Monday, November 19, 2018

Madeleine Monday

As mentioned, we took the tyke to the seasonal skating rink in Kiener Plaza on Saturday. There was one under the Arch last year that had a synthetic surface - don't know if this was the same. Ellie didn't care.

I don't know if she will have the chance to really learn to skate. Her mother could do it years ago but seems to have lost the touch. Neither Mrs. C or I can do it at all. So Ellie still uses the double-blade shoes and started off with this sled thing. She ditched the sled after a while and just hung on the rail. She claimed later that she was zooming around. We did not disillusion her.           

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Municipal Tree

The holiday season in St. Louis officially began yesterday with an event in Kiener Plaza. The temporary ice rink opened and we took Ellie down for a spin (more about which tomorrow). The city's Christmas tree was illuminated after dark. The kid thought it was pretty cool.              

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Tucker and Market

A major intersection downtown. Three of the four visible buildings are courthouses.The one on the left with the vertical stripes is the St. Louis University School of Law (me, J.D. 1974). The school was on the main campus three miles west when I was there. A few years ago the university bought a plain, vacant office building and completely rebuilt the interior. Now the law school is near the courthouses.

I think law schools have become a bit of a scam. SLU, a mid-level school, costs $41,000 a year (three year program). Jobs are becoming more scarce and there is a good chance that, in time, artificial intelligence systems will eliminate the need for many of us.         

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Vision Thing

At the end of his years as vice president, George H. W. Bush was planning to run for president. People challenged his ability to see the big picture on issues facing the country. Someone suggested he take a couple of days off to figure out his position. "Oh," Bush scoffed, "the vision thing." The comment stuck with him.

So, another monumental statue at the Soldiers Memorial with a noble but vague theme. Reminds me of the fact that I've worn glasses since second grade.           

Thursday, November 15, 2018


I need to pay more attention to the beautifully restored Soldiers Memorial downtown. It opened 80 years ago as a World War I monument, eventually included later wars, but in time got pretty run down. A group raised $30 million to bring it back to its original state and add additional exhibition space. It was so crowded on re-opening day that I'll have to come back to see it all.

Four of these big sculptures flank the north and south entrances. The word courage is thrown around a lot but sometimes I wonder what it really means. Maybe it's a high tolerance for risk.       

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


People and objects at the Veterans Day parade, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Some readers will recall that Samuel Johnson, author of the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. I suppose there are different kinds of it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Entertainment at the Veterans Day Parade. These guys always show up at our major parades like Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day. They are Shriners, an extension of the Masons. All Shriners are Masons but not all Masons are Shriners (see The order does good work, supporting special hospitals for children throughout the country, even if they are a little, um, off kilter.

Shriners adopt a bunch of Arabic themes - they have not shared the mysterious reasons with me - but wear a fez, which is, of course, not Arabian. (Interesting history at .) They like to clown around. The crowd goes wild, if there is one.  

Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day in the US. Yesterday was the centennial of Armistice Day, when the peace treaty ending World War I was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. (There is a terrific World War I museum in Kansas City, well worth the visit.) 

Most of the participants and pronouns were masculine. Some one remembered that the list of those who served is much broader.        

Sunday, November 11, 2018

About To Start

Tomorrow is Veterans Day in the US. There was a ceremony yesterday at the newly-restored Soldiers Memorial downtown (more about which soon.) Then there was a big if sparsely attended parade. The fire department always hoists this huge flag for such events.

We had a fair sized investment firm here, A. G. Edwards, that got bought out by Wells Fargo a few years ago. They kept that business here. The company brings out its iconic stagecoach for parades. That's the central branch of the St. Louis Public Library in the background, also lovingly restored a few years ago.         

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Wild West of Downtown St. Louis

Explanation to come.        

Too Early

In front of chez Crowe last night. It's not even the middle of November. We have winter, of course, and may get a couple of very cold snaps, but we don't get a lot of snow. A white Christmas is rare. Wasn't quite ready for this.

People in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and New England may stop laughing at me now. However, I had occasion to speak to someone in Maine on the phone a couple of days ago. They hadn't had any yet.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Qu’ils Mangent de la Brioche

More neon art at Laumeier, this one by David Hutson himself. This was hard to me to read at first because what look like R's to me in the second word are actually N's. This is the original French of the famous words attributed to Marie Antoinette, usually rendered in English as "let them eat cake," the words she supposedly spoke after being told that the peasants had no bread.

There are problems with the story. The word brioche doesn't actually mean cake. It is a very rich bread with lots of egg and butter; it would have been as unaffordable to the masses as cake. However, there is no evidence that Marie spoke these words. They have become part of a legend.

Note the unusual bread slicer in the lower right. It resembles Le Rasoir National, a clever compliment to the words.       

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Big Boy

More signs from the neon art exhibit at Laumeier Sculpture Park. I don't  remember these restaurants and signs when I was growing up in the Northeast but I sure do from the time I hit the Midwest. They were sometimes called Bob's Big Boy. No relation but, like this guy, I was a lot heavier back then. (I'm about 70 pounds lighter that at the time of our wedding.)      

This a very old sign. Note the character: cut-away coat, vest and bow tie - formal evening wear. And spats! Now, if only he could do something about his hair and teeth. They give him a baby-like look..                                                                                  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Now All We Need Is Sex And Rock & Roll

More of the neon art exhibit at Laumeier Sculpture Park. I wonder what selection of drugs might be helpful this morning. We won the House but lost our much-admired senator, Claire McCaskill, to a young man who has spent his first two years in political office making a shambles of the Missouri attorney general's office.

At least there won't be any horrible legislation passed by Congress in the next two years.     

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Freezer Fresh

Those are two words I don't expect to see together. If you buy frozen salmon at the supermarket, is it fresh?

This is from the current indoor exhibit at Laumeier Sculpture Park. It is about the restored old neon signs and neon sculpture of David Hutson. I suppose the big sign is about ice cream, although it's hard to be sure. It's certainly not acceptable by today's standards.The small sign in the back is part of Hutson's expression of Claes Oldenburg's artistic philosophy.        

Monday, November 5, 2018

Madeleine Monday

There was an event Saturday evening at Laumeier Sculpture Park called Light The Way. The reference is to the monumental structure at the end of the park's great lawn. It was mostly for children: lawn games, crafts, face painting and so on.

Ellie had a great time. The adults did not. It was cold. The lines at the food and beer trucks were awful. There was a least a half-hour long line for face painting; we were fortunate to talk her out of that.

The kid was happy to pose with  Tony Tasset's Eye. Her Nepalese leopard hat added a certain touch. I didn't know which picture I preferred so I used both. Below, she is enclosed in the arms of Niki de Saint Phalle's Ricardo Cat.  

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Friday, November 2, 2018


We don't always get a colorful fall. Many years it is too warm and dry. Leaves turn brown, drop to the ground and that's it. This year, though, we hit the jackpot.

Still short on new material. After physical therapy this morning at Washington University Medical Center I went by my favorite spot in adjacent Forest Park. Damp day or not, it was ablaze.

There are some good sources of new images this weekend.      

Thursday, November 1, 2018

City Daily Photo Novenber Theme Day - Friend

I have one very best friend, someone who has stood (or in this case, sat) beside me for 44 years, my wife Carolyn. Always kind, always tolerant of my weird edges, and, as recently illustrated, supporting me in sickness and in health. We met in a St. Louis bar on St. Patrick's Day. We come from about as different backgrounds as two Americans could have: a farm in Kansas and an apartment in New York, but the relationship worked.

We share similar values (à gauche). Neither of us is interested in consumerism but we sure love seeing the world together. This picture was taken a few years ago above the Mediterranean in Eze, France. We've walked togetger in Tierra del Fuego and Everest base camp, gone to some of the world's great opera houses and raised two children. Now we dote on two, and soon to be three, grandchildren, including the redoubtable Ellie. 

I couldn't have a better friend.