Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Bad Sisters (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Bad Sisters (TV 2022): Series opens with funeral of unloved husband of one of five sisters who all have motives to kill him. Flashbacks fill in the story. Irish black comedy. Absurdities abound, but the seriousness of sisterhood is at its core. Starts slow but finishes strong. B+

Monday, January 30, 2023

She Said (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

She Said (2022): An important film about the investigation that kicked off the "Me Too" movement. Dogged reporters track down the story. Unlike Watergate, they know from the start what they're after. They just need to convince the women to talk. Slow and talky start leads to fast and emotional climax. B+

Sunday, January 29, 2023

POTD: Miltenberg Alter Marktplatz

From 2022 07 09 Miltenberg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Miltenberg, Germany. It shows the town's old market square, featuring a fountain created in 1583 by the sculptor Michael Junker from red sandstone. Which by the look of things, today makes a nice place for American tourists to sit and relax.

Closeup after the jump.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Addams Family at BHS (2023)

The Addams Family (2023): Berkner High School theater players slay in a creepy, kooky performance that is definitely not "normal." Even the fire department had a part in the fun.

POTD: Complete Street in Miltenberg

From 2022 07 09 Miltenberg

Today's photo-of-the-day shows a complete street from the medieval town of Miltenberg, Germany. There are pedestians, bicycles, shops, restaurants and residences. In the Middle Ages complete streets were called "streets." American tourists love them in Miltenberg. A lack of imagination prevents them from being used more at home.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Has Scientific Progress Stalled?

Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Simple answer, no. We're actually on a precipice of world-changing benefits from basic scientific research.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Oscar Snubs

The 2023 Oscar nominations, as always, snub some worthy movies. Before these movies that are unloved by Oscar are forgotten forever, here are ones that The Wheel recommends catching wherever they are streaming. I'm sometimes accused of being a tough grader but these movies all received an "A-" grade by The Wheel, better than the grades given to six of the films nominated by the Academy.

The snubs are after the jump.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Whale (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Whale (2022): Morbidly obese teacher tries to reconnect with his bitter daughter. Like a stage play with a small cast, all excellent. Brendan Fraser deserves an Oscar nom. At times sad, uplifting, raw, it frustrates as it clearly and successfully plays on our emotions. B+

Monday, January 23, 2023

What Would It Take to Not Get Promoted at RPD?

The Richardson Police Department heralded a promotion in the ranks for new Sgt. Parker Winn. He is described as being a Police Training Officer, member of SWAT, and part of the RPD Crisis Intervention Team. If the name Parker Winn doesn't sound familiar to you, maybe the name Neco Bonham will.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

POTD: Guntram's Malerarche

From 2022 07 09 Miltenberg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Miltenberg, Germany. It shows an art studio and shop, with the artist himself standing in the doorway.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Candidates for CoR and RISD

As of early January 20, 2023, here's the state of play for the elections for City of Richardson City Council and Richardson ISD Board of Trustees. The last day to file for a place on the ballot is February 17.

Friday, January 20, 2023

White Noise (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

White Noise (2022): A black comedy. Mashup of a disaster movie, a family vacation road trip, and a look at prescription drugs for anxiety harming a family. It's bloated. Worse, its performances are wooden, like first table reads. My advice? Read the novel. Back in 1984. C-

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Extended Stay Hotel or Apartments

Source: Candy's Dirt.

What's in a name? Extended stay hotel, apartment hotel, serviced apartments, suite hotel, or just plain old apartments? What's the difference? Length of stay? Well, I guess, but only if you count averages. "The Falls Church, Virginia Marriott’s longest extended stay guest was a 79-year-old woman named Joy Bricker who resided at the hotel for more than 10 years."

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

WAIW: Will Alter to Suit

Where Am I Wednesday!

Fifty points to the first person to identify where this photo was taken.

Answer is after the jump.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The English (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The English (TV 2022): English woman (Emily Blunt) teams up with a Pawnee scout (Chaske Spencer) on a quest for revenge in the Old West. Beautifully shot Western that reverses the stereotypes. Not always easy to follow but each scene is visually and dramatically compelling. B+

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Profit Motive is the Best

The profit motive is the best. The profit motive is the worst. Hear me out. It's a simple argument. And it's important.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

POTD: Miltenberg Bicycle

From 2022 07 09 Miltenberg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Miltenberg, Germany. It shows a bicycle at the front door of a house. That is all. A moment of Zen in the sudden rush of an election campaign a world away.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Richardson's Next Mayor: Alan North???

Thursday, Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker announced he wouldn't seek re-election. That started a cascade of decisions by other candidates. Council member Bob Dubey (Place 1) announced he would run for Mayor. That will open his Place 1 seat. No one has yet announced interest in running for that seat.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Musical Chairs in Richardson Politics

As of yesterday morning, the City of Richardson had seven City Council members up for re-election, none with any opposition. Snooze. By nightfall, we had the mayor's seat open up and up to three individual seats that all just might see new occupants when the electoral game of musical chairs is over and done with.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Fleishman is in Trouble (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Fleishman is in Trouble (TV 2022): Autopsy of a failed marriage. Lots of talking. NY doctor and their two children are abandoned by his ex-wife without a word. Is she dead? Lots of blaming and whining. Story takes a turn halfway through. True to the novel, if not quite as good. B-

Read The Wheel's review of the novel: Fleishman is in Trouble.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Who's Running? Who's Not?

Source: Town of Ayer, Massachusetts.

Local elections in Texas will be held May 6. For me, that means City Council for the City of Richardson and Board of Trustees for the Richardson ISD. Like it or not, another election cycle is underway. Candidate information packets have been available for a week now. Applications for a place on the ballot can be filed as soon as January 18. So, who is likely to run?

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Wednesday (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Wednesday (TV 2022): Wednesday Addams at boarding school for "outcasts." Show lacks charm of 1960s TV show which was the interaction of the creepy, kooky family with their normal neighbors. Instead we get a trite mystery/horror story about a monster in the woods. LGBTQ subtext, if there even is one, is botched. C-

Monday, January 9, 2023

Babylon (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Babylon (2022): Saying this is a remake of "Singin' in the Rain" isn't exactly wrong. It's an over-the-top depiction of debauched parties in Hollywood's silent film era. When the talkies come (an eternity into this too-long film), things turn really black. Margot Robbie is fantastic. Brad Pitt, not. B-

Sunday, January 8, 2023

POTD: Ehrenfels Castle

From 2022 07 08 Braubach and Rhine

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany. It's a view of another castle. It's for those who felt shortchanged by my last POTD showing nothing but a vineyard. Some people say that sailing the Rhine River is an ABC tour, where ABC stands for "Another Bloody Castle." Sometimes it seems that way, except when the castles are broken up by a medieval cathedral and the ABC becomes "Another Bloody Cathedral." But this is the last castle pic I'll show (I think). If you haven't had enough, click on the link under the photo to see them all.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

POTD: Row Orientation of Vineyards

From 2022 07 08 Braubach and Rhine

Today's photo-of-the-day is from a vineyard in Germany along the Rhine River. According to Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project, "Contour plowing follows the contours of hills and slopes, rather than orienting crop rows up and down a slope. It is a technique that was popularized during the New Deal and afterwards in response to soil erosion. Contour plowing furrows run crosswise to the slope, slowing runoff and allowing the soil to absorb rainfall rather than wash away."

Friday, January 6, 2023

Harry & Meghan (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Harry & Meghan (2022): Six part documentary, mostly in their own words to their own benefit. Little news here, but overall, a smart, polished, effective PR effort. Biggest villains, in order: paparazzi, British tabloids, royals' press teams, other royals. The system is rotten. B+

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022): The plot is hard to explain, and I tried watching this twice. (I admit I dozed off each time, so maybe that's on me.) Maybe plot details are beside the point. All the actors are having so much fun, starting with Daniel Craig and his hilarious accent. C+

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Moonshot (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Moonshot (2022): Not really sci-fi and definitely not about a moonshot (try Mars), this is a standard rom-com aimed at teens. Walt stows away with Sophie as she goes to Mars to rejoin a boyfriend. Forgettable adventuresa with a predicable outcome awaits. C+

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2022): Stop-motion/live-action hybrid about, well, a shell with shoes on who happens to live in an AirBnB with a human who's filming a documentary about Marcel and his quest to find his family of other shells. Original, sweet, family-friendly. B+

Monday, January 2, 2023

Jurassic World Dominion (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Jurassic World Dominion (2022): Same old dinosaurs, now with elements of James Bond, Mission Impossible, and Indiana Jones action movies as well. It just goes on and on and doesn't have a story arc that reaches a satisfactory end, although just that it ended was satisfaction. D+

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Random Thoughts: I Just Migrated to Mastodon


2022-11-23: I just migrated from one Mastodon server to another. Unknown to me when I did this, my old posts did not migrate. I only lost a few posts, so it's no big deal, but, I'm starting fresh (again).

2022-11-23: Mastodon's decentralized, distributed server system is good. It helps ensure against a failure of the whole system. But if migration of one's post history from one server to another isn't possible, then one big benefit of the distributed system is lost.

2022-11-29: We are enjoying unusually good fall colors here in Richardson, Texas...and beautiful weather for at least a day or so.

2022-11-30: Periodic reminder: Confederate Heroes Day is still a state holiday in Texas.

2022-12-02: The fact that even Texas state legislators are asked to sign NDAs in order to get access to information about the Uvalde shootings shows how broken our government's willingness to share information is.

2022-12-04: It's long past time for Jerry Jones to step away from the Dallas Cowboys. His era, 1957, which he has never adequately stepped away from, is long gone.

2022-12-05: On the Richardson City Council agenda is an item to review the city's social media launch for its Convention and Visitors Bureau. I find it ironic that the City wants to promote a Visitors Bureau so soon after passing an ordinance to discourage short term rentals.

2022-12-07: If the Georgia run-off taught us one thing, it's that R’s need to focus on candidate quality. Like maybe not think of wanting to run someone whose namesake company has been convicted of 17 counts of felony tax fraud.

2022-12-07: "Volodymyr Zelensky" (sic) is TIME's POYY (sic).

2022-12-08: Headline: "WNBA star Brittney Griner released from Russian prison in a high-profile prisoner swap."
Thanks, Joe.

2022-12-08: Finally, something both Dems and GOP can celebrate.
Dems thankful for an American released.
GOP for a Russian.

2022-12-09: According to RISD policy "Access to challenged material shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process."
If, as a poster elsewhere alleges, the district has begun pulling books from shelves and classroom libraries for "review"" in response to parents' complaints, then the RISD is violating their own policy. This seems like an allegation that needs to be answered.

2022-12-13: Tornado watch in effect for most of North Texas. Nothing says winter in Texas like tornadoes. With climate change, tornado season is now pretty much from January to December. [/snark]

2022-12-13: Despite today's exciting news, when will fusion energy be cost-effective? That's still decades away. Why? It's because we're not serious about investing in it. The US invests $700 million/year on fusion research. Sounds like a lot. But compare that to the current cost of a single SLS/Orion moon rocket of $4.1 billion per launch. Then tell me which investment we're serious about.

2022-12-15: I've been told by a good source inside the district that, this year, they know of only one book that has been removed from RISD inventory for failure to meet district criteria. Something is going on, but it doesn't appear to be exactly what's being alleged.

2022-12-15: I drove by a street corner in Dallas yesterday where a grizzled old man was standing on the corner with a cardboard sign that read: "Lost my job as a stripper. Need $$$ for glitter."

2022-12-15: One case where the actor's name seems better suited for a sci-fi character than the name the fiction writers actually gave him: Diego Luna as Cassian Andor.

2022-12-16: I'm at a Christmas concert and they have the music program online. It's great. I can have my phone out and my eyes glued to the screen and everyone thinks I'm following along.

2022-12-16: I keep seeing stories about "Twitter Files this" and "Twitter Files that." Each time I expect it to be "Twitter Files Bankruptcy".

2022-12-21: CNN: "Zelensky on his way to Washington in US military jet to meet Biden as war with Russia enters new phase."
Wait. What? I saw nothing wrong with reporting Elon Musk's whereabouts, but if there is one person who needs privacy while in the air, it's Zelensky.

POTD: Gutenfels Castle

From 2022 07 08 Braubach and Rhine

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Kaub, Germany. It's a view of three of the scenes most common along this stretch of the Rhine: river-hugging towns below, castles above (in this case, Gutenfels Castle), and vineyards in between. We found no pattern in whether the vines were planted in rows parallel to the river or perpendicular up the hillside from the river (as in this photo).