Friday, June 22, 2018

POTD: The Walkable City that's Hard to Walk

From 2018 01 27 Guatemala

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Antigua Guatemala. Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site "famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches." It should also be famous for being an incredibly walkable city, if you make allowances for the fact that it's d*mned hard to walk on cobblestones.

OTOH, it's hard to drive on cobblestones, too, making car drivers slow down naturally without the need for stop signs and traffic lights. All in all, a worthwhile tradeoff.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ocean's 8 (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Ocean's 8 (2018): Heist sequel with switched genders. Nothing new here but it does show that women can ably fill these roles. Plot has more than a few holes, and gadgets outshine brains, but hey, the story was credited to a man. Still, fun overall. B-









Wednesday, June 20, 2018

POTD: Shade Tree Mechanics

From 2018 01 27 Guatemala

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Plaza Mayor of Antigua Guatemala, the place to see and be seen, and apparently to work on your car. Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site "famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches." Antigua was our favorite city in Central America during our visit in January.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

POTD: Quinceañera

From 2018 01 27 Guatemala

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site "famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches." Antigua was our favorite city in Central America during our visit in January.

Photos of volcanoes and earthquake damage can get you down. The loss of life such natural disasters can bring is tragic. But the human spirit can never be kept down for long. This photo of a girl celebrating her quinceañera just outside the ruins of San José Cathedral gives hope that things do get better.

Monday, June 18, 2018

POTD: San José Cathedral, or What's Left

From 2018 01 27 Guatemala

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site "famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches." Antigua was our favorite city in Central America during our visit in January.

This photo shows one of the ruined churches, San José Cathedral, destroyed by earthquake in 1773, then its partial restoration damaged again and again by subsequent earthquakes. One side chapel was restored and is still in use for church services. But the people seem resigned to leaving the main part of this church in its ruined state.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, June 15, 2018

POTD: Volcán de Agua

From 2018 01 27 Guatemala

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site "famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches." Antigua was our favorite city in Central America during our visit in January.

In this photo, lost in the haze and clouds behind the archway is Volcán de Agua, one of several active volcanoes near Antigua. The history of Antigua is a history of volcanoes and earthquakes. The recent eruption of Volcán de Fuego, another nearby volcano, which killed about 100 people, is the latest natural disaster in this disaster-prone region.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

POTD: Volcán de Fuego

From 2018 01 27 Guatemala

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the base of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, as it looked in January. During the hour or so it took us to drive past the volcano to Antigua, we saw three or so such small eruptions. Our tour guide, who lives in Antigua, said the volcano was active almost every day. At night, the molten lava might light up the peak. During the day, puffs of smoke and ash like this. But we were told that there were no large eruptions for the last century. I considered it a tourist attraction along the lines of Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park. Well all that changed on June 3, 2018, when the volcano had a major eruption, "unleashing a fast-moving mix of ash, rock and volcanic gases" that left at least 99 dead and 192 still missing. What had been a fascinating tourist attraction for us suddenly became deadly for those who lived in the mountain's shadow.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Molly's Game (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Molly's Game (2017): Former Olympic skier turns to running poker games until the stakes get too high and the FBI intervenes. Lots of fast dialog and narration that reduces cinematic quality but highlights the plot. Chastain and Elba top-notch. B+

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

POTD: Tiempos de Victorias

From 2018 01 26 Nicaragua

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the small town of Telica, Nicaragua, and shows a roadside billboard promoting President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, the Vice-President and First Lady of Nicaragua. The sad news is that since our visit in January, Nicaragua has been "slipping into darkness." Protests calling for democratic reforms have been violently suppressed by the government, leaving at least 127 dead and thousands injured. All of which has caused the slogan on the billboard, "Times of Victories," to sound bitterly false.

Monday, June 11, 2018

POTD: Up on the Roof

From 2018 01 26 Nicaragua
When this old world starts a getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I'll climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below don't bother me, no, no
Source: James Taylor.

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the roof of The Lady of Grace Cathedral, León, Nicaragua, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's also known as the "Real and Renowned Basilica Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (Wikipedia). That's a mouthful. It's said that for penance after confession, priests ask you to say that name ten times, fast.

But we're here for the view, not bad stand-up comedy. The León town square is right below. Other churches dominate the mid distance. And a ring of volcanoes are on the horizon. All sandwiched between the stark white roof and the bright blue tropical sky.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, June 8, 2018

RISD TRE for M&O

If Texas school funding discussions seem to bury you in acronyms (see the headline above), or terminology (recapture and "golden" pennies and "copper" pennies), or worst of all, dense spreadsheets, I feel your pain. The simplest thing to do, and actually wisest in many cases, is to elect good school board trustees, hold them accountable for doing their due diligence, then trust that their decisions are in the best interest of children, parents, teachers and homeowners.

The Richardson ISD board of trustees called a tax ratification election (TRE) for September 4 to ask voters to raise the district’s operating tax rate. You can find out all about the election, and why there is no good alternative, on the district's website.

Before the trustees acted, there was a public hearing at which the public had their say. Only a couple dozen people attended the public hearing. Pitchforks and torches were not in evidence. Only a half dozen or so of those people chose to speak.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

"You Want All-Over? OK, How About This?"


Recently I had a conversation in which I wondered how many great painters are working today. A century ago, there was Matisse, Picasso, Rousseau, Mondrian, Kahlo, O'Keefe, Pollock, Dali, and more. Who can name anyone in their league today? The Dallas Museum of Art is currently showing an exhibition by Laura Owens, who it calls "one of the most influential artists of her generation." Well, OK.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

POTD: La Gigantona

From 2018 01 26 Nicaragua

La Gigantona and El Enano Cabezon are giant dolls constructed on wooden frames that are paraded in the Central Plaza in León, Nicaragua. Both dance to the rhythm of drums. Accounts of gigantonas on the streets of León date back to at least the mid-1800s.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Insult (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Insult (2017): Lebanese Oscar nominee. A street insult ends up in court, uncovering Middle East wounds that never heal. At heart it's a personal story of two aggrieved and stubborn men and their struggle to deal with Lebanon's past and each other. B-









Monday, June 4, 2018

POTD: Momotombo

From 2018 01 26 Nicaragua
Today's photo-of-the-day was taken in the ruins of the Spanish colonial city of León Viejo, a World Heritage Site in Nicaragua. The volcano is Momotombo.
Momotombo is a stratovolcano in Nicaragua, not far from the city of León. It stands on the shores of Lago de Managua. An eruption of the volcano in 1610 forced inhabitants of the Spanish city of León to relocate about 30 miles west. The ruins of this city are preserved at León Viejo (Old León). It also erupted in 1886, 1905, and most recently November 30, 2015.
Source: Wikipedia.

A bonus photo is after the jump.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Repeat Tweets: Victim of the Crazies

Repeat tweets from May, 2018:

  • May 1 2018: RT @tgiovenetti: "You did nothing wrong @daumkeziah. You are a victim of the crazies who spend their time criticizing others instead of just living their own lives."
    "crazies who spend their time criticizing others instead of just living their own lives." Today's award for unintended irony.
  • May 3 2018: Avengers: Infinity War (2018): More like Infinity Cast. Full of deaths, resurrections, near-deaths, and scratches. Needs less over-the-top acting and more self-aware pop culture references. I did not see ending coming, but in hindsight, it's brilliant. C+
  • May 3 2018: "Euless City Council Candidate Salman Bhojani Has Jonathan Stickland Very Upset."
    @AngieChenButton, you serve with Stickland and represent me. You need to call out this behavior for what it is.
  • May 3 2018: RT @TXHouseCaucus: "Join us in unity as we celebrate today's National Day of Prayer with the rest of America."
    In your prayer, how about condemning the religious bigotry on display in the @TXHouseCaucus by one of your own? dallasobserver.com
  • May 3 2018: RT @tgiovenetti: "Facebook continues to needlessly flounder. There is a simple solution for this: Social media platforms should only block content that is ILLEGAL."
    Yeah, that'll solve Facebook's problems. Turn it into a white nationalist bullying site.
  • May 3 2018: Headline: "Mystery pooper at N.J. high school's track turned out to be superintendent, cops say."
    Reason #126 to be grateful to live in RISD.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.