Monday, July 31, 2017

POTD: How Can Something So Sweet...

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

How can something so sweet come from some place so gritty? Today's photo-of-the-day is from Domino Sugar's Chalmette Refinery on the Mississippi River below New Orleans.
The Chalmette refinery typically produces about 2 billion pounds annually, or about 7 million a day. That generally accounts for about 19 percent of the country's cane sugar.
Bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Chasing Coral (2017)

Chasing Coral (2017): Documentary of massive die-off of coral worldwide due to global warming. Not 2100. Today. When will world wake up? A-

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Conversation About Health Care

In response to the GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I was sucked into a Facebook conversation (I know, I know better). Spoiler alert: I was against repeal. For the possible amusement of my future self, I reproduce the conversation here (well at least my part, which is only slightly edited). The "points" in favor of repeal are greatly condensed (hey, it's my blog; if you want your say, that's what the comments are for). The "counterpoints" are my own wordy answers. The whole thing was kicked off by a third person's comment that taking health insurance away from millions of people is not the Christian thing to do.

Point: As a method to "help" people, Obamacare further entrenches health care within the swamp that is "political ideology."

Counterpoint: As a method to "help" people, I propose making health care affordable and accessible to all, whether that involves charity (which is individuals acting for the good of others) or government (which is us, acting collectively for the general good). In contrast, supporting removing health care from millions is elevating political ideology above the teachings of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

POTD: Any Port in a Storm

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Mississippi River below New Orleans.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Okja (2017)

Okja (2017): Korean girl & her giant pig. Evil meat industry. Bumbling animal rights activists. Heavy-handed. Who was intended audience? C-

Monday, July 24, 2017

POTD: Beignet, Anyone?

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, July 21, 2017

POTD: The Neon Lights of Bourbon Street

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Neon Lights
Shimmering neon lights
And at the fall of night
This city's made of light.

I dream of you
With me tonight
We're all alone
Under neon lights.

Bonus photos are after the jump.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Get Out (2017)

Get Out (2017): Psychological thriller. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in The Twilight Zone. Big reveal is silly. Best PR for TSA ever. B+

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Clarification, Apology and Grace

A morality play in five acts...
  • Preface: Lynn Davenport challenged an incumbent for a seat on the Richardson ISD school board. She lost.
  • Curtain rises...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

POTD: Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the French Quarter in New Orleans. No, that isn't the Reverend Zombie in the doorway. And, no, there's no truth to the story that this is the facility where Ellen's bone marrow transplant was performed. #FakeNews

Monday, July 17, 2017


From 2017 06 30 UT Southwestern

Pop quiz: Which of the following describes the photo above?
  1. Dallas 4th of July fireworks as seen from Ellen's hospital room
  2. X-ray of Ellen's intestinal system after chemotherapy
  3. Joy in my heart when Ellen's bone marrow transplant engrafted
  4. All of the above

The correct answer is "All of the above" but the Fourth of July is long gone and the nausea is mostly gone, so "engraftment" is the answer that prompts this celebratory post. Engraftment is when, after a bone marrow transplant, new blood-forming cells start to grow and make healthy blood cells that show up in your blood. It is an important milestone in your transplant recovery. Ellen has reached that milestone. After chemotherapy and full body radiation, Ellen's white blood cell count had dropped to zero, as intended. Within three days of engraftment of transplanted stem cells, her white blood cell count rebounded to "normal" range, a level Ellen hasn't seen in two years. She was discharged from the hospital to continue her recovery at home. I'd say that's reason enough for fireworks. Celebrate.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, July 14, 2017

POTD: Let the Good Times Roll

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

Today's photo-of-the-day is from a wedding celebration in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

A bonus photo is after the jump.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The BFG (2016)

The BFG (2016): Orphan girl helps BFG end bullying in Giant Country. Sweet, even with CGI fart jokes. Good for kids and sick adults. C+

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

POTD: Rollin' on the River

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the stern of the Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Salesman (2016)

The Salesman (2016): Iran. Collapsing apartment; collapsing relationship. Actor's wife is attacked. Tale of revenge with powerful ending. B-

Monday, July 10, 2017

Crocodile Tears

From his perch in a downtown Dallas skyscraper, D Magazine's Peter Simek gazes northward and professes to see all that's wrong in Collin County. Too many people. Congested roads. Crowded schools. Cheap apartments. All caused by a focus on economic growth based on a car-centric infrastructure. Simek could have shifted his gaze downward, but didn't. It's not like Dallas's own lack of growth has been the magic formula for fixing potholes.

Now I don't live in either the City of Dallas or Collin County. From my own vantage point in Richardson, I see shells being lobbed over my head. And like shells in real wars, some are on target and others widely miss their mark. All do more damage than offer constructive criticism. Just because I'm feeling cranky today, let's look at the shells that landed wide of their mark.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Review: The Sympathizer: A Novel

The Sympathizer
From The Sympathizer: A Novel, by Viet Thanh Nguyen:
Open quote 

The month in question was April, the cruelest month. It was the month in which a war that had run on for a very long time would lose its limbs, as is the way of wars. It was a month that meant everything to all the people in our small part of the world and nothing to most people in the rest of the world. It was a month that was both an end of a war and the beginning of . . . well, 'peace' is not the right word, is it, my dear Commandant?"

"The Sympathizer" is a novel of the aftermath of the Vietnam War from the point of view of an undercover Vietnamese agent who describes himself as "a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces." His ability to see any issue from both sides makes him an invaluable narrator for Americans to make sense of that horrible war.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

POTD: Great Moral Conflict

From 2016 10 10 Washington DC

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC.

"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."
— Martin Luther King

Evergreen words. One of our generation's great moral conflicts is the battle over universal health care.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

OTBR: Illinois Farm Land

Latitude: N 42° 06.870
Longitude: W 088° 31.524

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 (not actually) last month that are "off the blue roads".

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

POTD: Happy Fourth

From 2016 10 10 Washington DC

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the base of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. George Washington. Now he was a President.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Repeat Tweets: CEO of GE: Climate Change is Real

Repeat tweets from June, 2017:

  • Jun 1 2017: RT @JeffImmelt: "Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government." CEO of GE is just discovering what the rest of us have known for months. This government can't be depended on to do the right thing, ever.
  • Jun 1 2017: Right move by Elon Musk, but a little late to shower him with any praise. Only when his electric car business was threatened did he act.
  • Jun 1 2017: RT @rachelheldevans: "It's just so damn short-sighted, so isolationist and small, so gleefully ignorant, so pointless. #ParisAgreement" But it does piss off liberals, so there's that in its favor, according to scorecard used by Trump and the right.
  • Jun 1 2017: "A crucial crack in an Antarctic ice sheet grew 11 miles in only 6 days." Make Antarctica Great Again.
  • Jun 1 2017: Five Came Back (TV): Doc of 5 Hollywood directors who enlist in WWII to make movies for the war effort. Fascinating behind-the-scenes look.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.