Thursday, March 31, 2016


The floral arrangers were apparently given a room in the art museum and told to design something that complemented its surroundings. Not blend in, I assume. That wouldn't be any fun. I think the bottom one is clever.

Sorry I didn't get any comments written yesterday. Out at an event last night with the family, then had to go grocery shopping, then prepare this post. And then my eyes closed. 

I believe tomorrow is CDP theme day. Got an idea.                          

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Over The Shoulder

A self portrait of Max Beckmann glowers over a bursting vase. He taught at Washington University later in life and our art museum has the largest single collection of his work. There is a large room full of his paintings, which can be overpowering. The painting in the second shot is Portrait Of A Woman by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, a painter I know nothing about.          

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Art In Bloom

I'm sure I'll come back to shots made with the digital Holga soon but now it's time for a change of theme. A couple of weekends ago our art museum ran its Art In Bloom show, with elaborate floral displays among the galleries designed to reflect their surroundings. This one was my favorite but there are others.        

Monday, March 28, 2016


Urban, infant or otherwise. Shot with the Digital Holga on Olive Street in Midtown. No idea how it made the distortion on the wheels but I like it.                             

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Bunny

Didn't get to the garden yesterday. So, to have anything like an  Easter bunny theme, I had to resort to one of Tom Claasen's rabbits in Citygarden.

Not your typical bunny picture.  This was the first time playing with the new Digital Holga, just delivered on Friday. It's small, very light and really just a photographic toy. I was a little disappointed because the images were not as messy and unpredictable as the original film Holga. The vignetting is a bit hard and unnatural. The center is quite clear but sometimes you get some interesting spherical warping. A dash of Photoshop and a spritz of On 1 photo effects make the look perfect.

There's an album I started on Flickr with these. Probably try some more today.                      

Saturday, March 26, 2016

MiG 29

At least that's what I think it is. A moment before I took this shot the plane was flatter to the camera and you could see the Soviet star on the tail. The MiG 29 is a Russian jet fighter that has been sold to many other countries. Taken in the Public Media Commons, the plaza between our public radio and television stations. 

Hey, I found a pic on Public Media Commons' web site that includes me shooting Alarm Will Sound at their performance of John Luther Adams' Ten Thousand Birds. Find the Bob.            

Friday, March 25, 2016


I got a number of good shots during the botanical garden's spring snow. The topic will eventually become tedious but I like this one.

We are thinking of taking Madeleine to the garden on Saturday, when it is expected to be warmer. Some of you may have noticed that there have not been any pictures of her for a while. The child has become impossible to photograph indoors. She is 31 months old and is fascinated with her own image. She knows that when we take her picture it appears on the back of the camera and demands to see it. She can't type, of course, but knows the basic operations of iPhones and iPads, and can easily turn on videos we made of her. She loves to bang on our piano (and can find middle C on request), leading to demands to see "me piano!" on the screens. The only way I'm going to get anything new is to take her outdoors and hide in the bushes.                          

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Queen Of The Underworld

First Day of Spring 2016 9

Technical difficulties. The friendly American Telephone and Telegraph Company - ATT - managed to disconnect all Internet, television and phone service to my home on Wednesday. We have to wait for a technician to come this evening. I've been trying to persuade Mrs. C to let me drop their cable TV service altogether since we watch it so little and the price is so outrageous. At the moment, I can only get Internet service using my mobile phone as a hot spot and it ain't real fast.

Persephone, as all you classicists know, was the queen of the underworld and wife of Hades in Greek mythology. But, because she was allowed to return to earth in the spring and went back down below in the fall, she was also the goddess of plant fertility and, along with her mother Demeter, of agriculture. I guess that's why her statue has this prime spot in our botanical garden. It is a beautiful art nouveau-ish work seen on these pages before.                  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Au Printemps

First Day of Spring 2016 4

A bit more spring snow at the Missouri Botanical Garden. If you visit our area (which no one ever does) it's a don't miss. These photos were all taken around the elaborate Japanese garden.                         

First Day of Spring 2016 3

First Day of Spring 2016 2

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

STL DPB's Ninth Anniversary

Today is this blog's ninth anniversary. This is the 3,274th post, one just about every day I've had an Internet connection. Images from all over St. Louis; from New York, Chicago, L.A., Phoenix, Denver, Anchorage and Birmingham; from Paris, Buenos Aires, London, Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai, Kathmandu, Tamarindo and Lhasa; from Mt. Rainier, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Fuji and Mt. Everest.

Sometimes I think of all the books I could have read, the movies I could have seen (pretty close to none in recent years), the letters I could have written and the recipes I could have learned. So, why? 

There have been some great benefits. I have been bit burned out with my work for a long time. Looking for a creative outlet that I could do reasonably well. This is it, I suppose. And all the people I've met on the streets of St. Louis, the ordinary, the weird and the special. All the things I've learned about my adopted city. And all of you, my CDP colleagues, with whom I've exchanged ideas and techniques, and the several of you I have met. How else could I have experienced barbecue in Birmingham, two or three hour lunches on an island in the Seine and a terrace in Provence, and dinner in Shanghai with someone who knew what to order? It has been worth it. It has broadened my horizons in so many ways.

The pictures today are little pebbles of the number on our streets: the intersection of 9th and Market Streets downtown, and Channel 9, the public television station.

Who knows how much longer.                 

Monday, March 21, 2016

First Day of Spring

It got cold Saturday and there was some snow Sunday morning, the first day of spring. That's one of the rare things that could get me out early on a Sunday morning and down to the botanical garden, where the cherry blossoms and other flowering trees were popping. Worth the effort.

There are some more of these to post but tomorrow is a special event.                  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

St. Louis, Eh?

The quintessential Canadian coffee shop chain, Tim Horton's, is expanding all over the United States and it is popping up in The Lou. It was amusing to see a person wearing a large plastic coffee cup costume working the crowd.

By the way, I heard that while Donald Trump is planning a big wall on our southern border to keep Mexicans out, the Canadians are planning a similar structure on our northern flank to keep us out.                 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Down On The Farm

Well, not exactly. Another group that always shows up at the St. Pat's parade is this fan club for old, small-engine farm tractors. The top one looks like it came out of a steampunk video. Mrs. C remembers Farmall tractors growing up in Kansas. They aren't around any more. Her brother and his wife who run the old family farm have this gigantic New Holland machine.

We may get some snow tomorrow morning and the cherry blossoms are just beginning to pop at the botanical garden.  Hope it works out.                        

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lawnmower Brigade

Yesterday's photo was of the equipment belonging to a member of the Arcola Precision Lawnmower Drill Team. It's a small farm town in Illinois, some distance east of here. They decorate old, beat-up lawnmowers in, shall we say, individualistic style. The team takes them out on Market Street year after year, wheeling and turning in the manner of military close order drill. You have to see it to believe it.                                              

Thursday, March 17, 2016

President O'Bama

St Patrick's Day Parade 2016-03-12 22

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Another photo from last weekend's parade.  There is a reason his name is O'Bama. Need proof? Check this:


I can't really tell what that green thing in his hands is. This is a photograph of a photograph so it's not clear when I zoom in. Could be a squeegee or a toilet plunger. Somebody has to flush that other party.

By the way, this was part of a drill team consisting of broken-down old lawnmowers. They are in the parade every year. I may have another post about their wackiness.                        

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

And There Was Music

St Patrick's Day Parade 2016-03-12 9

No American parade is complete without marching bands. Sometimes they strut their stuff. Sometimes they rest and prepare.

These organizations are good for young people. Without them, how would we have clarinetists ready to play the opening phrase in Rhapsody In Blue?  

TOMORROW: It's St. Patrick's Day for sure! And how does it resonate in Washington?                       

St Patrick's Day Parade 2016-03-12 18

St Patrick's Day Parade 2016-03-12 17

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Law And Order

St Patrick's Day Parade 2016-03-12 4

There are plenty of rowdy people at the St. Patrick's Day parade. The SLPD makes sure it doesn't get out of hand.

Pointless observation: we had quiche for dinner last night because, in American date notation, it was 3 14 16.                                     

St Patrick's Day Parade 2016-03-12 15

St Patrick's Day Parade 2016-03-12 8

Monday, March 14, 2016

Population Density

Big turnout for the parade, even on a gloomy day: at the front, forming up at the rear and on the sidelines.                     

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Gray Day Parade

I shoot it almost every year. The St. Patrick's Day parade is a big deal here, one of the largest in the country (although nothing compares to New York). Of course, we have a population of Irish descendants (including me on my father's side, although the other half comes from my Polska mama) but it's not exceptionally large. However, as I have observed many times in these pages, St. Louis loves an excuse to drink in public.

The main parade is held on the Saturday before the actual date. There is a smaller parade for purists that is always held on March 17, but this is where the throngs turn out. Yesterday was cool with mist turning to drizzle. It made the colors of phosphorescent vests and safety cones pop as the Corvette club passed by.               

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Pavilions Of Tower Grove Park 2

Tower Grove Park Pavilions 6

Late post today. Long, hard day at work, home for dinner and then fell asleep in a living room chair. 

The Cypress South Shelter dates from 1871. Tower Grove Park has an independent board of directors and funding from several sources. It's good that they can maintain these old structures.

Off to shoot our big St. Patrick's Day parade shortly, if the rain holds off.                 

Tower Grove Park Pavilions 4

Tower Grove Park Pavilions 5

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Pavillions Of Tower Grove Park

Tower Grove Park Pavilions 1

Tower Grove Park has eleven (I think) pavilions for the public's use. Families and groups can reserve them for any kind of get together. Many of them were built during the 1870's. They all have different designs.

This is the start of what I hope will be a series of posts about each of them. The Chinese Pavilion is a bit of a fantasy but not all that different from the style we saw years ago at the Summer Palace outside of Beijing.                 

Tower Grove Park Pavilions 2

Tower Grove Park Pavilions 3

Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Favorite Park

Tower Grove Park 2016-03-05 1

If you visit here you will see all kinds of publicity about Forest Park. It's one of the city's gems, site of the 1904 World's Fair, bigger than Central Park in New York and home of the zoo, art museum, history museum and Muni Opera, which stages outdoor performances of Broadway shows through the summer.  But the one I love the most is to the southeast.

Tower Grove Park is still pretty big, 289 acres (1.17 km²), but it is so quiet, so peaceful. No golf courses and rugby games like in Forest Park.  Except for a couple of festivals held there, it's never crowded.  Visitors can walk a mile and a half from one end to the other through the beautiful old trees. If that is too far, you can sit and rest. No trouble finding a seat.           

Tower Grove Park 2016-03-05 4

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Goin' To Kansas City


Amtrak, our national passenger railroad network, runs just a line or two over from the MetroLink platform seen yesterday. It's westbound, so it's going to Kansas City

Amtrak, like our local transit system, leaves something to be desired. We can take it from here to Chicago or Kansas City but it's really slow. The network is better in the northeast between Washington and Boston but that's where population is most concentrated. Amtrak can't hold a candle to the trains in Europe or Japan (Japan's transportation system is incomparable) but we just don't have the population density. Too many big, empty spaces. With air service, why would you want to take a train from, say, here to Denver or San Francisco to Seattle?

How I've loved the TGV and the Shinkansen. But here we drive or fly.                

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In Need Of Direction

Sign From Above

Below the fancy new bus stop seen yesterday, down by the railroad tracks, a family waits for the MetroLink train. The only sign they need will be on the front of the train, stating how far into the Illinois suburbs the next train goes.

Many of us could use a sign. It's just so hard figuring out where to direct yourself on your own.

Our transit system leaves something to be desired. The light rail system is in a squiggly Y shape. We could use several more lines but no one has the will or the money. There are some rush hour commuters but, for the most part, poor people use public transit and everyone else drives. For me to take the system to work, I'd have to drive 10 minutes to a park and ride lot for the train. The whole trip would take two to three times as long as using my car. Mrs. C and I like public transit. I was riding the NY subway alone by 12 and we use transit everywhere in the world we can (the Paris and Tokyo metros are marvels). Just not a very good option here.                           

Monday, March 7, 2016


Grand Boulevard Bus Station 1

STL has had a simple light rail system for a number of years. The tracks were put on existing railroad rights of way when possible to save money. In the city center, they were put on the edge of a big rail yard running under Grand Boulevard, a major north-south artery through the city.

Some time later the city tore down and replaced the viaduct on Grand over the tracks. A fancy bus-rail interchange was built, with the buses upstairs on the bridge. Down below tomorrow.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Salman Rushdie In St. Louis

Salman Rushdie 1

The first of Salman Rushdie's novels to get attention, Midnight's Children, didn't catch me. When it was published in 1981 to enormous acclaim, I had one and five year old children and a growing law practice. When The Satanic Verses was published seven years later, everyone heard about the fatwā calling for Rushdie's death issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran. I bought a copy of the book and was completely sucked in.

By that time I had only a passing acquaintance with magical realism through the work of Gabriel García Márquez. As I started reading The Satanic Verses I was astonished by the victim of a high-altitude airliner bombing floating safely to earth, arriving without a bruise in Ellowen Deeowen. It  took me the longest time to understand that. Sound it out, slowly.

I became a Rushdie fan for life and have read almost all his books. On June 11, our glorious Opera Theatre of St. Louis will present the world premier of a work based on Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown, a tale of love, betrayal and revenge. We've been subscribers for at least 35 years. As an out-of-town newspaper review said a couple of years ago, if you want to see the future of opera, go to St. Louis. Rushdie, the composer Jack Pirla and Opera Theatre's general director Timothy O'Leary discussed the work yesterday at The Sheldon Concert Hall. What an afternoon. Rushdie has gotten older, balder and broader of beam but you couldn't miss the discussion about whether 50 shades of something could be turned into an opera.  

Mrs. C and I will be at opening night.

Salman Rushdie and Jack Perla

Adrienne Davis Salman Rushdie Jack Perla Timothy O'Leary

Saturday, March 5, 2016


 Forest Park 2016-02-27 7

People hanging out in and around the Grand Lagoon in Forest Park on a freakishly warm winter day. The area is so big you can't cover it all in a photo except with an aerial shot (like this). We earthbound photographers have to go for details.                                         

Hey, Salman Rushdie is in town. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is doing a stage version of Shalimar The Clown this spring. He will be speaking about it this afternoon and we have tickets. I'm a big Rushdie fan and I think I've read all his novels, currently on his most recent, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Days (which is to say, a thousand and one nights). Hope they allow photographs.       

 Forest Park 2016-02-27 9

Forest Park 2016-02-27 8