Orange White Barrel Season

Orange White Barrel Season

We walked yesterday and the roads are much improved from the day before, mostly bare pavement. The weather was generally much better than it had been also. The schools relented too, instead of another day of remote learning, the kids got a snow day. It’s not like we get snows like this very much anymore and giving the children a chance to enjoy the snow seemed like a good thing. 2019 was the last time we got this much snow, so three years. Pictured are the results of one enterprising snow shoveler’s effort. The sidewalk in front of this hose had been cleared, by first shoveling the snow into a plastic garbage barrel, packing it down, then dumping the barrel upside-down and then repeat.

Last year, we signed up for Direct TV, originally so Anne could watch TV even when the weather was not good. It turns out that one of the many channels that it provides is an Olympics channel. This allows us to watch the games 24/7 commercials free. Lots of curling on so far. I’ve noticed that except for the racecourses there isn’t any snow there. The winter Olympics may someday cease to be feasible anymore. That would be a shame. 

Baseball Suite in a Major Key

Carl with His Program Cover Quilts

A little late for Christmas, but worth the wait. Last night, Carl received his belated X-mas present. Anne has been working on this project pretty much since Dave and Maren’s wedding. She finished them this week and mailed them off before the storm hit town. The following is Carl’s lovely thank you:

At about 8:00 last night, one piece of mail fell through the slot. The postal service is hurting. I made sure there was nothing else and opened the door. Oh Boy, a package! And WHAT a package! These Cub Scorecard Quilted Blocks are FABULOUS. Thank you. With baseball in limbo right now, this really helped my feelings for the game. The artist is Otis Shepard. He and his wife, Dorothy, were accomplished graphic artists from the 1930’s through 1969 (when Otis died), in Billboards. I have a very interesting book about their lives, and it’s loaded with their work. I kind of fell back in love with Otis’ scorecards when I found a 1965 scorecard, scored by my dad, and it was a No-Hitter! I found it when they were moving from Illinois to Colorado. He had no memory of the game, being a Hard drinking Cubs fan, but it got me looking at the older Otis designed scorecards. From 1970 through the early 1980’s they did some knockoffs of his work. They were good, but as I found out, not nearly as good as Otis’. Then about 15 years ago I ran into a fellow baseball enthusiast at a Card shop. I told him about my love of the old Cubs and White Sox scorecards, and he said he had a bunch of both. I traded him some cards he needed, and I had all the Cub scorecards from 1954 through 1969, except 1955 and 1958, my birth year. Another X-mas a few years back you got me the 1958. But these quilted versions are priceless and with your choices of baseball quotes and phrasing on the backs, you’ve hit a GRAND SLAM Home Run. Doff your cap, Babe. (I’m not flirting; I’m using a phrase to conjure up Babe Ruth).

Below are the five quilt-lets side-by-side with the original Cubs program covers that inspired them. The captions below each pair appear on the back of each quilt. I think that Anne did a great job on this project and I’m glad that it was so well received. She is already hard at work on the first of three baby quilts.

Baseball Suite in a Major Key—For Carl, a Fantastic Fan!

It might be… it could be… IT IS! A Homerun! —Harry Carey

Chicago …Stormy, husky, brawling, City of Big Shoulders… —Carl Sandburg

He goes back, back to the wall. He jumps and… He makes the catch! He robs the homerun!

Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss? —Dizzy Dean

The Big Game

Sombre Helmet with Horses, Donald Robertson, 1952

This afternoon, the Michigan Wolverines, ranked 6th in the nation, came to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans, ranked 8th. Both teams entered the game with identical, perfect 7-0 records for the season. Both teams entered the stadium undefeated, only one will leave like that. The game was broadcasted on Fox, which we could have watched over the air, but whether it was terrestrial weather or that G3 geomagnetic storm that is supposed to generate the aurora borealis tonight, maybe even far enough south for us to see here in Saint Louis, but the Fox broadcast was coming in all pixilated. Not to worry though, because we now have Direct-TV, which came in crystal clear over our Wi-Fi. The first quarter was all Michigan, aided by two State turnovers, for a 10-0 score. In the second quarter, the Spartans came back to take the lead, briefly, before falling back behind 23-14 at the half, but it could have been much, much worse. The second half was a see-saw battle, with the lead changing hands back-and-forth. In the end though the Spartans were victorious, 37-33. Go Green! Go White!

Field Trip

Bosse Field

Finally, something to blog about. Our dull humdrum existence was interrupted by a field trip. Yesterday, we did an out-and-back to Evansville, IL. This town is roughly halfway between Saint Louis and Nashville. Rey drove north, while we drove east to meet him. Our mission was to deliver the yellow dresser destined for Corwin. We had picked up said dresser on our last visit to Ann Arbor, trundled it back to Saint Louis, where it sat in the way back of the RAV4 for the better part of a week. On Saturday, we made the handoff. We met Rey for lunch at Turonis Pizzery and Brewery. A haunt of some local fame and long standing. Its Saint Louis style pizza was so good that I burnt the roof of my mouth gobbling it down. I couldn’t wait for it to cool. We next adjourned to the ballgame. Venerable Bosse Field (built in 1915) and the hometown Evansville Otters hosted our home team the Gateway Grizzlies. They reside on the east side, in Illinois, but within our metro area. Rey instructed me that neither of these teams are technically minor league teams. They are unaffiliated with any major league team. Does that make them semi-pro? Anyway, the play was poor, but the tickets were cheap. I guess you get what you pay for. There were multiple errors in most innings. It seemed that Grizzlies commit the majority of them. We were sitting front row, directly behind the catcher. All of the seating was thankfully shaded (90 °F heat) and almost all of it was in foul territory. All except for the Corona patio and we were not willing to go there, what with the delta variant rampaging these days. The heat seemed to plague the Grizzlies more than the Otters. After they suffered a hit batsman that was not called, the Grizzlies manger got ejected, after an argument with the home plate umpire. This spawned a series of almost ejection arguments throughout the rest of the game. The home plate umpire made several more bad calls. We bailed at the top of the eighth, the heat, where the score was 6-1 Otters. The final score was 6-2.

The Cards won on Sunday!

PS – Hurricane update: Dave and Maren didn’t see any rain at all in Boston, while Dan and Britt survived Henri in NYC. More news on the hour…

1904 Olympics

Wash U’s Francis Field and Gymnasium, Site of the 1904 Olympics

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finally underway, a year late, because of Covid. No spectators are permitted, because of Covid and many other inconveniences have been imposed, because of Covid. These precautions are enough to make one wonder why they even went on with the games in the first place, but that is neither here or there. The spectacle associated with these modern games are enough to engender some serious hating-on of them, but I was surprised to read this week a serious hate piece about the 1904 Olympics that were held here in Saint Louis. There is noting more cherished and honored in Saint Louis history than the 1904 World’s Fair and while not as revered as the fair, the 1904 Olympics have always basked in the reflected glory of the fair. This Daily Beast hit piece had to have been written by a Chicagoan, because who else would be motivated to carry a grudge for so long? Talk about sour grapes.

This sordid story begins in 1903, the hundredth anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, but like the Tokyo Olympics, our World’s Fair had to be delayed a year, to the 101st anniversary of the purchase. Unfortunately, this delay put Saint Louis’ fair on a collision course with the 1904 Olympics, which were scheduled to be held in Chicago that year. Not to be outdone by its large neighbor to the north, the Saint Louis city fathers set about the task of stealing the Olympics from Chicago. They did this by first organizing a competing athletic event associated with the fair that locked up all of the American athletes and then complaining to the Olympic committee about there now being two competing events that were both hosted in the same country and would be occurring at the same time. Appealing to the Olympic committee Saint Louis successfully argued the two events should be combined, in Saint Louis. You see we didn’t steal the Olympics, we won them fair and square. 😉

The Beast article goes on to enumerate all of the many high crimes and misdemeanors associated with the 1904 Olympics that earned it the moniker of the worst Olympics in modern times, but I especially like the way that they described how the marathon was handled:

The conditions for the marathon were horrendous. It was over 90 degrees when the race began at 3:03 p.m. on Aug. 30, and the path extended along a road filled with dust. Making matters worse, organizers limited the water available to the runners because “the chief organizer of the Games wanted to minimize fluid intake to test the limits and effects of purposeful dehydration, a common area of research at the time,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. Thirty-two men started the race; only 14 finished. One man almost died from a stomach hemorrhage. Fred Lorz, who had maintained the first lead, caught a ride in a car for 11 miles, then emerged at the end and was almost declared the winner before his “short cut” was discovered. The gold medal would eventually be awarded to Thomas Hicks, whose team buoyed him along when he began to flag by feeding him strychnine, egg whites, and brandy. His winning time was a whopping three hours, 28 minutes, and 53 seconds. […] “Never in my life have I run such a tough course. The terrific hills simply tear a man to pieces,” Hicks said at the finish line.

America’s Pastime


Yesterday, in a surprising move, Major League Baseball announced that it would be relocating this year’s Allstar game. It had been scheduled to be played in Atlanta this summer, and would have afford an excellent occasion to memorialize the late great Hank Aaron, who passed away this year, but the Georgia Republicans had to go and screw that up. Reacting to the three stinging defeats handed to them, from the end of last year to the beginning of this one, the Georgia GOP enacted draconian voting restrictions designed to undermine and limit the black vote that had trice beaten them. This racist legislation is unconscionable and is reminiscent of Jim Crow practices of sixty years ago. MLB’s courageous stand should serve as a wakeup call to all Georgians and all Americans too. This is the 21st-century and no matter how much some people may want to, we are not going to return to those evil practices of the past.