Thursday, April 30, 2015

Enviornmentally Friendly

Easth Day 2015-04-26 7 BW

Not surprisingly, the Earth Day festival had a display of electric cars. Three of them were Teslas, the luxury rocket of no-emission vehicles. Note the storage space where the engine would normally be. My son had a chance to drive one once. He said it went from zero to OMG in near-complete silence. 

They make me drool but are a wee bit out of my price range.  So, back to my slightly worn but very well made Honda. Much more practical.                                     

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Drum Major

First Robotics 2015-04-25 4
Rick Kramer, leader of Joia, seen many times before on these pages. They describe themselves as a world rhythm ensemble and turn up at all sorts of public celebrations. Rick certainly has a lot of flair.

It's hard to appreciate what they do without hearing them. Here's an audio clip from their performance at Earth Day. Crank up the volume.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Easth Day 2015-04-26 3

So, I ask myself, what would I do if confronted by a live chicken? Mrs. C, who dressed plenty of poultry on the family farm in Kansas, would know. Me, I'm a big city boy. I'd probably call for the animal control officer. 

This was in the children's area at Earth Day. There was a little boy just off camera to the right who found the bird entertaining. It was awfully calm. Personally, I think it was drugged.                  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hug a tree. Save a whale.

Easth Day 2015-04-26 1

Yesterday brought the annual Earth Day celebration in Forest Park. The weather was just perfect and the crowd was large.

I don't like the direction our festival is taking. It seems more corporate and tightly controlled. Much less wacky spontaneous activity. I remember seeing a powerful man in a silk suit doing tai chi with himself in a central area; young people performing capoeira, the Brazilian martial art/dance form, on the sidewalk; three young men playing banjo, guitar and fiddle, without authorization and just for fun; a woman in flowing robes standing by a sign that read "Free Hugs"; a veritable encampment of the faeries from the Renaissance Faire; a full service bar. Everything like this is gone.

Now we find booth after booth just trying to sell something or promote an organization. They have always been there but now there is little relief. Most of the entertainment is pretty tame. It has lost some of its fun and charm. Still, there are always interesting people.                        

Easth Day 2015-04-26 2

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I, Robot

First Robotics 2015-04-25 1

Yesterday afternoon I walked over to our big domed football stadium to check the final rounds of the FIRST Robotics competition. There are regional competitions world-wide but the championship tournament is always here.

This is for high school students who design radio-controlled gizmos performing specific but difficult tasks. Thousands of team members have been swarming downtown. I saw three young women checking a restaurant menu, wearing the Canadian flag as capes. Driving home Friday, one of them entering the Arch grounds was wrapped in the Spanish standard. As I approached the stadium yesterday, there was a group wearing Cat In The Hat style hats in the colors of the German flag. An Israeli team that made it to the quarter-finals waved the sky blue and white in the stands.

The competition is hard to follow for the uninitiated. This year it had something to do with stacking and moving plastic storage cases and recycling bins. Points were awarded for, well, I don't know what. Pieces of green foam spaghetti flew through the air.  There may (or may not) have been points awarded for sticking them in the recycling bins.

(And, BTW, apologies to Isaac Asimov.)                             

First Robotics 2015-04-25 2

First Robotics 2015-04-25 3

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Look! Up In The Sky! It's A Bird! It's A Plane!

Cards vs Reds 2015-04-18 6

Cardinals' second baseman Pete Kozma and first baseman Matt Adams on pigeon patrol at Busch Stadium. Superman was not to be found.                         

Friday, April 24, 2015

Let's Do This

Let's Do This (This Way To The Arch)

Yeah, finish the %&@$# Arch area renovations. The construction people have closed off all the entrances to the Arch grounds but one, and it's not in a terribly convenient location. Hence these stencils painted all over downtown sidewalks; without them most visitors would never find the way in.

Oh, and the traffic problems from tearing up and rerouting so many streets. There is an international robotics competition for high school students in town. Yesterday morning, while driving the new convoluted route to my office, a group of kids wearing Norwegian flag jackets almost walked into my car. They were either confused by the deconstructed intersection or awestruck by the glories of downtown St. Louis. I couldn't tell which.                       

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jewel Box

Forest Park 2015-04-19 3

The Jewel Box is a glass house in Forest Park. It has tropical plants, nothing special. You often see weddings there. It looks pretty good even on a gray day with its reflecting pool and surrounded by tulips.                              

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April Showers

Forest Park 2014-04-19 2

In Forest Park, just after a spring rain. For the locals, this is a bit east of the Jewel Box.

Haven't been getting around CDP much. Too many obligations, too many things to do. This too shall pass.                        

Monday, April 20, 2015

Relax. Or Not.

Cards vs Reds 2015-04-18 3

Ah, the open sky and gentle breeze at the old ball yard. Breathe deeply. No excitement yet. Unless you are locked in anxious eye contact with someone who has very nice hair. Don't spill that beer!                     

Cards vs Reds 2015-04-18 5 (Eye Contact)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Now I'm Sure Spring Is Here

Cards vs Reds 2015-04-18 1

I went to my office Saturday morning, as I do all too often. Total boredom. My camera was on the floor beside my desk and I was out of local material. Go out, Robert, find something, I thought. But the sky was gray and everything looked dull and I didn't have any energy and wah wah wah, the usual excuses. With some effort, I trudged down Broadway toward Busch Stadium searching for images.

The Cardinals had a day game. Nothing happening outside the stadium. Now what? Go to the game. Our weekend matches are more or less all sold out but you can usually get a single ticket so that's what I did. Baseball is often a social event with family or friends. It was nice to go by myself and just pay attention to events on the field. 

Above, a young vendor selling snacks near my seat. Below, red, white and the theme of the day. It's really spring when Matt Carpenter leads off and plays third base near a Budweiser sign.                           

Cards vs Reds 2015-04-18 2

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Where Elvis Shopped

Lansky's, Memphis

Lansky's is an expensive men's clothing store located in Memphis' Peabody Hotel. According to the store's web site the Lansky brothers 
switched to high-fashion clothing in a store on Beale Street, which caught the eye of a young and penniless Presley. Elvis worked as an usher at nearby Loew's State Theater.
When Bernard spotted the starry-eyed teen window-shopping, he recalls, "I said, "Come on in, young man.' I showed him the merchandise, and it blew his mind. We used to have Life Savers colors--reds, pinks, blues, yellows, purples. He said, "Boy, I like this. I don't have any money now, but when I get rich, I'll buy you out." I said, "Do me a favor. Don't buy me out, just buy from me.' "

A loyal Elvis did just that, from his first tux--a pink-and-black combo he wore to his junior/senior prom--to a black mohair suit after his Army discharge. "Man, they tore it off him," laughs Bernard. "They sure did."
But may we all have the style of Elvis? Thanks, but we don't don't allow people to look like that on the street in St. Louis.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Autozone Park Memphis 4 (Palindrome)

Members of the Iowa Cubs at Autozone Park in Memphis. You couldn't lose them in a fog.

It is far enough into the spring that we will be having lots of weekend events. Results soon.                         

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Minor League Baseball

Autozone Park Memphis 3

North American readers will understand this, except perhaps for our colleague Virginia in Birmingham, whose attitude toward baseball is the same as Rhett Butler's toward Scarlett O'Hara. International readers can contact me for details.

The Memphis Redbirds are the St. Louis Cardinals' AAA level minor league team. They have a beautiful, new little stadium that holds 10,000 fans. (The Cards can pack in something in the mid 40s.) There are no bad seats. (Um, not so here.) It is an intimate setting for baseball lovers.

I completely blew it out and bought the most expensive seat in the place for $21. The high end here is about six time that. The Redbirds got trampled 12 - 0 by the Cubs affiliate in Des Moines. Still, it had a baseball charm you can never get in the big leagues.                                      

Autozone Park Memphis 6

Autozone Park Memphis 9

Autozone Park Memphis 8

Autozone Park Memphis 5

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Memphis Scenes

Vance and Mulberry Memphis 1

A cafe near the civil rights museum. The sky over the baseball stadium at dusk.

Tuesday was a long day at work. But then I've been hanging out with someone for 41 years as of yesterday, so it wasn't all bad.                                 

Memphis Sky

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum 2015-04-11 3

Images from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. It is a powerful experience. Many of the displays are made of sculpture of the people who lived the struggle, set in photographs of the actual events.

I was a teenager during most of the events depicted here. My memories are hazy.                          
National Civil Rights Museum 2015-04-11 1

National Civil Rights Museum 2015-04-11 2

Monday, April 13, 2015

Where Dr. King Died

Lorraine Motel Memphis 2015-04-11 1

The Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, where Martin Luther King was assassinated 47 years ago on the balcony of Room 306. It is now the home the National Civil Rights museum, more about which tomorrow.                              

Lorraine Motel Memphis 2015-04-11 2

Lorraine Motel Memphis 2015-04-11 3

Lorraine Motel Memphis 2015-04-11 4

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Peabody Hotel Ducks 2015-04-11 3

Peabody Hotel Ducks 2015-04-11 5

Mrs. C's conference is at the grand old Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The public areas have an antique opulence. It has had a wacky tradition for 80 years - a group of ducks spends the day splashing in the ornate marble fountain in the lobby. They come down the elevator from their rooftop home at 11, parade across a red carpet to some small steps and hop into the pool. The ducks go back up the same way at 5. 

A duckmaster (how'd you like to be a duckmaster?) presides with great ceremony. There is always a big crowd. I couldn't get a line of sight anywhere on the lobby floor and had to take up a position on the mezzanine.              

Peabody Hotel Ducks 2015-04-11 4

Peabody Hotel Ducks 2015-04-11 2

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Monochrome Garden

MoBot 2105-04-05 6

Gardens are not just about color. We also appreciate shape, light and texture. These photos are from last weekend's visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Making a run down to Memphis this morning, a four hour drive. Mrs. C has an annual professional conference there. I joined her for a couple of nights last year - you may have seen my pictures from Graceland. This time it's down today and back home with her tomorrow. If I get there early enough I'll visit the Civil Rights Museum and photograph the daily duck parade at the famous old Peabody Hotel where we're staying. While Carolyn is at a Saturday evening program I'll attend the Memphis Redbirds baseball game. They are the Cardinals' AAA minor league affiliate, playing in a little gem of a stadium, just 10,000 seats and a block from the hotel. I went crazy and bought the most expensive ticket in the place - $21. It's three figures in St. Louis.                                    


Friday, April 10, 2015

The Giant And The Pipsqueak

Madeleine At Citygarden 2015-04-09 2

Guest photos by daughter Emily. Yesterday was a pleasant spring day. Emily brought Madeleine downtown to splash in the fountains at Citygarden. I walked over from my office to meet them. Em had her big camera and took these shots.

There is a grid of metal plates in the pavement that shoot up water in varying patterns. At first Madeleine was baffled. Once she got the idea she squealed with delight, running from jet to jet, putting her hand over them and waiting tor each to squirt. She got good and wet.

One of the rare posts with a peek at me.                             

Madeleine At Citygarden 2015-04-09 4

Madeleine At Citygarden 2015-04-09 1

Madeleine At Citygarden 2015-04-09 5

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2015-03-29 1

From the same series of iPhone shots as the second photo in April 1's theme day post, plus a little more digital magic.                    

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Thirst And Sacrilege

MoBot 2105-04-05 9

If you have ever visited a Buddhist temple in Japan you have seen one of these slow, gentle fountains. You rinse your hands under the trickle, symbolically cleansing yourself before entering the holy space.

Son Andy apparently lacks respect for dharma. I think the only drink he is going to get is face first from the little pool.  Maybe he will come back in his next life as an inner-city high school math teacher. Oh, wait. Already there.                       

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Madeleine On Easter

Easter With Madeleine 2015-04-05 1

We spent most of Easter at the home of our daughter, Emily, her husband, Brian, and the inimitable Madeleine. Our son Andy, his wife, Claire, and the granddaughter-to-be named-later were in from Chicago. Brian and Emily set up an egg hunt in the back yard - plastic, in two sections with bits of candy inside. The 19 month old didn't know what it was about, didn't know what she was looking for and may have never tasted candy before. (Our daughter is an exacting mother.) Still, Ms. M was persistent and gathered them all with some help from dad.                           

Easter With Madeleine 2015-04-05 2

Easter With Madeleine 2015-04-05 3

Monday, April 6, 2015

In A Week's Time

MoBot 2105-04-05 2

Some of the family went to the botanical garden yesterday. When I was last there eight days ago the place was pretty barren. Now the cherry trees have cracked open throughout the Japanese garden. Why, it was just like them old days in Kyoto.                         

MoBot 2105-04-05 1