A Bad Southwester

It was shorts and tee-shirt weather today. It got up to 77 °F and was as windy as all get out. Anne and I had a lovely breakfast at the Southwest Diner, on Southwest Avenue and features Southwest cuisine. They had a movie poster on the wall there for a 1950s gangster film, featuring Steve McQueen. Called “The Great Saint Louis Bank Robbery”, this black and white motion picture was based upon actual events. It even included some of the participating policemen and bank employees as extras. It was filmed on location at Southwest Bank, where the robbery occurred and which still stands there and operates to this day. After breakfast, we drove over to Southwest and Kingshighway and took a picture of the bank’s trademark golden eagle.

Since we were so close then, we decided to visit the botanical gardens next. We had been listening to KDHX, the non-corporate public radio station in town. So, just as we were pulling into the garden’s parking lot, Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” came on the air. Anne claimed a driveway moment, so we sat in the car and listen to the song in its entirety. Today was a week after the anniversary of that wreck, but the unseasonably warm weather and the forecast for storms today must have led the DJ to channel those November witches of long ago.

I kept a weather eye on the sky and the other one on my iPhone weather App. We stayed close to the Climatron, so we could duck into it at a moment’s notice, which we did at the first sign of rain. The YouTube video shows those unfortunates who hesitated only a minute. At the height of the storm, I got to thinking that maybe taking cover in an all glass (really Plexiglas) building wasn’t the best of ideas. This thought was confirmed a moment later, when the climate control fans at the apex of the dome kicked on with a very loud thud. It scared the bejesus out of everyone.

Rainbow at the Garden

Rainbow at the Garden

The storm cell passed over us quickly, leaving only minor damage at the gardens, mostly downed limbs and damage to one of the holiday lights displays. However, when the storm line crossed into Illinois it exploded into dozens of tornadoes that raced across that state and then on to Indiana. We warned Dave, who eventually took the hint. After the storms passed, there were reports of scattered, but widespread power outages. We decided that maybe we should check on the house and headed for home, but there were no problems there. Later, one of our Facebook friend, Chris Romer, published a wind map of the Eastern US. It showed all of the winds funneling up through Michigan. He subtitled it, “Canada is sucking the soul out of America.”

We lucked out today. We dodged a bullet. We have the luxury to read about others misfortune. As that movie poster said, “Real as the screaming headlines – True as the bullets that wrote them.”

Stick An Arch On It

It’s a sea made of what was once the sea – Andy Goldsworthy

Stone Sea is a site-specific artwork commission that was created by world-renowned British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The work unveiled to the public at the June grand opening of the Saint Louis Art Museum’s new wing. Stone Sea was inspired by Saint Louis geology and the city’s underlying base of limestone, which was formed over 300 million years ago when the Midwest was once covered by Ocean Sea. Using limestone from a local quarry, Goldsworthy fabricated twenty-six arches, each about ten feet high. The arches are densely nestled in the courtyard adjoining the Main and new East buildings. The arches, made of roughly cut stone, produce a sense of fluidity reminiscent of the sea. According to the museum, Stone Sea looks to the past, present, and future to celebrate the expansion of the Museum. It brings together many of the artist’s key themes and goals: commitment to the arch form, exploration of enclosed spaces, merging of outside and inside, investigation of local material, and finally, connecting of people and place.

Stone Sea is the largest, most significant art piece incorporated into the grand opening of the East Wing. It’s correlation with Saint Louis goes beyond the choice of its limestone. The choice of the arch shape is a hat tip to that most emblematic of Saint Louis symbols, the Gateway Arch. The Arch permeates Saint Louis society to such an extent that a group of Maplewood hipster moms came out with a line of t-shirts with the phrase, “Stick an Arch on It”. This phrase is itself a riff off the Portlandia TV show’s sketch, “Stick a Bird on It”.

The Slammer’s New Wing

The Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) also-know-as the Slammer opened its newest wing at the end of June. Anne and I left town just the day before its grand opening. I took a few minutes today and did a brief photographic drive by. The new wing adds 200,000 square feet of display space for the museum’s collection. This space has been dedicated primarily to the display of modern art. In addition to the new display space, the new wing sports a three hundred car garage, two restaurants, a gift shop and meeting areas, think art theme park.

My First Cosmo

My First Cosmo

My First Cosmo

Cosmo also known as the Women’s Bible is a magazine targeted at the 18-35 mostly Caucasian, female population. It teaches a certain set of virtues and life lessons like “90 ways to please your man” and “How to make men want you.” It can be incredibly funny, ridiculous or offensive depending on one’s perspective. It has single-handedly set some woman back many years, by defining them solely through their relationships with men.

When I first pulled this magazine out of our mailbox, I assumed that the mailman had delivered someone else’s mail to me, but on closer inspection, I saw my name and address on the mailing label. I have no idea how I got this magazine and what I assume will be the beginning of a subscription. I didn’t ask for it and I’m certainly not going to pay for it. I’m nowhere near the target demographic, 18-35 mostly Caucasian, females. I suspect that someone has maliciously signed me up for this magazine. Ha, ha, very funny.

Costa Rican Zipline

Dave on a Costa Rican Zipline

Dave on a Costa Rican Zipline

The photo with this post is courtesy of Dave. It’s from the vacation trip to Costa Rica that he took this last month. Dave posted this and a couple hundred more pictures from this trip to Facebook this week. Most of the photographs show a kaleidoscope of tropical fauna. There are a plethora of birds, bugs, reptiles and more, including one rather creepy looking crab found poolside.

Earlier this year, Dave took his income taxes to H & R Block and got a healthy return. This new-found wealth combined with the excuse that one of his old Rochester roommates had graduated from medical school was all that was needed to book the trip. The package that Dave bought was one of those that includes everything, seven nights, each in a different locale, covering both coasts and the mountains in between. The one thing that Dave had told me that wasn’t included in the package was a zipline tour through the tropical rainforest canopy. The tour company did not want to include it in the tour package, due to liability concerns. There had been accidental fatalities in the past. I just assumed that Dave wouldn’t be doing it, silly me.