Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Super Rich, Caesar Augustus And Russell Crowe

View Of Monaco 1

On Friday, we went to the Medieval towns of La Turbie and Eze. The former has a Roman ruin called The Trophy of Augustus. The first Roman emperor erected it at the highest point on the coastal road, well visible from the sea, after the conquest of the Alps and Gaul to demonstrate imperial power. You can find out more here. The third picture is a speculation of how the original might have looked. The grounds also have a commanding view of Monaco, one of the rare times we can look down on the super rich.

The fourth photo shows why this department of France is called Alpes-Maritimes. The great mountain range literally plunges into the sea around the French-Italian border.

At dinner last night in Aix, cousin Russell stared down at us us the restaurant of the name on the wall. A bit disconcerting but still a superb meal.                   

Trophy Of Augustus 1

Trophy of Augustine 2

Alpes-Maritimes And The Sea

Dal Gladiatore

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Mirror Of Nice

The Mirror of Nice 2

It's late Saturday afternoon as I write this from our hotel room in Aix-en-Provence. The subject is officially called the Mirror of Water. It's in a park strip by the west end of the Old City in Nice. There is perhaps an inch of water on a large stone platform. From time to time water jets bounce up in interesting patterns. The water outlets may also blow up billows of cloud, like here at sunset. Children love it. It makes for special photos at this time of day.

Tourist tip: don't try to drive in the city proper of Nice back from the sea. Pay through the nose and stay near the Mediterranean where most of the attractions are. Otherwise, take a taxi. I have driven in many old, cramped cities in Europe but never one as confusing and difficult as Nice. Even with a portable navigation system, we constantly made wrong turns. We are glad to be in someplace smaller.

The Mirror of Nice 3

The Mirror of Nice 1

Friday, August 29, 2014

Luncheon In Paradise

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Jimmy Buffet sang of cheeseburgers in paradise. Quelle horreur! On Thursday we had a two and a half hour, three course lunch with a bottle of Provençal rose, a few coffees, a visit from the house cat and many, many photographs. The photo on top is my starter

The venue was Restaurant Beausejour in the mountain hamlet of Gorbio, looking over the town of Menton, The Mediterranean and, unfortunately, the A8 motorway.  We stayed in Menton when we were last in the area two years ago. Our companion was our friend and colleague Jilly Bennett of Menton Daily Photo. One could not imagine such a pleasant afternoon in the U.S. No experience at home can compare. Nous aimons la France.

Many more pictures of Gorbio to edit.                                  

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

In The Market

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Quick post from the outdoor market in the old city of Nice. Just about everything seemed to be local. The old city is a warren of narrow, twisting streets.

We're on our way over to the tiny village of Gorbio this morning to meet our colleague, Jilly, for lunch at the incomparable Restaurant Beausejour. Jilly is the de facto town photographer.          

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sur la Côte d'Azur

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It's been a full if jet-lagged day of walking around the old city in Nice, eating French food (there must be a McDonald's here but I haven't seen it) and trying hard to communicate with the locals. With the additional practice, I think that French has edged out Spanish as my best language that I'm bad at.

Note that the beach here is made of small, smooth rocks, not sand. Everyone brings a roll-up wood slat mat rather than just a towel.

As you can see at the bottom, Mrs. C and I are thinking of you, gentle reader, the whole time we're here.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Nice

Cheap Dinner In Niece

Yep, Nice, France, the end of our trail. You know, famous for salade niçoise, being on the Cote d'Azur and brilliant summer sun, which is nowhere to be found today (as illustrated below).

Tiring trip from St. Louis to Chicago to Paris to Nice. All flights were late, although we didn't miss any connections. Terminal 2 at Charles de Gaulle Airport is a terrible place to get around and stunningly ugly from the outside. (Part of the cavernous Terminal 2F, where we left for Nice, is below. A very nice information lady in 2A, where we came in, said it was five minutes walk away. Try 25, sweetie.) Got hopelessly lost trying to find our hotel from the Nice airport despite having two GPS systems, a Garmin and my iPhone with Google Maps. No energy to go to the city center for dinner tonight so we went to the supermarket around the corner and got sandwiches, fruit and wine.

I spoke to several actual French people today in their native language and some of them understood me. I'm thrilled. Bed in a moment. Tourism tomorrow.                                          

Nice Hillside

CDG Terminal 2F

Monday, August 25, 2014


Wild Child

Today's the big travel day. We won't get to our destination until tomorrow. The town is known for its salad.

So if I have absolutely nothing else to post there are always pictures of Madeleine. These are from last week's parties. Top, flipping up and down with dad and a friend (she thought it was quite amusing). Bottom, with Uncle Andy, who, to my great regret, is wearing a Chicago Cubs hat. Otherwise a good young man.

If I get a post up Tuesday it may not be until the afternoon my time.                                      

Madeleine and Andy  2014-08-21

Friday, August 22, 2014

Half Happy Baby

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A couple of yoga enthusiasts told me that's the name of the pose in the top picture. Madeleine's birthday party, part 1, was held the day after her birthday, due to family comings and goings. There's another today, when her other grandparents come up from Houston. I wish I had joints that moved like that.

Below, Ms. M has had enough yogic activity and decided to become the guest  conductor.              
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Air Salvage

Air Salvage

I've had airplanes on my mind this week (Bardarbunga, too). Didn't have anything to post today but I saw this while driving home from work - two scrapped light aircraft, strapped to a trailer and towed by a pickup truck. New to me! Hoping American Airlines has better equipment.

Shot with my iPhone from the driver's seat. Kids, don't try this at home. Remind your father not to do it, too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Guess who's one year old today? My precious granddaughter, Madeleine, that's who. My son Andy, who knows all about such things, put together this video slide show of my photos documenting her first ride around the sun on this planet.

I may skip a couple of days in the near term, depending on how things go. There are parties, people are coming in from out of town, work has been hell on wheels and Mrs. C and I are trying to prepare for our first extended trip outta here in a while (and I can't wait). If I have to go off the air things will resume next Wednesday, maybe late Tuesday, when we get to our destination. It's going to be very nice.                

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


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If the Cardinals are St. Louis' state religion then the players must be the gods. I was going to title this post Götterdämmerung but then I thought, sheesh, that's just a little too precious. In any event, a beautiful summer evening sky looking toward the Missisippi.              

Monday, August 18, 2014

Did You Care?

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Fun facts about St. Louis on the stadium scoreboard. No one outside of The Lou gives a hoot.                

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Boys Of Summer

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Some of the Cardinals hang out in the dugout before the start of the game. The players' socks and the length of their pants is the only bit of individual expression allowed in the uniform. Adam Wainwright, far right, is one of the great pitchers of the day.

Below, kids scooping up team trinkets. I certainly did it when I was young and my father took me to Yankee Stadium. There is a strong memory of a ballpoint pen in the shape of a little baseball bat with the Yankees' logo. I treasured it. No different today.                        

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Temple

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So, we went to the Cardinals baseball game Thursday night. I've referred to the team as St. Louis' state religion. I stand by that statement.

Major League Baseball has 30 teams in cities as large as New York and as small as Tampa. Attendance varies a lot. When you look at some games on TV you see thousands and thousands of empty seats. We went to a Kansas City Royals game a couple of weeks ago and the place was about half full (and KC is in first place in their division at the moment). 

The Cardinals are having a mediocre year. They're playing a pretty bad team this weekend, San Diego, yet the place was sold out on a Thursday night. I looked up some statistics. At the three-quarters point in the season the team with the highest average attendance is the Los Angeles Dodgers - bigger stadium, much bigger metro area. The Cardinals are second, more than the vaunted New York Yankees. But the most striking stat is the percentage of stadium seats sold per game. The Cards are over 99%. No one else comes close. It's a sacred place in this town. 

Note the image of the Arch mowed into the outfield grass.                      

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Friday, August 15, 2014


We got home too late last night from the Cardinals game to post any of those pix (there are a few good ones) so I'll settle for the east entrance to Tower Grove Park. We've had a great summer for the plant kingdom.           

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday Arch Series

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A pretty dull sky but, hey, you play the hand of cards you are dealt. Citygarden, in the foreground, is wonderfully lush with our relatively mild summer and adequate rain.

We're going to the Cardinals game tonight with a group. First time this season. There's sure to be something colorful.                   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shoes For Industry

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I couldn't help thinking of the classic Firesign Theatre bit while preparing this (click here and scroll down to the sound clip of the same name.) These are the shoes of Pinocchio in Jim Dine's Big White Gloves, Big Four Wheels, above, and the empty pink fashion of Erwin Wurm's Pink Suit. A combination of art and industry in the service of standing.                            

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

And The Living Is Easy

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It's a long way from summer in Citygarden to Catfish Row but everyone seemed relaxed and pleased at one of the fountains in Citygarden the other day. It's wonderful that they let children play in all of the garden's water features rather than shoo them away. In fact, I think this one is designed for kids.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ah, Grasshopper

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I guess it's a grasshopper. I'm not the family naturalist. Where I grew up, we were accustomed to pigeons, squirrels, the odd rat in the shadows of a subway tunnel and not much else.

There was nothing to post, getting kinda burned out on this every-day-for-seven-and-a-half-years blog thing, absolutely no ideas. Went to my office for a while yesterday (typical) and then just drove around downtown. Citygarden looked exceptionally lush so I stopped. Decent find. 

Madeleine Monday

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First birthday pretty soon! This is a cheerful, sociable kid.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Definitions / Dead Bookstore

Fine Arts

Do either of these first two signs have anything to do with the activities of this blog?

Downtown St. Louis is a blend of little victories and defeats. The city's finest independent bookseller, Left Bank Books, opened a branch there a little over five years ago. Ongoing conversion of commercial buildings into apartments and condos was bringing population. The store's rent was subsidized at first but that couldn't last forever. The lease was up this spring and sales didn't support the expenses. They even abandoned the shelving. Another empty storefront downtown.

Pop Culture

Dead Bookstore 1

Dead Bookstore 2