Tuesday, April 30, 2019


No explanation needed. Seen at a folkloric dance performance at the botanical garden's Chinese Festival.          

Monday, April 29, 2019


There is a show of Chinese acrobats every year at the festival. Usually they are spectacular (see about the first third of the pictures here). This year I think they sent the AA or AAA league team. (American baseball reference. Let me know if you are unfamiliar with this.)  The show didn't raise anyone's blood pressure.
Still. there were some cool visuals. This young man was playing with a couple of those large Chinese yo yos. (I've seen way better displays.) But then he attached a long paper dragon to one end of the string. Not complex but tasty eye candy.        

Sunday, April 28, 2019


If you have ever attended a cooking demonstration you have probably seen one of these angled mirrors over the food prep area. This way the audience can see everything that is going on. 

The annual Chinese Festival was at the Missouri Botanical Garden this weekend. It had rained much of the morning and the grounds were sloppy so Mrs. C and I decided to do something indoors. There was a cooking show in which a Chinese chef prepared a popular dish, kung pao chicken. I had no idea how complex the original, properly prepared fare was compared to the take away you might get at the local Happy Buddha Chinese Buffet. You could line up for a taste at the end but I didn't want to stand that long.          

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Never thought of that but if I want a hole dug I want it done right. I've dug myself into enough holes over the years and made a complete mess of it. Call a professional.

Seen at the City Museum.         

Friday, April 26, 2019


I played a lot of pinball when I was in law school. After all, the only reason I was there was to get credentials that might lead to a paycheck. The tables were so much more seductive than my class on the Uniform Commercial Code. My best friend and I were almost late to our last final exam because we had 23 free games racked up on our favorite machine.

The City Museum has a good collection of old ones. Just out of the frame to the left there is a table called World Series, maybe from the 60s. American fans will instantly recognize the setting as Wrigley Field. How inappropriate for the name.

Meanwhile, Ellie found a small table with 38 year old versions of Pac Man and Space Invaders. They were just demos, not full versions, but she was fascinated. Maybe there is something in the genes.

The reference in the title of this post is, of course, to this.       

Thursday, April 25, 2019


More from the Circus Flora mini-performance at the City Museum. This young man hurled himself backward through what is the middle ring in this shot, hard enough. Then he added the top ring, making the stack taller than he was. He never touched the edge of the ring and deserved an ovation.

Sorry for no post yesterday.Too much work.          

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Under The Little Top


The City Museum contains rehearsal space for Circus Harmony, an organization that trains young people in the skills of that performing tradition. Kids who might otherwise be on the street work vary hard and learn to do amazing things. Some of the members show their stuff at the museum on weekends.

I don't understand how anybody can do this stuff since, for starters,I am not well coordinated and have zero athletic talent. But he sure has it. Four balls in the air (and another in his right hand)? Amazing.           

Monday, April 22, 2019



The kid had a busy weekend. On Friday night Ellie and mom went to the Cardinals baseball game. It was a chilly evening but she didn't care. Close game but the Cards lost to the New York Mets. Although it was late Ellie insisted on staying to the very end.

On Saturday her mom and I took her to the City Museum. That boy on the right has a "it's my turn" scowl. The visit ended with the ever-popular ball pit. They have a separate area for children six and under. Good thing. Some of the big kids get pretty rough.            

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Aerial Adventure

We took Ellie to the the incomparable City Museum yesterday. There is nothing like it in the world and it's not possible to describe here. There are in and outdoor attractions. The outside slides and climbing tubes are among the most popular. I wouldn't dare go into these tubes because I'm too tall and stiff. The man on the right of the first picture may be having the same problem.           

Saturday, April 20, 2019


This leaves room for a lot of interpretation. There are so many kinds of animals and the definition can be loose. How about a mini-you in a wasp nest or, if you can imagine such a thing, your consciousness packed into the body of a dog? Maybe, if it means anything, your sudden adoption of a dog's consciousness? But then the brains are so different. This shirt gives you a pretty difficult assignment. 

Whoever applied the lettering could use some coaching.


Friday, April 19, 2019


An assertive gesture by our Hispanic population and I'm glad to see it. Many of you know Spanish but just in case, aqui estamos means we are here (so get used to the idea). No nos vamos is literally we are not going. Here, I think it would be better translated as we are not leaving.

Part of the genius of this country is that our residents are from, well, everywhere. I grew up in the most ethnically and linguistically diverse county in the nation, Queens. (So okay, Trump's from there, too.) Sometimes the blending process was full of conflict but I, for one, welcome everybody.          

Thursday, April 18, 2019


One of my faults as a photographer (there are many) is that I am always looking for images, just a moment in the flow of time, and can miss the overall experience. The Counter Public tour stopped in many places, including this bar.  No recollection of the name at all or what was on exhibit but the bartender's profile grabbed my attention.    

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Another Mexican store on Cherokee Street featuring what we call Western wear. No idea who wears these in St. Louis - we don't have much range to ride. But then these boots are for show-off, not work.

It's a cultural thing I don't pretend to understand. I have a colleague in my specialty I'll call C. He's from Dallas and his family owns a high-end boot store. C is a lawyer, a bit short of stature and very trim from years of long distance running. I see him at conferences wearing impeccably tailored suits with hand-tooled and doubtless very expensive cowboy boots. I guess it's a Texas - New Mexico - Arizona thing. They look heavy enough to build up your leg muscles.

The store also has them for women, of course, so you and your sweetie can go out line dancing in the highest of style.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Um, the caption is just a loose association that popped into my head when I was massaging this picture in Photoshop. It was an often-repeated line on Rowan and Martin's Laugh In years ago, hinting at, let's say, a bit of a naughty meaning. The meaning, like beauty, was in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. 

Google told me that there was also a punk song by the same name released in 1967. You have to hear it to believe it. Don't let the waltz time in the first few bars fool you. 

Anyway, the reason I was down on Cherokee Street was the opening day of Counter Public, a three month on and off, here and there visual and performing arts festival. It kicked off with a walking tour with our docent (whose name I didn't get) and the owner/art director of El Chico Bakery (whose name I didn't get). We saw a lot of stuff. More to follow.       

Monday, April 15, 2019


Eddie Albert wanted to get out of his law practice in Manhattan so he bought a farm way out in the country. "Honey, I love you but give me Park Avenue," said his wife, Eva Gabor. You can get some of each in St. Louis but you have to do it on Cherokee Street. We have a Park Avenue but it's a couple of miles away. 

No one eats what is grown here unless they have a taste for dyed cotton or plucked chickens. There are several good taquerias down the street.               

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Wall painting on a Mexican general store on Cherokee Street. There is a cash machine in the wall just to the right. STL doesn't have the Hispanic population most US cities do but what there we got is centered in this area. You will find Latino restaurants, clothing stores, groceries (there is even an all-Latino candy store, or dulceria), bakeries and places to wire money to Mexico and Central America.

Now, my question is how many passers-by think this painting is really cool and how many are horrified by it. I'm in the second camp, looking at the scream of short-lived materialistic joy, that mouth and that dress. Now at least she can afford more fabric. There is a Buddhist temple just down the street. Too bad they weren't consulted. 

Oh, and by the way, today is Mrs. C's and my 45th anniversary. We still like each other and I consider myself very, very fortunate. I think we should do something about the occasion.      

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Quite Rightly

Okay, who  is old enough to remember that song? It had quite an influence and not just as a proto-hippy earwig but also on the behavior of wannabe cool high school kids.

Back in the unreconstructed 60s, my all-boys high school had a senior lounge where smoking was permitted. We were pretty much left alone. A combination of the song and street rumors led us to scrape off the fiber on the inside of banana peels. We dried it (or not), then attempted to smoke it in our lounge in regular tobacco pipes. (The pipes were an affectation some of the senior boys were trying out.)  Anyway, the stuff just made us sick. Yellow isn't always cheerful.         

Friday, April 12, 2019


The same approach to the orchids as yesterday. These flowers are all I have in recent inventory. I wish I could at least wander around downtown at lunch time with my camera but I still don't walk that well. Time to see the good doctor for another shot.          

Thursday, April 11, 2019


There are lots more pictures from the orchid show at the botanical garden. Some of them are pretty good, IMHO. It's not just about the color, though. I've always admired Robert Mapplethorpe's black and white photos of flowers. They are stripped of their hues and rely on line, form and contrast. They're gorgeous.

So every time I visit this show I try some of that approach in post production. Maybe it's derivative, just imitating Mapplethorpe's style. Maybe he is an inspiration, pushing me to find my own style in this genre. If you like the picture the assessment is up to you.              

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Those of you familiar my work know that my eye is attracted to the odd, ironic and abstract, plus interesting candid portraits. Sometimes, though, I break down and take some purty pitchers.

The annual orchid show was at the Missouri Botanical last month. It was a different shooting experience from all those years I used Canon. I don't have a macro lens for the Fujifilm I use now (sooo mush lighter) but it has a flip down, up and out LED screen my Canons didn't. That makes me able to use new, different angles. I got a bunch of orchid shots I'll run through for a while.                      

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


The air is getting warmer but the water in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers is still chilled by snow melt from upstream. The contrast can create dense fog in the morning. Here, Eads Bridge vanishes in the mists. This makes me think of the half-way-across Pont d'Avignon. Eads is far more beautiful, IMHO but, um, it goes from downtown St. Louis to downtown East St. Louis, Illinois.

Shot from my office window yesterday morning.           

Monday, April 8, 2019

Sunday, April 7, 2019


Found in a storefront window on Locust Street. It gets your attention but doesn't communicate anything. I mean, isn't it all down to that in the end? (Unless you want to get even smaller - three quarks for Muster Mark!

This is a branding and marketing company. I don't think it did an adequate job for itself.      

Saturday, April 6, 2019


They are a shrinking breed but there are still neighborhood bars in St. Louis. The Tick Tock Tavern is in the Tower Grove East neighborhood, not a high traffic location. Cash only, no more food than bar snacks, just local and regional beer (although that includes Anheuser Busch products). Frequent musical entertainment. You can go there because you want to have a drink and talk to someone, or sit in a corner by yourself yet not be alone.         

Friday, April 5, 2019


I suppose you could ask Lohr or one of the other ancient Articans. They (the totems, not necessarily the Articans) tend to be short, eclectic assemblages, on wheels with something to pull them. And bizarre. Don't forget bizarre. But it's not absolutely necessary to have one of these. One marcher carried an armload of plush toy pigs.

Yesterday was a blogging day off due to the inconvenience of surgery. I had an inguinal hernia, not a major problem (yet) but it had to be addressed. The procedure took an hour and required general anesthesia. Sleep is sometimes called le petit mort but anesthesia is a much better metaphor. And it's not like a sliding switch: you are and then you are not. And then, quite remarkably, you are again - small scale resurection. 

They sent me home with a jar of narcotic pain medication, predicting I'd use it like popcorn. Haven't needed a single one. Great job by my surgeon, Dr. Omar Guerra, and his team.       

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


There are still Tiny Totem photos to get through. These are right in front of or approaching the Tick Tock Tavern.  We will finish the series with that.

The birdman we saw recently has put his regalia to rest for a bit. It shows birds who hunt for a living, nothing like our pretty local cardinals and jays. The bar has a policy of no raptors inside. Other people ambled across the street with a collection of toy plush pigs.          

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


Wandering down the same art walk alley in Clare, a visitor will see some puzzling signs. (I could say arresting signs but I will not, for reasons that will become clear quickly.)  The city morgue? It looks like a small refrigerated building jutting into the alley containing . . . what? Not the bodies of unfortunates who could not survive a central Michigan winter, but rather everything you need to make sweet, fried pastries.

This is at the back of Clare's renowned Cops & Doughnuts. It was the town bakery, dating back to the late 19th Century. When it was about to go under in the 1980s, all the members of the small police force pooled their money, bought it and rebranded the business. This blog has visited there before - see https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=88921809%40N00&sort=date-taken-desc&text=Cops%20%26%20Doughnuts&view_all=1 The place serves many kinds of yummies and is full of small-town police jokes.

I bought a dozen for the family. Nothing went to waste.       

Monday, April 1, 2019


Well, pretty close. It's what I got. From the art walk alley in Clare, Michigan.

The clock doesn't work, which feels right. Time doesn't stand still in small Midwestern towns but it sure can creep in its petty pace from day to day.