When the Lions Drink

Lion’s Head Mooring Rings

When the lions drink, London will sink
When it’s up to their manes, we’ll go down the drains
When the water is sucked, you can be sure we’re all… [in trouble]

Lining the quay along the River Thames, at regular intervals, in central London are these bronzed lion mooring rings. Originally installed as part of a Victorian sewer project, the legend has since grown that they also act as a flood warning system. Superstitious Londoners have come to believe that the lions keep watch on the Thames. The preceding rhyme describes how to interpret their flooding forecast. Thankfully, the lion’s accuracy has not had to be tested, yet. 


Death Star Croquet

Back in the day, when we were all younger and Dave was still little, when I got home from work, I would ask him if anyone had called me. When someone had, he would usually say, “One of the Ons called.” He was referring to one of my buddies, either Don, Ron or John, but since he never cared to remember which one it was, I was left to guess and frequently had to call around to find out who it was. Today, I convince Anne to play hooky. Flooding this week and the road closures that it has caused is preventing many teachers from getting to school. Me bad, but neither of us are regretting this decision, because we were able to enjoy a lovely luncheon with two of the Ons, in particular Don and Ron. John had another engagement. We met at Viviano’s, an Italian restaurant-market and everyone enjoyed a leisurely four-hour lunch. That’s right four-hours. We had a lot of catching up to do. Now I know why, when we travel and stop at a café, there is frequently an old guys table. It is because they never leave or go home.  

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Aztec Turquoise Mosaic Mask

Well, into each life a little rain must fall and that is what the weather has been doing since Friday. They forecasted 6″ of it and I think that we got every bit of that. There’s a fair amount of flooding going on and in our 80 year-old basement, the cracked concrete floor is weeping to beat the band. Also, the sump pump roars to life about every fifteen minutes. I shouldn’t really complain too much, because I caused this frog strangler to occur. Just like my Dad ended the five-year drought in California, when he had solar panels installed on his house, I did something similar. When he turned on his solar system, the clouds moved in, the rains commenced and the drought out there was soon history. I feel like I caused our deluge here this weekend, when I bought a new sprinkler system to water the lawn. It’s really not much of a system, just a new sprinkler and a timer for the faucet, but it should be able to automatically water the lawn, some day. I haven’t tried it out yet. There hasn’t been any reason to, but if the rain ever halts, then I’ll be ready. Anne has taken better advantage of this storm by working on her quilting. In other news, I’ve been going to the dentist a lot lately. I’m having new caps put on my teeth. The photo is an artist’s rendition of how they’ll look, when it’s all done. Great smile, don’t you think? That just a joke. The actual dental work is molars and Inca gold.

Earth Day Part Deux

A Little Bit of Lunacy

We revisited the Earth Day festival today, the largest in the Midwest. Crystal blue skies and a wee bit more warmth successfully brought the throngs out. We bicycled today, which was a good thing, because parking would have been impossible. There was such a long line of bikes waiting to cross Skinker and enter the park that we had to go with the flow and run the red, just to make that light cycle. I’m sure that played well with the endless line of cars that were backed up all along Skinker, but they weren’t going anywhere anyway, at least anytime soon. I’m seen here sporting the latest fashion in bike lids, a waxing crescent moon helmet. If I turn my head and give you the other profile then you can see the waning crescent. Creator Lynn Herzberger fitted it and snapped the photo. It was tough to balance it on top of my head. He was supporting ISDC 2017, the International Space Development Conference, which occurs next month, here in Saint Louis. As part of their promotional effort they were touting Saint Louis engineering firsts: The Eads Bridge First bridge across the Mississippi; The Spirit of Saint Louis First nonstop transatlantic flight; Fabrication of the Mercury space capsules – First US manned spaceship. I’m not sure how much all of this has to do with Earth Day, but it was a lot of fun posing as a moon man and it has to be more relevant than rain gutters and replacement windows.

The British Museum

Anne at the British Museum

At the British Museum, as with most museums, patrons are asked not to touch the museum’s collection. Delicate and fragile items are encased in glass, while larger more rugged pieces are kept under the ever watchful eyes of the museum’s art police. When we were at the British Museum I saw one of these guards scold a man for touching an ancient Egyptian sculpture, meanwhile hundreds of school kids were bouncing around the same gallery and were frequently pawing the same art. I never touch the art. What never? Well, hardly ever. Caught red-handed, I am pictured below touching a statue of Sophocles. Now, in my defense, the one that I am seen touching was in the gift shop and not the pictured original, but what about the Rosetta stone?

The real Rosetta stone is on display in the museum’s antiquities wing and is encased in thick protective glass. It was also surrounded by a horde of tourists. All of this made it very difficult to photograph. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the museum in the Enlightenment wing there is a copy of the Rosetta stone. This duplicate is only a couple of hundred years old and is not protected at all. I knew of its existence and had been looking for it. A middle-age British couple were viewing it, when I walked right up on its side and press my left palm on to the center of its exposed surface. This evoked an audible gasp from the woman and their eyes both shot daggers at me. At least until I pointed out the sign on the stone’s pedestal that said, “Please touch.” This seemed to mollify the couple and they even went so far as to daintily touch the stone with their fingertips. If you look closely at this duplicate, you can see that most people touch it just to the left or right of center.