Saturday, April 30, 2022

RISD Eight Day Finance Reports Tell a Story

From: source unknown

Campaign finance reports are available for review on the Richardson ISD website under "Election Filings". Earlier, I reviewed reports from the first three months of 2022. Now, eight days out from the election, reports for the last month are available. The new reports tell much the same story as the earlier ones, but with a few interesting updates that caught my eye.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Let's Talk: Graphic Sex in Novels

Source: What Girls are Made Of, by Elana K. Arnold.

During the public comment section of the April 11, 2022, Richardson ISD school board meeting, one speaker raised a concern about a book she says is in the school libraries of Berkner High School, Richardson High School, and Richardson West Junior High School. After warning audience members that they might want to leave the room, she read a long passage from the book. Or maybe it just seemed long. It was explicit. It was embarrassing.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Northman (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Northman (2022): Based on Viking myth. Amleth seeks to avenge death of his father by his uncle. Sound familiar? Substitute Hamlet and you know the key plot points. Full of savagery, blood and gore. Authentic looking throughout, but I never got invested in the characters. B-

The closest movie I can think of that has a similar look and feel, although it's an entirely different period and story, is 2019's The Lighthouse, also directed by Robert Eggers. These movies tend to make an impression that sticks with you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

WAIW: "To Those Who Exercise It"

Where Am I Wednesday!

Fifty points to the first person to locate this photo.

The answer is after the jump.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Let's Talk: Seven Dirty Words

Source: Lost in the Sun, by Lisa Graff.

During the public comment section of the April 11, 2022, Richardson ISD school board meeting, one speaker raised a concern about a book her third grade daughter found in her school library.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Want RISD Elections to be Nonpartisan? Say Something.

Call out political parties who insist on turning our local elections into partisan affairs.

You know how I feel about keeping local city and school elections nonpartisan. I have always wanted state and national political parties to stay out of local elections. I have called out both Democrats and Republicans when I feel they are crossing the line.

Let's Talk: Lawsuits

Source: Adam Maida / The Atlantic.

During the public comment section of the April 11, 2022, Richardson ISD school board meeting, one speaker raised a concern about how a complaint they submitted is being handled.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Somebody Somewhere (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
Somebody Somewhere (TV 2022): Breakout hit for Bridget Everett. Sitcom about a woman in a midlife crisis who returns home to Manhattan, Kansas. Show doesn't make the residents there the butt of the jokes. Instead, it's sweet, sensitive, and real. And sometimes funny, too. B+

Saturday, April 23, 2022

All the Old Knives (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
All the Old Knives (2022): Spy thriller that lacks thrills. No gun fights, no car chases, no explosions. Still, it offers a satisfying, if implausible, mystery as Chris Pine searches for the mole inside the CIA and suspects his old flame, Thandiwe Newton. C+

Friday, April 22, 2022

CRT, Book Bans and Me: Annotated

Wilshire Baptist Church hosted a panel discussion April 19 on "CRT, Book Bans and Me." It was moderated by George Mason, senior pastor. Panelists were Rev. Charlie Johnson, Founder & ED for Pastors for Texas Children, Casey Boland, US History Teacher at LHHS, and Dr. Jeannie Stone, Richardson ISD Superintendent 2017-2021. After listening to too many members of the public excoriate school leaders at too many school board meetings, for me this panel discussion was like a welcome palate cleanser. It was like, as George Mason put it, "a return to the old days of civility."

You can read a straight news story about the discussion in Baptist News Global. Or watch a replay of the whole panel discussion. All I intend to do here is randomly annotate a few of the panelists' comments with thoughts that occurred to me as I listened.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022): An Asian-American woman with a strained family life and a failing laundromat has a midlife crisis. Then at an IRS audit she gets sucked into the multiverse. Another problem or her salvation? Weird, wonderful and an hour too long. B-

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WAIW: Stop and Smell the Roses


Where Am I Wednesday!

Stop and Smell the Roses.

Fifty points to the first person to locate this photo. Answer will be given on Thursday.

Blocked on Twitter

I didn't use the candidates' responsiveness to voters' questions and feedback as a factor in The Wheel's 2022 Voters Guide. But if I had...

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Wheel's 2022 Voters Guide

Early voting for the 2022 Richardson ISD school board election starts Monday, April 25. So, too, for the Dallas College school board election, a new field for The Wheel to cover. RISD is electing trustees in three single-member districts (if you don't live in one of those districts, no RISD race will be on your ballot). Dallas College is electing trustees in two single-member districts, one of which includes [most of] RISD. Use Vote411.org to see your personalized ballot and to read how the candidates answered a questionnaire by the League of Women Voters.

There are some great candidates running. There are also some who are a risk to equity/diversity/inclusion, to social-emotional learning, to anti-racism policies, to prudent public health measures, and ultimately to effective education, which can't happen without supporting a safe and healthy environment for learning the three Rs. Use The Wheel's Voters Guide to learn one person's opinion about which candidates are which.

Monday, April 18, 2022

POTD: Temple of Hatshepsut

From 2019 11 22 Valley of the Kings

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Hatshepsut on the west bank of the Nile River opposite Luxor, Egypt. Hatshepsut (c. 1507—1458 BCE) was one of the few female pharaohs of ancient Egypt, ruling the country for twenty years. The architecture of this mortuary temple is unlike any other ancient building in Egypt, to my knowledge. It's as impressive from afar as it is from up close.

Friday, April 15, 2022

POTD: Hatshepsut's Modern Girls

From 2019 11 22 Valley of the Kings

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Temple of Hatshepsut on the west bank of the Nile River opposite Luxor, Egypt. Hatshepsut (c. 1507—1458 BCE) was one of the few female pharaohs of ancient Egypt, ruling the country for twenty years. Egypt was never known as being particularly welcome to female rulers. I don't know how much the young women in this photo appreciate the accomplishments of Hatshepsut, but I hope they are inspired to lead Egypt in the 21st Century.

P.S. That's "L" in the middle, wearing her favorite "camel" pants, equally at home in the Temple of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut and with a group of modern girls.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Let's Talk: Teacher Salary Compression

Source: TASB.

During the public comment section of the April 11, 2022, Richardson ISD school board meeting, one speaker raised a concern about teacher salary compression.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Despite TOMA's Gag, Let's Talk

Source: TOMA Handbook.

The Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) is one of the laws that sounds good in principle, but the devil is in the details. Let's talk about how TOMA gags school boards, and then some simple steps school boards can take to better achieve TOMA's stated aims.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Yellowstone - S01 (TV 2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Yellowstone - S01 (TV 2018): Soap opera on a scenic ranch in Montana. Aging patriarch. Four rebelling children, all really just wanting to please daddy. King Lear on the frontier? I wish. A grab bag of plot predicaments, clich├ęd dialog, and one-note acting. Pretty scenery. D+

#VeryTardyReview

Monday, April 11, 2022

Judging Candidates by the Company They Keep

"Tell me the company you keep, and I will tell you what you are." — Miguel Cervantes

A political faction is active in the Richardson ISD school board election. They are raising money through a political action committee and are campaigning with candidates in a coordinated fashion. That faction is the Richardson ISD Families First PAC. The candidates are Sherry Clemens (RISD District 2 candidate) and Jan Stell (RISD District 5 candidate). Oh, and they are all palling around with a certain "viral comedian."

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Following the Money in RISD Campaigns

From: source unknown

Campaign finance reports are available for review on the Richardson ISD website under "Election Filings". The reports cover only the last few months. 2021 contributions aren't included. Obviously, future contributions between now and Election Day aren't included. Here are my observations from a cursory look at these partial reports.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Peacemaker (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
Peacemaker (TV 2022): Superhero comedy. John Cena from Suicide Squad saves Earth from an alien invasion of body-snatching butterflies. Mostly silly, stupid behavior that always implausibly works out in the end. Best part might be the title sequence's TikTok dance. C+

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Short-Term Rentals Are Getting Regulated, a Little

Source: Airbnb.

Complaints about Airbnb, Vrbo, etc., aren't new. On Monday, the Richardson City Council reviewed options for regulating short-term rental properties in Richardson. Why did it take so long? The wheels of government turn slowly, but the wheels are turning. That might not result in the strong actions some might hope for or expect.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Tourist (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Tourist (TV 2022): After a car accident, a man wakes up in the Australian outback with amnesia. As he pieces his life back together, the more he learns, the less he likes. Just the right mix of mystery and thriller...and burrito. LSD does too much of the storytelling. B+

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Apollo 10 1/2 (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
Apollo 10 1/2 (2022): Richard Linklater's animated look back at his childhood near the Johnson Space Center during the moon landing. No plot; mostly nostalgic references to a kid's life in the 1960s (TV, games, technology, school, food). Baby Boomers should love it. C+

Monday, April 4, 2022

The Bubble (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Bubble (2022): Judd Apatow comedy about making a movie in a pandemic quarantine. The bubble's isolation eventually cracks everyone. Pokes fun at actors, directors, producers, social media influencers, (crew escapes unscathed), all with characters immediately forgettable. C-

Saturday, April 2, 2022

POTD: The Sentinels

The Sentinels, by Carolyn Chilton Casas

How the trees have grown
around us,
with a surplus of winter
and spring rains.
...
The trees form a sacred den,
shelter us from external elemental ravages.
Sentinels of sentient existence,
wise keepers cradling
my spirit in their limbs.

Source: The Sentinels.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Random Thoughts: Gov. Greg Abbott Hates Kids

Tweets from March, 2022:
  • 2022-03-01: Gov. Greg Abbott hates kids.
  • 2022-03-03: Email from Trump: "While the Radical Left and Lamestream Media are working overtime to turn the Nation against me, it's important that you know that I've never cared what they think. I only care what you think, Friend." How do I tell him that I think the same?
  • 2022-03-03: The Kings Man (2021): A prequel no one needed. WWI fan fiction. British aristocratic spy puts himself in the center of every important event of WWI. Really bad history. Over the top, but not in a knowing, wink-wink way. Probably baffling to many. A waste of time. C-
  • 2022-03-04: The Courier (2021): Cold War spy movie. Benedict Cumberbatch is a businessman recruited to smuggle secrets out of USSR. Game gets riskier as his friendship with a Russian spy grows. Not a James Bond action movie. Instead it's based on real life, meaning the stakes are real. B+
  • 2022-03-05: We have at least one candidate for Richardson ISD school board trustee running on that claim.

After the jump, more random thoughts.