Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chef Andy


As you may have guessed from yesterday's post, I am rather hard up for material. Missed some local events last weekend like Earth Day and the March For Science. The forecast is for storms all this weekend so I'm scraping.

My son, Andy, is getting into the small town lifestyle. He has this big electric meat smoker gizmo. There was a visit to the local meat market which resulted in the purchase of an 11 pound  / 5 kg pork shoulder. He brined it for five days, then slow cooked it in the smoker for nine hours, keeping an eye on both the air and meat temperature.

Finally it was done. An artist must carefully check the quality of his work.        


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder


So I'm walking down the driveway at Andy's house in Michigan and see this written in chalk. Something like the following conversation takes place:

Me: What's that?

Andy: Oh, c'mon. You know.

Me: Sorry, never laid eyes on it.

Andy: It's Euler's equation, the most beautiful equation in math.

Me: ????   

So I looked it up, which didn't help very much. See here and here.  

One mathematician said it is "like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler's equation reaches down into the very depths of existence".

And another stated that the identity "is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don't know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth."

I totally don't get it. Nice to know that in some ways my kid is smarter than the old man.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Roz's Diner


The next town south of Clare is the tiny hamlet of Rosebush. It's closer to the big town in the region, Mt. Pleasant (which is as flat as Chicago), population 26,000 and home of Central Michigan State University. Roz's Diner, although very unpretentious from the outside, has a quality of food that is quite remarkable. Mrs. C loved her lamburger with feta, sourced from a local farm. I had chicken shawarma in a pita, completely unexpected in the rural Up North (although, this being America, served with fries).

Sitting in a lounge in Chicago's O'Hare airport as I write this. We'll be back in Clare in August with Emily and Madeleine.     










Monday, April 24, 2017

Small Town Cinema


The Ideal Theater on McEwan Avenue, the main drag of Clare, Michigan. The place has small town peace with a certain degree of sophistication. It has a couple of art galleries and quite a few good restaurants. Walmart considered building here and later decided against it, much to the benefit of the local quality of life. And, of course, the renown Cops & Doughnuts, which may find its way back here on theme day.       

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Michigan Division


Hello again from Clare, Michigan, where son Andy, his wife Claire and little granddaughter Audrey live. Claire grew up here and her parents still live in town. Audrey is 20 months old. (Andy can speak for himself.) It's a big change from their former home in Chicago. Blood pressure tends to run lower here.

This Clare - Claire thing is confusing. Clalre was born elsewhere in Michigan and her family moved to Clare when she was young. Clare is named for County Clare in Ireland, where my father's family comes from. Lots of knots.

After dinner at their home we took a dessert walk to renowned Cops & Doughnuts, where this picture was taken against a black linoleum floor.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Namaste


I do some volunteer event shooting for the Mitrata Nepal Foundation, which you may have noticed on the lower right of these pages. Mrs. C and I helped to support a young woman from a rural village through high school. Now we contribute to a fund for Nepalese medical students. It's one of life's oddities that although I've never been to, say, Cincinnati, Milwaukee or Houston, I've visited Kathmandu three times. We know our money is well spent. 

They had one of those trivia nights recently. I'm hopeless at popular culture so, instead of playing, I wander around sticking my lens in things. The top pic shows scarves made by Nepalese craftspeople. The bottom one represents a domestic product, but that's what you say to people over there morning, noon and night.     

Clare, Michigan, by late afternoon today.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Turning To The Right


Nothing to do with politics. Turning about 90 degrees to the right from yesterday's photo. The new Arch park extension has a long, curved ramp from the bottom of Eads Bridge, where you can walk in from Laclede's Landing, up to the higher level at the base of the monument. I like it. It reflects the many arches in the bridge and winds up to the main curve to the south.

May or may not be a post tomorrow. I'm pretty hard up for material and Saturday is a travel day. Might find something in the archives, or maybe stumble on an image in the airports of St. Louis, Chicago or Lansing, on my way to see little granddaughter Audrey in Clare. Michigan. There's always something to shoot.           

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Downtown Park


Another view of the extension of the Arch park where the garage used to be. Right now it looks a bit barren but the grass and trees have a way to go.  

The river was behind me and the view is back into downtown. I work in the gray rectilinear slab just above and to the right of center. My window, on the right corner, overlooks this scene and down to the Mississippi.

The sign in the bottom picture is stenciled on the sidewalk. They are all over downtown, leading visitors to the entrances that remain open during the construction. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Larger Instrument



A National Park ranger plays the trombone on the Arch grounds. The whole area is a national park, technically the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It's about the 1803 purchase of a huge tract of land west of the Mississippi from France (including St. Louis)  by President Thomas Jefferson. It nearly doubled the size of the U.S. Napoleon needed money for his pastimes.

A trombone is rather less subtle than an blues harmonica but has more power. The ranger did a pretty good job.        

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Blues


No, nothing to do with the hockey team, which has been quite successful in the first round of the playoffs.

There was a blues band playing in the new extension of the Arch grounds. This man was easily the most visually interesting. He is playing a harmonica, a blues harp in musical terms. The sounds he could make were quite amazing.         


Monday, April 17, 2017

Madeleine Monday (In Her Easter Bonnet...)


Elegance and attitude in front of our house on Easter morning. She got that hat Saturday at the art museum, where we went to see a show called Degas, Impressionism And The Millinery Trade. It was about the fascination of those painters with the art of ornate hat making, the height of fashion in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. 

We stopped in the shop after viewing the exhibit. Ellie was quite taken with the straw hat, modeling it for us with the price tag still attached, a la Minnie Pearl. We'll see the other grandkid in Michigan next weekend.     



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Something Is Happening Here But You Don't Know What It Is


So said Bob Dylan back when I was in high school.  One of the disadvantages of theatrical photography is that I can pay too much attention to visual images and lose track of what is happening on the stage. That happened during some of Five Fifths when the connections to the original fairy tales grew thin.

There were a couple of sequences in which people spent a lot of time arguing about the meaning of texts (I thought only lawyers, literature professors and theologians did that) while actual life happened beyond them. I got a little lost.

       





Saturday, April 15, 2017

Snow . . . White?


Back to the St. Louis Fringe's Five Fifths, warped retellings of Grimm's fairy tales. As the evening went on I sort of lost track of which mini play was supposed to come from which story. It was hard to tell at times. I think this is based on Snow White - beautiful woman, apple - but she has evidently decided to chuck the purity stuff in favor of her sensual side. 

There were a number of characters in this bit - full size humans, not dwarfs, but they might have been meant to be analogs. I'll get to that as I have time to edit.         

Friday, April 14, 2017

Meriwether


The statue of Meriwether Lewis, who along with William Clark, left St. Louis in 1804 on a two year voyage of discovery into what became the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The statue used to be down on the levee by the Mississippi and would be periodically inundated when the river rose high. See this old post for illustrations of how far under Big Muddy it got.

The river is pretty high right now but not in flood. The photo below is the rail of a stairway that goes down to the levee, where you can park most of the year.

There are a lot of pictures from Five Fifths still to edit. What I lack is time. Geez, I thought things would be calmer after doing this job for 42 years but not yet. Maybe soon.

And speaking of years, today is Mrs. C and my 43rd. Hi, sweetie, It worked out, didn't it?        


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday Arch Series


Haven't had one of these in a while. There was a dinky ceremony last weekend marking the opening of the new park area on the north end of the grounds where there was once an underground garage. It has actually been open for a couple of months but still looks quite barren, the lawn not having gone to root and trees little more than twigs. But a lot more of the general grounds are open again.
 
So I had a walk around. At one point I noticed the low sun shining through the monument's legs and took this. (A little computer magic added.)         

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rumpelstiltskin, Part 1


Next on the lineup from Five Fifths was a very loose adaptation of Rumpelstiltskin, packaged in contemporary terms. It was put on by O'Fallon Theater works, a local company. Grimm's fairy tales were not a big part of my childhood and I had to look up the story (see here). In this  production, the miller becomes a woman who seems to be a farmer. The daughter is something  of a political activist. The king is - well, you will figure it out.

What happens next will probably appear here on Friday. I think there will be an Arch picture tomorrow.   





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Waiting For The House To Open


Thou shalt not enter the playhouse until the door guard sayeth the hour is at hand.  While you're waiting, you can hang out with cast and audience members, sucking on all the kinds of rum you could possibly need. 

But don't forget to buy a ticket.  The St. Lou Fringe's Five Fifths was to start shortly . You wouldn't want to be left by yourself at the bar.

Back to the fairy tales tomorrow, if the plan holds.









Monday, April 10, 2017

Madeleine Monday


Take me out to the ball game. And then, after a seventh inning slump (she is only three and a half), take me home. Early on, the most self-assured of Cardinal fans but later on just a tired little girl.

Madeleine - Ellie to us - has an amazing memory. When we went to a game last season she was fascinated by someone promoting something-or-other who had flashing, multi-colored LEDs in his shoes. She really wanted to find him when we were back last Friday night.            


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hansel and Gretel


Brother and sister. Alone, abandoned deep in the woods by their impoverished father and nasty stepmother in a time of famine. They wander in the forest until they enter a clearing, finding a cottage made of gingerbread, candy and cakes, with windows made of pure sugar . . . and a witch who likes to eat fat little children. That's bad enough, but then they all end up on a Jerry Springer-style TV show.

The St. Louis Fringe's Five Fifths consisted of five tales by the Brothers Grimm liberally reinterpreted in modern terms. (Interesting how at the beginning of the 19th Century it's the Brothers Grimm but by the end it's the Wright Brothers.) Here, the Hansel and Gretel stumble into a television program in which the host and studio audience challenge the sad kids, accusing them of discrimination and violence against a lonely woman with an eating disorder. 

Things keep going on in this vein. The brothers are pleased.