Sunday, May 31, 2015

Visitor To The Gateway Geyser

Gateway Geyser Visitor

The Gateway Geyser has been on the blog a few times. (Some older pictures here and here.) It's the giant water jet across from the Arch in East St. Louis, Illinois, that pops up exactly as high as the Arch itself (633 feet/192 meters) if the wind isn't too high. You can see what happens if it's gusty.

This was taken under the Arch, on top of the stairs down to the Mississippi. The picture would have been okay but then this brilliant bird photobombed my shot.

That contraption on the left looks like part of a chemical plant. It's actually the suction/blower mechanism that takes grain from river barges back and forth to a big set of storage elevators off to the left of the frame.                                             

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bosnian Business

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They say there are about 70,000 Bosnians in our area. I've had a number of Bosnian clients and it would be hard to find a nicer, harder working group of people. They are go-getters.

So, of course, they have opened many businesses. These are just a couple of examples in the Bevo neighborhood. The entrance to the store on top has a strange design. It looks like it could have been the entrance to an old movie theater but the building behind did not look big enough to hold a screen. Another architectural mystery.                             

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Bosnian Chamber of Commerce

Friday, May 29, 2015


Our Bosnian population is centered around the old Bevo Mill, a landmark German restaurant on the south side. It was built in 1915-16 by August Busch, Sr., one of the founders of Anheuser-Busch. The location was chosen because it was about half way between the brewery and Busch's country estate, now known as Grant's Farm. (Apparently Ulysses S. Grant once lived there.) The name of the mill may be a variation on pivo, the Czech word for beer, since its pilsner-style brew was growing in popularity at the time.

(I learned three phrases in Czech when I visited Prague years ago: pivo, prosim - beer, please; jedno pivo prosim - another beer, please; and ucet, prosim - the bill, please. Somehow I failed to learn how to ask directions to the WC. Fortunately, the waiters were always able to tell from the expressions on the tourists' faces. But back to our story.)

The neighborhood was still primarily German and Dutch when I started living on the south side in the mid-70s. Times change, people in the area moved to the suburbs and A-B eventually closed the restaurant. Someone bought it a few years ago and did a fine restoration. Now it is a special events hall, weddings and such, and has a grand Sunday brunch. The neighborhood later filled with Bosnian refugees, who have revitalized the area.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Little Bosnia

We have a substantial Bosnian population in The Lou. It's are one of the main places refugees were resettled after the Balkan wars. They have added something special to the culture of the region and have been on the blog before, like the Bosnia - Argentina soccer match at the baseball stadium a year and a half ago.

The community is centered on the south side around the Bevo Mill, more about which soon. There was a little Taste of Bosnia festival there last Sunday. Well, two food carts but lots of enthusiasm. But when the band stopped playing American pop music and struck up Bosnian dance tunes - well, how do you say let the good times roll in Bosnian? Click the top picture for a video.                    

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Architectural Scrap

Archetecture Scrapyard

I has some trouble figuring out where to park and enter the grounds on my first visit to the STL Swap Meet. While I was wandering, I saw a small gated courtyard in the brewery that faced the street. It held the frames of two quatrefoil windows, probably from a demolished church, and some other architectural scrap. The frames looked to be solid enough to restore. Where they will end up I cannot guess.

Anyone who is interested in this sort of thing should check Chris Naffziger's excellent blog, St. Louis Patina, about the decay of our city's architectural heritage.                          

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

L'oiseau mort

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Everything sounds better in French. Actually, this isn't a dead bird. I think it's a little decorative accessory that fell over.

One of the best things about a good flea market is the wonderful range of junk on offer. Who's got four bathrooms to remodel? Who wants sleds at the beginning of a St. Louis summer?                   
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Local Fashion

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We're not the biggest town, nor the most beautiful or famous. But we have a strong, positive sense of self and, well, a certain look. Whether it's recycled frocks or tee shirts with attitude, the Swap Meet has plenty of it. 

It's the Memorial Day holiday in the US. Mostly quiet except for the ceremonies of rememberance and family events. Swimming pools traditionally open this weekend. There has to be something out there to shoot.                    

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Madeleine Monday Bonus

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So there's this restaurant/caterer/wedding cake shop near us that makes the best bread in town. We brought some over to dinner at Madeleine, Emily and Brian's home the other night. And what does the kid do with it? Just lick the butter off.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Primary Colors

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I've been on a motorcycle maybe twice in my life, both times as a passenger. The ride in the sidecar of an old BMW was the less terrifying, although my friend didn't have a another helmet (it's compulsory in Missouri) and I ended up wearing sort of a toy Cardinals batting helmet. We didn't get stopped by the police. I wouldn't drive one, though. Maybe you've heard the old line - what's another name for a motorcycle rider?  Answer: organ donor.

I wonder what was originally in the St. Louis Blues canister below. My guess is popcorn. Tastier than engine grease.                         

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Two wheels, Two Cylinders, Fast

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There was a motorcycle workshop, to use the term loosely, around the corner from the old car we saw yesterday. You could say that hot rod bikes were being built. These are two different vehicles. You shouldn't put a limb into the wheel of a motorcycle in general but you really shouldn't try it with the one in the top picture. Born to be wild, I guess.

Big night in The Lou later, the season opener of Opera Theatre of St. Louis. It's a unique experience and pure delight. First up is the ever-popular Barber of Seville. We'll be there.

(It's worth clicking the links today.)                           

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Inside Lemp Brewery

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Most of the action at the St. Louis Swap Meet is in the courtyard of the long-vacant Lemp Brewery. The  owners try to rent what space they can. The public was allowed into an area where a few people were restoring old cars or customizing motorcycles. 

The area was dark with a few shop lights scattered here and there. A path of sorts had been cleared but there was lots to trip on or fall into. Given my job, I wondered if they had any public liability insurance. Actually, I wondered how they could possibly get insurance for that interesting mess.

The person working on this vehicle seems to have questionable taste in beer and is proud of it.                          

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Swap Meet

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Swap meet, a phrase used loosely. More like a low-end, post-industrial urban flea market in the courtyard of a derelict brewery. The St. Louis Swap Meet has been going on for 10 years and got right by me until a couple of weeks ago. It's got junk/fun bric-a-brac, a couple of vans with local designers of women's clothes and a mismatched (and therefore interesting) assortment of food trucks. More to come.                       

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lawyer Advertising

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Americans all see plenty of lawyer advertising. It's a bit of an oversimplification but years ago the Supreme Court ruled it is a matter of free speech, as long as it is not deceptive. This often shocks people I meet from other countries. My little firm advertises. We have to. Our field is competitive.

Some of it is creative and some of it is coarse. This is an example of both from a local colleague who handles personal injury cases. Love all those dollar signs.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Slow Down

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St. Louis loves parades and we throw in anything that can roll or walk. Always motorcycle police, fire trucks and the state highway patrol. I hate to see these cars in my rear view mirror, even it I'm right on the speed limit.The officers all look like they just retired from the Marine Corps and have no sense of humor at all.                       

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why The Lou Is The Lou

Apotheosis of St Louis

We got to the George Caleb Bingham show at the art museum yesterday. It was well worth the effort, a survey of America's romanticized view of life on the inland riverways in the 1840s and 50s. Locals. if it sounds interesting, better hurry. It closes today.

I'm really short on material but all I had to do was step out the door to snap one of the local icons. There are a couple of good events so shoot today if it doesn't pour. Which it might.                       

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dinner At The Art Museum


The St. Louis Art Museum has an excellent restaurant, Panorama, named, I suppose, for its sweeping view of the statue of Louis IX and Art Hill. The restaurant got terrible reviews when it first opened. The current executive chef, Ivy Magruder, has engineered a complete turn around.

We had not heard about this until a couple of days ago. The museum hardly publicizes it but one Friday a month, Panorama runs a multi-course, prix fixe tasting menu they call Art At The Table. Mrs. C hapened to find out about it and we attended last night's meal. It has a seafood theme. Very, very good. We booked for June on the spot.

That's Chef Magruder in the second picture. Bottom, the entrance to the George Caleb Bingham exhibit. It closes tomorrow. We're going this afternoon.
Chef Ivy Magruder

Entrance To The Bingham Exhibit

Friday, May 15, 2015

St. Louis In Civil Rights History

Dred Scott

Most Americans have heard of Dred Scott but not many of us  know the meaning of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that bears his name. The case was about the status of enslaved people who had been held captive while residing in a free state. Those states and territories held that a slaveholder forfeited his property rights to his enslaved individuals within their boundaries and where there was no law to support his controlling the slave. Congress had never before addressed whether slaves were free if they set foot upon free soil. Scott, a slave of an army surgeon. moved with his family between free and slave territories with his owner's military postings. 

Scott eventually sued for freedom in St. Louis. The case found its way to the Supreme Court which, in a notorious decision made in 1857, ruled that no person of African ancestry could claim citizenship in the United States and had no right to bring suit in its courts. The outrage over the decision was one of the factors that lead to the Civil War.

This bust is located in our Laumeier Sculpture Park. Scott died in St. Louis in 1858 at the age of 59.                      

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Crazy

Toynbee-ish Tile

Found in the pavement at Cherokee and Pennsylvania on the south side, a short walk from my daughter's home. It's made with the same technique as Toynbee tiles, strips of linoleum pressed into the asphalt. (Well, there are a few more steps.) It looks very new.

There used to be a few genuine Toynbee tiles downtown. A few have been paved over and at least one has been torn out and stolen.                       

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Black Forest

Pines, Tower Grove Park

So what's to shoot on a dismal day? I've always liked this grove of old pines in Tower Grove Park. They look ominous, perhaps dangerous to walk through. But if you pass the challenge, go a few paces further and confront the mad genius, Richard Wagner, on the next column down from Beethoven. Ho Jo To Ho!                                

Wagner In The Rain

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pastoral Symphony

Pastoral Symphomy

Beethoven in the rain, Tower Grove Park. There is a large, ornate gazebo just to the left of the frame.  It is surrounded by eight marble columns, topped with busts of 18th and 19th Century composers.  I'm sure they reflect the taste of the rich people of the times who erected this.

Images of Ludwig almost always glower. Maybe the depictions are wrong, Or maybe he was in need of Zoloft long before its time. But the composer of the Ode to Joy could not have looked like this when he wrote it.                   

Monday, May 11, 2015

Madeleine Monday

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Haven't had the tyke on in awhile. We had dinner with Emily, Brian and Ellie, as we call her, Saturday night, as we do most weekends. It's not safe to take her to restaurants any more because she tends to erupt around her 8 o'clock bed time and there's nothing you can do with her but bring her home.

She's almost 21 months and is developing quite a personality. Surprisingly, she doesn't talk at all yet except occasionally "doggie!" when the family pet goes by. Emily has taken to calling her R2D2 because, in situations where she should be starting to speak, she let's fly with a stream of nonsense syllables and then shakes with laughter, obviously pleased with her comedic talent. She loves music. If a car drives down the street with a loud sound system she has to stop and dance. Her receptive language is fine. If Emily says "Show me your nose, show me your feet" she always gets it right. Except last night. When Emily said "show me your ears," Ellie responded with a loud pppbbbffftt! "Show me your fingers." Pppbbbffftt!  And so on, followed by howls of laughter. We're raising a comedian.

She is sensitive to noise. The middle picture was a reaction to the dishwasher turning on. We don't know how she learned the behavior. Her parents didn't teach it to her and she doesn't get to watch television. 

Bottom, Ellie, mom and grandma out for a walk in the neighborhood. By the way, that shirt with the fake Chicago Cubs camera strap is from Uncle Andy in that city.                           

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Sunday, May 10, 2015


Ferguson Police

So I went up to the spring street fair in Ferguson yesterday. It was disappointing. Pretty small, a number of vendors and organizations in little tents, a stage, off and on rain all day. The crowd was thin and some of the vendors were striking their tents when I arrived.

It hit me that I've never set foot in Ferguson in the 48 years since I came to St. Louis University. Well off my path from anywhere to anywhere. Didn't dare go during last August's convulsions. We're big enough that there are a number of parts of the metro area I have never seen, no reason to visit except curiosity. If I cut back to part time work in two years (I hope I hope I hope I hope) maybe I can expand my horizons.                                

Hearts Rebuilt

I Love Ferguson

With A Smile

Saturday, May 9, 2015

I Love Rock And Roll

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Joan Jett, where are you? I see this drummer every year in the PJP.  You have to wonder about him. His body is in great shape but what about his brain?

There is a spring street fair in Ferguson today. Yeah, that Ferguson. I may go check it out.                     People's Joy Parade 2015-05-02 33

Friday, May 8, 2015

Never Let Your Gun Get Wet

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Alternative firearms at the PJP, the only kind I like. It's even better that it's in the holster backwards.

I'll pass on the pants, though.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Good Clean Fun

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Everyone - well, most people - wants to be neat and tidy at the People's Joy Parade. Whose idea was it to put a laundromat next to the staging area?

But if you have the bad fortune to have a buttock explode, how do you stay clean? Better Google that one.         

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cherokee Street Fashion

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The theme might be tamer versions of bikers' sleeveless jean jackets. The top one is self evident. The second has the decades-old logo of a local rock radio station and the trademark emblem of local artist Peat Wollaeger.                                   

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