Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Not Just On Track, It's Double Track

Maybe lost in the higher profile news of the last couple of weeks (the Scott Dunn "bimbo" tweet and the Laura (Maczka) Jordan bribery trial) was news that will likely have a longer term impact on Richardson. And it's good news! I'm talking about the decision to double-track the Cotton Belt line.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Wheel Award for Excellence in Live Action Short

There are five movies nominated for an Oscar for Live Action Short. My own pick for the Oscar, if I had a vote, would be for:

  • Fauve (Canada): Two boys play in the woods, on a train track, in a surface mine, until they get in trouble. Fun and games turns serious. Good acting. A complete short story in 17 minutes. A-

Monday, February 18, 2019

"Einen veritablen Shitstorm"

"Einen veritablen Shitstorm." That's how Kronen Zeitung, a German-language Austrian newspaper, described the reaction to Richardson, Texas, City Council member Scott Dunn's ill-advised tweet. If somehow you've been on another planet for the last two weeks and don't know what I'm talking about, read the Recap. If you just want my opinion on the whole sorry mess (oops, I may have given myself away there), jump to "My Not-So-Hot Take".

Sunday, February 17, 2019

POTD: Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from St Petersburg, Russia. It's a photo of one of the world's great museums and historic palaces: the Hermitage, founded by Catherine the Great, housed in the Winter Palace, home of Russian tsars for 200 years, from Peter the Great to Nicholas and Alexandra.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

POTD: "The Worst Hard Time"

From 2018 06 17 Pueblo
Ike Osteen's life spans the flu epidemic of 1918, the worst depression in American history, and a world war that ripped apart the globe. Nothing compares to the black dusters of the 1930s, he says, a time when the simplest thing in life -- taking a breath -- was a threat.
Source: Adam Johnson.
Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Texas Panhandle. It may not look like much, but it's one of the earth's great landscapes, flat and stretching in all directions to the horizon. It's in the heart of the Dust Bowl, the site of perhaps the nation's worst ecological disaster in our history (at least until our own impending global warming disaster). Drive through it sometime. Stop the car. Get out. Take it in.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Oscar Snubs

Each year, when the Academy hands out its Oscar nominations, it snubs some deserving films. Some of my favorites from 2018 weren't nominated. Let's call these snubs, even if very few (none) of the critics liked these movies as much as I did. In hindsight, I'd only add one, "If Beale Street Could Talk," to the list of eight movies the Academy did nominate. So, I'm not complaining. But before we get all caught up in the Oscar ceremony, let's take a moment to remember these overlooked gems from 2018.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

POTD: "In Every Grain of Sand"

From 2018 06 14 Great Sand Dunes NP
In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.
Source: Rachel Carson.
Today's photo-of-the-day is not on a beach. It's not within 900 miles of any ocean. It's from the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. And there's a great story of the earth there. Go and read it sometime. And play in the sand when you do.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Homecoming (TV 2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Homecoming (TV 2018): Julia Roberts as a social worker helping soldiers adapt to civilian life. Or not. The mysterious program messes with her as much as the soldiers. The narrative arc is flat, the resolution unsatisfying. No meaty roles here, except her overbearing boss. C+

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

POTD: Herd on the Street

From 2018 06 12 New Mexico

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken on the street in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Kind of creepy if you ask me, but there's no accounting for taste. I ask: is it any creepier to buy one of these than it is for me to take a photo of all of them?

Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: The Gulf

The Gulf
From The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea, by Jack E. Davis:
Open quote 

For a people to be permanently settled without the requirement of food crops was rare in North America and across the globe—a luxury, in a way. There was no imperative, either, for the Calusa to migrate from hunting ground to hunting ground stalking food, because it came to them. Big fish, little fish, shrimp, sea turtles, crabs, lobsters, manatees, and even sharks, whales, and West Indian seals—it was all easy gathering with spear, net, or quick hand."

500 years of the story of the Gulf of Mexico: natural history, politics, economics, you name it, it's all here. What it was when the Europeans found it in the 15th century (see the quote above) to what it is today (we'll get to that). And a lot of things that have been done to it along the way.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Other Side of the Wind (2018): Orson Welles's last, unfinished film, about the making of a documentary about the making of an aging director's last, unfinished film. An art film, a satire on Hollywood movie-making, but mostly a self-indulgent, bloated mess. D+

And, if this isn't meta enough for you, there's the documentary about Welles making this movie. It's "They'll Love Me When I'm Dead."

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Annihilation (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Annihilation (2018): Mysterious DNA mutations happen inside a nature preserve. The danger is growing. Five carefully chosen actresses (er, scientists) are sent in to investigate. Shimmering woo, attacks by CGI monsters, and meetings with Rorschach-like aliens ensue. Bad. C-

Friday, February 8, 2019

POTD: Kitchen Makeover

From 2018 06 12 New Mexico

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, which is an immersive art experience that is,..., well,..., you just have to visit it yourself.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Thursday, February 7, 2019


It's another blog post full of acronyms and numbers. Bear with me, please.

The Richardson ISD school board formally adopted single-member districts (SMD) for upcoming elections. Five trustees will be chosen by voters in geographic districts and two will be chosen at-large by all voters. The districts were carefully drawn to ensure two of them would have minority populations that make up a majority of the voters in those districts. The data show how tenuous that turned out to be.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

They Shall Not Grow Old (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
They Shall Not Grow Old (2019): Documentary footage from WWI, brilliantly restored and colorized by Peter Jackson, with added sound and voices. No historians or generals, only soldiers on the front lines. No one not there can know what it was like but this is next best thing. A-

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

POTD: Santa Fe Spider

From 2018 06 12 New Mexico

The spiders in Santa Fe are yuuuge. Today's photo-of-the-day was taken at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, which is an immersive art experience that is,..., well,..., you just have to visit it yourself.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Random Thoughts: Picked Off One By One

Random thoughts from January, 2019:
  • Jan 2 2018: Bird Box (2019): The rule in "A Quiet Place" was "don't talk." Here, it's "don't look." Not quite a zombie movie, but a close cousin. Movie cuts between the present and five years before, which robs the earlier scenes of all suspense. Large wasted cast, picked off one by one. C+
  • Jan 2 2018: Texas Governor Abbott hates taxes more than he likes kids.
  • Jan 3 2018: RT @RepColinAllred: "On my first day in Congress, I'm proud to lead the charge against this partisan lawsuit attacking Americans’ health care. We will not stand idly by while special interest forces and their allies in Washington look to rip away health care from millions of hard-working Americans."
    God it feels good to have a Texas representative in Washington finally standing for individuals.

After the jump, more random thoughts.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

High School Musical at BHS

High School Musical at BHS: High school musical about trying out for a high school musical. Kinda meta. With great singing, dancing, a live orchestra, talented tech and an inspiring message of "We're all in this together!", it all makes for a fun night of musical theater in RISD.

More photos after the jump.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Legally Blonde at RHS

Legally Blonde at RHS: A rom-com, a murder mystery, and a coming-of-age tale with a #MeToo subplot. Add in talented singing, dancing, laughs, a large cast, a live orchestra and a talented theater tech team and you have a fun night of musical theater in RISD.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Mamma Mia! at PHS

Mamma Mia! at PHS: The music of ABBA onstage in RISD. Pop hits before these kids were born, maybe before their parents were born, brought back to life with great fun. Live orchestra, great voices, big cast. Be sure to stay for the curtain call and dance in the aisles.

Bonus photo after the jump.