On the Road Again

Right and Left, Winslow Homer, 1909

Right and Left, Winslow Homer, 1909

Anne and I left the Lou today. So, today was a day of much driving, about 500 miles worth. We landed at Bubs and Harry’s house in time for dinner. A lot of the driving was punctuated with summer road construction. It is the season. Through happenstance most of this construction occurred while Anne was at the wheel, while when I drove, it was almost always clear sailing. After the umpteenth such slowdown, I took to calling Anne a Jonah, but I later decided that what she really is, is a jobs creator. The final construction hurdle was the worst and occurred only a few miles from our destination. As it turned out the traffic jam was caused by a cement mixer that had gotten stuck in the muddy median and was in the process of being rescued by two huge tow trucks. It was almost worth the wait. Finally, Anne wanted me to relate a story that occurred at are first rest stop. A woman, a fellow traveler, called out to Anne, “Are those socks hand knitted?” Anne answered yes and that she had knitted them. The woman introduced herself as the president of the OK City knitting club and then they exchanged Ravelry info.

Another Stupa Pagoda

Porcelain Stupas Pagoda

Porcelain Stupas Pagoda

A stupa (literally meaning heap) is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics, typically the remains of Buddhist monks, and is used as a place for meditation. These stupas are made from porcelain crockery, bowls, plates, cups and the like. After this summer’s lantern festival is over, all of the displays, except for this one will be auctioned off. These hundreds of commonly used household items can’t be sold, because they are not safe to eat off of. I don’t know exactly what is wrong with this porcelain (probably heavy metals), but the garden doesn’t want to take the liability risk and so will ship all of this beautiful, but tainted porcelain back to China.

The Whole Mispocha

LFC Chinese Acrobat's Fire-Breather

LFC Chinese Acrobat’s Fire-Breather

We are looking forward to the gathering of the clan. Bubs and Harry, their issue, their grandchildren, a couple of other guys and a new guy will all be in attendance at the cabin this summer. Our children will be there, Dan who we have not seen since Christmas and Dave who we have not seen since Easter. Jay and Carl will be there, along with Rey and Ashlan and Ashlan’s boyfriend, poor guy. I know, I’ve been there, where he will be. Maybe even Jane will be there too, I hope. Twelve people in one cabin, with one bathroom, plus an outhouse. Even though the outhouse is a two-seater, I’ll be sure to pack plenty of patience. We have too big wedding anniversaries to celebrate, for Anne and I it will be our 35th and for Jay and Carl it will be their 30th. It will be good to see everyone again and I’m sure that we can work through any lavatory issues.

Bridge Birthday Bash

Dandelions at Night

Dandelions at Night

Saturday night, we made it to the botanical gardens for the second iteration of the Chinese lantern festival. I liked these dandelion sculptures when I first saw them during the day, but they are positively glowing at night. We both took plenty of photographs at the festival, so expect to see more of them.

Today was another big bike riding day, with Trailnet’s Bridge Birthday Bash, held at the old Chain of Rocks Bridge. We did the long route for 53 miles. I am finally beginning to believe that we will be able to do our big Michigan bicycle ride this summer, without dying. The Mississippi River is in full flood, but we crossed it, twice. A number of the trails along the river were flooded, but we were able to detour around them. It rained and we got wet, but we persevered. At ten minutes to three, we were the last two riders to finish, but we finished and Anne is happy, so I’m happy too. It’s just that my butt isn’t very happy right now, but it will get over it.

Hamel’s Haven

"Weezy's Route 66" Menu Cover Showing Hamel, IL, Mid-20th Century

“Weezy’s Route 66″ Menu Cover Showing Hamel, IL, Mid-20th Century

Big bicycle day today, 50 miles and still feeling fine and hoping to do it again tomorrow. We rode the bicycle trails of Madison County today, which include many bike bridges, but also many bike tunnels too. We put-in at the Collinsville trailhead and then rode through Glen Carbon, Marine, Hamel and Edwardsville and then back again to the car. We had lunch at Weezy’s Route 66, which is a bar in Hamel. I took a photo of their menu, for the picture with this post. The building on the right is where Weezy’s is now. It shows an electric trolley passing through town. This trolley must have hauled tourist from Saint Louis out into the country, for a little fresh air. There are the remains of this elevated trolley line that started in the near north side of downtown Saint Louis and crossed the Mississippi on the McKinley Bridge. Part of it has already been converted to an elevated bike trail and there are plans to do the rest of the line and make it into something like NYC’s High Line someday. We also saw Kaldi’s team members Bob and Evelyn, who were also out on their bikes in Madison County. The weather was so beautifully cool today and dry too for a change. Anne called it cabin weather.

Not My Circus, Not My Clown

Last night was a dark and stormy night, so what better time was there to go see the circus? So, we went to see Circus Flora with Joanie. The big top kept us dry and a delightful time was had by all. This post’s title actually refers to Anne’s school day on Thursday, which was not quite so delightful, but that was so yesterday and now summer school is out for the summer. Flora is celebrating its 29th season, with a new show entitled, “One Summer on Second Street”, a story of the Jazz age. We’ve been going to this circus off and on for most of its life and while a lot about it has changed, a few things remain the same.

One new thing this year, was that the orchestra was moved from its usual perch above the main stage entrance. Circus Flora is a small one ring circus, with a horseshoe of bleachers for the audience and a staging area in the open end of the horseshoe, at the backend of the ring. New to me were individual plastic seats that are bolted onto the aluminum bench bleachers. They are much more comfortable. A sign on the entrance façade labeled it Balding Livery, a hat tip to Flora co-founder David Balding, who passed away a few years ago.

One thing that is still the same is Cecil Mackinnon, as Yo-Yo, who acts as the show’s narrator. Another constant was the Saint Louis Arches a local boys and girls tumbling act. The members are always changing, but not the act’s spirit. The Flying Wallendas have always been a Circus Flora act and the father is still performing. The Alanian Riders Cossack Act is a new troupe that fills Flora’s regular horse act role. Usually, we sit in the cheap seats, but one year I splurged for front row seating. This seemed like a good idea until the house act occurred. 400 pounds of horse galloping past you, seemingly right over you, was not a comfortable experience. Adam Kuchler reprised his clown role, after having substituted for longtime Flora clown Nino, who died in a motorcycle accident. Circus life is a hard life. There were also performing cats. Yes, cats that did tricks on command. I guess that if you can do it with lions and tigers, then you can do it with house cats too. The last act and the real reason that the orchestra was moved from their usual perch, was the Flying Pages, a two-man, two women trampoline act. They were really quite amazing. Joanie shared the photo of her and the Clydesdale last night. I think it goes well with this circus post.

Hooray for SCOTUScare!

Recreational Dentistry

Recreational Dentistry

The Supremes dashed GOP hopes again on Obamacare today, when they ruled not to uphold King vs. Burwell. The crux of this suit boiled down to four little words. This suit argued that if an exchange that is not ‘established by a State’, as the law is written, then an exchange ‘established by the State’, meaning the Federal government, then these second exchanges are not entitled to handout Federal subsidies. Which is really a stupid argument. Why would the Feds not allow themselves to also spend money? Isn’t it easier to believe that this wording is just an unfortunate typo in an 800 page document? This would have wreaked the Affordable Care Act, which was the lawsuit’s intent all along. Justice Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion, in which he pined that “Words no longer have meaning…” and then went on to criticize the “interpretive jiggery-pokery” of the majority’s opinion, but I think that Scalia is onto something here and the import of this ruling goes far beyond the fight over healthcare.

If as was ruled today, my words have the meaning that I meant them to have and not the meaning that I wrote, then this is of tremendous importance to people like me, who are in the blogging business. Really, it is more of a hobby for me. I may be able to speak English as a first language speaker, but if you saw what I write as it first comes out all raw and unrefined, then you would hardly believe that I am able to write English as a first language writer. Before you read my prose, they are filtered through multiple spelling and grammar checkers, both human and machine, and still I routinely churn out garbage, but not anymore. From now on, if a little typo or two should slip through my editing process then it is not a typo after all. You are just not reading it right. After today, you should intuit my meaning in all things blog worthy and if I’m having a particularly bad day, then you should imagine the most perfect alternative writings, as mine. The onus is all on you, the reader. Don’t let us down now. Oh, and Obamacare should be extended for dental coverage too, IMHO. Applesauce!