Saturday, April 30, 2016

Send In The . . .

I could make so many terrible jokes about this - think about our election for starters - but they would make everyone groan. So, gentle reader, I will leave the pleasure to you. Leave suggestions in comments.                         

Friday, April 29, 2016

National Emblem

All Americans know that the magnificent bald eagle is a national emblem. A few of us know that it just barely won the contest. The much-respected Benjamin Franklin argued that our national bird should be the turkey. It's a good thing he lost the debate. Images of turkeys would be much less impressive on warplanes and tanks.                     

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Watch The Beak

Another specimen brought out by the folks at the World Bird Sanctuary. I have only a basic idea of what vultures do for a living but we can assume that the beak is built for tearing flesh apart. Better to stay well away, IMHO.                  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dumpster Diver

The same raven later in the day. Scroll down to understand its task. It not only snatches dollar bills but recycles aluminum as well.                

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Raven Works For Tips

There is a remarkable World Bird Sanctuary on the outskirts of our area. They always bring some flying wonders to Earth Day. Here we have a species of raven that is trained to take money from people's hands and drop it in the donation box. It does not get a percentage of the take. Pretty cool.

It can also fly around a larger area, take aluminum cans from people and drop them in a recycling bin. We'll get to that.   

Monday, April 25, 2016

If You Say So

We went to the Earth Day festival in Forest Park. It wasn't so great. It gets more and more crowded and commercial. All of the exhibitors are trying to sell or promote something. The entertainment, at least what we saw, ranged from tame to lame. There was, however, one very cool show by the Wild Bird Sanctuary outside of town, which we will get to.

Sorting your trash and recycling whatever possible is a very good thing to do, but if you think it's fun your life needs an upgrade.               

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Le Roi Au Printemps

Life gets too overloaded and some days it's hard to think of something to shoot and post. But on as gorgeous a spring day as we had yesterday I can always go out to Art Hill and the art museum and take pictures of Louis. I can hardly remember seeing the park so crowded. There must have been 12 or 15 or who knows how many wedding parties taking pictures around the Grand Basin. A happy life to them.

The Earth Day festival takes place in the park today, a photographer's banquet.     

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Score

The baseball stadium got a big upgrade in its electronic display boards during the off season. Now they approach the quality of a high definition television, at least from a distance. The section here shows the scores and other information about other games played on the day we attended. I'm sure it's baffling to people who don't know the sport. (E.g., Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox, Boston leading 4 to 1 in the bottom of the third inning, two outs and no one on base for Boston. Holt hitting, Dickey pitching. Five hits for Boston, one for Toronto. Neither team has committed an error. Q.E.D.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Buddha Says...

Eightfold or otherwise.. From the butterfly house. Butterflies don't have a path.               

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sort Of The Thursday Arch Series, Plus What's Good For Your Tummy

Thursday Arch photos have been few and far between since the grounds remain torn up during the renovations. This picture was taken from the parapets of the baseball stadium, looking northeast. The cylindrical buildings were a hotel. The taller one was built 40-something years ago.  It became dated, there was no money for major improvements and it closed. Now it's another vacant building in downtown St. Louis.

The building in the foreground is the only working factory downtown. It makes Tums, the popular antacid tablet. So if you eat too much nasty ballpark food, you can just walk across the street and see if they have any free samples.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

High Contrast

One of the butterflies hanging out on a leaf. Fun with Photoshop. It's been a long day.                 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Blue Morpho

There is a large butterfly house, something like a three-story greenhouse, in a park in the nether suburbs. I had never been there. We decided to take Madeleine for a visit on Sunday.

I've visited butterfly enclosures before in the US and particularly in Costa Rica but never before have I seen such a density of the winged bugs. It was a warm, sunny day and they were very active. This blue morpho took a break on the reinforced glass wall.        

Monday, April 18, 2016

Madeleine Monday

We seem to be over the grab-the-camera-and-look-at-myself phase for the moment. So, whether she is accepting the essential oneness of all things, out on an adventure or just being a tired little girl late in the game, Madeleine returns to these pages.                 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Civic Pride

Everyone needs something to feed their self-esteem. We're sort of a third-rank (third-rate?) city so the generally successful baseball team gives us a boost.

I've been to a few World Series games here but the first one I attended was the one on that column for 1964. I was 14 and a rabid Yankees fan. Don't know how he did it but my father scored a couple of tickets to a game of the New York - St. Louis championship contest. The Cardinals won the game and I was bitterly disappointed. Little did I know...                   

Saturday, April 16, 2016

It's That Time Of Year

It's opening week of the St. Louis Cardinals' baseball season. Mrs. C, Emily, Madeleine and I attended last night, watching the local heroes drub Cincinnati 14-3.

Madeleine stayed relatively still! There wasn't much room to wiggle in the crowd and maybe she is growing out of that grab-the-camera-and-look-at-me phase. In the third picture, the Cincinnati center fielder unsuccessfully tries to grab one of the Cardinals' many home runs.             

Friday, April 15, 2016

Evening On The Street

On the street in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago as night falls. 

The family is going to the Cardinals game tonight so I'll get some new local material.                       

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Couple At The Next Table

The Couple At The Next Table 2

The scene: Longman & Eagle, a very hip bar and restaurant with a mini hotel upstairs (where I was staying) in Logan Square, Chicago. My son and I were at dinner. A couple sat down next to us who were, let's say, attention getting.

Now, I can talk to just about anyone who is receptive. I made a comment about how cool the man's tattoo was. (Actually, I hate tattoos but that attitude wouldn't open any doors.) He was friendly and open to having me take some pictures of his hand. I offered to send him photos and gave him my card. (That's another pick-up line for photographers. Almost no one gets back to you.) Then there was his date, who must have had modeling experience. She sure knew how to pose.                   

The Couple At The Next Table 1

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Night On The L

Most but not all of Chicago's train system is above ground on steel structures running above the streets. Some of it is underground but people generally call the whole thing the L, for elevated.

People can get worn out by big city life and may drift off on their journey homeward. Some may stay alert, hunched up against a chilly evening like son Andy.

I apologize for leaving no comments for so long. Work is leaving me very little spare time. There is a particular reason that doesn't bear repeating. It will continue for a while longer, then ease off. Haven't forgotten you and your work.           

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Audrey Monday

I used to have a lot of Madeleine Mondays but it is now impossible to take her picture if she is aware of it. She will pull the camera away and demand to see herself on the LED screen. Which, of course, doesn't work because I cannot get any pictures taken. Kid, it's a lose-lose situation.

But I did get to spend some time with my younger granddaughter, Audrey Crowe, in Grand Rapids on Saturday. We didn't get to see her much in Chicago and it will be harder still when the family moves to small-town Michigan. She's seven months old and pretty cute, even on a bad hair day, while she pulls the world into focus.       

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April Is The Cruelest Month

I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, yesterday. Why, you might ask? Well, as mentioned Friday, my son Andy and his family are moving in stages to Clare, Michigan, where his wife grew up. Claire and baby Audrey are already there (more about them soon), living with her parents. Andy has to finish the school year teaching in Chicago. So we drove three hours to Grand Rapids, which I knew nothing about, a surprisingly large and pleasant (and cold) town. Claire and Audrey had an hour and three-quarters drive. We spent last night in a house on Lake Michigan owned by the family of a friend of my son, about half way and empty this weekend.

Grand Rapids has this amazing place, the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which I would recommend to anyone. Problem is, they are still getting some snow up here (Andy's car was covered with it in Chicago yesterday morning), resulting in scenes like this. Elliott was a sourpuss but maybe he was right.                    

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Chicago Bar

A Bar In ChIcago 1

The number of bars in America is dwindling. Places that serve alcohol and a minimum of food, someplace to meet your friends and unwind, or to hang out alone but not, nursing your depression. There were lots in NYC when I was growing up but not so much now. However, the institution lives on in Chicago.

This is Swig, someplace in the Wicker Park neighborhood my son took me to before dinner. There was a TV with closed captions, best thing to look at in the establishment.                           
A Bar In ChIcago 2A Bar In Chicago 3

A Bar In Chicago 4

A Bar In Chicago 5

A Bar In Chicago 6