Sunday, April 30, 2023

POTD: Goodbye to the Danube

From 2022 07 18 Budapest

Our last photo-of-the-day from the Danube River is a scene of Budapest at night. It shows the Hotel Gellért, which sits on the site of the Gellért Spa, a famous thermal spa that has been used for centuries. In the midground is the Szabadság Bridge, built in 1896 and reconstructed after it suffered heavy damage in World War II (like so much of Europe did). And in the foreground is one of the pleasure ships that offer rides on the beautiful Danube River through Budapest. This was our last night in Europe, having traveled over 700 miles on the Rhine, Main, and Danube Rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

POTD: Bálna Budapest

From 2022 07 18 Budapest

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Budapest, Hungary. It shows two of my favorite things. Public transport (a Budapest streetcar), and iconic architecture (Bálna Budapest). Bálna is Hungarian for Whale, which the architecture resembles. It's right on the banks of the Danube. It redevelops and extends an old industrial building on the Danube, repurposing it into a modern mix of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Everything old is new again in Budapest.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Shrinking a Neighborhood Park

There's a new page in town. The Richardson Independent Facebook Page. It's run by "Lauren Decker; a local, independent journalist residing right here in Richardson." In her first series of articles, she's publishing interviews with the eight contested candidates for Richardson Mayor and City Council. I highly recommend that you, first, read her interviews and, second, follow her page so you don't miss her future work.

One of Decker's questions was, "What is the responsibility of the city council when it comes to ensuring Richardson residents continue to have enough water?" Answers were very revealing about the candidates' attitude towards our neighborhood parks. Let's look at part of mayoral candidate Bob Dubey's answer.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

TIL: Gun Violence in the Deep South

Source: Nationhood Lab

Today I learned something about gun violence. I didn't expect there to be such a marked difference in the rates of gun violence between New York City and the Deep South. And I didn't expect the difference to be in New York City's favor.

What I learned: The death rate from gun violence "varies wildly between regions. Of the larger regions, the Deep South is the most deadly with a smoothed rate of 15.6 per 100,000 residents, followed by Greater Appalachia at 13.5. On the other end of the spectrum, New Netherland – the Dutch-founded area around New York City – has a smoothed rate of just 3.8 per 100,000, a rate less than a quarter that of the Deep South."

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Last of Us (TV 2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Last of Us (TV 2023): Joel and Ellie trek across country in quest to save dying world from pandemic. Story predates COVID-19, but exaggerated parallels are timely. Martial law, freedom-fighters, and zombies. Best part of the show isn't any of that, but the maturing of Ellie. B+

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Springs and Dubey File Corrected Finance Reports

Source: DALL-E

Stephen Springs and Bob Dubey filed corrected 30-day campaign finance reports. Spoiler alert: Stephen Springs's update eliminated my question about his. Bob Dubey's correction...didn't.

Monday, April 24, 2023

POTD: Sunset on the Danube

From 2022 07 16 Vienna

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the river Danube as it winds through Slovakia. Downstream from Bratislava, the Danube is dammed, creating a large reservoir. That's where this sunset was photographed. Say goodbye to the Danube. This was our last night sailing on the river. Tomorrow our cruise ends in Budapest.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Recap of City of Richardson Candidate Forum

Thursday evening, the League of Women Voters of Richardson, in conjunction with the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, hosted a forum for candidates for the City of Richardson Mayor and City Council at the Charles W Eisemann Center in Richardson. This is a recap of what was said and editorial opinion of what I think were good answers (and bad).

Saturday, April 22, 2023

POTD: Bratislava, Slovakia

From 2022 07 16 Vienna

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Bratislava, Slovakia. It's nothing special as far as photographs go, but it's proof we were in Slovakia. We keep track of countries we have visited together, and Slovakia is one more we can now check off, even if our cruise on the Danube didn't stop here. We didn't even get up from the table in the ship's dining room for a photo. (A curtain on the ship's window can be seen on the right.) Slovakia is on both sides of the river in Bratislava. So it counts. That's our story and we're sticking to it. Oh, by the way, that castle on the hilltop is Bratislava Castle. It dates to the 9th Century and was largely rebuilt between 1956 and 1964.

Friday, April 21, 2023

The Wheel's 2023 Voters Guide

Early voting for the 2023 local elections in Texas starts Monday, April 24. On the ballot will be Richardson ISD Board of Trustees, City of Richardson City Council and the City of Richardson Bond Proposition. Use to see your personalized ballot and to read how the candidates answered a questionnaire by the League of Women Voters of Richardson.

Here's the executive summary of The Wheel's recommendations:

For City of Richardson mayor, I recommend Janet DePuy.
For City of Richardson Place 1, I recommend Curtis Dorian.
For City of Richardson Place 3, I recommend Stephen Springs.
For City of Richardson Place 5, I recommend Todd Hunter.
City of Richardson Places 2, 4, and 6 are uncontested.

For City of Richardson Bond Proposition, I recommend a Yes.

For RISD District 3, I recommend Debbie Renteria.
For RISD Place 6, I recommend Eric Eager.
The other RISD Districts and Places are not up for election this year.

Read on for the reasons I make these recommendations.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Political Advertising — Rookie Mistake?

Is some person or persons violating Texas law pertaining to a mailer that some Richardson voters received this week? The answer might hinge on just how many people this advertising was sent to. Even if it turns out this advertising is legal, it can be considered a rookie mistake because it was so, so easy to prevent the question in the first place. But here we are...again.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Quick Recap of RISD Candidate Forum

The LWV of Richardson hosted a forum for the candidates for Richardson ISD school board Monday evening at the RISD Administration Building. All four candidates participated. For District 3, Bonnie Abadie and Debbie Renteria. For Place 6, Blake Sawyer and Eric Eager. Former Richardson mayor Steve Mitchell moderated. Nine questions were asked. Here's a quick recap.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Money Race for Richardson ISD

Source: DALL-E

Candidates file campaign finance reports 30 days before elections. For the Richardson ISD, that means all candidates for Board of Trustees have filed reports. In recent posts, I looked at the money races for Richardson mayor and the Richardson City Council. In this post, I'll focus on the two races in Richardson ISD.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Empire of Light (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Empire of Light (2022): Olivia Colman plays a quietly desperate manager of a cinema in 1980s Britain. Movie tackles racism, sexism, ageism, and mental illness, all too shallowly. In this "love letter to cinema," even the cinema gets lost. But Colman is always worth watching. B-

Sunday, April 16, 2023

POTD: Schönbrunn Palace

From 2022 07 16 Vienna

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Schönbrunn Palace the summer residence of the Habsburg rulers, just outside Vienna, Austria. The photo was deliberately chosen to pass on an important tourist tip: give yourself plenty of time to tour the palace. It's huge. You might tire out just walking across the courtyard at the entrance.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Looking for Leadership in a Mayor

Source: Dubey for Richardson

The mayor's race is heating up. The Dallas Morning News endorsed Janet DePuy. In its interview with her opponent, "[Bob] Dubey said Voelker’s 'micromanagement from the top down' has deterred some council members and residents from speaking at council meetings." Then, in a Facebook post, Dubey said, "I vow to show each city council person and city staff member respect and let their voices be heard." It all sounds good (if you ignore the disrespectful subtext Dubey himself shows towards Mayor Voelker), but what's really behind it?

POTD: Sacher Torte

From 2022 07 16 Vienna

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, Austria. I'll let Wikipedia explain what makes this place special.

Hotel Sacher is a five-star luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria, facing the Vienna State Opera in the city's central Innere Stadt district. It is famous for the specialty of the house, the Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot filling.
Source: Wikipedia.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Friday, April 14, 2023

The Money Race for City Council

Source: DALL-E

Candidates file campaign finance reports 30 days before elections. For the City of Richardson, that means all candidates in contested races for City Council, including mayor, have filed reports. In a recent post, I looked at the money race for mayor. In this post, I'll focus on the other City Council races. We'll look at the Richardson ISD later.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Following the Money 30 Days Out

Source: DALL-E

Candidates file campaign finance reports 30 days before elections. For the City of Richardson, that means candidates for City Council, including mayor, should have filed reports by now. In this post, I'll focus on the main draw on the card, the mayor's race between Bob Dubey and Janet DePuy. We'll look at the other races (and the Richardson ISD) later.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Living (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Living (2022): Bill Nighy, in an Oscar nominated role, plays a bureaucrat skilled at burying citizen petitions in red tape who gets a medical diagnosis that changes his life. A little story, quietly told. A heartwarming tear-jerker, in the best possible way. A Kurosawa remake. B+

Sunday, April 9, 2023

POTD: Hofburg Palace

From 2022 07 16 Vienna

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, the former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

POTD: Modern Vienna

From 2022 07 16 Vienna

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Vienna, Austria. It shows modern Vienna, maybe an unusual view of this major city of Europe better known for its rich history. Vienna was the site of a fortress built by the ancient Romans to guard the frontier against Germanic tribes. For five hundred years it was the seat of the Hapsburg emperors. That history has resulted in so many historic buildings and sites that the city center was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The Morning Show - S01 (TV 2019)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Morning Show - S01 (TV 2019): The #MeToo movement as it plays out on a network morning program. Some scheme to get their job back, some to hang onto theirs, some to get a promotion. Stories converge to a suspenseful finale. Already seems dated. It doesn't add much, but it's fascinating to watch. A-


Monday, April 3, 2023

POTD: Göttweig Abbey

From 2022 07 15 Melk and Gottweig

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Göttweig Abbey on the Danube River in Austria. Founded in the 11th Century, the abbey was rebuilt in Baroque style after a catastrophic fire in 1719. The photo shows the imperial staircase, the largest Baroque staircase in Austria.

After the jump, there is a photo of the organ in Gottweig Abbey church.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

POTD: Dürnstein Abbey and Castle

From 2022 07 15 Melk and Gottweig

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Dürnstein Abbey and Castle on the Danube River in Austria's Wachau region. There are many castles to see on this stretch of the Danube, but Dürnstein is a highlight of any tour. The castle ruins have a history almost anyone can relate to. I'll let Wikipedia tell the story of the castle.

Dürnstein was first mentioned in 1192 when, in the castle above the town, King Richard I of England [Richard the Lionheart] was held captive by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, after their dispute during the Third Crusade. Richard the Lionheart had offended Leopold the Virtuous by casting down his standard from the walls at the Battle of Acre, and the duke suspected that King Richard ordered the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat in Jerusalem. In consequence Pope Celestine III excommunicated Leopold for capturing a fellow crusader. The duke finally gave custody of the king to Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who imprisoned Richard at Trifels Castle.

Dürnstein Castle was almost completely destroyed by the troops of the Swedish Empire under Field Marshal Lennart Torstenson in 1645.

Source: Wikipedia.

After the jump, a photo of the abbey, with the castle ruins above.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Random Thoughts: "Lab leak" is the only logical explanation


2023-03-01: Headline: "'Havana syndrome' not caused by energy weapon or foreign adversary, intelligence review finds."
That leaves "lab leak" as the only logical explanation, say conspiracy theorists.

2023-03-03: Pet peeve time: When people are awarded something, they should be "grateful and honored," not "grateful and humbled." You'd think a school board trustee would know the difference.
OK, time to get back to our normal business of arguing whether it's crazy for a husband and wife to order the same entree in a restaurant.