We went to the Saint Louis Art Museum on free Friday, to see this season’s featured show, “Saint Louis Modern”, a retrospective of mid-twentieth century modern art and design from Saint Louis’s point-of-view. Most of this exhibit was closed to photography, except for this Saint Louis built, Chevy Corvette, which was at the beginning. They still make the Corvette here, it just looks a lot different now. The show was full of furniture and home furnishings, think the likes of Eames and Herman Miller. It reminded both Anne and I a lot of both of our respective parent’s choice of décor. In the exhibit, Anne overheard a young couple. The man was telling his date, “You know if you make more than one of an object, it’s not art anymore, it’s craft. At least that’s what they teach us at Webster University.” Anne couldn’t resist flinging the pretentiousness of this other guy, right back into Dan’s face yesterday, but he was ready for her. He no longer considers himself to be a pretentious hipster, but rather now a Yuccie, a member of the young urban creative class and now sees the line blurred between art and craft. Especially, since he is about to start mass producing his art.
In this painting, I especially like the throwback signage, Blue Chip Stamps and Bank Americard, and the classic yellow-orange California license plates. My first car was a VW Bug with plates like those. I understand that California is reissuing this iconic license plate scheme as sort of a vanity plate. Here is the Saint Louis Art Museum’s write-up on this painting:
A chain link fence extends across this composition, preventing access to the lot where a gleaming red Volkswagen is parked. Don Eddy, known for his paintings of automobile show rooms and parking lots, masterfully portrays reflective surfaces and employs traditional techniques of depth perspective. His visually complex work is built from layers of imagery and text from American car and consumer culture. In Private Parking X the patterned overlay of metal fencing adds an element of abstraction to an otherwise realistic depiction.
It rained this morning, spoiling our planned organized bicycle ride. It was one of Trailnet’s community rides. This one was called Bicrobrews and as the name implies constituted a combination bike ride and tours of several microbreweries. Yes, beer drinking would have been involved and since the ride started in the morning that old adage, “beer’s not just for breakfast anymore”, would have rung true. alas it was not to be, because of the rain. Later, in the afternoon, Anne and I did mange to squeeze in a wee bit of a ride, between the morning and afternoon thunder-boomers. I’m willing to accept all this rain on the weekend, because of the low temperatures that they bring. It is humid though.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do make a right. When we were cycling to dinner for Anne’s birthday, we observed a little traffic mishap, nothing serious really; actually it was more in the humorous vein. We were patiently waiting for the light at Lindell, in the right lane of Euclid. Another cyclist crossed in the cross-walk, on the left-hand side of the intersection, while at the red. There wasn’t any traffic coming then, except that when he had almost made it to the other side of the street, a car that had been waiting to turn right on the red honked at him. As soon as the cyclist had crossed, the driver pulled out, only to cutoff another driver, who had just arrived, speeding westbound on Lindell. That driver then honk voraciously at the first. Now that cyclist shouldn’t have crossed, but I’m not one to talk, because I have done the same thing numerous times, just maybe with a little bit more panache than that other cyclist.
The next day, I was leaving the grocery store and a van was idling in the road that runs along the front of the store. He was obviously waiting for someone, but he was also blocking the lane in front of the store. Another van comes up behind the first and because the first one is blocking the lane, the second guy begins honking at the first guy. After a little while, he gives up and then just pulls around him, since there never was any oncoming traffic. He pulls forward just one row and parks. I cross the street and also notice the woman who the first van had been waiting for, get in that vehicle. I also notice that the second van, the honking van has one of those blue multi-religious symbols bumper stickers that spell out the word ‘coexist’.
This week, I had to present my work. I have been doing a study that has been taking longer than my management had wanted. It was a trade study, but instead of actually discussing the study itself, I’ll use as an analogy that old Miller Lite ad slogan, “Great Taste…Less Filling!” Let’s just say that I was being asked to make the beer even less filling, without doing too much damage to the already “great” taste of Miller Lite. Present was the big boss and his little boss. I’ll cut to the chase; I presented a solution that made the beer even greater tasting and even more less-filling, a win-win. The big boss thanked me for a job well done. Then the little boss gripes about how long it took. The big boss said he wasn’t intending to mention that and he once again thanked me.
A couple of weeks ago, I was bicycling in Forest Park and at the Science Center, I came upon a car show being put on by the Gateway Electric Vehicle Association. I had seen their car show several years ago, when the Missouri Botanical Gardens had been hosting it, but there was a striking difference between that show and the one that I’d just come upon. At the Garden’s show most of the electric cars on display were of the DIY variety, where an amateur enthusiast had converted a gas-powered vehicle to an all-electric one. Needless to say, every vehicle in that show was a one-of-a-kind. The Science Center show was totally different. It was almost all corporate.
There were electric and hybrid vehicles there that I’ve seen before, like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, but even the Tesla representative seemed kind of passé compared to some of the new to me hybrid/electric vehicles. There was a Cadillac hybrid and the pictured all-electric BMW. I had not even heard of either of these two offerings. There was a good mix of real car salesmen and owner enthusiast “sales” people. The former were hawking their particular wares, while the later was more interested in selling the public on the whole electric vehicle concept. Noticeable absent from the car show were any models of the Toyota Prius, although many of the owner enthusiasts also owned a Prius. As a Prius owner, this made me feel a bit like a piker. One of the owner enthusiasts is also a blogger – Leaf: EV Adventures with a Family.
In addition to all of the four-wheel electric vehicles, there were also vehicles of the two-wheel variety. The vendor marketing these electric bicycles had about half-a-dozen models to select from. They wouldn’t let me ride any of them. There was too much going on at the car show, but they did offer to come by my house, for a test ride. I picked up the smallest and largest electric bikes and they both seemed to weigh a ton, really 40 to 70 pounds, respectively. I’ll not likely pursue these products, because I bicycle more for exercise than transportation, but I have seen one in use in the neighborhood, since the show.
The real question that every visitor was asking at the car show wasn’t, “How many miles per kilowatt do you get?” Everyone was really asking about range, “How far can you go on a charge?” Except for maybe the Tesla, all of the electric vehicle’s ranges seemed too short to totally rely upon such a vehicle as the sole Midwestern family vehicle. Hence, the large number of Prius backups that were also owned. Because of fracking, the United States is expected to become the world’s largest oil producer this month, surpassing even Saudi Arabia. This new US energy independence seems to loom as a detriment to continued electric vehicle development, but the specter of global warming looms too. I’m not ready to buy a new car now, let alone consider an electric car, but I will check out their next car show.