Friday, June 23, 2017

Old Time Religion

Top: something else found in the Salty Dog Saloon. I'm sure Jesus loves everyone, even senators from Kentucky.

Bottom: a church in Marysville. What's with the quotation marks? The device is frequently misused in American English and, as loyal members of the language police, Mrs. C and I could not let this pass. What was the pastor trying to communicate?         

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Brother-in-law Mel's cattle in the far pasture. They might be curious because they had never seen a lens as big as my telephoto. At least it kept me at a safe distance.         

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Did They Know She Was Coming?

More from the Salty Dog Saloon. When my wife was younger people called her Kitty. Some of her family still does. I never liked it and have always called her by her given name, Carolyn. But she is from Kansas, of course. Readers of this blog know that I usually refer to her here as Mrs. C. Quite a bit of coincidence.       

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Salty Dog Saloon

Out in the rural prairie you find your entertainment where you can. It's nothing to drive 25 miles in a huge, fuel-sucker pickup to a convivial place like The Salty Dog, located in a tiny hamlet just north of the Kansas - Nebraska line. If you click the link you will learn that the place is "biker friendly", although we didn't see any Friday night.

The food is actually pretty good. And cheap, by urban standards, but you better be carrying cash. No plastic. That's Margo, the owner, taking an order in the second shot. She didn't care if I took pictures but the family told me that you better not cause trouble because she's pretty tough.          

Monday, June 19, 2017

Nebraska Sunsets

Seen after dinner at the Salty Dog Saloon in Steele City, Nebraska (population 86). The state line is near Mrs. C's family farm in Kansas. She was born in Nebraska because the nearest rural hospital was in the town of Odell, NE.

The sunsets aren't all good in the Cornhusker State but there were more storms in the area, creating drama. The wind farms, of which there are many these days, add to the strangeness.

I had my picture taken in front of the saloon.       

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Prairie Storm

Looking north from the parking lot of our motel in Marysville, Kansas.  This can be a land of violent thunderstorms. The town lost power for about three hours Friday night and Saturday morning.      

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sights of Kansas City

Kansas City is Missouri's other major metropolitan area. The region is smaller than STL but the city proper has more population since KC lacks our extreme suburban balkanization. We enjoy our visits and did a little tourism on our way out of town yesterday.

The picture on top shows Union Station in the foreground with downtown behind. The striking Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (better seen here) is on the left horizon and the iconic rooftop Western Auto sign on the right. 

There is a stunning World War I museum in the center of the city, on and under a hill topped with this memorial column, visible from many parts of KC. We were aware of it but knew little until we heard an NPR feature about it and the hundredth anniversary of the U.S.' entry into the conflict. We were there almost two hours and didn't see half of it. The best part was talking with the military veterans who serve as volunteer docents. We may be back here in a month and will return.

The top picture was taken from the north slope of the hill. There are a pair of strange sphinx-like creatures whose wings (perhaps) shield there eyes. One of the volunteers explained that the one facing east cannot bear to see the horrors of the war, while the figure facing west looks into the future (how American) which no one can foresee.          

Friday, June 16, 2017

Goodbye, Julian. See You Later, Celina.

We usually spend the night in Kansas City, a very nice town, on our way to see Mrs. C's family farther out in Kansas. KC has a good restaurant scene and Julian has become our favorite in recent years. When I was about to make a reservation I saw online that it was closing after the Fourth of July! I quickly made a reservation on Open Table.

I got a call Wednesday night from chef and owner Celina Tio. Did I know that they had a special menu planned, a five course tasting menu that she prepared when she won on Iron Chef? With wine pairings? No, clueless, but don't cancel our reservation.

OMG, it was heaven. Food and wine that was simple on the surface but oh so subtle as you paid more attention to each course. The highlight was almost inconceivable, lobster shepherd's pie, seen below. We were so glad we stumbled into the occasion.

The last photo is the rare image of Mrs. C and me, along with Celina and the wine guy (never did get his name).  She has another place, The Belfry, that we hope to visit soon. We may be back here in a month.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'm So Glad I'm Outta Here

Crying Giant 1

Two days off the blog. How rare.

Work has been a bite. I really want to retire but when you own a small business, particularly a professional practice, it's not that easy. But we are headed for Kansas City today and then on to the rolling Kansas prairie where Mrs. C grew up. Real time off.

The whole point is summarized by this photo from the archives: Tom Otterness' Crying Giant, which sits on the lawn of the Kansas City Museum of Contemporary Art (which, IMHO, is way better than ours). May the headaches be cured by the smell of soybeans in the earth.    

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Yes, I'd Like A Gin And Tonic

Archives diving, and that's what this image makes me think of.  Hold the carrot, though. 

Looking forward to some time off in a few days.

Monday, June 12, 2017

High Five

Running a bit low on material - just too much time at work, none left to go out and shoot. So, a motorcycle cop at some parade working the crowd. The policeman, as they say, is your friend. 

Maybe a little break would be in order until a road trip we have planned later this week. Kansas City on Thursday. Wheat, sunshine and rolling prairie beyond.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Silicon Garden

Glass is made of - what? Mostly silicon, the stuff that is the basis of all those semiconductors we use, including my camera and the laptop I edit pictures on. This is another pic inside the Climatron at the Garden of Glass installation. Can you see a logic gate in here somewhere?

I've been awful about visiting my friends' blogs lately. Don't mean to be unfriendly. It's just way too much work at the moment. I thought this would be getting easier at my semi-advanced age but things are not quite working according to plan. At least there's a road trip to Kansas later this week. It has the promise of wheat fields and a prarie time scale.   

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Strawberry Moon

I have it on the authority of The Weather Channel that the full moon of June is called the strawberry moon, not because of the color but because it is a good time to pick the fruit. I guess that depends on where you are.

So the family went downtown for dinner last night, then to the east steps of the Old Court House to watch the moon rise through the legs of the Arch. Worth the effort.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Urban Sunset

The Civil Courts building late in the afternoon. A photography teacher once told me that the light is good enough to shoot if shadows are at least 45 degrees from the source.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday Arch Series

I don't think I've ever been to the top of the Arch when it made a more perfect shadow over the Missiisippi. The dock at the left is the departure point for helicopter sightseeing rides. The one on the right is the mooring point for a couple of excursion boats that give rides along the river.         

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fashion Show

Part water and part glass. One of the Garden of Glass artworks outside of the Climatron. The ephemeral figures appear to be walking down a fashion show runway into a riot of wet color.          

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Glass After Glass

A bit more from the Garden of Glass show at the botanical garden. The technical skill is amazing. There may be a metaphor here: these look so soft and tender and yet they are so brittle.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Philip Glass

Last night at the American premier of Philip Glass' opera The Trial, based on Franz Kafka's discomfiting novel. At a reception after the performance, the composer was flanked by Opera Theatre of St. Louis' General Director, Timothy O'Leary, and librettist Cristopher Hampton. Not the greatest picture but I was using my little Olympus under a tent with ordinary light bulbs. 

Glass is something of a hero to me. I wrote recently about encountering the early Stravinsky ballets. A few years later, I read about Glass and heard Music In Fifths, Music In Changing Parts, North Star and the Dances. It smashed my concept of what music could be as throughly as did The Rite of Spring. Then Mrs. C and I attended the performances of Einstein On The Beach and The Photographer at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. And then the trilogy of movies with Godfrey Reggio, the searing Koyanaasqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. And others operas, including Akhenaten, about the ancient Egyptian monothesist, and Satyagraha,  set in the time the young Gandhi lived in South Africa. It's a minority opinion, but I think the latter is the greatest opera of the 20th Century.

So it was a pleasure to hear his newer work and to see him again. He recently turned 80 and looked a little frail. I hope he keeps writing and writing.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

First Ascent

Our fearless explorer looks out from her perch far above the Mississippi. Madeleine had a great time on her  first trip to the top of the Arch, accompanied by mom Emily and me. Not a bit of anxiety about the height or the cramped little cars you ride to get to the top. She was interested in everything except sitting still.

Also Lambie's first ride to the top. Thanks, Aunt Virginia!     

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Firebird

Memories: when I was an undergraduate I would cruise the sale bins at record stores (Record stores! Philip Glass, who I will sort of meet again tomorrow night, was the son of a record store owner in Baltimore. We bought and played LPs then! L'ancien rĂ©gime.) looking for new musical experiences. I remember buying a box set of the three early Stravinsky ballets. The Firebird was accessible yet invigorating. Petroushka was a stretch. The Rite of Spring was impenetrable, not the pinnacle of art I hear it as today. 

The association came from a work in the summer show at the Missouri Botannical Garden, Garden of Glass. (Mulit-level, no?) It features the work of artist James Mitchell Smith, mostly on display in the Climatron, mentioned in Tuesday's post. It is best seen illuminated by colored lights at night as here. Unlike a lot of art glass, the pieces are fused, not blown. How else could these feathers be created?

All contemporary art glass is inevitably compared to the work of Dale Chihuly. Several pieces of his work are scattered around the garden on permanent display. Once, while chatting with an artist friend, the subject of Chihuly came up. I asked the artist's opinion. "Too easy," he answered. I get it.

Big weekend on tap. We're taking Madeleine on her first trip up the Arch this afternoon. Tomorrow night Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents the American premier of Philip Glass' opera The Trial, based on the Kafka novel. The composer will be in attendance and there is an open reception afterward. I'm planning on bringing a small camera. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Black Masons

Every educated American knows that, since Reconstruction, African American people have been barred from many white social organizations. So, in many cases, they formed their own. Masonic lodges lave a long history in Europe and the Americas. African American Lodges are sometimes known as the Black Masons. They always take part  in the Annie Malone parade.

I enjoy seeing them. They are so elegant and perfectly tailored. The  ladies in the second picture do what some call the Windsor wave, the way Queen Elazabeth holds her arm and hand up and just rotates it at the wrist.

Late post today. I wish life would leave me alone a little more.     

Thursday, June 1, 2017

City Daily Photo June Theme Day: Nature

Mt. Everest

I'm mostly an urban street photographer. A trip into the archives was required to come up with something for this theme day.

This may be the single photo I'm most proud of. It was certainly the most difficult - Mt. Everest on a rare clear day. Long way to go for starters. We were travelling in Tibet with a small group, accompanied by English and Tibetan guides. There was a night at base camp, accessible by a very rough road. The shot was taken at 17,200 feet / 5,242 meters. I had pretty bad altitude sickness. Two men in the group had to grab me under the arms and pull me up the last little hill to the overlook. It was worth every effort.

Maybe there is something to the fact that Ansel Adams and I share a birthday. (Well, Kurt Cobain, too.) Okay, that's an exaggeration. Other than this shot not much has rubbed off.