Northern Italy’s Soave Wine Region Featured in New Wine Enthusiast Column Monday, Jun 20 2011 

Northwest St. Louis County, particularly the historic municipalities through which St. Charles Rock Road runs, have begun a suburban image renewal effort. St. Charles Rock Road began as an “Indian trail” and has a fascinating local history that may come as a surprise to those in the metro St. Louis area unfamiliar with it.

St. Charles Rock Road is the main drag through St. Louis, and long-time St. Ann resident, Steve Erdelen, has taken a lead in the image renewal strategy. He has begun a new publication (in newspaper “tab” format for now) to bring good attention back to the businesses and residents of this Northwest St. Louis County area just south of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. I am doing my part to support the publication by writing a wine column for it.

Click on the link here to see the column.

**  Rock Road Reporter_Summer Wine Column  **

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today, in terms of place-marking, the best known image along St. Charles Rock Road in St. Ann is probably the animated majorette sign at the Airway Centre. The sign dates back to the mid-century days when the Airway was one of multiple drive-in theaters along “the Rock Road.” Mid-century describes the vintage vibe the area largely retains.

In addition to the Airway sign, other familiar mid-century landmarks here include:

  • Chuck-A-Burger, and its summer “Cruise Nights”
  • McCarty Studio Photography, and its retro Lustron building storefront
  • Carhop Auto Sales, and its “bat-wing” service station building (formerly housing a vintage modern Phillips 66)
  • Post-World-War II housing styles in a walkable village environment
  • Commercial buildings dating to 1943 in a small-town downtown strip (corner of St. Charles Rock Road and St. Gregory Lane) originally occupied by a grocery, hardware store, realty office, drug store, barber and beauty shops

St. Charles Rock Road was laid out by the Spanish in 1772 and was the first road through St. Louis County, largely following the old “Indian trail.” It served as the road to St. Charles, Missouri—the state’s first capitol.

I hope you enjoy the column and will enjoy a bottle of Soave while reading it!


RIP to My Dear Niece: ChipIn by Pay Pal for Funeral Costs Friday, Sep 3 2010 

My dear niece, Jessica Erin Toal, died suddenly on 8/27/10.

She was cremated on 8/30/10, and our family has set up a fund to help with the costs of that, as well as help pay her final bills (rent, utilities, etc.), and any money left over will be used to establish a modest trust for the 8 year old son she leaves behind.

We would also hope to have enough to endow a text book scholarship for the student who graduates each year at the top of the class in the paramedic program from which Jessica just graduated on 7/14/10.

Here is a link to the ChipIn site where you can contribute through Pay Pal. Please know that any amount, even $1, or $5, or $10, will be gratefully accepted, that dollars add up, and every one helps.

Here is also a graphic made for a pin to be given to family and friends at her memorial service in Rolla, Missouri, on Saturday, 9/11/10.

If you wish more details, please send a “comment,” and I will send a reply.

Her family would be most grateful if you would share this far and wide.

Thank you for your kindness in our deep grief. 

Please click on the music link, below, to hear one of the hymns that we will play at her memorial service.This is arranged by guitarist John Fahey.

.10 – In Christ There Is No East Or West

Her grandmother is going to read the following sonnet, as well.


Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,
And all the flowers that in the springtime grow,
And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow
Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing
The summer through, and each departing wing,
And all the nests that the bared branches show,
And all winds that in any weather blow,
And all the storms that the four seasons bring.

You go no more on your exultant feet
Up paths that only mist and morning knew,
Or watch the wind, or listen to the beat
Of a bird’s wings too high in air to view, —
But you were something more than young and sweet
And fair, — and the long year remembers you.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950), U.S. Poet

*A new birth or life; a rebirth.

The Crush Pad blog Wednesday, Aug 18 2010 

Have you checked out the blog that I write each Monday for Saint Louis Cellars? It’s at

Meet the new St. Louis Director for! Thursday, Jun 17 2010 

It’s me!

After serving on the board for this company as the inter-cultural communications adviser (China/USA) for several years, I accepted the role as St. Louis Director for art promotion on June 9, 2010.

"Zen," gold sculpture is an International Art Promoter & Online Gallery.

It is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and has well-established Directors in Los Angeles, California  (USA), Shanghai (China), Taipei (China), recently expanding with the addition of me as newly appointed Director in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) and a second new Director in Chicago, Illinois (USA.)

Calligraphy No. 6 was selected by Money Magazine in December 2000 as one of the best international online commercial sites. I have known the President/CEO since 1971, and the business is well run and ethical. It’s aim is to “Network the World’s Who’s Who” by promoting art and the good life. I have visited ArtNetworking’s exhibition venues in Shanghai and met some of the artists represented and exhibiting at those venues. I was duly impressed. represents Asian and Western artists featuring their work in the online gallery in media that includes:

garden art (textured limestone on pedestal)
new media,
textiles, and
wearable art.

LingBi Rock

It’s my honor to have been selected to be the St. Louis Director for this respected and exclusive company.

I am actively recruiting artists locally, regionally, and nationally.

There is no cost to display your work online with Your exhibiting online with us is not an exclusive agreement; you can promote your work through other channels, as well, and if you sell a piece that we have online, we will mark it “sold,” and continue to display it, so you continue to have an online international presence. We do, of course, hope you would allow us to upload more of your work to promote together!

"The Spirit," Michael Jordan

There is no risk and no cost to the artist—you only have international exposure and potential sales to gain!

My job is to promote the artists I sign.

Please contact me if you would like to meet and talk about collections that we can promote YOUR WORK together on!

If you are outside the St. Louis, Missouri, region, I am set up with Skype Webcam video capabilities, and we can meet that way!

P.S. ~ Be forewarned: If you don’t call me, I will call you!

Sun Flower

Zen, gold sculpture by Wu Ching
Calligraphy No. 6, ink on rice paper by Qian PeiYun
LingBi Rock, rare garden stone on pedestal by Yeou Lin
The Spirit, bronze sculpture of Michael Jordan by Julie Rotblatt-Amrany
Sun Flower, hand-blown Venetian glass by Sheng ShanShan partners with the following distinguished international companies: Re/Max Realty, Art 50 International Restaurant, Novotel – Shanghai, Xintiandi – Shanghai Historic, Cultural & Entertainment District, The JC Group, Shimao Group – Property Holdings, Shanghai. Fairytale Handcrafted Jewellery – Copenhagen

Don’t miss the 2010 St. Louis Food & Wine Experience! Friday, Jan 15 2010 

Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Othello, II. iii. (315)

I will be there, for sure:

I will be working the room to make contacts for a dream I have to work in the wine trade!


Eighth annual event presented to benefit The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. The link here goes to the Rep’s Web site with event information and ticket sales online.

Dates are January 30 & 31, 2010, at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel’s Khorassan Room.

General admission tickets are $45/day (in advance), which is in my budget range.

The full range of ticket options includes a one-day VIP reserve room admission is $95 (in advance); there is a premier tasting on Friday, January 29, at $250/person; finally, there is a grand cru patron admission for $1,000.

Designated drivers can get admission to the main floor and reserve room of the event for $25, which includes a valet wine plate, complimentary water, but no wine.

This is an over-21 event only!

How are you using your time away from the paid job? Friday, Oct 9 2009 

83304769 -0 I had envisioned more sharing of information on employment on this site by multitudes of people vs. me posting whatever I know–which often isn’t much. The multitude of contributors (or just sources of info) have not materialized, and I have found that when people are hit by furlough, pay cut, temporary lay off, or just plain let go by their employer, they are very self-protective about their situation, preferring to keep a low profile.

I guess because I’ve been through this before (two or three times, now), I get spooked by an economic downturn, but I know that if I keep my paddle in the water, I will get to another good spot, eventually.

I have heard from lots of people who have found new jobs. It’s actually very encouraging that so many have done so. They often ask me not to post about it, though. Rats!

I have another idea; always have another idea. This is something to which any reader can contribute, from anywhere in the world (are you listening, “world“?) and you don’t even have to give info about your paid work, or lack thereof to do it. Let us know what kinds of community service things you’re doing.

How are you giving/giving back? Lots of people do this even when they are working a 60 hr. week, but many of us have upped the amount of community service work we’re doing, if we’ve had our work week reduced or are between gigs, due to the economy.

200482268-001_muttI have been doing a lot of things. For example, I have been working with Alex, a colleague here at Lawrence Group, and Rebecca, the manager at the St. Louis Animal Care & Control Center, aka “the city pound,” on a pro bono project.

seal-border-white-shadowAlex created a logo, which they’d never had, and designed a Web site around the content that Rebecca and her staff and Alex and I suggested and developed. The new site is not up yet, and the current page is part of the St. Louis Health Department’s Web page. The Health Department is over the Animal Care & Control Center, and the ACC has been “hidden” in all the Health Department info.

The address for the new Web site will be announced soon and, meanwhile, you can get some info from the current site linked just above, or stop by or call them at

The City of St. Louis Animal Care & Control
2120 Gasconade Street, St. Louis, MO 63118
(314) 353-5838

88977946_left facing catHaving a beautifully branded and designed Web site will help get animals adopted at this out-of-the-way facility, as well as recruit volunteers and staff, when needed. There are photographers who are getting good pics of the adoptable animals now in anticipation of the new site going live.

I don’t have the photographer’s names at hand, but if you see this and have that info, please give them a shout-out, and a thank you from the animals! Also, thank Candice & Noreen for putting me onto this idea and keeping me energized with their own passionate support of animal welfare.

So, tell us: What are YOU doing … ?

Image Credits:
Getty Images

News About Town | St. Louis on the Moooove! Sunday, Sep 13 2009 

I’ve been doing some pro bono work, while I’m working my three-day work week during this, ummmm, recession.

st_louis_misouri_mo_arch_a_great_city_postage-p172651931138317707anr4u_400I have to give props to Alex, my co-worker at Lawrence Group, who is a graphic designer and my partner in crime on one of the pro bono projects. Alex has designed a logo for the St. Louis Animal Care & Control Center (aka, the city pound), and he has gotten as far as the landing page for a whole new Web site for the “ACC.” Alex has been working with the manager there (Becky Smail) and her staff to get this site designed, approved, up and running. The city really needed something much better to support the efforts of adopting out the animals. The ACC has a dedicated manager, as I’ve come to know her, a hard working staff, and caring volunteers who are most anxious to get this site live. If you have time, please get over to the facility on I-55 and Gasconade to help with walking the dogs and cuddling the cats. Otherwise they don’t get out of their cages, they become withdrawn, and then they are less likely to adopted.

landmarks_logoI am also working on the publicity committee for the 50th Anniversary Gala of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. It’s November 7, 2009, and our committee kicked off the publicity effort last Friday with a cover on the Ladue News. I will be posting more about Landmarks Association of St. Louis, the gala, the new executive director Jeff Mansell, their new office and gallery space on Washington Avenue, and other things of interest. For now, though, please consider attending this event, which will be held at the Palladium in Lafayette Square. This will be the public’s first look at that new venue. You know you like to be first, right?

Galas are fun, and that’s one of the messages we want to get out to the design community: That even though we usually see the Landmarks people when they are protesting the tearing down of an historic building, they are also a great group of people, who are also very proactive, and who like to have a good time.

This could be a great networking event for anyone in the job market (hint, hint.)

SAVE THE DATE: November 7, 2009


WHERE? At THE PALLADIUM, 1400 Park Place, Lafayette Square

St. Louis Postage Stamp courtesy of

Looking for a nice little get-away? I got you covered. Tuesday, Aug 11 2009 

This was on today’s “The Daily Sauce” e-mail from St. Louis’s own Sauce Magazine.

Chaumette Vineyards and Winery_Ste Genevieve MOFull disclosure: We’re not morning people. So the idea of arriving at a winery at 8 a.m. strikes us as odd. But Chaumette Vineyards and Winery’s new weekend breakfast, which debuts Aug. 22, just might change our tune. Breakfast is involved, after all – and we are breakfast people. And the idea of sitting at the winery ‘s Grapevine Grill to nosh on chef Adam Lambay’s chocolate mascarpone French toast, local wild mushroom and egg souffle, or Chambourcin strawberry crêpe sounds like something worth getting up early for. Still, old habits die hard, so we’ll likely be there closer to noon.

Sauce pick: Breakfast at Chaumette Vineyards and Winery
Where to get it: Saturday and Sunday starting Aug. 22 – 8 a.m. to noon, 24345 State Route WW, Ste. Genevieve
Info: 573.747.1000 or

Come one, come all Saturday, July 18: Support a NEW Mediterranean restaurant, enjoy gracious hospitality and delicious food! Tuesday, Jul 14 2009 

Omar, himself

Omar, himself

Omar’s Italian/Mediterranean Restaurant plans its opening THIS SATURDAY, July 18, 2009.

It’s at 10111 Saint Charles Rock Rd., St Ann, MO 63074-1810 – (314) 429-6881. You will see the sign beckoning you from streetside, St. Charles Rock Road & Wright Avenue. Here’s a link to Google map >MAP<.

Come and enjoy the healthy, amazing menu that includes Chicago-style pizza from a brick oven, hummus, falafel, kabobs, and shawerma (something I don’t think you can get anywhere else I’ve been in the area.) Omar uses fresh herbs from his herb garden along side the restaurant.

The build-out has been built “from scratch,” with thoughtful touches and something St. Ann has not had for quite some time: a restaurant with tableclothes (covered with glass.)

img118St. Ann (and Omar & John & Omar’s family) really need your support for this restaurant. Please come out to support it, and enjoy a cozy dining room, a friendly welcome, delicious and healthy food from an extensive and affordable menu, and linger over a nice espresso or other coffee drink after dinner.

Open invitation to all St. Louis “Design Addicts” Thursday, Jul 9 2009 

—and any who are near St. Louis, or planning to be in St. Louis on the evening of Monday, July 13, 2009.

Niche, Broadway entrance

Niche, Broadway entrance

Niche | Interior Design Services & Home Furnishings is hosting an event on Monday, 7/13/09, 5-8 pm, with a product presentation at 6:15 pm.

Come for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and to see the latest > Holly Hunt < furniture design & Pierre Frey textile collections.

Meet and mingle with other St. Louis design addicts and see these great product lines, plus the chic > Niche < showroom.

Niche | located at Broadway & Olive, St. Louis, Mo.

niche_logoPlease let store manager David Blakely know if you plan to come, so he can get a head-count for food and beverage, at 314 – 621 – 8131 or

Hope to see you there!

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