Wednesday, January 31, 2024

When the Creek Ran Red

Source: Richardson Today

Recently, a spill of detergent from a car wash into a tributary of Richardson's Cottonwood Creek turned the water red. The good news is that, according to the City of Richardson, "the spill has been successfully cleaned, and water quality tests show normal results."

My compliments to the City of Richardson for its reaction and its communications about this incident. My compliments also to Councilmember Dan Barrios for elaborating about the spill in his own Facebook posts.

Now, it's my own turn. I want to elaborate on something Barrios said.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Dumb Money (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Dumb Money (2023): Dramatization of the 2021 short squeeze by an army of Reddit users on the hedge funds who were shorting GameStop. Movie strives to make audience root for the little guys, but in the end, whose pockets all the money ends up in is a bit murky. Movie-wise, it's so-so. But it's a fun watch. B-

Monday, January 29, 2024

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Anatomy of a Fall (2023): French. Could be titled Anatomy of a Marriage. It was troubled, but enough to murder? Was it an accident instead, or suicide? A courtroom drama where there's not enough evidence to know, so the audience has to read people, which puts a premium on fine acting. This movie has that. A-

I do have niggling questions regarding French court trials. Are people allowed to interrupt testimony and give soliloquys repeatedly? Are prosecutors allowed to use more time explaining their theory of the crime than asking witnesses to testify as to the facts of the case?

Sunday, January 28, 2024

POTD: Go Lions

"Brisbane's pride shines bright.
A photo frozen in time:
Lions' hopeful start."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 24 Brisbane

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The "Lions" being cheered for by the skywriting (or "barracked" for, as this is Australia) are the Brisbane Lions of the Australian Football League (AFL). This photo was taken at the beginning of last season in March, 2023. It's old news now, but in September, 2023, the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood Magpies played before a capacity crowd of 100,024 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the AFL's Grand Final. It was a close match won by Collingwood 90-86. Here's hoping that America's Detroit Lions in the National Football League have a happier result in their own NFL Western Conference championship game this Sunday. Go Lions.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

POTD: Brisbane Skyline

"Nature and steel meet.
City's heart in river's bend.
Brisbane's beauty shines."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 24 Brisbane

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. That's the big bend of the Brisbane River in the foreground, the Botanic Gardens on the left, and the skyline of Brisbane's city centre in the background. Brisbane is a walkable, beautiful, vibrant city.

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Zone of Interest (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Zone of Interest (2023): German. Within earshot of the horrors of Auschwitz, the commandant's family go about a happy, normal German life. For Rudolph, running a death camp is just a logistical challenge. For Hedwig, life is good. Both are indifferent and insensitive to what's happening next door. Chilling and cautionary. B+

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Echo (TV 2024)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Echo (TV 2024): One of the better Marvel efforts. A deaf Choctaw woman whose super power is channeling the spirits of generations of female ancestors must deal with anger issues left by the sins of the man who raised her. There's still plenty of violence but this is more of a character study. B+

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Oscar Snubs

Source: DALL-E

The 2024 Oscar nominations, as always, snub some worthy movies. This year, however, only one movie that received an "A" grade from The Wheel didn't make the Oscar Best Picture list. More on that later.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

RISD and CoR Election Filings

Source: Texas Ethics Commission

The Richardson ISD will hold an election for Board of Trustees on May 4, 2024. Two seats are up for election: Single-member Place 1, currently held by Megan Timme, and At Large Place 7, currently held by Chris Poteet.

Chris Poteet is the only candidate who has filed to run, according to the RISD's elections filings page. Megan Timme's plans are unknown by me. No challenger has yet filed for either seat yet. Deadline to file is February 16, 2024.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Role Play (2024)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Role Play (2024): Kaley Cuoco plays a suburban mother who moonlights as a killer for hire, without her family's knowledge. Cuoco is unconvincing in the role, even more so when she is exposed and the movie turns into an action thriller. They should have tried a comedy. C+

Sunday, January 21, 2024

POTD: Carpaccio di Polpo

"Manfredi tempts with
Italian dishes sublime.
Next time, translate first."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 22 Newcastle

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken at sea aboard the cruise ship Viking Mars, sailing from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. They say you should travel and experience new places, people, and cuisines. That's how Ellen and I ended up in Manfredi's®, a specialty restaurant featuring Italian dishes, with an appetizer of Carpaccio di Polpo in front of Ellen. Who knew it translates to thinly sliced octopus served raw? We didn't. Did she eat it? You'll have to ask her.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

POTD: Riding the Wave

"Surfers carve the sea.
Newcastle's big waves dance high.
Kangaroos in flight."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 22 Newcastle

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Surfest in Newcastle "is the largest surfing festival in the southern hemisphere," according to its own marketing material. Our day in Newcastle happily coincided with the 2023 festival.

Friday, January 19, 2024

TIL: The Bestest Good News for our Times

Source: WIRED

Today's bestest good news: Today I Learned that so-called peak carbon emissions may be at hand, thanks to the growth of solar and wind power.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Rustin (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Rustin (2023): Biopic of Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the 250,000-person March on Washington in 1963. Highlights history as it's seldom told — while fighting racism, the civil rights movement had elements of sexism and homophobia within its own ranks. Colman Domingo is excellent. B+

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Blue Beetle (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Blue Beetle (2023): DC superhero movie. Teenager accidentally gets handed a package with an alien bot that gives him super powers. Rest of movie involves warding off villains who want to recover the bot. Some humor, some budding romance, lots of fighting but no guns. Biggest plus is the extended Latino family love. C-

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

A Murder at the End of the World (TV 2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

A Murder at the End of the World (TV 2023): Whodunnit set in Iceland. Billionaire who made fortune in AI invites 12 people to an isolated retreat when murders start. Tension rises as the host gets more controlling and a young hacker gets close to solving the murders. Emma Corrin is superb. B+

Monday, January 15, 2024

11° and Snow

11° and snow. This is what Dallas woke up to this morning. It's like Christmas morning. It's how we know the Packers were here and left a lump of coal in Jerry Jones's stocking and flew home to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

A bonus photo is after the jump.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

POTD: Farewell to Sydney

"Sydney fades away,
Beckoning us, "Come again."
Now, new ports await."

—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 03 20 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken from our cruise ship as we departed Sydney, Australia. You see a lot of ports on a cruise, but our stays were always too short. They say take a cruise to sample what you'll want to come back to explore at more leisure.

After the jump, another view.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

POTD: A "Funky High-Energy Area"

Neighborhood invites delight.
Darlinghurst's essence."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 20 Sydney

Today's photo-of-the-day was taken in Sydney, Australia. According to Google, "Inner-city Darlinghurst is a funky, high-energy area with cafes, sleek multicultural restaurants and intimate cocktail bars. Oxford Street, a centre of the city’s LGBT scene, has nightclubs that thump with music, plus stylishly restored pubs. Edgy shops on Crown Street sell records, offbeat fashion and vintage apparel. Art galleries, independent theatre companies and live music venues draw a young, chic crowd."

Friday, January 12, 2024

Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire (2023): Star Wars ripoff, with a motley assortment of rebels fighting a galactic empire. It even has light sabers and a bar full of weird aliens. What it lacks is the original's humor, cockiness, and rousing score by John Williams. C-

Thursday, January 11, 2024

A New Majority is Born in Richardson

2001: A Space Odyssey

At the January 8, 2023, Richardson City Council meeting, a property owner asked approval for a rezoning request (ZF 23-14) to convert an office building at 75 and Glenville into a five-story, multi-family apartment complex. On a slide titled "Items to Consider," City staff did everything they could to signal to the City Council that they could ignore the fact that apartments in that location are not consistent with the City's Comprehensive Plan.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

American Fiction (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

American Fiction (2023): Satire about a black author named Monk fighting a stereotype of what's considered authentically black. Subplots dealing with his mother, his brother, and a romance provide counterpoints to the plots Monk is asked to write about. Does Monk change? Does anyone? B+

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Little Mermaid (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Little Mermaid (2023): Probably unnecessary remake of 1989 animated favorite, with live action humans this time, at least their heads. The story is problematic. Is Ariel even old enough for Eric? And why does a prince fall for a girl who has no voice? For me, the songs were by far the best part. More of that, please. B-

Monday, January 8, 2024

The Color Purple (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Color Purple (2023): Worthy remake, inspired by 2005 stage musical, 1985 movie, and 1982 novel. This tale of overcoming poverty, racism, sexual discrimination, and family abuse needs retelling to each generation. For me, the musical numbers were the most uplifting; the discordant violence was the hardest to watch. A-

Sunday, January 7, 2024

POTD: No Water. No Life.

"Sydney Harbor's plea,
Hydrant's call to save decree,
Water's future, key."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 03 20 Sydney

This photo-of-the-day was taken in Sydney, Australia. Heed the hydrant: Save water. Save Earth.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

POTD: Sydney Harbor Bridge Up Close

"Great harbor's grand link,
Bridge climb etches memories,
Ants commune with heights."

—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 03 20 Sydney

This photo-of-the-day was taken in Sydney, Australia. The Sydney Harbor Bridge is not only a striking landmark visible from all angles of one of the world's great harbors, it also makes for a great climb. This photo shows people (or ants) enjoying a bridge climb.

After the jump, a more distant perspective of the bridge.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Lessons in Chemistry (TV 2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Lessons in Chemistry (TV 2023): A prematurely modern woman in the 1950s deals with sexism, grief, and her own ambition. Sets and clothing capture the period well. Scripts tend to have too modern a feel for the times. Brie Larson is fantastic. A-

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Fast X (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Fast X (2023): First time viewer of this aging franchise. It helps if you know the backstories, but probably not much. Lots of violence. A few contrived car races because that's its m.o. What I didn't expect was how important "family" is to this franchise. Jason Mamoa as the campy villain saves the movie. C+

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Poor Things (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Poor Things (2023): Emma Stone plays a 19th century woman who grows from naively childish to experienced and worldly. Surreal sets give this quirky black comedy a fantasy feel. The subject (to say nothing of the sexually explicit scenes) will provoke conversation, with many not "getting it" and many finding it distasteful. A-

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Expend4bles (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Expend4bles (2023): Sylvester Stallone leads a scruffy bunch of ex-military on a special ops mission to keep an arms dealer from getting a nuclear weapon. A buddy movie with lots of wise-cracking and lots of violence from a lot of retreads. Maybe for aging Rambo fans who never grew up. C-

Monday, January 1, 2024

Random Thoughts: I Can't Wait for the 12 Team Playoff


2023-12-03: Five schools have a strong argument. Only four can make the playoffs. I can't wait for the 12 team format that we should've had two decades ago.