Kubo Cherry Tree at Isazawa

Kubo Cherry Tree at Isazawa, Namiki Hajime, 2001

Zoom-bombing is now a thing. Zoom is a video conferencing app that is now of course all the rage. Our school district is using it for online teaching and Anne uses it to do her virtual gyro classes. Speaking of which, while she was working out, I virtually virtual exercised, while playing Civilization in the next room. Anyway, on some of the more public uses of Zoom, internet trolls have hijacked the video feed and substituted objectional imagery. I think that more experience will halt this behavior, but this is the world that we now live in. 

I have placed my first delivery order for groceries with InstaCart. I have seen their green t-shirt clad shoppers in the store for months now. With one hand on their shopping cart and the other holding a cell phone, they ply the aisles looking for other people’s food. Their website seems up-to-date with what is still available and warns when an item selected is running low. Their surcharge is modest, but my order won’t be delivered until Thursday.

Well, it wasn’t just the rain that halted the water company from tearing up the street and more importantly, putting it back together again. I think that a week is plenty of time to cure concrete. Besides they still have the other half of the block to do. They worked last Tuesday. It rained (a lot) both Wednesday and Thursday. It didn’t rain of Friday, but they usually only work a half-day anyway. They never work weekends and there was no sign of them today. I’m afraid that a torn up street is now also part of the new normal, but as Anne pointed out to me, at least they are on the other side of the street. If this situation continues, I expect that our across the street neighbors, will first cut the yellow caution tape, so that they can start using their driveways again. Then the orange cone will get moved, allowing on street parking on that side too. Except for my across-the-street neighbor who was gifted with a gravel pile. Do you detect a little schadenfreude here? Well, let’s talk about sewer lines then. The shoe was on the other side of the foot back then, when all of the work was on our side of the street.

While the above artwork version of cherry blossoms is gorgeous, there is nothing quite like the real thing. Saturday was a beautiful day and Anne and I took advantage of this brief spell of nice weather and got out for a walk. Spring has sprung and there are many varieties of flowering trees in bloom.

Neighborhood Cherry Blossoms

White Aster Flower

White Flower

Yesterday, I crowed about Dan’s involvement in his newly released movie, Blow the Man Down and how great I thought that it was. I still do. In this movie, the protagonists are the two Connolly sisters. Coincidently, weeks ago, I had agreed to host a pair of real world Connolly sisters for a night, on their journey from Chicago to points further west. Saint Louis is always on your way to somewhere west. I guess that’s why we call ourselves the gateway to the west. I had become increasingly concerned about this rendezvous, as the epidemic continued to grow. Today, the Illinois governor issued a statewide shelter-in-place edict and I reached out to one of these sisters, to see if she still hoped to travel. Fortunately, through a miscommunication, they had abandoned this trip long ago and we just were not informed. I will sleep much better now tonight. Thank you, very much.

This cancelation pretty much clears our schedule. All of our outstanding theater tickets are well on their way to cancelation. We are free and clear to shelter in place. I’ll shop until I feel that it is too dangerous, then I’ll switch to delivery.

Anne and I spent hours on the phone today, speaking with Harry, Dan & Britt, my Dad and Alice & Chris. The big news of the day came from NYC. Move over Seattle, the Big Apple is now #1, the national Coronavirus hotspot. Dan and Britt might have already come down with and then survived the virus. Both of them were ill this last week, but with only mild flu-like symptoms. They have both recovered and are now self-quarantining themselves. Some co-workers were more seriously ill, but now also appear to be on the road to recovery. They won’t likely know for sure, for quite some time. This is because New York is now limiting testing to only healthcare workers and people who have been hospitalized. So much for anybody who wants a test can have one and all of the other bullshit that is being spewed daily from the Whitehouse.

On the left coast, my Dad and brother Chris are sheltering in place and because they had stocked up on enough food in anticipation of our visiting them, they have not had to go shopping for some time. We both agreed that our cancelling of our trip out there was the right thing to do, especially since the governor shut the state down only hours after we would have flown out. Talk about the last flight out. Frank, my other brother is a county supervisor and is very busy these days. Even though his rural county has reported no Coronavirus cases yet, he is working seven days a week preparing for their arrival. 

We offer you this nine minute diversion from all this. Anne loved it as did I. Her testimonial carries more weight though, with this video being about a first grade teacher and Anne having just completed an extended stint in that grade. I might also tout her expertise in teaching math, but that would just be piling on. Enjoy!

Art in Bloom

Art in Bloom, the Saint Louis Art Museum’s annual celebration of art and flowers is being held this weekend. I went to see the show this morning. The museum offers a special members only time slot, before normal hours and I took advantaged of this opportunity. Still, even though I arrived just after eight, all of the parking lots were full and I had to hike a bit to get to the door. This year there are thirty pairings on display, scattered around the museum and spread across all three of its floors. At each installation there was already gathered a crowd of appreciators of beauty and everyone had a camera. It was hard not to photo-bomb other people’s pictures and to not have mine bombed too. 

The Slammer invites the florists to compete. The Chrysanthemums arrangement took second place. The museums selects the artworks to be paired, which the florist draw for randomly. Horse trading is allowed. The selected artworks cover the gambit of the museum’s collection that is on display. On Friday, some of the florists were on hand to discuss their floral arrangements. I photographed all thirty pairings and chose these representatives, because I liked them the most. They seemed to capture a sense of the artwork the best.

I spoke with a museum representative about the show. This is the museum’s most popular event of the year. Come Saturday, the building will be filled to capacity and the staff will be forced to turn people away due to the fire code. I’m glad that I got to see the show, while it was still relatively uncrowded. I can only imagine how crowded it will be come tomorrow, on the weekend proper.

Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?


Punxsutawney Phil was as good as his word. March has come in like a lamb and this week’s forecast is full of early spring weather. The crocuses are out, the trees are budding and the zoysia is beginning to turn green again. Today was nice enough to entice Anne and I to go for a bicycle ride, but you know what they say about March. In like a lamb and out like a lion or in this case a tiger. Tiger burning bright in the sinew of the night. Apologies to William Blake.

Anne and I took advantage of this warm spell and got out on our bikes. We rode in Forest Park, with most of Saint Louis. On the way back home, we stopped off at Kaldi’s on DeMun, for a latte and a smoothie and to soak up some more sun. 

Spoiler Alert! This week, Knives Out director Rian Johnson released a major spoiler, not just about his most recent murder mystery, but outing all TV shows and movies. He divulged a show business trade secret that will allow anyone to pick out the bad guy, from any line up. Apparently, Apple has no problem with its products appearing on screen, so long as they are portrayed in a favorable light. You can take this to mean that only the good guys can be seen with an iPhone or a Mac Book. Anyone sporting an Android or a PC is automatically suspect and should be given a wide berth.