Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Mayor Pro Tem vs. The Coach

The City of Richardson has two candidates for mayor. They have different backgrounds. Their online campaigns emphasize those, illustrating the difficulty of reinventing yourself for electoral reasons. Instead, you try to put the best spin on the resume you have to work with.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Richardson Cares More about Celebrating History than Preserving It

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post ("The Ice House Goeth") giving the history of a little, neglected, unused commercial building on Richardson's Main Street in old downtown. I didn't stop at the history. I also advocated for the City of Richardson to do something to preserve this little bit of its history. I didn't hear from the City at the time. I still haven't, but this week the City of Richardson's Facebook page dedicated to posting history for the City's sesquicentennial celebration lifted my blog post without attribution. They included the history I had researched, but left out all of my advocacy for the City to preserve that history. I conclude the City is interested in celebrating its history, at least every 150 years, but is less interested in preserving the history they extol.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Shrinking (TV 2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Shrinking (TV 2023): Jason Segal plays a grieving therapist who has increasing trouble staying detached from his patients' issues. Harrison Ford plays the therapist mentor with his own problem with aging. Nice ensemble cast. A sitcom/drama with heart. B+

Sunday, March 26, 2023

POTD: Melk Abbey View

From 2022 07 15 Melk and Gottweig

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Melk Abbey in Austria. It doesn't show the historic abbey (dating to 1089) sitting high above the Danube River town of Melk, Austria. Instead it shows the magnificent view from the abbey.

After the jump, a bonus photo of Melk from the abbey.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

POTD: Schärding

From 2022 07 14 Passau and Scharding

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Scharding, Germany on the river Inn, which forms the border between Germany and Austria here. The photo was taken from the German shore. The building across the river is in Austria. The building dates to 1320, when it was built by Duke Heinrich of Bavaria as a castle to protect the bridge leading to Schärding. The castle was converted to a baroque palace in 1752. Today it's a school.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Book Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God

From Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale-Hurston:

Open quote
Their Eyes Were Watching God


  Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men."

Book Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God: 1937 novel by a too-long forgotten author who was a pioneer of Black, feminist, American stories. Here, she tells the growing maturity of a Black woman, using Black vernacular dialect that recalls Twain's Huck Finn. A-

After the jump, my full review.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Causeway (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Causeway (2022): That faraway look in Jennifer Lawrence's eyes is what this movie is all about. She plays a vet recovering from PTSD. Her plight is touching, but dead. The life in this movie comes from Brian Tyree Henry, who plays a man dealing with his own tragedy. Opposites in every other way, they bond. B+

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Company They Keep

"You shall know the person by the company he keeps." — Proverb

The City of Richardson has two candidates for mayor. If that proverb has any truth to it, it's sending a clear message to us today in those two candidates and the company they keep. It may not be everything, but it's not nothing either.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

POTD: Flowers on the River Inn

From 2022 07 14 Passau and Scharding

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Passau, Germany. It shows the banks of the river Inn. In the background is a cruise company's longship, similar to the Viking Gefjon that we were on. Passau is built on the pie wedge of land formed by the confluence of the river Inn with the river Danube.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

POTD: Sunset over Passau and the Danube

From 2022 07 14 Passau and Scharding

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Passau, Germany. It's sited where the river Danube is joined by the river Inn from the south and the river Ilz from the north. The skyline and river make for dramatic sunsets, good enough for two photos today.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

TIL: Le Wokisme

Source: Ben Hickey.

What can America learn from the French about identity politics? Google defines identity politics as "a tendency for people of a particular religion, ethnic group, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics." The Republican Party claims that describes the Left. The Democratic Party denies it, arguing that their party is not divided by identity but organized by an ideology of diversity, equity, and inclusion of persons of all religions, ethnic groups and social backgrounds. And Americans endlessly argue about it.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Poker Face (TV 2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Poker Face (TV 2023): Natasha Lyonne, with her superpower of being to detect when someone is lying, solves a crime a week that the audience sees committed up front. You know, just like Columbo. Throwback fun. Weakness is that superpower allows for lazy writing. B-

Sunday, March 12, 2023

POTD: Regensburg

From 2022 07 13 Regensburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Regensburg, Germany. Regensburg dates to Roman times. It was the site of a Roman fort at the northernmost point of the river Danube. Long story short, it's seen a lot of history.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

POTD: Regensburg's Stadtamhof

From 2022 07 13 Regensburg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Regensburg, Germany. It was taken on the island of Stadtamhof, which was once a separate village, but now serves as a entry point to the old walled city of Regensburg.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Wheel Award for Excellence in Motion Pictures

The Academy Awards will be given out Sunday, March 12, 2023. I've seen all the nominees for Best Picture. That means my opinion means something. Right?

I've ranked the movies in order of my preference for "Best Picture." The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science uses proportional ranked choice voting (RCV) to ensure that the winner has broad support throughout the Academy members. I wish US political elections used a similar system (or perhaps some form of proportional voting system). But that's for another post.

My personal ranked choice of the Oscar nominees is based on the grades I gave the movies immediately after seeing them. In case of ties, I ordered them by my judgment today. Note this is not my prediction of which movie will win, but how I would vote, had I a vote.

The envelope please. The winner of "The Wheel Award for Excellence in Motion Pictures" goes to...

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

How Much is a Big Orange Box Worth?

Source: City of Richardson

The City of Richardson has called for a bond election to raise $46 million to go toward replacing the Richardson City Hall, which has been vacant since it was damaged by fire in August, 2022. Using the numbers provided by the City, I put pencil to paper to see if I could get the City's figures to add up. Follow along with me.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Your Place or Mine (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Your Place or Mine (2023)): Best friends for 20 years get mad at each other. Is it the trigger for long-denied love? It's a rom-com, so you guess. Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher star in this formulaic fluff. The separate NY/LA story lines keep any chemical reaction from happening. C+

Sunday, March 5, 2023

POTD: Nuremberg's Hangman's Bridge

From 2022 07 12 Nuremberg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Nuremberg, Germany. It shows the Hangman's Bridge (Henkersteg) over the river Regnitz. Built in 1595, the wooden bridge connects the city to an island where the executioner for the city lived. It's strange how picturesque scenes can have gruesome history.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

POTD: Nuremberg, My Ancestral Homeland

From 2022 07 12 Nuremberg

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Nuremberg, Germany, a thousand-year-old city in Bavaria. With that history, it has many notable events to fill its Wikipedia page, but the one most personal to me is that my great grandfather lived in a town near Nuremberg before his emigration to America in 1892. I've told that story before ("Roots"). Now, I finally managed to get back to my ancestral roots.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

M3GAN (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

M3GAN (2023): Toy company rushes a robotic young girl to market before its programming is ready, and it's only a matter of time before the killing starts. More sci-fi than horror, it's safe for young teens, but there's nothing original for adults. Frankenstein did it better. C+

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Random Thoughts: As Officers Beat Tyre Nichols...


2023-02-01: Irony: "As Officers Beat Tyre Nichols, a Crime-Prevention Camera Watched Over Them."

2023-02-01: "If football fans are far and away the most TV-destructive sports fans, then Cowboy fans are far and away the most TV-destructive football fans. In a way, this makes sense: No team has combined a sense of entitlement to victory with a consistent failure to achieve it in quite the way Dallas has over the past 25 years."

He's not wrong.

2023-02-01: The best of neighborhood Facebook:
"I did see several kids sliding down hills on the golf course. They have been reported to Oncor. Thanks!"
(posted on a snow day that closed schools in Texas)

2023-02-03: Judging by when I saw the announcements, Richardson ISD led Dallas ISD and Plano ISD in calling off school on Friday due to several factors related to this week's ice storm. RISD, always a step ahead!