Friday, October 22, 2021

Scenes from a Marriage (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Scenes from a Marriage (TV 2021): Intimate look at a troubled marriage. Series lays the kindling, ignites, blazes, finally settles into a steady burn. Couple talk at each other endlessly but seldom connect. Intense acting by Chastain and Isaac. Worthy homage to Ingmar Bergman. A-

Thursday, October 21, 2021

"How Terribly Strange to be Seventy"

"Can you imagine us years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange to be seventy."

I wasn't yet twenty when Simon and Garfunkel released the album "Bookends" and I first heard those lyrics from "Old Friends" that would haunt me all my life. Fifty years on, I don't find it terribly strange to be seventy. What I find terribly strange is to reflect on the fact that there are no songs about what it feels like to be 120. The milestones in my life are piling up behind me. The road ahead is becoming less congested. The horizon is ever closer. Melancholy fills me. That is what I find to be terribly strange.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

POTD: Fresh Air Butcher

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Edfu, Egypt. It shows a fresh air butcher in a street market.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

POTD: Temple of Horus

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt. It's a relatively modern shrine, if you can call 2,000 years old modern. it was built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC. Greek pharaohs. Greek architecture. Those columns would look at home in ancient Athens (or on a federal building in Washington, DC). It is one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt.

Monday, October 18, 2021

TIL: America is on Track for "Fusion Never"

Source: New Yorker.

Since I was a young boy in the 1950s, I remember hearing the lure of electricity generated by nuclear power. "Too cheap to meter" was the promise. Fission nuclear reactors never delivered on that promise and turned out to have such serious shortcomings — think Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima — that fewer fission power plants are being built today than are being retired.

Fusion power promised to solve all those problems. No meltdowns, no leftover radioactive waste, no need to mine or handle uranium or plutonium. Fusion power always seemed to be right around the corner. Today I learned, it's still right around the corner, but we're not even trying to get there anymore. At least not seriously.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Review: Interior Chinatown

From Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu:

Open quote Ever since you were a boy, you've dreamt of being Kung Fu Guy. You are not Kung Fu Guy. You are currently Background Oriental Male, but you've been practicing. Maybe tomorrow will be the day." Interior Chinatown

Is it a screenplay? Is it a memoir? Is it a comedy? Is it a satire? Is it an indictment of Hollywood and American racism? Yes to all.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Long Road to Richardson Restaurant Park

What the Customer Wanted

Spring Valley Corridor

In 2010, the City of Richardson embarked on the long journey of revitalization of the West Spring Valley Corridor. It started with a series of community meetings. The residents were clear on what they wanted to see in southwest Richardson: Urban. Mixed-use. Walkable. Pocket parks. Think Parisian boulevard.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

No Time to Die (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
No Time to Die (2021): I won't talk plot to avoid spoilers, but also because there are too many bad guys and intertwined back stories to follow. So, let's just say the car chases, gun fights, and acrobatic stunts don't disappoint. And Bond himself is less a cad. That's a plus. B-

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

What is a Drive-Thru Menu Board Worth?

Source: Casino Royale.
The poker game at the Horseshoe Saloon was getting interesting. On one side of the table were arrayed seven regulars. Across from them, with all eyes on him, was "Hot Chicken" Kirk. Although not a regular player, "Hot Chicken" played frequently enough that he knew each player's tics and tells. Would this be the game he used that knowledge for his own advantage?

Jersey Boys (2014)

Rotten Tomatoes
Jersey Boys (2014): Biopic of the Four Seasons. Why great artists always have messed up personal lives is an enduring mystery. The teenage lawbreaking, broken family, debt to the Mob, all crowd out the music. Less movie musical than concert footage and not enough of that. C+


Monday, October 11, 2021

Kajillionaire (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Kajillionaire (2020): Three small grifters (husband, wife, daughter) with bizarre schemes (and lifestyle) join up with another young woman (who is grifting who?). Gradually the daughter becomes alienated from parents. More sad than funny. Quirky, but not quirky enough. B-

Friday, October 8, 2021

Free Guy (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Free Guy (2021): I'm no gamer, but I can see how this would appeal to teen boys who are. A nonplayable character in a video game with hidden AI gains consciousness. The race is on to wrest control from the bad owner before a reboot erases him. Mostly fun, sweet and self-aware. B-

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Tactics: Good, Bad, and Delegated

"Good tactics can save even the worst strategy.
Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy."
— George S. Patton

The Richardson City Council met for three nights to set their goals, strategies, and tactics for the current two-year term. They didn't finish. Their goals were refined enough for the facilitator to polish them and publish them. Their strategies were in rougher shape. The facilitator will be challenged to merge and prune and wordsmith them to capture the intent of the Council.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Transparent, Open, and Accountable Government

Founding Father James Madison once wrote that democracy without information was "but prologue to a farce or a tragedy," and he regarded the diffusion of knowledge as "the only guardian of true liberty." Texas law has long agreed the inherent right of Texans to govern themselves depends on their ability to observe how public officials are conducting the people’s business. That is why the Texas Open Meetings Act was enacted, to ensure that Texas government is transparent, open, and accountable to all Texans.

I'm not about to accuse the City of Richardson of violating the letter of the law. It's the City's attitude towards the spirit of the law that gives me heartburn.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Squid Game (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Squid Game (TV 2021): Korea. Desperate people deep in debt agree to play children's games. Winner will get rich. Losers get killed. Bear with the preposterous and brutal premise. The characters will grow on you. A thought-provoking fable about modern capitalism. Trust me. A-

Monday, October 4, 2021

Random Thoughts: History Has a Way of Creating Coincidences

Tweets from September, 2021:
  • 2021-09-02: History has a way of creating coincidences that no fiction writer would dare. On August 31, America abandoned Afghanistan women to the Taliban. The very next day, the US Supreme Court abandoned American women to the Texas Taliban.
  • 2021-09-02: President Trump taught us that he could do anything without consequence because no one would stop him. SCOTUS learned it can do anything because no one will stop them. Congress won't, even though Dems have power to. So, blame GOP for all this, but Dems share a bit for letting them.
  • 2021-09-03: Starstruck (TV 2021): Romcom. Jessie, a struggling working woman in London, meets Tom, a movie star. Opposites attract. Instant chemistry. But she can't let herself be happy. Jessie is high maintenance. How you react to the series depends on your reaction to Rose Matafeo. B-
  • 2021-09-03: Texas GOP used to operate on the theory that too many people were suing for anything and everything. "Texans for Lawsuit Reform" bought themselves a legislature to end that. Now GOP has decided that radically expanding who can sue is actually a good thing.

After the jump, more random thoughts.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Economic Development Negotiations Adjacent to Spring Creek Nature Area

Richardson City Council has this executive session item on their agenda for Monday night:

Deliberation Regarding Economic Development Negotiations
• Commercial Development – E. Lookout Dr./N. Glenville Dr. Area

This vacant land is adjacent to the Spring Creek Nature Area, so my wishful thinking is that the City is considering expanding that parkland. But "Economic Development Negotiations" more likely means a developer is looking for a public handout. Review and reform of financial incentive handouts is one of my wish list items for the Council's goals for 2021-2023.

Also on Monday night's agenda is another secret meeting to discuss goals for 2021-2023. Ironic that.

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Voelker Doctrine in a Nutshell

This week, the Richardson City Council rejected a proposal for a private student housing project north of UT-Dallas. I summarized the move as a message to students: "DROP DEAD." But that was unfair (really, not really). Mayor Paul Voelker expressed the thinking behind the rejection as more of a nod to a greater good. "My vision for the highest and best use, international companies that want to be right next door to a tier one research university." In his telling, it's not that he's against students or student housing, it's that he's for something he considers to be greater. I called that the Voelker Doctrine. Now I've found a six-word slogan that captures the doctrine in a nutshell. Read on.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV 2021): How Captain America's shield gets passed a Black man. That matters in this telling. And how the Winter Soldier gets his groove back. Two Captain Americas and a Nazi and Wakandans and Flag Smashers. Way too crowded for me. C+

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Voelker Doctrine

I've been preoccupied with a zoning case for student housing just north of UT-Dallas for almost a year. The case is finally dead (I think). For the second time, the City Council denied the rezoning application. Each time I struggled to find a coherent reason why. As I said in December, 2020, "You might think if there's anywhere an apartment building just might get approved, it's on a property like that: on a freeway, near public transit and a large (and growing) university, and nowhere near a single family neighborhood. But the City Council said 'no.' " This year, I called a similar application for rezoning a "no-brainer." The City Council again said "no." What was I missing?

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

What Killed Student Housing for UT-Dallas?

The Richardson City Council on Monday unanimously approved a request to rezone 13.3 acres next to the university from technical office to a planned development.
The housing will be open to the public but mostly serve faculty and graduate students.

Just kidding. Check the date on that story in The Dallas Morning News. It's from 2014. Richardson resident Marcia Grau uncovered it. The article reports on the Richardson City Council's approval of the Northside apartment development. Oh, about that "The housing will be open to the public but mostly serve faculty and graduate students." Northside has to follow the same Fair Housing Act regulations that would apply to this year's private student housing project. What the Council had no problem with in 2014 took up much of the Council's handwringing this year.

The outcome this week, seven years later, was decidedly different.

Monday, September 27, 2021

4th (and best) Dispatch from the Chamber of Secrets

The Richardson City Council has been meeting in secret to set the council's vision, mission, goals, strategies, and tactics for its two-year term. In my three previous dispatches, I barely scratched the surface of the substance of those talks (so blame me for being verbose). This time, I'll finally talk substance. (Maybe just a little anyway. The talks are ongoing.)

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Student Housing Nears the End Game

We've been following the long and winding road that one property owner has been walking in his attempt to get City of Richardson approval to build student housing just north of UT-Dallas. It's also just north of the soon-to-be-built DART Silver Line station. If there's any no-brainer zoning case I've seen in Richardson, it would be this one. I've heard the City brag about its commitment to DART and transit-oriented development, and its support of UT-Dallas. You'd think this project to provide private student housing near both DART and UT-Dallas would be a no-brainer for the City Plan Commission and the City Council as well. But so far, it's been less a no-brainer and more like no-way. Now, the quest is reaching its end game. The City Council will consider the request again September 27. 2021.

Friday, September 24, 2021

3rd Dispatch from the Chamber of Secrets

The Richardson City Council has been meeting in secret to set the council's vision, mission, goals, strategies, and tactics for its two-year term. In my two first dispatches, I covered the background of these meetings. This time, I'll finally get into the process the City Council is using to set its goals.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Selling Richardson a Biergarten

Richardson is getting two more drive-through restaurants, this time not on the east side, where a Salad And Go was recently approved, but on the west side. If the City Council approves, they'll go in Richardson Restaurant Park, the catalyst project for the redevelopment of the West Spring Valley Corridor, a planned development sold to the residents with slides of fancy mixed-use buildings and sidewalk cafes. But the developer says that restaurants with drive throughs saw increased business during the COVID-19 pandemic and he predicts that isn't ever going away. I guess cities built in walkable form are now just going to shrivel and die. At least the City Plan Commission bought the sales pitch. We'll see what the City Council says when the project goes there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

2nd Dispatch from the Chamber of Secrets

The Richardson City Council has been meeting in secret to set the council's vision, mission, goals, strategies, and tactics for its two-year term. There's no video. There are no minutes. There were three members of the public at the second meeting. As far as I can tell, my dispatches are all that's available about what went on in the second secret meeting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Dispatch from the Chamber of Secrets

On August 30, the Richardson City Council met in secret session to begin setting the council's vision, mission, goals, strategies, and tactics for its two-year term. I say secret because the announcement of the meeting, the site of the meeting, and the recording of the meeting (namely, none) all left something to be desired in the way of transparency. I reported all that in "Secret Richardson City Council Meeting". Since then, I have another complaint about the process to add. Here are the minutes of that meeting, in their entirety:

Council discussed the goals process and goals for the 2021-2023 Council term

On September 20, the council did it again. They continued their secret meeting in the same manner as before. Lucky for you, this time, I was there.

News of the World (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
News of the World (2020): Tom Hanks as ex-Civil War soldier in Texas tasked with returning a kidnapped orphan to her family. This is not a John Wayne Western. The "Injuns" aren't the bad guys. That's reserved for white characters. Texans are mostly unappealing, except Hanks. B-

P.S. The movie was filmed around Santa Fe, New Mexico, with its stereotypical movie Western scenery. It obviously wasn't filmed around Dallas, where it's supposedly set. And Erath County comes across as bigoted and dangerous. Whether the movie got that one right, I can't say. I avoid Erath County.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Cry Macho (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Cry Macho (2021): 91-yr-old Clint Eastwood casts himself as romantic lead against an actress half his age. He's a cowboy who breaks wild horses and is on the run from bad guys and the law in Mexico. There's a boy he's rescuing. And there's a rooster. For Eastwood fans only. C+

Friday, September 17, 2021

The New Pope (TV 2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
The New Pope (TV 2020): Sequel to The Young Pope. New pope is elected while old pope still lives. Political intrigues ensue. Even more surreal and provocative, even obscene and blasphemous at times. More arty than straight story-telling. Unique television. Not for everyone. B-

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Yet Another Drive-Thru in East Richardson

For those who want more eating options on the corner of Belt Line and Plano Rd, good news. The Richardson City Council approved the construction of a "Salad And Go." For those who don't care about sit-down dining, even greater news. The Council approved a form for the restaurant that allows for only drive-through service, with *two* menu boards and no parking. On the other hand...there's always another hand, isn't there?

POTD: Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Horus Over

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt. It illustrates a popular game among ancient Egyptians. Or something. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Modern Love - S02 (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Modern Love - S02 (TV 2021): Anthology series. Dramatizations of personal essays from NY Times about love stories. How people fall in and out of love. Story arcs are sometimes flat. Stories are watchable, even if afterwards, they are quickly forgotten. C+

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

POTD: History is Unwritten by the Victors

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt. It shows a detail of one of the countless carvings on the walls of the temple. Tourists usually take photos of the best preserved (or restored) artifacts, giving people who have never been to Egypt a false idea of the reality of ancient ruins. Besides the natural erosion of time, there's also much evidence of deliberate vandalism. A new dynasty wants to eliminate monuments to the old dynasty. A new religion wants to eliminate icons representing the old religion. And Egypt has seen many dynasties and many religions over the millennia. There's been plenty of time for people to deface the treasures bequeathed to them by those who came before. When this particular wall carving was defaced is lost to history, but it is not rare.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Counterpart - S01 (TV 2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
Counterpart-S01 (TV 2017): Spy thriller set in the present but with a Cold War feel. 30 years ago, the universe split into two with a gateway in Berlin. People in the parallel worlds must grapple with their doppelgangers. Actors get to play two versions of the same character. B-


Friday, September 10, 2021

TIL: Reparations

For years, there's been talk of reparations for slavery. The reactions fall into one of three categories:

  • It's about time!
  • Noble idea, but expensive. And impractical. Impossible.
  • Hell no. I never owned slaves.

I don't intend to litigate the issue here. Readers have probably heard the arguments and sided with one or another long ago. What I want to do here is mention something I learned. It's a perspective gained from Britain, which is doing some soul-searching of its own on the subject.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

POTD: Temple of Horus

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt.

The city of Edfu was known as Apollonopolis Magna in the Roman period, after the chief god Horus, who was identified as Apollo by some kind of magical decoder ring used by ancient Greeks. In any case, the temple was built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in about 100 BCE. It is one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt.

Don't get temple fatigue already. We still have Luxor and the Valley of the Kings to see.

P.S. Apollonopolis Magna would make a great name for a professional wrestler.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Rejecting TOD Adjacent to a Transit Station

When we last looked at that land north of UT-Dallas, I was ready to blame UT-Dallas for killing a proposal for more student housing. Last night, at the Richardson City Plan Commission meeting, UT-Dallas managed to keep their fingerprints off the body. So we have to take a closer look at other suspects. Hanlon's razor says, "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."

Amazing Grace (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Amazing Grace (2018): Documentary movie of Aretha Franklin's Gospel music concert from 1972. She was only 30 years old and at the top of her form. Watch it after 2021's Respect to better understand the context of the concert. Or just watch the Queen of Soul at her best. B-


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Respect (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Respect (2021): Biopic of Aretha Franklin. Broken family, strict father, abusive husband, personal demons that lead to overwork and alcohol. Aretha persists and becomes the Queen of Soul. Pedestrian start, but when it takes off, it soars. Jennifer Hudson does Aretha proud. B+

Monday, September 6, 2021

Cinderella (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Cinderella (2021): Modern spin on the classic fairytale with digs at society's sexism and even the role of the monarchy itself. Story-telling takes a back seat to the almost non-stop musical numbers, everything from Queen to Madonna to Salt-N-Pepa. Not original, but still fun. B-

Friday, September 3, 2021

Starstruck (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Starstruck (TV 2021): Romcom. Jessie, a struggling working woman in London, meets Tom, a movie star. Opposites attract. Instant chemistry. But she can't let herself be happy. Jessie is high maintenance. How you react to the series depends on your reaction to Rose Matafeo. B-

Thursday, September 2, 2021

POTD: Edfu Taxi of Sorts

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the the streets of Edfu, Egypt. It shows a popular way to get around, at least for tourists. I think the locals probably favor the tuktuks, the popular three-wheeled motorised mini-cabs. Notice the ribs of this poor horse. I didn't notice until after I got back home and had my film developed. (I exaggerate, but remember those days?) In any case, I didn't notice until we were back to the cruise ship from touring the ancient temple and noticed a crowd of locals gathered around one of these carriages. Apparently, its horse had collapsed and died. I'm not saying there isn't a role for horse-drawn carriages in the tourist industry in Egypt. I am saying that the government needs to tighten regulations so these horses are better fed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Random Thoughts: When Myth and History Merge

Tweets from August, 2021:
  • 2021-08-02: The Green Knight (2021): Adaptation of middle English Arthurian epic about Sir Gawain's quest. True to spirit of poem if not the details. A fantasy whose sets, lighting, pacing, and feel make the legends seem real and not just a CGI recreation. When myth and history merge. B+
  • 2021-08-04: Katla (TV 2021): Iceland. Volcanic eruption leads to strange things on a glacier. Dead people and clones come to life. What's going on? A sci-fi mystery and a study of loss and grief. It's bleak, gritty, and slow. In the end, it all comes together in a satisfactory resolution. B-
  • 2021-08-04: Review: Paved A Way: Freedman's Cemetery, Deep Ellum, Little Mexico, Tenth Street, Fair Park. The history of Dallas through highway development, urban renewal, and their destructive effects on communities of color. An essential read to know why the city is the way it is. B+
  • 2021-08-05: Palm Springs (2021): A bit of a nihilist (Andy Samberg) is trapped in a time loop. Then another guest at the wedding (Cristin Milioti) gets trapped. To surprise of both, romance blooms. Not original but it's fresh and fun. A worthy successor to Groundhog Day and Russian Doll. B+
  • 2021-08-05: Governor Andrew Cuomo's big political mistake was not being a Republican. If he were, he'd be a hero partying at Mar-a-Lago right now.

After the jump, more random thoughts.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

POTD: Commerce on the Nile

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Nile River. As our cruise ship motored north down the Nile, we noticed a small boat with two men positioned squarely in our path. As we got closer, the small boat made no effort to get out of the way. Our ship didn't veer from our course. It seemed a collision was certain.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Secret Richardson City Council Meeting

From Richardson's Aug 27 Week in Review: "The Council will not meet Monday, Sept. 6 due to the Labor Day holiday. The City Council next meets Monday, Sept. 13, beginning at 6 p.m. with a work session followed by a meeting at 7 p.m." It turns out that's not so.

The Chair (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Chair (TV 2021): Sandra Oh as new head of English dept of a struggling college. Season arc has promise, as it shows how small problems can escalate into crises no matter what you do. The last episode neatly resolves all the subplots. It should have let the arc play out. B-

Friday, August 27, 2021

Annette (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Annette (2021): Unlike any movie you'll see this year. A pop opera? A modern tragedy? Standup comedian falls in love with an opera star. One's career soars. The other's crashes. Love does too. Then there's their baby Annette. A modern Pinocchio? Adam Driver takes risky roles. B+

Thursday, August 26, 2021

POTD: Sailing Up the Nile

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Nile River. It shows a ferry or pleasure boat sailing up the Nile, passing us as we motored down the Nile. It was a captivating scene. That is all I know.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Prime Suspect (TV 1991)

Prime Suspect (TV 1991): UK. Helen Mirren stars as first female DCI in charge of a murder case. She faces blatant institutional sexism. A show centered on it was groundbreaking in 1991. I hope this shit isn't possible anymore. Otherwise, show is standard fare. Bad lighting. B+

#VeryTardyReview #Very

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

POTD: Water and Electricity

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the bank of the Nile River. They say Egypt is the gift of the Nile and these photos show why. From the air, the Nile is a strip of blue bordered by a strip of green, both placed in an endless expanse of sandy brown. The water brings life to the desert, but it brings something else, too. Fifty miles to the south is the Aswan Dam with its hydroelectric generators. The power lines carry electricity up the Nile, powering cities all the way to Cairo.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Monday, August 23, 2021

How a Tax Rate Cut is a Tax Hike

The Richardson City Council voted to approve the 2021-2022 budget, a one cent tax rate cut, and ratified a tax increase. You read that right. Residents will enjoy a tax rate cut but the City is forced to say it's a tax increase. I doubt one person in a hundred can explain that. Don't blame the confusion on the City. It's the State of Texas who all but guarantees everything is always a tax increase.

Reminiscence (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Reminiscence (2021): Sci-fi film noir. Blade Runner set in a future Miami that's under water. Hugh Jackman is a private investigator who can replay subjects' memories. Makes solving crime easy, unless you fall for the beautiful woman involved. Premise is better than movie. C-

Friday, August 20, 2021

Review: Tokyo Ueno Station

From Tokyo Ueno Station, by Yu Miri:

Open quote There’s that sound again. That sound— I hear it. But I don’t know if it’s in my ears or in my mind. I don’t know if it’s inside me or outside. I don’t know when it was or who it was either. Is that important? Was it? Who was it?" Tokyo Ueno Station

The reason the narrator is having trouble locating the source of the sound is because he's a ghost.