Wednesday, October 31, 2018

POTD: Table for Three

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day is from The Rocks district in Sydney, Australia. It's one of the oldest neighborhoods in Sydney. In the 1970s, it seemed doomed for demolition, to be redeveloped with high rise offices and condos. But a neighborhood group organized and saved it. Renovations have since turned it into a popular, walkable commercial and tourist district.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

mid90s (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
mid90s (2018): Hard-to-love teens slowly show they aren't as tough as they first appear in this slice-of-life look at a dysfunctional environment. The plot never really goes anywhere, but it may still be an important movie for teens and parents to both watch. C+

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cleaning Paint Brushes

The Dallas Museum of Art is currently showing an exhibition, Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty. It's co-organized with the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, which says, "A Fragile Beauty explores the work of a rebellious artist whose oeuvre embodies a critical, witty, yet rigorous and penetrating critique of the canon of modern art."

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Young Frankenstein (RCT)

Repertory Company Theatre
Young Frankenstein (RCT): Mel Brooks's musical comedy on stage in Richardson. Large cast, great singing, dancing, and comic timing. Support local musical theater.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Ozark - Season 2 (TV 2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Ozark - Season 2 (TV 2018): Quiet accountant in the Ozarks launders money for a Mexican drug cartel. It's all about family. If that sounds like "Breaking Bad," well, Ozark lives up to the comparison. Season 2 is darker, more violent, but still all about family (or families). B+

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Old Man & the Gun (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Old Man & The Gun (2018): Robert Redford as aging gentleman bandit who robs banks. Again and again. No dramatic arc here. Think of it as "The Sundance Kid in his Sunset." I see Casey Affleck is working again. No arc there, either, in movie or real life. B-

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

POTD: Over the Moon Down Under

From 2018 03 27 Sydney

"Glory to Australia,
down under they say we are,
over the moon am I
with you in the southern land."

— John Williamson

Today's photo-of-the-day is of course from Sydney, Australia. The Opera House is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. And the Moon is, always, out of this world. Sydney Harbor was a wonderful place for "L" and me to end our own stay Down Under.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Forever (TV 2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Forever (TV:2018): Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph in a light drama that explores a mundane marriage and the prospect of it lasting forever. Afterlife without religion. Quiet desperation on her part. Cluelessness on his. Original, quiet, quirky, mildly thought-provoking. B-

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Company He Keeps

The Richardson ISD is asking voters to approve a tax increase. I am voting YES for many reasons that I've been spelling out in previous blog posts. This post is not going to add to the reasons to "Vote YES." Instead, this post takes a look at the organized "Vote NO" side, specifically its political action committee (PAC) treasurer, Chris McNutt, and the company he keeps.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Bad Times at the El Royale (2018): A sketchy hotel's worth of sketchy guests, each with secrets. It's a mystery, a thriller, film noir, whatever, but it's great fun to figure out who's who and who will survive the night. Ending drags once everything is figured out. B+

Friday, October 19, 2018

Reason #3: Do It For the Teachers

The Richardson ISD is asking voters to approve a tax increase. I am voting YES for many, many reasons, but there are some that, all by themselves, are enough to convince me to vote YES.

Reason #3: Do It For the Teachers

Thursday, October 18, 2018

POTD: Miss Fortune

From 2018 03 25 Cairns

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Kuranda, a village high in the tropical rainforest above Cairns in northern Queensland. It is a photo of the crashed plane cleverly named "Miss Fortune". Built during World War II, it was stationed in Australia, where it was popularly called Geronimo. After the war, it was transferred to commercial use, where it was called Cunningham and flew the first DC-3 service from Melbourne to Adelaide. It flew a variety of routes for a succession of airlines until it was withdrawn from service in 1976 and scavenged for spare parts. It later starred as "Miss Fortune" in the 1986 movie "Sky Pirates", when it was painted in World War II olive drab and was crashed into the sea for a movie scene. After that demise, the hulk was rescued from the sea, transported on three semi-trailers and put on display in Kuranda, where it sits today, being slowly reclaimed by the jungle.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

First Man (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
First Man (2018): Neil Armstrong is too cold and distant to carry a movie. Space scenes are claustrophobic, not sweeping. I wanted to relive the thrill I remember from my youth but this movie never gets off the ground. More of Claire Foy's Janet Armstrong story please. B-

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Reason #2: State's Share Is Going Down

The Richardson ISD is asking voters to approve a tax increase. I am voting YES for many, many reasons, but there are some that, all by themselves, are enough to convince me to vote YES.

Reason #2: State's Share Is Going Down

Monday, October 15, 2018

POTD: Queensland after a Cyclone

From 2018 03 25 Cairns

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Queensland, Australia, as Cyclone Nora was dumping tons of rain. On the minus side, the cyclone made for very soggy conditions for sight-seeing. On the plus side, it made for very wild conditions for sight-seeing. The first photo is from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway we rode up from Cairns on the coast to Kuranda, a picturesque village high in the rainforest. The cableway is strung along the Barron River. The cyclone ensured that Barron Falls, shown in the bonus photos, was at its raging best.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Reason #1: Not "Good" and No Longer "Enough"

The Richardson ISD is asking voters to approve a tax increase. I am voting YES for many, many reasons, but there are some that, all by themselves, are enough to convince me to vote YES.

Reason #1: Not "Good" and No Longer "Enough"

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Growth and Infrastructure

The City of Richardson's planning and zoning commission approved the long promised "Town Central" development on the land surrounding the Chase Bank building on Main Street in downtown Richardson.
Called Town Central, the planned project includes 430 apartments and townhomes, more than 20,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, parking garages and open space. ... Paris Rutherford, principal with Catalyst Urban Development, told the planning commission. "This will be equivalent of kind of a Bishop Arts District feel."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Simple Favor (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
A Simple Favor (2018): A fun mystery/thriller that keeps you guessing (and smiling) throughout. Is anyone who they say they are? Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively make for an instant movie classic odd couple. A-

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Star is Born (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
A Star is Born (2018): After seeing too many mediocre films, I was ready for something good. Third remake doesn't lose a thing. Two stars on opposite trajectories in a classic tragedy. Convincing portrayal of addiction. Biggest surprise? Lady Gaga can act as well as sing. A-

Monday, October 8, 2018

Guess Who Steals Political Yard Signs?

Like Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, it's that time of year again. You know, political yard sign stealing season. It happens to both sides. Neither side gains anything by it. A woman on Nextdoor complained that her Ted Cruz sign was stolen and someone else responded, I assume tongue-in-cheek: "Imagine how many people may not vote for him now that your sign is missing."

It's as predictable as falling leaves and as futile to stop. All that really happens is that victims become even more partisan. So I'm not going to tell you it's not helpful to your candidate (IT'S NOT HELPFUL) or tell you not to do it (DON'T DO IT!). I'm just going to repeat an evergreen story (a true one — the kind that makes for the best old stories) that shows how cheaters never prosper (just kidding — "The good guys always win" is a movie trope that doesn't apply in real life).

Friday, October 5, 2018


From 2018 03 25 Cairns

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the central business district of Cairns, Queensland, Australia, where a large colony of fruit bats, aka flying foxes, makes its home. They hang out in trees during the day (literally) and take wing in large numbers at dusk.

The flying foxes are controversial. Some argue that they are dirty and disease-ridden and their presence in the city is unnatural and ways should be found to encourage them to relocate to surrounding forest and swamps. Others believe they are an asset to the city and should be accommodated. We didn't take sides. We just took photos.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

RISD TRE Information Meeting at BHS

The Richardson ISD held another of many information meetings about the upcoming Tax Ratification Election. The meeting was held at Berkner High School. I was there live-tweeting the show. What follows are my tweets, with only the most cursory proofreading. If I heard wrong or garbled what I heard, that's on me. Don't blame the RISD without checking your own sources first. Here, you get what you pay for.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Escaping the Poverty Trap

The story is from The New York Times. It's about Seattle...and Memphis and Minneapolis. But it could be about Dallas...and Richardson.
SEATTLE — The part of this city east of Northgate Mall looks like many of the neighborhoods that surround it, with its modest midcentury homes beneath dogwood and Douglas fir trees.

Whatever distinguishes this place is invisible from the street. But it appears that poor children who grow up here — to a greater degree than children living even a mile away — have good odds of escaping poverty over the course of their lives.

Believing this, officials in the Seattle Housing Authority are offering some families with housing vouchers extra rent money and help to find a home here.
After the jump, a look at Richardson.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

POTD: The Not-So-Great Barrier Reef

From 2018 03 25 Cairns

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, it doesn't show the beautiful colors of the reef or its sea life. Sadly, due to global warming, that color and sea life is only a shadow of its former glory. I asked a guide how much of the reef at our particular spot was dead and was told, "about 70%." The reef stretches 1,400 miles and is composed of almost 3,000 individual reefs, so making sweeping generalizations after visiting just one particular spot of one particular reef is not indicative of what it's like everywhere, but word is it's not a pretty story, and it's only getting worse as ocean temperatures continue to rise. So, instead of treating you to a photo of the beautiful colors of the reef and its sea life, instead you get a photo of the beautiful colors of the snorklers who came to see the beautiful colors of the reef and almost certainly left disappointed. At least I did.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Trolling: "Beto Will Lose"

Trolling from September, 2018:
  • Sep 3 2018: RT @Redistrict: "Prediction: after all the hype, Beto will lose the epic 2018 TX Senate race by 1%, then settle for the 2020 Dem presidential nomination as a consolation prize."
    1. Beto losing by 1% is a prediction right in the margin of error.
    2. Predicting 2020 ahead of the 2018 mid-terms is a crap shoot.
    3. Winning the 2020 Dem presidential nomination is hard to imagine if he loses.
  • Sep 4 2018: Empower Texans. Remember the name. Anything published by Empower Texans is not done in good faith. Be on the watch for the billionaire.
  • Sep 4 2018: Eat Pray Vote.

After the jump, more trolling.