Saturday, February 29, 2020


This is the closest picture I could find in recent inventory of someone leaping. It's February 29, the rare slice of time in which we adjust the measure of our orbit around the sun. I have a sister in law who was born on this date so she's only 16 today.                    

Friday, February 28, 2020


The Shriners are a subset of the Masons. Their lodges have Arabic-ish names but they wear a fez, which is Turkish. A local group appears at every parade with these little yellow stunt cars. One of them always rolls over onto two wheels. a big crowd pleaser.

The men in the second picture may be members of a different lodge. Note the neckware of the one on the left. Our international readers may not recognize the top one but it's a symbol of the Republican party. If the resolution on your end is good enough you can see it kinda goes downhill from there.          

Thursday, February 27, 2020


A van preparing to roll in the Mardi Gras parade. The organization is a joint project of the St. Louis City and County health departments. It provides free testing and treatment for STDs and other sexual wellness resources. Good for them.       

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


One of my habits when shooting parades is to go to the staging area about an hour early. Everyone is getting ready and not yet on the march. They all look strange in their own way and are happy to pose.The woman in the first picture was doing stunts with the hoop that a still picture can't capture. The second one boggles me. After I took the picture she was walking around as free as you please, and rock steady. How do you learn how to do that without cracking your head open?         

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


I need help from my Canadian friends on this one. I don't get it. As mentioned, the theme of the parade was blue but there isn't a bottle of Labatt's in sight. Otherwise, the meaning completely escapes me. The people who marched beside the float were dressed in white with necklaces made of small plastic Canadian flags. Maybe there is a cultural reference that we down here can't understand.           

Monday, February 24, 2020


The theme of this year's Mardi Gras parade was blue. This town is still in a reverie over the Blues hockey team winning the championship last spring. And who better to characterize the theme than Marge Simpson? How did they hold all those balloons together? I think the fake hair of the people on the float was made of blue bubble wrap. If this didn't win the prize for best float it should have.           

Sunday, February 23, 2020


As has often been observed in these pages, St. Louis loves an excuse to drink in public. The season kicks off with the Mardi Gras parade, which is a pretty big deal here. Not that we can compare to New Orleans, but we might take second place in the US. The parade is the Saturday before the official Tuesday. The weather was beautiful, cloudless and warm for this time of year, bringing out a huge crowd. Lots more where these came from.           

Saturday, February 22, 2020


Still in the Grand Center arts district. This somewhat strange building has been around since I was an undergraduate at nearby St. Louis University (which, recall, was in the Pleistocene).  It was some kind of burger place then. It went out of business and became a take-out Chinese restaurant. I never see anyone in there.

The architecture puzzles me. Is it supposed to represent something or just bizarre and eye-catching?        

Friday, February 21, 2020


There are unusual accommodations just south of the symphony hall, the Angad Arts Hotel. Not sure where the first word came from although it might be the developer. What's very different about it is that all the rooms are color themed. Just about everything, the walls, the floor, the linens (but maybe not the faucets) are monochrome. Pick the color that matches your emotions, red, yellow, blue or green. I would find this difficult to stay in, particularly red and yellow. Imagine what it could do to your blood pressure. Lots of people seem to like it, though.

And, in case you didn't notice, that's sculpture in the first picture.     

Thursday, February 20, 2020


A near-palindromic birthday (but, someone said, close only counts in horseshoes and bombs). The phrase for this click on the meter comes from a fancy-pants translation of 70 in the King James Bible. Perhaps the nicest modern use of the phrase comes from A. E. Housman's poem The Loveliest Of Trees, The Cherry Now . " (I took a lot of English classes when I was younger.)  The scene is Kiener Plaza downtown with my favorite wicket in the background.

Now to see what comes next.           

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


The restaurant and nightclub Jazz St. Louis is just over a block from the symphony hall. It's hung in there for a long time. I'm not a big jazz fan. I loved Dave Brubeck when I was in my teens but he and his quartet were experimenting with unusual time signatures and making it work, notably the famous Take Five. (Even the Grateful Dead had an extended number in 11/4). I admire the beauty and occasional fierceness of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. However, the near-constant rigidity of 4/4 time and the variations on a theme format fail to pull me in. I end up back with the symphony.  

There's an event to mark tomorrow.         

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


We are fortunate to have a top-tier symphony orchestra in a medium size city. It is the second oldest in the country after New York. Mrs. C and I have been subscribers for more than 40 years. I took her here on our first date (Mahler 1st, Walter Susskind conducting, but I don't remember what she wore). She probably wondered what she was getting herself into. 

We love our new music director, Stéphane Denève. I don't know how these conductors juggle two jobs but he still has his old one as music director in Brussels, plus being principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. His much admired predecessor, David Robertson, was simultaneously music director in Sydney during his last few years here. A lot of airplane time.         

Monday, February 17, 2020


I am totally out of new material. Repeated episodes of colds/flu have kept me off the street a lot. For example, I missed the pre-Mardi Gras dog parade yesterday because I was in bed. But, with a little digging, I found something for Madeleine Monday that's appropriate to the times. This was taken in October 2016, when she was three.

By the way, I had to turn on comment moderation. Spam comments have been a minor nuisance over the life of this blog. However, over the last couple of weeks, it's been happening almost daily. No choice.       

Sunday, February 16, 2020


The statue known as The Runner in Kiener Plaza. He's been in the same race for many decades and never reaches the finish line. It has an interesting history. Harry Kiener was on the U. S. track team in the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis. The sculptor, William Zorach, was a Jewish Lithuanian immigrant. The model for The Runner statue was Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein. He posed as the lithe young runner when he was a 22-year-old rabbinical student.

Saturday, February 15, 2020


There is a newish children's playground in Kiener Plaza, which amounts to our city's central square. One feature is a set of logs set askew over a soft, spongy floor. Ellie likes it but she is not big enough yet to clamber all over them. I thought they made a nice semi-abstract pattern.

A related note from the Loose Associations Department. Does anyone remember the Nickelodeon cartoon show Ren and Stimpy (and miss it dearly)? It had the most outrageous fake ads marketing dangerous or useless (or both) products to kids. One of my favorites is the commercial for Log, for use as a toy.


Friday, February 14, 2020


It's our town's standard abbreviation, like a couple of more famous cities use LA and NYC. The airport code is STL. The initials in exactly this type have been on the Cardinals' caps for a century. It's even something of a motto for this blog.

This is a small plaza in the new part of Ballpark Village. The building in the upper right has luxury apartments. Who in their right mind would would want to live here, especially during a series against the arch-rival Cubs when beer soaked fans roam the area?          

Thursday, February 13, 2020


There is an area next to the baseball stadium called Ballpark Village. Its first phase just had restaurants and bars. There is a second phase nearing completion that has a fancy hotel, luxury apartments and office space. An outer wall is decorated with pennants from each year the Cardinals won the championship. These aren't all - there is a second set behind where I was standing. Makes for nice graphics.          

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


I had to go to the drivers license office yesterday. The U. S. Department of Homeland Security now requires everyone to have an approved "Real ID" card to go through airport security and enter federal facilities. Backward Missouri will run out of its last extension to convert our drivers licenses in a few months so I decided it was time to get mine.

While waiting my turn, I saw this sign and took a sneaky phone cam shot. Following this policy would put me and most other lawyers out of business. But look it at it another way. If it's true, would this mean that we Americans would not have to pay our federal taxes?

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Like many kids, I was interested in professional sports. There are memories of happy days in the cheap seats in Yankee Stadium, when a boy could buy a  ticket on the day of the game for what was in his pocket.  There were the occasional Giants and Rangers games. Over the years I have soured on the whole thing, the big money, mass marketing, emotional manipulation business.

But there is still a fondness for baseball as such. I enjoy the game for its flashes of great athleticism and subtle strategies, going to a couple of games a year, particularly if someone else is paying. Pre-season training is starting now. The season itself begins about the first of April. Workers are preparing the stadium and adjoining attractions for all the fans willing to pay the (now very high) asking price.   

Monday, February 10, 2020


Not about life in St. Louis in general but I couldn't resist this shot of dental inevitability. Great iPhone 11 shot by daughter Emily. The kid got five bucks under her pillow. I thought she should get colones since we have some left over.       

Sunday, February 9, 2020


Stifel is a fair sized financial services company whose headquarters is across the street from my office building. The statue, obviously, represents the bull and bear, the endless combat of the markets. Note that neither is winning. Sometimes the overall size of the market grows and sometimes it shrinks. Maybe that's why economics is sometimes called the dismal science. The passer-by may have something to say about that.  

   * This post approved by Adam Smith.

Saturday, February 8, 2020


Mrs. C and I have been subscribers to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for more than forty years. There was an evening open rehearsal (they are usually during the day) for subscribers on Thursday. They ask people to call if they are coming; when my wife did so she was told there would be a cash bar and "heavy hors d'oeuvres" [sic]. The staffer said that meant more than little finger food but not enough for dinner. A new term has been coined.

Our marvelous new music director, Stéphane Denève, is blowing out all the stops with the Beethoven 9th this weekend. Before the rehearsal started, he told us that the metronome was invented around the time of its composition by a friend and that L v B loved it. The work is full of these timing marks but few conductors follow them. Denève intended to do so and at times the result sounded quite odd, often a bit fast and a little stiff. But if the master says so... We will hear the final outcome at the performance tonight.

Above, a fuzzy low-light phone cam shot of our principal cello, Daniel Lee, starting to warm up.      

Friday, February 7, 2020


Time to be back on the streets of The Lou, although I may still run some Costa Rica pix if I'm short of material. Anyway, my office is a couple of blocks from our football dome without a football team. (Many Americans would know the story and nobody else will care.) The Rolling Stones are going on tour again this year (what, with their walkers?) and it was announced yesterday that they would play here in June. On Wednesday the big LED sign in front of the stadium had a teaser display of the iconic lips and tongue logo with the single word "When?". I walked over yesterday, hoping to find some version of that but no luck.

We have a lot of casinos around here, six, I believe, on or next to the rivers. The one downtown is cut off from the city by a major highway but there is an entrance and underground tunnel across from the dome. Couldn't pass up this image. We hope the casino is exciting enough without gunplay.         

Thursday, February 6, 2020


So many photos from Costa Rica and I have to come back to images from home soon. Groups of images will help clear up the backlog. These pictures are of passengers and crew on the Blue Dolphin catamaran, plus a more traditional competitor ship. Gotta get back out on the street here.        

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Aboard the Blue Dolphin, the catamaran we took for an afternoon trip from Tamarindo. I assume this is a tico woman and her son (the Costa Ricans refer to themselves as ticos). She probably raised her shawl to keep the late afternoon sun out of her eyes but the boy wants eye contact with mom.       

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


In the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Liberia, Costa Rica. The scroll on the bottom means Jesus, I trust in you. It's a big church by local standards and has interesting architecture. The side walls are made of cement bricks in a geometric pattern and contain lots of holes. This lets the air through and, since the roof provides shade, makes the interior tolerable even in hot weather. 

Probably won't have any new local material until the weekend, unless the snow predicted mid-week provides something interesting.     

Monday, February 3, 2020


Ellie at a restaurant in Tamarindo last week, clutching her beloved Lambie in her teeth just to be silly. It was given to her as a newborn by our dear friend and colleague Virginia of Birmingham Daily Photo. It has undergone surgery more than once and cannot be washed completely clean (and hence is often referred to as Brown Lambie). The kid had a great time and learned a lot on our trip.          

Sunday, February 2, 2020


Back in the farmers market in Liberia, Costa Rica. I did not notice until I started editing photos that this man was wearing a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. As we walked by, I remember my eye being drawn to his shirt - it was in English and I tried to read it. Had I been more observant, I would have tried to engage him in my bad Spanish.

As it happened, one of the Cardinals' all time great players, Ozzie Smith, was on our flight from Miami to St. Louis Friday night. Ellie was wearing a bright red Cardinals tee shirt and we encouraged her to go shake his hand in the boarding area. She hid behind mom.         

Saturday, February 1, 2020


Looking west across downtown from the top of the Gateway Arch. Still plenty of pictures from Costa Rica to edit.