Monday, April 30, 2018

Richardson ISD Accepts Strategic Plan

"Board Unanimously Accepts Strategic Plan." That's what the headline says. "Trustees voted unanimously to accept the 27 recommended strategic action items from RISD’s Strategic Plan 2017—a culmination of the work from more than 300 community members shaping the future of RISD."

What's not to celebrate?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Review: The Secret History

The Secret History
From The Secret History, by Donna Tartt:
Open quote 

We hadn’t intended to hide the body where it couldn’t be found. In fact, we hadn’t hidden it at all but had simply left it where it fell in hopes that some luckless passer-by would stumble over it before anyone even noticed he was missing. This was a tale that told itself simply and well: the loose rocks, the body at the bottom of the ravine with a clean break in the neck, and the muddy skidmarks of dug-in heels pointing the way down; a hiking accident, no more, no less."

I chose to read this 1992 novel because I so enjoyed Donna Tartt's 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Goldfinch." The earlier debut novel reveals Tartt learning her craft. It's not as good, but it's still a good read.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

POTD: Now That's a Signature Bridge

From 2018 01 23 Panama Canal
Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Puente Centenario, a cable-stayed bridge with a modern design carrying 6 lanes of traffic over the Panama Canal.

Another photo after the jump.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How About Affordable Housing at Arapaho DART Station?

The area around the Arapaho DART station is ripe for redevelopment. The entire East Arapaho/Collins neighborhood is a target for enhancement/redevelopment by the city, in fact, the largest such area in Richardson. So, it's not too early to get my careabout added to the wishlist, right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Florida Project (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Florida Project (2017): Children growing up in a cheap budget motel in Orlando in desperate need of a little structured play. Deft balance of charm and pathos. Cinéma vérité without a narrative arc, leaving things much as they began. Fun and sad. B+

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Quiet Place (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
A Quiet Place (2018): A monster movie with a simple plot and lots of padding. The family love at the heart of the movie makes you care for the characters and overlook the plot holes and telegraphed ending. C+

Friday, April 20, 2018

POTD: Culebra Cut

From 2018 01 23 Panama Canal

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Culebra Cut in the Panama Canal. The cut is an artificial valley that cuts through the Continental Divide in Panama, allowing ships to sail across the isthmus from ocean to ocean. The amount of earth-moving involved in the cut is one example of the many feats that make the construction of the canal a modern marvel of engineering.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Excitement is Building in Downtown Richardson

Excitement is building in downtown Richardson. Or at least that's what the city said about its information outreach Wednesday evening, where it showed posters for the "Main Street Infrastructure Project," a redevelopment of streets, sidewalks, parking, and landscaping. I can't link to the drawings the city showed because, I confess, I can't find them online, even after about fifteen minutes of searching the city's new, user-friendly website.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

POTD: Gatun Lake

From 2018 01 23 Panama Canal

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Gatun Lake, which forms the bulk of the length of the Panama Canal. Dams keep the rivers bottled up in the center of the isthmus, forming the vast inland sea that ships use to move between the Atlantic and Pacific locks, which ease them up and down to and from the oceans.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Richardson has plenty of experience with NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). Homeowner ire at apartment construction is never more than a zoning change and construction permit away. Still, YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) rules city government, as those zoning changes and construction permits are never more than a developer's request away. What's new? California continues to be on the leading edge of societal change, adding PHIMBY to the lexicon of urban development.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ready Player One (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Ready Player One (2018): In 2045 everyone spends more time in a virtual reality world than the real world. Movie is about that, but more about giving Steven Spielberg an opportunity to pay homage to every video game he played in his youth and every sci-fi movie he ever liked. C+

Friday, April 13, 2018

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017): Four teens get transported to a video game jungle as game's characters. Teen girl gets Jack Black's body, yuck, yuck. Makes original 1995 movie seem better in comparison. Neither enough excitement nor jokes. C-

Thursday, April 12, 2018

POTD: Gatun Locks

From 2018 01 23 Panama Canal

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the "old" Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. These are the locks that have been in service since 1914. The "new" larger locks are also available, but the old locks continue in service for ships small enough to fit (so-called Panamax size).

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Greatest Showman (2017): Musical that's part fanciful biopic, part tale of fall and redemption, part love story, part celebration of humanity. It should have picked one of those and put all its energy there. Sum is less than the parts. B-

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

POTD: French Canal in Panama

From 2018 01 23 Panama Canal

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Atlantic Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal. The canal is the channel to the left. The smaller, wilder channel to the right is the original, failed French channel.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Isle of Dogs (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Isle of Dogs (2018): A noble but failed effort from Wes Anderson. Great stop-motion puppetry and hand-drawn animation, but plot is plodding and tone is flat and robotic. C-

Friday, April 6, 2018

POTD: Atlantic Bridge

From 2018 01 23 Panama Canal

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Atlantic Bridge over the Panama Canal at the entrance to the canal from the Atlantic Ocean. It's still under construction.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Coco (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Coco (2017): Oscar for animated feature. Boy travels to land of the dead in search of his gg-grandfather.  Sweet tale about power of music and family. More music please. B-

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Justice League (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Justice League (2017): Only as much plot as needed to give each superhero his or her time in front of the camera. With wisecracks. I guess the Flash stands out as most interesting character but that isn't saying much. C-

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017): Aging civil rights lawyer has trouble fitting into modern legal system. Vehicle for Denzel Washington and he is superb, but character overwhelms story. C+

Monday, April 2, 2018

Repeat Tweets: Picking Winners and Losers

Repeat tweets from March, 2018:

  • Mar 1 2018: RT @Neil_Irwin: "Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs as reflected in today's stock market:
    US Steel +6.6%.
    Century Aluminum +7.1%."
    Picking winners and losers.
  • Mar 1 2018: Is there any polling for the Democratic primary in TX District 32? @ColinAllredTX, @EdforTX, @Lillian_Salerno, @brett_shipp all could give @PeteSessions a run, but who has the edge in the primary?
  • Mar 1 2018: Shipp had the name recognition but not money or organization and has faded on my betting sheet. Meier had the national backing and money and is the (very slight) favorite. Allred and/or Salerno also up there. A run-off is likely.
  • Mar 1 2018: Dem activists have shown some distaste for @EdforTX. (Too establishment?) Still I think it's going to be a run-off between him and either @ColinAllredTX or @Lillian_Salerno. Sorry George.
  • Mar 1 2018: "I'm from the Hillary wing!" shouldn't get votes either. Dems need to learn to move on and focus more on the issues (including Trump/Ryan/McConnell) than each other. Country can't survive two dysfunctional parties.
  • Mar 1 2018: "Texas college baseball coach fired after rejecting Colorado recruit because of state’s weed laws."
    I did not see that coming. Kudos to Texas Wesleyan University.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.