Tuesday, February 28, 2023


Earthquake dampening structures built into a major elevated highway downtown (I 64 - US 40 for the locals). We don't have many earthquakes here but there is a risk of a big one from a fault near the Mississippi to the south. In 1812, one of the most powerful temblors in American history struck the region. It changed the course of the river and is said to have rung church bells in Philadelphia. 

Just for the record, the towers in the center are light stands in the adjacent baseball stadium.               

Monday, February 27, 2023


Or football hooligans, as they call them in Europe, particularly England. Over there, they are known for drunken violence at and around matches, or simply games as we say here. The St. Louligans make a joke of the term. They aren't shy about the beer but support local soccer teams at every level, raising money for charity at every event (and quite a lot). 

Our city just got a new franchise in American Major League Soccer and these guys are ready to roar for them. The team, St. Louis City (I know, really dull name, aping some English Premier League teams) has a beautiful new stadium on the edge of downtown. City won its opening match on the road a couple of days ago and has its first home game in a few days. These people, and the crowd, will go wild.           

Sunday, February 26, 2023


I get some of my best parade pictures in the staging area. The groups and floats aren't moving, there is no thick crowd at the curb and everyone is happy to pose. One of the floats in the Mardi Gras parade had a Wizard of Oz theme. My guess is that these two were dressed as Dorothy and Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Something is bothering Dorothy - envious of Glinda's pink costume or crown, who knows what.

I have the privilege of having a sister-in-law named Dorothy who grew up and still lives in Kansas. And thinking about the prairie, I have two brothers-in-law named Melvin, one on each side of the family, both of whom were born in Nebraska. Beat that.        

Saturday, February 25, 2023


Recreational use of marijuana recently became legal in our fair state. Not surprisingly, since intoxication is a major theme of the event, some folks were out hawking their wares during the Mardi Gras parade. The double entendre on the billboard is cringe-worthy.

I expected the parade route to reek of the stuff but the dominant aroma was spilled beer. When I returned home I went online and found that use is only permitted in private homes and never in a public place.  It was surprising that no one was testing the limits.               

Friday, February 24, 2023


The costume of one of the Krewe de Junque at the Mardi Gras parade. The lettering across the top may be hard to read depending on your screen. It says The Buffalo Bill Stories, Devoted To Far Western Life. Published in New York, price 5 cents.

It reminds me of a family story. Many years ago we spent a couple of days at Disneyland Paris. We went to a dinner show in a U shaped horse arena featuring Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and fables of the American west. The audience was divided in four sections, each having a rodeo clown/cheerleader. Ours was from Kansas City and we hit it off. Towards the end of the show there was a shooting contest with four audience members versus Annie Oakley. Our cheerleader picked me. Bill asked me something like "Eh bien, mon ami, d'où viens-tu ?" My French was up to that and I answered in my coarsest Midwest twang, "J'habite à Saint Louis, Missouri!"  Bill put the microphone aside and muttered, "oh shit, an American." The contest proceeded and I graciously let Annie win.            

Thursday, February 23, 2023


The best subject of almost any parade I photograph is Audrey SImes. She is on the board of directors of the Artica festival I shoot for and does much of their computer graphic design. She is a choreographer and costume designer/maker. She creates her own look for each event and every one is more amazing than the last. And, wow, does she know how to pose.

The guy on the right is okay but he's beside the point.        

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


It's Ash Wednesday, nominally time for revelry to end, hangovers to be nursed and a season of contrition to begin. For a kid like me who was brought up in the all-Latin Catholic Church, it's that mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa time of year when we got so sick of fish sticks for dinner we would have to sneak into the local burger joint (White Castle for us back then, not McDonald's), but certainly not in our parochial school uniforms.   

Rex here, in our local parade, looks like he's already past his party peak. Perhaps he could take a lesson from years gone by.

And happy birthday to my grandson, Atlas, four years old today. The boy lives up to his name.            

Tuesday, February 21, 2023


More bead mania, mixed with considerable cleverness. The woman standing along the rail is holding a painted box. It may be impossible to read the words at the resolution this image gets when uploaded. There is a circular target painted in the center. The upper flap says BEADS and the lower BOX. The left and right flaps have arrows pointing to the middle with the words HIT and AIM.

I don't know if the strategy was successful. She was across the street so when a float passed by my view was blocked.               

Monday, February 20, 2023


Crowds line the Mardi Gras parade route waving and screaming at the passing floats, begging the participants to hurl brightly colored strings of beads in their direction. The spectators, if they are lucky to catch some. pile them around their necks, layer after layer. It's mass hysteria. I bet most of them end up in the trash within a few days.                 

Sunday, February 19, 2023


We have a pretty big Mardi Gras thing. Not remotely like New Orleans, let alone Brazil, but for a second tier Midwestern city it's pretty good. Thousands of people come out to party. The weather was almost spring-like yesterday, drawing a huge crowd. Some of the folks I know, particularly Lily on the left, asked me to photograph their Krewe de Junque. Hey, it's good if the glue holds together and there is a free hand for a beverage.            

Saturday, February 18, 2023


Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun, said Rudyard Kipling. Mad dog owners and St. Louisans swill beer in the noonday sun. It will be worse today. The Grand Parade starts at 11. I've been asked to photograph two of the floats and one of the members has informed me that they will be partying in the staging area at least an hour before the whistle blows. I think I will just observe and document.                  

By the way, the number of views on my recent posts shot up today to way more than normal. I must have gotten a plug somewhere but I can't figure out where. Can someone tell me?

Friday, February 17, 2023


It seems like each group of people at the pet parade was weirder than the last. So here's this couple walking down the street with some tiny little pup and the guy is dressed up in a skeleton suit with a bony hand affixed to his top hat. And, for extra effect, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. And it's not Halloween, although that gets pretty strange around here, too.           

Thursday, February 16, 2023


That's what they used to call them back in the 50s, wasn't it? I guarantee you that pug nosed pooch in the wagon is no poodle. What people do with their dogs in these events.

I'll probably run pictures from the pet parade tomorrow and Saturday, lacking other material. But then silly season in St. Louis shifts into high gear with the Mardi Gras grand parade on Saturday. High times, indeed. Despite Ash Wednesday, silly season continues into March with our St. Patrick's day parades. (We have two. https://tinyurl.com/262hcrxr.) However, on March 17, Mrs. C and I expect to be enjoying s sumptuous dinner at a place in the forest in Costa Rica, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the night we met in a bar in St. Louis on St. Patrick's Day. There are sure to be images.            

Wednesday, February 15, 2023


That idea would have met the spirit of the day at the pre-Mardi Gras pet parade on Sunday. However, that wasn't what was actually going on here. Some of the marchers throw strands of brightly colored beads into the crowd, like on the man at frame left. The person in the flamingo hat (!) is doing just that. People along the sidewalk scream "beads, BEADS, BEADS" to try to get the thrower's attention. It can start to sound like squealing animals.

It's common that these people see me along the parade route with nothing around my neck but my camera strap and insist on hanging some on me. I always gratefully accept.           

Tuesday, February 14, 2023


I've noted here several times that St. Louis, or at least a lot of it, likes an excuse to drink in public. This band, setting up before the pet parade, was sponsored by a bar in our Soulard neighborhood where this takes place. Note the golden glass of beer on the stage floor. This was at about 12:30 PM.

The consumption on the streets Sunday will be trivial compared to the Mardi Gras Grand Parade this Saturday. And since we just got legal recreational cannabis in Missouri, I expect the air will be redolent with an aroma richer than Budweiser.             

Monday, February 13, 2023


St. Louis has developed something of a Mardi Gras industry. There is so much marketing and hype, so many different events, that it has the feel of a for-profit organization. The website says that the entity is Mardi Gras, Inc. with a local address. All I can find about it is that it was once an approved not-for-profit but lost the status for failure to file the necessary paperwork a few years in a row.

One of the events took place yesterday, the annual pet parade. It's sponsored by Purina, the pet food maker, which is based here. It is all about dogs, although I did see two small goats. I don't usually deal in cute but these three had so much crowd appeal I couldn't pass them up.

Oh, and there was that football game last night. We always go out to dinner at a restaurant that doesn't have a television.            

Sunday, February 12, 2023


From February to early March most years, bald eagles' migration path pauses along a stretch of the Mississippi River not far north of here. Apparently the fishing is good. The Missouri Department of Conservation has a very nice visitors center there with exhibits, events and walkways along the river. They did special presentations this weekend. 

The center cares for several eagles who had injuries and are no longer up to life in the wild. It's hard to appreciate the size and strength of those talons from a photo. We saw a few birds out in the trees but they were so far away they looked like just a smudge, even using my longest lens.         


Saturday, February 11, 2023


Beneath the Arch on the city side is a sloping, grassy plaza leading down to the entrance, which is under the monument. Across the street is the building we call the Old Courthouse, built in stages from the 1830s to 1850s. It is of significant historical, legal and architectural interest. I won't give a lecture here, but if you are interested you can view the excellent Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Courthouse_(St._Louis) .   

The interior is gorgeous. I wish I could provide some pictures but it is undergoing its second modern restoration. There are a couple of photos in the Wikipedia article.

The family is going eagle watching today. There is an area along the Mississippi not far to the north in the bald eagle migratory flyway at this time of year. It's not guaranteed but I hope we see some.        

Friday, February 10, 2023


St. Louis' Gateway Arch is 630 feet / 192 meters tall. There is an observation deck at the apex. The slit windows look down and out because the Arch is triangular in cross section. This side faces west over downtown. The eastern view overlooks the Mississippi River and dull-looking industrial and residential areas in Illinois.

Our city center ain't that big or dynamic but it was, shall we say, home to my desk for 47 years. I know my way around.              

Thursday, February 9, 2023


In the first several years of this blog (it's now almost 16) I posted a picture of our local icon on many Thursdays. The habit eventually petered out. How many different ways can you photograph a hunk of stainless steel, albeit a very big one? And since I retired a year and a half ago there are few reasons to go downtown for a visit.

A couple of Saturdays ago Ellie decided she hadn't been to the top in a long time and wanted to go for a ride. There is a somewhat scary funicular that climbs up inside of each leg. It was a gorgeous day so I got a couple of snaps in. 

Tomorrow: the view from the top.               

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


There was a more distant view of this bridge to the tea house in Sunday's post. The craftsmanship is beautiful, joinery rather than nails. The up hill part feels a bit steep to old legs. It's representative of what we saw in gardens during our visits to Japan.                

Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Only one of them won't get your socks wet. I'll take the flagstones. Still in the botanical garden.               

Monday, February 6, 2023


Photographers love leading lines and curves, so how could I go wrong with a picture containing both. Winter in the Japanese garden again.               

Sunday, February 5, 2023


Farther into the Japanese Garden. The light coat of snow was just enough to muffle what little sound there was, leaving only the report of your own footsteps. The bridge leads to a little tea house, open for special occasions.                

Saturday, February 4, 2023


A couple in the winding entry path to the Japanese Garden. A cold weekday may seem like an odd time to visit but it has a special beauty: no crowds, something interesting around every bend, little sound but the wind.            

Friday, February 3, 2023


A quiet, cold weekday at our wonderful botanical garden. There had been just a bit of snow. There were few visitors but at least half of them had cameras. The Japanese garden is perhaps the most peaceful area. More of this to come.           

Thursday, February 2, 2023


Looks to me like they do good quality work. I'd hire them. I'm surprised by how many signs I see, particularly advertising, that communicate poorly: weak color contrast between lettering and background, too many words to absorb quickly, lack of explanation of the subject, etc.

Locust Street, midtown.           

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Okay, this was a tough one. My responsibility since I picked it. It's a concept that is hard to reduce to a single image. I looked through years of archives and decided to use this since it expresses the virtue of compassion. It is one of the most important virtues (just ask Jesus or the Buddha), but one often sadly lacking in this world. The lettering is on the side of an improv club here in town.

Take a look at how other City Daily Photo members aspire to a better life at https://citydailyphoto.org/category/theme-days/ .