pick up my phone and check out my email. Wound up reading The Chicago Public Square, a daily aggregation service put out by veteran Chicago newsman Charlie Meyerson.

So, I read a story about Mayor Lightfoot’s appearance on Face the Nation, and I read a joke by John Oliver, and I got to a sentence in which Charlie writes…

“The Square lost a reader last week. Someone who subscribed in January 2017 has unsubscribed, explaining: `Too far left for me. Sorry I ever signed up.’”

That’s when I went on my rant—though, there was no one to rant to, except the ducks.

Hey, Charlie, sorry if the dude’s a friend of yours. But…

What a wimp!

Proves my point about right-wingers. They’re the world’s biggest snowflakes. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

Declare they have a First Amendment-protected right to talk trash about anyone—gays, Blacks, Jews, you name it. But say one little itty bad thing about them, and they fall apart.

Start crying like little babies, saying things like: “Oh, you lefties are so insensitive.”

“Oh, you’re so elitist.”

“Oh, you hurt my feelings.”

Expose them to an idea they disagree with and they fall apart.

“Sorry I ever signed up.” Man, they whine day and night about the cancel culture of liberals. And what’s the fight thing they do when they read something they don’t like?

Cancel it!

What a bunch of hypocrites.

If I stopped subscribing to every paper I disagreed with, I wouldn’t read any newspapers at all.

You figure the dude would want to read what liberals were writing just to know what they’re up to.

That’s why I read half the right-wing columns in, say, the Tribune. Or why I get Tea Party emails. And Trump campaign emails.

Man, I must get 200 pro-Trump emails a day. From Tom Cotton. And Lindsey Graham. And Newt Gingrich. And Lara Trump. And Ivanka Trump. And baby Donnie. And Eric. Yeah, they let Eric send out emails, too. 

Anyway, Charlie, I say, you’re better off without the dude. Let him crawl back to Fox News, where everyone parrots the MAGA line—even if it changes from day to day. In the meantime, everybody else—give the Public Square a try.

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Randolph Street: Elevators

August 28th, 2020

1aDSCF7385Country Grain–Taylor Springs, IL


2aDSCF7424Silos–Taylor Springs, IL


3aDSCF7348Elevator–Donnellson, IL


4aDSCF7347Tin & Rust–Donnellson, IL


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: I’ve Had Enough With Billy C!

August 25th, 2020

A few weeks ago, I watched Bill Clinton’s speech at John Lewis’ funeral and declared to myself: I’m through with Bill Clinton.

He’s a disgraced philanderer, who no sooner dragged the country through his Monica Lewinsky scandal, only to turn right around and hang out with Jeffrey Epstein, a sex trafficker of teenage girls.

It’s time, I urged, for Democrats to cut the cord. Stop inviting Bill Clinton to your gatherings—like state funerals and national conventions. You can read it right here.

Responses—for and against—rolled in. And guess what happened next?

The Democrats announced that Bill Clinton would be a featured speaker at next week’s national convention. If you’re keeping track at home, the score is Bill Clinton: 1; Ben: nothing. Let’s call it a learning experience—like I need any more of those.

Word of advice for wannabe lefty journalists…you’d better get used to pounding your head against the wall.

In fact, if I were a journalism school teacher, my first lesson would center on how to deal with the likelihood that everything you work so hard on gets ignored.

My advice?

Stop feeling sorry for yourself and come back even stronger. (The second lesson is what to do when a publication doesn’t pay you. Trust me—it’s happened to us all.)

By the way, I have no illusions that everyone agreed with my take on Bill Clinton.

From some of the angry responses that liberals gave me, I figure a lot of people were jumping for joy when they learned that Clinton got a speaking slot.

They’ll probably be eagerly hanging on to his every word in that convention speech. I’ll be watching, too.

Number 1—I’m a political junkie.

Number 2—it may give me more grist for a future column. Like I said—come back stronger.

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Randolph Street: Summertime

August 21st, 2020





3aDSCF7166Tola Cafe–Chicago


All photos © Jon Randolph


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