Thistle is a widely distributed plant of the daisy family that has a prickly stem, leaves, rounded heads and in this case red flowers. I love the spent spider web strung between its needles. This particular flower is down the road from my father’s place. We flew through Salt Lake to San Jose. Do you know the way? Then we drove to Monterey, leaving the sun-baked brown hills around San Jose for the still quite green ones, for California in late May. We are back here so soon again to celebrate my Dad’s 90th birthday. I think that he is worried that we might make him dance at his party, but I’m sure that it will be a rather low-key affair and nothing to fear. It will probably amount to nothing more than just dinner and dessert. Anne is our scoot lass and the thistle is in her honor.

Our Own Oddities

Red Tulips in Forest Park

When we moved to Saint Louis, we first encountered Our Own Oddities. This local Sunday special was featured in the comics section of the Post-Dispatch. This strip always seemed to me to be similar to the syndicated Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. It frequently featured unusually shaped fruits and vegetables, such as a potato that resembled Richard Nixon. In addition to freakish produce the strip also featured peculiar local trivia, like a woman who lived at 1919 Montgomery St. and was born at nine o’clock on August 19, 1919. The paper discontinued this feature years ago, which is unfortunate, because I have some new entries.

I rode in the park this morning and while riding I encountered two noteworthy scenes. The first was a man on the bike path. This man was holding a log in his hands. This log had been cut to fireplace length and was about 8″ in diameter. He was holding it out in front of himself, with both palms pressed against the two flat ends. But what made this individual even more unique was that he was dragging a car tire behind him, laid flat on the path, by a rope around his waist. His homemade exercise regimen certainly set him apart from all us others.

The other scene of note was encountered while rolling past the Grand Basin. A dozen new moms were working out, each with their new baby in its stroller facing them. I guess that watching mom gyrate in front of them, must have been soothing or at least entertaining for the infants. It would have made a good pic.

Not to be outdone, Anne witnessed her own oddity, while walking home from school. We are not alone here, while suffering under the ministrations of the sewer district. There are many other streets that are also undergoing the same uncrossing of the waters that we are. While Anne was walking by one such site, she observed a driver attempting to exit their driveway. MSD had trenched out the road in front of the house, such that when the car exited the driveway, it first dropped into the dugout section of the road. Thump! Then it attempted to climb back out again and ran into an even steeper wall along the road’s centerline. Whump! Some back and fill ensued, eventually leading to the car’s escape, but not completely, because it had lost a bumper in all of that bumping and grinding.

Friday the 13th

Persian Buttercup

Superstition holds Friday the 13th to be an unlucky day. It, along with black cats, walking beneath ladders and Mercury being in retrograde give this spooky occasion the air of a mini-Halloween. I’m not particularly superstitious, but tonight might be a good night to just stay home and not go out to Camp Crystal Lake, with Jason and the rest of gang. Still, Friday the 13th is better than Monday the whatever.

MSD Update: Concrete was laid today. This is a sure sign that the end of this ordeal is drawing nigh. We’ll still have to wait a while for the concrete to cure, before we can start using our driveway again. Hopefully, in a week or two an asphalt topcoat will be laid, giving us a nice new street. Our parking strip is a mess and I don’t have high hopes for MSD doing any meaningful remediation. That will have to wait until they and all of their crap has left for good. 

Election Day Recap

Purple Pickle Plant Flower

The old adage goes that all politics is local and this was certainly true yesterday. Anne worked her marathon election official gig again and I supported one of our friends, who was running for office. Sandi won her seat on the Maplewood city council. In a three-way race, she easily beat her two opponents with 58% of the vote. I only helped her a little, but I got a free t-shirt out of the experience. Her ward has two polling places and I poll watched at the satellite site, the VFW hall on Big Bend and tagged team with her husband Chris.

I only spent two hours at the poll, compared to Anne’s double shift, but it was still quite interesting. While Chris ran home to attend to the dogs, I was still accompanied by Lois, who was soliciting signatures for an upcoming medical marijuana ballot initiative. In her company, I was just a greenhorn and she the seasoned pro. Pat Dolan, our county councilman also swung by. His election isn’t until August, but he wanted to plant a yard sign for the exposure. It was a nice experience and I look forward to repeating it again this year.

Today, is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I remember that day and the days that followed. I was in high school at the time. Living in suburban Maryland outside our nation’s capital. King’s death sparked riots in Washington and elsewhere. Buildings within blocks of the Whitehouse were destroyed by arson, causing the sale of gasoline into cans to be banned. I was mowing lawns at the time and this would have inconvenienced me, except that I had learned to siphon gas out of the tank, making this law seem just silly.

Later, my high school in an effort to teach us all about discrimination ran an exercise, where for a week blondes were “discriminated” against. They were restricted to special lunch tables in the cafeteria and also subjected to other indignities, which I don’t remember anymore. I do remember that one of my blonde friends temporarily dyed his hair, so he could pass. This exercise made the national news causing additional notoriety. In hindsight, I am left wondering, what were we thinking? I guess we just didn’t know what to do. 

The Color Purple

African Daisies

The night of the day that we returned home from California, we had theater tickets at the Fabulous Fox. “The Color Purple” was the musical playing. This new show features a score of gospel and rhythm & blues numbers and differs significantly from the Spielberg movie. Its Spartan set features three floor to ceiling wooden panels that resemble the unpainted walls of some dilapidated shanty. Dozens of wooden chairs hang from these panels. The actors sometime take down one of these chairs that serve as the play’s only props.

Minimalist is an apt description of this show. Based on the Alice Walker novel, this musical was first produced on Broadway in 2005. This revival debuted in 2015. “The Color Purple” with its twin themes of racism and sexism resonates in the current political clime. This relatively quiet production served as a departure from the Fox’s usual loud and brassy fare and made a nice interlude. 

Because of our vacation, I had to move our tickets for “The Color Purple”, to a later date. This wasn’t any problem, because our new seats were just as good as our regular ones. We won’t be traveling during the next show in this series. That is because the next show is “Hamilton”, which is all sold out. We have been planning this event for over two years now and have 15th row center seats. So, this is a big deal in Saint Louis and I am not throwing away my shot…