A couple of years back, I could alway hear the daily whirring of the neighborhood pigeons as they flew into my back yard to see what food I put our for the wildlife that came calling for a morning or afternoon snack. Sometimes it might be a bit dog food left in Nickie’s food bowl or dried cat food left in Oscar’s bowl.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Surprisingly, they were very good friends in spite of being very picky eaters. Usually, though, it was just stale bread which seemed to be the native food of the pigeon world.  Well, Nickie was getting up in dog years, and one night she went to sleep and failed to get up the next morning. I gave her a very nice funeral in the back yard that Oscar refused to attend. After that he refused to associate with me, and eventually, I had to send him away.

With no pets supplying leftover bits of food for the birds, I started buying seed mixed for the native songbirds. Unfortunately, pigeons have never been asked to join the native songbirds of America union, and eventually they stop dropping by for lunch of dinner.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



And eventually, they totally stopped visiting the yard.

I do have a much higher class of avian clientele dropping by for lunch these days, and I don’t have to worry about being hit with pigeon poop any more. Pigeons do have very unsanitary flight habits. And it’s all for the good, since Mlle. Renee never leaves leftovers in her food dish.




Once upon a time, there was a quiet little town in north Saint Louis County. It had its start in 1855 which was several years after my great grandfather Franz immigrated to Saint Louis from the little village of Alsenborn in the Rhineland of Germany.

I doubt if Franz ever visited the town because the area was basically farm land, and Franz was not a farmer. (Actually, he was a first lieutenant in the Prussian Army. And since first lieutenants didn’t have much of the future in the Prussian Army at that time, he packed his bags and headed for the States.)

Anyway, some guy named William B. Ferguson … a big time farmer who owned a lot of property in the area realized that the area didn’t have a name. So he had a great idea to deed 10 acres of his land to the Wabash Railroad in exchange for a new depot there and the naming rights of said depot. So settlement that sprang up around the depot was called Ferguson Station. But it wasn’t until 1894 that Ferguson was actuallyincorporated as a city. Have no idea what happened to William B.

Franz never owned any land, but he became a brick maker. And the red bricks he made were used to build a pretty big red brick city. He also had a lot of kids … and grandkids and great grandkids … which is why I’m able to write this today. Unfortunately, Franz had a hard time with his name … all his fellow brick-makers kept calling him Frank. He would tell them that his name was Franz with a Z. So they switched to calling him Frank Widdazee.

There’s no real purpose for this post, just like there’s no real purpose for peaceful (?) protests every night that go into the wee hours of the morning. Of the 75 people arrested in last night’s protest, only FOUR lived in Ferguson. Most didn’t even live in the Saint Louis area.


Anyway, most of old Ferguson looks like a town from someplace in the past.ferguson

And the farm lands have been subdivided into thousands of crowded little houses.  Time has not treated the area well and the rioting and disruptions that are now in the tenth day aren’t helping it either. 

Personally, I’m tired of the wall to wall video coverage by news readers dropped on the street with video cams and cell phones. I have no qualifications for commenting on the situation, and neither do they. Also, justice is not an instant mix you can pick up on a grocery store shelf. (Well, one that hasn’t been looted or burned.)  Doesn’t anyone remember anything about peace and love?




Rainy Days And Renee

Enough said!


During my life, I have met a number of famous people. The first happened when I was a student taking a  class in advertising layout and art direction at Washington University. One of our major projects was to write and design a television commercial for the Regional Commerce And Growth Association. As luck would have it, my commercial was one of the three finalists. And it would be taped using talent from the local TV station. My talent would be the actor who played a cowboy named Texas Bruce in one of my favorite childhood after school TV shows.  I overlooked the fact that I had watched that show about 10-years earlier. And when the actor walked into the studio without his cowboy hat, boots and six shooters, my heart sunk to see an older gentleman who needed his gun belt to just hold his pants up. I didn’t say a word to him.

Years later I was in New York City recording some radio commercials, and on my way back to the hotel I stopped into the Mysterious Bookshop to pick up a copy of a Donald Westlake mystery that had just been released. I asked the clerk where I could find it, and he pointed across the store to a table. I walked over and picked up the book and said to a man standing by the table looking at the books, ” I hope it’s better than the last one.”  He replied, “So do I.” A that point I realized that he was the author. I was so embarrassed I didn’t even ask him to autograph it. When I got back to the hotel I discovered that he had already signed it.

Working in advertising, writing and producing TV spots I met other personalities, and I learned not to be awed by them. They were doing a job that technically I had hired them to do.

So yesterday, I walked into Barnes and Noble and who did I run into?


And what did I say?

“Num, num, crunch!  Num, num, crunch!”


It’s amazing!  All the wonderful sights you can discover just walking down the street in the city in the summer!DSC00391







Had a bit of internet problems this week. While West Walnut Manor is not located in the immediate area where this week’s protests and rioting have been occurring, my internet provider’s substation is located across the street from all the action. And it was hacked by that group called Anonymous.  As a result, the signal from all six local TV stations were reduced to silent static. Also the internet connection was reduced to donkey cart speed. While it took them two days to get the local stations back, it took a little longer to get the speed back. So I just took a couple of days off for an internet vacation.

For better or worse, I’m back again. And today was the monthly get-together with the Castaways’ Lunch Bunch … a group of former co-workers who get together on a somewhat irregular basis to dine and gab.  Today we went to THE HILL for a bit of Italian soul food.

The HILL is a great place for doing a bit of Tourist Trekking. It has a lot of homes dating back to the Italian immigration to the city over a century ago.DSC00380

And a lot of statues in the yards.  A few silver painted goddesses …DSC00381


And a lot of saints!DSC00382

And occasionally, you might find a business  with some classic Act Deco ornamentation.DSC00379

Today, our eatery was a classic Italian restaurant known for it giant fishbowls of beer.DSC00383

That’s a fishbowl over the entrance. You’ll  also notice one of the SAINT LOUIS 250 BIRTHDAY CAKES  on the sidewalk, too. This one was designed by one of the ladies in our lunch-group.DSC00386

Here’s the backside …DSC00387

Hey, the lunch and chit-chat was good, too. I had my usual Italian restaurant order … cod-fish with fries with slaw on the side.

On my way home, I discovered two more architectural highlights in the neighborhood.DSC00388

A soda company of yesteryear.DSC00390

And O’CONNELL’S PUB in one of Saint Louis’ classic red brick buildings that dates back to 1905. And yes, it was a tavern back then, too.


Just a quick update to let you know that West Walnut Manor was not a part of the protests, rioting and looting in the Saint Louis area last night and this morning. Personally, I feel that excessive media coverage and on-sceen instant observations of unqualified news readers did much to incite the situation. I mean, how many times do you have to ask a unrully crowd “Do you think this situation will turn into a riot or looting?” before some fools say, “Hey, let’s riot and loot!”


And I was able to capture it with my camera …Moon1

Failed to find any funny little moon men though!


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