Lexington, Kentucky – May 2019 – A Damp Quiet Morning at Keeneland

Keeneland Race Course is located just to the west of Lexington. It is known as one of the most beautiful facilities in the country.


Much like Claiborne Farms everything is done in an understated, but in a posh way.


The stables area are well kept, albeit somewhat quiet on this cool, damp morning.


There was some activity as the horses wait for no man.


At Keeneland the horses always have the right of way.


There is a practice track in addition to the main track.


Returning from the stable area we passed by the library.


A view of the main drive through the facility.


Most of the primary buildings are built from stone.


While this gate was closed, others were open. The styling keeps with the simple elegance.


I am not certain if a Rolex clock keeps better time, but it fits the environment.


The jockeys quarters near the main track.


The entrance to the paddock is closely guarded on race days.


Even the paddock has a nice stone wall surrounding it.


A collection of small statues display the silk colors for some of the major farms.


The main grandstands. This isn’t your county fairgrounds.



Inside the grandstands they had a horse shoe display – Nikes for Thoroughbreds.


A track side view of the main grandstands.


The morning fog gave a surreal feeling to the track.


The finish line – the ‘dirt’ track is in the foreground, the turf track is just behind it.


Attending major sporting events are always a great time, but sometimes the best photography is when nobody is there.





Paris, Kentucky – May 2019 – Claiborne Farms

Our day in Paris continued with a ride in ‘Horse Country’. Central Kentucky is the center of thoroughbred horse racing in America, and Paris is the heart of that center. Numerous well known farms surround the town.



We had booked a tour at the most famous one – Claiborne Farms.



Six of the 13 Triple Crown winners were sired at the farm. In addition to these, numerous other Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes winners came from here.



Everything about the farm is first class, but not gaudy. It is done right, but not tacky – sort of the August National of Thoroughbred farms.



The stalls for the stallions are immaculate. And for good reason, they generate the revenue



The most legendary stallion is War Front. Other farms bring mares from all over the world to mate with War Front. The cost for doing this (which takes 15 minutes) is $250,000. War Front brings in $20 million a year in stud fees.

As the guide told us – in reality War Front signs their paychecks. But he earns his money as he has 3 ‘sessions’ a day for 6 months.



But there are others as well that can earn into 6 figures for their services.



Kyle is not just a tour guide, he has a degree from the University of Kentucky in Equine Science and Management.



What do these multi-million dollar animals like – peppermint candy!



All of the studs at the farm are major winners during their 2 and 3 year old years, before moving over to their new career for the rest of their lives (which is usually around 20-25 years)



Still they act like puppies, chewing at their leads and generally playing around.



They are beautifully maintained.



Others in their stalls want attention and peppermint candy as well.


The horse Blame was quite the character!



They have a horse cemetery with some of the most noted in their history buried there including the legendary Secretariat.

Clairborne Farms is a fascinating place. Kyle was a great guide, giving significant detail into the workings of the farm, and how they care for their horses – and will continue to do things ‘the right way’ and ‘old school’ for the best for the horses.




In keeping with the morning we had lunch at the nearby Horseshoes Kentucky Grill.



The interior was decked out in racing memorabilia.






Columbus – April 2019 – Ohio Sports History

The Ohio History Center recently opened an exhibit on the history of sports in Ohio. It featured both professional and team sports, as well as sports geared toward participation, such as these classic old roller skates.





The Cincinnati Bengals came into existence as part of the American Football League (AFL), a couple of years before they merged with the NFL. The exhibit had a rare referee’s uniform from the AFL days.





A classic bowling shirt from the 1960s.





One of the most famous annual events in the state is the world soap box derby championships in Akron.





While the NBA was in existence in the early 1960s, college basketball was bigger. An offshoot of that was big time AAU basketball – Cleveland had a team that was the National Champions in 1961.





The 1970s Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse team, lead by catcher Johnny Bench and the now disgraced Pete Rose.





High School football is big time in Ohio, and are none are bigger than the Massillon – Canton McKinley rivalry.





Probably the most famous athlete from Ohio today is LeBron James.

The exhibit was ok, but given how much sports history there is in Ohio it seemed lacking in depth and detail.

Chicago – February 2019 – History Museum

Amazingly the Chicago History Museum was founded in 1856, just a few years after the settling of the town. Although twice destroyed by fire (once during the Great Chicago Fire), they still have a vast collection of artifacts celebrating the history of the city.

During our visit to Chess Records I had heard that the History Museum had a nice exhibit on the Chicago Blues, which was our encouragement to go to the History Museum.





In the display is this map showing the amazing collection of recording studios and clubs that featured the blues that have existed in Chicago over the years.





Raeburn Flerlage was a famed photographer of the blues scene from 1959-1971, although his career in music lasted much longer.

His photographs were used for many album covers.





Included in the collection is a copy of what is generally acknowledge as the first blues record of all time, St Louis Blues by W C Handy, from 1925.





The south side of Chicago was the hub of the blues, with Maxwell Street being the epicenter.





All of the blues greats were celebrated here, including Muddy Waters.





In the 1950s record companies were only allowed to have so many records in radio station airplay rotation at one time, so they would just start another record company.

This record of Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle is on Checker Records, the sister company of Chess Records.





Moving on from the blues display we checked out Chicago – Crossroad of America. This documented Chicago as the transportation hub of the country since the early days of the railroad.





Also on display was one of the original El cars from 1892.





A number of focus displays included one of the infamous gangland activities during prohibition in the 1920s.





Keeping with the infamous Playboy Magazine started in Chicago, as did the original club with the hostess (bunny) outfit on display.





As noted in other postings, Chicago was always mail order center of the country.





Another section celebrated entertainment events in Chicago including the 1893 World’s Fair.





As well as the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair.






Finally there was a small section celebrating the professional sports teams of Chicago – baseball’s Cubs and White Sox, football’s Bears, basketball’s Bulls and hockey’s Blackhawks.








Chicago – February 2019 – The Cars and People of America’s Largest New Car Show

What do you get when you take America’s third largest metro population combined with the largest convention center in the country – the largest new car show!





With over 1000 cars and trucks scattered over two of the halls, each auto maker had room to show their standard cars (and trucks) and some special ones, like this Chicago Bears football team truck.





Alfa Romeo brought an F1 car.





To be honest most new cars are boring, and all look alike, so for this show I emphasized on the cars and people, including the ‘Product Specialists’.

Fortunately the auto shows have moved away from the ‘booth babe’ concept and the presenters actually know what they are talking about.





I have found that the larger shows like here and Detroit have a lot of extra features, like this engine display. There were over 10 different engine displays like this scattered throughout the hall.





Cadillac took an interesting approach and displayed this mint 1959 next to current cars. The ’59 showed them all up, as far more people surrounded this car than all the new ones in their display put together.





Like this boring box on wheels. Good luck to the Product Specialist to bring something exciting about this car.





All car shows have people who are constantly wiping finger prints off the cars. Here they all were dressed in these cool overalls like a New Car Show Pit Crew.





Even Porsche has mostly boring SUVs and sedans – but at least the 911 lives on!





Somehow 1974 got mixed in with 2019.





Land Rover had a huge area in the back where they showed the joys of all wheel drive. Jeep and Dodge Trucks had similar setups but they pale in comparison to this.





Not sure exactly what they were seeing but they were getting into it.





I believe this group was shopping cars for their grandparents, because I can’t imagine anyone of this age would have any interest in the ultra safe, boxy Volvo.





Another Product Specialist excited to tell us about their vehicle. All the presenters were very professional and could talk for hours (well minutes) about their car.





There were a few concept cars present, but this one from Lexus looks close to production.





Does this car have enough room in the rear seat for my friend?





Locked? How can I get in?





Hit the starter and lets get out of here – even if you can’t see over the steering wheel.





Thank a Robot for staying off the display and automating most of the production jobs. Thanks Robots!





I will take the dirt bikes and leave the Jeep.





Easily the most passionate presenter was for the Dodge Hellcat – 800 HP of smoke and noise.





The Toyota Impossible – like it will be impossible for this to sell in America.





Where are we – oh yeah – Chicago.





It was Latino Day at the Car Show – even Telemundo Chicago had their new truck (or camiĆ³n de noticias). Especially cool was the singer doing Sinatra in Spanish.





Did you ever wonder why the car next to you has to blast their music so loud you can hear it through their closed windows and yours. Well they have taken care of that – the speakers are on the outside!

Oh boy.





Yes it really is a full size Chevy Silverado made entirely out of Legos.





Enough of this reality – lets go virtual and get out of here.







Columbus – December 2018 – Ohio’s Attic

The Ohio History Center in Columbus is sort of Ohio’s attic, if an attic is a brutalist style concrete building with a number of galleries with extremely diverse displays.

Still, a good way to spend a few hours on a cold, rainy Saturday.

First up – African American Art

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A long time Columbus TV legend, Flippo (or more appropriately Flippo’s outfit)

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A small engine.

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Silver Bracelet from the 1800s.

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Ohio has always been known for it’s many glass makers.

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Coverlets

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A display on World War I had a gas mask. Interestingly the precursor to the gas mask was invented by Garrett Morgan in Cleveland. An African American, Garrett had a long and distinguished life as an inventor.

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An exhibit on Ohio artists. This display honors Paul Henri Bourguignon, a Belgian born artist who settled in Columbus in 1950 after his wife joined the faculty of Ohio State University.

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Flywheel for a steam engine. I just like the symmetry and color.

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Early fire engine.

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Horse drawn streetcar.

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Model Train set.

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Miss America 1953’s gown and portrait.

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Etch a Sketch – from ‘Ohio Art’

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A 1957 Chevy and an Airstream Trailer. The camper has been built in Ohio for a long time.

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The Soap Box derby is synonymous with Ohio.

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Lustron Homes were prefabricated, metal houses made in the 1940s and 1950s.

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This display is all set for Christmas 1955.

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Native American pipe.

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And effigy.

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Flints.

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A display of Civil War era Ohio Companies flags.

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Dinosaur skull.

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Fossils.

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Taxidermy of animals that once, or still, are present in Ohio.

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An airplane, because we need an airplane.

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And cars. We need cars to. And the state has long produced both.

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An early tire mold from Firestone.

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Finally we are hungry, so we stopped by White Castle (at least the exhibit – we found better food for lunch afterwards).

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Pittsburgh – October 2018 – More Architecture

Having spent the weekend in the city for Doors Open Pittsburgh, we had additional time to check out the sights that weren’t officially part of the tour.

 

The Armstrong Tunnel. Built in 1927, there are longer tunnels in Pittsburgh, but none have a curve in them like the Armstrong.

There is great debate as to why the tunnels have a curve.

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South Side Slopes – An old church, an old bridge and new condo’s.

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The Warner – it was once a theater, then a food court, now a welfare office. But the sign is cool, with one of the newer skyscrapers as a backdrop.

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The famed Kaufmann’s clock – the store has been closed for some time now, but appears to be getting new life soon.

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Some classic cornices.

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A streetlight, the US Steel (aka UPMC) building with interesting lighting after a thunderstorm.

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Even the smaller old buildings on Liberty Avenue have excellent detail up high.

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From Mt Washington the view of the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt looks quite small. In reality it is 500′ high, but partially hidden behind the hill.

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Another vintage downtown building.

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Not to be outdone by Kaufmann’s, Gimbels had a cool clock too.

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Heinz Field just after a University of Pittsburgh game ended.

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Carnegie Science Center on the north side with one of the subway trains in the background.

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A view from Mt Washington through downtown buildings up the Allegheny River.

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It has been almost 40 years since Station Square restored the old rail station and yards and it is still going strong.

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Sun setting on the Mon.

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Replica Christopher Columbus ships have been making their way up the Ohio River all summer, and are now in Pittsburgh – as this panorama shows the Nina and Pinta.

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Four Gateway Center.

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Gateway Center with a purple fountain. (must have been Raven’s fans sneaking the water coloring in).

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The 1764 Ft Pitt Blockhouse, the 1960 Ft Pitt Bridge and Mount Washington in the background.

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A major rowing competition was occurring on this early Sunday morning as the first of the boat tailgaters were arriving for a Steelers game.

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An amazing wildlife photo from the Allegeheny River.

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The Point Fountain from a different perspective with the apartments on Mt Washington in the background.

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The very cool Duquesne Incline.

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Along the Mon Wharf.

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The Gateway Clipper crews getting ready for that Steelers crowd.

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Pittsburgh is the city of bridges.

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Finally a shot of PPG Place with one of the more architecturally interesting parking garages.

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