Thursday, October 29, 2020


A photo I liked from Artica that I forgot to post. This is our friend Heather, who plays a mean violin. Her tunic-like dress looks like something from Renaissance Italy. I studied violin for about five years when I was young and was a complete failure. Good ear, bad motor skills and coordination. I look at her left hand position with envy.             

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


This Boo at the Zoo thing wasn't very scary. Lots of lit displays with orange, yellow, purple and white on a black background. Cartoonish ghosts and witches with very fake tombstones. No headless ghouls popping out from behind corners, screaming at children while grabbing for them with skeletal fingers. In other words, about the right speed for my seven year old granddaughter.   

Halloween in the US was not about terror and death when I was a kid. At least in NYC, all we did was cut a hole in an old sheet and chalk our faces white to make a cheap ghost. The rest of it was all about canvassing a dense neighborhood begging for candy.

BY THE WAY, I've been having trouble with someone leaving vituperative anonymous comments damning middle aged and older people for destroying the world. You can't just block anonymous comments on Blogger anymore so I had to change the settings to allow comments only from people with Google accounts, which includes almost everybody. It will not affect Facebook. If you have trouble leaving a comment here please let me know.       

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


Maybe a last shot from the Women's Rally. Michael Parson, mentioned in the yellow signs, is the incompetent governor of Missouri, someone who started off as a rural county sheriff and rose to higher office through a series of coincidences. His attitude toward the virus is to let people do whatever they please, although local governments can impose stricter regulation. Covid cases in the rural parts of our state are exploding and medical facilities in some areas are near collapse. St. Louis and Kansas City aren't nearly as bad but certainly not in the clear. We are still hunkering down.              

Monday, October 26, 2020


One of our major local organizations has an annual event for the kids called Boo at the Zoo. We've taken Ellie in the past but it has been almost unbearably cold and crowded. This year was capacity controlled, of course, and the weather was relatively mild. She likes it more than I do, but I like taking her there.

We don't know where she learned to pose but she is quite a ham. Her mother, Emily, spent hours making her a custom-made costume that is a bit too esoteric for me. It it based (I think) on the character Korra, the avatar and water bender of the South, in the animated series Avatar. Great job by mom but when I was that age all I was worried about was where Clark Kent was going to find a phone booth to change into Superman.                

Sunday, October 25, 2020


  The great thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not.
- Neil de Grasse Tyson         
Photo from the St. Louis Women's Rally.

Saturday, October 24, 2020


STL's Artica festival always reaches the same end. Throughout the weekend, the wooden effigy known as Our Lady of Artica looms over one end of the field. The design varies a bit from year to year but you can always recognize it. The crowd gathers around on Sunday night. The crew is in full fire protection suits and the event is licensed and supervised by the fire department. On a signal, torches are put to the bottom. The spectators stay until the whole thing has collapsed to embers.                  

Friday, October 23, 2020


Our international friends may not know of it but there is an iconic character promoted by our National Park Service, Smokey Bear. He is dressed in a ranger's hat, wears blue jeans and boots and carries a shovel. His constant slogan is "only you can prevent forest fires." Well, maybe not so true this year. One of the participants at last weekend's Women's Rally had a shirt with a variation on the theme.