Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Embassytown

From Embassytown, by China MiƩville:
Open quote 

Hosts, the indigenes, in whose city we had been graciously allowed to build Embassytown, were cool, incomprehensible presences. Powers like subaltern gods, which sometimes watched us as if we were interesting, curious dust; which provided our biorigging; and to which the Ambassadors alone spoke."

Embassytown is classic science fiction with something to say about Earth by imagining what language, consciousness, communication and colonization might be like at the edge of the universe.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

POTD: Sculling on the Yarra

From 2018 03 15 Melbourne

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Yarra River in the central business district of Melbourne, Australia, where they have been sculling for at least 100 years.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

POTD: The Yarra River

From 2018 03 15 Melbourne
The "old" North Bank CBD

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Melbourne, Australia. It shows the Yarra River at night. When I lived in Melbourne over forty years ago, the Yarra River was an industrial blight, flowing between rail lines on one bank and factories and warehouses on the other. Today, the Yarra River is the center of Melbourne entertainment and dining. The warehouses are all gone, replaced by a convention center, a casino, condos, offices, and restaurants all along the river through the central business district. By far, this change is the most noticeable difference from the Melbourne I remember from my time living there in the 1970s.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tig Notaro: Happy to Be Here (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Tig Notaro: Happy to Be Here (2018): Netflix standup routine, again based on stories from her life, but this time small, everyday pleasures: her kitten, her wife, her adopted twins, her life. It's time for a smile. Tig brings it. B+

Monday, August 13, 2018

POTD: The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

From 2018 03 15 Melbourne

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne has the world's largest tram network, including some classic old cars converted into rolling restaurants. There's no better way to see Melbourne than while dining in a moving streetcar with vintage decor.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Friday, August 10, 2018

POTD: Deer Park High School

From 2018 03 15 Melbourne

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Deer Park High School in Melbourne, Australia. In yesterday's photo of the day, I mentioned that I might have ridden one of Dallas's McKinney Avenue trolleys when it was still rolling the streets of Melbourne long ago. Today's photo explains what I was doing in Melbourne way back then: teaching high school maths in Deer Park High School. This year, on my first return trip in over forty years, I revisited the school. As expected, no one I knew then is still at the school. The last teacher I served with retired only a couple of years ago. Still, good memories.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

POTD: Tram Down Under

From 2018 03 15 Melbourne

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Appropriately for the land Down Under, it's a photo of a classic tram car emerging from the ground as if it's coming from the land up top. Maybe it's an homage to Amarillo's Cadillac Ranch from a city that values mass transit over gas guzzlers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

POTD: Whales!

From 2018 01 31 Cabo San Lucas

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In winter each year Humpback Whales and Gray Whales migrate south to the warm waters off Baja California where they cavort for tourists like us.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Eighth Grade (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Eighth Grade (2018): I'm not a 13 yr old girl. Not even 13, but if memory serves, this movie is spot on with early teen life today. Story arc is flat. Don't expect blossoming or downfall. All the best scenes are in the trailer. Acting is excellent, especially Elsie Fisher. C+

Monday, August 6, 2018

Set It Up (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Set It Up (2018): Two executive assistants with overbearing bosses play matchmaker for them and end up falling for each other. Because of course they do. Plays like a 90 minute pilot for a rejected TV sit-com. Stereotypical. Formulaic. Cast is OK, script is not. C-

Friday, August 3, 2018

Review: Warlight: A Novel

From Warlight: A Novel, by Michael Ondaatje:
Open quote 

In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals."

Great novels have great opening lines. They draw the reader in from the very first sentence. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje is no exception.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018): Much better stunts than script. The mission is to recover stolen plutonium. The "plan" constantly goes wrong and needs improvisation: car chases, fist fights, shootouts and everybody changing sides. Tom Cruise shows his age. C-

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Repeat Tweets: Collins Won't Back Court Pick...

Repeat tweets from July, 2018:

  • Jul 1 2018: Headline: "Collins Won’t Back Court Pick Who Overturns Roe v. Wade."
    This would only preclude a nominee who is on the public record calling for overturning Roe. So, we'll get a nominee who refuses to say definitively but is all but certain to overturn. And Collins will vote to confirm.
  • Jul 1 2018: Goliath: Season 2 (TV): Plot is a mess. Villain is absurd. Why some people are killed and not others makes no sense. But the characters, especially Billy and Patty, are strong and unforgettable. Patty's speech to her FBI agent date is series' highlight. I'd watch a Season 3. B-
  • Jul 2 2018: "Unfortunately civility was forcibly rebranded as "political correctness" and then taken out to the pasture and shot." -- Paul Michael Hodgson
  • Jul 2 2018: Headline: "Plano's $3 billion Legacy West is getting its own CVS store."
    When you can't decide if it's Steve Brown in "The Dallas Morning News" or "The Onion", bet on Steve Brown.
  • Jul 2 2018: Besides @marklamster's nit about the Maverick's logo ("when was the last time you saw a horse in downtown Dallas?") there's the nit that a Maverick isn't a horse in the first place.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.