Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
John Kerry brought 60's singer James Taylor to France with him this week to try and make amends for the US not being at the Paris world wide unity march. He had Taylor sing, "You've Got a Friend". The Huffington Post headlined this ridiculousness this way: "John Kerry Decides the Best Way to Apologize to France is to have James Taylor Perform."
Also as he left for Paris he told reporters he wanted to give a big hug to the French people.
Crime seems to really be on the upswing all over St. Louis lately and while I'd hoped this was just my imagination, the facts are that it is. Last night 4 people shot to death in various parts of the area including the manager of the Drury Inn on Hampton and 44. This place at the north entrance to The Hill also holds Bartolino's restaurant, a place we go to many times a year and a place where some of our seminary visitors/lecturers/etc stay while in town. It's not a spot where you expect bad crime. But last night just showed us no place is safe right now.
What can be done about all this, is there any way at all to slow it down? It's become widespread enough that I'd guess many of us are choosing to stay home more often than going out at night. Our local Schnucks on Clayton Road in Richmond Heights but across the street from Clayton is always busy. The parking lot is half filled by 9 each morning and by noon you have to circle around to find a spot to park and it continues the rest of the day. But that hasn't stopped crime, crime you just wouldn't foresee in this place, in these crowds, but it has. The bank inside the store has been robbed any number of times and a woman was held up in the parking lot. So Richmond Heights has a policeman inside the store every day.
It's unsettling and we should all be totally aware of our surroundings all times of the day.
Update: Now I read there are shootings on Tucker at Chouteau downtown. This is in the daylight of morning. The criminals are so emboldened it's beyond unsettling.
There have been a rash of car jackings the past week or two in St. Louis. Most notably this has happened to drivers who were hit from behind which naturally caused them to get out and look at the damage. At that point they were held up at gunpoint while a passenger in the second car got in the victim's car and drove it away.
This is scary stuff. How do we know know if getting hit from behind is a legitimate accident or another car theft attempt? Do we get out and see what happened or drive away fast? If it is a true accident, by leaving we lose our chance to exchange insurance information. If we stay, we may be looking at getting our car and valuables taken. I've mulled this over quite a few times and have no idea what I would do.
A story the other day gave some advice from local police which was to stay in the car and call the police. He said police are used to responding to crashes so they'd come no matter what the situation. Well, that may not help if it is a car jacking at gunpoint. The incident would be long over before a squad car arrived.
I just don't know what the best thing to do would be. Last night there was another one. Be aware out there.
There has also been a huge jump in car break-ins in this area, 33 that we know of Sunday night in Clayton Brentwood, including 7 on our campus. The frigid temperatures seem to be bringing more of these thieves out at night when you would least expect them.
Winter equals snow at least part of the time and snow for kids means racing out with sleds. Now it seems some cities are considering banning sledding due to liability concerns. The latest to do this is Dubuque Iowa. IOWA! Enough with Iowa. I'll tell you, if St. Louis joins in this sled banning, and closes Art Hill in winter we'll know the apocalypse is upon us.
Last month I posted on the poor or non-existent lane line markings on many St. Louis area highways and surface streets. For some unknown reason the powers that be on local road work don't make delineating lanes a priority. This was made very clear to us on Saturday as we drove home from Maryland. We left at 3 in the morning which meant driving in total darkness through Maryland and Pennsylvania. In those states the lane lines were as bright as anyone could want. I mean those lines glowed, there was no mistaking what lane you were in.
We stopped briefly in Collinsville to pick up my truck which we'd left in the driveway and then headed over to Clayton. It was 5 in the afternoon when we took off for St Louis, it was raining and full dark. For some reason the traffic on the bridge and throughout the STL area was as heavy on a Saturday as it usually is on a Friday night rush hour. All this meant that the almost total disappearance of lane lines beyond the Poplar Street Bridge coupled with rain and darkness proved to be a very dangerous situation indeed. No one driving at that time could tell which lane they were in and with cars entering and leaving the highway into the heavy traffic there were many near misses. It was white knuckle time for sure and there is no good reason for this at all.
I wish someone would tell me why MoDOT or St. Louis Streets department just will not use a bright, glow in the dark lane paint like other states do. Why do they use a faint paint that disappears in rain and darkness?
I saw this Tweet from the folks at Five Thirty Eight. 538 does a lot of surveying and prognosticating on topics currently before us. They're big during election years. But this morning their survey results were all about Christmas-who likes it, who shops, what we do and on and on. This is the Tweet:
Only 10 percent of Americans say they look forward to attending religious activities during the holiday season.
I thought to myself, "wow, this can't be right. Who on earth did they survey?" So I read the entire article and the info on Christmas church going was near the end and in reality, the headline is totally misleading. They made it sound as if this 10 percent was 10 percent of everyone. It wasn't. It was 10 percent of those Americans who do not normally attend religious services. Not nearly 10 percent of all Americans.
And here's one more throw away headline, this time from the Clayton Richmond Heights Patch who's reporters must be having trouble coming up with stories right now.