More red tape at the St. Louis City Hall

Today I had some more business at the St. Louis City Hall, including getting an electrical permit to self install a wireless burglar alarm system.

It’s just a money making scam, more or less, but if you install your own burglar alarm system you must pay $85 and take a “test” at the St. Louis City Hall before they give you an electrical permit. And you need the electrical permit in order to get a Police Department permit to have the burglar system monitored for dispatches.

So anyway, I went again to the mammoth turn of the 20th century City Hall building on Market Street.

I had been wondering what was on the upper floors, because there didn’t seem to be enough business going on to even make use of the first floor. The electrical permit division however is on the fourth floor so I had a chance to see what was up there.

Here’s a view from the fourth floor.

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It turns out there are zillions of “divisions” up there. There’s a plumbing division, an electrical division, there’s even a high-rise division. You name it they have it.

First I might I thought I might try discussing with him the rationalization behind having these permits. I mean okay, if they want to charge $85 when you initially set up your burglar alarm system I’m not going to argue the point too much. But why do you have to trudge down to City Hall and take a test? Why can’t they just tack $85 on to the first year of the police permit?

But when I saw the entrenched, intricate bureaucracy up on the fourth floor I realized there is truly no point in fighting City Hall. And so I just went along with it.

The test itself was rather odd. The person in charge asks you to sit in a chair in front of his desk, he hands you a piece of paper with about 10 questions on it, and he asks you to read each question and answer them verbally.

Basically none of the questions had anything at all to do with installation of the system. And none of the questions had anything to do with electricity. They almost all, except one minor question, had to do with operation of the system, which you would have to know even if somebody else installed for you.

Anyway, I answered the questions, paid the $85, got my permit and the wireless system is now operational! Yay!

And for your amusement, here are some signs I saw at City Hall. They seem to be enjoying themselves there.

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Suzu-chan, a little lost sparrow

This morning, while returning from a walk around Lafayette Park, I came across a baby sparrow, fallen from a nest onto the baking hot sidewalk. Its mother was nowhere in sight. Nor could I immediately see a nest.

bird-1Not wanting it to lay there and die from overheat or predators, I picked it up and brought it back to my friend’s house. I tried to cool it down with some water. It wouldn’t drink any, but seemed to relax in my hands. And I could feel its heart beating.

bird-2I looked up some information on the Internet, and it suggested locating the nest and placing the bird near it, even on the ground, and then step away, because the mother would come looking for it and take care of it. I was skeptical but gave it a try.

I found the nest way up in this tree (indicated by the arrow).

bird-3It was obviously too high to return the sparrow to its nest, so I laid it in a garden next to the tree and stepped back about 100 ft. and waited to see what would happen. Nothing did.

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Meanwhile, Step, a neighbor, came out to check things out and said that if left there the bird would die because even if the mother found it, there was no way of getting it back to the nest, and cats or other predators would get at it overnight. He, and other people in the neighborhood, like Lynne, recommended I take it to the bird sanctuary in Overland.

I called the sanctuary and they asked some questions, like can it perch on my finger. It was trying, but could not yet. So they said to bring it over.

Here is Suzu-chan (suzume is Japanese for “sparrow”) all buckled up in the car ready for his trip to Overland.

bird-5And here is is after arriving at the bird sanctuary. He was occasionally opening his beak for food, which looked cute, but I couldn’t grab a photo of that in time. Because of his feathering, yet because he could not yet perch, they described him as “pre-fledgling.”

bird-6He was actually a good deal healthier than he looks in that photo. He could crawl about quite a lot, which was a relief. I knew he was in safe hands.

Here he is after transferring to the little container they made for him at the sanctuary. He has sort of a grumpy expression on his face, but I think he understood he was in safe hands.

bird-7And here is my last photo of Suzu-chan before the attendant took him away. He looks like he is saying good-bye to me. He is “patient 4770″ and I can email and check on how he fared in 14 days.

bird-8On the drive back from Overland to Lafayette Square I had the oddest sensation that somehow all the serious events which led me to come to the St. Louis this summer, and maybe all of those for years and decades before, where somehow all for the purpose of having me be right there at that point in time so I could save that one sparrow’s life.