Monday, February 27, 2006

Mardi Gras (or "Beer and Floating in Soulard")

Our hero, standing in front of the mirror, dons his shades and smiles. "The difference between me and the other pimps is that I make this look good", he thinks. Decked out in his "Sunday best", he rides the train with nothing but some id and cash tucked in the folds of his tiger-striped jacket. Big Money E is on the street.

Soulard is a small section of St Louis, near the baseball stadium. It is home to the Mardi Gras festivities, and it's a big deal: more than 400,000 people descended on this quaint part of town this weekend. It's not New Orleans, but it's getting close...

Big Money E struts down the sidewalk; a nearby bar plays, fittingly, "Saturday Night Fever". He awaits his ride: a parade float sponsored by Countrywide Home Loans (America's #1 Residential Lender). Passers-by smile and yet tell their inquisitive children "we'll explain later, honey".

Soon, the float cruises by a huge, noisy mob, 15 rows deep; upturned faces and widespread arms clamor for beads. Big Money E and the Countrywide entourage oblige. It is 40 F and yet the crowd exudes warmth and comraderie. People smile, cheer, holler. Yes, there is flesh, there is debauchery, but having slipped the surly bonds of time and social norms, an eerie peace gels.

Much later, our hero explores the jampacked streets of Soulard. No mere pimp, he transcends into a prophet of profit: the crowd cheers his arrival; some reach out to touch him; some request a photo (seriously). The "good times" have rolled straight from the parade route into Soulard: there are no strangers, no worries, no distrust. Only laughter, sly negotiations for beads, and beer-soaked, newfound friendships. It's the Sixties Lite: all the harmony without that hallucinogenic aftertaste.

Both genders are enamoured with Big Money E: the ladies ooh and ahh; the men offer high fives and unabashed admiration. "That's what Willis was talkin' 'bout!". In life, people come together for many reasons: refuge, spirituality, or in this case, a bacchanal. But it is the very act of coming together that trumps all. Humanity is plural.

Twilight sets in: Big M.E. and a small group of friends walk aimlessly along a street wearily, feet burning at the end of a timeless, epic day. A 30ish woman stands next to an iron-wraught gate, softly pleading, "won't someone kiss me?". Our hero steps up and gives her a peck on the cheek, and thinks maybe -- just maybe -- everything is going to be okay.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From the "Don't Blink" Dept

Fleet Feet is a fitness store in StL. The owner is a cool guy who is very active in the running community.

They have a cool program: if you wear their tshirt (and give them free advertising), they will track your race results and provide standings etc.

Guess who is #1 in the "multisport" (aka duathlon/triathlon)?

Can I get this link in a wall-poster?

As you can see, this is only because 2 people were in the recent indoor triathlon at the JCC (which was fantastic). It's the equivalent of sprinting, all out, at the start of the Boston marathon, just to say you led the race for 10 seconds.

Pitter "Pater" of Little Feet

Right after posting about the "big decision" of choosing a car, a stork brought some perspective: a friend from waaaaaaay back sent news of a first-born daughter! My my....

A big congrats to the new Ma and Pa... Keep the pictures flowing (maybe a blog?)

Sidebar: It is interesting how other people's milestones can sometimes be more profound than our own. It was far weirder when my younger sister turned 30 than it was when I turned 30. 'Tis a big deal when someone you knew-since-you-were-2 has a newborn. Very cool indeed

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Angels and Devils: Vehicle Indecision 2006

My car, Herbie, is an old Miata that just cracked 190,000 miles. I'm thinking of potential replacements.

In one corner, sponsored by green enviro angels:

Angelic Peace and Love

In the other, sponsored by primordial Freudian impluses and most married men:

One Car Can't Hurt the Ozone Layer

It's going to be an epic struggle! Stay tuned to Vehicle Indecision 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006

Rave #2: St Louis Symphony

While I'm singing praises, more kudos to the StL Symphony who played Mozart's 40th in G Minor (just go buy it, it's gorgeous) a week or so ago. It was fantastic... Esp. the part where I staggered, drunkenly, to the stage and attempted to conduct, a la Boris Yeltsin (not really).

The only surprise was that it wasn't a packed house.... St Louis, this just in: our symphony kicks butt

Turn it to the CBC

Canada's hockey women win gold! Yahoooo! Prior to the gold medal game, at least eleven women had scored 2 goals or more

Huge kudos to the CBC's "live game blog" for letting the expats enjoy the action...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Here we go....

I've decided to take the plunge.... 'Twill be interesting to see how this pans out: rants? raves? unabashed narcissism? megalomania? Or just more dust in the wind of the blogosphere?