Wednesday, March 29, 2023


More arcade kid craziness. I took this while my granddaughter and a friend from the birthday party were waiting in line. Someone took a lot of care with the design - note the mirrored back wall and the hanging colored fluorescent tubes. The ride in the center-left is a combination of a mini roller coaster and what in this country is called a Tilt-A-Whirl. Ellie liked that one so much she went on it twice.          

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


The kid just rang the bell on whatever it was she was playing. Might have been skee ball but there were so many amusements I'm not sure. Wasn't it be nice to be able to feel like that?        

Monday, March 27, 2023


Ellie in action at the air hockey table at the birthday party Saturday. I love the look on her face. She flitted from one amusement to another until her game credit card ran out. Of course, she then demanded mine.            

Sunday, March 26, 2023


My granddaughter. Ellie, was invited to a birthday party yesterday at a venue meant for kid craziness called Incredible Pizza Company. There is an all-you-can-eat buffet of pizza, tacos, hot dogs, salad and sweets, all cheap but edible.The main attraction is an enormous arcade of every kind of electronic game, plus a mini roller coaster, bumper cars, laser tag and I don't know what else. The kid had a ball.

The entryway celebrates old US Route 66, which went from Chicago to Los Angeles, with STL being a major node on the route. Think of the song Route 66, with best known versions by Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones.               

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Today is St. Louis Daily Photo's sixteenth anniversary. 5,670 posts to date. Since I don't have anything fresh to post I thought I'd show an old favorite picture of the Gateway Arch, my most frequent subject. 

My posts may be sporadic for a while, or, for the first time. I may need to take a leave of absence. I'll talk about why when the time is right so please don't inquire.              

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


The St. Louis motorcycle police lead every parade around this town. It must be a fun break from their usual work. Always on black Harley Davidsons with black helmets, black leather jackets and perfectly polished black boots. 

One of my very few photographic claims to fame is that I was once asked to use a photo of a line of SLPD motorcycle cops for the catalog of a show at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. The show was about the art of modern fashion and they wanted to use my picture in a section about motorcycle jackets. Of course, they said they couldn't pay anything but offered me a couple of tickets and a copy of the catalog if I happened to show up during the run. I did. The contact person who said she would be there wasn't. I had to show the email exchange to a manager to get my meager compensation, but I got my five minutes of fame.             

Monday, March 20, 2023


A float in the St. Patrick's Day parade. We visited Northern Ireland once, flying into Dublin and driving north to Belfast. Although peace had long been restored by that time, I will never forget the violent Unionist graffiti on walls near our hotel. It was deeply unsettling. After driving around the North some more, the only way we could tell that we had returned to the Republic was that the speed limit signs changed from miles to kilometers per hour.                

Sunday, March 19, 2023


Some of the crowd along Friday's St. Patrick's Day parade route. The colors are somewhat similar but do they realize they are waving an Italian, not an Irish flag?                  

Saturday, March 18, 2023


I mentioned that the neighborhood where yesterday's St. Pat's parade was held is called Dogtown. It is a traditionally Irish area. According to Wikipedia, Dogtown got its name as a small mining community in the mid-1800s. There was a concentration of small clay and coal mines in the area during that time, and the term "Dogtown" was widely used in the 1800s by miners to describe a group of small shelters around mines. 

So I was standing along the route when this huge pick up truck rolled by. The sign on the door caught my attention. Don't know Keith and the position, of course, is honorary but maybe our tribe is coming up in the world.

By the way, even by American standards, this is one of the biggest pick ups you will ever see. You can just notice the manufacturer's sticker in the back window. The list price is seventy - eight - thousand - dollars and it gets 15 miles per gallon. That's 6.4 kilometers per liter. The good that money could have done...      

Friday, March 17, 2023


St. Patrick's Day is a big deal in a lot of the US. It certainly is here. We have two parades, a big municipal one on the Saturday before the event and a smaller, somehow more genuine one in one of our neighborhoods (called Dogtown - really) on the date itself. I hope to shoot some of it.

But today has more significance in our household. On March 17, 1973, a broke law student from New York and a young nurse from Kansas found themselves holding glasses of green beer, pushed into a corner of a bar near St. Louis University and awkwardly gazing at each other. He asked if she would like to play pinball. She had no idea what it was about. They agreed to meet for a beer after she got off work the next day. After a little while she said she had to go, having made plans to clean her fish tanks. He said he would help! OMG, she had a car, a job, an apartment, two fish tanks and two spice racks! After that she couldn't get rid of him. And that's how Mrs. C and I met 50 years ago today. Pretty lucky.                 

Thursday, March 16, 2023


I didn't take this picture. Our brilliant guide Koky, who I mentioned yesterday, will find something in the cloud forest, pick it out with his bird spotting scope and use a visitor's phone cam to get an amazing shot. This is heavily edited but it came out well enough.

The bird is a resplendent quetzal. It is rarely seen but it was the beginning of mating season and they were more active. We got to see four or five. It's like finding treasure.            

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


There is a particular guide who works with the hotel where we stay in Monteverde. His name is Jorge but everyone calls him Koky. We've met him on previous visits and he's absolutely brilliant. Koky has vision that puts Superman to shame. He picks out wildlife where all I see is leaves. Some of that is because he knows all their sounds and can do a human form of echolocation.

Koky spotted this specimen called a motmot bird. He told us that in Costa Rican slang the name generally refers to someone who is, um, a bit dim. It doesn't bother the bird a bit if I get quite close with my camera. What that means for predators I don't know. Nor do I know what the strange paddle-shaped tail is about.        

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Back home early from CR with family medical issues to deal with so need a few more pix from our brief trip. The bridge system across the ravines of the cloud forest are marvels of engineering. This one looks like it disappears into the foliage but the trail continues.

There are things to note this week, today is Pi Day to some people (3/14) and 314 Day in St. Louis, the number being the principle telephone area code. And Friday is a day of great note in this household, more about which later.              

Sunday, March 12, 2023


It's 3:45 AM daylight savings time, which just kicked in, in St. Louis. Transferring from international to domestic in American Airlines Miami hub is a horror. Don't do it unless you have a really long connecting time. So we're just getting to bed.

This is one of eight suspension bridges over various gorges on the canopy walk we took. We chatted with this woman who is Swiss and touring Costa Rica by herself. She said she likes to have her own space.    

Saturday, March 11, 2023


In biological terms, the canopy refers to the upper layers of a forest, receiving much ot the sunlight and shielding what is below. There are many places in Costa Rica that have series of trails and suspension bridges that allow you to walk through the upper layers of the forest and gaze at what lies beneath.

We went to one yesterday afternoon. There were lots of steep hills without rails that were, um challenging to us old folks. Still, looking out and down from the bridges revealed wonders. I think this is some kind of fern but I'd be happy to be corrected.

The bad news today is that we have a family medical situation that requires us to come home today. The good news is the my Spanish seems to get less awful with every visit.  

Friday, March 10, 2023


Monteverde, Costa Rica, lies just on the Pacific side of Costa Rica's central mountain range. With the elevation and moist winds from both the ocean and the Caribbean, it's never too hot, never too cold, and there is a permanent mister blowing through the forest. The biodiversity is stunning. For the third time in ten years, we are staying at the Hidden Canopy Treehouses,, perhaps the most wonderful place we have ever laid our heads. Your suite is literally a treehouse built into the canopy and hillside. As sunset approaches, guests gather in the main building for a glass of wine and this.      

Thursday, March 9, 2023


When we fly from the U.S. to Liberia, Costa Rica, in the northwest of the country, we always ask for seats on the left side. If the weather is clear - which it certainly was not yesterday - I can get some good shots of the two big volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua (which is itself pretty big - look it up). The air got a little better as we came over the northwest of Costa Rica.

We are in Monteverde in the central highlands, an area known as the cloud forest. It never gets hot or cold but has constant moist winds. The animals, birds and flowers are beyond what we can imagine in the U.S.            

Tuesday, March 7, 2023


Art In Bloom is an annual event at the St. Louis Art Museum. The most talented floral arrangers are invited to create something that responds to a work in the collection. There was a lot of it and I have not edited much. 

We spent last night at the Miami airport and will be in Costa Rica this afternoon.           



There is an annual event at the St. Louis Art Museum called Art In Bloom. The most talented floral arrangers in the region are invited to sculpt petals and stems to resonate with one of the works in the galleries. There was a members-only preview Saturday evening. It gets so crowded during general opening hours that, for a photographer, it's not worth the effort. However, one room had an assortment of artificial flowers. a scanner and a projector that blew fractals of the plants' fractals onto the wall.

If the gods of the air permit, we'll be in Miami tonight and on to Costa Rica tomorrow. First stop is Monteverde in the cloud forest of the central highlands. The flowers are more gorgeous, intense and even livid than what we could imagine here. And then there are the birds.            

Monday, March 6, 2023


As with any American pro sports venue, the new CityPark has plenty of places to get a drink. The local behemoth, Anheuser-Busch (actually Anheuser-Busch Inbev) is a major sponsor. The products of some of our excellent local breweries are on sale. As I walked around the stadium, I saw a wine and cocktail bar. You can get a buzz any way you want.     

Actually, there is another choice directly across the street. One of Missouri's newly licensed cannabis dispensaries is opening. Using that term for the business seems like a euphemism to me. Competitors that call themselves liquor stores are so much more candid and honest.   

Sunday, March 5, 2023


After I left the soccer stadium, I went cruising around the area for images. This sign looms over a major highway flanking downtown. I don't know who paid for it or why it was erected, although I have seen some similar billboards in recent years. The juxtaposition reminds us that not everything is roses and lollipops in this town. There are some very serious problems but the reasons are much too complex to discuss here.           

Saturday, March 4, 2023


I took this while standing near the southwest corner of the new soccer stadium, looking east on Market Street, one of the main thoroughfares downtown. The landscaping and bits of architecture are interesting. The red roof structure in the center is Union Station, now a swanky hotel. To the right is the old train shed that today covers a variety of restaurants and entertainment. The tall building in the center with a dome is the home of the local and regional federal courts. Then, moving left, some office buildings, the Arch and a state courts building.  

The area will be packed tonight for the opening game of St. Louis City Soccer Club. Hard to believe, but I read that the team received 60,000 deposits on season tickets for a stadium that holds 22,500.          

Friday, March 3, 2023


The land that the new soccer stadium is built on and much of the surrounding area was once a thriving community known as Mill Creek Valley. It was home to 20,000 Black people with many businesses and churches. The city started demolishing it in the late 1950s in the name of "urban renewal." By the time I arrived at St. Louis University, just to the west, in 1967 it was all gone.

The team and other donors built this monument to the people and community at the southwest corner of the stadium, Designed by sculptor Damon Davis, the pillars suggest black hour glasses with their sands frozen in time.              

Thursday, March 2, 2023


We have a brand-new professional soccer team with a brand-new, purpose-built stadium. Citypark is the home of St. Louis City (I know, not real creative), with 22,500 seats and specially built for what the world calls football. The team won its first game on the road with the home opener scheduled for Saturday. This plaza won't be empty then.

I don't know much about soccer. I've watched some Word Cup games on TV and was rooting for Argentina. Buenos Aires is the only place I've been to professional soccer matches and that's pretty exciting, even if you are not a connoisseur.         

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


This will be meaningful only to people who live in certain American cities. White Castle is the original fast food restaurant, founded in 1921. It is known for its tiny square hamburgers, about 2.5 inches / 6 or 7 cm on a side, often referred to as sliders - you could almost slide it down your throat. They are cooked on a griddle with water and referred to as steam grilled, then served with a bit of chopped onion and dill pickle. Nothing like it.

There are only 377 of them in the US, less than one-tenth the number of McDonald's, concentrated in the Midwest, upper South and the NY-NJ metro area. There was one in the neighborhood in Queens, New York, where I grew up, and I became hooked. There are several in St. Louis. It's where I go when I need some soothing.