Happy 60th Anniversary

Horsey, Bugs, le Marquis and Pooh

Horsey, Bugs, le Marquis and Pooh

Today is Anne’s parents 60th anniversary. To help celebrate this event Anne and her sisters conspired together. Bubs and Harry had planned to go to dinner last light at a fancy new restaurant, Logan’s, in Ann Arbor. Jane delivered a giant, gorgeous bouquet of flowers to their house yesterday morning and then arranged for a bottle of wine to be delivered at dinner and also left instructions to put the tab on her credit card. She then jetted off to Paris. I imagine when she returns, she’ll be hitting up her two siblings for their share of this party.

The morning rain finally departed and we launched for a steamy late afternoon bike ride. We stopped for a late lunch / early dinner at a new to us restaurant, the Saint Louis Oasis. It is located on Euclid in the CWE, just north of the parkway, across the street from Central Table. Oasis features Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. I had their deluxe gyro and Anne had their stuffed grape leaves. The food was quite good. I thought that my gyro was better than the fare at either Olympia or Spiro’s. Maybe this isn’t too surprising since Oasis is just around the corner from the Greek Orthodox church, famous for its Greek food festival.

Bye Bye Blackbird

Neoporteria - Stick It

Neoporteria – Stick It

So long, Michele Bachmann, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Yesterday, this soon to be former US Representative from Minnesota announced her planned retirement from Congress, at the end of her current term, in 2014. She made this announcement via a nine-minute web video, in which claimed that her decision to retire from Congress was not influenced by any of her looming legal difficulties or that she was afraid that she might not win reelection in 2014. In full disclosure, I did not listen to her video; life is too short for nine-minutes of that sort of drivel. I’m sure that she claimed that she wanted to spend more time with her family, or some such rot.

Less than twenty-four hours after her announcement though, her first trial date was set for next May. By then she ought to be well on the way to transitioning from her current occupation, Congresswoman to her next job as a defendant. This court date is for a civil suit that is being pressed because during her failed 2012 Presidential bid, the Bachmann campaign allegedly stole and then illegally used an email list belonging to an Iowa homeschooling organization. This legal action is just part of the rumbling after effects of a campaign that began so promisingly. Bachmann won the Republican Iowa Straw Poll, the first, albeit unofficial vote of the Presidential election. From there it was all down hill.

Looming on the horizon for Bachmann are a Congressional ethics investigation that is expected to make its report next month and an accompanying FBI investigation. Both probes center on alleged illegal uses of her PAC campaign funds, also in Iowa. Bachmann was probably hoping to transition to a cushy and lucrative Fox News consultancy, but instead she might find herself doing her own pro bono defense work. On your way out of government service Michele, don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

Crawling Out of the Woodwork

White Army Men from the Rough Transcription Show

White Army Men from the Rough Transcription Show

Where do these weirdos come from? The week began with twin bombings at the Boston Marathon. The first question on everyone’s mind was, “Is this the work of al Qaeda?” Various media malfunctions suggested all sorts of phantom threats and answers. They were too numerous to list here. My always right friend, the Perma-Bear even seriously suggested some collusion between Obama and the House of Saud. I shall not detail any of the other ridiculous conspiracy theories that I heard this week, from my other dear, dear conservative friends. Then the guy from Mississippi had to weigh in, the ricin guy. This Elvis impersonator who fears that the government wants to steal his organs allegedly sent out poison love letters, only to be upstaged by the Boston bombers. Finally, among swirling accusations of ‘dark skinned perps’, the FBI released last night photos of two obviously too white suspects. I almost forgot to mention that the twin Texas prosecutor murders were not the work of Mexican drug lords, nor the Aryan Nation, no, it was a couple of ordinary white people, like me and you. As Pogo famously once said, “We have met the enemy and they are us.”

I took this photograph several years ago, when Dan was an art student here in Saint Louis at Webster. The army men were part of the Rough Transcription Show and were created by one of Dan’s classmates. I don’t know who the artist was, somehow though, we ended up with a bunch of these diminutive soldiers. The show took place in an old factory building in midtown. The building’s rough wood flooring nicely contrasts with the smooth alabaster figures.

UPDATE: I wrote this post last night. Since then events have overtaken what I wrote here. I apologize for my inaccuracy. I feel so like the New York Post.


Bowron Lake Provincial Park is located in the Cariboo Mountains of northern British Columbia. The park is known for its rugged glaciated mountains, cold deep lakes, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. The park’s main attraction is a 72 mile canoe circuit, which follows lakes, rivers, with short portages between waterways. This trip takes about a week to complete. In June of 2000, when he was 15, Dan accompanied his relatives, Robin, who was also 15, Aimeé, Robin’s mother and Anne’s cousin and Betty, Aimeé’s mother and Anne’s aunt. They had graciously invited Dan on this their great adventure.

This is really Danny’s story, but I’ll tell it anyway. I had another post in mind for tonight, a rant, but the bombings in Boston made that post seem irrelevant. I first thought of writing about the bombings and began pawing through our photo archive for some relevant photograph of Boston. Instead I found these pictures that Dan had taken while at Bowron. The world will not miss nor long remember what I might have written about today’s bombings. Think of this retrospective as a much needed diversion from the 24/7 babble that is on all the other media outlets, besides it dovetails with this morning’s post.

Dan’s adventure began before he ever left Saint Louis. Fog had socked in the airport the night before, so chaos ruled at Lambert the morning of his departure. TWA had already rescheduled his departure on a later direct flight to Seattle, but this change wouldn’t work for us. Dan had to land early enough so that Aimeé and company could catch the last ferry back to Lopez Island for the night. While we were waiting in line, I called the airline’s 800 phone number. I explained our situation and they were willing to book a flight on another airline. The problem now was that instead of a direct flight, Dan had a connecting flight through O’Hare. I’ve done plenty of OJ runs through O’Hare, so with some trepidation we bade him farewell. As it turned out, his connection was at the adjoining gate.

The Google map shows the Bowron waterways as a near perfect parallelogram. The tour was well guided and outfitted and Dan had a great time. A couple of stories came out of this trip. The first one was Dan’s; there was a tailwind down a long lake. Robin and Dan rigged a sail with their paddles as twin masts and a tarp as their sail. They glided effortlessly past their party with the wind at their back. The other story was about Dan. He had the habit of leaving things behind. Robin and Dan had to more than once retrace their course, always accompanied by guides. The tour guides decided to teach him a lesson. In the end, Dan found his luggage sealed with duct tape.

Marc Chagall’s America Windows

Marc Chagall created America Windows in 1977. Originally conceived as a tribute to the American Bicentennial, it was rededicated to Mayor Richard J. Daley’s after his death in 1976. Designed for the Chicago Art Institute, it was created in collaboration with stained-glass artist Charles Marq. Marq fabricated the 36 colored glass panels and Chagall painted his designs onto the glass using metallic oxide paints. These paints were subsequently annealed to the glass. The windows are eight feet tall and 30 feet wide. The work is composes of three panels, each composed of 12 sections of glass. Chagall’s work is infused with images of familiar American icons, references to Chicago, and symbols of the fine arts. These windows are a rhapsody in blue that suggest the creativity possible under America’s freedom and liberty. In the 1986 movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris and Sloane kissed in front of them. They have been a favorite site for lover’s trysts ever since. They were removed for cleaning in 2005, with Q-tips and baby shampoo no less and reopened to the public in 2010.

All day, we’ve been holding vigil for Virgil, the Weather Channel’s latest named storm. Winter has got to be drawing to a close, because the Weather Channel is running out of letters in the alphabet. Virgil is a wet sloppy snowstorm. I don’t know how many inches of snow that we’ve really gotten, because since the temperature hasn’t dropped below freezing all day, a lot of it has already melted away. In a fit of optimism, I put down some grass seed this morning, before the snow really got going. I had heard once that you should re-seed the lawn on the eve of the last snow storm of winter. The new fallen snow prevents the birds from eating up all of your grass seed. I also filled the bird feeders with the last of our bird seed. I can hear them all tweeting to each other, as I write. After a while, Aeneid and I walked up to the grocery store, if only to get out of the house and abate the building cabin fever. The wet snow was perfect for one thing, snowballs. As I was passing beneath a snow draped pine tree branch, Anne launched a missile across my bough.