Saturday, April 20, 2024

POTD: Ronda's Plaza de Toros

"Plaza de Toros,
Bullfighting's historic ring,
Hemingway's retreat."


—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 09 11 Ronda

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Ronda, Spain.

"The city of Ronda is home to the Real Maestranza de Caballería, the oldest and most noble order of horsemanship in Spain since 1485."

The Plaza de toros de Ronda is claimed to be the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain.

"American artists Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles spent many summers in Ronda as part-time residents of Ronda's old-town quarter called La Ciudad. Both wrote about Ronda's beauty and famous bullfighting traditions."

A bonus photo is after the jump.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

What Has Stefani Carter Been Up To


Ringing Opening Bell on NYSE (Stefani Carter on left)

You may remember Stefani Carter. The former Texas state representative for parts of Richardson, swept into office in the 2010 tea party wave. The ambitious politician who attempted to climb to statewide office (Texas Railroad Commission) in 2014 only to discover that the moneyed interests had other candidates in mind. Who then scrambled back to her legislative race in north Texas but lost her seat when even GOP voters abandoned her in the primary for Linda Koop. The last time we checked in on her was in 2020. What has Stefani Carter been up to since?

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The New Look (TV 2024)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The New Look (TV 2024): Biopic of Christian Dior (and Coco Chanel). Don't be fooled. It's less about the "new look" of fashion than it is about navigating the dangerous politics of Paris during and after the Nazi occupation of WWII. What makes one a collaborator? Oh, and how much of the story is real? B-

Apple TV+

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Council Recap: Missing Middle Housing

Source: h/t DALL-E

Part 2 of the April 8, 2024, Richardson City Council meeting. See Part 1 here: "Council Recap: Placetypes".

The City Council received a briefing from consultants on progress on updating the City's Comprehensive Plan. The "Key Policy Areas" presented were placetypes, missing middle housing, and vision for reinvestment areas. Upcoming public engagement opportunities will allow the public to comment on the consultants' recommendations. Here I will report on the City Council's own feedback on missing middle housing and the vision for reinvestment areas, as expressed in the City Council meeting.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Council Recap: Placetypes

Source: h/t DALL-E

On April 8, 2024, the Richardson City Council received a briefing from consultants on progress on updating the City's Comprehensive Plan. The "Key Policy Areas" presented were placetypes, missing middle housing, and vision for reinvestment areas. Upcoming public engagement opportunities will allow the public to comment on the consultants' recommendations. Here I will report on the City Council's own feedback on placetypes, as expressed in the City Council meeting.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

POTD: Ronda, You Look So Fine

"Perched on cliff's edge high,
Ronda's beauty spans the sky,
River far below."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 09 11 Ronda

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Ronda, Spain. "Ronda is known for its cliffside location and a deep canyon that carries the Guadalevín River."

Saturday, April 13, 2024

POTD: Toro de Osborne

"Osborne's black bull reigns
On Spanish roads, silent guard,
Cultural icon."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 09 10 Cordoba

Today's photo-of-the-day is of a highway billboard, the Osborne bull, "a black silhouetted image of a bull in semi-profile...As of July 2022 there are 92 of them installed on hilltops and along roadways throughout much of Spain", as tall as 46 ft. Their history is a fascinating example of bureaucracy at work. Created in 1955 for an advertising campaign, the bulls grew on people and became the symbol of the company, and eventually, the nation. When a 1962 roadside beautification law outlawed billboards within 20 meters of the roadway, the bulls were moved back and enlarged. When a 1974 law banned billboards within 50 meters of roadways, the bulls moved again. A 1994 law targeted the bulls yet again, threatening their removal altogether. This time, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that the bulls could remain, as they had "aesthetic or cultural significance."

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

2024 Eclipse Mini Road Trip

Source: Amir Omar
The Diamond Ring. Photo by Amir Omar.

We made a mini road trip to see the 2024 total eclipse of the Sun. This despite our backyard being smack dab in the path of totality. For a week leading up to the eclipse, we anxiously checked the weather forecasts. They were stubbornly pessimistic, predicting rain for the day of the eclipse. But...the National Weather Service said the odds of seeing the eclipse were better the farther northeast of Dallas you were. So, to improve our chances, we planned to drive 100 miles to Paris, Texas, on the morning of the eclipse, then check the forecast and local conditions and decide what to do from there. And so we did.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Wish (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Wish (2023): Disney homage to its own history. Animation and story feel like something from the vault. Not even the music is fresh. The moral—surrendering your dreams for security is a bad exchange—gets lost in a traditional story about an evil villain. C+

Disney+

Monday, April 8, 2024

Charter Review in Dallas

Source: City of Dallas

The City of Richardson is due for a Charter Review this year. It's a once-in-a-decade process. Likely, a Charter Review Commission will be formed, including members of the public. It's not too soon for members of the public to start doing homework to ensure the public interest is served. A good place to start looking is at the city to our south. A Dallas Charter Review Commission is in process of gathering and winnowing recommendations for charter amendments for that city. The Dallas Morning News has an update on its progress.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

POTD: Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

"Great Mosque encircles
Cathedral nestled within,
Unity in stone."


—h/t ChatGPT
From 2023 09 10 Cordoba

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, officially known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, but due to its status as a former mosque, it is also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba. Not to take sides, but it's the architecture of the mosque that is impressive here. The cathedral was built inside of the mosque and, big as it is, is completely encircled by the sprawling mosque. Little appreciated fact: Jesus lived his whole life without ever stepping foot inside either a mosque or a cathedral.

A bonus photo of the cathedral inside the mosque is after the jump.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

POTD: Royal Alcázar of Seville

"Through centuries past,
Alcázar's splendor endures,
A timeless fortress."

—h/t ChatGPT

From 2023 09 09 Seville

Today's photo-of-the-day is of the Royal Alcázar of Seville, "a historic royal palace in Seville, Spain. It was formerly the site of the Islamic-era citadel of the city, begun in the 10th century and then developed into a larger palace complex by the Abbadid dynasty (11th century) and the Almohads (12th to early 13th centuries). After the Castilian conquest of the city in 1248, the site was progressively rebuilt and replaced by new palaces and gardens." Is it a fort, a castle, a citadel, a palace, a city? Yes. It's a sprawling maze of delights.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Priscilla (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Priscilla (2023): Biopic of the Presleys together. She was an innocent child. He was a spoiled man-child. She loved him. He loved himself. Movie doesn't do either's reputation any good. Neither has enough depth to keep audience's interest for 90 minutes. B-

Max

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Death and Other Details (TV 2024)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Death and Other Details (TV 2024): Cruise ship full of rich people. Someone is murdered. A whodunnit that morphs into...what? A terrorist revenge action thriller? Mandy Patinkin and Violett Beane are good enough, but the rest play unlikable stereotypes. There are too many crimes to solve here, all tangled up in a convoluted plot. B-

Hulu

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

ACFR: "There's No Fraud"

Source: DALL-E

For city finance wonks, Christmas comes twice a year: once in August when the City's budget is set and again when the City's annual comprehensive financial audit (ACFR) is published. The budget specifies the city's cash flow (its planned revenues and expenses). The financial audit details the city's assets (the value of city property, bank accounts, etc.) and its liabilities (outstanding debt, pension obligations, etc.).

Monday, April 1, 2024

Random Thoughts: Herd Stupidity

Mastodon

2024-03-03: Column: "As measles spreads, 'herd stupidity' grips Florida's government."
Pretty much. Conservative government is harmful to public health. Add that warning to others: Conservative government is harmful to democracy. Conservative government is harmful to the climate. How about just the catch-all warning: "Conservative government is harmful."
sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/colu...