Friday, October 31, 2014


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Orange is not my favorite color. I prefer serene blues or vigorous reds. Orange has always struck me as sort of a decayed red. Since our red and white Cardinals didn't make it quite that far, when I watched the World Series this week I was rooting for the blue and white Kansas City Royals, our cross-state neighbors, over the orange and black San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, the team that dressed like a sooty fire won.

There is one grove of trees in Forest Park that has the best fall color year after year. These pictures were taken there last weekend. The colors have faded since then.   

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday Arch Series

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The gun guys and gals proceeded to the Arch after their rally in Citygarden. The monument and its grounds are a national park. I thought you couldn't bring firearms into a national park without special permission. I was wrong.

Notice the young mother with a toddler in a stroller in the third picture. The mom was packing, as you can see in the last photo. (Nice handle decor. I thought we got past that 150 years ago.) Note also that the child is holding a toy gun, one of those Nerf models that shoots foam plugs. Nice touch.

I'm finished with this.                 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Guns

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The counter-demonstration at the gun rally had a bigger turnout than the pistol packers. Most but not all of them seemed a bit shy. (Would you be shy if you had a semi-automatic rifle slung over your back?) It was interesting, though, that many of the gun owners engaged their opponents in conversation. No one was yelling, although I doubt anyone was converted.

The well-armed crowd had the right to do what they were doing in the great State of Missouri. Whether it was a good idea is another question entirely.               

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gun Violence

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There was an anti-gun counter demonstration in Citygarden on Saturday. More were on that side, seeded with of people from a regional Amnesty International conference going on nearby. Other demonstrors marked the walkways with body outlines of the kind used by investigators at homicide scenes. They represented unarmed people killed by gunfire from police. 

In the last picture, the statue of Pinocchio raises his arms to the sky and asks the gods why.                    

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Pinocchio Asks The Gods Why

Monday, October 27, 2014

Madeleine Monday

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We haven't had moppet Monday for a while, so let's take a break from armaments. My son-in-law is executive chef at a country club and the hours are long, even at this time of the year. Remarkably, he was off on Friday so we babysat, giving him and our daughter a chance for a night out.

Daddy got her this tee shirt and an electronic Halloween toy. She's a wild child.                   

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

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Automatic weapons. On the street. In downtown St. Louis. Do you remember the Beatles' song Happiness Is a Warm Gun, with John Lennon's goat bleat of a voice crying bang bang shoot shoot? We all remember how John Lennon died.

There was a gun rights demonstration yesterday that began in Citygarden, surrounded by art. According to the event's Facebook page (taken down by the time of this writing) the purpose was “to raise awareness of the right to keep and bear arms under the Federal and Missouri State Constitutions.” Children were welcome but, as the FB page put it, "unarmed, of course."

You can carry a concealed weapon in this state if you have a permit. That's so in a lot if not most of America. Apparently you can carry it right out on your hip. And you can openly carry an assault rifle down Market Street.

There was a counter-demonstration. We will see more of this.                

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Usual Stuff For The Season

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We rarely get the spectacular autumns Americans associate with New England or maybe Minnesota and Wisconsin. It's going to be 79F/26C today and that's just not cold enough. These pictures were taken in Forest Park last weekend. Good enough for us.

I decided not to go to the pumpkin drop this morning. It's almost an hour drive from home. The pictures from previous years don't look so great - a couple of World War II military planes  dumping little orange spots. There's more to photograph later in the day. Plus, Mrs. C and I babysat Madeleine last night so our daughter and her husband could get out by themselves. It goes without saying I brought my camera. 

Midday update: the family fact-checker, proofreader and editor has informed me that temperature is not the only factor with the leaves changing color. It's also the declining length of the days. Apparently, when there is less sunlight photosynthesis shuts off. When the green chloroplasts in the leaves are gone the color of the structure of the leaves comes out. Now I know.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

What A Great Gig

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Anyone with an interest in the auditory arts would envy the members of Alarm Will Sound. They get to play all this cool new stuff. They live in New York (you may or may not think that's a plus but, as a native of that city, the idea tugs at me). They hang out with all sorts of cool people and they do a residency in St. Louis every year. But I suppose you have to know how to read music and actually play an instrument, be cool yourself and probably know somebody on the inside. I took violin lessons in Brooklyn for five or six years but was absolutely hopeless, devoid of physical talent. Then I emigrated from New York. I wouldn't qualify.

There are more pix from this event on Flickr here but I think I'll wrap it up on the blog. Don't know what I'll post tomorrow. Saturday has a lot of photo ops, though. In the morning there is an event at an air strip on the edge of the metro area where some people will be dumping pumpkins out of airplanes. How could you pass that up but how could you capture it? In the afternoon there is a parade or demonstration downtown by gun nuts (there, I said it) promoting what's called open carry, wandering around the city with your rifle or sidearm in plain view. Just might have to, ahem, shoot that one. And the evening has the insane annual outdoor Halloween party in the Central West End. It's horrifically crowded but there's so much eye candy.

We'll see. We always see.              

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Concrete Forest

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It occurred to me that walking around during the performance of 10,000 Birds was a bit like a stroll through a forest. The birds move, you move, the wind rustles and the sound constantly changes quality and direction. But the similarity ends there.

The listener hears traditional musical instruments, not birds. The venue is mostly a sleek concrete box. Alarm Will Sound animated the place. If you are interested in wonderful, challenging contemporary music you really should check out their web site. Download or buy CDs of some of their stuff.                       

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Little Night Music

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It's not so unusual to have a music performance outdoors at night. It is different to have one on a cool autumn evening, with most of the audience and all of the performers standing or walking around. This created a fluid auditory experience. What you heard depended on where you were, where you were going, the audience around you and the musicians' wanderings. Add shimmering colored panels and you have entered new territory.                  

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Alarm Will Sound Plays 10,000 Birds

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So after the symphony on Sunday afternoon we got a bite to eat in the Grand Centre district, then walked down to the new Public Media Commons. The contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound gave a performance of John Luther Adams' new work 10,000 Birds. Adams was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music.
The piece has been described as:

based on the songs of birds native to Missouri and the western limit of the eastern hardwood forest, [it] will fully embrace the orchestral range of colors in the instrumentation of Alarm Will Sound. . . Each page in the score will be its own self-contained world that occupies its own physical space and its own time. Each of these pages/places can be performed for an indefinite duration. They can be combined, simultaneously and sequentially, in varied ways.
It was ethereal. The performers carried small digital stopwatches and received cues on their iPhones as they wandered around the plaza. More to come.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

A Musical Offering

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It was a wonderful day for music in The Lou on Sunday. We attended a spectacular concert by the St. Louis Symphony, led by Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. His reading of Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique was like none I have ever heard, played with exceptional clarity and nuance.

Then in the early evening there was another performance in the new Public Media Commons. It's late as I write this so just a teaser image. It wasn't what it looks like.                       

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Artica: A Game Of Croquet

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Everyone knows you don't play croquet using a flamingo for a mallet and a hedgehog for a ball, except Alice and the Queen of Hearts. There was only one fake flamingo hanging around the Artica site. Had there been more they would have been put to good use.

There was a second day of activities planned for last Sunday but it was chilly and drizzly and not many people showed up. Those who attended contributed to a pot-luck brunch. I brought a case of White Castles, which was very well received. The afternoon's main activity was a bizarre game of croquet, played on several physical and probably metaphysical levels. There may have been a winner but it did not go down in the record book.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Remember Michael Brown

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I assume that everyone knows about Michael Brown, the young black man who was shot and killed by a policeman in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. No need for further editorializing from me. The continuing passion was shown by banners inside the Cotton Belt Building last weekend.                            

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The Mural

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There is a project underway to turn the east face of the Cotton Belt Terminal Building into a gigantic mural, easily visible from the new I 70 bridge across the Mississippi. The web page for the project has a remarkable illustration of what it will look like when completed (click it to enlarge).

Design of the project is by Nita Turnage and Hap Phillips. It take a lot of paint to cover those walls. Locals, if you would like to contribute to the effort click here

The bottom picture shows part of the festival entrance gait. It literally has a crossbar with a counterweight to raise it. You could walk right around it but that would violate the spirit of the day.              

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