Sunday, January 31, 2016


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Running low on material but still finding images from the Ice Carnival a couple of weeks ago. This was a strange amusement, apparently a double sphere, the inner and outer connected by these green pins. Someone gets in and then runs like crazy down a track bordered by inflated tubes, trying their best not to fall or go upside down. It's actually a race. There is a second sphere, not shown here, in which another contestant tries to go down and back more quickly.

I don't think there was a prize for the winner but second place got a packet of Dramamine.
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Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 31

The theme for City Daily Photo bloggers on February 1 is
"A Scene from a Cafe or Coffee House."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Closed For The Season

Municipal Opera Box Office
One of STL's favorite institutions is the Muny Opera in Forest Park. It's America's largest outdoor musical theater with 11,000 seats. There are 1,500 free seats for every performance, first come, first served. 

The repertory tends to be oft-recycled Broadway shows. Mrs. C and I haven't been since we were newlyweds. By this time, if I had to sit through The Music Man on a sweltering St. Louis summer evening it might take 76 trombones to silence my rage.

The theme for City Daily Photo bloggers on February 1 is
           "A Scene from a Cafe or Coffee House.”

Friday, January 29, 2016

Self Expression

Stickers 1

I don't think you could find a car that looks like this anywhere in the world but the US. This kind of complete cover is uncommon but it's not unique. You do see plenty of vehicles that have lots of stickers on the back promoting political or sometimes religious views, any kind of music from heavy metal to the symphony, organizations of every kind or just whatever the owner wants to make a statement about.

Makes you wonder if the weight of all the stickers reduces the car's fuel economy. On the other hand, think of what the owner could save on car washes and minor body work.

Found in University City along the Delmar Loop.                      

Stickers 2

The theme for City Daily Photo bloggers on February 1 is
"A Scene from a Cafe or Coffee House.”

Thursday, January 28, 2016


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For some reason on a cold winter day in St. Louis, my thoughts drift to an image of Marge Simpson in Hawaii wearing a slinky dress. (Conditions here must be hard.) Actually, I found this in a shop window in the University City Loop.

Mrs. C and I love the Simpsons. It is the only consistently literate show on TV, which makes me wonder how it has lasted for so many years. There are lots of interesting details about Marge. Did you know her middle name is Jacqueline and her maiden name was Bouvier, as in Jackie Kennedy? And that hair! It's said to be based on a combination of the bride's in Bride of Frankenstein and the style cartoonist Matt Groening's mother wore in the 60s. But why blue?

The theme for City Daily Photo bloggers on February 1 is
"A Scene from a Cafe or Coffee House.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Another Place To Stay Warm

At Cicero's

Cicero's pub at the west end of the Delmar Loop (which is actually a straight line, but there's a backstory) is another cozy place on a cold day. We stopped in for a beer to kill some time before a restaurant reservation. They have 55 brews on tap and 200 in bottles. I ordered a Schlafly, as on the billboard on the right. My favorite is the Kölsch.

The framed decorations on the back wall are all beer tap handles.

The theme for City Daily Photo bloggers on February 1 is
"A Scene from a Cafe or Coffee House.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Stay Warm

The Tivoli
The Tivoli, STL's leading (if not only) art house cinema, in the middle of the Delmar Loop in University City. The town gets its name because most of Washington University is within its limits (although bits are in St. Louis proper and Clayton). Warm popcorn and movies sounds good at this time of year but we're more likely to do it at home with Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I Could Save This For The Fourth of July, But...

Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 28

Captain America has a more-or-less invincible shield. Captain Kirk has force shield defenses but they eventually weaken. Captain Crunch will destroy the enamel shield on your teeth. Is there no place safe?

The theme for City Daily Photo bloggers on February 1 is
"A Scene from a Cafe or Coffee House.” 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Still Playing With Fire

Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 27
Still far beyond the limits of my coordination and risk tolerance but not as nuts as the chap in yesterday's post. At least she can put her hands on the object connected to the fire. Better dressed, too.            

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Kids, Don't Try This At Home

Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 24
A fire juggler at the Ice Carnival. I don't like the look of this. Does he value his nose and, um, whatever else?

Something else most of us wouldn't want to try.
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Friday, January 22, 2016


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A garish Ice sculpture of Bernie Sanders at the Carnival in The Loop. Tells you something about the inclinations of the neighborhood. I don't know which he needs most, a haberdasher, an orthodontist or a barber.

No Hillary sculpture. And Ted Cruz would be very unwelcome if he crossed the University City limits.                

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hanging From A Wire

Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 22

A bit more zip line action. You can see the tower in these shots, roughly three stories tall. I am grateful to whoever set up the cloud explosion for my background in the first and third shots. 

Some of the commentators to yesterdays post said that they would never do this, or they tried once and would never do it again. We've had the opportunity in Costa Rica. Mrs. C tried it once and is done for life. I have some spine and joint issues, plus I'm usually carrying about a twenty pound camera bag, so I took a pass. Which is to say, I weenied out.
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Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 20

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Zip Line

Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 18

When I think of zip lines the image I get is of cables strung high in the canopies of Costa Rican forests. Well, you don't need tropical mountains or even a hill. Flat Delmar Boulevard will do just fine.

The Ice Carnival brought in a mobile zip line contraption. People stood in line to climb a tower, get strapped into a harness and shoot off to a low platform a block away. Pretty cool. I may run some more of these.                    

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

No Explanation

Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 17

This chap and a companion were on the sidewalk in front of the trendy Moonrise Hotel during the Ice Carnival. The other one, a woman, was wearing a very long white gown. Both had those springy running-walking curved stilts made of fiberglass or something. This one seemed to specialize in mad gesticulations and expressions. I saw no particular need for meaning.    

Monday, January 18, 2016


Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 9 (Honk)

Many of the businesses in our Delmar Loop district had frozen sculptures outside for the Ice Carnival. Some of them obviously had corporate sponsors.

Goose Island is a large mud flat in the north branch of the Chicago River but is now heavily developed. The city's leading craft brewery was founded there. I assume you can get their products extra cold at this establishment.                  

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Loop Ice Carnival 2016-01-16 1

Mrs. C and I had a different and interesting Saturday. Leisurely morning at home (I make the best bagel and egg breakfast sandwiches anywhere).  Then the Metropolitan Opera's live simulcast of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers at a local theater (wow), something we don't do nearly often enough. Then a long walk up and down the University City Loop's Ice Carnival, seen here occasionally in the past. Then dinner at the new-ish Randolfi's Italian restaurant, whose reviews have ranged from raves to condemnation. We decided to see for ourselves. Better than average food, IMHO, at prices I'd never pay again.

And so home to photo editing and blogging. This is the iconic statue of St. Louisan Chuck Berry in the middle of the strip. Just let me hear some of that rock 'n' roll music.      

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cold Walk

Dog Walker, Tower Grove Park

A long path in Tower Grove Park, all for the love of a dog. It's a question of values.                    

Friday, January 15, 2016

So Much For That

Rams Leaving 1
As anyone who follows sports in this country knows, the National Football League just allowed the St. Louis Rams football team to move to Los Angeles (from whence they came here 23 years ago). The request came from the Rams' billionaire owner, Stan Kronke, a man who had the good business sense to marry into the Walmart fortune. He had some very nasty things to say about our city, including complaints about attendance for a team that has had eight straight losing seasons. Suffice it to say that he is despised in these parts.

Good riddance. Regular readers know that I don't like American football - so deliberately violent, so callous about wrecking players' brains from repeated concussions and then throwing them out with the trash. It hurts St. Louis' pride to lose a major league sports team but I'd rather see my taxes go to schools and infrastructure than to a new zillion dollar sports stadium . 

The second picture shows a trailer near the stadium. Extreme discounts are available. The bottom shot is the 67,000 seat domed stadium where the Rams played. It's actually a physical part of the convention center. Maybe we can fill it with more monster truck shows or international soccer friendlies. (I still can't decide if soccer is an exciting sport or a college physics demonstration of Brownian motion.)

For man-and-woman in the street reaction click here. If you would like to read a cogent analysis of the greed and arrogance of NFL owners check this out.

I do believe this qualifies as the occasional rant.                  

Steep Discounts Available

Big Empty Building

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pick Yer Griffin

Griffin And Church

This pair of griffins top the columns at the east entrance to Tower Grove Park. I don't know which of the photos I like better. Slightly different effects and feeling.

The church in the top photo is where Mrs. C and I were married. Getting close to 42 years now.                

Griffin - Tower Grove Park

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Inside, Where It's Warm...

Once past the frigid courtyard at Nathalie's, we stepped into the swanky bar and found that there was entertainment for the evening. Coco Rico (which, I am told, is the French equivalent of cock-a-doodle-doo) is a duo that plays jazz acoustic guitar in the tradition of Django Reinhardt. (If you don't know the name, look and listen on YouTube here.) 

These musicians have an elegant, polished style with runs of great virtuosity. Their fingers do things I couldn't dream of. Locals, definitely worth your time if you have a chance to hear them.                     

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cold Snap

Frozen Fountain
The family had dinner Sunday night at one of our favorite restaurants, Nathalie's in the Central West End. The temperature had dropped to the low teens F (around -10 C). We entered the courtyard and found this fountain. It has a beautiful Belle Époque look (as does the restaurant's interior design) but someone forgot the water valve. Hope the pipes didn't burst.                          

Monday, January 11, 2016

Madeleine Monday

Toddlers and iPhones
Hello? Hello? 30 months old and she uses an iPhone better than spoken language. There's no one on the line - I guess she just thinks it's cool to mimic adults. Still, she can be so sweet about it. If we babysit and Mrs. C gets there first, Madeleine wants to call me just to hear my voice, exclaiming Papa! Papa! into the phone. Then when I arrive she runs up to me, wants to be picked up, and moments later grabs for my phone while making monkey noises. That means that she wants to watch Curious George cartoons on Netflix on my you-know-what. My family didn't even have a television when I was this age.                         

Too Many Toys

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Bit Of WInter, Finally

Von Humboldt In Tower Grove Park

It has been a mild winter so far. The temperature has started to slide a little. Yesterday we got our first hint of snow. It didn't last but it did get quite cold last night by our standards.
Alexander von Humboldt observes the event in Tower Grove Park. He was quite an interesting guy, a geographer, explorer and naturalist, but is no longer well known, at least in this country. A new biography was recently published to very favorable reviews. It's on my list.                 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Entertainment Or Sustinance

Boxcar, East Saint Louis

A boxcar in East St. Louis near the river. I assume the part on the left is a reference to the singer/dancer/entertainer/not-very-good-role-model M. C. Hammer, or, if you prefer, Stanley Burrell. He does dance well. The part on the right is more puzzling. Who needs to be reminded?                   

Friday, January 8, 2016

Centre Ville

Old Courthouse And Downtown 2016-01-02 1

That's the highfalutin' way of saying downtown. Everything sounds better in French. The two yellow cranes are beneath the Arch, part of the restoration work. The building with the copper dome is the Old Courthouse, seen here many times before.  

Excuses: I'm not getting any comments written tonight because we are babysitting Madeleine and she is crawling all over me.                   

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday Arch Series

Gateway Arch 2016-01-01 1
The series has been sparsely populated during the extensive renovation of the Arch grounds. (Then there is the issue of finding something new after thousands of shots.) What I should be doing is going across the river to Illinois, shooting the monument in different weather and times of the day. This one was taken from East St. Louis in late afternoon, with some computer razzmatazz added.               

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Mississippi River Flood 2016-01-02 3

There were a few other good photos from my walk around the riverfront as the flood waters subsided. Many patterns in this one. Taken from the platform of the MetroLink station on the river's edge in East St. Louis.                

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Final Mop Up

Mississippi River Flood 2016-01-02 2

The water level in our local rivers is dropping fast. The photo above shows the stairs under the arch that go down to the street (at the level of the bases of the streetlamps, still under water here), and then to a small street at the top of the cobblestone levee, and then a way further down to the Mississippi. The stairs have two landings. You can see the light horizontal band of the top landing and the lower one just above water level. The river was in between the two last week.

The bottom pic is the same railroad trestle as in Sunday's post with a lot more open air beneath it.

My memory, always questionable, is that the water covered the top landing during the great flood of 1993. This old photo shows it just about there.                       

Mississippi River Flood 2016-01-02 1

Monday, January 4, 2016

Wet Suburbia

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The intersection of Interstate 44 and State Highway 141 in suburban Valley Park always goes under water in the heaviest rains. The Meramec River, mentioned earlier in this series, is a short distance behind the Interstate. 141 runs down into a trough that is badly engineered and fills up from time to time. However, I can never remember 44, a major road, being closed by flooding. Part of it to the left of the frame runs low and next to the river. It was awash a few days ago.

The peak was on Thursday, December 31. These pictures were taken on Saturday, when the water level was much lower.                   

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2106-01-02 44 and 141 4

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Low Clearance

Mississippi River Flood 2015-12-31 2

These pictures were taken on Thursday, December 31. The water is falling here but rising downstream.

Note the railroad trestle with the sign indicating 12 feet, 2 inches clearance to the street below. I estimate it is about 2 feet (0.6 meter) above the water here. (The track actually runs beneath the Arch grounds.)  The street is what's underwater in the second photo from yesterday's post. The river is usually far down the levee below the street.

The bottom picture shows how far the flood got up what used to be the foot of Washington Avenue into the north end of the Arch grounds work.                

Mississippi River Flood 2015-12-31 3

Mississippi River Flood 2015-12-31 1

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lotta Water

Mississippi River Flood 2015-12-31 8

St. Louis got between 5 and 10 inches of rain (13 - 25 cm) of rain while we were away, depending on the exact location.  Some out of town friends have expressed concern for our safety. Not to worry. The only areas affected were along the Mississippi and a local tributary, the Meramec.  There is a good selection of photos on our local newspaper's web site here.

My office is close to Big Muddy so I took a walk out onto Eads Bridge for a look. It's hard to understand how high the water is from the first picture. However, below, there is a street between the light poles and flood wall, with sidewalks on either side. Under normal conditions, there is a good stretch of cobblestone levee sloping down to the left.

Got a few more views to come.                

Mississippi River Flood 2015-12-31 5

Friday, January 1, 2016

Photo(s) Of The Year

On New Year's Day City Daily Photo members show off their best picture of the year. I'm a prolific snapper and don't seem to be able to limit myself to one image. As Oscar Wilde said, nothing succeeds like excess. And so:

Favorite picture of the year, and maybe best travel photo - Denali National Park in Alaska on a bleak day.


Best Arch picture. There were not many this year because of the mess from the renovations of the grounds.

Best architecture. 120 Wall Street in New York, where my father worked for most of his career, followed by a club on the edge of downtown STL.


Best portrait - my friend, the artist Henryk Ptasiewicz.

Best urban landscape - snow in front of the St. Louis Art Museum.

Best flora, at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Best fauna. Sorry, three way tie. A millipede in a Costa Rican rain forest, rolled up in a defensive position; the koi pond in the Botanical Garden; and a puffin in Seward, Alaska.


Best travel photo, besides the other ones. Dinner on the beach in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Best local shots - the Great Forest Park Balloon Race, followed by dusk on Gravois Avenue.

Best picture of Madeleine. Not so much cute as deep. There is a lot going on behind those eyes.

So happy 2016 to one and all. Oh, and you may have heard that it's been raining a bit here. Pix of the Mississippi tomorrow.

And check the best images of CDP members from around the world here.