Saturday, March 30, 2019

First Impressions of the Candidates


The Islamic Association of North Texas hosted a forum Thursday evening for candidates for Richardson City Council. All candidates in contested races took part. Attendance was excellent. An estimated 300 crowded the multi-purpose hall to hear from the candidates and enjoy a delicious catered dinner. A special shoutout for the samosas. Moving on...

Friday, March 29, 2019

POTD: High Notes

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of artwork on the wall of the State Symphony Capella of Russia in St. Petersburg, Russia. It comprises both an orchestra and choir. I saw the art as evidence that, indeed, the high notes can crack the plaster.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

POTD: Nobody Rides for Free

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the back of a car in St. Petersburg, Russia. The bumper sticker shows that Russians have the same sense of humor as Americans.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

RISD Transitions to Single-Member Districts

Source: RISD.

At Monday's Richardson ISD meeting of the board of trustees, Katie Patterson repeated that she will not be running for re-election in 2019. Kristin Kuhne announced that she will not run for re-election in 2020. Jean Bono announced with less certainty that she probably will not run for re-election in 2021. These announcements were made as part of the discussion about transitioning the district to a 5:2 single-member district election system.

After the jump, my recommendation and prediction for what that system should be.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Us (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Us (2019): I don't usually watch horror movies, but when I do, they are by Jordan Peele. Part zombie movie, part surreal psychological commentary on the alter ego. More than a few plot holes. Lots of blood and gore, but it leaves lots to talk about too. A little too long. B-

Monday, March 25, 2019

POTD: Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March, 1881. Do you see how the church juts out into the canal? The assassination took place right on the edge of the canal as the Emperor's carriage passed by.

A bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, March 22, 2019

POTD: Arts Square: Pushkin Monument and Mikhailovsky Palace

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Pushkin Monument and Mikhailovsky Palace in Arts Square in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Mikhailovsky Theatre, where we saw Swan Lake, is also on Arts Square. Alexander Pushkin is considered to be Russia's greatest poet. The Mikhailovsky Palace, built for Emperor Paul I’s youngest son Grand Duke Michail, today houses the state museum of Russian art.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The ABC Murders (TV 2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
The ABC Murders (TV 2019): Think Agatha Christie with gratuitous grossness. Better to watch John Malkovich's psychological study of Hercule Poirot. But Poirot's back story is more red herring than integral to the murder mystery, leaving me disappointed. Three episodes. C+




Wednesday, March 20, 2019

POTD: Nevsky Prospect

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia. Nevsky Prospect is the main street in St. Petersburg, laid out by Peter the Great. Elisseeff Emporium, a retail complex with a famous food hall, constructed in 1903, is on the left.

A bonus photo after the jump.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

POTD: Swan Lake at the Mikhailovsky Theatre

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the ballet Swan Lake at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, one of Russia's oldest opera and ballet houses, founded in 1833. A beautiful performance in a magnificent venue.

A bonus photo after the jump.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Captain Marvel (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Captain Marvel (2019): Satisfying origin story. Plot twist halfway added interest and created real world parallels to this fictional universe. Too many fist fights for aliens with super powers and advanced technology. Go to defy Internet trolls who hate there's a female lead. B-




Friday, March 15, 2019

POTD: More Onion Domes

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the onion domes of the Smolny Cathedral on the Neva River in St Petersburg, Russia. According to Wikipedia, "This Russian Orthodox convent was built to house Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great. After she was disallowed succession to the throne, she opted to become a nun. However, her Imperial predecessor, Ivan VI, was overthrown during a coup d'├ętat (carried out by the royal guards in 1741). Elizabeth decided against entering monastic life and accepted the offer of the Russian throne."

Yeah, that's the story. As if Elizabeth had nothing to do with the coup and would have been happy retiring forever to a convent. Russian women could be just as ruthless and cunning as any Russian man in history.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

POTD: Architecture as Art

From 2018 08 13 St Petersburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is of some unknown ship and building along the Neva River in St Petersburg, Russia. No story this time. The patterns just caught my eye. Not everything has to have great historic or cultural significance, even in the capital city of the tsars.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

POTD: The "Other" Hermitage

From 2018 08 13 Catherine Palace

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Hermitage at the Catherine Palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. It's a totally different Hermitage than the famous art museum of the Winter Palace. I know, I know, St. Petersburg is so stuffed with treasures that they cannot even find unambiguous names for everthing. In this case, hermitage means a retreat or sanctuary. It's a totally separate building from the palace, smaller of course, but still large and luxurious in any modern sense. It was used by the tsars for summer parties.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

POTD: Ceramic Stove

From 2018 08 13 Catherine Palace

Today's photo-of-the-day is of a ceramic stove inside the Catherine Palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. I don't know how these worked, as there was no obvious chimney. Also of interest are the cheek-by-jowl paintings covering the walls.

Monday, March 11, 2019

POTD: The Hall of Lights

From 2018 08 13 Catherine Palace

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the ballroom, the Hall of Lights, in the Catherine Palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. What can be said? Lavish to the point of excess.

A bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, March 8, 2019

POTD: Golden Onion Domes

From 2018 08 13 Catherine Palace

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the church that is part of the Catherine Palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. One thing that surprised this tourist is not only how many churches there are in Russia, but how many survived 75 years of Communism. Many have been restored as national treasures. Some have been re-sanctified as churches. Others have been restored as museums.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

POTD: Ekaterina I

From 2018 08 13 Catherine Palace

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Catherine Palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. It was the summer home of the tsars. It was named after Peter the Great's wife and successor, Empress Catherine I (not the later Catherine the Great, who began the Hermitage art collection in the Winter Palace that we've seen in previous POTDs). There are so many palaces and tsars and tsarinas that tourists can be forgiven for not keeping them all straight.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

POTD: The Throne Room

From 2018 08 12 Winter Palace & Hermitage

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia. The Winter Palace houses the Hermitage Museum, which is one of the world's great art museums, but it's impossible to overlook that this building was also home of the tsars. As you wander from one art gallery to the next, you keep running into rooms like this. Go for the history, go for the architecture, go for the art, but do try to go.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

POTD: Just a Malachite Vase

From 2018 08 12 Winter Palace & Hermitage

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia. It shows a malachite vase, but it's not the Giant Malachite Vase, nor is it in the Malachite Room. I guess it's just a run-of-the-mill malachite vase. Such is the excess of treasures on display in the Winter Palace.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Russian Doll (TV 2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Russian Doll (TV 2019): Brash New Yorker is caught in looping, connected timelines as she keeps dying and rebooting at her birthday party. Quirky, original, absolutely captivating, with a satisfying ending as well. Can't wait for Season 2, but where can Natasha Lyonne take it? A+

Friday, March 1, 2019

Idle Thoughts: Why I Hate Analogies

Tweets from February, 2019:
  • Feb 1 2019: Why I hate using analogies.
    "Analogies, in particular, can illuminate, but they can also obscure and confuse. They need to be handled carefully, like rhetorical high explosives."
  • Feb 1 2019: 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.
  • Feb 1 2019: In this drama, the role of "American woman" is played by Donald Trump.
    American woman: I think you're cheating on me.
    Russian boyfriend: If you'd just agree to an open relationship, it wouldn't be cheating.
    American woman: Deal.

After the jump, more idle thoughts.