Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet Michael Morris... and his Boss

Who cares what this guy says? Oh, believe me. Eeeeverybody who knows what's what cares deeply. You can forget about mayors and city councils and state legislators and sometimes even congresspersons. Morris has way more stick than those guys.
Source: Jim Schutze.
Meet Michael Morris, the unelected bureaucrat behind many of the highway decisions in north central Texas. The Director of Transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) seems to be in the news everywhere this year, from the debate over removing IH345 in downtown Dallas to the debate over tolling US 75 through Richardson to the possibility of building a new toll road from Wylie to Greenville.

After the jump, what people are saying about Michael Morris.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rivalry Game: Lake Highlands 37, Berkner 22

From 2014 09 26 Lake Highlands vs Berkner

It was the annual cross-town rivalry game between the Lake Highlands Wildcats and the Berkner Rams at shared Wildcat-Ram Stadium. Although the stats were more or less balanced (456 total yards for LHHS and 400 for BHS), because of some big plays on both sides of the line of scrimmage Lake Highlands came out on top 37-22. Tyler Hughes led the Wildcats with 25 rushes for 206 yards and one touchdown. Davis Steelman led the Rams, completing 18 of 26 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown.

From 2014 09 26 Lake Highlands vs Berkner

More photos after the jump.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Memorial Union Terrace on Lake Mendota

From 2014 08 29 Madison

What's your standard for excellence? How about the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Memorial Union Terrace on Lake Mendota on a Friday afternoon in summer? If there is a finer single place to be on any university campus anywhere, I haven't seen it. Add a brat and a beer and nowhere else comes close.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Drive Through Government

Someone on Facebook asked the reason for a zoning change request for the property on West Campbell Rd where Nikki's restaurant used to be. Two people answered, saying a multi-tenant building is planned, to be occupied by Starbucks and Pei Wei.

I asked why a zoning change request was needed. What's the big deal? One restaurant is being replaced by another (or by two in one multi-tenant building).

After the jump, the answer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Football. Lambeau. Say No More.

From 2014 08 28 Green Bay

It was the last pre-season game. The starters were going to sit out the game, resting for the season opener. Rain was in the forecast and it did start sprinkling late in the third quarter, but it didn't last long. The game was a blowout, the Packers beating the Chiefs 34-14. It would be understandable if the stands were sparsely filled. But 74,059 Packer faithful turned out for the game, with the vast majority staying until the end, enjoying every last minute. There was dancing in the stands at the two-minute warning. That's football at Lambeau Field, one of the most storied venues in pro sports in America. A fun time was had by all. But that didn't need to be said, did it?

More photos after the jump.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Urinetown at PHS

Urinetown at PHS: Drought leads to ban on private toilets. Subversive satire with music and jokes. Really talented production. Loved it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Of Farmers, Arts and Crafts, and Fleas

The Richardson City Council is considering an ordinance regulating farmers markets. I've blogged about this before. The city didn't listen to me then (go figure ;-). Now, The Dallas Morning News picks up the story.
"It comes down to, what is a farmers market?" [Richardson Mayor Laura] Maczka said. "By the name it should focus on farmers' produce. During the non-peak growing season, if you’re not careful, you could have a weekly arts-and-crafts fair."
I read that sentence. Then I read it again. Then I scratched my head. I wondered to myself, "and a weekly arts-and-crafts fair would be bad...how???"

Of farmers, arts and crafts, and fleas...after the jump.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dallas Arts District Fall Block Party

From 2014 09 19 Dallas Arts District

The Dallas Arts District put on another world class Fall Block Party Friday night. The Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Crow Collection of Asian Art all were open late, with live entertainment (shout out to the Mariachi Los Unicos de Griener Middle School Exploratory Arts Academy), food trucks and more, the activity spilling over into the surrounding streets.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Making Paper at the Paper Discovery Center

From 2014 08 27 Paper Discovery Center

Long before Richardson's Telecom Corridor or even California's Silicon Valley, the Fox River Valley in northeastern Wisconsin was known as Paper Valley. The combination of Wisconsin's vast timber resources and water and power from the Fox River was ideal for making paper. The resulting paper mills created prosperous communities and wealthy paper barons with names like Kimberly and Clark. A hundred years ago, it was said that there were more millionaires per capita in Neenah, Wisconsin, than in any other city in America.
Source: The Wheel.

The Paper Discovery Center is a museum located in a repurposed paper mill on the Fox River in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. Besides exhibits showing everything you need to know about making paper, there's a hands-on exhibit that lets you make your own sheet of paper.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Harry Houdini's Boyhood Hometown

From 2014 08 26 Houdini

Harry Houdini grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, living there from age four until age thirteen, when his family moved to New York City. The History Museum at the Castle in downtown Appleton (next to Lawrence University) has a hands-on exhibit of Houdini tricks and artifacts.

More after the jump.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bobblehead Day at Miller Park

From 2014 08 24 Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Sunday, August 24, 2014, at Miller Park. It was Jean Segura Bobblehead Day. Attendance was 42,761 (102.1% full, based on regular season capacity). A fun time was had by all.

More photos after the jump.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Berkner 14, Mesquite Poteet 45

From 2014 09 12 Berkner vs Poteet

Ouch! There aren't many highlights to report from this game. The marching bands from both schools were excellent, as usual. The cool weather was welcome, with temperatures in the sixties. The misty rain that fell throughout the game was not. With the loss, Berkner drops to 2-1 with a bye next week and the start of district play September 26 with the annual rivalry game against Lake Highlands.

More photos after the jump.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chicago Kids

From 2014 08 23 Chicago
More photos after the jump.

Correction: Mayor Maczka's Stand on Tolling Central

At the September 8 city council worksession, Mayor Laura Maczka clarified her statements to the Texas Transportation Commission, denying that she or the mayors of Plano and Allen expressed support for tolling Central Expressway, contrary to an unverified report I quoted from. In the worksession she said the city has not taken a position on tolling. I was wrong to state that she was still silent on where she or the city stands. I regret the error.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Wheel Award for Excellence in Motion Pictures

Oscar night is six months gone. "12 Years a Slave" was the Academy's pick for "Best Picture." I couldn't say at the time that it was my pick for "best" movie of 2013 because I hadn't seen all of the nominees. In fact, I hadn't yet seen "12 Years a Slave" when it received the golden statue in March. Well, now that it's September, I can finally say I've seen all of the Oscar nominees for "Best Picture" of 2013 and I can pick a winner. Call this the Netflix Oscar.

After the jump, my own pick for "Best Picture".

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Is It Too Early to Talk Richardson Elections?

The Richardson City Council elections aren't until May, 2015, but if there's anyone out there who is going to challenge the incumbents, he or she has to start thinking about it now. So, let's look at the lay of the land, shall we?

After the jump, is the current city council vulnerable?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Over the top depiction of excess. Too campy to be serious. Not campy enough to be funny. Bad Scorsese. D+

Monday, September 8, 2014


From 2014 08 22 Confluence
If there's a site that combines such geographic and historic importance while remaining relatively untouched by human development, I don't know where it is. I'm speaking of the confluence of two mighty rivers, the Mississippi and Missouri, a few miles north of St. Louis.

Geographically, the combined river system is the world's fourth longest, draining almost half of the continental United States. Historically, the confluence was the winter campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition before they set off on their voyage of exploration of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory in 1804. And why is the area still undeveloped? Perhaps because the rivers are untameable, their courses changing with each year's floodwaters. Because of that, today you can stand at the historical marker and see a natural vista that must be indistinguishable from what Lewis and Clark saw.

From 2014 08 22 Confluence

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lakeview Centennial 50, Richardson 14

From 2014 09 05 Lakeview Centennial vs Richardson

Garland's Lakeview Centennial Patriots defeated the Richardson Eagles, 50-14, Friday night at Eagle-Mustang Stadium.

Lakeview Centennial scored on the opening kickoff and never looked back, outgaining Richardson 474 yards to 214. Lakeview Centennial was led by T.J. Edwards (174 yds passing, 81 yds rushing) and Jamil Linwood (131 yds rushing). Richardson was led by Daevon Woods (112 yds rushing).

With the win, the Patriots move to 2-0 on the season while the Eagles fall to 0-2.

More photos after the jump.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Berkner 45, Naaman Forest 27

From 2014 09 04 Berkner vs Naaman Forest

The thermometer may still be flirting with triple digits, but on the gridiron it's football season again. Thursday night at Garland's Williams Stadium, the Berkner Rams defeated Garland's Naaman Forest Rangers 45-27. It's a great time to be a Ram!

Berkner was led by Davis Steelman (108 yds passing, 133 yds rushing) and CaDarius Edwards (147 yds rushing). Naaman Forest was led by Michael Nelson (239 yds rushing) and Juwan Saddler (117 yds passing and 90 yds rushing).

More photos after the jump.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Richardson Misses the Harvest

From 2014 06 28 Vancouver
Farmer's Market in Vancouver, British Columbia

The farmers market season isn't over, not by a long shot, as farmers gear up with fall crops. There's still plenty of end-of-summer produce, too, such as yellow and zucchini squash, some tomatoes, okra, eggplant, peas and peppers. Fall crops coming on include greens, such as arugula and bok choy, as well as cool-weather squashes such as spaghetti and butternut.
When it comes to big projects, Richardson gets things done (not always the right things, but at least something). Whether it's CityLine, Palisades Village, State Farm, or Raytheon, if the project is big, Richardson finds a way to move ahead and get it done. This is true even when there is significant opposition to the projects from the surrounding neighborhoods.

But when it comes to small, neighborhood-sized things, Richardson seems to drop the ball. Even when the neighbors are on board, Richardson kills popular ideas or bogs them down with red tape.

After the jump, the latest example.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

OTBR: A Farm on Galveston Bay

Latitude: N 29° 29.724
Longitude: W 094° 57.708

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".

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tolling Central: Where Does Richardson Stand?

NCTCOG and TxDOT want to convert the HOV lane on Central Expressway (US 75) into a tolled express lane between IH 635 and Allen. Do you know where the City of Richardson stands on this? Seriously. Do you?

Different possible answers after the jump.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Drive Through Ferguson, Missouri

From 2014 08 22 Ferguson Missouri
When a white policeman, Darren Wilson, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, he set off a chain of events that put Ferguson, Missouri, in the headlines for days. The community protested against police violence and the militarized police responded with tear gas and armored vehicles. Naturally, we just had to see things for ourselves.

After the jump, my impressions of Ferguson.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Repeat Tweets: Extrapolating US Politics to Middle East

Repeat tweets from August, 2014:

  • Aug 3 2014: Extrapolating US politics to the Middle East: Tea party/Hamas (fighting on at any cost) vs Dems/Israel (refusing to dismantle the state).
  • Aug 4 2014: MT @DaveLieber: "How a school board broke a zillion rules in five minutes. thescoopblog.dallasnews.com.html" Which reminds me, when will RISD tape?
  • Aug 4 2014: Headline: "Rick Perry forms political action committee." Or as it might be called, a roll call for Rick, or you know: youtube.com

After the jump, more repeat tweets.