Thursday, February 29, 2024


From time to time, when I have no new blog material and no ideas, I drive around the older parts of the city looking for things I haven't noticed before. Some may be run-down, some may be shiny, but it's so much more interesting than our sprawling suburbs. (Not that you couldn't find something worth documenting, but it would probably attract the attention of a security guard.)

This wall painting was in what we call Downtown West. The orange facade is a small brewery restaurant. No idea who this person is, except that the lettering, partly blocked by the pole, seems to say "A Brush." (Ha.)  Chin stuck out, masculine affect, challenging, proud. Meaning undetermined,                        

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


This could be my entry for the City Daily Photo monthly theme, reflections in windows, but it isn't. Directly behind where I stood to take yesterday's photo was another old and possible abandoned building. Someone had some fun with a window. Big Brother may be watching you.              

Tuesday, February 27, 2024


Regular readers of my blog have seen many posts about St. Louis' wildly unusual City Museum. It was founded by the late sculptor and odd-ball entrepreneur Bob Cassilly and his former wife, Gail Soliwoda. They had a workshop where they created sculptures and other decorative elements, including this facade. It has been vacant for years and is badly deteriorated in the rear. The current owner applied for a demolition permit but preservationists are working to save its wonderful terra cotta face.

Gee whiz fact: you oldies may have heard that in 1972, a mentally ill man went after Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's with a hammer. Cassilly, who was in Rome on his honeymoon with his first wife, was the person who tackled him and prevented him from doing further damage. Cassilly grew up in the suburb of Webster Groves, where I live.

Monday, February 26, 2024


A study in concentration and color choices. The art museum's Matisse-themed evening invited children like Ellie to color a turtle, a main visual element in SLAM's best known Matisse painting, . Once done coloring, the kids were invited to go on a visual scavenger hunt, looking for images that might relate to turtles. Maybe not a good idea since you would have to search every hall and galley. It didn't appeal to our kid.                

Sunday, February 25, 2024


So here's what was happening around the scene in yesterday's photo. The Saint Louis Art Museum's new special exhibition is Matisse And The Sea. The museum is open late on Fridays and the special shows are free. (The museum itself is always free, supported by local taxes.) There were some things for kids and we brought Ellie. One of them was sketch a mermaid, with Captain Jack Sparrow thrown in for good measure.                

Saturday, February 24, 2024


Huh? I think I'll leave this unexplained for now and see if there are any guesses.                   

Friday, February 23, 2024


Some orchids take pride in showing off individual blossoms. Others make their visual effect as a group. This reminds me of cherry blossoms. I've had the privilege of visiting Kyoto in the early spring. Wish I were going back, but this will do.             

Thursday, February 22, 2024


It's likely that some botanist and her/his geneticist pals have explained the stunning diversity of the shapes and colors of orchids, built around a central theme. That's way out of my department but I still enjoy the variety of images.

Speaking of which, I know we could use some variety of subject matter around here. There is a fun event at the art museum Friday night that I hope to shoot.              

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Perhaps the most unusual specimen in the botanical garden's orchid show. Really hard to photograph with the many layers of leaves, flowers and shoots. No cocktail sauce provided.                         

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


Sociable but subdued, a group of orchids huddle together facing the light and turning their backs on the darkness. From the Missouri Botanical Garden annual orchid show.                  

Monday, February 19, 2024


Fahrenheit 451 is supposed to be the ignition temperature of paper. It is also the name of a 1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, in which all books are banned and "firemen" incinerate any that are found. It struck me as a strange theme for a boozy, silly festival. Maybe it had something to do with the troubling tendency in this country to remove books from libraries and schools that some people find objectionable. Okay, but at Mardi Gras?                

Sunday, February 18, 2024


This might be the most clever and, on a few levels, the funniest "float" in the Mardi Gras parade. He may have been associated with a group but I found him by himself and couldn't tell. The essence of independence and mobility.                      

Saturday, February 17, 2024


Probably not what would leap to mind, even in Maurice Sendak's imagination (if he could imagine STL at all). But at this time of year the lid is allowed to come off the id, license has nothing to do with your permis de conduire and, as they say in New Orleans, laissez les bon temps rouler. I'm told that last phrase, known by most people in the U.S., is nearly meaningless in France.                     

Friday, February 16, 2024



All of the floats in the Mardi Gras parade have a theme, usually written on the side of a flat bed trailer the krewe rides on. This one said simply 1969, so I assume it was a reference to the Woodstock Festival. The audience included 19 year old me. There are stories, but not right now.                                

Thursday, February 15, 2024


In fact, without a particularly good attitude. He might feel better in the bath tub with his favorite company ( But, given the order of the day, once he gets a little more alcohol in him he'll probably loosen up.                

Wednesday, February 14, 2024


It's Valentine's Day, too, if that makes a difference. This is, of course, back at our Mardi Gras parade. I have no idea what these people were about. Who cares? As The Beatles told us ages ago, fun is the one thing that money can't buy.             

Tuesday, February 13, 2024


Alien lifeforms, or facsimiles thereof, milling around in the parade staging area on Broadway. I don't think they actually meant to threaten me but I don't want any high energy rays going through my fancy lens. Anyway, we're a long way from Area 51.                 

Monday, February 12, 2024



Lent begins Wednesday in the Christian world. Some parts of it have a blowout of excess leading up to the period of fasting and penance, called Carnival in most places but often Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in the U.S. New Orleans is justly famous for its days of wild celebrations. St. Louis claims to have the second biggest. This is something like comparing the height of the Washington Monument with the Burj Khalifa, but everyone has a good time. Our parade is held on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday and I always stop by with my camera. No one has ever declined my request for a photo.

Lots more good shots from the orchid show, which I may return to.                    

Sunday, February 11, 2024


The orchids seem somehow solid yet fragile, intensely beautiful but transitory. Perhaps a lesson in Buddhism.            

Saturday, February 10, 2024


The annual orchid show is on at the Missouri Botanical Garden. All the plants are genetically related but the variety of shapes and colors is staggering. Lots of good shots. It helps to have a macro lens.                  

Friday, February 9, 2024


Low on material so a bit of filler. This is part of the facade of a restaurant called The Soda Fountain at St. Louis Union Station. My grand kids go wild about the over-the-top ice cream desserts. But if you want a Manhattan instead of a side of fries, you're good. Want a shot of rum in your sundae? They got you covered.

LOTS of photo ops coming up here. Mrs. C and I are going to the annual orchid show at the botanical garden today. Our surprisingly big Mardi Gras parade is Saturday. As always, I'll be there.              

Thursday, February 8, 2024


Graffiti on another old building a couple of blocks south of the burned-out warehouse seen recently. In Anglo-American jurisprudence, it means that something is of no effect whatever, as if it never existed. Bleak, but the painter says nothing about the reference. The shiny building on the upper right is a very expensive Four Seasons Hotel above a casino and restaurant complex. The economics change quickly.                   

Wednesday, February 7, 2024


All things must pass, but how long they last depends, to some extent, on how they are cared for. Consider human bodies. The old warehouse on the riverfront that burned over the weekend had become useless and was abandoned. The surrounding area was old and industrial, lacking a reason to rehab it. The right background is our newest bridge across the Mississippi. How long will it stand? Our oldest bridge is 150 years old and still very much in use.            

Tuesday, February 6, 2024


We heard on the news that an old, vacant warehouse near the river had burned, so I had to have a look. It's in a desolate post-industrial area north of the Arch. The interior must have been largely made of wood since you can see the sky through the top. Not much going on when I drove by other than some demolition of unsafe walls but you could still smell the smoke. More for the urban trash heap.             

Monday, February 5, 2024


Low on material, so why not bring back my impossibly cute granddaughters. Audrey, on the left, and Ellie were riding the big Ferris wheel at Union Station. Ellie has her indispensable cloth lambies.         

Sunday, February 4, 2024


Lighting courtesy of the St. Louis Aquarium. This is a photo stop every time I take the kids through but the colors are always different.                

Saturday, February 3, 2024


Our aquarium's inhabitants are not limited to fish. Anything approximately wet is within its scope. I don't know what species of turtle these are but they they seem to equally like company and a heat lamp.              

Friday, February 2, 2024


St. Louis Union Station has had an aquarium since its last redevelopment. It's not on the scale of, say, New York or Chicago, but the kids like it.  The entry area is full of LED screens which, at least at the moment, are made to look like a scene from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.                  

Thursday, February 1, 2024


You don't have to look at a street corner from sidewalk level. This is a parking garage at the corner of Chestnut and 6th Streets in downtown St. Louis. The view is from a rooftop bar and restaurant on a hotel a block away.