Wednesday, January 31, 2018

POTD: Ice Bar

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Ice Bar in Ice Land at Moody Gardens in Galveston. The temperature is kept at 9 degrees Fahrenheit. The tables and chairs are made of ice. Cold hands. Warm heart.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Personal Shopper (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Personal Shopper (2017): Three movies in one. Ghost story that doesn't go anywhere. Crime thriller that comes and goes quickly. And a study in grief that maybe explains all the rest (or not). Kristen Stewart's portrayal of grief is the best thing here. D+

Monday, January 29, 2018

I Married into Royalty

What do Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and I have in common? Quit sniggering. The answer? We all married (or are engaged to marry) into the British royal family. Again, quit sniggering. I'm serious. Kate Middleton married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Meghan Markle is engaged to Harry, Prince Henry of Wales. And I, of course, am married to Ellen, princess/duchess something/something, ...well, read on.

Friday, January 26, 2018

POTD: Pirates of the Gulf

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from December's "Dickens on the Strand" festival in Galveston, Texas. Three clothing styles dominate the Strand during the festival: Victorian fashion (as expected), steampunk fashion, and pirate costumes. Oddly, they don't clash; they compliment each other.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Oscar Snubs and Surprises

Oscar nominations were announced January 23, 2018, and as usual there were some snubs and surprises. I happened to see more than my usual number of movies this year before the Oscars are handed out on March 4, so naturally I have some strong opinions.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The B-Side (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The B-Side (2017): Documentary of 20x24 Polaroid portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman. Elsa is mildly interesting but movie needs more info on her absolutely amazing large-format camera that makes giant, instant, high-detail prints. C+

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

POTD: The Merrie Mary Show

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Strand in Galveston. Comedic acrobat Mary Evanoff is the star of the Merrie Mary Show, juggling while balancing on her Evanoff Pole held on the shoulders of two volunteers from her audience.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sharing is Good

Everyone is getting riled up over the sight of bicycles left out in public. They're everywhere. They're an eyesore. They're a nuisance. I'm late to this hate rally, but my hope is that after everyone vents, the bikes are still there. I'm with Krista Nightengale:
I'm not bothered by the brightly colored bikes lining our sidewalks. And when I see one that has fallen down? I pick it up.

Friday, January 19, 2018

POTD: Votes for Women

From 2017 12 01 Galveston

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Strand in Galveston. Women campaigned for decades to get states to recognize their right to vote. Voting is precious. The deadline to vote in the March primaries in Texas is Monday, February 5, 2018. Register and vote.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Post (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Post (2017): The decision that made Kay Graham and her Washington Post an icon for freedom of the press. An important movie for our threatened times. A fine drama, even thrilling for at heart a legal drama. Streep and Hanks? Very good but no Oscars this year. A-

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Governor Doesn't Know Best

I recently saw a link to a page on Texas Governor Greg Abbott's personal campaign website, along with the endorsement, "I'm starting to like this guy..." I clicked on the link hoping to find proposals for how local governments are supposed to fund local needs -- you know, things like education for special needs, relief of overcrowded classrooms, giving teachers raises, repaving our streets and alleys, keeping swimming pools open, etc. But it turns out that those aren't the problems Governor Abbott cares about. And he certainly isn't interested in working with local government in coming up with solutions.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

I, Tonya (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
I, Tonya (2017): Comedy? Tragedy? Exposé? Mockumentary? What? Everyone in this movie is abusive or an idiot...or both. Movie lets viewers decide whether Tonya was a victim or another abusive idiot. Great performances by Margot Robbie and Allison Janney. B+

Friday, January 12, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Neighborhood Schools, Segregated Schools

Two societal values are in conflict when it comes to school attendance boundaries. On the one hand, parents want their children to attend their neighborhood school. On the other hand, schools segregated by race are considered harmful to society.

Courts allow school districts to take demographic information into consideration when drawing school attendance zones. But because the concept of the neighborhood school is so strong, school districts tend to shy away from using that power. A common result is schools that reflect neighborhood segregation.

Neighborhoods in the Richardson ISD range from almost all white to almost all minority, with everything in between. How do the schools in those neighborhoods compare with their surrounding neighborhoods?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (TV 2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Marvelous Mrs Maisel (TV 2017): Energetic, witty, privileged stay-at-home mom struggles to break free of 1950s conventions. Greenwich Village's beatnik/stand-up comedy scene is her opportunity. Rachel Brosnahan is a delight, supported by Alex Boorstein. A-

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Why Teach Music...and Mathematics

I'm not musical. I never played an instrument. My choir classes ended in eighth grade. My music appreciation class in ninth grade gave me my lowest grade in my whole high school career. Yet, I've come to appreciate a musical education for all the reasons given in the Facebook post below.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Darkest Hour (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Darkest Hour (2017): Good depiction of the free world on the brink. Great acting by Gary Oldman. Good history allows a new generation to see current events in a new light. Unexpected thought: could Donald Trump be our era's Winston Churchill? A-

Friday, January 5, 2018

OTBR: The New Virginia Avenue Tunnel

Latitude: N 38° 52.710
Longitude: W 076° 59.694
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 (not actually) last month that are "off the blue roads".

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Vote for Change

Have you ever noticed how education professionals (school boards, adminstrators, teachers, etc.) have historically taken a low profile on election day, but then caravan to Austin when the legislature opens? Have you thought like me that this is backwards? That laws and regulations and policies helpful to public education are decided in the voting booth, not afterwards? In these early days of 2018, I'm hopeful that this is changing.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Raw (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Raw (2017): French. Vegetarian gets a taste for meat in first year in vet school. Bloody. Violent. Lurid. But feel for our girl. It's not her fault. Worst. School. Ever. B-

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Downsizing (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Downsizing (2017): Interesting concept bogged down by not-so-interesting treatment of global inequality, climate change, and threat of human extinction. Cut Matt Damon. Cut subplot with Christoph Waltz. Give Waltz the lead. Or Hong Chau, who steals the movie. C+

Monday, January 1, 2018

Idle Thoughts: Cognitive Dissonance

Idle thoughts from December, 2017:

  • Dec 2 2017: Cognitive dissonance is being at Dickens on the Strand listening to youth band with 15 bagpipes playing Camptown Races.
  • Dec 2 2017: Pete Sessions is pleased with a massive tax hike on the middle class to pay for a massive tax cut for the 1%. I look forward to voting him out in 2018.
  • Dec 2 2017: RT @NumbersMuncher: "From a year ago, but point remains: Ted Cruz propped up Trump during the primaries because he desperately wanted Trump's supporters. Ted Cruz is the worst."
    Ted Cruz is the worst...and not just for his cynical support for Trump in the early 2016 primaries.
  • Dec 2 2017: RT @TASBGR: "Behind Oklahoma, Texas Has Made Deepest Cuts To State Education Funding In Past Decade."
    Don't let Villalba or Button or even Koop claim to support education without complaining about this to high heaven.

After the jump, more idle thoughts.