Monday, June 18, 2018

Heavy Metal

A common kind of event in this country is a "Taste Of" whatever. Restaurants in a particular area put up booths and sell samples of their cuisine. There was a kind of dinky Taste of Downtown St. Louis over the weekend in Kiener Plaza. First time for this that I'm aware of. There weren't a lot of restaurants participating and the crowd was light on a very hot day.

I spent a lot of my time doing the street photographer practice of sitting on a bench and waiting for interesting people to come to me. The results were mixed. There was entertainment, though. One of the acts was a heavy metal band called Mental Fixation. Maybe not the best name ever but they represented the genre well.        

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Go Cards!

Graffiti that was out of sight from the street, on the back of a commercial building near the baseball stadium. The Cardinals may be the local state religion but they are having a very mediocre year. I might watch them on television but I wouldn't consider going to a game in this heat with the prices they charge.        

Saturday, June 16, 2018

All The Time

Nephew's is a bar near the baseball stadium. I doubt that everything that goes on in a bar promotes the good of mankind. However, the owner is dabbling in theology and philosophy while overlooking the Holocaust, any war you care to pick, what happened to people before clean public water and sanitation systems and death in childbirth. 

There has been a debate for millennia about how God could be all-knowing, all-powerful and all-merciful, and yet allow the suffering that pervades the world. It's known as the problem of evil.  So you could have some irony with your Budweiser. Or maybe this blog is just getting too heavy.          

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Lowdown

What's the bird's eye low-down on this caper? Whatever that means . . .

      - Nick Danger
      The Further Adventures of Nick Danger
      Firesign Theatre, 1969
Anybody else out there old and strange enough to remember that? One of the funniest and most challenging things I've ever heard. Firesign Theatre was a major influence on the person I became.

This is on the graffiti-permitted section of the Mississippi flood wall.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Secure Destruction

It seems to be miscellaneous stuff I found around town week. This truck was on 6th Street downtown. I think it picks up old computers and such and pulverizes them. Actually, we have one of these stopping by our office today to clear out the stuff that Bill Gates made when he was wearing knickers.

The concept, though, is boggling. Is this the kind of thing Kim Jong-un's generals talk to him about?     

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Law And The Economy

Three downtown buildings seen from a distance. 

On the left, the old Civil Courts building, where state-level litigation takes place. Hard to see from this distance but the architecture is genuinely bizarre. Worth this short read

The tall center building houses the federal courts, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. It is the largest single courthouse in America and is 18 years old. It has been controversial from the start because it completely blocks the view of the Arch from the main highway coming into downtown from the west.

The building on the right has the strangest story. After the breakup of the original AT&T into the regional "baby Bells," this was the headquarters of Southwestern Bell. That company started buying up other baby Bells and eventually the AT&T name. The headquarters moved to Dallas and this 44 story tower has been vacant for nine months. It will be hard to use because it was built for a single tenant and now has almost no parking. So another urban ghost building but the biggest one we've ever had.       

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

And The Living Is Easy

Summertime, here at the fake ruins in Tower Grove Park. (Yes, it was built that way on purpose.) Many people love the original of this beautiful song from Porgy and Bess. However, I am partial to Janice Joplin's version. Few singers can approach her intensity. 

It's already hot here and the official first day of summer is over a week away. It could be a bad one.      

Monday, June 11, 2018


One of the griffins that guard the east entrance of Tower Grove Park. Always good for a post if there's nothing else handy. Perhaps exhaling smoke?      

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Another from the Pagan Picnic. Not altogether sure about what's going on because, as usual, I was paying more attention to my viewfinder than life in front of me. Salute to Mother Earth or the Earth Goddess or it just feels good to do this? I'm a bit of a voyeur here, being more in tune with logical positivism than, say, wicca.        

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bliss Out

Another image from the Pagan Picnic.  Reminds me of that old song If You're Going To San  Francisco. Except this is St. Louis. Maybe not as romantic.        

Friday, June 8, 2018

Do Not Go Gentle

Observers at the Pagan Picnic. Not so mobile but definitely still in the action. Reminds me of Dylan Thomas' poem Do Not Go Gentle.                     

Thursday, June 7, 2018

It's . . .

Monty Python's Flying Circus? At least I think it's a python. This person was walking around the central area of the Pagan Picnic last weekend. These creatures are pretty tame, at least when they are not hungry. The owner let kids pet it and adults put it around their necks. Even my granddaughter Ellie likes to play with them. Personally, I'd pass. However, I love the snake's burnished golden color and beautiful patterns. How do genes accomplish that?  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

My Pal

Never let it be said that this town is a boring speck in flyover country. We have plenty of eccentrics. There is an annual event called the Pagan Picnic in Tower Grove Park. It's been going of for 20-odd years and has been seen on these pages before. It's where our local druids, earth-worshipers, tarot readers, soul travelers and crystal gazers show up to play together.

Lots of people bring the whole family. Many dogs and, to the best of my knowledge, one iguana.     

There are more pictures from New York but I'll post them on Flickr and move on. We'll be back the first week of July, anyway.   

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

STL DPB In New York - Attitudes Toward Women

The first photo is underneath the southern end of the Highline, next to the Whitney. Click here for the reference.  The pair of billboards was next  to our hotel in Long Island City. The last is a building overlooking the Highline.

I will leave it to you, reader, to interpret these. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

STL DPB In New York - Protect Your Heart

Graffiti or street art, as you prefer, under the southern end of the Highline. The first one could break your heart. The second might be advice for lovers and the third a response to it. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

New York Restaurants - Soleluna

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said,
   This is my own, my native land!
         - claptrap poetry by Sir Walter Scott

Back in my old neighborhood, Sunnyside, Queens. It still has a hold on me. Quiet when you get off Queens Boulevard; safe, unpretentious, plenty of services and very close to Manhattan. When I grew up it was a mix of Irish, Jewish and Italian. Now it's Irish, Jewish, Italian, Vietnamese, Colombian, Korean and I don't know what.  It's still just as pleasant. 

Wouldn't it be nice to have a small apartment there, a pied-a-terre so we could visit New York more often? So I looked online for one bedroom apartments. A fully rehabbed one-bedroom costs well into the 300's. That's thousands of US dollars. Sigh.

So to console ourselves, we went to our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Soleluna. Very tight storefront Italian place with just delicious food, wonderful people and good prices for NY. They have a gumball machine out front, which I think is charming. We got acquainted with the people at the next table, whose story is too long to repeat here. It was the third time I've been there in the last year, once with the family and once with Olivier. We may return when we are back in town in July.                 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

New York Restaurants - Santina

When Mrs. C and I left the Whitney last Monday we had an hour to kill before our dinner reservation. Right around the corner from the museum, sort of jammed under the end of the Highline, is a restaurant called Santina. We went in and sat at the bar.

The place seemed to have some fizz. They gave us the drinks list and the first was a negroni. I love negronis. The price was absurd by STL standards but, what the hell, I love negronis. Down the hatch. (See last photo.) It was the best I've ever had, light on the Campari.

The staff whipped up all kinds of exotic cocktails. The one above looked like - what? - an avocado volcano.  The place was fun and had an eclectic staff. The hostess on the right was taller than me. The wall art below is made of broken painted plates. We would go back to try the food.      

Friday, June 1, 2018

City Daily Photo Theme Day - Me

There is plenty more to come from New York but it's the first of the month and City Daily Photo theme day. There aren't a lot of photos with me in front of the lens. Most of them are for an online class or some exercise I set for myself. These pix are a few years old. The top one is full lawyer battle dress. The second is quiet and shows what RA has done to my hands. Then there is the double arch joke picture on my Facebook page

The theme makes me think of one of my favorite photographers, Cindy Sherman, who photographs herself over and over in a myriad of different personas. You can be whoever you want in an image.

To see other City Daily Photo bloggers portray themselves, click here.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Inside The Whitney

The Whitney Museum of American Art isn't real big compared to, say, New York's gargantuan Metropolitan Museum, but it's big enough that there's always something interesting. The current main show is a retrospective of Grant Wood's work. His iconic painting is American Gothic, below, which made him an instant star. You can look at this link to the museum's website while it's still up. Wood, who spent most of his life in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had a distinct style and a definite dark side.

The other main show was about the photographer and sculptor Zoe Leonard. Frankly, it didn't do a lot for me except for the witty sculpture (for want of a better word) seen farther down - a long line with stacks of old Kodak manuals for the general public.

And if nothing else appeals to you, you can stare at the wall - or read a placard describing a work - or walk your kids around while looking at your phone.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

STL DPB In New York - We Always Go To The Whitney

Just about as much for what's outside as what's inside. We often make it the end of a walk down The Highline (which I may get to but which was bloody packed on Sunday). The Whitney Museum of American Art, in the Meatpacking District of southwest Manhattan, has such interesting architecture with its many terraces and overlooks that the views around the building are about as engaging as the art displayed inside.

Non-stop cameras around the place. The fourth picture is the museum's cutely named restaurant, Untitled, on the ground level.          

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


College graduations all have some degree of ceremony and tradition. The United States Military Academy has plenty. Above, the graduating cadets stand at attention while faculty and staff march in with precision. 

I'm not sure what's going on in the second picture. The younger cadets sit in the end zone of the football stadium. An officer stands among them with two fingers raised in the air and appears to be shouting. My nephew could probably tell me why.

The bottom image is a severe crop of a shot taken at the end of my telephoto's range. It wasn't very clear so I edited it to look like a 1960s news photo, B&W, a little blurry and showing action. Gen. Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff enters the stadium through a tent marked Antiterrorism-Force Protection. Here? I guess so.       

Monday, May 28, 2018

Lieutenent Joshua Kruse

Some time after the main graduation ceremony, each graduate participates in an unusual event. It's known as pinning. The young officers have changed from their cadet gray and whites to an officer's full dress uniform. He or she selects a favorite teacher who delivers the officer's commission and oath of office. Then the parents pin the strips on the shoulders that indicate rank.

This is done in a part of campus of the graduate's choice. Josh's sister and brother hold a flag that is given to him.    

Sunday, May 27, 2018

West Point Graduation

Our nephew from Kansas City, Joshua Kruse, graduated from West Point yesterday. Here, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking military officer in the United States, delivers the commencement address. I have a zillion other pictures but it's late and I'm exhausted. More over the following days. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Little Island Where I Was Born

14 miles long. Two and a half miles wide at most. Manhattan  where all the world comes and where I came into it. Taken during final approach into LaGuardia Airport.

We're going a ways up the Hudson today for something special.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Photo Experiment

For most of the last five months I've set aside my trusty - and heavy - Canon 5D Mark III and have been using new equipment. The Canon was getting to be too much weight for my old neck, shoulders and back. I wanted something lighter that would maintain image quality. An old teacher recommended the Fujifilm X-T2.

It's pretty cool. Although it uses an ASP-C sensor (not full sized), I think the image quality is better than the Canon. An interesting feature is that it can emulate many Fujifilm film looks. They have developed many over the years. This picture of the Grand Basin in Forest Park emulates their Acros black and white film, with the addition of a red filter. I like it.

Early flight to New York this morning. Something very unusual to do outside of the city itself tomorrow. Reports by Sunday.