Turtle Park

Rey and Becca at Turtle Park

The newlyweds, Rey and Becca, blew into town last night. They are both living in Nashville now. So, their drive to Saint Louis is a lot shorter. For dinner, I fixed a veggie version of Jane’s world-famous chicken enchiladas, substituting tofu for the chicken. It turned out alright, but the next time I do a veggie version of this recipe, I think that I’ll substitute tempura for the chicken instead of tofu, because I think that will give the dish a better texture.

Anne had school today, leaving me to play tour guide. First, I cooked up a box of Trader Joe’s croissants for breakfast, another hat tip to Jane. We opened the Slammer. Unfortunately, this year’s big Egyptian exhibit had just closed. Still, there was a lot to see. We stayed until lunch, which was at Seedz. After lunch, we toured Bob Cassilly’s Turtle Park (Pictured) and then visited the MO history museum. After all that we were pretty much toast and went home to recharge.

Brothers of the Deer

Brothers of the Deer, Michael Coleman, 1986

According to the artist Michael Coleman, “Brothers of the deer refers to the ravens in the painting. The ravens were in many cases spotted on the horizon, preceding the migration of the great herds of caribou, and called brothers of the deer by northern tribes,” in referring to this painted scene on Vancouver Island.

I called my dad, because I was worried about my Aunt Betsy, his sister. She lives in Wilmington, NC and had decided to shelter in place during Flo. I first asked him how things were going, to which he answered, “Not so good.” My heart sank, but as it turned out, it was nothing. His Internet was out and he was missing it. It had been out for a few days and AT&T’s past promises of fixing the problem had already come and gone. It has been diagnosed as part of a sporadic outage that is affecting the area and has nothing to do with the equipment at his end. It sounded like a first world problem. As it turned out, he had called Betsy after the storm and she was fine. There was no damage to her home, but she had lost power. Consequently, she didn’t want to talk very long, for fear of losing the charge on her cellphone.

Anne and I went to The Rep last night, kicking off our theater season. I had to switch our regular tickets for this show and a number of others, in order to accommodate our future travel schedule. I did pretty well, except for a show in January (Sorry Joanie) and last night’s show, which I had to re-reschedule.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” was the show.  This historical musical about Eva Peron of Argentina was one of Webber’s early shows. As it turns out, next week we have tickets for “Love Never Dies”, Webber’s sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera” and one of his latest shows. It will be interesting to compare and contrast these two works. I noticed many similarities between this show’s music and its predecessor “Jesus Christ Superstar”. It will be interesting to look for similar comparisons between “Phantom” and “Love Never Dies”. 

Saint Louis Art Fair

Garden Pin Oak

The remnants of Hurricane Gordon moved through last night and the rain started to taper off this morning. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but in its wake it has caused some disruptions. I think that it was at least partially at fault for the cancellation of Lou Fest, the outdoor rock-and-roll festival that’s been held in Forest Park for years. The venue was suffering some financial problems, but a rainy weekend forecast had to be the final nail in its coffin. The Bike MS ride was also cancelled and I don’t think that it was because we weren’t riding.

The Saint Louis Art Fair also suffered from the weather. We had to forgo our plans to attend this event on Friday, because the heavens opened up just as it was about to get underway. We did go today and stayed dry, but we did witness one more tragedy related to the storm. We were on North Meramec, where tall buildings were creating a wind tunnel effect. Artists were holding their tents, but the wind seemed to be freshening. Anne and I were one booth away, when one particularly strong gust flipped the next tent. Unfortunately, this artist’s medium was glass. Most of her inventory was left shattered on the ground. Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of merchandise was lost in a blink of an eye. And it seemed that only this small section of the fair was being affected by the wind.

We toured the entire art fair, which with 500 artists, really isn’t all that big. It’s a juried art fair, so most of the work is very good and also very expensive. More rain is forecasted, so I hope that the rest of the artists survive, but tomorrow’s weather should be better. I hope that they can salvage some of the loss business.

John Fire

John Fire, Robert Martinez, 2018

John Lame Deer (March 17, 1903 – December 14, 1976), also known as John Fire, often participated in American Indian Movement events, including sit-ins at the Black Hills. This painting’s specific color palette was chosen to echo his name: Fire. I found the following quote of his particularly instructive:

Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we didn’t have any delinquents. Without a prison, there can’t be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white man arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society. ― John (Fire) Lame Deer

A Flight from Destiny

A Flight from Destiny, Bill Schenck, 1994

I continue to bicycle, most days, in the park. I get out and ride even on days when the mercury has risen. On those hotter days, I just slide my riding time earlier in the day. Forest Park Forever, the charity dedicated to the maintenance of the park has been planting more signs. First, it scattered “you are here” maps everywhere. Then it erected a marble edifice, at the southwest entrance that announces that this is Forest Park. They have been working on this structure all year. Now, they’ve started planting more new signage along the bicycle trail that circles the park. They are fundraising oriented and are targeted at people who use the trails, with the slogan, “Happy Trails”. In other park news, the Dwight Davis Tennis Center is hosting the US Open Wheelchair Championship now.

Closer to home, we did not escape lawn damage is the current round of utility work. Workers are laying new street light electrical wire via boring, but every time they cross another underground utility, like my gas line, they “pothole” the junction. So now there is a hope in the lawn that is currently covered up with plywood and further decorated with stakes and orange tape. Interestingly, when they potholed us, they found a few bricks underground. I have no idea why they were there. Our house was built in 1937, but it originally didn’t use gas. We have a coal chute door that had a hole cut in it to allow the filling of an oil tank. We also still have the old oil tank in the basement. I don’t know when the house was converted to gas or why bricks were around the gas line. It’s a mystery.

Finally in this potpourri post, it was announced that my former colleagues here in Saint Louis finally won a contract. For $802M Boeing will build four drones for the Navy. Called the MQ-25A Stingray, this unmanned aircraft is slated to be used as an aerial refueling tanker. If successful, this win could be parlayed into another eighty planes worth $13B. Congratulations team! Looks stealthy.

Boeing MQ-25A Stingray


American Indian Gothic

American Indian Gothic, David Bradley, 1983

I guess that I should write something on this blog, before concerned readers start reaching out to ask me what’s wrong. I would like to go on record to say that I’m fine. There just isn’t all that much that is going on. Anne is consumed with the third grade. The weather in Saint Louis has been awful. Hot, hot, hot and humid too. Highs in the mid-nineties, with heat indexes in the mid-hundreds. Everyday, after I chauffeur Anne to school, I go for a bike ride in the park. Getting some exercise, before it gets too warm. But by ten, it is time to hunker down in the AC. 

Today, though is different. It has been thundering, lightning and raining all morning, but it is much cooler too. The weather maps show a chain of flash flood boxes marching across the state. Needless to say I didn’t go for a ride. All this year’s rain and it has been a wet summer, combined with my automated watering and the sewer district’s daily fire-hosing with their water truck has left the lawn looking quite green and lush.

So, imagine my dismay when red and yellow Dig Right spray paint markings started to appear this week. A contractor came by yesterday to explain that he was going to be replacing two street lights that were supposedly damaged by all of this year’s sewer work. Except the two lights that he indicated that he was going to replace were both working fine last night. His crew showed up today and when I pointed out that the two lights that they were here to replace were just fine. They went, “Oh” and then asked about a third light. I couldn’t tell them anything about that one. Which seemed to content them and commenced to start digging. They are going to bore instead of trenching, so with any luck my yard won’t be visibly affected, but I’m not going to bet on it yet.