Here is St. Louis


If you’re from Saint Louis, this video will be the best 4 minutes of your day! Experience the non-stop summer action from The Lou, as depicted by Grain Inc. This video shows a lot of the action you can find in a St. Louis summer: The City Museum, farmers markets, tons of the unique restaurants and last but not least the Cardinals! Who are now National League Central Division leaders! Dan posted this vid to Facebook this morning and Dave reposted it within five minutes, so I knew it had to be good. Enjoy!

A Walk in the Park


It drizzled a bit this morning and the sky was generally grey. This subdued our already adequately subdued demeanor. The after effects of yesterday’s exertions were still with us today. I was content to sit around all day and civilize, but the sun came out and Anne wanted to do something. I fawned her off for a bit, when she went shopping at REI, but soon she was back with a vengeance. She had bought a new sun hat and needed to be taken out in the sun to use it.

We drove over to the DeMun neighborhood and walked into Kennedy Forest. In this wooded southwest corner of Forest Park is a meadow. Now at the tail end of high summer some of the plants in this meadow are now taller than us. We strolled through the meadow looking at the flowers and also looking for birds. Then we plunged into the forest and then popped out on the other side, the art museum side. We had to circle the museum because the south entrance was closed for construction. I guess that they didn’t get everything done last year in their race to meet their July 1st opening deadline. We tooled around the museum for a couple of hours doing selected galleries on all three floors, but soon it was time to go.

We had entered through the new wing’s front entrance, but left through the main hall’s entrance that fronts on Saint Louis, the king of France, not the city and Art Hill. The mottled clouds filtered the sunlight and painted the Grand Basin’s landscape below with a patina of otherworldly colors. See what two hours of reading artwork descriptions can do.

A man was flying a kite from just below the dais that Saint Louis and his horse look down from. The kite looked to be a long way up there and I asked him how much string he had out. He explained that each ribbon was 100’ apart. Anne counted ten ribbons. You do the math. His spool of string was of the size that the electricians use at work, big enough to require a cart to haul it. We circled the west side of the museum and came upon Placebo, a stainless steel tree. If you look closely, you can see that it has shelf fungus on it, not sulfur shelf, but silver shelf. The following is the museum’s description of this art:

Situated among the trees of Forest Park, this monumental sculpture interacts with the surrounding built and natural environments. Through its form, the work relates to the real trees nearby while its precise and reflective stainless steel surface poses a contradiction. As Roxy Paine explained, “I take this organic majestic being and break it down into components and rules.” Made by welding together standard industrial piping, Placebo highlights the complex relationship between man-made and the natural world.

Giro Della Montagna


Giro Della Montagna

Giro Della Montagna

Giro Della Montagna or Tour of the Hill is the third leg of this holiday weekend’s series of Gateway Cup bicycle races. It is also the oldest of the four legs. In celebration of these races Trailnet sponsored a Fun Club ride this morning also called Giro Della Montagna. We were late getting out of the house and we biked to the venue, which took longer than driving would have, but wait bonus miles. Once on the Hill, it took us a while to find the starting point and we ended up wandering up and down the Hill, more bonus miles, so registration was almost closed when we got there and it was definitely closed by the time that we left. You can have us bright or you can have us early, but you can’t have us bright and early. Because of our late start, we elected to do the middle route, which was a smart move, because halfway through the ride, it turned hot.

Our route took us back and forth across the Southside of Saint Louis and we passed by the other three race venues. We ended up taking a couple of unscheduled rest breaks for crossing trains. The first one was carrying oil and the second one coal. When we made it back to the Hill the bike racing was in full flower. We were both feeling a little crispy by then so ducked into the cool dark recesses of Mama Campisi’s Ristorante. You could still glimpse the racers as they rode by through the open doorway. We each had salads, shared a plate of bruschetta and drank gallons of ice water. After lunch, we were back out on the street feeling almost human again. Anne found a rather tasty gelato place. I got a souvenir t-shirt and a beer. We stayed to watch the above pictured race conclude. Then it was back on our bikes and home again, home again we rode, just not very lickity split.

Orange & Green Are Both the New Black


Biking Between Bars

Biking Between Bars

Today, we launched on our bicycles at the butt-crack of noon. My bike was outfitted with a newly purchased handlebar mount for my GoPro camera. It was Anne’s idea to try it out, before next weekend’s big bike ride. Previously, I’ve only handheld the GoPro, which always makes her nervous. I used it to take the above photo, all the while negotiating the narrow confines of the pictured New I-64 pedestrian bridge. Regarding this post’s tittle, last year’s Team Kaldi jersey was all black. Anne is wearing this year’s team jersey, which is a combination rust orange and lime green. 

We rode on to the Botanical Gardens which were in full Japanese Festival mode. Our first stop there was to grab some food. Anne wanted something cool, because of the day’s rising heat, so I grabbed some sushi, a crisp roll. It had to be authentic, because when I asked the couple running the booth what was in it, I couldn’t understand their English. I chose the crisp roll, because another Asian patron had. It was good, but one of the two packs of chopsticks only had one stick in it, which led to me using my fingers. Its funny, because the guy running the stand had to suggest to me that I even get chopsticks.

We were both amazed at the large number of visitors that had dressed up for the event in various forms of both traditional and pop culture Japanese attire. I’ve seen a lot of unusual hair colors in my day, but never with such frequency, variety and all in one place. About this time Anne told me about a recurring Saturday Night Live skit called J-Pop America Funtime Now! It pokes fun of American’s sometimes blind enthusiasm for all things Japanese. Plus, it is supposedly set at Michigan State, our alma mater. I’m surprised that I had never heard of it before, but it has been years since I stayed up to watch SNL.

Eventually, because of the heat, we fled the gardens. It was getting on towards four by then, so for an early dinner, we stopped off on our way home at Saint Nicholas, which was holding it annual Greek Festival. Sushi for lunch and gyros for dinner, we feel that we are now quite the international connoisseurs.

The sky to the west was darkening as we crossed the park. We stopped and Anne put all of her electronics in my messenger bag for safe keeping. Later, we both heard what sounded like something dropping, but managed to convince ourselves otherwise. The something turned out to be Anne’s camera. When we got home it was missing. I drove back to the scene of the crime, but it was still nowhere to be found. To add insult to injury, in the initial panic, I dropped my iPhone and the gorilla glass on its back shattered. It turned out to be a much more expensive bike ride than we planned, but it could have been worse.

A Night at the Races


Gateway Cup Start/Finish line

Gateway Cup Start/Finish line

I left work early today, because last night’s chilly Mac was still churning below. On my way home, I swung by REI and Whole Foods and once home, skipped lunch for Tums which then turned it all around snicker-snack quick and I launched towards the park. It was a balmy 90 °F. The park was pretty empty. I did one turnaround and got caught at the light at Forsyth and Skinker. While I was waiting there, a bevy of beauties rode past me on their green. It was a women’s racing team, in town for this weekend’s Gateway Cup. The dozen of them were all in matching red and white poke-a-dot uniforms. They looked cute as they rode away from me, I still being stranded at the light. They were a quarter-mile ahead of me when my light turned green. Try as I might I couldn’t catch up to them and they receded into the distance. I had dreams of making a fool of myself, by first racing ahead of them all and then shooting a selfie with them as the scenic background, but it was all for naught, except as a workout.

Anne got home from school not too long after I finished my jousting at windmills. We soon drove downtown to Lafayette Square, site for tonight’s Gateway Cup bike races. They’ll be in town all holiday weekend folks. Lafayette makes for the perfect crit (short for criterium) race venue. Perfectly square, a quarter-mile on the side, it makes for a mile long race track. Before we left for the night, some of the faster racers were peaking to 45 MPH in the straightaways. Bike-mates Tom and Audrey own one of the 19th-century townhouses that circle the square. Really, they surround the square in more of a rectilinear fashion. Just saying! They graciously throw a lawn party, with the best of floor shows, the bike races. We had dinner with Don and DJ at Square One, which had a great spare tips special. It was great catching up with them again. Then we decamped to Audrey and Tom’s to watch the races and kvetch.

Tooling Around


Wall of Tools

Wall of Tools

The discussion at work this morning was all about tooling, which in no way sounded or looked anything like the above wall of tools. Pictured is a subset of the tools, about a third of them in all, from the Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY. [Hammondsport is obviously a conjunction, but is it the conjunction of Hammond and sport or is it Hammonds and port?] Nestled in a backroom of this eclectic museum is the woodworking shop. In this shop volunteer craftsmen both build accurate reproductions and restore historical artifacts to their original luster.

A second shop, a metal shop, is located behind the wood shop in an outbuilding and is presently consumed with the restoration of a P-40 Tomahawk. This WW II era plane is most likely the signature aircraft type in the Curtiss line. In 1940 it was most famously piloted in China by the expat American group the Flying Tigers, in their war against the Japanese. Below is pictured the airplane, which still shows the pale ghostly outline of the plane’s characteristic shark’s jaw paint scheme. This is one of two Tomahawks that collided in midair towards the end of WWII and then sat in a Florida swamp for over forty years until both specimens were purchased by the museum. Now they are trying to take the best from each, plus liberally adding newly manufactured replacement parts, in order to reconstruct one bird for static display only. Neither the crash nor the years of neglect have been kind, so there is a lot of work yet to do. The older gentleman who was working on it when we visited asked me if I thought that he would see it finished. I think that he already knew the answer to that question when he asked it. “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” – Greek proverb

Wreck of a Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk

Wreck of a Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk

Leave the Driving to Us


Rear Emblem on the 1937 Greyhound Super Coach

Rear Emblem on the 1937 Greyhound Super Coach

While bicycling in Forest Park last Saturday, we were passing the zoo’s south parking lot when I noticed that a new attraction was on display there in the lot. The Greyhound bus line is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year and has a traveling exhibit that is now touring the country. Founded in 1914 Greyhound has had plenty of older bus designs, but of the half-dozen buses on display there, the 1937 Greyhound Super Coach was the oldest. From this bus to the present five period representative buses were on display, including their newest bus design. The sixth bus was a traveling museum.

Go Greyhound and Leave the Driving to Us

While Greyhound is a venerable US brand, its hundred year history is not without a few bumps in the road. Since the rise of the jet airline industry, bus travel has been in decline. Greyhound’s business history has also been checkered with strikes, an anti-trust suit and bankruptcy. All these problems were reflected not only in the reduction of its business base, but also in the quality of its service. Thin margins and antiquated systems made Greyhound notorious for overbooking. In 2007 the company was acquired by a Scottish investment group that hopes to turn the company around. This PR tour that capitalizes on the company’s venerable history seems like a smart move.

The "New Greyhound" Logo

The “New Greyhound” Logo