Saturday, November 30, 2019


A gray Thanksgiving morning in nearly empty Forest Park. Taken inside the World's Fair Pavilion, a popular event venue with a sweeping view of the park. It was not, however, built for the 1904 World's Fair, but in 1909 with proceeds from the fair.            

Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Friday Wishes

Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday and many businesses are closed the following day. That brings an awful American tradition known as Black Friday. Stores open at midnight (and now some as early as 5 PM on the holiday itself) advertising huge (and sometimes deceptive) bargains. Hoards descend on places like Walmart like a swarm of hornets or do their best to burn up Amazon's servers. It is consumerism at its very worst

SO DON'T DO IT. DON'T BUY STUFF TODAY. You don't need it. It just makes Jeff Bezos richer than God and hastens environmental breakdown. Make today look like one of our big malls did yesterday.

Fat chance. All our family is buying today is movie tickets. We're going to see Mr. Rogers.         

Thursday, November 28, 2019


It's quiet around the Crowe house this weekend. Neither Mrs. C or I are natives so there is no local extended family. In years past we often went to see her mother out in the Kansas farmland but since she left us at the age of 98 the draw isn't there. Our son and his family live up in Michigan, not the best place to travel in late November.

So it's just those of us here. Peaceful, especially since no one in this household has the slightest interest in watching football on TV. Maybe I'll go snap a shutter at something. I could go to Forest Park although it's supposed to be miserably cold and wet today. The photo was taken last Saturday when it was relatively balmy.           

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Be sociable! Engage with other people! It could be almost anything -  the Masons, the Green Party, the Boy/Girl Scouts, the Rosicrucians, the pickleball league, the FBI, the circus, the Justice League of America. (Just not the Republican Party.) Get off your duff, put down that game console and engage in collective action.

This particular sign invites people to become members of the Saint Louis Art Museum.        

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


It can be hard to find material at this time of year. I rarely have an opportunity to shoot during the work week. Few outdoor events and I can get my fill of outlandish Christmas decorations quickly. Sometimes I circle around to old haunts to check if there is anything new to see.

So back to The Apotheosis of St. Louis, the grand equestrian statue of King Louis IX of France that stands in front of the art museum and looks down over Forest Park. It's all about the light here. I've shot it many times before but like Siddhartha and the river, you never look at the same sky twice.

The nicest thing happened to me after I shot this picture. A middle aged man walked up to me and said, "Are you Bob?" "Hi," I replied. "yes, I'm Bob Crowe." "I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog," he went on. "I look at it almost every day and it gives me a lot of pleasure." "Wow, thank you," I said. "I'm delighted you enjoy it. And what's your name?" "Jim," he said with a little smile, and then was off on his way.


Monday, November 25, 2019


No, I'm not bringing this blog to a close. It will probably go on as long as my right index finger moves and Adobe grants me a license to use Photoshop. This image marks the end of our family's afternoon at Union Station after the early sunset. We will be back next month to take Ellie on the Polar Express train ride and dinner under the spectacular barrel vault ceiling over the lobby of the Union Station Hotel.             

Sunday, November 24, 2019


One of the features of the rehabbed Union Station is a show of gas jets set to music, sort of like dancing fountains but with fire. It runs under the train shed every half hour from 5 to 10 PM, lasting four or five minutes.

It looks cool but it is really, really wrongheaded. Just what we need, sending hundreds or thousands of cubic meters of butane with all its heat and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere 11 times an evening. We are in enough trouble already. I have to admit that I am a climate pessimist. Sure, predictions of the future get battered by the unexpected but I think that there is some chance that I am living at the high point, if you can call it that, of human existence and may leave it just in time. I fear for my grandchildren. This display and the reckless people in our national government are some of the reasons why.         

Saturday, November 23, 2019


Is there any country besides the United States in which lawyers advertise so much, if at all? It's been some time since I've been in the UK but I think I've seen a bit there. It is everywhere in this country, a result of a Supreme Court decision some decades ago that it was protected by the free speech provision of our constitution. 

Now it's everywhere. My little firm does some. We have to. We represent ordinary people; we are a consumer service in a very specialized area. If you are curious you can click the link to the firm website in the sidebar of my blog.               

Friday, November 22, 2019


A clock tower rises over Union Station near sunset, looking down over the geometry of the old train shed. I sometimes wonder what is in the tower. Turns out there is a 12 year old video on YouTube about that. The latest revision of the hotel that now fills the headhouse added a few luxury suites.                        

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Haven't had one of these in a while but then there are only so many ways you can depict an upside down catenary arch. The monument is partly concealed by what passes for a skyline around here. 

Some notes about the buildings: The low, saddle-topped building is the hockey arena, home of, if I may say so, the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. The tall building with the dome on the right is the federal courthouse. It precisely blocks the view of the Arch from the main highway coming into downtown from the west. The tall building on the left is vacant. After the anti-trust break up of the original AT&T many regional "baby Bells" were created and Southwestern Bell was headquartered here. It gobbled up some of the other regional phone companies and then bought the rights to the AT&T name. For awhile that building was the headquarter of the new AT&T but then they moved the operation to Dallas. The building, having the greatest amount of floor space of any in the area, has been emptied out. I've read that since it was built for a single tenant it is very difficult to repurpose, so there it sits.          

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


No special reason for this, other than I've been posting things about The Wheel. I just like the picture.           

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


The automobile in this picture is a black Honda Accord sedan. Nothing flashy. Comfortable, reliable, affordable transportation, and practical since almost everyone in America needs a car. As it happens, I drive one myself. But, just occasionally, a modest Honda gets kissed by a fairy and ends up looking like this. Obviously, it's the reflection of the Wheel.            

Monday, November 18, 2019


We got two. The one above is the new St. Louis Wheel at Union Station. It has 42 enclosed cars, heated and air conditioned, open 365 days a year. I like how the streetlamp and rising moon seem to spin an invisible cable through its hub.

So okay, the photo below was taken from a long way off, actually while riding the new wheel. The tall broadcast tower draws your attention but just to the left is the small, old fashioned wheel on the roof of the City Museum. I couldn't find a better shot in my archives although there's one around somewhere.          

Sunday, November 17, 2019


This is in the current revision of St. Louis Union Station. You can get water or fizzy flavored sugar water here, but mostly it's about Anheuser-Busch products. Or, more recently, Anheuser-Busch-Inbev, the merged Belgian-Brazilian-American beer behemoth that took over one of our largest employers. Never a shortage of customers.

The photo was taken from the Saint Louis Wheel, the new Ferris wheel installed here. Much more about that soon.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


There's a show going on at the St. Louis Art Museum called Dutch Painting In The Age of Rembrandt. There are two works from the great master for comparison but everything else is by other painters of the era, from names you probably know (Frans Hals) to those you've never heard of (uh, I forget). The collection is exquisite and locals should get there before it closes in mid-January.

Afterward we had brunch at the museum's restaurant. Since I had forgotten my photo hard drive at the office (the reason this is a late post) some new material was needed. None of the still lifes in the exhibit were monochrome (that's for sure) and all were very ornate, but maybe I got some of their high contrast style. That roll looks like an asteroid.        

Friday, November 15, 2019


Or just sit. From John Milton, On His Blindness.  It's short, just a sonnet, and worth a read.

Paralyzed vets at our Veterans Day parade and a fitting statue in front of our Soldiers Memorial building.     

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


It's not a parade without the police. No crowd control issues here, unlike the St. Patrick's Day parade, where alcohol flows like the Mississippi (well, metaphorically).  

The top picture has similarities to one that generated an eye blink's worth of photography fame a couple of years ago. The Museum of Modern Art in NY used one of my images of STL motorcycle cops in the catalog for a show about fashion. They didn't pay me a dime but at least they gave me a free copy of the book and a ticket when I showed up and demanded my tribute. Click here

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


The local Corvette owners club always shows up for the Veterans Day parade. A corvette, as such, is a small warship. This version may have some similarities, but for civilian guys with money to burn. Of course, they burn other things, too, in substantial quantity for their size. These days that raises ethical issues.

I myself am not without guilt. When I was 40 I had a used bottom-of-the-line Porsche, but still. One of the dumbest ideas I've ever had. If there was a half-inch of snow I'd have to ask for help getting out of parking lots. But when it was dry, well, that was a different matter. It didn't take me too long to work this out of my system and get another Volvo.        

Monday, November 11, 2019


After shooting at the Veterans Day parade I met the family at our repurposed Union Station for lunch and amusements. It has a new carousel, among other things. Ellie knows no fear as a rider as long as her steed is made from molded acrylic. She wasn't even wearing her cowgirl boots. 

I'll be going back and forth between Saturday's events for a while. First snow here predicted for today. That's very early.                     

Sunday, November 10, 2019


Back home. I got enough material on Saturday to last for some time. Our official Veterans Day is tomorrow but there is always a parade on the Saturday before the date. As usual, there were many more people marching than watching from the sidewalk. Some vets couldn't walk as a result of their service.

A couple of veterans asked me if I were one of them. I am not. In 1969, the US had a draft lottery for men of my age. Birth dates were drawn in random order. I drew a high number and, being a junior in college at that time, continued my education.


Friday, November 8, 2019


Still going through New York material until I can get back out on the streets of The Lou. Once again, this is from the greatly expanded Museum of Modern Art. It is Jeff Koons' Pink Panther. I'm sure I've seen this in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and maybe also at LACMA in Los Angeles. Koons' website says that there is an addition of three of these plus AP, whatever that means. It is made of porcelain so moving it would be a delicate operation. 

Koons' work often celebrates the banal, sometimes with a bit of provocation. The surfaces are shiny. You may or may not like his stuff but I do.        

Thursday, November 7, 2019


I think we have had enough of the parade for a while. There are lots more I could edit but it gets a little repetitive. Besides, my nighttime flash technique could use some improvement.

While in New York my friend Olivier and I visited the newly reopened Museum of Modern Art. It had been closed for a year while it ate up some neighboring properties and expanded. It is now much larger and a bit confusing to find your way around. This room, facing a large window, had several sections with comments on peace, perhaps wishful thinking. Here, Olivier is not studying the sutras but rather going over the museum guide.          

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


When I was standing in the middle of the NY Halloween parade my eye was drawn to the color on these women. I didn't immediately get the reference. My six year old granddaughter, Ellie, was sitting next to me when I was starting to flip through the photos. "Marge Simpson!" she exclaimed. "Patty and Selma!"

Except that patty and Selma usually have the same dull purple hair. And they always have cigarettes, not smart phones, in their hands. But okay, so I was just stood up on a cultural reference by a small child. Won't be the last time.

The surname of the never-married sisters and Marge's maiden name is Bouvier. Some may remember that it was Jacqueline Kennedy's maiden name. Deep.           

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Yellow and blue. No particular reason. There is just so much inventory from the New York parade and I don't have new local material. By the way, that long blue tail in the second picture is a whip.           

Sunday, November 3, 2019


New York, a city of 8.4 million people, contains many immigrants. (And, of course had many emigrants, comme moi,)  Some of the marchers in the Halloween parade dressed in themes referring to places far away. Top: the man looks like a young Yadier Molina, the Cardinals great catcher, minus the tattoos. Bottom: some but not all of my readers will get the reference in the second photo. Actually, although the image felt familiar, I needed help from a younger family member. If you need a hint, click here.             

Saturday, November 2, 2019


I took hundreds of pictures Thursday night at New York's Halloween parade. It was a technical challenge. The only lighting was street lamps and, of course, the subjects were moving. Lots of shots were out of focus but many were real keepers. There are many, many more. Just keep posting them, I guess.    

Friday, November 1, 2019


Souvenir of my visit to New York. This is The Vessel, the multi story Escher-ish sculpture at the new Hudson Yards development in Manhattan. Thank heavens there is an elevator (vertical track in the center) or I would have never made it to the top. It is of limited use, though - just six people every 15 minutes. Olivier scampered all the way up.

Is bronze close enough for the theme?      


Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
                              - Claptrap by Sir Walter Scott

I love this place. It's just happenstance that I don't live here any more (not that I'm sorry about where I ended up). There are other big cities with high energy (Los Angeles, Tokyo) but none of them has the muscle, the scale, the sense of enormous possibility that New York has. If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.

Olivier and I shot the NYC Halloween parade last night. Haven't seen so many people in such a confined area since, um, maybe Woodstock. Everyone was friendly and just out for a good time. There are so many more pictures. I fly home today and have to go straight to work but I certainly won't stay away from this place too long.