Monday, May 31, 2021

POTD: A Perfect Fit

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

If the shoe fits, wear it. For two thousand years. Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Kom Ombo on the Nile River in Egypt.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Nevers (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Nevers (TV 2021): In Victorian London, Amalia runs a home for women, each "touched" with unique powers. Who or what is behind it all is the mystery. While Joss Whedon takes his time telling us, he pads with a large cast of villains, violence, sci-fi, and special effects. C-

Thursday, May 27, 2021

POTD: Ancient Egypt in Color

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Kom Ombo on the Nile River in Egypt. It shows what's left of a ceiling. What makes it striking to me are the colors. Although paintings in the ancient tombs often still show their original colors, it's rare to see colors this vivid on outdoor parts of temples. This ceiling was probably originally indoors, and I have no idea how many centuries ago the walls came down, but still, I find the 2,000 year-old colors stunning.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

POTD: Literacy Lost and Found

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Kom Ombo on the Nile River in Egypt. It shows a panel of hieroglyphs. It's unsettling to me to think that a great civilization once lost its ability to read and write. Its records were indecipherable for over a thousand years until modern linguists figured out the system. If a global calamity wiped out today's civilizations, what would archaeologists of the future (of whatever species or planetary origin) have to go on to decipher our written wisdom?

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Wheel's 2021 Election Runoff Voters Guide

Early voting is open for both the City of Richardson and the Richardson ISD's runoff elections. Early voting runs from May 24 - June 1. Election Day is June 5.

CoR has one place on the ballot, Place 6. RISD has one place on the ballot, At Large Place 7. All registered voters in CoR and RISD can vote in these elections, whether or not you voted in the May 1 election. (But you do have to be registered already. You can't register at the polls. That would be too easy. And, in Texas, making it too easy to vote is verboten.)

Here is how I'm voting.

Friday, May 21, 2021

POTD: Vanishing Point in the Nile

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Kom Ombo on the Nile River in Egypt. The perspective is down a roofless hallway in the 2,100 year-old temple. In the distance, beyond the palm tree, is the Nile River.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

WandaVision (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
WandaVision (TV 2021): Mashup of Marvel comics, the Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, and more. At heart is a woman learning to deal with grief. A refreshingly novel superhero movie that takes a while just to figure out it's a superhero movie. Novel, clever and captivating. B+

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

It's All About Housing

Real Housing Prices: LA vs Dallas

Texans are always comparing the state to California. I know because I live in Texas. I don't know if Californians compare their state to anyone else. One claim Texans always make is about how many Californians are moving to Texas. There's no doubt that the two states are on different trend lines. Texas is set to gain three Congressional seats in the 2020 census. California, for the first time ever, is set to lose one. What's behind this? Texans usually credit the lack of a state income tax or the light regulation on business. Paul Krugman, in his latest newsletter, points to another cause.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

POTD: Ancient Temple of Jenga?

From 2019 11 21 Kom Ombo and Edfu

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Kom Ombo on the Nile River in Egypt. Or maybe it's a giant's game of Jenga, just as it was left as it was being played 2,100 years ago.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Monday, May 17, 2021

This Is a Robbery (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
This Is a Robbery (TV 2021): 4-part doc about $500 million art heist from Boston museum. Biggest problem is lack of resolution, even 30 years on. Lots of repetition. Should have focused less on one robbery and more on inadequacies of museum security and police detective work. C+

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Marilyn Frederick Will "Fight Back Against the Radical Left's Agenda"

Marilyn Frederick will "fight back against the radical left's agenda." Those aren't my words. Those are the words from an endorsement that Marilyn Frederick herself posted to her campaign's Facebook page. The quote is from the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Allen West.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Hamilton (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Hamilton (2020): Original Broadway production, with a live theatre feel. The mostly black cast uses hip-hop music to teach history. Innovative storytelling that works brilliantly. Every high school American history class should see it. Do Lincoln next, Lin-Manuel Miranda. A+

Based on the Ron Chernow biography, previously reviewed in The Wheel.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

POTD: Portrait of an Egyptian Man

From 2019 11 20 Abu Simbel
Today's photo-of-the-day is of an unidentified Egyptian, taken on the ferry from the Temple of Philae on Agilkia Island back to the marina at Aswan.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

"Cruelty is the Greater Compassion"

Chico, California, is not Richardson, Texas. But recent events there have a lesson for us here. The story is in The Intercept. In 2018 the Camp Fire burned the neighboring town of Paradise to the ground. Residents of Chico welcomed thousands of evacuees, opening their homes and shelters and turning parks and even a Walmart parking lot into campgrounds, with the Chico residents donating tents and sleeping bags. But...there always has to be a but.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tenet (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Tenet (2020): Action thriller. Our hero stops WW III by keeping evil arms dealer from getting plutonium, but the threat isn't nuclear war, it's inverted time. Bad guys use, not time travel, but reverse time. Events happen backwards. Maybe it all makes sense, but I doubt it. C+

Monday, May 10, 2021

RPD is Eager to Move On

The Richardson Police Department is eager to move on. Not everyone. The rank and file still have a complaint they want investigated. Let's just say the City Manager, to whom the department reports, wants to move on. From what, you ask? Pull up a chair. This will take a while.

The nominal need to move on is that long-time Police Chief Jim Spivey is retiring at the end of May. So, in a Friday news dump, the City named Assistant Chief Gary Tittle as the new Police Chief effective June 1. But before we get distracted by the new chef, we have some other pots simmering on the stove to deal with.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Single-Member Districts in RISD are a Winner

The recent election for two Richardson ISD trustees completes the transition to a new election system that consists of five single-member districts and two at-large places. Or rather, the run-off election June 5 for the at-large Place 7 will complete the transition. And if there's anything that demonstrates the need for single-member districts it's the voting map for that at-large Place 7 election.

Dallas County Elections

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Exterminate All the Brutes (TV 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
Exterminate All the Brutes (TV 2021): 1,000 years of genocide, colonialism, slavery, extermination of indigenous peoples, and, yes, the Holocaust, told as a personal narrative by Raoul Peck. Sure to drive MAGA crowd crazy, but there's a lot of history that cannot be defended. B-

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

POTD: Trajan's Kiosk

From 2019 11 20 Abu Simbel
Today's photo-of-the-day is of Trajan's Kiosk on the island of Agilkia on the Nile River in southern Egypt. Its history is convoluted, as is much ancient history. It's attributed to the Roman Emperor Trajan (98-117 CE) because of his appearance on some reliefs, but the building is believed to be even older. It was built elsewhere, on the island of Philae, and served as the entrance to the Temple of Philae, which is nearby. The whole complex was moved to its current site to escape rising waters in the Nile River due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s. Even if history is not your thing, it's a beautiful work of architecture in any case.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021): Girl leaves for film school, glad to be away from embarrassing dad. On the way the family is attacked by army of robots. Lots of noise and violence, but it's robots getting blasted so I guess it's OK. Zero dead family, so happy ending. C-

Monday, May 3, 2021

Reaction to Local Elections

The City of Richardson's City Council elections are over (except for the run-offs). The Richardson ISD school board elections are over (except for the run-offs). The RISD bond approval elections are over. Some of the elections were over early in the evening. Some dragged late into the night. Some went as expected. Some offered surprises. After the jump, my verbose reactions to all of them.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Random Thoughts: Close to the End of the Pandemic

Tweets from April, 2021:
  • 2021-04-02: Using my metric, "we're getting close to the end of the pandemic." (link)
  • 2021-04-02: The Father (2020): Woman deals with her aging father. Characters come and go, scenes repeat, each time slightly differently, until you aren't sure if you are seeing reality or the world through the father's dementia. Deserved Oscar noms for Olivia Coleman and Anthony Hopkins. B+
  • 2021-04-02: It seems only right. Georgians are taking the state back to a time when baseball didn't yet exist.
  • 2021-04-03: Now 65+, another step closer to the end of the pandemic, by my metric. (link)
  • 2021-04-03: Great quote about Richardson Pearce's Drew Timme:

After the jump, more random thoughts.