Here you see the completed puzzle and the five hands of the five people who completed it. It is called The Sunny City and it was a Kickstarter that Dan bought, eventually got and then brought to the cabin. I didn’t participate except to the extent of offering moral support. By all tells, it is a fun and challenging puzzle and with the many days of cold, windy and inclement weather that we have experienced this summer, here on the shores of Lake Superior, this puzzle was and will be a welcomed relief. After the kids all leave, we look forward to recycling this puzzle with the next group of cabin visitors. Dan’s big news was that he has passed the test and is now eligible, with a few formalities to be inducted into the union that he has been working for, on a probationary basis, for too many years. He took the test just before coming to the cabin and only got the good news after he had arrived here. After taking the test he was not especially hopeful that he had passed it. There were too many arcane questions, like, how long is an eight-penny nail? He still has to take a class on the dos and don’ts of union work, pay his dues, like he hasn’t been doing that for years now, learn the secret handshake and get sworn in. Even after joining the union, he will still be doing the same sort of work that he has been doing all along. The big difference will be that he can now choose the projects that he will work. I also learned that last year he worked the movie, The Whale, starring Brendan Frazier. Frazier play a 600-pound gay man who is trying to reconnect with his younger daughter. I had heard about this movie even before this and sensed that it was getting a lot of buzz. Dan used to joke that the reason that he was having such a hard time getting into the union was that his parents were just not Italian enough. He must have been only half joking, because the union was placed under a consent degree and ordered to open its doors to different ethnicities. Part of the reason that this union is mired in the past is that it is old. It is one of the oldest in the industry. It’s first contract was with the Thomas Alva Edison Motion Picture Company.
I was lying on the couch, when Anne’s phone began to beep. Her sisters were taunting her over their respective wordle scores, “Let’s see how the SMART one does.” I alerted my wife to this sibling insolence, and she promptly rose to the challenge and smote them both mightily. To all you newly minted wordle experts, I don’t have a clue on how to play wordle, never having played the game. My only clue comes from watching a recent SNL cold open, where the latest Trump impersonator on that show “played” a game for laughs, “person, man, woman, camera, TV.” I later heard that all the words are supposed to be five letters, like the word smart.
Well, so far winter storm Landon is more bust than blizzard. We only have about an inch of ice and snow, but the storm is supposed to last another 24 hours, so we might get some more yet. Because we have gotten more ice than snow the town is at least partially paralyzed. Most flights are canceled, Metrolink is only partially running and can’t get to the airport anyway and trash service is delayed (I didn’t even bother putting our buckets out. I guess that makes me the smart one too.), but our local school district didn’t cancel classes. Instead, they are doing remote learning today. Snow days, another thing that covid has ruined.
Yesterday, we got a text from David, “We got a verbal acceptance on a house!” That was fast. We knew that thy were looking to buy a house, but I figured that it would be a longer-term project. Details to follow. Today, we drove over to the Central West End, to visit Left Bank Books. Anne had placed an order for a couple of books and they were ready to be picked up. We parked around the corner from the bookstore on McPherson and just after I pulled in a car sporting a Delaware license plate pulled in in front of us. Anne has been sitting at forty-nine states for a while now, needing only Delaware to win the game. Starting the next game immediately, the CWE turned out to be a target rich environment, where she racked up over twenty states in less than an hour, including Delaware again. Yep, that’s right we counted that car twice. I guess that it has been a while since we walked around the CWE neighborhood, because a lot has changed. There were many new restaurants that we have not dined at yet, but missing were many old stalwarts. Most notable of the missing in action was Llywelyn’s Pub. Three other locals are still around town, but the original one on McPherson is gone. Further south on Euclid, at Maryland Plaza, the World Chess Hall of Fame has installed a pop-up called Jingle. In conjunction with Kingside Diner it has set up a tent on the plaza, but it has also taken over at least the windows of the old Culpepper’s corner too.
Anne is seen here playing hopscotch on a new artwork on the sidewalk in front of CNB Bank Park in downtown Maplewood. As the pictured shopping bag attests, we were there doing some Christmas shopping. While this unnamed art isn’t exactly a hopscotch court that didn’t prevent Anne from using her imagination and having some fun with it. It also occasioned her to wonder about the origin of the word hopscotch. Allow me to elucidate or in the vernacular mansplain. The origin of the game itself dates back to iron age India. The English etymology of the word hopscotch is a portmanteau of the words hop and scotch, the latter is used in the sense of an incised line or scratch and not the people of northern Great Britain. While in Scotland the game is known as Peevers, Peeverels and Pabats. The shopping bag you can think of as her lagger, in place of a stone.
Yesterday, we walked in Tower Grove Park. While the larger Forest Park is also known as Saint Louis’ front yard, what with all of its marquee attractions, Tower Grove is sometimes called Saint Louis’ backyard, because of its more intimate feel and vibe. It had been a while since we last visited this park and we were looking forward to checking it out, to see what if anything had changed. This Park is in the process of reintroducing a river into the eastern half of the park, which has entailed lots of construction all year. Workers were still laboring on this project and we had to take a detour around their construction zone, on our usual circuit around the park. There wasn’t as much progress on this development as I had hoped, but it is still a work in progress. The big new development in the park was the installation of multiple mobile cellphone towers around the park. Both AT&T and Verizon has each prepositioned multiple cell towers around the park. We asked a worker what was up and learned that not this weekend, but next weekend the park will host a live Pokémon GO event. For the uninitiated, which includes myself, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game that is played on a smart phone. An event such as this would have the players walking around a venue trying to catch Pokémon with their phones. This game debuted in 2016 and is still quite popular. We were in Ottawa then, where the park across the street from our hotel was a Pokémon site. We could see people, mainly kids, seemingly running around in circles, chasing virtual Pokémon with their phones. The game has been praised for its introduction of exercise to video gaming, but because the players are running around in public, it has resulted in some unfortunate accidents. Tower Grove Park should make for a good venue for this game, since much of the park is inaccessible to cars.
Hnefatafl is an ancient Norse board game that is sometimes refered to as the chess of the north. Unlike conventional chess the sides are not equal, with one side on the defensive and the other on the offence. The fewer white pieces are surrounded and menaced by the larger dark army. There has been some back and forth about which side holds the advantage. Much of this is derived from the fact that although examples of the game, like the one pictured have survived, the game’s rules have been less durable. Conventional thought has been that the offence or as in this case the black pieces have held the advantaged, but more recent discovery indicates that it is the white defence that holds the advantage.
The Coronavirus has arrived. The first diagnosed patient in Missouri turned out to be a young woman, a student studying abroad in Italy. She came home with it and has been quarantined. Unfortunately, she lives in Saint Louis County. She is literally one in a million now, but don’t expect those long odds to avert a panic. Our governor and county executive appeared on TV to calm the masses, but I’m sure that this will be for naught. The hype in the press has been too relentless.
The paper’s by-line was from Clayton. I’m sure that that is because Clayton is the county seat and not that the origin point was there too. Mercy, a hospital that is located further west was mentioned in the report, indicating that the infected person also resides further west. That would put her in West County, the most affluent region around Saint Louis, which dovetails with her studying abroad.
Yesterday, Anne and I walked to Clayton. She to absentee vote in Tuesday’s Presidential primary and me to mail some packages for her. It was a warm day and the weather was perfect for a walk. We kind of hoofed it going there, with twin deadlines of a closing polling place and post office, but we made it fine. Afterwards, we stopped for lunch at Manhattan Café and then home for a nap.