Saturday, March 11, 2017

We're Parade People Now

I sent a thank you email to Randall's for the rockin' time we had hurling beads at people's screaming faces in the Mardi Gras parade, and next thing I knew we were signed up for the St. Patrick's Day parade. It took us forever to find the float as the staging areas and procedures were completely different but once that was done we started having the good times.

Obligatory Arch shot.

We were whipping beads all over the place. Throwing a necklace accurately is sort of hard anyway plus many of these had shotglasses connected to them. Long story short I accidentally hit a policeman in the face with one of them. You know how it is. He was very good natured about it and said he had worked the Mardi Gras parade too and was still recovering. Whoopsies.

Later that day we went bowling. Bowling is fun.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Did Time at the Missouri State Penitentiary

We went to visit Zoe at Mizzou this weekend. My favorite part of our visit was definitely going to see the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. The oldest building on site was built in 1868.

Our tour guide was a former corrections officer at the prison. The whole historical experience could be very jarring at times. One of the buildings we visited was built three years after Lincoln was assassinated, there were 1950s-esque fallout shelter signs outside posted on some of the walls, and we're standing and talking to a guy who still worked at the prison when it closed in 2004.

Learning about the prison's various famous guests was an amusing part of the tour. This was boxing world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston's cell. He learned how to box while at the penitentiary.

In this iconic photo of Muhammad Ali, the dude on the ground is Sonny Liston.

I'd seen the photo a thousand times but had never actually watched the shady-looking fight. Sonny was widely accused to throwing the match so the mafia could make money betting against him.

Some of the cells still featured prisoner artwork.

They had a few cells set up to look like they did in different eras. In the 1800s a ten year sentence was considered to be a life sentence because it was unlikely you'd survive the disease, violence, and forced labor.

A different housing unit had large fences separating the inmates from the windows. I figured it was to keep them from escaping but the fencing was there to keep inmates from throwing bars of soap at the windows to break them in the hot summer months.

This cell housed the infamous James Earl Ray. Ray escaped from the prison in 1967 in the back of a bread truck and then in 1968 assassinated Martin Luther King.

We got in our cars and drove to the gas chamber. That tall chimney on top is where they vented the cyanide gas after business had been concluded.

The thing looked like an old submarine.

One guy they killed here was so unaware of his predicament that he wrapped up some of his last meal to save for later.

Our guide told us that the State of Missouri switched to lethal injection because they couldn't get the gas chamber to stop leaking.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Walked in the St. Louis Mardi Gras Parade

Two month's ago I got an email blast from Randall's, a well known local liquor store chain, asking for volunteers to walk with their float in the St. Louis Mardi Gras Parade. Yes please! I signed us both up.

I imagined it would go something like this.

Per the website: "The Bud Light Grand Parade is the Midwest’s largest and most spectacular pre-Lenten celebration. The parade begins just south of Busch Stadium and winds through the streets of Downtown South and Soulard to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Krewes from over 100 floats will toss over 10,000,000 strands of beads and other sought-after goodies to celebratory masses gathered along the route." 

I've heard that our Mardi Gras is second in the country only to New Orleans, which I sort of believe since we're so Frenchy but who knows.

The assembly point was in a big parking lot by Busch Stadium. Not only did we have a fun free thing to do but we could walk there from our apartment. How exciting.

As soon as we showed up they made us sign waivers. You know you're about to have fun when there's waivers.

We got there a bit early so we had plenty of time to scope out the other floats.

Hurricanes were provided by our float so we pre-gamed a little.

Inside the train's caboose.

The people in charge of the float weren't super welcoming and we were a little iffy about whether we should stay but once the parade got started it was best thing ever. One of the other float workers described it as being famous for an hour.

The police were very professional and would not accept my bead bribes.

I don't know who this is.

After the excitement was over we retired to Duke's for some relaxation.

We saw our pals Wing and Joel in the crowd and whipped some beads at them.

Someone erred and let me within arm's distance of free fedoras at some point.

We walked like 10 miles today.

A Merry Mardi Gras to us all and God bless us every one.