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.
Tomorrow night is the White House Correspondents Dinner, a fancy dinner for political reporters and the president which is also known as the 'nerd prom'. It's like the Academy Awards for journalists. Everyone dresses up, has dinner and then sits back to laugh at the commedian chosen to be the main speaker and then the president's humorous response.
This is televised in total by CSPAN with the cable news stations carrying the entertainment portion. What makes CSPAN's broadcast best is that they carry every minute of the evening from the red carpet arrival of big names in news, actors, rocks stars, athletes and the like, to people milling around their dinner tables to the exits.
Conan O'Brien will headline this year's event, hopefully he will be relaxed and confident enough to make fun of the president and press which has long been the purpose of the WHCA's dinner. During Obama's term, however, there has been a stiffness to the humor by other speakers and reporters because Obama is not one the media types really want to laugh at. Clinton and Bush were different. They seemed to enjoy the jokes and gave back as good as they got.
Whatever happens, it's a night of tv that is worth watching. CSPAN begins their coverage at 5:15 CST with the arrivals while the cable networks will begin at 8 CST.
The folks at the Flying Dog Brewery in Colorado happened to get a box of each kind of Girl Scout Cookies recently and decided it might be fun to see which of their Ale's went best with each type of cookie.
A tradition for many families on New Year's Day is watching the Rose Parade and then syncing seamlessly into football. The best station on which to watch the parade is HGTV because they show the entire thing without commercials.
The entire lineup for the parade is found here if you have one certain float or band you want to see and we always look forward to seeing the Lutheran Hour Ministries float. This will be the 62nd year the Lutheran Hour has had a float in the parade and the only Christian float participating.
A sub group of LHM is the Petal Pushers, 4000 volunteers who decorate not just the organization's float but at least 5 others. Those volunteers come from all over the country, taking turns during the time before and after Christmas to make the trip to Pasadena to push flowers into chicken wire and work up high to get the animated figures working. When Dale was the Lutheran Hour Speaker he road on the float at least twice and our whole family went along. The process of building those floats in a giant warehouse is amazing, colorful and fragrant.
This year LHM's float will be 33rd in line out of 97 entries. Riding on the float will be Faith Spellbring,the wife of one of our former students here at Concordia Seminary who works for Lutheran Hour Ministeries while living in Southern California. We look forward to seeing Faith this morning.
There's Faith during the float judging which took place yesterday. And Paul Koch in the background playing Jesus and giving Faith bunny ears. I don't know if that will help or hurt during the judging.
Vintage ads in magazines and newspapers give us a glimpse of how things were back in whatever decade you want to relive. Some are cute, some are the same products we see today, others are strange to our 2012 eyes.
This jello ad from 1956 is fun.
So many items advertised through the years are still available today. Soup was huge throughout most of the 20th century.
Last Saturday more than 70 backyard chicken farmers living in Maplewood, Richmond Heights and probably Clayton, flocked to Maplewood's Ryan Hummert Park of a Chicken Fest. The popularity of raising chickens in the backyard continues and events like this will only serve to egg more chicken fans on.
The Maplewood city council last night approved an ordinance allowing food trucks to operate within the city limits, although only in the Sunnen Business Park. The city has discussed food trucks in the past and at one time it appeared as though they would allow them in the commercial area with Target and Bed Bath and Beyond and PetsMart and Trader Joes, etc. But that fell through. By the beginning of November food trucks will begin serving in Sunnen. Sunnen Business park is bounded on the east by Big Bend and on the west by LaClede Station Road, it's where the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners has their office as well as a few other entities.
It's no secret that I like the idea of food trucks. They bring a sense of fun, generally good food and it's something different. However it's often very difficult for the operators to get permission to park and sell because brick and mortar restaurants don't want the competition. In any event they now have another St. Louis area place to go where there are no stand alone eateries.
Luther Hostel is going on at the seminary this week with retired or semi retired people in for 4 days of "experiencing Concordia Seminary". Each October the seminary puts on Luther Hostel with a different theme and main speaker/presenter held throughout each day coupled with sight seeing and social events. We hosted the group in our yard for a reception last night which was followed by a banquet in Koburg Hall.
The entertainment was the one and only Phil Ebeling our new communications director who recently moved back to St. Louis with his family from New Jersey. Phil took up juggling when he was young and that skill evolved into telling stories and jokes while juggling which evolved into piano playing while talking and joke telling. One year he performed at the intersection of Seminary and Main Streets in Collinsville during the Italian Fest.
I was glad to learn that he has kept up with this talent, he made last night great fun. Here's a look.
Complete with tuxedo!
He began with oranges.
Then moved on to clubs
Unfortunately his juggling knives are still in a box in New Jersey so he balanced a chair on his chin while telling Kevin he might want to move back a bit.
But Kevin had no fear. He did it, no problem.
Then fire eating!
And finally a terrific piano/story telling segment. He can really play the piano and he can tell a great story. He plays without looking at the keys and even played the piano backwards with his back to the keys, never missing a note.
He rocked it last night, that piano was moving. Thanks Phil!
Romney won decisively and the talk was all about "where has this guy been". And...Where was Obama? Well, if you in the media would cover Romney more in depth you'd know that what he was last night is what he has been on the campaign trail, speaking in front of large and enthusiastic crowds.
Obama was the Obama so many of us have known. Pointless rambling, lazy, too interested in fund raising with movie stars and other famous people to actually work at the job. He's been getting by without questioning by the media for 6 years and it showed last night. I mean, really? John Kerry was Obama's debate coach? Shouldn't everyone have expected something like this with Kerry as the coach?
This morning the media are coming down on Jim Lehrer who moderated. I'm no Lehrer fan but this business of making Lehrer the reason for Obama's poor debate is amusing.
Romney killed it. There's no other way to describe it. What's even better was all the pontificating by talking heads and columnists last week about how very important the first debate is. The first debate is the main thing, the following debates won't have near the audience of the first. This morning it's all about how important the last two debates will be....for Obama.
If we had doubts about media bias it couldn't be clearer than today as they go all in to try and find a way to stop Obama's bleeding. Is that their job? To them it is. But Romney took the ball out of their hands for 90 minutes.
The Scots love their dogs, let me tell you. No other festival in the St. Louis area is not only welcoming to dogs but encourages them to be there. At least dogs of Scottish heritage. There were piles of dogs today so let's take a look at them.
First there was Ferdie, a Scottish invented Golden Retriever who was there to participate in the dog parade.
Ferdie was doing what he does best, let little kids pet him.
Kirt, one of the Games committee people and who also works at the seminary made sure we were coming. He has a Scottie and a Cairn Terrier.
They met Ferdie first thing.
Body language people, body language.
There were 3 Bearded Collies which are rare. The committee is always trying to get more Beardies into the Games.
Turns out the owner of these dogs is the breeder who bred Ferdie's friend Lola.
There were also real sheep.
We ran into another neighbor and friend of Ferdie, Uma a Cairn Terrier.
They are good buds, sorry I cut off Dave's head.
A Sky Terrier came, Skys are a breed seldome seen outside the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
When the word came over the loud speaker to get the dogs out onto the field we ran into Kirt and his grandson with their two dogs. Notice how Goldens are always observing.
Lots of Scottie dogs mixed in with Kirt and his grandson.
The Goldens went to meet an English Sheepdog who was not in the dog parade because she's English not Scottish.
They commiserated with her, told her she was pretty cool even if she wasn't Scottish.
Gordon Setters pretty much stayed to themselves
The Scottish Wolfhounds weren't overly social either.
And the Scottish Deerhound
Ok everyone, that means you getting your costume on.
A mess of Westies
One Border Terrier, very rare dog.
The Goldens take the field laughing
And the Bearded Collies
Scotties and Cairns and Westies oh my.
And they're off.
The Cairns with Dave and Uma
And Kirt's grandson
The issue with the Cairns was that the dogs wanted to go and visit the fans on the chairs.
And the Goldens enter the ring
And that's about it for one day. Ferdie was so tired by the time we got home all he wanted to do was gulp two pans of water and then take a nap.
Thanks for the fun day, Kirt. And thank you to Kirt's wife Doreen who announced all the dogs by breed and described their history and personality traits.