Friday, November 30, 2012

Not Without Reason

Floodwall 2012-11-03 3

It is said to be the shortest verse in the Bible, at least the King James and related English versions (John 11:35). It might also be the shortest phrase on the graffiti-permitted section of the Mississippi River floodwall. The point of view looks back into a lonely area of railroad tracks and scattered light industry. When I go back in there to shoot it makes me think of the old Bob Dylan song Desolation Row.   

I've posted lots of images of this graffiti wall over the years. A few commenters have vehemently objected to graffiti in general and the content of these photos in particular. I couldn't disagree more. It's allowed, it's encouraged in this area. A tall, blank wall a few hundred meters long in a remote location is the perfect place for an outlet for these artists. And they are artists. Much of the work is fantastically creative. It doesn't bother anyone. Nobody goes back there but a few workers, the occasional cop and me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Arch Series

Arch In Fog 2012-11-21

Taken from my office window one morning last week. The area was covered with heavy fog at dawn. It was starting to lift as I drove to work but the fog clings to the Mississippi longest of all, and that's right beside the monument.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

That Boy O' Mine

Andy In The Reeds

I need to shoot some new local material but this picture of my son, Andy, taken last weekend in Kansas, is worth an upload. He's 32, as tall as I am (which is tall); significantly, um, narrower; snowboards and runs marathons (I'm not sure I could run out of a burning building); and has a voice nearly an octave lower than my baritone. He gave up a career as a software engineer and, starting this semester, is teaching math in the Chicago public schools. He loves it.

He's a good one. Sorry, girls, he's taken. We have some common interests - that's his Canon cradled in his hands.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Water Source

Mill Creek Pumping Station

Where does your water come from? Sometimes people know, sometimes not. We get ours from the Missouri River, I think, not the Mississippi, although this pumping station is along the latter. The levels of both streams are at a near-record low. There's been no talk of this affecting our supply. Hope it stays that way.

The building has a sort of 1930s sci-fi look that I enjoy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hanover Cemetery

Hanover Cemetary 1

We had some spare time before another family event Saturday. We drove to the small town of Hanover, the place where Carolyn's parents lived after they retired from the farm until her mother moved to seniors housing in the much larger town of Marysville.

Son Andy suggested we visit the cemetery - I'd never been. The monuments were uncrowded and there was no sound but the wind in the trees. Every graveyard has its quiet stories of success and tragedy. These photos illustrate some.  

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 Hanover Cemetary 3

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

In The Field

Tom And Hay Bales

Scenes from Friday morning's unsuccessful bird hunt. Tom looks tired and cold although the trek has just begun. The family takes meticulous care of the guns and follows all safety rules carefully. Note how they are all pointed downward in the back seat of Mel's pickup truck. Below, Steve and his well-trained dog, Dakota, scan the horizon. Nothing to be found.


Steve and Dakota

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Claire's Shooting Lesson

Claire's Shooting Lesson 1

A tradition on the Kruse family farm on the day after Thanksgiving is to get out the shotguns. They attempt to hunt for pheasant, quail or whatever other innocent but edible birdies happen by. Yesterday morning there were more game birds on my decorative coffee cup than out in the fields. Some of that tomorrow, maybe.

After the usual enormous buffet lunch, a bunch of us go out to the back fields for trap shooting. This year, son Andy and special friend Claire drove 600 miles / 965 km from Chicago for the weekend. Claire grew up in a town in north central Michigan, about as rural as this area. Despite the environment, she had never fired a gun before yesterday. Not that Andy is steeped in rural lore, but his country cousins have taught him the system.

He provided patient instruction to an eager student. She might have understood it better if Andy had taken his cup out of his mouth. Note the look of concentration on Claire's face. Note the reason in the last picture for him to be very nice to her when they get home. She's ready for the streets of Chicago.

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Claire's Shooting Lesson 3

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Claire's Shooting Lesson 5

Friday, November 23, 2012

After Thanksgiving Dinner In The Country

Keating Street And 11th Road Marysville

We brought Thanksgiving dinner from St. Louis and did final assembly at Carolyn's mother's home. She lives in a new housing development for low income seniors. They are spacious apartments, two to a building, all ground level and accessible. Perfect for Elvira who will be 94 in a few days and can live by herself with some assistance.

So what to do later? No football fans in that place. I got out on the lane through the development a bit after sunset with my camera and tripod. The top picture looks back to the through road and has some wild spectral highlights from the street lamp just out of the picture. That's the entrance to Elvira's unit below, with a clear night, a waxing moon and some wacky color imbalance. Last, looking toward the edge of town from the end of the lane. That's the same water tower we saw a year ago through a longer lens

This morning is the annual not-at-all-serious pheasant hunt out in the farm fields. The running joke is that the Kruse guys all carry shotguns but I bring a Canon.

Keating Street Marysville

Marysville Water Tower Night 2

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Everything's Still Up To Date In Kansas City

Kaufman Center Kansas City 2012-11-21 1

We spent last night in Kansas City, Missouri, on the way to Carolyn's mother's home in Marysville, Kansas. Superb dinner at the Webster House restaurant, which we found on Zagat. It's in a schoolhouse built in 1885 and is full of old fashioned charm. There's a brilliant hand at work in the kitchen and some strange, lonely putti around the outside.

The restaurant is adjacent to the Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts, which was seen on these pages just last month. It may be even more spectacular at night than during the day. There were no performances and the surrounding streets were dead empty.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends. On to Marysville today.

Kaufman Center Kansas City 2012-11-21 2

Webster House Restaurant Kansas City

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


2012-11-10 Powell Hall 11

Just a quickie - working too late, have to pack for the weekend, etc. etc. We're going to Kansas City today and on to Marysville, Kansas, tomorrow. Carolyn's mother's birthday is right around our Thanksgiving holiday and she'll be 94 in a few days. We need to show up.

The first two pictures are in the men's locker room backstage at Powell Hall. The other two are of the orchestra members' lounge. The men (and it's about 50-50 men and women these days) share 2 or 3 to a locker. There seems to be a bit of attitude. Notice the "No Practice Zone" sign in the third picture. The last pic is part of the musicians' coffee/tea cup nook. The first space, "D Halen", the concertmaster David Halen, is empty. One or two have dry tea bags hanging off the side. Also note the  pretzels in Row 2, Column 1.

May or may not be a post tomorrow on our country's Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe I'll find something in KC tonight. Maybe something will go up in the morning my time, instead of the usual midnight.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inside The Hall

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The auditorium of Powell Symphony Hall tells you that you are in an important place. Our orchestra is in the top tier in the United States, up there with New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. The feel is traditional, but then a lot of what is heard is the work of what Peter Schickele calls decomposers. The SLSO's music director, David Robertson, makes sure that the work of the 21st and late 20th Centuries is well represented. (Geez, The Rite of Spring is 99 years old. Get with it already.)

The colors of the hall are red, cream and gold. The music has even more hues.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Powell Symphony Hall

2012-11-10 Powell Hall 1

A couple of weeks ago the St. Louis Symphony held an event for subscribers (which we've been for 35 years). You could tour Powell Hall with a docent, front and back of the house, learning its history and secrets. Cameras were welcome.

This is the grand hall between the auditorium and the street. It was patterned on the chapel in Versailles. Not identical - it lacks the grand paintings - but our colleague Cieldequimper may recognize the pattern of columns and balconies. 

We will visit the auditorium tomorrow.

BTW, we attended yesterday afternoon's performance, featuring Ukranian-Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman playing the Tchaikovsky concerto. Holy bleep! I would never imagine that human fingers could move so fast. Brilliant.

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2012-11-10 Powell Hall 2

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mulholland Drive

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A mountain ridge runs between central Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Mulholland Drive winds along the crest. People around the world know it for the movie of the same name.

It seemed to me there was some famous overlook where you could see the lights of the LA grid as the sun set, but where was it? The first place I pulled into turned out to be the biggest dog park I'd ever seen, a mountainside of mutts. Eventually I found Runyon Canyon Park. You could walk down paths from the road to several viewpoints and eventually a path leading all the way down to the valley floor. There were views of downtown (LA has one but the city is so polycentric you would never know) and the famous Hollywood sign.

And so we bid good night and farewell to Los Angeles. We'll be back one day. For now - briefly - home to The Lou and photos of our magnificent symphony hall. Then we're on to Kansas City Wednesday and Marysville, Kansas, for the Thanksgiving holiday. Seems like I'm hardly ever home.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

La Mode

LA 2012-11-11 31 (Beverly Hills)

A walk down Rodeo Drive is a sociology field trip. These stores attempt to dictate the right way to look to women with more money than sense, then let it trickle down to the rest of the population. It goes without saying that the mannequins look skinny to the point of ill health, but I noticed a twist last weekend. A lot of them were bald, or almost so. How do you parse that? Madam, if you are not sufficiently skeletal, perhaps a few rounds of chemotherapy would do the trick. Sheesh.

TOMORROW: let's take a ride up to Mulholland Drive at sunset before we leave LA.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Wretched Excess

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Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California. This may have been the place where the saying about a fool and his money was coined.  It was quiet on a Sunday afternoon. Every manner of conspicuous consumption was at hand but they were not well patronized. Must be the economy.

As I walked along Rodeo I passed two men on a corner who might have been homeless. They had a small table in front of them. A rabbit - I'm pretty sure it was a real, live one - sat still on the table, upright on its haunches, wearing a little vest, still as could be. It would have been a great picture but I don't like to pay for them and I was sure it would be expected. I kept going.

As I waited for the traffic light a young man came up beside me. So slim, so very fashionably dressed, such perfectly sculpted artificially blond hair. He carried a shopping bag from Barney's New York, an expensive men's clothing store. He turned my way and said "they're asking for $15 to help feed the rabbit and then $10 for themselves. Hmmmppphh." I nodded knowingly. His expression made it clear that he was sure I understood. But then why not ask those kind of prices on Rodeo Drive?

Above, the Louis Vuitton store. Note the statue, whose angles and proportions aren't quite right. Look closely and you can see that it's not a solid casting but made up of blocks. But mannequins are a foundation of Rodeo Drive. Interpret it as you like.

Below, Bulgari and Gucci. The jewelry store insists on using the letter V in the second place, rather than U. It's based on Latin, which used this letter for both sounds. A group of common folk waited outside Gucci, perhaps hoping for alms from the rich shoppers.

It was too late for breakfast at Tiffany's but you could have a late lunch there. I didn't look at the menu. I didn't want to know.

Chanel, of course, sells clothing as well as its famous perfume. I wondered what the largest size dress they carried might be.

I saw three Maseratis just parked along the street in less than an hour's walk in the area. There may not be three Maseratis in all of metropolitan St. Louis.

NOTE ON YESTERDAY'S POST: for those who asked, I'm almost certain that the Marilyn Monroe figure was a statue. The reference is to stars leaving their hand prints in wet cement on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Note the way the platform is shaped, with a cutout to MM's left for a tourist to slide into for pictures.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seen On Hollywood Boulevard

LA 2011-11-11 27 (Marilyn and Friend)

Images from Hollywood Boulevard in the two blocks immediately east and west of Highland Avenue. They are self-explanatory.

By the way, all these LA pictures were taken with the little Olympus Micro Four-Thirds camera I picked up last summer. It is only kind of camera that my teacher in Maine last summer uses these days. Very small, light, inconspicuous on the street but terrific quality. Perfect for old joints that travel.

TOMORROW: on to Beverly Hills.

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