Friday, February 29, 2008

Once again, The Chase

Earlier this month, I posted a picture of the Chase Park Plaza, the grand old hotel of St. Louis. I also mentioned that the tower is being redeveloped into luxury apartments with great attention given to design and architecture.

As luck would have it, one of the executives from The Residences at the Chase Park Plaza saw the post. After an exchange of email, they have graciously invited me to come over next Thursday to photograph the restoration work and architectural detail. What a wonderful opportunity. Pix to follow shortly after my visit.

This is another photo of the Chase in winter, taken from Forest Park.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

At The National Gallery

When I'm in Washington, I always pay a visit to the National Gallery of Art. There are two buildings. The older, neoclassical West Building has works through roughly the end on the 19th Century. The East Building has the modern stuff. A tunnel that connects them contains a waterfall and window shown at the bottom. The top and middle images show a work by Dan Flavin, an artist whose medium was neon tubes.

The East Building makes my eyes and brain work hard. After crossing the tunnel, I looked at some 16th and 17th Century Dutch painting in the East Building. Hardly lightweight art but much more soothing.

There are other pictures I took at the National Gallery on Flickr here.

TOMORROW: Back to The Lou.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Washington Metro

The Washington Metro is an excellent system. The trains are quiet and spacious compared to many other cities. The stations are intelligently laid out and transfers are easy. None of the long walks found in New York, Paris, Tokyo or London. It's cheap. The stations all have the same look, as you see here: concrete honeycomb rounded vaults, often much higher than they need to be, lit from beneath with very dim platforms. It is unusually quiet. A colleague wondered if it was designed for crowd control, to soothe the commuting masses. I find the stations at once spooky and magnificent.

If your system has a metro or subway, what are the esthetics like?

By the way, there is a folder of pictures I took in Washington on Flickr here.

TOMORROW: The Thursday Arch series takes a break. Instead, more from Washington.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Washington: Seat of Power

Greetings from Washington, D.C. Across from the White House in Lafayette Park a group of people has maintained a daily peace vigil since 1981. This man told me that it was started by a couple now in their 60s. Volunteers take shifts. I asked him about his views. He said something about nuclear waste dumps in Africa and Iraq causing a nuclear winter and that Baghdad is the point on the planet closest to the sun at the perigee of Earth's orbit and that this has something to do with why it snows in Baghdad now, which it hasn't done for millennia. The clarity of thinking across the street is of the same order.

He sits and stares at the White House all day. Not many people talk to him. I'll talk to anybody; you hear the most interesting stories that way. The Prez must be out of town. Between the protester and the house of power, a district of Columbia motorcycle cop gets a political update from the newspaper.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Trade Your Old Waste For Shiny New Waste

Another interesting find along this small section of North Broadway. I took this picture on a Saturday when no one was around and nothing was going on. No clues about what actually hapens here. I can't decide if this is eco-friendly or a toxic pit. What's your guess about who is trading what for what?

TOMORROW: The Seat of Power

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Night Supplement

So, the flight into Washington National was fine. I get to the hotel and check in. Odd things begin to happen. After she runs my credit card, the clerk presses a warm cookie in a little paper bag into my hand. That's different. I don't eat cookies but I am surprised and accept it. Some US hotels have the TV turned on when a guest checks into the room, usually to the hotel info channel. But a few hotels anticipate your every desire and my TV - how did they know! - is showing an Austin Powers movie. Strangest of all, I am assigned Room 666. I am shocked that any US hotel would have a Room 666. Some of my fundamentalist countrymen and women would completely flip out. For those of you from non-Christian societies, the reference is from the last book of the New Testament, Revelations, full of mystic symbolism about the end of time. 666 is "the mark of the beast," a numerological representation of Satan or the Antichrist. The room is quite comfortable but if I notice sulfurous fumes emanating from the vents I may ask for a change.

TOMORROW: Such a waste.

Crystal Grill

Well, there wasn't much enthusiasm for yesterday's picture of city life. So let's go a couple of blocks down Broadway and change to color. I never heard of this place before. It's not even listed in our town's exhaustive web directory of restaurants. It is obviously in business and makes its living on three hours trade a day. If you zoom in on the red-on-yellow sign to the right of the door, it says "Open 11 AM to 2 PM." I'd like to go there for lunch.

The Crystal has great design. I love the decorative framing on the top and sides, and way the whole facade slides down the grade from left to right.

I'm heading for Washington, DC, this afternoon on business. There's some extra time built in for me to walk around the District with my camera. Good chance some results will show up here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Funky Broadway

The City of St. Louis is shaped roughly like a water or tear drop. Read into that whatever you want. The longest street is Broadway, which runs along the Mississippi from one end to the other. The parts of the city near the river are mostly older and much of it is faded. A drive down Broadway demonstrates the point. This empty block is not far north of downtown. An abandoned building, no pedestrians, no parked cars except for mine while I went across the street to take the picture. The neighborhood action, such as it is, is a couple of blocks south, where there is a big biker bar and tattoo parlor.

The stretch of Broadway downtown is different. It passes office towers, the enormous domed football stadium, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Old Court House and the baseball stadium. It changes back to its usual character just a bit beyond where the Cardinals play when you pass the White Castle. I have a project in mind for the spring, to drive the length of the street a few times, taking pictures as I go. Might make it into another weekly series. It would be a good illustration of St. Louis.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Crown Candy Kitchen

In an old neighborhood not far from downtown is Crown Candy Kitchen, run by the same family since 1913. It's a bit isolated now but people come here from all over. They serve basic lunch items, sandwiches, burgers and the like, but they are renown for their sweet stuff. Crown makes its own ice cream and still practices the art of confectionery. Chocolate is made on site. The jewels in the Crown are its big hand-made milkshakes. By tradition, if you can consume five of them in 30 minutes, it's on the house and they engrave your name on a plaque on the wall. Visit St. Louis and accept the challenge.

TOMORROW: Funky Broadway

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

Weird stuff with a wide angle lens. All the office buildings bow down in obeisance to the Arch. Shot at 17 mm, the shortest lens I got, on a Canon 5D. The 5D's light sensor is the same size as a frame of 35 mm film so there is no "magnification factor," as with most DSLRs. So, WYSIWYG (what you see i what you get) in the viewfinder. The short focal length creates optical distortion at the sides.

I bet there are going to be a lot of CDPB posts today about the lunar eclipse. I went out in front of my house to shoot it with a 400 mm lens, the longest I got. I know zip about astronomical photography and it was difficult. Not enough light for the autofocus to work. Manual focus was hard because the subject was dim and I wear trifocals. I tried to shoot at 100 and 200 ISO for maximum clarity but, damn!, those celestial bodies move in a 20 or 30 second exposure. I wish I'd tried a higher ISO but after a while I couldn't feel my fingers and I weenied out from the cold. I know, Mitch, this is nothing. If it's 20 F. here it's probably zero or below up there. Minnesotans are made of harder stuff.

TOMORROW: Crown Candy

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Very Low Cost Eye Care

Much of the north side of the City of St. Louis is a hard place to live. It is predominantly black and poor, with limited neighborhood facilities. An older part of the area, close to the Mississippi, is home to a restaurant that is a local institution, more about which on Friday. What's pictured here is across the street. Still, it's not a happy neighborhood. What's a nice Japanese optometrist doing in a place like this?

Beats me. This looks like a tough way to make a living from a professional practice. Obvio
usly, the overhead is very low but there's got to be more to the story. Would you be interested in contact lenses?

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Treatment for couples with, um, a difficulty

Will living downtown improve your intimate relationships?

Perhaps, depending on just what the problem is. For this couple, maybe all it takes is a prescription for Fortysil. Those three ED medications, whose ads are inescapable in the US, all have chemical names that end in sil. Don't ask me what it means. All I know about organic chemistry is that it has something to do with carbon chains, which sounds like a good way to lock up your bike.

What this is really about is commuting in St. Louis. An 11 mile-18 km section of our major east-west highway, US 40 - Interstate 64, is closed for complete rebuilding. This section is in the suburbs and construction goes on for a year. In 2009, the highway department will shut down a similar stretch in the city for the same purpose for yet another year. Two years of traffic mess. The Rx for a cure? Acording to this ad, live in a downtown loft apartment and forget the highway. Satisfy your partner.

TOMORROW: Low budget eye chart

Monday, February 18, 2008

Peace and Vigilance: Detail

It's hard to get a good overview of Peace and Vigilance with Eagle, featured yesterday. It's big, it's above eye level and it's indoors. The details show more of the art.

Vigilance is on the ball. She is alert, scanning the horizon. Her posture is relaxed but a sword is ready in her right hand. Peace, on the other hand, is harder to interpret. She holds an olive branch in her left hand (I don't know if the lefty olive has a meaning) but, frankly, she looks depressed rather than peaceful. Maybe her lover left, her dog died and, as the old Commander Cody song has it, she's down to seeds and stems again, too.

The eagle shrieks over the whole scene. Vigilance might appreciate the scouting help but how is Peace going to get any, well, peace with that screaming bird over her head? Maybe that's why she's depressed.

TOMORROW: Treatment for couples with, um, a difficulty.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Peace and Vigilance

The structure in the background of yesterday's picture is what we now call Old Post Office Building. Originally the U.S. Custom House and Post Office, it was dedicated in 1884 and housed a variety of federal government offices. One of its great little secrets is that a tunnel runs under the street on the east, three levels below the surface. There are huge iron doors from the tunnel into the lowest level of the building, once used to securely bring in government gold shipments. Today the tunnel carries the bit of our light rail system that is a subway.

The statue Peace and Vigilance with Eagle once stood on top of the front of the building. In recent decades, it became damaged by air pollution. The original statue was restored and re-installed in the rotunda. A fiberglass copy is now in the original location outdoors. The sculptor was Daniel Chester French, whose best known work is the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln in Washington's Lincoln Memorial.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Walking Figure

This whimsical pedestrian strolls down Olive Street in downtown St. Louis, right outside the doors of my office building. Walking Figure by Donald Baechler was installed with funding from the Gateway Foundation, which places public art throughout the area. For another example, see my post last May about Nijinsky Hare, an enormous balletic bunny outside the hockey arena.

Walking Figure is about three meters tall. It makes me smile every time I pass by. It is so lighthearted, so silly in a sophisticated way. Nothing heroic about it. It could be a friend of yours or mine after knocking back a couple of shots of Alice's Drink Me.

TOMORROW: How about some more good downtown sculpture?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine, A Day Late and a Blossom Short

This picture technically has something to do with St. Louis. It was shot in my living room. I'm about out of material and need to get out this weekend and shoot some new stuff. Not on the street much during the work week. This will have to do for today.

My first name is Robert so I made my wife a Sponge Bob Valentine card in MS Publisher. I glued bits of sponge to the envelope. She liked it a lot. She got me a book that's a comic look at the many wonders of Latin in the ancient world and modern language. I like it a lot.

By the way, these are tulips, not the traditional roses. Shot with a Lensbaby, of course. I have a set of photos of tulips and lilies, shot over a two-day period, on Flickr, here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

An American Airlines Boeing 757 heads north over the Mississippi just behind the Arch. Soon it will turn left, descending to the west into Lambert St. Louis International Airport. Nobody here has a clue who Lambert was. You could look it up, I guess.

We're a secondary hub for American Airlines, which is not so bad. We can get to most of the world if we transfer in Chicago or Dallas-Fort Worth. Back in Lambert's glory days, it was the main hub for TWA, with 425 departures a day including non-stop service to London, Paris, Mexico City, Vancouver, Anchorage and Hawaii. No more.
Nevertheless, my wife and I are skilled players of AA's frequent flyer program. It gets us where we want to go.

TOMORROW: Valentine, A Day Late and a Blossom Short

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Crashed the Barge

Always be alert for interesting things in unexpected places. When my wife and were out searching for eagles along the icy Mississippi a few weekends ago, we stopped at a huge lock and dam where the birds were reported to hang out. It had a fascinating museum about the river and inland transportation systems. One of the cool things was a video game in which you had to steer a big barge flotilla safely into the lock. There were three controls: left and right engines, variable for power as well as forward and reverse; and the rudder. These things were not engineered by BMW. They were tough to control. You had 300 seconds to get the barge into the lock from a bit upstream. As you can see, I crashed it into the left bank in 68 desperate, clumsy seconds.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Chase Park Plaza

The Chase Park Plaza is a St. Louis institution, a grand old hotel at the northeast corner of Forest Park. There are actually two connected buildings. The Chase is the tower in the center of the picture. The Park Plaza is half as tall and you can just see its top to the Chase's right. The mid and upper floors of the Chase itself have been converted into luxury condominiums, breathtakingly expensive by local standards. (New Yorkers would probably scoff that they are bargains.)

PS: I love my Lensbaby.

TOMORROW: I crashed the barge.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Across the River

What we call the Poplar Street Bridge is the main vehicle crossing of the Mississippi River, carrying Interstates 55, 64 and 70. The span is functional, not beautiful, but the scene looks pleasant in Golden Hour light and big, gentle cumulus clouds.

I am curious about our visitors reactions to my posts of the last two days regarding the Kirkwood murders. As I write this late Sunday evening, no comments were posted about the day's pictures and comment, although there were a considerable number of visits. We usually try to show beautiful, arresting or humorous images on our CDPB blogs but I don't think that tells the whole, true story of our cities. Each town has beauty and squalor, joy and tragedy, celebration and quotidian routine. When I can, I'd like to show a variety of views of St. Louis, and not just pretty ones. It's just life here.

How does that approach make you feel? Does it seem uninteresting or uncomfortable, or does it intrigue you? Share your thoughts about this.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kirkwood, Part 2

The Kirkwood police station is closed for ordinary business. A purple drape hangs over the door. The first picture below is a detail of the door. Note the signs that say "Free Gunlocks Available Here" and "No Firearms Allowed." The last photo is a paper sign put up by the community. Click on the picture to read the detail.

Today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch's lead editorial is a meditation on philosopher Hannah Arendt writings on "the banality of evil." It speaks about this incident and others, including the recent murder of a retired Post-Dispatch journalist during a botched burglary in her home in a middle-class suburb. Although the editorial is not optimistic about the human condition, it is worth the time to read.

Another murder of a Kirkwood policeman affected me in a small way. Three years ago, a twenty-year veteran of the force was murdered while investigating a report of illegal fireworks. While questioning three juveniles in his car, a man came to the window and shot him three times. The officer managed to drive a short distance, seeking help. The assailant came back and shot him dead.

The gunman was charged with capital murder - the death penalty. 160 potential jurors were called. I was on jury duty that week and was among the first people interviewed by the lawyers and the judge. The prosecutor asked if anyone would never vote for the death penalty, no matter how horrible the crime. I raised my hand. Murder by an individual and murder by the state are equivalent to me. The judge quickly dismissed me, along with several people who shared my view and others who said they would vote for no penalty other than death. The murderer was eventually convicted and sentenced to die by lethal injection. That's how it is here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Americans and guns. Again. On Thursday night, an enraged man approached the government buildings of Kirkwood, a pleasant suburb of St. Louis. He was carrying a large handgun. The man shot and killed a police officer, taking his weapon. He then walked around the corner into City Hall, where a council meeting was taking place. Upon entering the council chamber, the assailant opened fire with both guns, killing another policeman and three city officials. The mayor was critically wounded. Other Kirkwood police officers rushed into the room and shot the gunman dead.

The event has dominated St. Louis news and was reported nationally, such as this New York Times article. The shooter was a small contractor who was in constant conflict with the city. He had disrupted previous council meetings, been arrested for disorderly conduct more than once and had recently lost a lawsuit against the city in which he claimed that his constitutional right to free speech had been violated. And he had a gun. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

I took pictures around the Kirkwood City Hall and the police station this morning. This kind of public outpouring of grief and sympathy is common in the US. Back in April, I reported on similar expressions when a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher died in an auto wreck while extremely intoxicated and driving at high speed. There is no question that these feelings are genuine but the decorations in front of City Hall today seemed somehow festive, full of bright colors and the Valentine's Day decorations now in stores.

The police station was something different. There were fewer people people and flowers, but still the Valentine's hearts. A single police officer stood alone across the street next to his car. His face was empty. He covered his eyes with black sunglasses. I wanted to be a good photojournalist and approach him, talk about how he was feeling and ask if I could take his picture in that setting. I've been trained to do this. I couldn't.

Afterwards, I drove downtown to my office as I usually do on Saturday. As I approached the Mississippi, the sky was cloudless. The steel gleam of the Arch was exceptionally bright.

--- --- ---

I'm working on several other pictures I took this morning. Some of them will be posted here on Sunday.

TOMORROW: More from Kirkwood.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Support Our Troops

I don't know about Carnival celebrations in other countries, but at what we call Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday in the Christian calendar), the people riding the floats throw strings of cheap, shiny plastic beads at the crowd. People line the parade route screaming, pleading beeeaaddsss!, as if the nobility were dispensing gold coins to the peasants. What exactly happens to all these baubles over the next few days is a bit of a mystery.

In this photo, a spectator is using a ploy that is either fraudulent or just weird, a sign begging "BEADS FOR THE TROOPS." "Support our troops" signs and stickers are common in the U.S. these days. Even those of us who are horrified by Bush's military adventures have respect for the men and women in the field. Does the man holding the sign intend to send box loads of trinkets to soldiers in Iraq? Is there a more selfish reason? Either way, it's pretty strange.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday Arch Series

A rather different Thursday Arch series for you, from a different than your usual poster. This study in depth of field is also from the Saint Louis Mardi Gras parade from last Saturday. This was taken after the parade was over, and Strangetastes and I had walked quite a bit south along the parade route, and were walking back northwards. There were many, many of these carts selling beads and hats and other junk along the street, though it seemed silly to Strangetastes and me that one would want to pay through the nose for something that one could get for free (i.e., thrown beads).

I have several of these shots of the bead carts with the Arch in the background, which you can check out on Flickr, here if you are interested. So far this Flickr set selection is a bit random, as well as minimally edited, so please bear with me if you visit those pictures. Feel free to comment, though!

TOMORROW: Support Our Troops

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Green Goddess

The "Light Up The Night" Mardi Gras evening parade didn't just get rained out, it got washed away down the Mississippi and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico. As I write this on Tuesday evening, we are having torrential thunderstorms with a temperature just a few degrees above freezing. Not a night to be out with a camera.

So, back to last Saturday's parade. I like to take pictures in the parking lot used for a staging area because the floats are standing still. So much easier on the photographer. I did not note what this float was supposed to be about. It reminds me of the work of St. Louis sculptor Ernest Trova, although with more detailed features. The figure looks like she is about to sweep the top off the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse (factoid: it is the largest single courthouse in the U.S. and home of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Eighth Circuit Court of Apeals - I knew you'd find that fascinating). Lifting the lid on this building would probably release a lot of hot air. Consider the environmental consequences.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series. Well, sort of. ShadowyOne is taking a turn.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pirates of the Plebean

I've been looking at some CDPB posts from cities that have Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations. Carlos' pictures from Barcelona are outstanding. It's a pity we don't have a CDPB in Rio de Janeiro.

St. Louis' modest Mardi Gras is more plucky and unsophisticated than some. (I assume the blood alcohol content of all cities with such celebrations is similar.) No floats that cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to build, no enormous samba parties in the street. But where else would you get a guy riding a simple float in a gorilla suit and a fey pirate hat? It's genuine fun and not a bit pretentious. Not exactly a family event, though, unlike the charming children in Carlos' picture on Sunday. Take a look at the bigger set of St. Louis Mardi Gras pictures on Flickr (mine are here and ShadowyOne has some great ones here), note the number of suspicious plastic cups in people's hands and the - what can we say? - spontanious behavior.

TOMORROW: Well, the big night of Mardi Gras parade is downtown this evening. I'd like to go shoot it but it's supposed to be pouring down rain. If I make it, that's probably what will be on the blog tomorrow. If not, just come back for a surprise.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Big Guy Wears Funny Hat, Has Fun

No, Michael Chertoff has no concerns here. This guy is a member of the local chapter of the Shriners, an offshoot of Freemasonry devoted to hijinks, the occasional tipple and supporting hospitals for crippled childern. What's not to like? Well the headgear may be a problem in contemporary society, inasmuch as the sign says it's Arab but fezes are Turkish, not Arabic, and anyway, fezes were banned in Turkey decades ago by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the father of the Turkish Republic. So nobody really wears them any more. Except Shriners. This man and his friends are driving tiny little cars around and around in circles in the parade, really go karts with fancy fiberglass bodies. Some are partial to huge, tricked-out Honda motorcycles. Shriners are known for things like this. All for fun in a fez.

TOMORROW: Yo-ho-ho, but Johnny Depp it's not.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

An Excuse To Start Drinking Before Noon

St. Louis has a modest-sized Mardi Gras. After all, we were founded by French explorers. It's not the elaborate, multi-day festival that shuts down a city, like in New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro. There is a good sized parade on Saturday in the funky Soulard neighborhood just south of downtown. The floats and costumes are certainly low-budget compared to the Big Easy but it's full of tipsy enthsiasm.

ShadowyOne and I went down to shoot the parade yesterday. It's a good excuse to be drinking in the streets before noon (as many of the photos will illustrate) and people love to pose for pictures. Plenty of material for the next few days on the blog. There are lots more on my Flickr site (and yet more to come!).

Sunday afternoon update: I'm working away at editing this set of pictures. I'll add some to the blog here and there as I go.

TOMORROW: Bubba goes to the parade.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Small Bird With Attitude

Yesterday was a very gratifying day for this blog, breaking all its records. What could I ever do to top it? 316 unique visitors, 551 page loads, 28 comments and a little feature about the blog on the local paper's web site (which undoubtedly helped the numbers). And the blog's total visitors to date cracked 20,000 last night. Whew.

So, back to the salt mine, as we say at my office. Here's a little character for you. While we were out looking for eagles last weekend, we saw hundreds of these gull-like birds (never found out the name) hanging around the Mississippi. The biggest group was on the ice just below a big lock and dam. This guy seems to have an attitude, strutting over a frozen river covered with souveniers from his or her friends. Spending a day like that would tick me off, too.

TOMORROW: Mardi Gras in St. Louis. We have one, you know.

Friday, February 1, 2008

February Theme Day: When People Think Of St. Louis, They Think Of...

What comes to mind when someone mentions St. Louis? The Arch, of course, the baseball Cardinals for Americans, and all around the world, Budweiser. Those zillion beer ads you've seen on TV end with a deep voice saying in such a friendly way, "Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri." Once, when I was in Argentina, someone identified me as an American (pretty damn easy) and asked me where I was from. "Soy de San Luis, en el centro del pais, al Rio Mississipi," I said in my halting Spanish. That didn't help much. Then I tried, “Es la ciudad de Budweiser, la officina principal de Anheuser-Busch.” “O, si,” he replied. “Yo entiendio. Me gusta Budweiser mucho.”

It’s St. Louis’ international vocabulary.

OH, BY THE WAY, perhaps to mark theme day with my St. Louis icons, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's web site has a little feature about my blog today. It gives a plug to CDPB and our friends' blogs in Buenos Aires and Singapore.

The movie Meet Me In St. Louis didn't enter my mind when I created this post. It's not prominent in our local consciousness. Since several of you mentioned it, here's a clip of Judy Garland singing the famous song in the movie:

Check these CDPB blogs, which are revealing the face they show to the world today:

Portland (OR), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Memphis (Tennessee), USA - Manila, Philippines - San Diego (CA), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - New York City (NY), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - San Francisco (CA), USA - Mumbai (Maharashtra), India - Mainz, Germany - Weston (FL), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Turin, Italy - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Bicheno, Australia - Durban, South Africa - Joplin (MO), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Brussels, Belgium - Chicago (IL), USA - Montpellier, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mazatlan, Mexico - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Toulouse, France - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Susanville (CA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Helsinki, Finland - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Lisbon, Portugal - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Trujillo, Peru - Dunedin (FL), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - London, UK - Baziège, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mumbai, India - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Stayton (OR), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Arradon, France - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Athens, Greece - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Jackson (MS), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Budapest, Hungary - Rotterdam, Netherlands - St Malo, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Cleveland (OH), USA - Nottingham, UK - Kansas City (MO), USA - The Hague, Netherlands - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Wrocław, Poland - Chateaubriant, France - Cheltenham, UK - Moscow, Russia - Monrovia (CA), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - Toruń, Poland - Grenoble, France - Lisbon, Portugal - New Orleans (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Boston (MA), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Wichita (KS), USA - Radonvilliers, France - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Christchurch, New Zealand - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Wailea (HI), USA - Aliso Viejo (CA), USA - St Francis, South Africa - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Seattle (WA), USA - Pasadena (CA), USA - Vienna, Austria - Orlando (FL), USA - Torun, Poland - Delta (CO), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Paris, France - Stavanger, Norway - Niamey, Niger - Le Guilvinec, France - Bogor, Indonesia - Saarbrücken, Germany - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Juneau (AK), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Glasgow, Scotland - Chicago (IL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Adelaide (SA), Australia - Sydney, Australia - Riga, Latvia - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Terrell (TX), USA - Terrell (TX), USA

TOMORROW: What could I possibly do to top today's response? How about this theme: You'd look pissed off, too, if you had to spend your day walking across ice covered with bird poop.