Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Flu Not a Worry in Far North Dallas

From the Centers for Disease Control:
The most recent FluView report for the 2014-2015 flu season shows that flu season is beginning in the United States. There are reports of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, and activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. There are documented benefits from flu vaccination, including reductions in illnesses, related doctors' visits and missed work or school. Vaccination also prevents flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.

If you have not been vaccinated yet this season, get your flu vaccine now.
Source: CDC.

That's what the CDC says. But The Dallas Morning News didn't ask the CDC. They didn't ask local doctors or health experts. Instead, they asked area readers for their advice about the flu. The result is kind of like a typical online comments section.

After the jump, The Dallas Morning News readers' wisdom that the News passes on without fact-checking.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Someone Inconvenienced by President's Visit to City

Local resident [insert name] was inconvenienced yesterday when the President of the United States visited the city for a [pick one: vacation/fundraiser/official event]. Traffic was [pick one: congested/gridlocked/detoured]. Local resident [insert name]'s [pick one: wedding/birthday/bar mitzvah] had to be [pick one: moved/delayed/rescheduled/canceled]. Said another local resident [insert name], who may or may not have had anything to do with the affected event, "This just goes to show that the President is [pick one: insensitive/incompetent/a Kenyan Muslim socialist atheist]".

[Note to editors: There, I just wrote the template for your go-to story whenever the President leaves the White House on an otherwise slow news day. You're welcome.]

[Note to readers: You don't need a template to take to Facebook/Twitter to vent about the President. You're very good at doing that on your own. Don't count to ten. Don't think it over. Don't sleep on it. Just log onto Facebook now, now, now, and post away. Your Facebook friends will thank you for it. Trust me.]

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl
From Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn:
Open quote 

A long exhale. 'What about Amy?' That is what I didn't take long enough to consider. I simply assumed I would bundle up my New York wife with her New York interests, her New York pride, and remove her from her New York parents -- leave the frantic, thrilling futureland of Manhattan behind -- and transplant her to a little town on the river in Missouri, and all would be fine."

After the jump, my review.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Frank (2014)

Frank (2014): Band led by eccentric with large fake head goes to SXSW. Quirky as it sounds. Unlikable characters but ultimately touching. C+

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: The Book of Strange New Things

Book of Strange New Things
From The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber:
Open quote 

He closed the book. His hands were trembling. He knew that there was quite a decent chance that he would die in the next thirty days, or that, even if he survived the journey, he would never return. This was his Gethsemane moment. He clenched his eyes shut and prayed to God to tell him what He wanted him to do."

After the jump, my review.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Print the Legend (2014)

Print the Legend (2014): Documentary of startups in 3D printing. The dream, growing pains, falling out, competition, lawsuits. Well told. B-

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Lila

From Lila, by Marilynne Robinson:
Open quote 

The child was just there on the stoop in the dark, hugging herself against the cold, all cried out and nearly sleeping. She couldn't holler anymore and they didn't hear her anyway, or they might and that would make things worse. Somebody had shouted, Shut that thing up or I’ll do it! and then a woman grabbed her out from under the table by her arm and pushed her out onto the stoop and shut the door and the cats went under the house."

After the jump, my review.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Altman (2014)

Altman (2014): Documentary of the genre-busting director who reinvented film making. Hit or flop, an Altman film was always must see. B-

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The World's End (2013)

The World's End (2013): Think a cross between The Hangover and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But good. Craziest pub crawl ever. B-

Monday, December 15, 2014

No Room at the Inn in Richardson

NIMBYism rears its head again. The latest manifestation of this all too common human weakness is over group homes for people recovering from chemical dependency.

There are 22 such group homes in Richardson. Does the number surprise you? Perhaps that's because nothing much is going on in these homes that affects the rest of the neighborhood, at least not in a bad way. As Richardson Police Chief Jim Spivey told The Dallas Morning News, group homes "generate no more calls than single-family residences." One could argue that supporting recovering alcoholics affects the neighborhood and the whole community in a good way, but that's not how NIMBYism works.

After the jump, why this is an issue now.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station (2013): Unarmed black man shot by cop. Based on a true story, but politics aside, it's the drama that's compelling. A-

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dead Man (1995)

Dead Man (1995): Early Johnny Depp as William Blake on the run in the Old West. Quirky as all get out. Everyone is stranger than Depp. B+

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nonstop Love Surprisingly Unpleasant

Nonstop Love
Source: Dallas Morning News.

The parking garages at Love Field were filled up on Thanksgiving Day. Even the remote overflow lots were full. Why should this be? After the jump, really, why should this be?!?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poetry (2010)

Poetry (2010): Korean grandmother struggles with poetry as her life falls apart. Quiet desperation with dignity. Moving. With justice. B-

Monday, December 8, 2014

All the Debt We Can Carry

Everyone knows the federal budget deficit is large and getting larger all the time. It's out of control, right? Well, what everyone knows and what's the truth sometimes bear little resemblance to one another. In fact, the federal budget deficit has been plunging in recent years, falling from nearly 10 percent of G.D.P. in 2009 to less than 3 percent in 2014, below the average experienced over the past 40 years. So much for what everyone knows.

Let's bring the discussion closer to home. What about the situation in the City of Richardson? After the jump, a look at what our community owes.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Somm (2012)

Somm (2012): Quest to pass the Master Sommelier exam (in Dallas) that almost everyone fails. I'll never make fun of wine tasters again. B-

Thursday, December 4, 2014

OTBR: The Devil's Bread in the Czech Republic

Latitude: N 49° 06.066
Longitude: E 015° 13.356

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, December 3, 2014

Columbia River Gorge

From 2014 11 08 Columbia Gorge

I knew the Columbia was a major river between Oregon and Washington. I knew gorge meant canyon, but probably smaller. That's really all I knew of the Columbia River Gorge. Planning to visit Portland, I Googled it. That turned up some photos, pretty but nothing a must-see. Or so I thought. Then I visited. Seeing the Columbia River Gorge in person is so much better than the pictures. The Historic Columbia River Highway threads through forests and around cliffs and past waterfalls. The 620-foot high Multnomah Falls is spectacular. So, in short, yes, the Columbia River Gorge is a must-see.

More photos after the jump.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Repeat Tweets: Stefani Carter Says Goodbye

Repeat tweets from November, 2014:

  • Nov 2 2014: "I lost my seat, partly because my consultants encouraged me to run for higher office." Stefani Carter, taking ownership for poor decisions.
  • Nov 10 2014: Shouldn't Dallas Morning News say somewhere that Richardson Real Heroes is a product of a political action committee?
  • Nov 10 2014: "Are The Concerns About Water Fluoridation Legit?" Short answer: No.
  • Nov 10 2014: Headline: "The Chicago Bears are dead. The Green Bay Packers killed them." Almost as satisfying as a Super Bowl win.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fort Worth Parade of Lights

From 2014 11 28 Fort Worth Parade of Lights

After enjoying the Fort Worth Water Gardens, we wandered up Main Street to the Tarrant County Courthouse, then back to Sundance Square where we had a sandwich before the parade. We took our seats just as the parade reached our spot on the parade route. The Parade of Lights is a notch above Richardson's Christmas Parade, but not as big a notch as you might expect. It's the lights that create the illusion of a bigger show. My favorite moment was when the lighted and decorated fire truck from Haslet, Texas, went by and someone behind us said, "I didn't even know we had a fire truck." Still, Fort Worth's Parade of Lights is fun to attend as is Richardson's Christmas Parade (Saturday, December 6, 9:00 am, Plano Rd). Now I can check Fort Worth's Parade of Lights off my bucket list and I didn't even know it was on the list in the first place.

More photos after the jump.