An email subject line from Fracture: "Two complimentary prints are better than one"

I was disappointed on opening this email to learn that Fracture was not offering me two free prints, but was instead playing up the benefits of arranging two prints (which presumably they would like me to purchase) in an aesthetic way.

There was a lot of eclipse coverage in Sunday’s Post-Dispatch, but the only mentions of it I saw in today’s paper (the e-edition, anyway) were the editorial cartoon and “What to watch” on TV. More tomorrow, I’d guess.

St. Louis version of a sports equinox today, and the Cardinals earned their first win of the season. The rest of the teams didn’t fare so well.

  • XFL: Battlehawks lose 18-16 on 64-yard field goal
  • NHL: Blues lose 4-0 at home to last place Sharks
  • MLS: City SC lose 3-1, give up hat trick

Hello. I am not participating at the bird site anymore, which really puts a damper on my NICAR socializing. But I will be at NICAR. If you will be too, please be in touch. Slack, email, wherever.

Hello friends. Some professional news, as they say:

I’ve accepted a job with NPR as Senior News Apps Developer, to start toward the beginning of next month. I greatly admire this team (both past and present members) which I’ve looked up to, asked for help from and shamelessly stolen open source code from since the beginning of my career. I’m excited to be a part of it.

At the same time, I’ll be sad to leave St. Louis Public Radio (where I’ll just miss the ten-year mark). I’ve grown significantly as a data journalist, developer and person in my time there. I deeply appreciate my colleagues (again both past and present) for the opportunities to collaborate on stories, their interest in learning data skills and their willingness to try new things, whether that’s ideas for presenting projects, being open to new tools for improving our workflow or adding a drone to a radio station newsroom’s toolbox.

On my wife’s work trip to Japan this summer, she brought me back this. Seemed like a good enough night to open it. Pretty good stuff.

Finally got a few paw paws from the woods behind the house. Lots of trees back there, but only a couple are mature enough to fruit. Hopefully in a few years we’ll have a bounty. For now I’ll enjoy these.

Tough to believe we’ve reached the point where a former president turning himself in at a jail for booking and a mugshot isn’t front-page news, but looking at today’s front pages there seem to be an awful lot of without the story. Deadlines, maybe.

Thank you, past me, for making ham and bean soup and freezing the leftovers, thus providing me with lunch today. It was delicious. Warmest regards, present me.

A calliope probably wears out its welcome in short order, but I sure do enjoy one when I happen to encounter it in the wild.

The image is dominated by a blue sky with clouds, it is orange at the horizon, though the sun is not visible. The foreground is a sea of green theater seats, leading down very far to a stage. An image on a curtain or screen on the stage shows two closed fists meeting knuckles-to-knuckles. The left fist is red with a gold hammer and sickle. The right fist has the Stars and Stripes of the American flag. A tall overhead fan on a post rises from the seats on the right.
A panorama of an outdoor theater:  a blue sky with clouds, it is orange at the horizon, though the sun is not visible. The foreground is a sea of green theater seats, leading down very far to a stage. An image on a curtain or screen on the stage shows two closed fists meeting knuckles-to-knuckles. The left fist is red with a gold hammer and sickle. The right fist has the Stars and Stripes of the American flag. A tall overhead fan on a post rises from the seats on the right.
A theater stage, with people's heads in the foreground and an orange sky in the background. An image on a curtain or screen on the stage shows two closed fists meeting knuckles-to-knuckles. The left fist is red with a gold hammer and sickle. The right fist has the Stars and Stripes of the American flag. A tall overhead fan on a post rises from the seats on the right. The corner of a large chess board can be seen peeking out from below the curtain in the center of the stage. An American flag hangs to the left of the stage (from the viewer's perspective).

CHESS at the MUNY is closing tonight, 51 years to the day after the World Chess Championship of 1972 between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky kicked off. I was lucky enough to see it from the free seats on Thursday and enjoyed it very much.

KMOV in St. Louis decided that it was vitally important to send me an alert on Sunday morning about this story that happened Thursday and in Chicago.

Apple: We’re adding a feature to make sure you don’t keep your devices too close to your eyes.

Apple, immediately following: Here’s a device with tiny screens that live right next to your eyes.

One of this weekend’s projects was to install Ethernet drops from my living room and office into the basement, hook them up to a switch and relocate my NAS down there.

I am now whatever level of geek it is when you’re capable of making your own Ethernet cables.

Every year on Pulitzer Prize announcement day I think “maybe this’ll be my year!” despite not having submitted any work for consideration, not having done any work eligible for consideration, and in all likelihood not having done any work worthy of any prizes at all.

A red radio in the foreground. The background is dark, trees silhouetted against a dark blue sky. A bright full moon is just visible above the tree line.

I thought the evening was already pretty perfect, and then I saw the full moon riding just as Faust begins his descent into Hell. Incredible.

A bright red radio with 90.7 visible on the digital screen in front of a night scene, trees silhouetted in front of a dark sky with a few stars.

I am sitting in a campground under the stars listening to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra‘s performance of Berlioz’ “The Damnation of Faust” on STLPR. I complain about a lot, but right now I got none.

The St. Louis Book Fair provides its wondrous bounty again this year:

  • “Arcadia” and “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard
  • “Collected Poems, 1953-1993” by John Updike
  • “The Wild Party” by Joseph Moncure March and illustrated by Art Spiegelman
  • Best American Poetry; ’89, ’92, ’97, ’15, ’16 and ’18
  • Best American Short Stories; ’86, ’87, 09, ’14, ’16, ’18 and ’20
  • And like 25 “Magic Tree House” books for my kids

Since I’m slowly amassing most of the Best American Short Stories collection (between 1986 and 2020 I’m missing four volumes), I saw several Best American Poetry books and thought I’d start a new quest.

Today I had a lunch at a diner and witnessed a man order his meal, and while waiting, open a single-serving plastic tub of jelly and eat it with a butterknife. Later, a woman who’d ordered coffee (small diner-sized mug) put in four (4) cups of creamer. People are fascinating.

I don’t know if it had this much grain in the print paper, or whether it’s just digital artifacting, but I love the look of this photo by David Carson on today’s front page.

As a one-time newspaper designer, I’m very curious about how this not only appeared twice in the obits today, but has different tracking between the two.

If you never hear from me again it’s because I massively overestimated my abilities. Which I guess applies to a lot of situations. But in this case specifically it’s because I’m going to attempt to run some ethernet.

Five years ago today, I got to visit the Apollo 11 Command Module when it was displayed at the St. Louis Science Center. A surprisingly moving experience.

NPR hasn’t used its main Twitter account since it was maliciously labeled “state-affiliated media”. It’s time everybody else joins them. Twitter needs you more than you need it.

A screenshot of a printed newspaper headline and story. The headline reads "After Nashville schooting, Congress confronts limits of new gun law". The word "shooting" is spelled s-c-h-o-o-t-i-n-g.

I think this error may have come in from the AP, based on seeing an identical headline elsewhere. Still jarring to see it on the (digital) print page.

I remain baffled by any suggestion that unmediated readership-facing AI to provide info is any “killer app” for a journalistic organization. It is unconcerned with the truth, which seems like a pretty big disqualifier to me.

In honor of 314 Day, I asked ChatGPT to imagine St. Louis on 3/14/2034 and tell me ten facts about it. Here’s what it said:

Sure, here are ten hypothetical facts about St. Louis on 3/14/2034:

  1. St. Louis has a population of just over 3 million people, with steady growth in recent years.
  2. The city has become a center for innovation in renewable energy and sustainable urban development.
  3. A new high-speed train connects St. Louis to other major cities in the Midwest, making travel easier and more efficient.
  4. The city’s downtown area has undergone a major revitalization, with new restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues attracting both locals and tourists.
  5. The St. Louis Blues have won several Stanley Cup championships, making them one of the most successful hockey teams in recent history.
  6. St. Louis has invested in new infrastructure to support electric and self-driving cars, with charging stations and autonomous vehicle lanes now a common sight on the city’s streets.
  7. The city has become a hub for medical research and innovation, with several world-renowned hospitals and research centers located in the area.
  8. The Missouri River has become a major destination for outdoor recreation, with kayaking, fishing, and hiking opportunities attracting visitors from across the region.
  9. St. Louis has a diverse and thriving arts and culture scene, with museums, galleries, and performance spaces showcasing the city’s creative talent.
  10. The city has become more inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds, with initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in all aspects of city life.

Congrats to Meredith Broussard on the publication of her newest book: More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech. I enjoyed her fireside chat at NICAR and jumped on the library’s waiting list as soon as I saw the listing pop up the other day.

Trying to logically reason ChatGPT into a corner to prove it is “lying” because it is biased is about as effective as doing the same thing with your cat. Also equally entertaining for outside observers, so by all means, please continue…

50 day streak for the NYT Crossword! If you’d like to watch me mispronounce things and struggle over embarrassingly obvious pop culture, here’s a playlist. (There aren’t 50 there because I started doing them before I started recording them).

My kid is starting a K-2 soccer program and they just sent out an email saying they needed another head coach. I’ve never played soccer but you better believe visions of being junior Ted Lasso just flashed through my head.

📷🎙 “Music’s most iconic stage”, “the mother church of country music”, original home of the Grand Ole Opry: The Ryman Auditorium.

I’ve taken the opportunity while recuperating from whatever illness took me out this week to watch a good bit of the England-New Zealand Test cricket match. It’s pleasant to listen to something with the rhythm of a sport but that I don’t understand the details of.

My wife and I watch Cracking the Cryptic, a YouTube channel that solves sudoku and talks through the logic. I’ve seen similar with the NYT Crossword, so I decided to give it a shot. Pretty fun (though I’m terrified of mispronunciations). Here’s today’s puzzle:

🕵🏻‍♂️🎈Do I spy a Chinese spy balloon? Spotted between 4:15 and 4:45 from south St. Louis County, Missouri.

Groundhog day again

9:30 a.m. and I’ve already watched the movie, had coffee and finished the NYT crossword. Turns out getting up early to drop my kid off at the bus makes me do stuff in the morning. Not productive stuff (so far), but progress.

I like that Siri can read notifications, but it went 0-for-2 on a message from my TV that “Southern Eel” is about to play “Illinois Street”.

An image of some text from a newspaper. It is in three columns. In the first two columns, the first line of a paragraph is the last line of text. The last one has a single word on the last line.

I know page design is handled at a hub and very quickly by people with too much to do, but this sort of thing still snags my brain when I look at a paper. Three stragglers at the bottom of three columns, and one of them is hyphenated.

I realize I’m to the point in my life where if I do anything really good I’m going to be held up as an inspirational example like “he did his first X at age Y: it’s never too late to do that thing you want to do”.

I’m sure I’m not the first to make this observation but tonight it occurred to me that walking to bed in a dark house with your phone flashlight is the modern-day equivalent of using a chamberstick.

Nameplate I traced out of an old Sanborn fire insurance map, then inked and colored. Turned out ok for a first try.

Trying to kick the habit of needing to feel like I’m decent at something creative before attempting it. How much potential joy has that robbed me of over decades?

It’s been my tradition for several years to have the first meal of the new year at a diner. If I’m in STL it’s usually this one, and this meal.

I don’t wish to ruin Christmas, but I’m scanning in a handwritten recipe book passed down through my family and there’s a recipe for something called “Yam-brosia”. It contains sweet potatoes, bananas, coconut and worcestershire sauce.

Things that would feel too on the nose if they appeared as a movie metaphor, but that literally exist in my parents’ shed.

I’d call what’s going on over at the birdsite a clownshow, but that would be an insult to all the fine upstanding clown entertainers I know.

My other kid: “Dad, who’s the best at soccer?”

Me: “Well, right now Argentina is the best.”

Him: “But I’m the best.”

I hadn’t seen the Spielberg version of West Side Story yet and in an indecisive Thanksgiving evening I put it on. It’s as well done as everybody said, but goodness I always forget how much of a downer the story is.

Made some cranberry curd tarts with almond crumb crust. Not quite bake-off level, but the individual components tasted pretty good, so I’m hopeful.

Best Buy had Lutron Caseta smart switches on clearance today, so I got a starter kit (hub + dimmer w/ remote), another dimmer w/ remote and three switches for about $150. Spent the evening installing them. So far so good.

After the election in 2020, I had the 2016 vintage. I liked the tradition so this year I had the 2018. I drank it Wednesday since I didn’t get home from the newsroom until 2:30 a.m.

In 2020 after the election was over, I had a 2016 BCBS. I liked the symbolism. So tonight I’m having this. (Would’ve had it last night but I didn’t get home from the newsroom until like 2:30 a.m.)

Powerball numbers being delayed because of a technical glitch on the night of the biggest jackpot in U.S. history and also the day before an election seems like an autogenerated spy thriller plot.

After about 5 minutes of the new Weird Al movie, I thought “There’s no way they can sustain this level for a whole movie,” and then it just keeps heightening until the credits.

📚 Ten pages in to Andrew Peterson’s ‘The God of the Garden’ and he’s already got my number. (Also helps he’s narrating growing up in a small central Illinois town not unlike my own.)

Five years ago today I got to visit the National Mall in Washington D.C. for the first time, including the memorials to our service members there. I will never forget it. See larger images.

Since they were born, every night before I go to bed I check on my kids. Sometimes it’s 10, sometimes midnight, sometimes 2 in the morning, but I always check. I’ll stop someday, but not tonight. Especially not tonight.

📷🐝 Not the best photo of a bee ever taken, but probably the best photo of a bee I’ve ever taken.

Today’s games:

  • Caper: Europe
  • New York Zoo
  • Savannah Park
  • Curious Cargo
  • Welcome to the Moon (@ 6 players)
  • Furnace

On the eve of spending four days playing boardgames at to the West, I’m watching Only Connect on YouTube and wondering if a pub quiz/trivia night/scholastic bowl type of convention exists, and if not why not.

Some pieces of wood sit on sawhorses. On the wood sits an iPad and Apple Pencil, a neon green Stanley tape measure and a carpenter’s square.

Tools: I’m using my late grandfather’s carpenter’s square, my dad’s tape measure and my iPad in today’s build.

A 3D model of a firewood rack, with wood-textured pieces and dimensions.

Last year’s hastily assembled firewood rack (a few garden stakes laid across some bricks to keep the wood off the ground, basically) finally gave out yesterday evening, so I spent the evening designing a new one in SketchUp. We’ll see how it comes together.

If you enjoy my bird photos, please consider donating to my employer, St. Louis Public Radio, for GiveSTLDay. We want to make our building in Grand Center safer for birds. Even $10 would help, but $25 gets a tote bag thank-you. More details

Every five or ten years I catch TOMMY (1975), and every single time I have forgotten just how incredibly weird the whole thing is. I found the Blu-Ray at the library yesterday, so reset the clock.

Definitely almost got phished by this legitimate-looking email. I own this domain and have some domains registered at Dreamhost, but this domain is not registered at Dreamhost. Also the URL linked to the button didn’t make sense.

I watched Severance on AppleTV+ last night. And by “watched Severance”, I mean “watched ALL OF Severance” because once I watched the first episode I couldn’t not watch all the rest.

📷🦤 Finally managed a decent picture of the blue heron that likes to fish in our creek. It usually flies away before I even realize it’s there.

I was somehow under the impression baseball had gotten rid of the dumb extra-innings starting runner rule for this season, but apparently not. Good to have something to get annoyed by, I guess.

⚾️ The minimum ticket price for the home opener on Stubhub is $70 for Standing Room Only, $73+ for seats. $50 SRO tickets still available through the club, but cheapest seats are $100.

🔥🍕 My hat is off to anyone who decides they want a Hot Pocket with enough foresight to preheat an oven, cook it for 28(!) minutes and wait for it to cool.

A Hot Pocket wrapper with instructions for cooking in a conventional oven.

🪓🪵 A couple more stacks. I took some rough measurements and if I have my math right I think this is maybe about half a cord or so.

A tree stump with tooth marks

🌳🦫 Beaver or something else? Haven’t seen any around but wouldn’t be surprised. Tree was maybe 2-3 inches in diameter.

🪵🪓 Neighbors had a couple trees taken down and said I was welcome to the wood if I wanted to cut and split it, so I’ve been playing Junior Woodsman. This is less than half what’s there. Something pretty satisfying about splitting wood.

Today my kid’s teacher sent an email about making a time capsule today on 2-22-22 to be opened on 3-3-33 because that “will be just a few months shy of their high school graduation” and as I was reading it I aged like the Indiana Jones guy who drank from the false grail.

Got an LED strip to add some bias lighting to my TV. It is not as purple as it appears in the photo. Seems ok? Not sure yet.

⛷ I’ve never been skiing before, and this alpine course is terrifying to look at on TV. I can’t imagine flying down it at 60-80 mph. Of the first four skiers, one crashed and one finished with a bloody face. #Olympics

Dadding during the Winter Olympics means trying to convince your kid that the phrase “skeleton athletes” means a team of literal skeletons.

☀️❄️ The snow is beginning to melt, and I know that because my (not-so-)smart rain gauge just told it’s raining. (It isn’t raining). #stlWX

Home automation: I’ve been sitting here next to a window with mostly-closed blinds reading for a while, & a minute or two ago I realized it was getting dark. A few seconds later, the lamp in the corner behind me turned on because I’d set it to turn on a few minutes before sunset.

Only Connect is such a great quiz show. I’d like to think I’d love a US version (usually at least a couple questions per show I think rely on cultural references), but I worry it would lose its charm. And who could possibly be our version of Victoria Coren Mitchell?

Dadding level: Spent the morning at the local independent hardware store and making a Pinewood Derby car with oldest kid.

(disclosure: have never made a Pinewood Derby car before; wife has done at least as much of the work as I have to this point)

I’ve finished my first bag of coffee for the year. Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve been through 44 bags of coffee beans in varying sizes and brands (and 1 can of Folgers). Nearly 73 pounds in total, 48 pounds of which was Cameron’s Breakfast Blend.

There were some things I expected from the new AppleTV+ version of Macbeth. The Office’s Chris Finch was not on that list.

Turning out the lights and heading to bed using the flashlight on your phone is the 21st century equivalent of walking through a dark house with a candle and chamberstick like some Dickensian character.

Spent about $50 on baritone/bass musical anthology books and then all night pulling up the tracks and considering audition songs despite the fact I haven’t auditioned in a decade or been on stage in almost 20 years. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

🏒 📷 🎺 🎺 🎺 My wife got us hockey tickets to my first #STLBlues game for Christmas. It was a pretty good time.

Found a baseball card shop at the mall selling boxes of packs for $10. I know they aren’t worth much these days, but 500+ bits of nostalgia for a sawbuck? Deal.

❄️❄️❄️ I wasn’t sure if it was weird that St. Louis hasn’t had snow yet this winter, when we’re about to be in the New Year. Turns out it is a bit weird.

Started the day with Kaldi’s ‘Tis the Season blend, ending it with Urban Chestnut’s Old Tjikko, aka the beer that tastes like a Christmas tree in a glass (in a good way). Not a bad Christmas Eve.

Watching Aaron Sorkin’s SportsNight: setting a show where you can have characters naturally go off into a soundproof room seems convenient from a story perspective. (I don’t know that TV editing bays are soundproof, but they look similar enough to the ones at the radio station)

Things may be dark, but tonight at dinner my three-year old got to giggle and say “Excuse you, ketchup!”

Good to know the classics still get a laugh.

Finally got fed up enough with the Monterey bluetooth issues that I plugged in an old Apple keyboard I had lying around. Should’ve done this months ago but I kept hoping the issues were temporary.

It’s been a very St. Louisy couple days: Yesterday we picked out our tree at Ted Drewes’ and today I went to the Cherokee Print Bazaar where I got the Eurasian Tree Sparrow print by Dan Zettwoch and then Kaldi’s for their ‘Tis the Season blend.

I theoretically have a package arriving today. I say theoretically, because tracking told me it was on a truck for delivery here in St. Louis all day yesterday, didn’t show up and would be rescheduled for today, but somehow at 3 a.m. today it arrived in Champaign, Ill.

That thing when you don’t realize Python has a built-in to convert a binary string to decimal but it seems easy enough so you write your own, and it turns out to be the easiest part of the whole problem. In related news, is back.

A while back Schnucks told me I won a game-worn signed jersey from Jackie Robinson Day in 2021 for “rounding up at the register” for Folds of Honor (a contest I wasn’t aware of). Today, Austin Dean’s jersey arrived. Neat. I will never not love the chain stitching.

And here are a few close-ups of the Double Barrel. I normally don’t worry too much about the variants, but I’m happy to have found this one.

🍻 Happy day to all who celebrate. Pictured: my 7-year vertical, the Double Barrel variant I found, and the new (and, for comparison old) bottlecap on the standard.

When the first commercial came on the broadcast of the parade this morning, my kid said “Wait?! There’s commercials on live TV?!” and I just thought, Kid, you have been SPOILED.

Today I learned my smart thermostat has developed the capability to be used as an AirPlay speaker and it feels like an on-the-nose analogy to my career. Related: my thermostat lives in a room with a 3-speaker Sonos surround setup.

📚 Quite enjoying James Lapine’s new book “Putting It Together”, about how he and Stephen Sondheim created “Sunday in the Park with George”. He interviewed almost everyone involved and it’s fascinating to hear the story in all the different voices.

I guess the pandemic probably delayed it for a year or so, but looks like we’ve hit the “hire a babysitter to go out for the night” stage. Not sure the full weight of that realization had hit me yet.

Guys and Dolls, adjusted for inflation (from 1933): the $1 “solid gold watch” would be $21.44 today. Harry the Horse collected the $5,000 reward on his father (also Sky Masterson’s raindrop bet), over $100k today. $1,000 for the crap game at Joey Biltmore’s garage: >$21,000.

Apple Music’s Halloween Classical playlist has Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy on it. I guess it’s a little mysterious sounding?

📷🍪 The thing about baking to distract yourself when you’re not feeling great is that you distract yourself at the time, and then you have cookies. Win win.

Chicken lunch

📷🥘 Fully improvised lunch: quasi-mirepoix, button mushrooms, cream for a bit of gravy, leftover chicken breast and shredded cheese to top.

📷🎃🥣 Tonight’s dinner: squash soup with pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinegar, pretzel roll on the side (full disclosure: I did not make the pretzel roll).

Gary Paulsen, best known for writing the YA novel ‘Hatchet’ (though he wrote a lot more), died today. I remember reading that book in school. I’m glad he wrote it, and glad I read it.

Getting vicariously exhausted/stress-sweaty being here while a couple delivery folks try to maneuver a freezer into my house and down the steps into my basement. My body had a literal physical response, which I did not anticipate. Interesting.

📷🥘 Tonight’s dinner: pan-roasted chicken with root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, carrots and shallots with fresh rosemary).

Opening evening of Geekway to the West in the books. Everybody vaccinated and masked while playing in the common areas. We played three play-and-win games: Renature, Blossoms and Santa Monica. Finished just before midnight. Not too bad.

Black Walnuts product meeting: We’ve created the most delicious snack possible. How do we market this thing? —Put it in the hardest to open packaging ever created! —That’s genius, what else? —What if it also stained your hands for a week? —Promotions for everyone!

If you’re still wondering about the legitimacy of the iPhone 13 Pro camera system, I managed to capture stars and fire in the same frame. I live in suburbia, so stars at all are impressive. This is edited, but I’m pretty wowed.

Remember 2011? For the , Game 6 lives forever, but how about Game 162? The Cards were 8.5 back in the wildcard race (only 1 spot) at the beginning of September but pulled even with Atlanta before the final day of the season. All times Central (and approximate).

I’m watching Space Jam for probably the first time since it came out, and friends, however weird you remember this film to be, I guarantee your memory is not doing it justice.

📷🥃 Do you have a favorite glass? This is a Kosta Boda Mine tumbler. It was the first (and still pretty much only) expensive glassware I’ve purchased. it is heavy and textured and lovely to hold.

📷🛰 I spent the day at a park where everyone was pretending to be from the 15th century or so, and then tonight I came home and took a picture of the International Space Station with the computer I carry in my pocket.

After the service for my grandmother this morning, I walked around the cemetery a bit looking at the markers, some dating back to the early 1800s, at least. Google tells me this guy was a member of the Horse Thief Detective Association.

In a scene somewhat reminiscent of turning on the lights and playing a final song when closing down a bar, my grandmother’s visitation this afternoon ended with a rousing rendition of Steve Goodman’s Go Cubs Go.

Cleaning out the house after my grandmother died a few days ago, my mom and aunts discovered she was in a play in high school. I was amused to find this Indiana humor (“Mama’s Baby Boy” written by Charles George in 1933, performed in 1953, also in small-town Indiana).

Cardinals baseball on the radio, wafts of a high school football game in the distance, a crackling bonfire, cicadas and crickets. It’s the late summer Friday evening soundtrack of St. Louis.

🥘🍗 The cast iron cooking continues at speed. Last night I made macaroni and cheese in one pan and cooked up some pork chops in the other. Tonight, fried chicken breasts for sandwiches and nuggets for the kids.

When you go grocery shopping and find a couple steaks marked down to sell today, you have a pretty decent lunch & leftovers.

Camel Rock at Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois

A view of the Devil's Smokestack and Camel Rock at Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois.

A view of cliffs at Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois.

A view of cliffs and weathered rock patterns at Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois.

📷⛰🌲 I was in Southeastern Illinois for a funeral yesterday morning, and realized that Garden of the Gods — which I had somehow never visited — was nearby. So after the funeral I did a little solo contemplation walk. Nice place.

More photos

In my pile of sheet music, I found a mediocre counterpoint composition I did in my first music theory course as a college freshman. I also found some schedules and grades, so I can tell you I was failing at it mid-semester but must’ve pulled out a passing grade.

“We are expected to send our kids off into God knows what, to work our jobs and live our lives like nothing’s wrong, and to hold it all together for months and maybe now for years without ever seeing a way out.”

Dan Sinker in The Atlantic

My kids are many years away from high school, but looking up the bus routes for this year I see that some high-school age kids have to be at the bus stop a little after 6:30 a.m. That seems extremely early.

A hand holding a glass of wine in front of a small bonfire.

The thing about playing in the fire that no one ever tells you as a kid is that A) yes it is fun to play in the fire and B) eventually you’re old enough that no one tells you to not play in the fire.

I bought two adorable camping-sized cast-iron pans earlier today (a 6″ round and square), which explains why I’m seasoning four cast-iron pans at midnight (this is the second cycle, and I figured I might as well do all the pans I own at once).

A hummingbird with a shiny lime green back sits on a tree branch.
🐦📷 Finally managed to get a decent photo of one of the hummingbirds that zooms around our back yard.

A screenshot of 16 lines of text excluding types of products from a Best Buy promotion.
This is the list of products excluded from a Best Buy promotion I just got emailed. Honestly not sure what does qualify.

The film version of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, with Gary Oldman, Tim Roth and Richard Dreyfuss is on sale at iTunes for $5. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

Schauffele’s in trouble. Just put one off the right side on 14, maybe lost. Then played a provisional that went off the fairway into the trees on the left. Only leading by 1. #Olympics

An image of a construction site, the future home of St. Louis Public Radio. There are some concrete walls and the start of a steel skeleton.
Ten years ago today, the steel started going up for the future home of @stlpublicradio in Grand Center.

When I first opened this box of 100 coffee filters to make my morning coffee, Missouri was averaging 660 cases per week, and nearly 11 deaths. I just finished the box. There are now nearly 2,500 cases per week in Missouri and 17.4 deaths. I’ll open a new box tomorrow.

I know I’m not the first person to make this observation, but whoever approved this new Slack commercial with the two “knock brush” notification sounds can go stub their toe.

The neighbors invited us over to swim in their pool that has a section that’s 8 or 10 feet. Treading water there while watching out for two (life-jacket-wearing) kids, I have a renewed respect for the #Olympics water polo players.

I mean, my goodness. Look up the women’s foil match between Kiefer (USA) and Harvey (CAN). That was tense! #Olympics

Watching #Olympics fencing and coming to the conclusion I’d be very quickly dead in any sort of swordfighting situation. I can’t even tell where a lot of these hits are on the slo-mo replays.

Couple fossils from the creek bank. These are less than an inch on a side, so not huge. Neat though — usually we find them embedded into bigger rock. 🪨 📷

Discovered the fascinating macabre song cycle Ghost Quartet while working from home today. Written by the writer/composer of Great Comet and featuring a couple of the performers. A lot of the same musical DNA.

Enjoying a little homemade krupnik on ice over strawberries, and thinking I’ll probably make some more this fall.

Steps leading down to the creek behind our house at about 4 p.m., 4:20 and 4:40 today as it was fell after 1.5″+ of rain. The fourth photo is from last year, slightly different angle, showing what the creek normally looks like.

I am working from the newsroom today for the first time since *gesticulates at everything* and thought, “well, at least I don’t need to update my calendar right away.” Then I realized that’s 2020.

Turns out not picking up a golf club for two or three years mysteriously did not solve the myriad issues with my swing.

If today isn’t perfect for sitting outside in the shade with coffee | seltzer | beer and a good book, I sure don’t know what is. #stlwx

Aside from getting lunch with my family at the Zoo a few weeks back, today was my first in-public sit-down meal since I think March 9, 2020. Still effectively outdoors though.