Friday, December 29, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017): "If they blow you up one day, you'll blow them up the next. It's just business." The gist of any Star Wars movie, including this one. With jokes, the gap between Star Wars and Spaceballs lessens with each movie. C-

Thursday, December 28, 2017

POTD: Street Musicians in Galveston

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Strand in Galveston, Texas, site of the annual Dickens on the Strand festival. Child labor laws may have been non-existent in Dickens's day, but even in our own day, after listening to these street urchins perform for tips, all I can say is, "Please, sir, I want some more."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Sense of An Ending (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Sense of An Ending (2017): Discovery of old diary forces man to investigate and confront his repressed memories. Wrongs were done, but just what were they? A touch of mystery to this watchable quiet character study. B-

Compare with the book, reviewed here in 2012.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

POTD: Santa Rests

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

God Rest You Merry, Santa Claus. Today's photo-of-the-day is from a curb along the Strand in Galveston, Texas. Although this photo was taken in early December, it seems appropriate for the day after Christmas. After a busy day delivering presents, Santa deserves a vacation somewhere it's warm, right? Maybe even give him a beer.

Monday, December 25, 2017

POTD: Merry Christmas from the Strand

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Saengerfest Park on the Strand in Galveston. Good health is the best Christmas present of all.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

POTD: Merry Christmas from Galveston Beach

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the beach in Galveston, Texas. I picked up a small seashell for "L" to add to the souvenirs she keeps in her jacket pocket. It joins another tiny shell from Hermosa Beach in Los Angeles and a bead that "L" was given in Mumbai along the jetty by the Gateway of India. An old man approached "L" and held out his hand offering something. She naturally opened her own hand to receive what he offered after which he motioned for a donation. For a few rupees, "L" ended up with a souvenir tucked away forever in the pocket of her jacket. Her jacket spends most of the year put away in her closet at home, but when the weather turns cold and she puts it on, the forgotten surprises she finds in the pockets are pleasant memories of places worlds away.

Another photo after the jump.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Review: How the Mind Works

How the Mind Works
From How the Mind Works, by Steven Pinker:
Open quote 

The complex structure of the mind is the subject of this book. Its key idea can be captured in a sentence: The mind is a system of organs of computation, designed by natural selection to solve the kinds of problems our ancestors faced in their foraging way of life, in particular, understanding and outmaneuvering objects, animals, plants, and other people."

That's the gist of this 20-year-old best-selling work of popular science. It's what attracted me. After the jump, whether it succeeded.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

POTD: Little Boxes in Galveston

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Seawall Boulevard in Galveston, Texas. I'd name the condominium complex, but they all look just the same.

Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same
There's a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same

The song is from 1963. It must have made quite an impression on my 12-year-old mind, for it comes to mind automatically anytime I'm presented with a scene like this.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Shape of Water (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Shape of Water (2017): "Beauty and the Beast" meets "Creature from the Black Lagoon." In a heist movie with Russian spies. The premise is preposterous but it works. A love story with something for everyone. A-

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

She's Gotta Have It (TV 2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
She's Gotta Have It (TV): Smart young independent brash black female artist in Brooklyn and her friends, who talk mostly about sex and race. An exotic world (for me) but still shallow, even if Nola is deeper here than in the 1986 movie. Saw 3 of 10 episodes. C-

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Beguiled (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Beguiled (2017): Wounded Union soldier takes shelter in southern girls' school. Repressed social norms dominate, leaving movie disappointingly bloodless for subject matter. But everything and everyone look great. C+

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Vietnam War (TV 2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Vietnam War (TV): Ken Burns documentary. All the battles, lies, protests, it's all here. It tore our country apart. The war is now being lost to history, but the wounds never really healed. Even at 17 hours, the memories resurrected here fly by too fast. A+

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Alias Grace (TV 2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Alias Grace (TV): Real-life mystery. Maid is convicted of murdering her employer in 1843 Canada. Mystery is explored through sessions with her doctor and flashbacks. Murderess or victim? Strong acting that lets us see into her soul but only so far. A-

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

POTD: Greetings from Galveston

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Saengerfest Park on the Strand in Galveston, site of the annual December festival, "Dickens on the Strand."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Disaster Artist (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Disaster Artist (2017): A biopic about a real-life wacky auteur and the making of his bad cult movie, "The Room." No matter what they might say, it's more Hollywood insiders mocking him than embracing him. The result is a failed movie for different reasons. C-

Monday, December 11, 2017

Godless (TV 2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Godless (TV): Old West town where all the men died in a mine accident is now terrorized by an outlaw and his gang. Dark mood and look. Scenes allowed to linger on senses. Rich subplots with religion, race, gender and sex. B+

Friday, December 8, 2017

POTD: Supermoon over a Pleasure Pier

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the last supermoon of 2017 over the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

POTD: Supermoon over Galveston

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the last supermoon of 2017 rising over a Victorian-era London bobby on Galveston's Strand, site of the annual "Dickens on the Strand" festival.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Role of the Council

The City Council of Richardson agreed on its 2017-2019 Statement of Goals and, not surprisingly (given it's me and all), I have a bone to pick, starting with the very first sentence.
The role of the Council is to be positive and resourceful advocates of the City.
No, the role of the council is to represent the people of Richardson. Being positive is also good. Being resourceful is also good. Being advocates of "the City" is also good, unless that interferes with being advocates for the people of Richardson. First, last, and always, the Richardson City Council needs to represent the people of Richardson.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Wonder (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Wonder (2017): Self-conscious boy born with facial deformity starts school, deals with bullying. Well-crafted, sensitive, uplifting family drama. Hits all the right notes to bring tears. Although unrealistically optimistic, still a lesson for all. #ChooseKind A-

Monday, December 4, 2017

OTBR: Abandoned Chateau in Czech Republic

Latitude: N 49° 04.158
Longitude: E 015° 18.312
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".

Friday, December 1, 2017

Repeat Tweets: 25 Conservatives to Follow on Twitter

Repeat tweets from November, 2017:

  • Nov 1 2017: Salon recommended 25 conservatives to follow on Twitter. One was @JayCaruso of DMN. I'm from Dallas, so I thought, great.
  • Nov 1 2017: It turns out, on Twitter, @JayCaruso doesn't offer facts and logic. His tweets start and end with assertions and insults.
  • Nov 1 2017: Maybe on editorial team, @JayCaruso's partisan viewpoint is helpful to craft a balanced editorial. On Twitter, not so much. Unfollow.
  • Nov 1 2017: How about some sensible gun regulations to reduce the 30,000 deaths by guns in this country annually that are not terror related?
  • Nov 1 2017: @JayCaruso mocks Jimmy Kimmel for blaming the "gun nuts". Who else is responsible for the lack of sensible gun regulation than the people who keep electing politicians endorsed by the NRA?

After the jump, more repeat tweets.