Monday, March 31, 2014

What Makes GreenVUE Transit-Oriented?

San Antonio development firm Embrey Partners Ltd. has started work on a luxury, transit-oriented multifamily development on Greenville Avenue in Richardson near the DART rail line.
What makes the GreenVUE apartments under construction at Greenville Ave. and Collins Blvd. transit-oriented development? Beats me. Other than maybe because it's somewhat near a DART station. More likely, just because the developer uses the description when plugging it.

After the jump, the GreenVUE impostor.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

ADEC at the Eisemann

The Richardson Community Band performed a concert, "A Kaleidoscope of Color," at the Eisemann Center Sunday afternoon featuring the RISD All-District Elementary Choir (ADEC). The band was conducted by George W. Jones, with the RISD's Director of Fine Arts Brian Britt as guest conductor. The choir was directed by Lindy Perez. As usual, the band was enjoyable and the choir delightful.

Spring in the Steger Garden (2014)

From Flowers

Friday, March 28, 2014

S2L77: Windsor

Windsor Castle
May 21, 1977
We took a train out to Windsor Castle. "Too many tourists."
Source: Personal travel notes.
Funny how I remember the grand settings in Windsor Castle, the quaint village of Eton, the picturesque River Thames running between them, but I don't remember the tourists. Maybe I should have snapped a photo. ;-)

From 1977 05 10 England

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

World War Z (2013)

World War Z (2013): Brad Pitt fights sudden worldwide outbreak of running zombies. Even more clichés than zombies. What's not to dislike? C-

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Econ 101

I'm not totally wedded to these particular numbers, but let's say for the sake of argument that the right policy is two years of fiscal expansion amounting to 3 percent of GDP each year, plus a permanent rise in the inflation target to 4 percent. These wouldn't be radical moves in terms of Econ 101 -- they are in fact pretty much what textbook models would suggest make sense given what we have learned about macroeconomic vulnerabilities. But they are completely outside the bounds of respectable discussion.

That's the sense in which we are "doomed" to long-term stagnation. We have met the enemy, and it's not the economic fundamentals, it's us.
Source: Paul Krugman.

Does it bug you that the tea party's hold on politics makes it politically incorrect to apply basic knowledge ("Econ 101") to our economic problems? It does me. It's the anti-science attitude that denies evolution and global warming carried over to economics. Except that in the former two fields, the know-nothing attitude is still being challenged. In economics, the know-nothing attitude is so dominant that "Econ 101" is "outside the bounds of respectable discussion."

By the way, if there's anyone who knows Econ 101, it's Paul Krugman. He wrote the book on it, literally.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LSWO Pre-UIL Concert Band Festival

Seventeen bands from all eight junior high schools in the Richardson ISD performed Monday at the Eisemann Center in an 8.5 hour marathon pre-UIL concert sponsored by the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. It was a pleasure seeing and hearing these talented and disciplined young musicians put on an outstanding show. Be sure to catch one of their concerts when they play again in their local schools.

The RISD owes a big thanks to the LSWO for its support of the music programs in the RISD. It is a credit to the RISD that the district maintains one of the best music programs in the state despite the budget cuts imposed on public school systems by Texas legislators.

P.S. 50 points to anyone who can name the band shown in the photo above.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: Naked

From Naked, by David Sedaris:
Open quote 

I'm also used to pulling my pants above my navel and tightening my belt to diminish my gut. Jangling the keys in my pocket, thoughtlessly gnawing at the collars of my shirts: these things are lost to me now. It feels dangerous to drink a cup of hot coffee, and twice in the last hour I've hopped up to brush glowing cigarette ash off what I once considered to be my private parts."

That's David Sedaris describing life in a nudist camp. After the jump, my review.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wadjda (2012)

Wadjda (2012): Girl deals with repressive Saudi culture at home and school. She just wants a bicycle. Simple tale well told. Eye-opening. B-

Friday, March 21, 2014

S2L77: London - IV

Around town.

From 1977 05 10 England
A Kensington residential neighborhood

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cutie and the Boxer (2013)

Cutie and the Boxer (2013): Aging Japanese couple in NY, both artists. Their relationship, life and art. Art is a demon. Love is a roar. B-

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"A Whole Bunch of Cranes"

Put it all together and you have a system easily dominated by insiders that is sometimes run for the benefit of the few, sometimes for no discernible benefit to anyone, but then there is this: Back away from it, fuzz your eyes a little, rake the skyline with your gaze, and what do you see? I see a whole bunch of cranes. I see stuff happening, some of it stupid but much of it pretty great. As long as the arrangement keeps clogging along and doesn't step too hard on the wrong toes, I don't think the vast majority of people will want to take on the sheer bother of changing it.
Source: Jim Schutze.
Writing in the Dallas Observer's blog Unfair Park, Jim Schutze is talking about the city council system in Dallas and how the city's single member districts influence how power is wielded in that city. Richardson has council members elected at large, but the general observation still holds: as long as "stuff" is happening, voters are unlikely to push too strongly for changing the system.

That set me to thinking (I know, always a dangerous practice). After the jump, unfinished business in Richardson.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Texas State University Wind Symphony at Plano West

Texas State University Wind Symphony Tour 2014 at Plano West: Pre-conference concert. "Sonic debauchery" and I mean that in a good way.

People Watching at the Dallas Arts District Block Party

From 2014 03 14 Dallas Arts District

After an afternoon of people-watching in Dallas' Klyde Warren Park, we extended the day by attending the Dallas Arts District Spring Break Block Party. The crowds and warm weather were perfect for more people watching.

More photos after the jump.

Monday, March 17, 2014

People Watching at Klyde Warren Park

The nice Spring weather brought out the crowds to downtown Dallas' Klyde Warren Park Friday afternoon. It was perfect for people watching.

From 2014 03 14 Klyde Warren Park

If you haven't heard, the park was built on top of the Woodall Rodgers freeway. Klyde Warren Park reminds me of Chicago's much larger Millennium Park, which was built on top of a railroad yard. Klyde Warren Park heals a gash in downtown Dallas created by building the freeway. The park bridges downtown with the Uptown district and draws people from both to the park. I guess I can still dream of something like this covering up the gash in Richardson's old downtown, Central Expressway. If you can't tear the freeways down, the next best thing is to cover 'em up.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, March 14, 2014

S2L77: London - III

From 1977 05 10 England
Tower Bridge (not the Tower of London, not London Bridge)
See how I used foliage to hide the unsightly scaffolding?

The Tower of London -- is there any single place in the world where so much compelling history took place? Really. Is there? I'd like to know.

By the way, the British crown jewels are on display at the Tower. Eye-popping. Yet, I was spoiled by being fortunate to see the crown jewels of Iran in Tehran first. You can't help comparing and concluding that the Queen of England comes across as a poor cousin to the Persian emperors of times past. Sorry, IJS. OTOH, the Persian jewels are kept in some bland, bank building basement. The British crown jewels are kept in the Tower of London! Advantage there to Lilibet.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Act of Killing (2012)

Act of Killing (2012): Aging Indonesian death squad members re-enact 1965 killings for movie. Nation cheers. Surreal. Chilling. Obscene. B+

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quinceañera at Dallas Blooms

From 2014 03 11 Dallas Blooms

The weather was perfect -- 81 degrees and sunny. The smiling girls were out in their formal evening dresses to have their portraits taken with a backdrop of flowers. And what better backdrop of flowers can you arrange than Dallas Blooms? The girls' quinceañera birthday party itself is still to come, but for today, the whole world could share the girls' joy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Square (2013)

The Square (2013): Documentary of Arab Spring in Egypt. Exhilaration. Disappointment. Perseverance. Which way does arc of universe bend? A+

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goodbye, Tom Thumb

Goodbye, Tom Thumb. Oh, the name might remain, but big changes are coming to the traditional supermarket, no matter what name is above the door.

The private equity company Cerberus Capital Management announced that it was acquiring Safeway. Cerberus already owns Albertsons. Safeway already owns Tom Thumb. With all of these under one ownership, you can bet changes will come in order to compete. Whether or not the name Tom Thumb stays or goes is only a minor matter.

After the jump, what to expect from the new Tom Thumb overlords.

Friday, March 7, 2014

S2L77: London - II

From 1977 05 10 England

1977 was the year of the Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee. When I visited in May, the capital of the British Empire was already decked out and large events were already in rehearsal for the June celebration. The queen has since celebrated her golden jubilee (2002) and even her diamond jubilee (2012), but that silver jubilee still stands out.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Changing My Mind About Freeways - ctd

Yesterday, I wrote about how I am forced to rethink freeways, to at least consider the possibility that freeways through cities aren't some Frankenstein's monster, the unintended consequences of legislative sausage-making. I am forced to consider the possibility that freeways through cities were a deliberate attempt to solve a problem that was already apparent to urban planners of 1939 -- that America's cities were becoming clogged by automobile traffic.

After the jump, what does all this have to do with Richardson? Or Dallas?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Changing My Mind About Freeways

I'm always on the lookout for facts that make me rethink my preconceived notions. I think I might have found one regarding highways.

More than once, I've written about the "fact" that the Interstate Highway System was not originally intended to cut through cities. My thinking was influenced by articles such as one by Eric Jaffe in The Atlantic.
Eisenhower himself didn't realize the Interstate Highway System would cut through American cities until a few years after construction began. Ike had wanted a national road network like the one he'd seen in Germany during World War II. But he'd also wanted these roads to stop at the doorsteps of cities, not push right past.
Source: The Atlantic.

The conventional wisdom is that in order to get the interstate highway system built, Ike had to get the votes of urban congressmen, and to get those votes, he had to direct some of the construction their way, in the form of freeways in their urban districts. The argument has a certain logic.

After the jump, a contrarian opinion that deserves consideration.

Dirty Wars (2013)

Dirty Wars (2013): Bush. Obama. Secret orders. Covert ops. Cover-ups. War on terror spins out of control. Kill list grows without end. A+

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

OTBR: A Personal Observatory in Australia

Latitude: S 37° 37.050
Longitude: E 144° 20.580

A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

Monday, March 3, 2014

Repeat Tweets: Best Musical Ever

Repeat tweets from February, 2014:

  • Feb 2 2014: Hairspray at BHS: '60s music and student activism, what more could you ask? Hilarious & inspiring. All voices owned the house! Best ever!
  • Feb 3 2014: New 2014-2016 UIL District 10: Richardson, Berkner, Lake Highlands, Pearce, Highland Park, Mesquite, Mesquite Horn, North Mesquite. Wow!
  • Feb 4 2014: MT @SenTedCruz: "If a President can choose which laws to follow, ..." Get local police to strictly enforce jaywalking while you're at it.
  • Feb 4 2014: Our Lake Wobegon climate. Headline: "2013 Marked the Thirty-seventh Consecutive Year of Above-Average Temperature."

After the jump, more repeat tweets.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Basketball Playoffs: Atascocita 71, Berkner 49

From 2014 02 28 Regional Semifinals
The Berkner Rams men's basketball team's magical season came to an end in Waco Friday night when they lost to the Humble Atascocita Eagles 71-49 in the Regional Semifinals (round four) of the Texas UIL state tournament.

The Rams have a lot to look back on with pride -- an overall record of 24-8, District 9-5A tri-champions with a district record of 11-3, and winners of the first three rounds of the state tournament. There are about 250 Class 5A schools in Texas. The best 128 teams started the tournament. Berkner made it to the final sixteen. Sweet! It's a great time to be a Ram!

More photos after the jump.