Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

IMDB
The Hobbit - Smaug (2013): Tolkien would recognize it. Jackson added love interest, some humor and lots of mind-numbing CGI action. C+













Monday, December 30, 2013

Lookout, TCEQ is Coming to Plano


The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has prepared a draft permit which, if approved, would establish the conditions under which the new Lookout Trash Transfer Station (LOTS) must operate. The TCEQ has made a preliminary decision that this permit meets all statutory and regulatory requirements. Naturally, dissatisfaction with this decision is directly proportional to proximity to the site.

After the jump, the next act in this long-running drama.

Friday, December 27, 2013

S2L77: Delphi

From 1977 04 21 Greece

Delphi was believed by ancient Greeks to be at the exact center of the world. It was the home of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle of the ancient world. It was also the site of the Pythian Games, the precursor to the modern Olympics.

More photos after the jump.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry TubaChristmas - 2013

From 2013 12 24 TubaChristmas

TubaChristmas was celebrated in Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas at noon on Christmas Eve, the 36th annual performance of about 200 tubas, sousaphones, euphoniums and baritones. Oh, the joyful sound!

More photos after the jump.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Duck and Cover - ctd

In reaction to the controversy over the comments of the Duck Dynasty guy, Phil Robertson, in a GQ interview, I said I was reading Isabel Wilkerson's "The Warmth of Other Suns." That book is getting better and better the farther I read. Wilkerson spells out plenty of reasons why blacks in the Jim Crow South would not say "Those doggone white people" to a white person, reasons different from the conclusion of Phil Robertson that blacks were happy with Jim Crow.

Blacks living in the Jim Crow South had good reason to distrust *all* whites -- a single careless comment to the wrong person at the wrong time and their livelihoods, their homes, even their lives could be lost. I'm surprised that this is a controversial statement today for anyone, but it seems to be, given some of the reader reaction I've received to my original post. Apparently, the mythology that blacks were happy with racial discrimination persists to this day.

After the jump, another passage from Wilkerson that provides another example of this.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

HS Basketball District Play Tips Off

From 2013 12 20 Lake Highlands vs Berkner

District 9-5A basketball tipped off its 2013-2014 district season with rivalry games in Richardson. The Richardson Eagles defeated the Pearce Mustangs 61-51 at Pearce High School, while across town at Berkner High School, the Rams defeated the Lake Highlands Wildcats 76-62. Berkner had a balanced offense, with four players in double figures. Lake Highlands' Jamarice Preston led all scorers with 19 points.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Duck and Cover

Recap: in an interview with GQ, Phil Robertson, star of A&E's reality TV series "Duck Dynasty," compared homosexuality with raping barnyard animals. A&E, not keen on being associated with that sentiment, suspended Robertson. Some thought that was a violation of free speech and attacked A&E for, I dunno, exercising their own freedom to choose whom to give TV time to or something. The critics of A&E find themselves in the (I hope) uncomfortable company of the Westboro Baptist Church: "A&E suspended Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty 4EVER for telling you fags won't go to heaven. Hello?! GOD HATES FAGS."

Anyway, Phil Robertson's backwards views on sexual orientation are not what I wanted to talk about today. After the jump, his backwards views on race.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

RALC Appreciation Luncheon

RALC Executive Director Katie Patterson welcomes attendees

The Richardson Adult Literacy Center (RALC) held its annual Volunteer and Student Appreciation Luncheon Wednesday at the Richardson Public Library. The potluck luncheon featured dishes from sixteen countries around the world. I particularly recommend the mole poblano.

The RALC provides free English as a second language (ESL) instruction to adults who live or work in Richardson or the Richardson Independent School District area. Please consider volunteering or donating.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Retirement for "L"


Ellen's upcoming retirement from the Richardson school district was celebrated by a retirement party thrown by her co-workers. She was blown away by the turnout of dozens of teachers and administrators from across the RISD, including the last three Directors of Fine Arts for the RISD. From left to right: Michael Brashear, Texas Bandmasters Association Executive Director; Brian Britt, Director of Fine Arts, Richardson ISD; Ellen; and Dr. Bradley Kent, Music Director for University Interscholastic League.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sounds of the Season 2013 at LHHS


Attending the Lake Highlands High School Choirs' annual "Sounds of the Season" concert has become a holiday tradition. Something for all. Carols by candlelight. Pop music. Parent choir. More than Christmas shopping, more than decorating the house, the sounds of these talented young singers marks, for me, the start of the Christmas season. Make a point of attending next year and see if this concert doesn't become an annual tradition for your family, too.

Friday, December 13, 2013

S2L77: Kavala, Platamon and Thermopylae, Greece

From 1977 04 21 Greece
Kavala, Greece

The drive from Istanbul to Athens hugs the coast, affording views of the Aegean Sea, fishing villages and towns, and the ancient castles that protected Greece from invasion by sea.

More photos after the jump.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mayor Maczka Shows Leadership on Palisades

The Richardson City Council, led by Mayor Laura Maczka, approved by a vote of 5-2 the rezoning request for the proposed pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use Palisades Village development. I applaud the vote. I support the development. This is what I said after the request was approved by the City Plan Commission and was sent to the city council for their approval:
Mayor Laura Maczka has made known her enthusiasm for this Palisades development. Getting it passed over the vocal opposition of some Canyon Creek homeowners is a test of her leadership. In the end, expect it to pass.
Source: The Wheel.
Even though I predicted council approval, I can't say I'm not a little surprised. Objections to building apartments next to the Canyon Creek neighborhood were loud and clear. Maczka not only went against the wishes of the opposition, she was in the lead of a solid majority of the council in approving the request. Her leadership style, however you want to characterize it, was strong enough to carry the day on this politically risky project.

After the jump, another tack I could have taken in reporting this.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blackfish (2013)

IMDB
Blackfish (2013): One-sided look at killer whale living up to name. SeaWorld blames trainer errors. Keeping orcas for human fun is cruel. C+













Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: The Signal and the Noise

The Signal and the Noise
Amazon
From The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail -- But Some Don't, by Nate Silver:
Open quote 

Political news, and especially the important news that really affects the campaign, proceeds at an irregular pace. But news coverage is produced every day. Most of it is filler, packaged in the form of stories that are designed to obscure its unimportance. Not only does political coverage often lose the signal -- it frequently accentuates the noise."

After the jump, my review.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Early Winter at the Steger House (2013)

From 2013 12 06 Ice Storm

More photos after the jump.

OTBR: The Edge of Australia's Corio Bay

Latitude: S 38° 09.612
Longitude: E 144° 31.590

A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

Thursday, December 5, 2013

High School Basketball is Back

From 2013 12 03 McKinney Boyd vs Berkner

Now that the football season is over for the four Richardson ISD high schools, it's time for basketball to take center stage. The Berkner Rams, coming off a 2012-2013 season that was one of the two best in school history, culminating in a trip to the state Final Four in March, are off to another great start this season.

After the jump, the Berkner Rams take on the McKinney Boyd Broncos.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: The Hidden Reality

The Hidden Reality
Amazon
From The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene:
Open quote 

The trek in this book has been toward what may be the capstone Copernican correction. Our universe itself may not be central to any cosmic order. Much as with our planet, star, and galaxy, our universe may merely be one among a great many."

After the jump, my review.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Repeat Tweets: Hungry Kids Work Harder

Repeat tweets from November, 2013:

  • 1 Nov 2013: Headline: "Deep cuts to country's food stamp program kick in as Congress debates more." Hungry kids work harder.
  • 1 Nov 2013: MT @KenPaxtonTX: "27 years ago I married my best friend and absolute love of my life." Someday all Texans in love will have same right.
  • 1 Nov 2013: High school football final: Berkner 41, Richardson 38. It's a great time to be a Ram! #txhsfb
  • 2 Nov 2013: MT @SenTedCruz: "Good news: Taliban terrorist mastermind Mehsud has been brought to justice in Pakistan." By Kenyan Muslim Commie Obama. :-)

After the jump, more repeat tweets.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Palisades Passes a Test

The proposed Palisades Village development (a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development on the west side of Central Expressway across from Galatyn Park DART station) passed a key test, getting a 7-0 recommendation for approval from the Richardson City Plan Commission (CPC). I've expressed my support for this development before.

After the jump, the latest incarnation of the developer's proposal and the additional conditions imposed by the CPC.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

IMDB
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993): Depp and DiCaprio together, back when they played ordinary, believable characters. Less is more. A-













Friday, November 29, 2013

S2L77: Istanbul

From 1977 04 08 Turkey
Istanbul, straddling the Bosphorus, seen from Asia

From 1977 04 08 Turkey
Istanbul, seen from the Bosphorus

Istanbul, like Tehran, like New Delhi, is one of those cities where one's first impression is determined by one's direction of approach. Coming into Istanbul from the east, after travelling overland the length of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., I was struck by how Western, how European, how ... familiar Istanbul felt. However, we ran into tourists arriving in Istanbul from Europe and they remarked on how exotic Istanbul felt. In Istanbul, East meets West.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Great Gatsby (1974)

IMDB
The Great Gatsby (1974):
Redford > DiCaprio.
1974 > 2013.
Book >>> Movie (either one).
Less is more.
That is all, Old Sport. C+









Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Great Gatsby (2013)

IMDB
The Great Gatsby (2013): Over-the-top, overdone CGI recreation of Roaring '20s. This Gatsby is not great, you don't even care about him. C+












Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Arbitrage (2012)

IMDB
Arbitrage (2012): Tycoon's business collapses. Fraud, affair, lies, cover ups grow as law closes in. Usual Hollywood stuff, well told. B-












Monday, November 25, 2013

Voting Is Just So Messy

The City of Richardson has a policy regarding electioneering at the Civic Center during early voting: "During early voting, political signs may not be erected on public property." The State of Texas has other ideas.
On June 14, 2013, the Texas Legislature passed HB 259, thereby amending Section 61.003 and 85.036 of the Texas Election Code by requiring a public entity that controls or owns a building used as a polling place to allow electioneering on the premises, subject to reasonable regulations.
So, let's amend Richardson's policy to allow electioneering at the Civic Center, so long as it occurs outside the 100 foot boundary state law specifies. Easy peasy. Next issue.

Not so fast, says Richardson's City Council. After the jump, their thoughts.

Friday, November 22, 2013

S2L77: Izmir, Troy, Canakkale, Gallipoli

Izmir
April 17, 1977
Quick tour of Izmir, walking through the bazaar and the Roman agora, which was closed for restoration.
Source: Personal travel notes.

From 1977 04 08 Turkey
Izmir, Turkey

We stopped for lunch in Izmir, just enough time to find a restaurant and do a little sightseeing. And by sightseeing in this region of the world, I mean track down the ancient Greeks and Romans. Izmir being at least 3,500 years old, the Roman ruins mark but a stage in its long history, but when you only have a couple of hours, it's a good stage to hunt down.

In Troy, you go back even before the Romans to the Homeric legends of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Today, the site is an active archaeological dig. In 1977, about the only thing for the casual sightseer was a large wooden horse, so that's what I took a photo of.

Canakkale is the modern city nearest the ancient site of Troy. It's also where we said goodbye to Asia. It was there that we crossed the Dardanelles Strait, which separates Asia from Europe, on a ferry.

On the European side of the Dardanelles is the Gallipoli peninsula, the site of a major military campaign in World War I. The British and French sought to secure a sea route to Russia through the Dardanelles. Gallipoli was where the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) saw their first action in the war, with great loss of life. Today, ANZAC Day (April 25) is the day of remembrance for all Australians and New Zealanders who fought and died in all wars. It marks the dawn of national consciousness for those nations.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cash America's Wallet is a Little Lighter

Cash America

In response to enforcement action by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), payday lender Cash America will repay $14 million to customers and will pay a $5 million fine because "it improperly pursued some customers' debt and overcharged military service members." Apparently, Cash America charged service members annual interest rates over 36% on loans. Compare that to the interest rate banks pay you when you loan them money by making a deposit to your savings account.

After the jump, what does this have to do with Richardson?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Archives: JFK, the Book Thief

One of the benefits of blogging is that you have a ready-made archive to jog your memory. Today's entry simply references two such memories.

  • November 22, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. It's one of those moments people remember where they were, what they were doing, no blog required. I was in sixth grade when the public address speakers in school came on. At first it sounded like someone in the school office had unintentionally flipped a switch, as there was no announcement, only what sounded like a garbled radio broadcast. Students laughed at what we thought was someone's mistake. Gradually, the laughter died away and was replaced by horror and sadness as the news registered. That guilty laughter is what has stuck with me for fifty years.

    Anyway, fifty years later, I live in Dallas. Here's what I blogged last year when Dallas began making plans for the anniversary.

  • To continue on a sad theme, The Book Thief is in limited release (Cinemark West in Plano, Thursday, 10:00 pm). The movie is based on the book by the same name, which was the selection for this year's "Richardson Reads One Book" program. It's a view of life in Nazi Germany from a child's eye. I haven't seen the movie, but you can read my review of the book from last spring.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Samsara (2011)

IMDB
Samsara (2011): Stunning images from world over. Slow motion, time lapse. Some jaw dropping, some weird. No narration. B- (Watch high, A-)












Monday, November 18, 2013

Learning From Lookadoo

In case you were on Mars last week, here's a recap. The PTA at Richardson High School sponsored a motivational speaker, Justin Lookadoo, for a school assembly. Lookadoo's public speaking focuses on what his critics consider antiquated gender stereotypes. The RHS event blew up on social media, was picked up by Dallas newspapers and television, and eventually received international coverage.

After the jump, what we learned.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Playoffs: Allen 63, Lake Highlands 6

From 2013 11 15 Allen vs Lake Highlands

The Lake Highlands Wildcats faced off against the undefeated Allen Eagles in the first round of the 2013 Texas UIL football playoffs Friday night at Wildcat-Ram Stadium. Allen more than lived up to their #1 state ranking in beating the Wildcats 63-6. The Wildcats end their playoff season with a district record of 5-2 (overall 5-6). Thanks for the good season, Wildcats.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, November 15, 2013

S2L77: Ephesus

From 1977 04 08 Turkey

Most people today, if they know of Ephesus at all, recognize the name from Paul the Apostle's epistle to the Ephesians. Some might know Ephesus as the burial place of John the Apostle, the author of one of the four Gospels. Some others might know it as the home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In any case, today Ephesus is the site of a large archaeological dig, giving the modern traveler an entrancing peek into the world of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Christians.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: Empire of the Summer Moon

Empire of the Summer Moon
Amazon
From Empire of the Summer Moon, by S.C. Gwynne:
Open quote 

Behind it all is the story of the rise and fall of the Comanches. No tribe in the history of North America had more to say about the nation's destiny. Quanah was merely the final product of everything they had believed and dreamed of and fought for over a span of two hundred fifty years. The kidnapping of a blue-eyed, nine-year-old Cynthia Ann in 1836 marked the start of the white man's forty-year war with the Comanches, in which Quanah would play a leading role. In one sense, the Parkers are the beginning and end of the Comanches in U.S. history."

After the jump, my review.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The "Wow Factor" of Richardson's Goals

After complaining for months about the Richardson City Council's non-transparent process for deciding its near-term action items, I guess I ought to say something now that the goals have been revealed. But first, go ahead, read 'em yourself.

After the jump, my own reaction.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

42 (2013)

IMDB
42 (2013): America needed Jackie Robinson. A hero for his time, for all time. Hagiography at its finest because it's true. Take the kids. B+












Monday, November 11, 2013

A Round of Applause for Paralysis in Sports

Catastrophic Insurance
You know the ritual when a kid playing high school football goes down with an injury. When he eventually gets up and hobbles off the field, he gets a round of applause from the fans in the stands. Apparently, in the Richardson ISD, that might be all he ever gets, even if he can't get up at all and might never walk again.
Catastrophic care insurance offers a safety net for students who suffer life-altering accidents or illness while participating in an extra-curricular school activity, with policies providing as much as $7.5 million of coverage in cases such as spinal cord injuries, brain injury, infection or stroke. But coverage is not mandatory in Texas, nor is it officially recommended by the state's public school extracurricular governing body, the University Interscholastic League. A Dallas Morning News survey of 65 of the largest school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area found five that don't provide any catastrophic care coverage: Birdville, Burleson, Cedar Hill, Mansfield and Richardson ISDs.
Richardson ISD?!? No coverage? Seriously?

After the jump, WTF?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Make Believe (2010)

IMDB
Make Believe (2010): Teens from world over compete in magic contest in Vegas. Great kids but not much magic in this documentary. C-












Saturday, November 9, 2013

Season Ender Game: Skyline 48, Berkner 13

From 2013 11 08 Skyline vs Berkner

The 9-1 Skyline Raiders defeated the Berkner Rams 48-13 Friday night at Wildcat-Ram Stadium. The Rams' season comes to a close with a record of 4-6. From the 104 degree season opener at South Garland to the final playing of the Berkner fight song in 58 degree weather, it was a wild season of blowout wins ... and losses. Thanks for the fun, Rams.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, November 8, 2013

S2L77: Turkey's Aegean Coast

Kusadasi, Turkey
April 14, 1977
First sight of the sea since Kota Bharu, Malaysia.
Source: Personal travel notes.

From 1977 04 08 Turkey

Finally, in Kusadasi, Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, after more than 7,500 miles and eight countries, I saw the sea again for the first time since standing on the beach of the South China Sea in Kota Bharu, Malaysia.

The history of the area around Kusadasi goes back 5,000 years. Everyone sooner or later had some reason to come to here -- the Aeolians, Ionians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Christians, Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans, the modern Turks, and, in 1977, yours truly.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

OTBR: Autumn Leaves on Utah's Mt. Nebo

Latitude: N 39° 58.104
Longitude: W 111° 41.442


A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"The Primal Scream of Suburbia"

Eric Nicholson nails it in Unfair Park: "The Opposition to New High-End Apartments in Richardson is the Primal Scream of Suburbia."

Eric Nicholson just saved me the trouble of blogging about the public hearing before Richardson's City Plan Commission (CPC) regarding the proposed Palisades Village development.

After the jump, some speculation and gaming this out.

Autumn in Breckinridge (2013)

From 2013 11 03 Breckinridge Park
More photos after the jump.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Election Day: Can You Prove You Are You?

McLovin
Source: Superbad.

It's Election Day. Thank God, for the first time ever you have to show a photo ID to vote in Texas, the way the Founders intended. No more Democrats stealing elections. Finally, at long last, we'll be able to elect a few Republicans here.

It's a well known fact that photo IDs are difficult to forge. If not, kids would be using forged IDs to buy beer. It's also a well known fact that the desire to vote illegally is much stronger than teens' desire to consume beer, so much so that there have been ten cases of voter impersonation nationwide since 2000. But now, with the new photo ID laws, those ten cases in the last decade are about to be reduced to at most single digits in the next decade. What's not to like?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Repeat Tweets: Interpreting the Mayor

Repeat tweets from October, 2013:

  • 2 Oct 2013: Interpreting the mayor: what makes a Richardson dog park a priority is that it's holding up real priorities. www.marksteger.com
  • 2 Oct 2013: MT @SenTedCruz: "We can work together but Democrats don't want to." Cruz is just trolling us now. #wacko
  • 2 Oct 2013: Headline: "Congressman Pete Sessions: Republican In Name Only?" Seriously? Sessions isn't deranged enough for GOP? www.neontommy.com
  • 2 Oct 2013: .@KenPaxtonTX, get your facts straight. Honor Flight cofounder says Park Service "bent over backwards" for veterans: talkingpointsmemo.com
  • 2 Oct 2013: MT @SenTedCruz: "This is #HarryReidsShutdown. He won't negotiate, won't talk." Cruz on other hand is all talk. He broke it, he owns it.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.

Friday, November 1, 2013

S2L77: Hierapolis

From 1977 04 08 Turkey

In the previous installment of this travel journal, we were in southwest Turkey, in Pamukkale, where people have been going for thousands of years to bathe in hot springs on travertine terraces.

The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built there. In 1977, we had the site to ourselves. We were free to wander among the ruins, from the baths to the temples to the huge outdoor amphitheater.

More photos of Hierapolis after the jump.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Premiere of Palisades Village

This is how it begins. A request for a zoning change.
Name/Location: ZF 13-13. Palisades. NW of Central Expy. & Galatyn Pkwy.

Project Information: A request by Larry Good, GFF Planning, representing JP Realty Partners, Ltd., for a change in zoning from LR-M(2) Local Retail, PD Planned Development, and TO-M Technical Office to PD Planned Development for the development of a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development on approximately 59.4 acres located on the west side of Central Expressway, generally bounded by Collins Boulevard to the west, Palisades Boulevard and Galatyn Parkway West Extension to the south, and Palisades Creek Drive to the north. The property is currently zoned LR-M(2) Local Retail, PD Planned Development, and TO-M Technical Office. Staff: Chris Shacklett.
After the jump, my early assessment.

Peggy Venable Says I am an Idiot

Peggy Venable tweet
Source: Twitter.
It's hard to argue with that logic.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stefani Carter, Short of Money and Friends

When I wrote about the Texas House District 102 race last week, the situation was relatively straightforward. Incumbent Stefani Carter wasn't running for re-election, having decided to run for the Texas Railroad Commission instead. Former Dallas City Council member Linda Koop had announced her own campaign to replace Carter. Koop was the favorite to win the GOP nomination and the general election.

Then a strange thing happened on the way to the voting booth. Stefani Carter announced that she was dropping her bid for Railroad Commission and would seek re-election to House District 102 after all.

After the jump, assessing how badly Stefani Carter misplayed her hand.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SimCity: CityLine

That humongous development at PGBT and US75 finally has a name: CityLine. It also has ambitious plans.
At build-out, the CityLine project will include 6 million square feet of office space, two hotels, 3,925 apartments, 300,000 square feet of grocery, restaurant, entertainment and retail space, and three parks.
Sounds a little like a SimCity simulation. SimCity was fun for children to play, but it always handicapped future urban planners. It encouraged zoning as either residential, commercial, or industrial. You couldn't put, say, residential above ground-level commercial. That is, mixed-use wasn't really an option. CityLine, on the other hand, is zoned mixed-use. CityLine developers promise mixed-use. But are we going to get it?

After the jump, let's put all those impressive build-out numbers in perspective.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Huffhines Art Trails (2013)

From 2013 10 27 Huffhines Art Trails

Each year on the 4th weekend of October Huffhines Park hosts Huffhines Art Trails, a Richardson tradition since 1976. Over 150 artists and craftsmen exhibit the products of their talents, live entertainment is offered on stage, and food stalls provide concessions.

This year, the city held a contest to name the new scarecrow. At time of writing, the winner was unknown, but I think "Art" would be an obvious choice. Or maybe "Rain Man" to mark the fact that rain often seems to require the liberal spreading of straw to keep the grounds passable. But my personal choice would be Tod (with one "d") to symbolize the straw man arguments the city falls back on when it fails to live up to Transit-Oriented Development whenever a developer wants to build another 1980s-era gas station, apartment building, or office building in Richardson. "Art" it is then, right?

Oh, and the League of Women Voters of Richardson was there, providing information on voter registration and the upcoming election on state constitutional amendments.

More photos after the jump.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homecoming: Berkner 49, WT White 14

From 2013 10 25 WT White vs Berkner
The Berkner Rams ensured the home fans enjoyed homecoming Friday night by beating the W.T. White Longhorns 49-14 at Wildcat-Ram stadium.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, October 25, 2013

S2L77: Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale, Turkey
April 13, 1977
Drove through snow. Had a swim in the hot pools. Walked through Roman ruins.
Source: Personal travel notes.

From 1977 04 08 Turkey

For thousands of years, people have been going to Pamukkale (roughly translated "cotton castle"), in southwest Turkey, to bathe in the hot springs on travertine terraces. So, who were we to do any differently?

The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built there (more on that in the next installment). According to Wikipedia, "As recently as the mid-20th century, hotels were built over the ruins of Hierapolis, causing considerable damage. ... When the area was declared a World Heritage Site [in 1988], the hotels were demolished." I don't know if my hotel was one of the offending modern intrusions, but, in my defense, in 1977 I was young, dumb and happy. Good times.

More photos of Pamukkale after the jump.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DART Should Copy UPS - ctd

Regular readers might remember my "blue sky" idea (adjective: fanciful, impractical, having dubious value) from 2012 that DART should be less like USPS and more like UPS:
UPS proves that the technology exists to compute a customized route every day for every vehicle, all based on which packages need to go where. Imagine a DART system somewhat like a taxi service or a shared ride service, where passengers submit their desired starting location and time and their desired destination. A central computer would take those thousands of requests, compute the most efficient route for the hundreds of buses in the system, and report back to the passenger when and where his bus will pick him up.
Source: The Wheel.
After the jump, "Great Minds Think Alike," Helsinki edition.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Room 237 (2012)

IMDB
Room 237 (2012): Hidden clues in The Shining about Indian Wars, Holocaust, or faked moon landings. Mind-blowing and crazy at same time. C+












Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Texas House Candidates Jockey for Position

The 2014 primary elections are still months away, but the candidates are already jockeying for position. The races for Texas House Districts 102 and 112, both of which include parts of Richardson, are particularly active, especially given the early date.

After the jump, a look at who's who.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thrills and Chills at BHS

Thrills and Chills at BHS: A Halloween treat. 3 chilling 1-act plays of people going mad. Great lead acting. "I'm not mad. I'm nervous."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Meet Adolf. Err, Paprika!

Cat that looks like Hitler

Meet Adolf. Err, Paprika. Richardson's own shoo-in for inclusion in
"Cats that Look like Hitler."

Meet Paprika! She a sweet little medium hair kitty, about 5 months old. Paprika came to the Shelter back in July as a scrawny little kitten and has grown into a beautiful and sweet young kitty. She is up to date on all her vaccinations and gets along great with kids and with other cats. Please help her find a fur-ever home!

Friday, October 18, 2013

S2L77: Uchisar, Aksaray and Konya

From 1977 04 08 Turkey

From Uchisar, the highest point in Cappodocia, it's about a hundred miles to Aksaray. At Aksaray is a Seljuk caravansary, a fortified inn built in 1229 along the trade route from Persia to Constantinople. Sixty miles farther west is Konya, a large, industrial city with a history dating back to 3,500 BCE. Known as Iconium by the Roman Empire, Saint Paul and Barnabas preached here in about 47-48 AD (Acts 14:1-5 and Acts 14:21). Konya is maybe best known for being one of the most conservative religious centers of Turkey, home of the Mevlevi Sufi order of Islam, established in 1273 and known as the "whirling dervishes."

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Impossible (2012)

IMDB
The Impossible (2012): 250,000 died in 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. One family's story. Desperation. Bravery. Perseverance. Incredible. A-