Saturday, February 29, 2020

POTD: Lake Titicaca

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Puno, Peru on Lake Titicaca. All I've known about Lake Titicaca, and I've known this since childhood, is that it has a great name (one that inevitably draws snickers from adolescent boys) and that it's the world's highest navigable body of water. I now know that its altitude is 12,500 feet, the lake is huge and I've seen just a small corner of it. It is the largest lake in South America. The photo is from a small bay on which is located Puno, the largest city on Lake Titicaca. That's Puno in the background.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Review: Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey: Stories
Amazon
From Year of the Monkey, by Patti Smith:

Open quote 

Coffee denied, I sat on the outside bench going over the edges of the night before. It was the last of three nights in a row performing at the Fillmore and I was pulling the strings off my Stratocaster when some guy with a greasy ponytail leaned over and puked on my boots. The last gasp of 2015, a spray of vomit ushering in the New Year. A good or bad sign?"

Serendipity brought this memoir by Patti Smith to me. Patti Smith is an accomplished poet, author, artist and punk rocker who, to my embarrassment, has escaped my knowledge up to now. My loss.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Call of the Wild (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Call of the Wild (2020): Disneyfied Jack London, with men less violent, dogs less abused, and wolves not very wild at all. CGI animals show Hollywood doesn't need real animals any more. If only they wouldn't give them human expressions. Still, a good family movie. B-

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

POTD: Commerce on the Altiplano

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the highway between Cuzco and Puno, Peru. It shows a roadside market at 14,222 feet. And some damn fine hats being worn by the women selling to the tourists who stop.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

POTD: Peru Rail Crossing the Altiplano

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the highway between Cuzco and Puno, Peru. Look closely. It shows a Peru Rail train crossing the high plain. The altitude here is about 14,000 feet. According to Wikipedia, "the Altiplano (Spanish for "high plain") is the area where the Andes are the widest. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside Tibet."

Monday, February 24, 2020

POTD: Cuyeria

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the highway between Cuzco and Puno, Peru. It shows a cuyeria, or cafeteria that specializes in serving cuy, or guinea pig. Yep, it's a thing in Peru.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Walk with the Mayor: Spring Creek Nature Area

From 2020 02 22 Spring Creek Nature Area

Paul Voelker, mayor of Richardson, leads informal walking tours in Richardson on an irregular basis. February 22's tour was of the Spring Creek Nature Area, including a side tour of two small historic cemeteries in the area, including the burial place of Jacob Routh, the settler who once owned the land.

Fifteen Richardson residents joined the mayor on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for this easy walk. Be on the lookout for future walks and take advantage of this opportunity to meet the mayor and see the best that Richardson has to offer.

More photos from the walk are after the jump.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

POTD: Raqch'i Women

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Raqchi, Peru. Like I've said before, the women of Peru have the best hats in the world.

After the jump, a bonus photo of another hat style.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Honey Boy (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Honey Boy (2019): Personal story of Shia LeBeouf from child star to rehab. Raised by a bullying, alcoholic father, the surprise is not that "Otis" ends up a young adult in rehab himself but that he functioned as a child star at all. Powerful, but relentlessly depressing. B-

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020): A mobster seeking a missing diamond and others with grievances against Harley Quinn get her in big trouble. Full of violence, mostly cartoonish, it's a silly and fun look at female empowerment. Margot Robbie is a likable antihero. B-

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Willful Ignorance Runs in the Family

This site is not usually used for national politics, but I learned something about the GOP primary in north Texas that brings back memories of one of my first elections in Texas. So bear with me as I remember Jim Collins.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

POTD: Temple of Wiracocha at Raqch'i

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Raqchi, Peru. It shows the ruins of the Temple of Wiracocha (destroyed during the Spanish Conquest, of course). At 100 yards long and 60 feet high, it's believed to have held the largest gable roof in the Inca Empire.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Monday, February 17, 2020

POTD: Student and Teacher in Peru

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from an elementary school in Peru in a small town on the highway between Cuzco and Puno.

Photo of teacher after the jump.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

POTD: Elementary School in Peru

From 2019 08 23 Puno

Today's photo-of-the-day is from an elementary school in Peru in a small town on the highway between Cuzco and Puno. Ellen soon made friends and easily slipped into teacher mode despite the language barrier.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

POTD: Dancing Two Miles High

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. Ellen was taken to the dance floor by...some kind of masked creatures. Ellen had fun and did a great job of dancing, even though afterwards she complained that there's not enough oxygen at 11,200 feet for such nonsense.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Review: Men Without Women: Stories

Men Without Women: Stories
Amazon
From Men Without Women: Stories, by Haruki Murakami:

Open quote 

The call came in after one a.m. and woke me up. Phones ringing in the middle of the night always sound harsh and grating, like some savage metal tool out to destroy the world."

So begins the title story of Haruki Murakami's collection of short stories. Murakami is one of my favorite authors, whether writing epic tales or short stories. These stories are about men and women, men with women, and especially in a deeper way, the impact on men being without women.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Grade Shift Coming to RISD

When Richardson ISD shifted ninth-graders from junior high to high school over a decade ago, there was much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth over the perceived lack of readiness for these children to survive the rough and tumble environment with older kids in high school. But it happened anyway and no one I know is advocating we should move the ninth-graders back to the junior high. Now, a decade later, RISD seems likely to finish the job by shifting sixth-graders to the junior highs, now to be called middle schools. It makes a lot of sense, and not just for the reasons RISD is willing to talk about.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

POTD: Standoff with a Llama

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. You'll have to ask Ellen what the standoff was over. And who won.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

POTD: Saqsaywaman

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. It shows the ruins of Saqsaywaman (sort of rhymes with Sexy Woman, the other subject of the photo). The ruins date back to about 1100, that is before the Inca Empire. It's usually described as a fortress, but its large plaza also appears to have been a site for ceremonial activities.

Monday, February 10, 2020

POTD: Thoreau in Peru

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. It shows one of my favorite quotations, this one by Henry David Thoreau, carved into a slice of tree trunk. I hope ironically.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

POTD: Plaza de Armas de Cusco

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, Peru. Big churches, basilicas and cathedrals dominate the plaza, signaling the Spanish conquest. Today, four centuries later, they stand in easy relationship with a statue of Pachacuti in the center of the plaza. Pachacuti was the ninth ruler of the Kingdom of Cusco who expanded the Inca Empire to a big part of western South America.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

POTD: Tex-Mex in Peru

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. Peruvians might still have a fondness for guinea pig on special occasions. And Peruvian cuisine might be making a name for itself in world gastronomy circles. But don't count out Tex-Mex.


Friday, February 7, 2020

POTD: Qorikancha

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. It shows the courtyard of the Church of Santo Domingo, built on the site of an Inca temple called Qorikancha. In Peru as everywhere, the victors try to erase the vanquished.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

POTD: Peruvian Cuisine

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. If television can be believed, Peruvian cuisine is making a name for itself in world gastronomy. If our own meal here is an indication, that growing reputation is deserved (Peruvians' fondness for guinea pig notwithstanding).

Bonus photo after the jump.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

POTD: Cemetery Mural

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. Someone recently said they'd like to see more public murals in Richardson, Texas. Up your game, Richardson. This mural is on a cemetery wall in Cuzco.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

POTD: Cuzco Woman

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. Like I've said before, in my judgment, the women of Peru have the best hats of anyone in the world.

Monday, February 3, 2020

POTD: Cuzco Market

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. The fruits and vegetables and breads were deliciously appealing.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

POTD: Shaman

From 2019 08 21 Cuzco

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cuzco, Peru. While there, a shaman blessed us. That's all I have to say about that.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Random Thoughts: Two Very Different Men

Tweets from January, 2020:
  • 2020-01-02: The Two Popes (2019): Conversations between Benedict and Francis when Benedict decided to retire. Two very different men, with different philosophies, portrayed by two great actors. Only action comes from flashbacks to Francis's early career, which deserve their own movie. B+
  • 2020-01-03: If you ever want to know what Trump is guilty of, look at what he accuses others of.
  • 2020-01-03: Cats (2019): The costumes/makeup/CGI is distracting. The comic relief doesn't work (dancing cockroaches?). The plot is thin. But so? Cats is what it is, a musical made from a book of poetry about cats. It's always been about the singing and dancing. Critics hate it. I like it. B+
  • 2020-01-05: Headline: "Iranian state TV reports Iran will no longer abide by any limits of its 2015 nuclear deal."
    I'm old enough to remember when tensions in the Persian Gulf were down. There were no rocket attacks against U.S. forces. No attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Iran's nuclear program was verifiably locked down. And, oh yeah, Obama was President.

After the jump, more random thoughts.