Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: THE holiday weekend, punting on facilities, and December birthdays

Good morning, RVA! It's 48 °F, and things have cooled off the tiniest bit. Today, expect highs right around 60 °F and continued sunshine.

Water cooler

OK my dudes, hold on to your butts, because the first weekend in December is a major holiday weekend in Richmond. Here's what's on the boughs-of-holly-covered deck:

  • We've got warmish weather for tonight's Grand Illumination. The lights kick on around 5:50 PM.
  • Down the street at Main Street Train Station at 6:15 PM, 100 tubas will play Christmas music? This kicks off "Shop the Shed," a new winter market in the Train Shed that'll run through the entire weekend.
  • The Christmas Parade begins at 10:15 AM on Saturday and stretches down Broad Street from the Science Museum to 7th Street.
  • And then there's RVA Krampusnacht—you know, when folks dress up as terrifying Christmas monsters and walk around Carytown. That's on Saturday at 6:00 PM.

Dangit, this is not the lede I wanted to read in the recap of last night's School Board meeting: "The Richmond School Board on Thursday delayed a vote on a facilities plan originally scheduled for next Monday." You can and should read Justin Mattingly's full recap over on the Richmond Times-Dispatch. A positive takeaway: Interim Superintendent Kranz did present Board Members with detailed information on the two school facilities plans (PDF presumably pending)—a definite improvement over his previous Presentation Lite. I definitely wasn't in the room last night and admittedly have a really hard time tracking with finance-related stuff, but I'm confused by the impassioned pleas from School Board that "education must become a priority in this city." Like, who are those pleas directed toward? The Mayor, through the vehicle of the Education Compact (which, remember, includes both City Council and School Board), has committed to figuring out how to fund the first five years of a facilities plan. As far as I know, we're waiting on the School Board to appoint its members to the Compact. We're waiting on the School Board to pick a path forward on a facilities plan. From the outside, it seems like everyone's stoked on making education a priority, we're just waiting on the School Board to start making moves. Eduheads, is this way off base?

Graham Moomaw and Andrew Cain report that Manoli Loupassi has requested a recount in the 68th House of Delegates election, an election he conceded when he lost to Dawn Adams by 336 votes back in November. With a handful of other district races still in limbo (the 28th, 40th, and 94th), it sounds like we still won't know who controls the House until maybe next year. Rich Meagher explains the whole situation in more detail over at RVA MAG.

The struggle is real for people with December birthdays! Here's a whole article about it by James Warren in Richmond Magazine.

Last night Senate Republicans failed to find the votes to pass their tax plan that would raise the deficit by a trillion bucks. It'd also probably wreck Obamacare, but that's true of seemingly every action taken by Senate Republicans.

Another administrative note! Ross's Tour of America continues, and, on Monday, I'll be headed back from Milwaukee. We will speak again on Tuesday (My birthday! See above). Have an excellent first weekend of December here in Richmond without me!


  • Rams host Old Dominion on Saturday at 7:00 PM.
  • Spiders head to Winston-Salem on Saturday at 4:00 PM to take on Wake Forest.
  • Hokies and Ole Miss tip off at 2:00 PM on Saturday.
  • Wahoos welcome Lehigh to Charlottesville at 12:00 PM on Saturday.
  • Dukes face Stony Brook on Saturday at 2:00 PM in the second round of the Football Championship playoffs.
  • Washington fell to the Cowboys, 14-38.

This morning's longread

The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

Why is our written language so different than our spoken language? How come no one writes like Henry James anymore? Language is so interesting!

Modern languages with a long literary tradition show a stark split between their written and spoken styles across many contexts. In current English, writing uses more varied vocabulary than conversational speech, and it uses rarer and longer words much more often. Certain structures (such as passive sentences, prepositional phrases, and relative clauses) appear more often in written than spoken language. Writers generally elaborate their ideas more explicitly through syntax whereas speakers leave more material implicit. And written language stacks clauses inside each other to a greater depth than spoken language. This is one of the most striking differences between speech and text; sentences like the opening line of the Declaration of Independence simply do not occur in conversation.

If you’d like to suggest a longread, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: Facilities plan, CodeRVA, and fruitcake

Good morning, RVA: School board info, disappointing choices, and stained glass windows