TOMORROW: CDPD Monthly Theme Day - When people think of St. Louis, they think of...
Thursday, January 31, 2008
TOMORROW: CDPD Monthly Theme Day - When people think of St. Louis, they think of...
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
TOMORROW: the Thursday Arch Series returns
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Its foundings go back to 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette, in recording his famous journey down the Mississippi River with Louis Joliet, described the "Piasa" as a birdlike monster painted high on the bluffs along the Mississippi River, where the city of Alton, Illinois now stands.Or, if you would prefer a competing version, check the Great River Road web site
According to the diary, the Piasa "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."The creature was given its name by the Illini Indians, "The Piasa", meaning a bird that devours men.
On the other hand, a Southern Illinois history site says that the bird is complete bull. This commentator said it was dreamed up in 1836 by a writer of frontier romance and adventure stories. Still, it's pretty cool, makes for a great local yarn and could scare small children. That's good enough.
TOMORROW: Power sunrise
Monday, January 28, 2008
TOMORROW: A bird, but not similar to this one. In fact, not a nice bird at all.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
A few miles upstream from the Arch, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers blend into one another at The Confluence, the main junction of one of the world's great river systems. Together, they and their tributaries drain about 40% of the lower 48 states into the Gulf of Mexico.
In the first picture, the Missouri, full of ice swirled into circles by the river's currents, washes into the nearly ice-free Mississippi at a point recently converted into a Missouri state park. We took a side trip there during our eagle watching day trip. The Mississippi has plenty of ice above the big lock and dam at Alton, Illinois, which blocks its flow southward.
TOMORROW: Eagles? No. Pelicans? Yes.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The reason for the short trip was that there is a large bald eagle population that hangs out along the Mississippi there in mod-winter, so people go eagle watching. We'll see how the photos go. For now, this young lady graced the mantle in our room (oh, yeah, working fireplace, too!). Another obsessive Lensbaby shot.
TOMORROW: A trip along three rivers - the great confluence
Friday, January 25, 2008
This was shot at night handheld at ISO 3200 and then spiffed up in Photoshop.
TOMORROW: Victorian decor in the Midwest, with a twist
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Out front are two of the biggest guns Britain ever built - or perhaps the biggest; I get a little fuzzy on the details.
Back to St. Louis pix by the weekend, I hope.
TOMORROW: A monster along the Thames
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This is the London Eye, the giant ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames, while waiting in line to board on a drizzly morning.
TOMORROW: Flora and fauna
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I posted this message painted on the side of a building in my neighborhood when I was last guest-posting in September. The billiken and the flags remain, but the message has been changed. I don't know how often the owner repaints, or what the motivation behind it is, but since I moved to the neighborhood, I keep my eye out for updates.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Hi, it's ShadowyOne guest posting for StrangeTastes while he's out of town again. Recently, I took my best friend out to dinner for her birthday, and afterwards we decided to go to a bar in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood (called Forest Park Southeast or the Grove), is very gay friendly, especially the bars along Manchester Avenue. There happened to be a drag show going on when we got there, and since I'd had my camera with me for some birthday pics, I was able to get some OK snaps of the show.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Heathrow tonight. Pix to come.
Well, check that. Our morning flight from Chicago was canceled because of the British Airways accident. So, Heathrow tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I leave you with a St. Louis Cardinal flapping off somewhere. This is part of a long section of the Mississippi River floodwall downtown where graffiti is permitted. Shot with a Lensbaby, of course.
TOMORROW: Eat It.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
TOMORROW: Fly away.
Monday, January 14, 2008
And lo! Supreme Plumbling was created, and it was established on Fourth Street, in Saint Louis, Missouri, nigh unto the White Castle, somewhat close to the shadow of the Arch, and all the other plumbers gave way, yielding to its supremacy. The Supreme Plumber, wizened wise man of the faucets and drains, giving and taking away the waters of life, flashed the peace sign and grew his beard yet further unto the sidewalk. He gathered up his pipes and attached them to a single Great Bowl. He filled it with a magical substance that the Powers of Darkness strove to suppress. He put fire to the bowl and drew upon it, blowing its smoke upon his companion in wisdom, Elbow Joint the Owl, who thereupon straightaway entered oblivion.
TOMORROW: What a catch!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
There is a very good online school called the Perfect Picture School of Photography, founded by the well-known photographer Bryan Peterson (check out his book Understanding Exposure). I took an eight week course based on that book in 2006 and was very pleased. I've just started a four week Lensbaby class, so it's likely that many more of these images will be inflicted on you.
TOMORROW: Does the plumber have more than water in his pipe?
Saturday, January 12, 2008
It's not that the university just has a unique mascot. It has the weirdest mascot of any American institution of higher education, the Billiken. I showed several avatars of the Billiken and discussed its mysterious history in a post last April. Frankly, it was a little embarrassing. What kind of sports teams are represented by a novelty doll from a century ago, made in Independence, Missouri, which may have has its origin as a minor Shinto deity?
Did any of you go to schools with strange mascots? Let us know.
TOMORROW: Would have been appropriate on December 1.
Friday, January 11, 2008
This picture looks at a small part of the Arch, but also some of its surroundings. It was shot from the street below, next to the Mississippi. The stairway in the foreground is the equivalent of about four stories tall. Obviously, this was shot with my Lensbaby.
TOMORROW: Alma Mater
Thursday, January 10, 2008
There is a funny little story to this. I was plugging away at work, staring at a computer screen which is against a wall. My wife called me on my cell phone and said, "Have you looked outside?" "No," I said, "is there a storm coming in?" She told me to get up and look out the window. O - M - G.
TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series on Friday. I got mixed up. What can I say?
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
What's the situation on preservation of old buildings in your town?
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I'm got going to venture a guess until I can get back to the site. There are at least three and possibly four frogs here. Perhaps, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, it is the love that dare not croak its name.
What's your interpretation?
TOMORROW: Seen better days.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Interpret this any way you please. Our friends from the far southern US into the southern hemisphere may chuckle at out bewilderment, but this is seriously weird in terms of the local climate. Some people from our area go to Florida or the Caribbean at this time of year. No need! U "R" Us and I are going to London next week to cool off.
TOMORROW: Froggie went a-courtin'
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
TOMORROW: More in Tower Grove
Friday, January 4, 2008
Since Wednesday's post, I've had some email from Brown Sugar, the dog in those photos, and his owner, Kevin Day. Brown Sugar says dogs like to get email, too. Kevin is a former state and national water skiing champion. He owns a large water sports equipment and training center in our area, Lakeshore Ski Company. In the last few years, he has raised more than $56,000 to help disabled aqua athletes.
By the way, there is a video of Kevin and Brown Sugar out on the river on Tuesday here, from a Chicago TV station for some reason. Also, note the background of the picture above. Unbeknownst to most of the world, St. Louis has become Little Las Vegas on Mississippi. Our Midwestern town has three casinos in the downtown area, two with upscale hotels. The one in the photo is moored on the Illinois side of the river opposite the Arch. There are four more in the suburbs. Whooda thunk?
Thursday, January 3, 2008
TOMORROW: Winter water skiing in the Mississippi, Part 2 - the reason they do it
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The temperature hovered at about -4 C. There were quite a lot of people and cameramen from the local TV stations. Dozens of masochistic aqua athletes followed one another in the icy water. The first one out brought his dog, a tradition, I was told. They wore wet suits but many had bare hands and feet. No sign of any treatment facilities for hypothermia. I was happy to stand on the dry levee stones and record their folly.
There is a Polar Bear Club that goes swimming on Coney Island beach in NYC every January 1. Would you do something like this for a big enough payoff?
TOMORROW: Thursday Arch series
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The treasure was pictures of our parents from their early years together. They were married in 1940. Jack and Ann look happy in these pictures, very much in love. We think the one on the right is from their honeymoon. Three of their four parents were immigrants, hers from Poland, his father from Ireland and his mother first generation Irish-American. Her parents both died within days of her birth in the 1918 flu pandemic. He left the premier Catholic boys high school in New York City in the 20s to go to work on Wall Street, where there was money to be made, even for the most junior clerks.
My mother had chronic medical problems that were eventually resolved. I didn't arrive until 1950 and then, bum bum bum, four of us in eight years. There were more difficult times later. He outlived her by 21 years. But together they must have done many good things for their children. We are all still in our first marriages, all of us are college graduates and three have graduate degrees, all are prosperous. We are grateful to them.
These pictures and others like them, just presented to me, were my pictures of the year so I thought I would share them with you. If you'd like to know what I think was my best blog picture this year, click here - maybe the best portrait I've ever made - followed by this one, a musician of exceptional clarity, one who has vision of his sound.
TOMORROW: Water skiing in the Mississippi River in January. Strange but true.