A Face In The Crowd


A Face In The Crowd

A Face In The Crowd

I got Anne out on the bicycle today. She was still laid low from her cold on Friday, so this Friday off together was not as much fun as the last one was. I got out on the bike yesterday, but it just wasn’t the same without her. Today, we rode over to Tower Grove Park for its big festival of the year, The Festival of Nations. As you can tell from the photo, there were thousands of people there. There were hundreds of booths too, representing many of the world’s nations. We regularly attend this festival, but I noticed something new this year, in addition to nation-states various ethnicities were also there.

The main draw for me is the food. We started off with Vietnamese pork pot stickers. They were very good. I could have gone for a second round of them. Next up, was a sort of baklava confection from Kurdistan, but instead of normal filo dough, it used something that seemed like shredded wheat. It too was good. I now know how much sweet syrup to put on my next bowl of Shredded Wheat to make it taste good. We rounded things out with two orders of Columbian arapas, one chicken, the other vegetarian, which were kind of meh, except for the salsa that came with them. We also got lemonade with mangos there, which were to die for. I’ll have to try to make some for myself. We took in more than food from the represented cultures. The festival had multiple stages performing simultaneously and in-between bouts of eating, we caught a few acts. On the way out, we saw Bobby at the Model UN booth. She gave us a little bit more intel on Dan’s big party at the house.

A final note about the traffic. It was horrible. Even on a normal Saturday, there is a lot of traffic around Tower Grove, but today it was just insane. Lucky for us, we were on our bicycles and were able to take full advantage of the dedicated bicycle lane running up Tower Grove Avenue. Much of the street was just a parking lot that we just breezed on by.

Mayfly


Mayfly

Mayfly

It’s the weekend. Yes, a three-day weekend. My project continues to enjoy every other Friday as voluntary stand-down days. I’m all in with this, as is increasingly more and more of my co-workers. Anne was scheduled to work today, but yesterday in front of the principal, she had a major coughing fit and was sent home early and was excused from today. Before she left school a kindergartener came up to her and pressed one of her moles. Another teacher explained to her that he had just pressed her on button. Anne exclaimed that she needed that little turn on. I tried pressing it later and she just collapsed. I hope that she feels well enough for a bicycle ride. It should be a nice day. I feel a bit like a mayfly, let us live for today, because tomorrow we die!

A Prickly Matter


Pincushion Cactus

Pincushion Cactus

For about a week now, it has been unseasonably cool in Saint Louis and this being the back-half of August that is a good thing. At night, we don’t have to run the AC and can open the windows. This not being walled off in an environmentally controlled sanctum heightened the intimacy of an event that occurred last night. It was nothing really, Anne spied a police car moving slowly down the block and its steerable spotlight was being used to search for something or someone. The police spoke with an oncoming vehicle, but soon resumed their search. It was a little unnerving, but that’s all that I know.

Late last year there was a burglary that occurred one block over and even though it was foiled by the police, the three suspects all escaped. I had already left for work and Anne was home alone. One of them escaped by running down our driveway and jumping our back fence. Our neighbor’s security camera got a picture of him, which was published by the news. The previous month, at our annual block party, the city police superintendent showed up for some community outreach. He warned us of this gang that would wait in their car until someone left for work and then break-in. They had been operating in the area for months and had last struck just a few blocks away.

Tuesday evening, I was mowing the grass and a neighbor from across the street came over to speak with me. He wanted my help. His next door neighbor uses a lawn services. His beef was that when they mowed her lawn, for some reason, they also mowed his backyard. He wanted my help in identifying the lawn service, so he could ask them to stop it. He had said, “Sometimes these lawn services use their access as an opportunity to case a property.” We spoke of last year’s burglary, he lives half-a-block closer to the burgled home than I do. I agreed to help, but then I began to wonder. Why didn’t he just ask the neighbor who hired them? Then I thought about the lawn service’s behavior. The neighbor who hired them has a completely fenced-in backyard. How could the lawn service think that the second backyard was also their mowing responsibility and then not mow its front yard? That struck me as weird.

The burglary did occur and so to the mowing. I have no reason to doubt my neighbor on that, but I don’t know if that was just a one-off occurrence or a repeat offence. Either way, it was no felony. If it was a one-off thing, maybe the new guy started mowing the wrong lawn, while the boss was on the phone?

About last night’s police car with the spotlight, years ago I was walking home from the grocery store. It started to pour, so I put my wallet in the plastic bag. When I got home, no wallet, just a hole in the bag. I called the police, hoping that some neighbor would turn the wallet in. Instead, the officer took down my exact route home and an hour later, using his spotlight had found my wallet on the sidewalk. Maybe someone’s cat had gone missing last night?

Grey Superior Sunset


Grey Superior Sunset

Grey Superior Sunset

Well it only took a week. Anne spent all last week at the Early Childhood Center, also known as plague central and promptly succumb to her first cold of the school year. Those little boogers did it to her again. Her cold started on Saturday, but didn’t hit full force until Sunday. We didn’t do much that day. About all that we did do was walk up to Clayton and had brunch at the White Box. She has been soldiering on though and even returned to the scene of the crime today. I hope that she feels better again soon.

Arch Rock, Mackinac Island


Arch Rock, Mackinac Island

Arch Rock, Mackinac Island

When a really big solar spill happens, it’s called a nice day.

Benedict Evans wrote an interesting piece entitled, Ways to think about cars. In it he speaks to two new technologies that could drastically affect the automobile industry, They are the moves to all-electric and autonomous vehicles. Tesla and Google offer the most advanced prototypes of varying robustness for each. Fundamentally, the Evans article predicts the same economic revolution that has already beset consumer electronics shall now prey upon the auto industry.

There’s a basic principle about consumer electronics: it gets more powerful all the time and it gets cheaper all the time. That’s true of all types of consumer electronics. – Trip Hawkins

That most adroit of economists and so-so bank robber predicted this trend too, when asked why he robbed banks. Willy Sutton answered, “Because that’s where the money is.” Because that is where the money is… that’s why cars are the next new-new thing in consumer electronics. The coming conversion of the car industry will be a gold mine for some, a bank robbery for others and bankruptcy for the rest. It is a coming storm that should make the auto industry’s weathering of the past Great Recession look like just a tempest in a teapot. 

Beyond this approaching turmoil sits Mackinac Island, once a getaway for the auto barons, it is the only car free community in Michigan that I know of. It has been so for hundreds of years. The only motorized vehicles on the island are the ambulance and the fire truck. In some future world, where fewer cars are able to convey us all, quietly, safely and conveniently, could this idyllic island offer us a glimpse of itself as a prototype for a new relatively car free future?