2012 Top 10 Posts

Cape Girardeau Central High School girls in physical education uniformsNews outlets always run Top 10 stories at the end of the year because (a) they are usually short-staffed; (b) readers and viewers are busy with family activities and drop off; (c) it’s easy and can be done in advance, and (d) it’s traditional. So, for all of those reasons, except (c), here are the highest-read pages of 2012.

A 2010 post about the old gym uniforms topped the 2012 list because it went viral on another site. It was viewed 3,576 times.

#2 Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968I covered Simon and Garfunkel at Ohio University in 1968. This story was seen by 1,736 readers.

#3 Johnson’s Shut-ins

Johnson's Shut-In State Park circa 1978I was hoping to get back to update my Johnson Shut-Ins photos last summer but didn’t make it. Still, 1,674 folks looked at my old pictures.

#4 Queen Elizabeth II

web 1024 Queen Elizabeth layoutMy tale of getting to cover Queen Elizabeth II in the Bahamas because I was the only guy on the staff with a suit ranked 4th, with 1,462 views.

#5 David Holley’s obituary

David Holley of Wittenberg 07-18-2011David Holley, the last man living in Wittenberg and a storyteller supreme died April 11 of lung cancer. I only talked with the man twice, but he’s a character I’ll remember forever. His wife, Joanne, lives in one of only two buildings left in the once-vibrant Mississippi River town

#6 Low water exposed Tower Rock Quarry

Tower rock and quarry at low water 10-28-2011Low river levels has put Tower Rock in the news. A November 2011 story on the abandoned quarry south of The Rock was viewed 1,193 times.

#7 Geocachers conquer Tower Rock

Tower Rock geocachers 08-04-2012_6180

I was hoping the river would drop low enough for me to walk over to Tower Rock like Brother Mark and I did in 2003. It didn’t quite make it, and I didn’t want to take my inaugural kayak ride solo in the Mississippi River when these geocachers made the climb. The page was viewed 1,120 times, and 407 people clicked through to watch the video I produced about the day.

#8 “Rush Limbaugh is a horse’s patootie”

1024 Rush Limbaugh on Cape Girardeau's Floodwall 04-12-2011_3594I was interviewing Wife Lila’s Uncle Ray Seyer on a wide-ranging number of topics. Somehow or another, Rush Limbaugh came up. He described the high school Rush as a “horse’s patootie” for the way he monopolized the CB radio channels even when truckers were trying to get directions to local businesses. The page had 1,104 visitors.

#9 Terry Jones and Rush Limbaugh

1969 Girardot Rush Limbaugh senior photo P 132A 2010 story pointing out the coincidence of Koran burner Terry Jones and Rush Limbaugh both being members of the Cape Central Class of 1969 is still getting hits. It came in 9th with 1,099 readers.

#10 Lila turns fire photographer

Fire Wilmot and Georgia 05-21-2012I was running some errands when a warehouse across the street from our house exploded into flames. Wife Lila dialed 9-1-1, then grabbed her camera and started shooting. The West Palm Beach Fire Marshall and 1,099 other readers were interested in her handiwork.

Remember my Amazon link

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffIf you were one of the folks who stopped by 357,930 times during the year, don’t forget to place your Amazon orders by clicking on this big button or on the links at the top left of the page. I get a small percentage to keep the lights on and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.





Ties That Bind

There’s a closet in the basement that contains some clothes dating back to just past the middle of the last century. (Sure sounds old when you put it that way.)

When you open the door, you see an assortment of neckties. I recognize some of those – and, no, I’m not going to tell you which ones – once adorned my neck. Most of them are fakes.

Cops wear “breakaway” ties so that the bad guys can’t grab them by the necktie and strangle them. Of course, it’s MY contention that strangulation is the primary goal of the necktie.

Knots known to sailors and serial killers

I was a Boy Scout who earned the Pioneering Merit Badge. Not only could I tie every required knot, I enjoyed playing around with ones known only to sailors and serial killers. The only knot that I’ve never been able to master is a necktie.

Even though I got to cover Queen Elizabeth because I was the only guy on the staff with a suit, I’ve had to depend on fakes and Wife Lila to drape respectability around my neck.

Two instructions

My family has two instructions for the day when there will be “two at my head, two at my feet and two to carry me when I die:”

  1. Not in a necktie.
  2. Not in Florida.

Obligatory Isaac report

We came through Tropical Storm Isaac in pretty good shape. The rains pretty much moved on by early evening, but Son Adam, who lives west of town in a rural area got between 10 and 15 inches of rain. His house is on a high pad about three feet above the water, but he has huge Koi (“ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp”) swimming in his front yard. I warned him that alligators have been know to use those as bait, so I wouldn’t get close to them.

Our Comcast Internet connection is still down, so this is going to be a short post tonight.

Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee

You’ll be hearing a lot about Queen Elizabeth II this week. On the death of her father in 1952, she became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation service in 1953 was the first to be televised. Her Diamond Jubilee celebration starts June 2.

[I thought “regnant” was a typo until I looked it up. “A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king.”]

How I got to shoot the queen

I was coming back from an assignment in Okeechobee, 60 miles away, when it sounded like someone was trying to call me on the company two-way radio. I knew there was an overpass ahead that would get me high enough to hit the office for about 45 seconds, so I checked in as I started to climb the bridge and told them to talk fast.

Between bursts of static, I thought I heard the boss ask “Do you have a suit?”

“Say again, ‘suit?'”

“Do you have a SUIT? We need somebody to cover the Queen and we think you may be the only guy on the staff with a suit.”

So, that’s how I got the assignment to go to the Bahamas in February of 1975 to cover Queen Elizabeth. It wasn’t because of my spot news prowess, my superior ability to shoot portraits or my ability to find unusual angles. It was because I was the only guy on the Palm Beach Post photo staff who owned a suit.

Is that normal?

Reporter Sally Swartz and I had just settled into our seats in the small plane that was taking us to Nassau when I took a glance out the window. I gestured for a stewardess to come over and asked her, “Does that appear to you to be an extraordinary amount of hydraulic fluid flowing back over the wing?”

“No, sir,” she replied in a calm voice. “That’s perfectly normal.” I was comforted until she took off in a dead run for the cockpit. Soon, the first officer was peering out the window. He went back to the cockpit, I didn’t notice any parachutes in the air and we landed safely in Nassau, so it must have been normal for THAT plane.

On the wrong side of the wrong side

The plane ride was the least dangerous part of the trip. A whole bunch of us journalists were herded onto a beat-up vehicle that was a cross between a van and a small bus. It was driven by someone who alternated between homicidal and suicidal.

It’s bad enough that people in the Bahamas drive on the wrong side of the road. This guy liked to drive on the wrong side of the wrong side of the road. Traffic was horrific, so when he came upon a slowdown on the two-lane road, he’d lay on the horn and pull out to pass the whole world. Either he figured he had a bigger horn than the oncoming vehicles or he didn’t care if he died so long as he could take a busload of journalists with him.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip

Sally and I checked in, got press credentials (more about that later) and a press packet with all kinds of Queenie goodies in it. If I root deep enough, I can probably find it, if anybody wants to put in a bid.

The good news I got at the press center was that photographers weren’t going to be allowed on the Royal Yacht; only reporters. That meant I didn’t need to wear my suit.

The Royal Couple arrived. I bet THEIR plane was better maintained than the one Sally and I flew over in.

Press herded and corralled

As soon as the Royal Couple got off the plane, anyone with a press credential was herded into a holding area where we would be controlled. I saw that the Royals were getting right up with folks, so I ditched my credentials and played tourist.

That worked for a short while. Then, two very tall, very big Bahamian policemen got on both sides of me, gently grabbed me under the armpits and half-carried / half-walked me back over to the press pen. They figured if they went to all of the trouble of issuing you a little piece of paper, you’d better wear it and you’d better go where they tell you to go.

Another photographer busted

My compatriot from a Miami paper didn’t take his ID off, and they nailed him, too. I love his “who me?” expression. (My cops were bigger than his cops.)

HMY Britannia

The Queen and her husband flew in, but left on the HMY Britannia, with lifeboats as big as some yachts. I bet it’s safe to say the rule is “Queens and Princes first, THEN women and children.”

Journalist Andrew Marr wrote in his book The Real Elizabeth that the British government planned for the Royal Yacht to serve as the Queen’s refuge in the event of a nuclear war.

 The Queen does not sweat

She doesn’t even glow. I was soaked to the skin and I saw sweat running down faces in the crowd, but Queen Elizabeth II must have had all her sweat glands removed as a child. I watched her through a telephoto lens for an hour hoping to see a bead of sweat or a hint of moisture. Zip, nada, none. I don’t know how she did it.

Photo gallery of Queen’s 1975 visit to the Bahamas

Here’s a selection of photos from the Queen’s visit to the Bahamas. Time has caused some color shifts, but they still look pretty good. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.