Thursday, January 31, 2019


From the Loop Ice Carnival. There were many ice sculptures up and down Delmar Boulevard, several of them about alcoholic beverages.

Of course, the bottle itself it ice. Is a super frozen shot of vodka what you need to warm up in our recent frigid weather? I've read that drinking alcohol is a really bad idea in the cold. It causes the blood vessels around your skin and muscles to dilate, radiating heat away from your body.     

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ice In The Missisippi

Phone cam shot taken from my office window a few minutes ago. We usually see a little ice in the river during the winter but not like this. The low here overnight was -4 F / -20 C. Up in Chicago, it was -25 F / - 32 C. It's not that far, about 300 miles or 482 km northeast.

We expect spring-like weather for the weekend.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


One of the vendors in Soulard Market, ready to pour you some of the awful (IMHO) products of Anheuser Busch Inbev, while grilling hot dogs or sausages behind. Anheuser Busch used to own this town until it got sucked into the Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate Inbev. Budweiser was everywhere, even all over the world. The first advertising sign I saw in Tibet at a little airport restaurant was for Bud. The sign was in English, Tibetan and Chinese. The picture of the can said Anheuser Busch, St. Louis, Missouri.

I'm not fond of Budweiser. I'm sipping a Cotes du Rhone as I write this.        

Monday, January 28, 2019

Madeleine Monday

A donkey and two goats eating right out of her hand. No fear at all. She's been to Mrs. C's family farm many times since she was tiny. I don't think I'd want those tongues licking my hand. When I was tiny my parents took me to, um, Central Park.

This kid has quite an imagination. Sometimes when we are in the living room she will run in circles around the coffee table, claiming that she is being chased by dragons. Mom has to scoop them up and pretend to save her. She started it yesterday. After dragons, she claimed she was being chased by ghosts, spiders, snakes and I don't know what. Then she announced that she was being chased by snails. "That's no problem," Emily, her mother said. "Snails are really slow." "But they're on roller skates," she shot back, continuing her race.       

Sunday, January 27, 2019


We have an old farmers market south of downtown, Soulard Market. Haven't been there in a while. They had a pre Mardi Gras event for children yesterday. Ellie liked it a lot more than the adults.

There were few vendors at the outdoor stalls in January but the inside area was busy. The prices are reasonable but it can be tiring. You can only eat so much sausage.         

Saturday, January 26, 2019

It Must Be A Camel

I was out of material. This is not a town like Paris, Vienna or New York where you can just walk out your door and get something interesting. But, since we just had penguin wanna-be's strolling Delmar Boulevard, it's reasonable to have a desert schooner prowling Soulard. What? Ask Frank.        

Thursday, January 24, 2019

How It Starts

I've wondered how ice sculptors begin to extract an image from a plain block. Minutes before this was taken, one of the men did a tracing of a cardboard template onto the ice. Hard to imagine how they can execute the design freehand and get it exact.

I wanted to get in closer but I could not get around the person in the left foreground. Don't know why she was shooting phone video. She was carrying a Canon 5D Mark IV (US$ 3,300) with an expensive, high-end L series lens. (I'm ex-Canon.) It can take fabulous video.         

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Clang Clang Clang Went The Trolley

That song, as everyone knows (or should have known, as we say in legalese) is from the movie Meet Me In St. Louis. There used to be trolleys, or street cars, all over town. They went away, some of us think, in part due to the automobile manufactures who aided in creating highways that led to some of the worst suburban sprawl in the country.

But now we have one line again. Sort of. The Loop Trolley was meant to connect the west end of the Delmar Loop in University City to the Missouri History Museum, a mile or more into St. Louis itself. It's just now creeping into service, years late and and way over budget. It tried to begin running this month but one of them was hit by a car. Or hit a parked car. It's a little vague. Then the second one had electrical problems. So the first one was back in service this weekend, creeping up and down Delmar Boulevard. The retro cars are cute but we don't want to be marketing this to tourists just yet.          

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Hail, Hail Rock n' Roll

The statue of St. Louisan Chuck Berry along the Delmar Loop. He doesn't care how cold it is. He keeps rockin' day and night, every day of the year. Note how carefully made the work is, with all the weight perfectly balanced on one forefoot.

The statue is across the street from the locally renowned Blueberry Hill. It is a restaurant, bar and music venue. Downstairs there is a performance space named the Duck Room, named after Berry's signature walk. He played there a lot. I am casually acquainted with the sculptor, Harry Webber, who got me into the place after the dedication of the statue. That's when I got this picture.       

Monday, January 21, 2019

Madeleine Monday

The adults got cold quickly on Delmar Boulevard Saturday. There are restaurants up and down the strip so we went into the nearest one, Blue Box Pizza. (They sent home our leftovers in a white box.) 

A local soft drink company called Fitz's makes unique, delicious root beer and cream soda. Their bottling plant and restaurant was across the street and Blue Box sold the the products. Ellie had never tasted cream soda before and was surprised by how bubbly it was. The rest went down easily.           

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sure, We Have People Dressed Like Penguins Walking Down The Street All The Time

The commander of our ship, Ellie, insisted we get out to the Loop Ice Carnival despite the cold and high winds. It takes place on a section of Delmar Boulevard straddling the line between St. Louis proper and the inner suburb of University City (named for adjacent Washington University). We call it The Loop because it is where trolleys used to turn around to go back into the city. It's pretty hip, at least by our standards.

I'm not sure what these two were all about, other than being a photo op. They had some brochures with a map and list of events.  If someone paid you to walk up and down in a penguin costume would you do it? Would ya?      

Saturday, January 19, 2019


The bare trees seem to be standing watch over the pavilion in a pond in Forest Park. Much of the snow is gone by now, with temperatures just over freezing. Today, though, we expect falling temps, a little more snow and high winds. Not the best day to go out shooting but I'm out of material.             

Friday, January 18, 2019

Now That's Desperate

A sign of despair, seen while stopped at a traffic light in my neighborhood.          

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Grove, Black and White

We've visited my favorite park in STL before, Tower Grove on the south side. It was laid out in the 19th Century on the model of an English walking park. Unlike its more famous and much larger cousin, Forest Park, it is quiet, even intimate. There is a central east-west road which, at this point, splits into an oval. It has a tall stand of trees with the same split down the middle, maintaining the view from end to end.          

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Semi Frozen

An artificial stream in Forest Park with a tiny waterfall and some ducks sitting on the edge. Cold enough to freeze the quiet water but not what is gently moving.           

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

THE Place For Sledding In The Lou

There are lots of hills around town where kids can sled but there is just one classic venue. Art Hill is the long slope between the art museum and the Grand Lagoon in Forest Park, an artificial body of water that stretches a long way from the base. You would have to know it's there to see it but there is a line of hay bales at the bottom to keep speeding sledders from plopping into the freezing water.

It was very busy last weekend. Bare spots were starting to appear.          

Monday, January 14, 2019

Madeleine Monday

The kid has no fear of cold (not that it gets bitter cold around here). What she did object to was dragging the sled back uphill by herself. Daughter Emily didn't own a pair of snow boots and wasn't about to trip downhill in her street boots with 2 inch heels. So, it was declared to be hot chocolate time.

Yesterday morning she and her mom built a snowman in front of our house. I think that's a baby carrot for the nose. Nothing handy for a mouth but her old broken sunglasses were an inspired addition. 


Sunday, January 13, 2019

We're Not Used To This

Okay, no sniggers from northerners. I've been lazy about posting lately but this is what has been going on around us. We don't get a lot of snow most winters. This weekend has been an exception.

It's unusual for me to get a shot from the passenger seat of a car. I had to have my neck magnetically resonated on Friday. It's messed up enough that they had to give me some narcs to be able to lie flat for 20 minutes and I was not allowed to drive myself home. Mrs. C did the honors. This shot is from mid-afternoon Friday. I'm writing this mid-day Sunday and there is still a little bit falling. The Lou panics when it snows. It took us an hour to get home from the Washington University Medical Center, a drive that would be fifteen minutes off rush hour.           

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Drill, Baby, Drill

I always admire the craft of ice sculptors. We see them working freehand with precision. Do they have some kind of template when they start the process? Where do you get an ice template? 

About out of material so may have to go archive diving. We are expecting a fair amount of snow from Friday afternoon into Saturday and that should provide plenty.  I may not like it so much but Ellie will.        

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Piasa Bird

Just upstream from the center of Alton, Illinois, there is a limestone bluff with the image of a fearsome creature. It is known as the Piasa Bird (pronounced PIE-a-saw). Its history and meaning is too long to set out here but if you are interested click this link.         

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

After Elvis Left The Building . . .

. . . in Las Vegas, presumably, it appears he ended up at a bar and restaurant in Grafton, Illinois. It's a nice little river town with some marine services and attractions for people driving on the Great River Road along the Mississippi. You quickly notice that most of the buildings below the bluff are built on pillars. The river sometimes floods big time.

We were looking for a lunch place with something Ellie would eat. (Classic chicken nuggets and fries were fine.) You walk up stairs from the parking lot and are greeted by the host.  He neither expects or accepts tips.           

Monday, January 7, 2019

It's The Itchy and Scratchy Show

Does anyone remember the Itchy and Scratchy segment on The Simpsons? They were the extremely violent cat and mouse (mostly the mouse) cartoon characters whose bloody antics made Bart and Lisa howl with laughter. Lots of us laughed along, ashamed of ourselves.

One demonstration at the eagle festival featured carving wooden sculpture with chainsaws. The sculptors called themselves Itchy Brothers Chainsaw Art. The odd name MUST be a reference to Itchy and Scratchy. This wooden eagle has amazing detail. But, unlike the cartoon characters, these guys were very conscious of safety. They were enclosed in a wire dome to keep chips from flying out. That's why the picture is a bit fuzzy.      

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Only &@*&# Eagle We Could Find

There is a flyway along the Mississippi River for bald eagles, running from Minnesota to Louisiana.  From late December to early March, they hang out a bit upstream from STL, around Alton, Illinois, (birthplace of Miles Davis) and then further up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. We went a long way up and down the river and didn't see any except this semi-domesticated one in the Alton Visitor's Center. The bird was named Liberty, apt enough for current American culture.

Sorry for no post yesterday, I've been dragging. I've hardly been able to talk for more than a week, Since Tuesday I've had a deep, mid-chest cough hacking up mucus. I thought I had bronchitis and it would go away. Carolyn Crowe, RN, my personal guardian angel, reminded me that at my age it could be pneumonia and I should get checked. "But it's your body," she concluded. I have to take such statements seriously. If I didn't and something bad happened, she  would have to clean up the mess.

So I went to what in this country we call an urgent care office. Son of a gun, I do have pneumonia. They prescribed an antibiotic, an expectorant and an asthma-style inhaler. As the prez says, we'll see.               

Friday, January 4, 2019

Chilled Art

The art museum through bare winter trees on a damp, chilly day. The cold might have begun to affect my vision. The artworks were safe in the climate-controlled interior. Wonder what they did to protect them when the museum was built more than a century ago.    

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Who Knew?

I certainly didn't. This a new banner. I don't know if it refers to this particular building or the city. Lots of old commercial structures around downtown have been converted to loft apartments but not this one. It's mostly vacant.

Still, The Lou is a hotbed of chess. The recent challenger for the world championship is from here. The St. Louis Chess Club, located in a pretty tony neighborhood, houses the world chess hall of fame.

Late post today. I've had a really bad cold. Good excuse to sneak out early.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New House of Representatives Takes Office Tomorrow

Go get 'em. The information is out there. As Bob Dylan said, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

This t rex has been a fixture in Forest Park for years. Time to let it loose.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Photos of the Year

It's time to review our year's work and pick a favorite. Being greedy, I can't limit myself to just one. There could be lots more but these are my besties. People notice that I shy away from pretty pictures. There are some in my portfolio but what interests me is the ironic, the street, the theater and personalities. So...


Night walk in a forest near Monteverde, Costa Rica. How the guide found this tiny lizard I cannot say. Lit by only a flashlight.

A scene from a play called Pain during the St. Louis Fringe Festival . Actually, this is my favorite but I thought it would put people off if I placed it first.


Fourth of July fireworks at the Arch.


Utter concentration while building a Lego tower. At the Magic House, our area's children's science museum.


Autumn in Forest Park. Okay, I guess this qualifies as a pretty picture.


First published just a few fays ago.


The irrepressible Lola van Ella at the St. Louis Fringe's fundraiser Act Your Pants Off.


Specials at Ricky's Cafe, Hanover, Kansas.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, taken from the north shore of the bay.

Part of The  Heidelberg Project, Detroit. Look it up!

A happy new year and good shooting to all our City Daily Photo colleagues. Take a look at of our members' best work here. It's starting to go up.