Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Long and Varied History

May 29, 2017

There was an article in yesterday’s Post-Dispatch about a St. Louis mansion that hosted the first recorded cocktail party, in 1917. Seven years later the property was sold to the Catholic Church. Since then, seven archbishops have lived there, and Pope John Paul II stayed there in 1999. Since John Paul II has been canonized, that means the place that held the first cocktail party has also housed a saint.

Holy Cocktail Party, Batman!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Not a Marvel-ous Movie

May 30, 2017

“Guardians of the Galaxy 2”:

An unfocused mess, with language not suitable for children.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Home Improvement or Self-Improvement: Choose One

May 25, 2017

For the record, 

Home improvement projects and resolutions to cut back on swearing don’t mix.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Special Exhibit, Special People

May 22, 2017

When I went to a special exhibit at the botanical garden the other day, lots of people were taking pictures. Most of the people took pictures from the path, despite the limitations that imposed on their photography, but one couple actually stood in a plant bed to get their masterpieces. They weren’t quick about it, either—they had pretty much settled in for the duration. Eventually I decided to take a picture of them for my collection of curiosities.

Surprisingly, when I pointed my camera at them they packed up and moved off right smartly. Maybe they were afraid I was collecting evidence so somebody could slap a fine on them.

What a nice thought.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Time for the Commute

May 19, 2017

(This entry first appeared on Jan. 23, 2010, under the heading Miscellaneous. But I think a lot of people could use the reminder.)

November 4, 2008

Today I tested a scientific theory: That changing lanes in traffic really doesn’t get you that much farther ahead. (I didn’t set out to test it, I was just running late.)

It may not make much difference in a traffic jam on the highway, but on regular streets it can mean the difference between getting through a light or sitting still for 2 minutes.

 My conclusion: If I don’t piddle around so that I leave late, I won’t have to worry about it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Had Enough of Church Work? Find Harmony

May 11, 2017

If you’ve ever been connected with church work—as a pastor, a worship leader, a committee member, or in any other way—you know just how frustrating it can be. (This applies to synagogues, mosques, and all other religious congregations as well.)

If you’re ready to throw in the towel, grab a book from the “Harmony” series by Philip Gulley; he makes the frustration hilarious. You’ll probably recognize people from your own place of worship in his fictional congregation.

So pull up a chair and have a read. You won’t feel so alone.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

May 14, 2017

I would like to have written a moving tribute to my mom in honor of Mother’s Day, but that didn’t pan out. But I will tell you some things about her.

She raised us to believe that every person, regardless of race, gender, or religion, is as worthy of our respect as any other. That is one of the most priceless gifts a parent can give a child.

She didn’t believe that being female meant you wouldn’t be good at any particular career. Women didn’t have to be nurses, they could be doctors. If any of us had wanted to be an engineer, she’d have cheered us on.

She worked her way through college.

She said that college was about getting an education, not choosing a career path.

She wanted to be an FBI agent. When she wrote to the agency asking about opportunities, she received a letter from J. Edgar Hoover thanking her for her interest, but saying that women could not be FBI agents. She could have applied for a secretarial position but, even though she was proficient at typing and shorthand, that didn’t appeal to her as a career choice, so she passed.

She was elected Director of Civil Defense in a small town because nobody was running for the office, so she wrote her own name in on the ballot. She got the only vote, and won the position.

After she retired she moved to a different state so she could go back to school and get her Master’s Degree in creative writing.

Those are just some of the things about Mom that I think are cool.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Communing with Nature

May 11, 2017

The other night I was sitting outside, and a wasp kept dive-bombing me. I assume it was a territory issue.

I shooed it away a couple of times, but it kept coming back.

So I said, “Stop it, or I’m going to get the wasp spray.” 

It left.

It’s good to commune with nature.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Suburban Blight

May 10, 2017

When I took walks in Idaho, I’d see ducklings, or California quail with their impossibly cute babies. In suburban St. Louis I see…shrubbery.

Lots of shrubbery. Big shrubbery. Shrubs that no doubt started out small and cute (the subdivision landscaper’s go-to move), but are growing unchecked in front of lots of houses.

Some people trim and shape the bushes, but nobody keeps them small. They just keep letting them get bigger, to the point where they’re not even decorative anymore. It looks like their houses are being swallowed by the things. I passed one house and said, “Get—a—chainsaw!”

No real reason to write this; I just think it’s time we stopped setting ourselves up to be the next sci-fi horror flick. (“The Shrubbery That Ate Suburbia.”)

The Next Fashion Fad

May 10, 2017

The other day I was on a long phone call. I’m an inveterate doodler when I’m on the phone, but there was no paper handy. Eventually I noticed I was doodling on my jeans! (Fortunately they were the paint-spattered ones I keep for home projects.)

Then I thought: Ripped jeans, muddy jeans…Why not Doodle Jeans? Maybe I can start a new craze.

Let me see if I can get Nordstrom’s on the line…

Monday, May 8, 2017

Two Is Better Than One?

May 6, 2017

Developers want to install a 90-foot Ferris wheel on Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis. Because Delmar’s not crowded enough already.

And because the 200-foot wheel planned for Union Station isn’t enough for one city? 

July 8, 2017

The neighborhood voted down the Ferris wheel on Delmar. Traffic problems and aesthetics were two of the reasons cited. I’m glad good sense prevailed in this case.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Slow Learners

May 6, 2017

Penn State officials are shocked, saddened and dismayed at the death of a student as a result of a fraternity hazing. Hazing deaths are so rare and unexpected…

Seriously, this death was so horrific that it boggles the mind. When are colleges going to realize once and for all that turning a blind eye to fraternity excesses will not end well?

But Penn State is cracking down: New rules involve a ban on liquor, kegs, and daylong parties.

In addition, only ten Greek parties with alcohol are allowed per semester instead of 45.


A Golden Opportunity

May 7, 2017

Nordstrom’s is selling jeans with fake mud for $425.

Neiman Marcus is selling beat-up sneakers for $1,425.

I’m going to have a garage sale and put the ratty stuff in a special Designer Section.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Is There a (Spin) Doctor in the House?

May 3, 2017

St. Louis is getting pretty famous for its gun violence, but this incident was unusual enough to grab everyone’s attention: a woman watching a ball game at Busch stadium was grazed by a bullet fired outside the stadium.

Not to worry: Police think it was just somebody firing into the air, no malice intended.

I can see the tourism board scrambling to deal with this one:

St. Louis—Loaded with Fun!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What's In a Name?

May 3, 2017

Not much, apparently.

Lots of schools are closed in the St. Louis area because of flooding—including a preschool called Noah’s Ark.