Sunday, December 31, 2023

POTD: Farewell to Melbourne

"Melbourne left behind.
Waves carry echoes of time.
New beginnings bloom."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 17 Melbourne

This photo-of-the-day was taken at sea as we sailed away from Melbourne, Australia, in March, 2023. Today, on this last day of 2023, this photo is also called on to say farewell to the year, full of good memories and sad. Here's hoping for a Happy New Year to one and all!

Saturday, December 30, 2023

POTD: Tiddly Oggies

"Authentic allure,
Bustling spirit, markets soar,
Queen Vic, evermore."

—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 03 17 Melbourne

This photo-of-the-day was taken in Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia. "Queen Victoria Market is an authentic, bustling, inner-city market that has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for 140 years. Home to over 600 small businesses, it is a great place to discover fresh and specialty produce, hand-made and unique products, great coffee and food, souvenirs and clothing." It was an old, established market when I first visited it in 1974. It's still going strong today.

Oh, I leave it up to you to discover what a Tiddly Oggie is. I'll just say Queen Vic has them for sale.

A bonus photo is after the jump.

Friday, December 29, 2023

A Haunting in Venice (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

A Haunting in Venice (2023): A ghost story turns into a classic whodunnit set in an old house in Venice with a large cast of suspects. It's watchable enough but Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot has nothing new to offer. B-

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Mission Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1 (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Mission Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1 (2023): Lots of well done chases involving cars, motorcycles, trains, and speed flying. Plot, otoh, is silly, a hunt for a physical key that controls a super AI that can rule the world. No character development. Forgettable acting. But that's not why you go to an MI movie. B+

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Maestro (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Maestro (2023): Biopic of Leonard Bernstein, whose talent and private life are too big to be stuffed into two hours. The story is compressed, exhausting, and a little schizophrenic. A ten-hour TV mini-series might have been a better fit. Carey Mulligan as his wife grounds the man wonderfully. A-

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Housing: The Calm Before the Storm?

Source: Shoot2Sell in Frontburner

Many cities are facing the same problem: how to meet the demand for housing, both in absolute numbers and in affordability. Richardson is no exception. The solutions Richardson adopts, if any, will have to emerge from the "Envision Richardson" planning process now underway. But that's been quiet recently. Too quiet. When will the calm break? How fierce will be the storm?

Monday, December 25, 2023

POTD: Merry Christmas

"Modernist design,
Colorful stained glass panes line
Casablanca's shrine."

—h/t ChatGPT

This photo-of-the-day is taken in the Church of Notre Dame of Lourdes in Casablanca, Morocco. It shows one detail of the windows by stained glass artist Gabriel Loire.

May your home be filled with love and laughter, the spirit of giving, and the magic of believing. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2023

POTD: Street Art in Melbourne

"Prominent alley,
Melbourne's visual delight,
Jam-packed graffiti."

—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 03 17 Melbourne

This photo-of-the-day was taken in Hosier Lane in Melbourne, Australia. The laneway is a popular tourist destination because of its city-sponsored, graffiti-covered walls.

A bonus photo is after the jump.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

POTD: Olé, Mate?

"Unbefitting pose
In shadow of sacrifice.
War's memory lost."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 17 Melbourne

This photo-of-the-day was taken at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia, built to honor the sacrifice of men and women of the state of Victoria who served in World War I.

The man and woman in the photo are posing on the ceremonial pedestrian walkway in front of the Shrine. Why they are doing that, what significance it has, even what nationality they represent, are all mysteries to me. But they were photogenic, so I snapped a photo.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Plugging RISD's Budget Hole

Source: H/T DALL-E

At the Dec.14 regular meeting, [Richardson ISD] trustees received operating budget recommendations from the Community Budget Steering Committee, which has been meeting for six months to arrive at measures the district can consider to address a significant operating shortfall in the 2024-25 budget.

First, let me compliment RISD for creating a Community Budget Steering Committee. Inclusion of the community is important for a problem like this. Keep it up. Keep spreading the word to make future community committees ever more inclusive.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Council Recap: Listening to the Community

"Retail Electricity Provider Procurement." That's the dry title of agenda item 7 in the December 11, 2023, Richardson City Council meeting. Richardson contracts with a retail electricity provider to purchase and pay for electricity used for all facilities, parks, pools, streetlights and traffic signals. The City spends $3 million annually on electricity, so we're talking significant sums.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Roads Can't Have Too Many Lanes

Do you remember that old cereal commercial, the one where a rabbit kept being foiled in its attempt to get a kid's Trix cereal, and the announcer kept reminding him, "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids." Well, in this analogy, the rabbit is a pedestrian, roads are Trix, and the kids are cars. I know, it's kind of a stretch, but bear with me.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

POTD: Good Morning, Melbourne

"Cruise trip rearranged,
Melbourne's skyline beckons us,
No complaints, just joy."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 17 Melbourne

This photo-of-the-day was taken from our ship docked in Melbourne, Australia, my favorite city in the whole wide world. We were on a cruise, so we couldn't spend a few extra days here like we did the last time we were in Australia, but because of a mechanical problem with our ship, our itinerary was changed, giving us an extra night in Melbourne. There were no complaints from me.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

POTD: Say Goodbye to New Zealand

"Ship leaves Dunedin,
Tasman Sea's horizon calls,
Rainbow's hopeful arch."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 13 Dunedin

This photo-of-the-day is taken from our ship as we sailed out of the southern New Zealand port of Dunedin, headed for the Tasman Sea and Australia beyond. That lonely lighthouse was our last view of New Zealand. The rainbow ahead of us was a good omen.

Friday, December 15, 2023

El Conde (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

El Conde (2023): Chile. Dictator Augusto Pinochet is a 250-year-old vampire. Aging Pinochet wants to die, but can't. His wife wants to be bitten, but he won't oblige. The kids just want their inheritance. Satire/horror/historical fiction. Shot in haunting B&W. The scene with the flying nun is beautiful. B-

Thursday, December 14, 2023

A Reverie of Hot Vernor's Ginger Ale


Jim Schutze, retired Dallas journalist, still shakes his fist at the sky in Facebook posts. Yesterday's rant caught my attention.

I ordered two twelve packs of Vernon's ginger ale from WalMart.

They said they would send me Vernor's ginger ale. They sent me Canada Dry.

Canada Dry. For Vernor's ginger ale.

OMG. Is this how it is now? I think I'm about done here.

Source: Jim Schutze.

That triggered a long-ago memory.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Leave the World Behind (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Leave the World Behind (2023): Family on a "get away from it all" vacation finds themselves losing connection with the world: phones, TV, internet, GPS. Watch it not for the science but for the psychological study of people reacting to the same disaster in different ways at difference speeds. B+

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

May December (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

May December (2023): Actress researching a part meets with woman who had a baby with a 7th grader 24 years ago. They interact warily as the tension builds. The last 20 minutes is where stuff happens. Raises more questions than it answers. Good performances by Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton as the adult 7th grader. B-

Monday, December 11, 2023

Save the Ice House

An agenda item for the December 11, 2023, Richardson City Council meeting caught my eye. The City is on the verge of using eminent domain to acquire parts of two properties on Main Street across from the Police Department. One property is the address of the Ice House. The other is the address of Spice of Richardson, an Indian restaurant.

Source: City of Richardson

Sunday, December 10, 2023

POTD: Mural by Street Artist Roa

"Brushed by Belgian hands,
Roa's mural enlivens
Dunedin's artful core."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 13 Dunedin

This photo-of-the-day is from the city centre of Dunedin, New Zealand. It shows a mural painted by Belgian street artist Roa.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

POTD: Freddy Mercury on Queen Street

"Portrait on house sings.
Dunedin's mural on show.
Queen Street's quiet song."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 13 Dunedin

This photo-of-the-day is from Dunedin, New Zealand. It shows a mural painted on a house located on, appropriately, Queen Street.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Bodies (TV 2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Bodies (TV 2023): A sci-fi/mystery/thriller. A dead body appears in 4 eras (2023, 1941, 1893, and 2053), the very same dead body. As the season wears on, the stories come together, leading to a time-traveling, doomsday cult. Too many gaping plot holes and inconsistencies to recommend it, more than most time travel stories. D+

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Killer (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Killer (2023): David Fincher thriller. A hired assassin botches the kill. Now the race is on for him to kill those coming after him before they kill him. More than an action movie, it's a good character study, with Michael Fassbender playing the icy, analytical, emotionless killer. B-

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Gaza Comes to Richardson

Source: City of Richardson

The visitors' section was full. There was an overflow crowd. For ninety minutes Monday night, speaker after speaker came to the podium and made heartfelt pleas for the Richardson City Council to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and to take measures to address the rise of Islamophobia in America.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The Holdovers (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Holdovers (2023): Paul Giamatti as a cranky, unliked teacher thrown together with an unlikable student. Eventually, they bond. A nice, old-fashioned movie, literally. Set in 1970, made to look like it was made in 1970, it was inspired by a movie from the 1930s. It felt like I saw this movie before, maybe several times. Not that there's anything wrong with that. C+

Monday, December 4, 2023

How Parks are Named in Dallas

Source: DMN
Proposed Trinity River Park

Recently, the Richardson City Council got into what passes for a contentious exchange over the question of naming parks (or, at least, naming of bridges in parks). What it boils down to is that the lack of any policies in Richardson results in naming by whim — i.e., when someone on City Council gets a notion to name something after someone, and just mentions it at a Council meeting, and others on the Council agree it's a good idea, it happens. Just like that. I called it government by whim.

Our big neighbor to the south has a different practice.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

POTD: New Zealand's Other Sport

"Pitch meets petal's fall,
Cricket match by garden's edge,
Nature's green applause."

—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 03 11 Wellington

We were lucky to be in South Africa on October 28, 2023, the night that South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in a match played in Paris. All of South Africa tuned in and was elated with the victory. They had defeated New Zealand. I imagine spirits were crushed in New Zealand. I don't have any rugby photos to show from South Africa, or from New Zealand, for that matter. But New Zealand is not only good at rugby, they also are good at cricket. This photo-of-the-day was taken from New Zealand's Wellington Botanic Garden, looking next door to the cricket pitch, where a match was being played.

After the jump, a bonus photo from the Botanic Garden.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

POTD: Nature's Abstract Art

"Nature's artistry,
Wellington's garden reveals.
Ripples mesmerize."

—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 03 11 Wellington
From 2023 03 11 Wellington

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Wellington Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand. Ripples on the water make for ever-changing, mesmerizing abstract art.

After the jump, a bonus photo revealing the artist at work.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Random Thoughts: Over/Under for Rangers' 2024 ticket prices


2023-11-02: What's the over/under for how much Texas Rangers' ticket prices will jump next season?

2023-11-10: I just received an email from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson that begins, "Thank you for supporting the Republican Mayors Association (RMA), an organization I launched less than three weeks ago." The mayor of Dallas is officially a non-partisan office. Recently, Mayor Johnson announced he was switching political parties. Now he's turning the office partisan. I have no idea where he got the impression that I support the Republican Mayors Association. I definitely don't.