Friday, December 30, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016): Bad singing raised to high art. Something missing. Can't laugh at her or with her. Great acting though. B-

Thursday, December 29, 2016

POTD: Green Gables

From 2016 09 07 Charlottetown

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. It's the obligatory shot of Green Gables, the homestead that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery to write "Anne of Green Gables." I knew nothing of the spirited orphan, Anne Shirley, before visiting, but I've become a huge fan since.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

POTD: Steep Red Sandstone Cliffs

From 2016 09 07 Charlottetown

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the north shore of Prince Edward Island. I'll let Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of "Anne of Green Gables," describe the scene.
The shore road was "woodsy and wild and lonesome." On the right hand, scrub firs, their spirits quite unbroken by long years of tussle with the gulf winds, grew thickly. On the left were the steep red sandstone cliffs, so near the track in places that a mare of less steadiness than the sorrel might have tried the nerves of the people behind her. Down at the base of the cliffs were heaps of surf-worn rocks or little sandy coves inlaid with pebbles as with ocean jewels; beyond lay the sea, shimmering and blue, and over it soared the gulls, their pinions flashing silvery in the sunlight. "Isn’t the sea wonderful?" said Anne, rousing from a long, wide-eyed silence.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

POTD: The Crick

From 2016 09 07 Charlottetown
Today's photo-of-the-day is from North Rustico, Prince Edward Island.
The town is known to locals, as well as many others as "The Crick". In the summer, this town is one of the Island's most popular destinations. On a warm summer evening, dozens of people can be found strolling the town's waterfront boardwalk, which overlooks the bay and fishing docks. The fishing industry remains the village's most important economic activity, with approximately 40 vessels home-ported in a small craft harbour. Lobster fishing is the main focus for much of the fleet and during May and June fresh north shore P.E.I lobster can be bought in a fish market on the harbour wharves or directly off of the boats.
Source: Wikipedia.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Monday, December 26, 2016

POTD: Confederation Landing

From 2016 09 07 Charlottetown

In case you read the headline and assumed this has something to do with the old South, no, the Confederation being remembered here has nothing to do with white supremacy. Today's photo-of-the-day is from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. According to Fodor's, "This waterfront recreation area at the bottom of Great George Street occupies the site where the Fathers of Confederation famously landed in 1864." Charlottetown is where the first conference was held that eventually resulted in the confederation of Canada in 1867. And did you catch that word "famously"? Not to Americans, sadly (and by "Americans" I include myself). Americans tend to be ignorant of anything that doesn't happen under our very noses. We're too busy rewriting our own history to bother learning some history of our neighbors to the north. Thankfully, Canadians are too polite to be resentful.

Friday, December 23, 2016

POTD: Christmas Cajun Style

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Natchitoches, Louisiana, the self-styled City of Lights. A crawfish in a sleigh pulled by an alligator in a Santa hat along the riverfront — that's Christmas Cajun Style.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

POTD: Christmas in Natchitoches

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana
Today's photo-of-the-day is from Natchitoches, Louisiana, the self-styled City of Lights. For our visit, the full moon conveniently rose above the Three Wise Men, adding its light to the already impressive display all along the riverfront, of which this scene is just a tiny fraction.

Named after a Native American tribe, Natchitoches (pronounced Nack-a-tish ), is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. Since 1927, we are also home to one of the oldest community-based holiday celebrations in the country. Our festival has evolved from a one day event into a six-week long Christmas Season. Over 300,000 lights and 100 plus set pieces are on display every night at dusk. Come enjoy Kid's Fest, a carriage tour through the historic district, food vendors along the downtown riverbank, as well as various shops and restaurants. Events take place in the Landmark Historic District and the Cane River National Historical Park area. Fireworks are held every Saturday throughout the Season as well as events to be enjoyed by every age. The Natchitoches Christmas Season has been listed as a "Top 100 Events in North America" by the American Bus Association for numerous years and has also been honored as one of the "Top 20 Events" for December on six occasions by the Southeast Tourism Society. In 2013, we were ranked 3rd "Best Holiday Light Show" behind the Rockefeller Center and Disney World in the nation by
So there you have it — Christmas in Natchitoches.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

POTD: Christmas on Bourbon Street

From 2016 12 15 Louisiana
Today's photo-of-the-day is from the French Quarter in New Orleans the week before Christmas. Write your own caption. In case you are wondering, that's not me in the photo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Review: American Lion

American Lion
From American Lion, by John Meacham:
Open quote 

The America of Andrew Jackson was a country that professed a love of democracy but was willing to live with inequality, that aimed for social justice but was prone to racism and intolerance, that believed itself one nation but was narrowly divided and fought close elections, and that occasionally acted arrogantly toward other countries while craving respect from them at the same time."

With the election of Donald Trump as president, I thought it was time to review another era in American history, one when the first great populist was elected president. Consider it reading history to shed a light on our own inconceivable situation; looking to history to offer hope that our black cloud might have a silver lining.

After the jump, my review.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Santa's Village Needs a Train

Click for a panorama

Richardson's Santa's Village is an annual holiday tradition for families. It's a tiny town of holiday buildings offering children fun activities and a community stage offering the whole family live performances of song and dance. But there's something missing. Click on the photo above for a 360 degree panorama. Look around and see if you can tell what's missing.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dallas to Suburbs: Seriously, Drop Dead

In October, the Dallas city council voted unanimously on a resolution that did not include the Cotton Belt line as one of its transit priorities. I reported it then as "Dallas to Suburbs: Drop Dead." The DART board backed the Cotton Belt anyway, voting on a 20 year financial plan that included the Cotton Belt in the plan. I reported the reaction in Dallas as "Dallas to Suburbs: Drop Dead, Still." Last week, Dallas showed they are serious in their opposition to the Cotton Belt by naming Patrick Kennedy to the DART board. According to The Dallas Observer's Stephen Young, Kennedy wants "DART to focus on two major projects, the D2 subway in downtown and reforming DART's bus system rather than suburb-friendly projects like the Cotton Belt."

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Berkner Symphony Orchestra goes to Midwest

The Berkner Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Craig Needham and Jason Schayot, is performing at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago December 15, 2016.

After the jump, the high honor this is.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

RISD Finds its Leader

Dr. Jeannie Stone, who has been serving as Richardson ISD's Interim Superintendent since June, has been named the Lone Finalist for the permanent position by the RISD Board of Trustees. My congratulations. She's well-regarded inside and outside RISD. Given the no-win nature of the job, I'm impressed that she's managed to keep even some reflexive RISD critics open-minded about her personally.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

POTD: Charlottetown Seaport, 2016

From 2016 09 07 Charlottetown
Today's photo-of-the-day is from historic Charlottetown seaport, Prince Edward Island, Canada. For us, 2016 will go down as one of the best of years, and one of the worst. But for this POTD series, let's stay positive, shall we? Prince Edward Island in September, 2016, was great in all respects.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Know A Neighborhood: Richardson Heights

"Know A Neighborhood" is a series that offers neighborhood leaders in Richardson the opportunity to answer questions that might be of general interest to Richardson residents (or at least to me).

Today: Richard Dotson, Richardson Heights NA President, answers a question posed by The Wheel.

Friday, December 9, 2016

POTD: Cape Breton Island Shoreline

From 2016 09 06 Sydney
Today's photo-of-the-day is of the shoreline of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. It probably looks a little more arctic there in December, but it was green and pleasant in September as we bid the island a fond farewell.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tracks (2013)

Tracks (2013): Woman walks across Australia just to be alone. Does she purge her demons? Dunno, but her journey is worth it. cf. "Wild". B+

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

POTD: Gateway to French Canada

From 2016 09 06 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the 18th century French Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. In the mid-1740s, Louisbourg was a major commercial port and the fortress one of the most extensive European fortifications constructed in North America. It was the gateway to French Canada.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

OTBR: A Pond at Latrobe University

Latitude: S 37° 43.308
Longitude: E 145° 02.754

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, December 5, 2016

Wanted: Superintendent, Practically Perfect in Every Way

The Richardson school district (RISD) is seeking a new superintendent. Everybody has an opinion. Expectations and demands are as high as those set by the George Banks family in Edwardian England when advertising for a nanny.

"If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition.
Rosy cheeks, no warts. Play games, all sorts.
You must be kind, you must be witty, very sweet, and fairly pretty.
Take us on outings, give us treats, sing songs, bring sweets.
Never be cross or cruel. Never give us castor oil or gruel.
Love us as a son and daughter, and never smell of barley water.
Hurry, Nanny! Many thanks!
Jane and Michael Banks!"

Assuming that someone with Mary Poppins's qualifications isn't available, what criteria should be used to identify the RISD's next superintendent?

Friday, December 2, 2016

POTD: She Dreams out of Windows

From 2016 09 06 Sydney
Today's photo-of-the-day is from the 18th century French Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.


She dreams out
of windows
because she needs to live
in both worlds:
within and without,
alone and together,
past and future:
all right now.
Source: Mike Essig.
cf. POTD: Taman Mini Indonesia Indah.
cf. POTD: Ethnology.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Repeat Tweets: Break Up the Cubs

Repeat tweets from November, 2016:

  • Nov 2 2016: Break up the Cubs. #WorldSeries
  • Nov 2 2016: 45 Years (2015): Long-dead girlfriend's body interferes with a couple's 45-year anniversary. Quiet, touching movie. Two strong leads. B-
  • Nov 2 2016: MT @BudKennedy: "The Des Moines suspect is a Confederate flag activist who opposes civil rights protest. You take it from there." White Lives Matter?

After the jump, more repeat tweets.