Friday, March 30, 2018

POTD: Adios, Cartagena

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the stern of the Norwegian Star as it sails from Cartagena, Columbia, a beautiful city with beautiful people. Hasta la vista.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

POTD: Adapting to Climate Change

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cartagena, Columbia. Does it look like this city is prepared for the already present effects of climate change, to say nothing of the future? And this is a city that isn't in denial. But, despite the gleaming high-rise condos, on the whole it is a poor city.

Plan 4C estimates the cost of adapting Cartagena to coming climate change challenges to be around $500 million.

It calls for the 100 hectares of the walled old city of Cartagena – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 – to be kept at least 200 meters from the sea. As sea level rises, this will require a system of dams, dikes and breakwaters.

Without those, up to 86 percent of historic Cartagena – including much of the old city – will be invaded by the Atlantic, the climate plan warns. One third of the industrial sector could also be impacted, and all the city’s beaches could vanish, it says.
Source: Reuters.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

POTD: Modern Cartagena

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cartagena, Columbia. It's two cities in one. The walled old city is a well-deserved UNESCO world heritage site and its sprawling beachfronts are filled with high-rise hotels and condos.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review: Mad City: The True Story of the Campus Murders That America Forgot

Mad City
From Mad City, by Michael Arntfield:
Open quote 

Unless he’d blown town for another spot on the map, there’s nowhere else he could be. He’d be there watching, waiting, stalking. She’d stop him this time. She’d have to. It was, after all, her purpose in life, a world shaped by torment and obsession. It was an all-consuming calling—alpha to omega."

I chose to read the non-fiction "Mad City" for one reason—my personal connection to the time and place it is set. It details a series of real-life horrific murders of young women on or near the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison beginning in 1968, just before my first year there.

Monday, March 26, 2018

POTD: Panama Hats in Columbia

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cartagena, Columbia, where Panama hats are sold on the street. It seems a shame that 1) Columbia missed out on having its name attached to the hat style, and 2) Columbia Sportswear was named after the Pacific Northwest river, not the South American country. Anyway, for the purposes of this POTD at least, here are real Columbia hats.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Friday, March 23, 2018

POTD: Ready for Spring?

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the streets of Cartagena, Columbia, a tropical city that always looks like Spring, even on a winter day in January.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Faces Places (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Faces Places (2017): Oscar-nominated documentary of two artists traveling rural France, meeting people and creating huge portraits and pasting them on sides of buildings. Small art on a big scale. Agn├Ęs Varda and JR make an odd couple, as empathetic as they are talented. B-

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

POTD: Small, Walkable, Beautiful

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the old city of Cartagena, Columbia, a UNESCO world heritage site. The title comes from a tourist review on TripAdvisor.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Betting on Zero (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Betting on Zero (2017): Documentary about Herbalife from three angles: Wall Street short, Latino community class action lawsuit, and FTC investigation. I always thought pyramid schemes were illegal. Sadly, not in our deregulatory time. Maddening company. Suspenseful movie. B+

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hot Spots of Poverty

I saw a map recently that put everything into perspective for me. It's titled "Spatial Mismatch" and was designed to show "how economic disparity and transportation are intertwined in Dallas." It was published as part of a study by the University of Texas at Arlington's Institute of Urban Studies (insert plug to support research and development universities here). What jumped out at me is something about, not public transportation, but education.

Friday, March 16, 2018

POTD: Heaven's Door

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the entrance to Iglesia San Pedro Claver in Cartagena, Columbia. The doors are closed. There is no door knob. There is no door knocker. The design on the door looks a little like a maze with no path to the center. Read into all that what you will.

P.S. The angel at the door is real.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Loving Vincent (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Loving Vincent (2017): Death of Van Gogh told as a murder mystery in 65,000 hand-painted frames. Like watching a living, breathing, roiling Van Gogh painting. Don't watch for plot or acting. Watch for the mesmerizing visuals. A-

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (2017): Oscar winning documentary short depicts a female artist fighting mental illness, depression, anxiety. But what an artist! Narrated almost all by herself. What grit and determination. Inspiring. Watch on YouTube. A-

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

POTD: Exercise Increased Caution

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Plaza de la Paz in the old city of Cartagena, Columbia. Some areas of Columbia have a probably well-deserved reputation of being unsafe. The US State Department advises "Exercise increased caution in Colombia due to crime and terrorism." But, so far, knock-on-wood, cross-your-fingers, Cartagena itself is safe and friendly and welcoming and a pleasure to visit. Go and enjoy yourself. We did.

Monday, March 12, 2018

RISD's Legal Response

Former Richardson ISD school board trustee David Tyson, Jr., has sued the RISD, alleging its at-large election system is a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He wants RISD to change to single-member-districts, in an effort to elect more minorities to the school board. As they say, the longer you are personally following a story, the less respect you have for media coverage. It's not always their fault — there are so many stories and so few good reporters. Gone are the days when The Dallas Morning News assigned Jeffrey Weiss to regularly cover RISD. And so instead we get drive-by reporting like The Dallas Morning News's James Ragland's recent coverage of the lawsuit.

Friday, March 9, 2018

POTD: Noli Me Tangere

From 2018 01 22 Cartagena

Today's photo-of-the-day is of a statue of a woman raising her arm to face the sea. It stands in the square fronting the old port of Cartagena, Columbia. The inscription reads Noli Me Tangere (Don't Touch Me), which is from the New Testament. It's what Jesus says to Mary Magdalene when they meet after the resurrection. It's a popular theme in Christian art.

Here in Cartagena it's used to "warn off would-be invaders. Because Cartagena was the storehouse of the Spanish Empire's gold, a slew of 16th century pirates — Englishman Francis Drake included — had attacked and pillaged the city several times." (LA Times).

Ironically, the statue has a message for Spain itself. The statue was erected in 1911, on the 100th anniversary of Cartagena being the first Columbian city to declare independence from Spain. (

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Black Panther (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Black Panther (2018): James Bond meets Tarzan in a galaxy far, far away. With a touch of Jumanji and Iron Man tossed in. Jokes? Yes. Acting? Minimal. Special effects? All sorts. Plot? As needed. Commentary on global racial divide? Potentially powerful, but easy to miss. C-

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

POTD: Strolling Under a Norwegian Star

From 2018 01 19 Norwegian Star

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the deck of the Norwegian Star as it heads to the western Caribbean out of Miami.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Game Night (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Game Night (2018): Murder mystery party goes awry when real kidnappers show up. Expect to be guessing what twists are real and what's part of the game right up until the end. Right balance of plausibility and absurdity. Pop some corn. B-

Monday, March 5, 2018

Repeat Tweets: No Wardrobe Malfunction

Repeat tweets from February, 2018:

  • Feb 4 2018: Justin Timberlake's backup dancer is wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck with suspenders. Making sure that there's no wardrobe malfunction this year?
  • Feb 4 2018: My unpopular opinion? 58 points through three quarters are better on a basketball court than a football field.
  • Feb 4 2018: Bad, bad, bad clock management by the Eagles. It could cost them a Super Bowl.
  • Feb 4 2018: Never mind.
  • Feb 4 2018: Football glory is fleeting. Nick Foles is Super Bowl MVP today. Tomorrow he wakes up #2 QB on the Eagles 2018 depth chart.
  • Feb 5 2018: Fact-check. This is *not* the Philadelphia Eagles' first NFL championship.
  • Feb 5 2018: First Philadelphia Eagles' championship since 1960 when they beat the Packers, the last playoff game Vince Lombardi ever lost, going on to win five championships in the next seven years.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.

Friday, March 2, 2018

POTD: Counting the Cars on the MacArthur Causeway

From 2018 01 19 Norwegian Star

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the deck of the Norwegian Star as it sails from Miami. The traffic is on the MacArthur Causeway headed to Miami Beach for the evening or the weekend.

"Counting the cars on the MacArthur Causeway.
They've all come to look for America.
All come to look for America.
All come to look for America."
— with apologies to Paul Simon.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Wheel Award for Excellence in Motion Pictures

The Academy Awards will be given out Sunday evening. This will be the second time in history that I've seen all the nominees for Best Picture before the Oscar is awarded. That means my opinion means something. Right?

2017 had a diverse set of movies, as did the choices in 2016. Unlike last year, there is no runaway favorite for Best Picture, but last year's "La La Land" didn't end up winning, so how much do pre-award rankings mean, anyway? Besides, my personal favorite this year, "Mudbound," wasn't even nominated.

  • Mudbound (2017): White farm family in Mississippi in 1940s facing poverty, floods, illness. Black family with same burdens. Plus racism. Script shows same events from different perspectives. Quiet but strong performances. Lessons for today. A-