Thursday, November 15, 2018

Free Solo (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Free Solo (2018): Documentary of first free climb of El Capitan. Fascinating look at psyche of a thrill seeker driven to take insane risks. Nice guy, but by watching am I encouraging behavior that could kill him? Should I feel guilty? Still there's that stunning photography. A-

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

POTD: Opera Abstract

From 2018 03 27 Sydney
Today's photo-of-the-day is from Sydney, Australia. Give yourself 50 points if you knew it is a closeup of the Opera House's roof.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

POTD: Beach Bums at Bondi Beach

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Sydney, Australia's Bondi Beach. Sydney has it all — great climate, great harbor, great sights (Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge dominate views), a walkable central business district, and if that's not enough, even a great beach.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Monday, November 12, 2018

POTD: Bike Share in Sydney

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Argyle Cut in Sydney, Australia. In March when we visited there was a booming bike share business in Sydney. Six months later, I can't say. Ofo, the owner of the yellow bike in this photo, has abandoned Sydney "to focus on priority markets internationally." Supposedly, bike share is still available from other companies. But the shakeout from the Wild West days of many companies flooding the streets with bikes appears to have already happened.

Friday, November 9, 2018

RISD TRE: Lessons and Roadmap

In a tax ratification election (TRE), voters in Richardson ISD approved a tax rate increase by a ~7% margin. What should be the takeaways for the RISD board of trustees and district administration?

First and foremost, the district now should have enough revenue to run the schools for the next five years (with or without a solution to the root cause of the problem with school finance at the state level). So, execute. Give teachers that raise. Hire more special ed teachers. Expand Career and Technology programs. Increase security. Do all the things the district said were needed. That's the obvious takeaway. But we now ought to be able to turn our attention to other matters that might have been overlooked while we were focused on solving our local funding problems. I have a few suggestions, some easy, some hard.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

RISD TRE: The Facebook Election

In a tax ratification election (TRE), voters in Richardson ISD approved a tax rate increase by a ~7% margin. In a normal non-partisan May election that would be considered close, but in a November general election where the turnout is eight times as high and tribal politics rule, 7% is a comfortable margin. The outcome was never in doubt once the polls closed and the early vote totals were released.

The TRE passed in all areas of RISD. The precincts that voted "No" were scattered. There was no geographical base of support that controlled the election. Nor was there a base of opposition. The precinct with the highest support had 66% "Yes". The precinct with the lowest support had 34% "Yes." The rest of the precincts were spread evenly between. About half of the precincts voted for the TRE in higher percentages than the overall margin, about half in lower percentages.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

POTD: Clash at Dawes Point

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Dawes Point in Sydney, Australia. The first photo is looking straight up at the lacy leaves of the gum trees on the point. The second photo is looking horizontally at the lacy girders under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Together they clash and mesh in an oddly mesmerizing way. At least for me.

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018): If you like the music of Queen, you'll love this movie. If you like historical accuracy and innovative moviemaking, well, you'll love the music of Queen. Still, it's just a movie. It's a cautionary tale of temperamental genius. But mostly fun. B-

P.S. It's election day in the US. Somehow it's comforting to lose oneself in rock anthems of 40 years ago — especially "We Will Rock You" and "We are the Champions."

Monday, November 5, 2018

POTD: Climbing Up Down Under

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Look closely and you can see a dozen or more tourists climbing the bridge. Not us, but we climbed it ourselves later. It's not a strenuous climb, but it takes a long time. You are connected to each other and to the bridge by a safety cable, so there's no danger of falling. On a clear day, you can see forever as they say. Sydney Harbour is one of the world's greatest natural harbors and Harbour Bridge offers the best view of it.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Friday, November 2, 2018

POTD: Opera House or Wind Chime?

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Or is it a wind chime?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trolling: Dictators

Trolling from October, 2018:

  • Oct 3 2018: RT @iyad_elbaghdadi: "Dictators only truly 'reform' under severe existential pressure. You can't appease them, give them space, give them money, give them world class PR, and *also* expect them to reform. That doesn't happen. That only makes them more dictatorial."
    I read this and honestly thought it was a comment on @realDonaldTrump, not Saudi Arabia.
  • Oct 3 2018: "Expect a 'Presidential Alert' test message at 1:18pm Wednesday."
    If Obama were still president, I'd expect a flurry of crazy theories from the Right. Has anyone on the Left warned that Trump is, e.g., secretly installing listening apps on your phone?
  • Oct 3 2018: Not quite synonyms. When you mean to say "duplication" but instead say "Questions will be screened for duplicity."
  • Oct 4 2018: Trump has brought the country together.
    In Dec 2017, Trump said, The FBI's "reputation is in Tatters - worst in History!"
    In Oct 2018, with the FBI's sham Kavanaugh investigation, Dems agree.
    Win-win for Trump. He has to be pleased. (Putin, too.)

After the jump, more trolling.