Monday, April 30, 2012

Dine With The Artists

Dine With The Artists - Art St. Louis 1

Just a quick note. I'm scribbling this Sunday night while packing for my trip to Philadelphia in the morning. Saturday night Art St. Louis had a dine with the artists event in connection with its current show, Food Glorious Food. Why, you could have supped with me, since I've got a couple of pix in the show. The surprise question of the night was "Will you marry me?" She said yes.

Dine With The Artists - Art St. Louis 2

Dine With The Artists - Art St. Louis 4

Dine With The Artists - Art St. Louis 3

Dine With The Artists - Art St. Louis 5

Sunday, April 29, 2012


First Robotics Championship 2

First Robotics Championship 1

Fighting, hoop-shooting, radio-controlled robots - who could resist? An organization called First Robotics seems to have made St. Louis its home for the championship competition. It takes place on the floor of our cavernous domed football stadium. High school students from all over design and build these gizmos. 

I could not get the clearest idea of the rules. Somehow the robots suck up basketballs off the floor and shoot them at hoops, the higher off the floor, the more points. They can also raid one another's zones, trying to disrupt the other team's shooting. The spectators were as interesting as the contests.

First Robotics Championship 4

First Robotics Championship 5

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Say What?

No, Please

What on earth could they be talking about? What would fit this strange combination of prohibitions?

The answer: the pool in Citygarden pictured below. It's wonderful that they let kids splash around in it but no poopie pants, please.

It was a very busy week at work and lots to finish this weekend. There's something to shoot today, the finals of the U.S. high school robotics championship in the football dome. Think radio-controlled, stripped-down versions of R2D2 shooting baskets, operated by Junior Geeks of America (actually very bright young people). Off to Philadelphia on Monday for a conference for my arcane legal specialty, followed by a weekend in my home town, New York City. Yes

Citygarden Water 1

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Brain

2012-04-22 Earth Day 10

There is one YouTube clip so obviously appropriate for this post that the cognoscenti will recognize it at once. But, for the benefit  of the rest of the world:

The photo is of some high tech bicycle helmet found at a vendor's booth at Earth Day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 1998

There was a recent Arch picture ready to go for today but I put it aside. While searching my back-up drives for something, I found a zip file labeled "12yearoldarchphotos." It was created in 2010, suggesting the contents were from 1998. This is one of the three pictures I found.

It's not likely it was taken so long ago. I'm pretty sure I got my first digital camera in late 1999 in anticipation of a trip to India and Nepal in early 2000. There is no way to be certain since the EXIF data has been stripped off.

There is only one place where I could have taken this, the Mansion House apartments directly across from the Arch and the park it sits in. Sharon, of Phoenix Daily Photo, lived there when she was working in STL. I've only been inside once, when some friends had serious water damage at home and the insurance company put them up in this building. (Note: if any readers live in or have access to a Mansion House apartment, please please invite me over for tea). Also no way to tell what camera I used. It was probably an early point-n-shoot. I got my first DSLR, a Canon 10D, in 2003. The image looks like a century-old color postcard. Not so bad.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


2012-04-22 Earth Day 17

Joia is the free-form percussion band nonpareil. We saw a bit of them on Sunday They lead the parade at every Earth Day and every Cinco de Mayo - People's Joy Parade. (I was invited to shoot this year's edition but I'll be in New York. Damn.) Click the link to their web site and you can hear some of their amazing stuff.

Got home from work really late last night. I think there's an Arch pic somewhere for tomorrow. More comments when life takes off the thumbscrews. But there are things to look forward to: a conference in Philadelphia next week and then a weekend in my home town.

2012-04-22 Earth Day 16

2012-04-22 Earth Day 15

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ah, The Sweetness Of Faeries

2012-04-22 Earth Day 1

St. Louis has a semi-official band of faeries. I don't know if they have a group name or formal organization but I see them every time I attend Earth Day or the St. Louis Renaissance Faire. (I sure get some good pix out there.) They have a queen, Etienne (first row, on the right). Sounds like a great job.

These faeries, however, have a bit of spunk. Maybe they are the faeries' friends and not card-carrying members themselves. They make you think of a Tolkien novel or the supernumaries in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I'll catch up with them again out at the Faire.

2012-04-22 Earth Day 2

2012-04-22 Earth Day 11

2012-04-22 Earth Day 3

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day

2012-04-22 Earth Day 6

Yesterday brought our town's annual Earth Day celebration in Forest Park. Every tree hugger, organic farmer, herbalist, soul traveler, electric car driver, vegan, river cleaner, Thoreau reader, public transport manager, species preserver, meditator, recycler, chiropractor, banjo picker, tai chi dancer, fair trade importer, bicycle rider, yogi, faerie and moon howler within a tank of gas driving distance was there. So were a few people, like me, who just wished we'd stop fouling our own nest.

As usual, the festivities kicked off with the All Species Parade led by the mind-boggling percussion band, Joia.  I'll devote a post to them in the coming days. I tried to count the number of species in the parade and came up with, um, one (unless you count the bazillion bacteria in our digestive tracts). Fun for all.

TOMORROW: faeries.

2012-04-22 Earth Day 7

2012-04-22 Earth Day 8

Sunday, April 22, 2012

City Mahem

City Mahem 3

Well, the name may be a bit overstated. This was a foot race and obstacle course for the benefit of Lift For Life Academy and Gym on Saturday. Participants had to run about five miles while meeting a number of challenges (defined broadly). This was one of those climbing walls. I could no sooner do this than fix the transmission of my trusty Honda, seen in the background of the bottom shot. And speaking of which, is that race official suggesting that the runner take out a photographer?

There is a growing set of pix from this event on Flickr here.  Might be more tomorrow but then today is Earth Day in Forest Park, one of the top local photo-ops of the year.

By the way, a couple of our international readers were puzzled by yesterday's post. This was my explanation:

The reference is to loony American folklore. Some of my countrymen believe that "space aliens," the quintessential little green men, kidnap humans for experimentation. The stories usually say something about probes into the body, mostly anal.. So, that's why I used the picture of the sign at a grain elevator on the river, where big trucks pull up to empty their loads. You may or may not have heard of Roswell, New Mexico. The same crazies think that there have been flying saucer landings in the area. The town promotes this for tourist business. I once had a client, though, who said he had been a guard at the front gate of a restricted military base outside Roswell. He said that very high ranking Army and Air Force officers were frequent visitors and no one ever said a word about what was going on. I take the story with a grain of salt. I hope this makes more sense to you. It illustrates the quip by the great American journalist and literary editor, H. L. Mencken,that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

City Mahem 5

City Mahem 6 (Don't Run Over The Photographer)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Alien Activity In East St. Louis


After they abduct a human they begin the examination. (Where do they probe?) Next, the victim is taken to a deserted commuter station in broad daylight to be prepared for shipping, then stowed inconspicuously on a freight train. Next stop: Roswell, New Mexico.

I got no new material. This riff was pulled together from debris on my hard drive using shots taken in and around the riverfront Metrolink train station in East St. Louis.

04-04-12 BW

Freight Train East St Louis

Friday, April 20, 2012

Oops! What Happened To The Arch?

Arch 2012-04-07 3

Oopsie. Work has been so heavy this week that I forgot what's supposed to happen on what day. Now things have calmed down and I've returned to my senses.

I've mentioned that, in a way, St. Louis is like Little-Las-Vegas-On-Mississippi. We have seven good sized casinos in the area. This one is in East St. Louis, Illinois, directly across the river from downtown. When the sign says "loosest slots," it means that this place claims to have the highest ratio of payback to money wagered on slot machines anywhere in the country. Note to math majors: if P is the amount of payback and $ is the total amount thrown into the machines, P < $, always. Every day, every machine.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vive Les Fran├žaises

Ste. Genevieve Cemetery 2

A couple of shots of the old Ste. Genevieve cemetery while I figure out when there might be time to shoot some new stuff. As I've mentioned, the town was settled by the French after their country took control of the Louisiana Territory from Spain. Apparently they were hardy people, as M. and Mme. Valle lived into their 80s. No Obamacare then, either.

As a speaker of 21st Century English, the gravestone in the bottom photo is pretty funny. Sure, the language was more formal one or two centuries ago, but it seems like the deceased is being damned by faint praise, as the saying has it.

Sorry for the lack of comments yesterday. I just got home from work way too late.

Ste. Genevieve Cemetery 1

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sgt. Pepper Comes To Ste. Gen

Wall Painting, Ste. Genevieve 3

At least that's the reaction that I get, although this version is much more genteel. It is painted on the side of an empty building across the street from the church we saw yesterday. Sure, a Native American, a French army officer (but in a red coat?) and a local rustic with a fiddle, but it makes me feel like the singer's gonna sing a song and he wants you all to sing along. So let me introduce to you the one and only Billy Shears...

So who is that on the bottom, anyway? It's just to the right of the big mural, a bit above the sidewalk. I can't tell if his intentions are friendly or not.

Wall Paintinf, Ste. Genevieve 2

Wall Painting, Ste. Genevieve 1

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Church Of Ste. Genevieve

Church Of Ste. Genevieve 1

There is a very impressive Catholic church in Ste. Genevieve. Not surprising, since the town was founded in 1735 by French Catholics, but it was in beautiful condition for a place that has seen much better days.

While we were looking around, I heard what sounded like quiet arpeggios. Their source was unclear. It hit me that the music was Baroque. Then the bass notes of the organ dug under the delicate top line. When I looked at the choir loft I saw someone at the console but could not make out the person. A telephoto lens did a better job. The boy in the picture below couldn't be much more than 12 but he played with great assurance and technique.

Note the On Air sign on the wall. There must have been radio broadcasts of the organ or choir at one time.

Organ Practice, Church Of Ste. Genevieve

Church Of Ste. Genevieve 2

Church Of Ste. Genevieve 3

Church Of Ste. Genevieve 5

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chaumette Winery

Chaumette 2 (Carolyn At Lunch)

No, we don't normally drink at lunch. (Almost never, actually.) Under the circumstances, though, we decided to pretend we were in France and just laissez le bon temps rouler.

There are a surprising number of wineries in Missouri, mostly clustered in two groups: one about 75 miles west of St. Louis, south of the Missouri River, the other the same distance southeast, in the hills west of the Mississippi. The second area surrounds Ste. Genevieve, where we spent the weekend.

The best known in that area is Chaumette Winery. It has a group of several homes, a wedding chapel and a superb restaurant. Since they only serve lunch on Sunday we headed over around mid-day. Although I've never been able to develop a taste for our state's wines (and, as the top picture illustrates, Lord knows I made another try) the meal was fabulous. We might make a special trip down here for dinner and a night away.

The bottom photo is a detail from a painting in the restaurant called The History Of A Missouri River Town painted by Brian Dawes Haynes in 2002. The old song says that Davey Crockett kilt him a bar when he was only three. This guy looks ten times older and I'm betting on his opponent.

Chaumette 3

Chaumette 1

Chaumette 4

Chaumette 5 (Detail, History Of A Missouri River Town)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ste. Genevieve

Dinner At The Inn Ste. Gemme

We are in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, (founded 1735, population 4,410) for the weekend, staying at the historic Inn St. Gemme Beauvais. It's a quiet little town along the Mississippi River. The inn serves classic French cuisine at dinner on Friday and Saturday night - it was superb and modestly priced. It all seems very bucolic, but down the street at an art gallery...

Inn Ste Gemme 2

Inn Ste Gemme 3

Inn Ste Gemme 1

Ste Gevevieve Art Gallery 1