Not Much. You?

I played golf yesterday and my game didn't suck.

I think it's true. The Cubs are cursed.

I forgot to mention that, after Whad' Ya Know last Saturday we attended a reception, cause we paid extra for the good seats. I ran into Carolyn Toft , Executive Director of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. I remembered her from 25 - 30 years ago when we were both trying to keep people from tearing down buildings in Soulard. She didn't remember me because I was a very minor player in these efforts, while she was/is "Ms Historic Preservation" in St. Louis. Of course I didn't have any gray hair back then either.

Weekend Update

Friday the 13th came on a Monday this month.

Whad' Ya Know was in town Saturday, so Jes and I had to see it. I got hopelessly lost trying to get there. Took the West Florissant exit instead of the Florissant exit and found myself in some neighborhoods in North St. Louis that I hope I never see again. Fortunately I was able to call Jes and she set me straight. Unfortunately, I missed the Florissant exit and had to go clear to the airport to turn around. Instead of getting there a half hour early, which I had planned, I got there just in time for the show. It was really cool and I just had to get a Whad Ya Gnome.

Afterward I got to see Jes' studio, which was also really cool.

Good description of the Missouri State Quarter: Three men in a bathtub, with brooms with broccoli in the background.

I finished Standing in the Rainbow. It was OK but no great shakes. The folksy tales from Elmwood Springs started to get a little old. Since she has now killed off Neighbor Dorothy, maybe Fannie Flagg will try a slightly different genre. Fried Green Tomatoes is still her best book. Welcome to the World Baby Girl is good. I read Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, but I can't remember a thing about it.

I have lots of unread books here and I keep buying more. My reading list is not nearly as ambitious as Can't Get There. After hearing Pat Conry interviewed, probably on NPR, I bought My Loosing Season. Evidently his father was every bit as bad as The Great Santini.

Memorandum to all Personnel

We went over to Jack & Bonnie's Christmas Eve, which is always a good time. It was made even better because all our children, including our new daughter in law, were there.

Sue, Bridget and I opened our presents Christmas morning. I don't know how the dog knew that the stocking hanging on the mantle was hers, but she did. She was as excited as a kid when we got it down. Her favorite toy was a rubber chicken.

Christmas day was at our house. The only hitch was that I had only bought one 16oz cottage cheese while Sue's recipe called for two. Fortunately Walgreens, which was packed on Christmas morning, had cottage cheese. We had the whole family, including my brother who is in from New Orleans, and our friends Karen and Dale. Everyone enjoyed their gifts and the company. My parents brought their dog Turk, so Bridget had a wonderful Christmas with all of her favorite people, plus a little friend. Karen and Dale brought her a stuffed toy that she also really liked. I got lots more loot, including The Simpson's First Season, from Josh and Kieran and the Iraqi Most Wanted Playing Cards from my brother. I am in a quandary over this last gift. As a collectors item they are more valuable if I don't take them out of the original wrapper, but I want to play with them, which is probably what I will do.

Sue took off work today. She is reading her Pilates book even as I blog. We are going to have Brad with us tonight. Not sure when he is coming over. Tomorrow I have to take my brother back to the airport.

A wonderful paragraph from "My Losing Season"

All season long, I would look for signs of His imminence and concern in my daily affairs. I prayed hard and only gradually became aware that this fierce praying was a way of finding prologue and entrance into my own writing. This came to me as both astonishment and relief. When I thought God had abandoned me, I discovered that He had simply given me a different voice to praise the inexhaustible beauty of the made world.

As a result of the reduction in money budgeted for division purposes, we are going to cut down the number of personnel.

Under the plan, older employees will go on early retirement, thus permitting the retention of younger people who represent our future plans.

Therefore, a program to phase out older personnel by the end of the current fiscal year via early retirement will be placed into effect immediately. The program shall be know as RAPE (Retire Aged Personnel Early).

Employees who are RAPED will be given the opportunity to seek other jobs within the jasminlive system, provided that while they are being RAPED they request a review of their employment records before actual retirement takes place. This phase of the operation is called SCREW (Survey of Capabilities of Retired Early Workers).

All employees who have been RAPED or SCREWED may also apply for a trial review; this will be called SHAFT (Study of Higher Authority Following Termination.

Program policy dictates that employees may be RAPED once and SCREWED twice, but may get the SHAFT as many times as the Company deems appropriate.

My first job

What I did with my time.

Since I had nothing else to do I did have time to attend some data processing courses offered by the State of Ohio. I also conducted some of my own research projects.

One such project was a regression analysis of factors relating to the number of kids committed to Ohio correctional institutions in any given year. I used youth population numbers, crime rates, economic indices and anything else that might help explain commitments. The most powerful factor I uncovered was the cycle of the gubernatorial election. Commitments were always highest on the year a governor was to be elected. We never came up with a very good explanation for this, since juvenile court judges were elected on a different cycle than the governor.

Another study related to the offence for which a youth was committed, the institution he went to and the amount of time he spent incarcerated. Juveniles in Ohio served indeterminate sentences because all youth received "individual treatment". What we found was that each institution had its version of a treatment program, which lasted a particular number of months. Most children spent about that amount of time, give or take a month or two. All institutions save one could control their intake. The exception was Fairfield School for Boys, which took the boys rejected by the other institutions. This meant that Fairfield experienced population pressure and tended to release juveniles earlier than the other institutions. It also meant that the other institutions took youth who were deemed more "treatable" who were usually in for less serious offences. The result of this was that the kid committed as a runaway might go to Cuyahoga Hills where he would spend sixteen months and the kid committed for armed robbery would go to Fairfield School for Boys where he would spend six months. Remember my Division Director. The one they though they had put in a job where he could do little harm. He thought this study was so interesting that he published it in a scholarly journal, fortunately without giving me any credit for the research. He was fired.

The new Division Director was a political operative, but a very nice guy.

Busy weekend

Gene won 2 of 3 Friday. He deserves a break once in a while. We took Brad and his friend Brandon to a Cardinals game Friday night. Initially they complained about the seats. We had good seats (Loge Reserved) but not as good as last year, when we were about 6 rows from the field. They eventually settled down and had a great time. The Cardinals won.

Saturday was a parade for the Granite City Little League. Bridget and I walked with the team. She got petted by a lot of little kids. We both had fun..

Sunday I saw another Cardinals game with my mother. She and her neighbor had tickets. The neighbor couldn't go. Being the good son that I am I volunteered. The Cardinals lost, but we got to spend time together with just the two of us. When I was young we would often talk for hours, often solving the world's' problems. My mom is a big baseball fan and could tell me the history of every player on the team. Sue and Brad went to a wedding shower for Danielle. I got the better deal.

Yesterday (Monday) I played 18 at Indian Mounds and wasn't terrible. The rest of the day was yard work.

Today Kris and I got measured for our tuxedos for the big wedding. Right now there is a huge thunderstorm approaching. The dog is in the corner looking to me for protection. She hates thunder storms.

Tomorrow Jes and I are going to the History Museum to see the Lewis and Clark exhibit. It is supposed to be wonderful.

This Thursday will be my last Wall Street Journal class. It has really been fun. I don't plan on taking any classes this summer but I am anxious to see what they will offer in the fall.

I am not making this stuff up

Earlier this week, the dog is looking out the window, barking her head off. On the front lawn a pair of mallard ducks, a male and a female, are out for their morning walk.

About an hour ago the dog is at it again. I expect that our chipmunk friend is outside. Instead there is a box turtle, almost the size of a dinner plate strolling across the front yard. I took it to the golf course.

On another note, I have just started The Human Stain. I haven't read any Phillip Roth in a long time. Around my sophomore/junior years in college I read a fair amount of Roth; Portnoy's Complaint, Goodbye Columbus, When She was Good etc. A couple years ago I started "American Pastoral" but couldn't get into it. Maybe I will try again if I like this one. American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain are supposedly a trilogy.

Long Dry Spell

I haven't blogged much lately because I have been fairly busy. I expect that will be more true as we get into the summer. Yard work takes a fair amount of my time. Plus when it is warm outside I don't like to be indoors.

Jes and I saw Garrison Keillor a couple weeks ago. He was very entertaining, talking about growing up in Lake Wobegone.

The sewer controversy is still on. Last Wednesday some of us met with the city manager who is pushing the proposal. It was a very stormy chaturbate session. The next day I fired off some letters to the city council and the mayor.

Went to my Wall Street Journal class today and didn't speak at all. Most of the discussion was on international economics, so I listened and took notes.

Brad has had field trips the last two Fridays (I go to almost all of his field trips) and there is a sports field day at the school tomorrow. He also spent the night here two nights this week, so I picked him up at school and took him to school the next morning.

Tuesday night I had dinner with some old friends that I hadn't seen in almost two years. I was good catching up.

I gave blood yesterday. Would have done it anyway, but it gets Brad an out of uniform day at school.

I don't know if Gene is going to show up for racquetball in the morning, but Bob just called to see if I wanted to play. I am prepared to get my butt kicked.

The Old Neighborhood

Sam Goltermann, the pastor who married Sue and I, died Saturday. I went to Trinity Lutheran Wednesday morning to pay my respects. Since I was in the neighborhood I took some pictures.

This was my first house, on Soulard Street and a closeup of the storm doors. It was built sometime between 1869 and 1874.

On the left is a street scene from near the house on Soulard. If this is reminiscent of the French Quarter, it is not a coincidence. Much of the wrought iron on New Orleans balconies was made in St. Louis

On the right is my second house, on 12th Street, built in the 1880s.

The Arnst house, built in 1876 was two doors down. Mr. Arnst was a doctor. He had his office behind his home. The buildings were connected by a tunnel.

Max J. Feuerbacher, proprietor of the Green Tree Brewery built this home in 1874. On the right is a close up of one of the stone lions.

This home was built by a French family before the Civil War. Neighborhood legend says that tunnels and caves connecting the house to the riverfront were used to smuggle guns to the South.

The flounder or half house is common in Soulard. They are sometimes free standing, but often attached to an adjacent building.

Soulard's best-known homes are the Lemp Mansion and the DeMenil Mansion. The Lemp house is one of America's most haunted houses. Mr. DeMenil, a southern sympathizer, didn't get along with his pro union German neighbors and legend says that he built the Greek revival front to his house out of spite. It is also rumored that he had a cannon in his front yard pointed toward the river.