Friday, October 31, 2014

High School Football Playoff Tie-Breakers

If you found this page with a search looking for Texas high school football playoff tie-breaker rules, well, the short answer is that you probably won't find them on the Internet. The UIL doesn't set the rules. Each district sets their own rules. Your best bet is to call your school's athletic director and ask him or her. Now, on with the story.

It's that time of year again. With only a couple of games left in the Texas high school football regular season, everyone starts considering which teams will earn playoff berths. Who's in? Who's out? Corbett Smith of The Dallas Morning News highlights the situation in District 9-5A, which includes mostly Frisco schools, which just might end in a seven-way tie for first place. All schools would share the championship, but three of them wouldn't make the playoffs. How crazy is that?

After the jump, what's wrong with this?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Worrying About Our SBOE

Burning oil to run cars also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Some scientists believe that this carbon dioxide could lead to a slow heating of Earth's overall climate. This temperature change is known as global warming or climate change. Scientists disagree about what is causing climate change. Many people, however, worry that climate change might cause environmental problems, such as increased storm activity and rising sea levels.
That's a passage from a proposed social studies textbook for use in Texas. Publishers want their books bought in Texas, so they do their best to meet the demands of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), which oversees textbook adoption. (Tincy Miller represents Richardson on the SBOE and is up for re-election November 4.)

In an October 20 work session, the SBOE reviewed public comments on the proposed textbooks. After the jump, my own unsubmitted comment:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: The Orphan Master's Son

The Orphan Master's Son
From The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson:
Open quote 

His whole life, he'd been assigned to work details without warning or explanation. There'd never been any point in asking questions or speculating on why -- it never changed the work that had to be done. But then again, he'd never had anything to lose before."

That's life in North Korea.

After the jump, my review.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bishop Arts District

From 2014 10 20 Bishop Arts District

My photos of the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff are unexciting, for two reasons. One, don't go to the Bishop Arts District on a Monday, when many of the businesses are closed. Unless you want to get a lot of photos of buildings and not people. Two, I'm just not very good at taking candid photos of people. My bad. But even though my photos of the Bishop Arts District are not exciting, the Bishop Arts District itself is. More, please.

More unexciting photos after the jump.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Musical Chairs in Richardson Real Estate

"State Farm's move to Richardson will leave behind big blocks of empty office space." That was the headline to a story in The Dallas Morning News revealing the ugly secret behind the big win for Richardson.

After the jump, how the game is played.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Before Midnight (2013)

Before Midnight (2013): Falling in love made first two movies good. Being in love doesn't. Lots of talk about state of relationship. C+

Friday, October 24, 2014

Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset (2004): Don't look up old girlfriends. It's awkward at best. Slow to get going but redeems itself in end. Lots of talk. B-

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Before Sunrise (1995)

Before Sunrise (1995): Two strangers fall in love in Vienna. Endless talking like the night will never end. It does. That was me, kinda. A-

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Phantom of the Opera at PST

Pocket Sandwich Theatre
Phantom of the Opera at PST: Popcorn-throwing melodrama that can't be overacted. 12-way tie for biggest ham. Fun for cast and audience. B-

Monday, October 20, 2014

Main Street Rezoning Initiative Initial Survey

Main Street Viewshed
Source: City of Richardson.

Somehow I was chosen to take part in the city's online SurveyMonkey Main Street Rezoning Initiative Initial Survey. Mostly I was presented with a series of pictures of what the Main Street area would look like from different locations if several four to eight story buildings were built there. One of the "viewsheds" is shown above. I was asked if each of those views was acceptable to me.

After the jump, my answers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mesquite 28, Berkner 7

From 2014 10 17 Mesquite vs Berkner

It was the most winnable lopsided loss you'll ever see. Berkner's defense shut down Mesquite in the first half only to fall behind 7-0 with 12 seconds left in the half when Mesquite blocked a field goal and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. That, plus a Berkner fumble at Mesquite's one yard line and more failed fourth down conversions than you can count, added up to that lopsided score.

On the bright side, it was Berkner Homecoming, Junior High Band Night, and the Mighty Ram Band performed the show that earned it "one" ratings at the UIL Region 3 Marching Contest and a spot in the Area Competition next week.

More photos after the jump.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gardening in the Shadow of Construction Cranes

State Farm Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking is not Gardening

It's like pulling teeth to get the Richardson City Council just to permit farmers markets, but the city is getting into "economic gardening" with no hesitation at all. Richardson plans to "launch a new economic development initiative to help revenue-generating technology startups grow even more quickly." Maybe farmers markets would have been shown some love if the special use permit application had called them "Garden iMarkets."

After the jump, just what is economic gardening? Spoiler alert: it's not turning a shovelful of dirt in the shadow of construction cranes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Richardson Comes Off My "On Notice" Board

Colbert Notice Board
Source: H/T Stephen Colbert.
Richardson no longer has a place on my "On Notice" board. This is what triggered my change of heart:
This evening, the Richardson City Council authorized a purchase/sale agreement and an economic development agreement clearing the way for acquisition of nearly 60 acres of land from Galatyn Properties Ltd. consisting of members of the Margaret Hunt Hill family. Acquisition of the four parcels, which adjoin the existing Spring Creek Nature Area, will enable the City to more than double the nature area’s current size.
Well done, Richardson. One hundred years from now, this acquisition will be looked back upon as the most significant action taken by Richardson in the early 21st century. That's just how valuable this large piece of heavily-wooded, undeveloped land in the middle of a growing urban area will be. With this move, Richardson comes down off my "On Notice" board.

After the jump, a look back at my love affair with the Spring Creek Nature Area.

Monday, October 13, 2014

George Clayton, DINO

George Clayton is the Democratic candidate for Texas House District 102. He is running against Linda Koop, the Republican candidate. I call Clayton the Democratic candidate loosely. Sometimes, people use the term RINO (Republican In Name Only) or DINO (Democrat In Name Only), but that's mostly done when one faction of the party wants to write a person out of the party. In this case, however, George Clayton appears to be trying to write himself out of the Democratic party tent.

After the jump, Clayton's strange response to The Dallas Morning News's endorsement of his opponent, Linda Koop.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Texas House District 102: Koop vs Clayton

A candidate forum for Texas House District 102 was held on October 8, 2014, at RISD's Westwood Junior High School. Linda Koop (R) and George Clayton (D) answered questions from the audience.

After the jump, where the two candidates stand on a wide range of issues.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

OTBR: A Narrow Street in Zagreb

Latitude: N 45° 49.680
Longitude: E 015° 56.220

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".

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Turn to Squeal on Rodger Jones

I have something in common with the author of last week's fascinating Points essay, a woman who got raked over the coals by authorities for letting her kids play in the nearby park, unsupervised.
Source: Rodger Jones.
That's how Rodger Jones, editorial writer for The Dallas Morning News, sets the stage for his readers to sympathize with whatever it was that happened to him. Can you say false equivalence? Do you think Jones was innocent of wrongdoing, like the innocent woman he's comparing himself to? No, Jones admits, passively, that in his case "mistakes were made." Do you think maybe Jones "got raked over the coals" for those mistakes? No, Jones admits, "There were no coals in my case and no raking."

So what exactly does Jones have in common with the woman who suffered injustice? Let's find out, after the jump.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cottonwood Art Festival - Fall 2014

From 2014 10 04 Cottonwood Art Festival
Saturday was sunny and warm, perfect weather for Richardson's twice yearly Cottonwood Art Festival, now in its 45th year. After the jump, more photos from this Fall's festival.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wunderland at RHS

Wunderland at RHS: Alice meets Captain Hook, Frankenstein and Nazis in dark twist on a children's story. Mental whiplash. World premiere.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

The Woman Who Lost Her Soul
From The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, by Bob Shacochis
Open quote 

Oh, my God, she said. What's on these pants? Is this blood? Her sweet, earnest face, becalmed by the gentle tides of a comfortable life, filled with a look of mortification. Dutiful wife, instinctive mother, she sniffed at a patch of the stains, repulsed. They’re covered with blood! There's so much of it. Tom, what happened? Yes, that. What happened. He would have to tell her something but he did not know where to begin or where to end and he did not know if she should ever, ever know him so well, or how he spent his days when he was away from her."

And so the mystery begins. After the jump, my review.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Repeat Tweets: Someone Pick Up LaDarius Perkins

Repeat tweets from September, 2014:

  • Sep 1 2014: Saw outstanding performance by @DarioPerkins27 at Lambeau Thursday. Sadly, there's not enough room on the roster. Someone will pick him up.
  • Sep 2 2014: Payday lender CashAmerica donates to Ken Paxton and Linda Koop (say it ain't so, Linda). (h/t @davelevinthal)
  • Sep 3 2014: Payday lender CashAmerica reports giving money to Linda Koop. Her campaign says she returned the unsolicited money. @MarkSteger
  • Sep 2 2014: Headline: "Ted Cruz Tells Koch Conference: Stopping Amnesty Most Important Issue." Before it was jobs. Or Obamacare. Mostly it's Cruz 2016.
  • Sep 2 2014: RT @Neil_Irwin: "New WashPost publisher was founding CEO of Politico." Why not Breitbart? Or Newsmax? WashPost has fallen so far so fast.
  • Sep 2 2014: A company "dedicated to understanding human behavior through the creative application of randomized-controlled experiments" is following me.
  • Sep 2 2014: Richardson ranks 10th best in nation, according to or 37th best in DFW area, according to D Magazine. Go figure.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Silver Screen Slayer at PST

Pocket Sandwich Theatre
Silver Screen Slayer at PST: Silly parody of '30s private eye, Nazi spy movies. Jokes about Hollywood Jews and gays not as funny as rest. C+