Sunday, May 31, 2009
"That is the best pitching performance by an individual pitcher in the 41 years that I've coached. Austin Wood did unbelievable. I've seen some great pitching performances against us, and I've seen some great pitching performances for us. But none have been any more courageous or better than the one Austin Wood put together tonight."
A little side note: Garrido coached California State-Fullerton to the 1984 College World Series title, beating Texas in the championship game. The year before, Garrido saw Texas win the World Series and the pitcher in that final game victory was a kid named Roger Clements.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
But I'm still going with Orlando to win the East and I'm picking them to wrap it up tonight. Orlando just looks better than Cleveland. Look, if it wasn't for that dramatic LaBron James three-pointer with a second left, Orlando would have swept this series. And James is not going to continue to get the favorable calls from the refs he has been getting (i.e., when James stumbled over his own two feet in Game 4 and, instead of calling him for traveling, the ref called a foul on Orlando that resulted in James hitting a pair of free throws that sent the game into overtime). Of course, Michael Jordan proved that refs usually will give star players more leeway.
The only thing Cleveland really has going for it is the fact I'm picking Orlando.
Friday, May 29, 2009
"If you commit crimes against our citizens we will follow you and prosecute you. And no matter whether you are famous or wealthy, you will stand trial."
Notice he didn't say "you will be brought to justice," because his office has a poor track record when it comes to meting out justice for celebrities (see O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake). And even this time it took his office a couple bites at the apple before they could swallow -- Spector's first trial ended with the jury deadlocked 10-2 for conviction.
According to the AP story on the sentencing, Spector's child bride (pictured top right) said "I've lost my husband, my best friend. I feel that a grave injustice has been done and from this day forward I'm going to dedicate myself to proving my husband's innocence." Sure. Fine. Whatever. She'll undoubtedly join Simpson who would be searching high and low for the real murderers of his wife and her friend if he wasn't doing hard time himself for an unrelated crime. What do you think the over/under is in weeks before she files?
Of course she has other options. She might get a nifty sum by selling the Alhambra mansion but then she might turn it into a ghoulish museum. She could even conduct the tours hereself:
"And over here you can see the original blood spatter patterns caused when the bullet smashed through Lana's skull. And in this room you can see footage of Lana's most famous film, Barbarian Queen. Then we'll proceed to the master bedroom -- the room Phil was unable to coax Lana into -- even though Phil's first big hit record, To Know Him Is To Love Him, is piped constantly through the sound system. Because of the times I spent with Phil right here in this room I can personally vouch for the fact that he never lost that lovin' feeling."
Yup. I smell a real money-maker there. She can apply the proceeds to the Simpson-Spector Defense Fund or perhaps some Lakers season tickets.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
But the telling paragraph in this story is the last one: "Richardson school officials said they had received three complaints about the placement of the song." Three? THREE? To me, that's caving in to a small bigoted minority and the Richardson schools should be ashamed of themselves for apologizing.
- Wednesday, June 3, Cedar Crest Golf Course Clubhouse, 1800 Sutherland Ave.
- Tuesday, June 9, Goodwill Industries, 3020 N. Westmoreland
- Monday, June 22, Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northhaven Road
- Thursday, June 25, Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake, 950 E. Lawther Drive
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Another time I found a package deal on the BA Web site -- one week in London and one week in Paris for $600 a person. That price included all air fares and hotel costs. My son and I spent our first week in London and just as we were ready to check out of the hotel and take the train out to Heathrow, British Airways called to inform us that firemen were on strike in Paris (some outfit is always on strike in France.) Since firemen had to be on duty at the airport, that presented a problem. The airline said there were a number of possibilities -- our flight could takeoff and land as scheduled, it could be delayed or it could be cancelled. The caller gave us two options: (1) We could head to Heathrow and take our chances or (2) our tickets would be honored on Eurostar, the high-speed rail from London to Paris. I immediately chose option No. 2.
A couple of years earlier I had taken that same rail the other way, from Paris to London and I knew the benefits. The actual trip -- from hotel to hotel -- took much less time by rail than it did by air, mainly because of the time saved traveling from downtown to the far-flung airports in both cities. Plus, on the train, it was much easier to get out of your seat and walk around and, of course, the scenes out the window were far superior.
On the French side of the channel, the train reached speeds of almost 200 miles an hour. A couple of days after arriving in Paris, my son and I were standing on line waiting to get into the Louvre and we struck up a conversation with a French couple from Calais. They had driven to Paris and told us that they were driving close to 100 miles an hour on the main motorway when the Eurostar sped past them "as though we were standing still." (The picture above left shows the Eurostar arriving in the London station.)
I mention all this because, unless you have spent time enjoying rail travel, perhaps it's difficult to realize all the benefits it can bring. And perhaps it's because the dunces in the Texas Legislature have never enjoyed riding in anything but a Ford pickup, they are acting like idiots while discussing transportation options for the state, options they are making sure don't include rail.
While a group of farsighted North Central Texans (a phrase I once considered an oxymoron), tried to fashion legislation (albeit terribly misguided legislation) that would have funded about 200 miles of additional rail lines in the area, the Texas Legislature has decided that 25 percent of the money raised by this plan must go to schools and the other 75 percent can only be spent on highways and bridges.
This entire mess reminds me of the campaign used to convince Dallas-area voters to approve a .5 cent sales tax hike to fund the construction of rail in Dallas, what we now know as DART. The campaign was based on the notion that approval of this sales tax would decrease highway congestion in the area. Even then I thought that was the wrong argument and today we see traffic problems are worse than they were when this sales tax proposal was suggested.
But the real reason I thought that was a stupid argument was because of the "why." Why would someone be so interested in reducing traffic congestion. The only answer possible was so it would make it easier for that person to drive around town. In other words, they weren't going to be pried from their pickup truck. It's that same 200-years-behind-the-times attitude that still exists in this state.
It will still take elections to pass what the Legislature is considering -- a 10-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax increase to fund all this highway construction. I will do whatever I can (which is probably not all that much) to defeat such a proposal since I have gone on record many times as opposing any transportation option that does not include a rail component.
I must also add that I am crushed by the white-flag waving comments made by people like Rowlett Mayor John Harper who was quoted as saying "I suppose 'half a loaf' is better than none." (No, it isn't, John) and Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, who said his staff would waste little time crying over the lost opportunity for rail -- they'd quickly follow with a list of road projects that counties could place before voters as soon as 2010.
That's the kind of cowardly leadership that will forever condemn Texas to remain 100 years behind the times.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
But it isn't. First, we already have "Voter ID" laws in Texas. In order to vote you must show a voter registration certificate or, if you don't have that with you, a driver's license, a government-issued utility bill, a passport, etc.
The bill the Texas House is considering is a "Voter Suppression" bill designed specifically to make sure Republicans maintain control of Texas politics. Republicans argue that the bill is needed to prevent voter fraud. The problem is there is not one shred of evidence that the fraud Republicans talk about actually exists. According to the Commission on Federal Election Reform, "there is no evidence of extensive fraud in U.S. elections or of multiple voting."
This legislation, in reality is a concerted effort to disenfranchise those groups that have traditionally been marginalized and blocked from practicing their full rights as citizens of the United States of America. According to the National Journal, "it's not the mainstream majority of voters who are at risk here. It's the smaller percentage of Americans who are on the electorate's margins -- students, the elderly, low-income voters, African Americans, non-English-speaking residents -- who disproportionately tend to lack photo IDs. The same group is more likely to lack proof of citizenship such as passports and birth certificates. " These groups also tend to vote Democratic and one report estimates that this bill will mean a clear let loss of between 150,000 and 500,000 votes for Democratic candidates in Texas.
That's why this is a Voter Suppression, not a Voter ID, bill.
Berman claims he is not a one-issue candidate but there is clearly only one issue he cares about and that is all those dang illegal immigrants living here. He wants to do something about them, although he doesn't say what except "to enforce the laws we already have on the books."
That means Berman will try to appeal to the same far right of the Republican Party that Gov. Hair is courting, which may help Sen. Hutchison, who is telling folks she will probably announce her candidacy sometime in the fall.
Let's be honest here. That's not the reason he's dropping out. The real reason can be found later in the story after Jeffers said the others still in race are civil lawyer Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Schools president Larry Duncan and incumbent Jim Foster. The key sentence in Jeffers's story is "Most top Democratic officials have abandoned Foster's reelection bid in favor of Jenkins."
Coats dropped out because he saw he wasn't going to get the support he needed to be successful.
Monday, May 25, 2009
New In Town (2009) * The comedy is flat, the romance is listless, the pacing is sluggish, and the fish-out-of-water flops. The laughs and emotional moments are so weak that director Jonas Elmer has no choice but to tweak them with music cues and bland guitar-rock. Watching Ms. Zellweger’s joyless performance, you have to wonder what happened to this formerly charming actress who not so long ago seemed on the verge of becoming a softer, more vulnerable Shirley MacLaine.
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2008) **½ Very little actually happens in this film, since most of the time Mr. Shi sits alone in his divorced daughter's empty apartment, wondering how to help her. But there's a gentle beauty in these long, anguished silences, and director Wayne Wang and his actors make the most of it.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The first briefing the committee will hear involves concessions at Love Field, which is really becoming an ugly mess. On the one hand, you have the city staff which is arguing a perfectly sensible plan to increase the number of concessionaires at Love Field to give patrons more choices and to boost business. However, the two outfits that currently operate all the concessions at Love Field now are minority owned and minority council members want to protect them. As a result, they have put themselves in the position of fighting against the best interests of Love Field and those who use the airport. The first hearing on this last month was not pretty to witness because of its blatant racism and I don't expect this one to be any better.
After that, the committee takes up the tricky issue of booting cars on private parking lots. According to the fourth slide of this briefing, "There has been a rise in complaints from patrons
of pay parking lots and businesses near these lots regarding the use of vehicle immobilization
devices; without state or local regulation, there is an increased opportunity for fraudulent and
predatory practices that negatively impact the public."
The problem appears to be that many of these parking lots don't provide receipts. Users are supposed to stick money in slots that correspond to the spaces in which they parked. If there is no money in the slots when collectors come, then the cars are immobilized and it costs about $100 to free them. Patrons are blaming the restaurants closest to the parking lots and swearing they will never patronize them again. This is especially prevalent in Deep Ellum. (Some are claiming these payment devices lots are being looted by thieves.)
There seems to be a simple solution to all this -- install electronic payment devices that print out receipts. Parking lot owners claim this is too expensive an option. Well, I'll tell you what to do, parking lot owners -- raise your rates to pay for them. I would gladly pay a higher parking fee for the comfort of knowing that my car will not be booted or towed, even though I paid to park in your lot.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
In spite of LaBron James last second heroics to win Game 2, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be heading to Orlando only tied 1-1 and without the home court advantage. The way the Magic have played Cleveland, I can see the boys from Florida going back to Cleveland up 3-1 with the series all but locked up. Cleveland, obviously, has the best player on the court in these games, but Orlando seems to have the better overall team. And don't forget, Orlando won the regular season series with the Cavaliers.
The same thing is true out West where the Lakers have shown the world they are the taller team, but Denver has shown the world it is the better team. If it wasn't for some absolutely horrific foul shooting in Game 1, the Nuggets would actually be up 2-0, not tied 1-1, and headed for an amazing sweep of L.A. The Lakers' only hope of pulling out a game in Denver is if Sasha Vujacic missed the Lakers flight or if he's denied entry into the team's locker room. And I hate to say it but, even though he has made some spectacular crucial three's, Derek Fisher has been, overall, an offensive liability for the Lakers. I also think Nuggets coach George Karl is the smartest, craftiest coach still in the playoffs.
So based on what I've seen the first four games of these conference finals, I think it's going to be the Denver Nuggets vs. the Orlando Magic in the NBA finals.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
- The University of Houston maintains a charter elementary school for children of faculty members and others who live near the area. Guns will be allowed in this elementary school.
- But Texans want their kiddos exposed to guns younger than elementary school. That's why the Senate refused to exempt pre-schools located on college campuses.
- Ever been the to Cactus Cafe on the UT-Austin campus? Great place. At least it used to be. This bill supersedes existing laws prohibiting guns in bars. Alcohol + guns = trouble. Always has. Always will.
- We don't allow guns in stand-alone hospitals in Texas, but with this Senate bill you'll be able to tote your concealed handgun inside the Health Services center on the UT campus.
- On-campus mental health centers will allow people to carry concealed handguns inside. That really ought to help those with suicidal tendencies being treated there.
- The chemistry labs at the University of Texas at Dallas prohibit food, drinks, cigarettes, short sleeves, shorts and sandals because of the dangers of the chemicals being used. However, they won't be able to prohibit guns. Does that make sense?
I challenge anyone to approach any college professor and ask him or her if he or she will feel safer under this law. How will that professor feel when a student approaches asking for a grade change or permission to turn in an assignment late, knowing that student just might be carrying a concealed handgun?
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
That's right. Zero. Nada. Not one of those "insiders" thinks our guv has any kind of future outside the state of Texas (five of them think Gov. Palin still has a bright political future). In case you're interested, the top four finishers were:
- (in spite of his State of the Union response) Bobby Jindal of Louisiana ("He has brains, ideas, talent, and youth. Plus, he's an ethnic minority. He's just what the doctor ordered to bring us out of the wilderness.");
- Harley Barbour of Mississippi ("The incompetence of [Republican National Committee Chairman Michael] Steele makes Haley the real party leader in 2010.");
- Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota ("If the GOP is ever going to broaden its appeal, it's going to have to look outside the South. Pawlenty is the real deal -- mainstream conservative principles, minus the fright wig."); and
- Charlie Crist of Florida, who is apparently abandoning the governor's mansion for a run at the U.S. Senate ("The antithesis of the Ann Coulter-Limbaugh model Republican. This is the fault line the GOP must confront, and Crist will be one of the primary voices in this debate.")
- Tim Kaine of Virginia ("Kaine has helped turn a red state blue and is well positioned to move eventually to a prominent Cabinet position in the Obama administration.");
- Brian Schweitzer of Montana ("He is pro-green, pro-God, and pro-gun. He appeals to the future without abandoning traditional values.")
- Jennifer Granholm of Michigan ("A smart, strong, charismatic governor in a hard-hit state, she has the capability of serving her country in a number of different roles."); and
- Martin O'Malley of Maryland ("Young, smart, with it.")
Monday, May 18, 2009
Rob ("Chicago") Marshall directs this musical based on Federico Fellini's "8½," with a cast that includes Daniel Day Lewis and his harum -- Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren and Judi Dench. It's supposed to open around Thanksgiving and I can't help thinking we'll be hearing a lot about this one next Oscar season.
My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009) ** Wooden performances by forgettable, generic actors — just like in the original — don’t aid in making things any less leaden. Perhaps this is the best one can hope for from something like My Bloody Valentine 3-D, that it be just good enough to not be annoying. Or in this specific case, physically painful.
Outlander (2009) *½ By taking nonsense seriously Outlander never achieves camp. It’s a comic book that’s mistaken itself for scripture. Not helped by a wooden performance from Jim Caviezel as a humanoid alien who accidentally imports a real alien to eighth-century Earth.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) *½ A tossed-off comedy from Adam Sandler’s production company that makes one long for the comparative genius of I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. Perfectly inoffensive and almost entirely unfunny, this film is more of a numbing experience than a painful one. Great comics from Jerry Lewis to Peter Sellers have turned pathetic into comedic. But Kevin James never seems to able to get beyond pathetic.
Valkyrie (2008) **½ A film more concerned with "how" than "why" or "who," it would have benefited from more scrutiny and complexity. Still, once the bomb goes off, the thrills come in spades.
Yonkers Joe (2009) ** For all its attention to detail, this film isn’t half as tough as it pretends to be. The real story of these bottom-feeders and the sad young man they exploit is a lot uglier than the movie even begins to let on. Christine Lahti, however, burns through a thinly written role with a surprising level of warmth and humanity.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Being a die-hard Texas Longhorn, there's not much about OU that I'm willing to recognize. However, I do join all Sooners and all sports/jazz fans in general in mourning the death of one of the university's greatest athletes and later jazz musician, Wayman Tisdale, who died this morning in Tulsa of cancer, proving once again that Billy Joel was right when he sang "Only the good die young."
"A young woman who stripped naked two years ago, dived in front of a car in downtown Plano, then stabbed a woman who got out to help her was found not guilty of aggravated assault Thursday by reason of insanity."
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I thought about all that when I read this story today in the New York Times about two women, Kay Rene Qualls and DeeAnn Shafer, who were the only two children born on May 3, 1953, at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, Ore., and then were sent home with each other's parents.
The only time these two persons were ever in close proximity was in the maternity ward of Pioneer Memorial. Then they went their separate ways, each believing, I guess, they were being raised by their biological parents.
The tragedy here, at least to me, is that the parents of both women are now dead. Neither one will ever know their real parents, will be denied even the faintest memory of their real mother and father. I wish my father had lived longer -- I believe I have done some things in my life that he would have been proud of. I would have loved it if he had known his grandson. But at least I have my memories and those are precious enough.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Today McCracken announced he was withdrawing from the race "in the best interests of Austin." He said a runoff "would have required an unprecedented fundraising effort that, in this economy, would have put an additional burden on my supporters. The cost of the election itself would have been expensive to taxpayers." (It is estimated that McCracken's withdrawal saves the city $700,000 in election-related expenses.)
I could have cared less whether Leffingwell or McCracken won the election (although I was elated that former Austin mayor and Texas State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn finished behind the top two with 21.43 percent). But I do applaud McCracken for doing the right thing for all the right reasons.
Back where I come from, these payday lenders were known as "loan sharks" and they operated behind other businesses such as candy stores, repair shops, etc. They are featured prominently in almost every gangster movie. Remember Rocky Balboa was an enforcer for a loan shark in the original "Rocky." That's the sort of element the LHAIA is talking about here.
In its e-mail plea, the LHAIA said:
"We believe these payday lenders attract an unsavory element and prey on those least able to help themselves, and with current economic distress, we are worried that they will continue to increase in our community, making it less appealing to restaurants and other quality retailers we would like to attract."
I have a couple thoughts about that. For one thing, Lake Highlands has been trying to attract "restaurants and other quality retailers" for as long as I can remember without much success. From what I've heard, the spending power is just not there -- similar to the problems in making businesses like this work in the Casa Linda area. I'm thinking maybe these payday lenders could put additional money into circulation that might attract retailers and create more sales tax revenues. But I'm not an economist.
It also makes me uneasy when people say "Sure, we want new business in here, but only the types of business we approve of." Folks, we live in a free country and those freedoms need to be extended to everyone, whether you agree with their line of work or not. What these businesses do may be unsavory, but it's not illegal. I could probably make a good deal of money and improve the shopping center at Audelia and Walnut Hill by locating a nice, clean, safe sports-oriented bar there, but because the idea of an establishment serving alcohol would be so abhorrent to the LHAIA-type folks, it could never happen. The area is never going to become what these folks want it to become with that type of restrictive thinking.
The final thing I question is the Association's method for solving the problem. In one point in its e-mail, the LHAIA says the payday lenders "continue to fend off efforts to rein them in, thanks in no small part to very active lobbyists in Austin, as well as their ability to funnel some of those record profits into sizable campaign donations to the very legislators deciding whether they should be regulated." Then, right after that, the association says: "We urge you to contact our state legislators representing the Lake Highlands area ... and let them know that the residents of Lake Highlands want to put a stop to the rapid spread of these predatory lenders in our community before they overwhelm us, and that we want them to support legislative efforts for sensible regulation."
Sure. Fine. Whatever.
Taken (2009) ** Liam Neeson’s tormented weariness lends an air of dignity to the film’s pulpy, grubby nastiness, but as striking as he is in action-hero mode, the truth is that this film doesn’t need dignity.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) ** The first film was significantly better and, therefore, is the place to start for anyone with a modicum of interest. This one is an also-ran that is likely to be appreciated only by completists. Mincing around like a bored old glam rocker and hissing threats from behind electric neon eyes, Bill Nighy seems to be the only person on set who found a glint of amusement in his part. He fares better than poor Michael Sheen, a scraggly Wolverine who made a more credible vampire-slayer opposite Frank Langella’s Nixon.
Personally, I don't have as much of a problem with the refs on this call as I do Antoine Wright. It is well known in NBA circles that refs don't blow whistles for minor infractions in the closing seconds of games. You see it all the time, every game. The refs wisely want the players to decide the outcome. Therefore, Wright should have done more than casually swiped Anthony. He should have bear-hugged him. Leave no doubt in anyone's mind. "We have a foul to give and I'm giving it right here, right now!"
There are a lot of reasons the Mavs lost this heartbreaker, most of them of their own doing (Dirk, in spite of a monumental effort, missing his last five field goal attempts; the Mavs not building a comfortable lead in the first quarter when Denver missed 15 of its first 17 field goal attempts; missing four free throws in the fourth quarter; allowing Denver to score too quickly when the Mavs were ahead by four with 33 seconds to play). Blaming the refs for this no-call is a cop-out and a poor way to shift responsibility.
I happened upon this Saturday night while I was channel surfing in a Lubbock motel room and had to share it.. My favorite line comes during part two when he says one of the first things he will do in his second 100 days is write a book about his first 100 days. There is a tab that appears at the top of the screen near the end of this video that will take you to Part 2.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
"Yet if a sprawling performing-arts complex like Lincoln Center were proposed today, it would never be built. Some of the impediments would be practical: the daunting costs, the lack of political consensus, the shift in attitudes toward large-scale urban development projects that displace entire neighborhoods. But the larger question is whether such a complex should be built in the first place. The idealistic assumption that sparked the creation of Lincoln Center — that orchestras, opera companies, ballet troupes and theaters would have much to gain by becoming partners in a centralized complex — would be vigorously challenged today.
"Nothing can be more energizing to the cultural life of a city than dynamic performing arts institutions. But the danger in grouping them together is that the creative identities of individual institutions — a bold modern dance company, a great symphony orchestra — can blur behind the walls of an officious encampment. The promise of arts organizations working in sync can become a daily grind of competing boards and directors stifled by bureaucracy."
Dallas' project does receive a mention in the story:
"For a time after Lincoln Center was built other cities raced to imitate it, even if many projects were ill-conceived, like the sprawling, ugly Barbican in London. The ideal of the cultural complex still holds sway in Dallas, where this fall the $338 million Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, dominated by a new house for the Dallas Opera, will begin its inaugural season. But that is an exception to a long trend away from collaborative centers."
It's an interesting concept. The conceptual ideas behind the physical plants here in Dallas seemed wise and sound. To make it work, however, is going to require the cooperation of bodies that haven't had to cooperate or compromise in the past.
I believed that up until I returned to the city from Lubbock today to learn that the pro-hotel side had won a narrow victory. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy at the outcome; in fact, I'm convinced it's in the best interest of this city that both city charter propositions on the ballot failed. I'm just surprised because I thought the anti-hotel group had done a marvelous job of setting the agenda.
The one clear, succinct message out there was the hotel was going to cost taxpayers money that should be spent on better streets and more cops. The other side was forced to argue the less compelling, although far more accurate, side that said "No it won't," but then opted to go into long discussions about revenue bonds that the public just didn't comprehend or even care about.
So why did voters approve the hotel? The anti-hotel group made a fatal strategic blunder when it decided to inject Da Mayor's credibility into the campaign. For one thing, it muddied the central issue and for a second thing, most voters out there still trust and believe in Da Mayor. Had the anti-hotel people stuck simply to their tax message, I'm convinced they would have won. Look at the numbers: Only one candidate for the city council who was against the hotel won Saturday night and that candidate, incumbent Angela Hunt, was unopposed. Both Sheffie Kadane and Jerry Allen were running against anti-hotel candidates and both won easily. In fact, the city council races could, overall, be seen as an overwhelming endorsement of Da Mayor since all of his outspoken supporters we re-elected by far greater margins than the pro-hotel vote received.
Finally, a couple of comments about the City Council races. Overall, the outcomes were as pleasing as they could be. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw Ann Margolin and not Brint Ryan was going to succeed Mitchell Rasansky in District 13. I was also delighted to see voters in District 5 rebuff Dwaine Carraway's attempt to have a stooge unseat Vonciel Jones Hill. I don't always agree with the stands Judge Hill takes, but I respect her. I can also say the same about Tennell Atkins in District 8 and I'm thrilled voters rewarded what he has accomplished in just two years for that area.
That brings me to District 7 where Carolyn Davis is going to be in a runoff with DISD trustee Ron Price (I'm convinced Delia Jasso will have absolutely no problem winning her District 1 runoff). The primary was Davis against the field and she lost. Now the field is represented by just one candidate, who should gather most of the support that went to the other candidates in the race. I always thought Ms. Davis was the only vulnerable incumbent on the council and right now it appears she is going to be a one-and-done-termer. My only concern is that I wish she was going to be replaced by someone I trust more than Ron Price, who has always come across to me as all talk, no action.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
No, I'm off to Lubbock to witness and congratulate an outstanding young man on his graduation from Texas Tech University. And, yes, I voted early and, yes, I'll get to spend some time Sunday with my favorite mom.
"I wanted you folks to be the first to hear the news. I'm in love and I'm planning on getting married."
Mavericks: Gee, Dirk, that's great. Have we met her?
Dirk: No. She likes to keep a pretty low profile.
Mavericks: Well, tell us all about her.
Dirk: Her name is Cristal.
Mavericks: Yes, and ....?
Dirk: Taylor. Her name is Cristal Taylor.
Dirk: And, I might as well tell you, we decided to get married because she is pregnant.
Mavericks: Where is she from, Dirk?
Dirk: Some place called Beaumont, or maybe Missouri. I'm not sure.
Mavericks: And her family? Tell us about them. They must be real excited their daughter is marrying a famous NBA star.
Dirk: I haven't met her family yet. I really haven't met anyone that knows her. But, hey, she met my father, when he came over from Germany last month.
Mavericks: Will you hold on a minute, Dirk. (Into the intercom) Send one of our attorneys up here, pronto. (After attorney arrives). Shark, will you please let Dirk know about "community property."
Shark: Sure. Dirk, putting it as simply as I can, community property is anything you acquire after you become married. Should you be divorced, a good rule of thumb is that property would be split evenly. Now, that means if you are planning on getting married -- and, by the way -- are you, Dirk? (Dirk nods). Whoa, then. Well, the house on Strait Lane should be safe because you purchased that before you were married. But she would be entitled to one half of everything you acquire -- and that includes half of everything the team pays you in salary, bonuses, endorsements, etc. -- should the marriage not work out.
Mavericks: Now, Dirk, I'm sure this woman has the purest of hearts, but, golly, from what you've told us, I'm not convinced you know enough about her background. Now, I gotta tell ya, I'd be having this same conversation with you if you were the janitor who cleaned this office every night. But the fact that you are THE Dirk Nowitzky makes it even more imperative you check things out a little more before you make this leap.
Dirk: But I love her. I've never felt this way about any other woman in my entire life. She is my life.
Mavericks: We know, Dirk. We know. And I'm betting she is as pure as a mountain stream. But let's just be on the safe side, shall we? Shark, you know the name of a private dick that could very quietly, with the utmost discretion, check this out for our man Dirk, here.
Shark: Sure, I'll get right on it.
Dirk: I still don't think it's necessary.
Mavericks: And I'm sure you right, Dirk. But I really want to protect your best interests.
"It's pretty obvious that I'm going through a tough time in my personal life right now. Like I always have, I want to kind of keep my private life private."
The above quotation was all Dirk had to say earlier today in response to authorities appearing at his home Wednesday morning and arresting Cristal Taylor on warrants accusing her of theft and probation violation, the latter charge stemming from a probated sentence she received in Missouri on two counts of forgery and one of felony theft.
I may be in the minority here (I usually am), but my heart goes out to Dirk right now. His entire world has come crashing down around him. The woman he loved, he trusted, put his faith in, has apparently deceived him. The rest of the basketball world wants to know if this will be a distraction for him for the rest of the NBA playoffs. Get off it. There are a few more important things in life than basketball. Not many perhaps, but a few and among them are love, family and happiness. Dirk may feel he has lost all three. A couple of more losses to the Nuggets pale in comparison.
Five beers? $16.25; ugly blue shirt? $45; the ability to drink all five beers at once without spilling a drop on the shirt? Priceless
For all you bingo players bummed out by the latest smoking ordinances, here's an option that might preserve newspapers as well
But that's beside the point now. Zuckerman thinks bingo can help put U.S. newspapers back on a sound financial footing. Here's what Zuckerman told New York magazine:
"The newspapers in England are supported almost exclusively by the profitability of running bingo games on their websites. It attracts an enormous audience. But here, you’re not allowed to do it. The gambling interests and Vegas and other places like that have managed to block any other gambling on the Internet. But London, that’s what they do. The Sun makes millions of dollars off of their bingo games."
OK, Jim Moroney, it's your deal.
This is a promotional video for the trio Project, which features local bassist extraordinaire Peter Seymour. The music featured with the video, according to someone very close to the band, "is the first movement of suite from the first album, arranged for/performed with a symphony."
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
I have been an opponent of this boondoggle from the very beginning for several reasons:
1. Just like you wouldn't build a high-speed thruway through New York's Central Park, San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Los Angeles' Griffith Park, London's Hyde Park, you shouldn't build one through what should become Dallas' signature park. Can you imagine the uproar in East Dallas if someone proposed building high speed toll bridge over White Rock Lake? Can you picture the backlash in South Dallas if someone said we needed to construct a freeway through Kiest Park?
2. We should be concentrating on finding ways of getting people to Dallas, so they can spend their sales tax dollars here, not through Dallas, which this road does.
3. I am against any new transportation option that does not include a major rail component.
4. It will add more cars to our roadway infrastructure, more impurities to our air.
But this hearing is not going to be dealing with transportation ideology, I'm guessing, so none of the above would prove to be valid arguments there. However, I am hoping someone brings this to the attention of the feds.
To: The M.P.A.A. Ratings Board
What the heck? “Some language”? “Thematic content”? “Dangerous situations”? Yes, it’s hard to keep up with substance abuse, sexual mores, violent behavior and Anglo-Saxon idioms, but come on. What started out 40 years ago as a common-sense, informative alternative to censorship has turned into a maze of mystifications and technicalities, wherein perfectly wholesome dramas are stigmatized while violent, sadistic trash merits an implicit seal of approval. Stop trying to read our minds or guess our values: just give us clear, rational and consistent information
To: Filmakers, especially under 40
The tripod is your friend. Few filmmakers can pull off florid handheld camerawork because most aren’t saying all that much through their visuals, handheld or not. (Also: Shaking the camera does not create realism.) Though it’s a cliché of contemporary cinema, fiction and nonfiction both, handheld camerawork that calls aggressive attention to itself tends to make empty images seem even emptier. If you want us to notice your cinematography, make sure you have something to say, like the French filmmaker Olivier Assayas ("Demonlover"), whose restlessly moving images convey a searching intelligence. He isn’t just waving the camera around; he’s saying something about the world and the people in it.
To: Members of the Writers Guild of America
Cc: M. Night Shyamalan
You may think that slipping a doozy of a third-act surprise into your screenplay — a shocking twist that no one could possibly see coming — might make you look smart and the audience feel dumb, but please consider that the reverse might actually be the case.
From: A.O.S. & M.D.
Yes, green is good. But there is no ecological benefit in recycling intellectual properties or in treating pop-culture treasures like so much scrap material. Let us read our comic books and watch our DVDs of old movies and television shows and try to capture our imaginations with something new. So, enough with the serial killers (unless you’re David Fincher); period dramas; movies in which children die or are endangered; (bad) literary adaptations; superhero epics; tween-pop exploitation vehicles; scenes with bubble-breasted women working the pole in strip clubs; shady ladies with hearts of gold; Google Earth-like zoom-ins of the world; sensitive Nazis; sexy Nazis; Nazis period; dysfunctional families; dysfunctional families with guns; suburban ennui; suburban ennui with guns; wisecracking teenagers; loser dudes scoring with hot women who would never give them the time of day even if they were drunk out of their minds or too young to know any better (hello, Judd Apatow!); feature films that should have been sketch comedy routines; shopping montages; makeover montages; bromances (unless the guys get it on with each other); flopping penises; spray-on tans; Kate Hudson; PG-13 horror remakes; or anything that uses any of the “classic” songs that we are sick of hearing. What’s left? We don’t know. Isn’t that your job?