What I learned this week, June 25, 2017

The Best Bookstores in Every State

Texas: The Wild Detectives

Dallas’s hip gathering place specializes in fiction, poetry and Spanish-language lit, plus top-notch food and coffee. And how could you not love a place with a “buy a book, get a drink” policy?

One thing I love about The Wild Detectives is that they turn the wifi off on the weekends… so the people, their customers, will actually talk to each other, like real human beings.

The Wild Detectives’ name is a loose translation of Roberto Bolaño’s Los Detectives Salvajes (The Savage Detectives, 1998), from which the business takes a lot more than just the name. Our mission at The Wild Detectives is to curate all those things that matter, those serious pleasures which turn life into experience.


Why didn’t great painters of the past reach the level of realism achieved today by many artists?



New Seafloor Map Reveals How Strange the Gulf of Mexico Is

The floor of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most geologically interesting stretches of the Earth’s surface. The gulf’s peculiar history gave rise to a landscape riddled with domes, pockmarks, canyons, faults, and channels — all revealed in more detail than ever before by a new 1.4 billion-pixel map.


The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed


The Best New Dallas Restaurants of 2017 (So Far)


Do Giraffes Get Struck by Lightning More Than Other Animals?

Kiss’d Away Before They Fell

“And down I went to fetch my bride:
But, Alice, you were ill at ease;
This dress and that by turns you tried,
Too fearful that you should not please.
I loved you better for your fears,
I knew you could not look but well;
And dews, that would have fall’n in tears,
I kiss’d away before they fell.”
― Alfred Tennyson

Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

Like White Bread To Goldfish

“but nothing I ever gave was good for you;
it was like white bread to goldfish.
they cram and cram, and it kills them,
and they drift in the pool, belly-up,
making stunned faces
and playing on our guilt
as if their own toxic gluttony
was not their own fault

there you are, still outside the window,
still with your hands out, still
pallid and fish-eyed, still acting
stupidly innocent and starved.”
― Margaret Atwood, Morning in the Burned House

Goldfish Pond, Dallas Arboretum

Out Of All Secrets

But out of all secrets of the river, he today only saw one, this one
touched his soul. He saw: this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran,
and was nevertheless always there, was always an at all times the same
and yet new in every moment! Great be he who would grasp this,
understand this! He understood and grasped it not, only felt some idea
of it stirring, a distant memory, divine voices.
—-Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

So Self-Important

“We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of f-ing Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!

We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”

Plastic… asshole.”
― George Carlin

Plastic Food, Car Show, Denton, Texas

Make Haste, Make Speed, Hurry and Begone

“…as the slow sea sucked at the shore and then withdrew, leaving the strip of seaweed bare and the shingle churned, the sea birds raced and ran upon the beaches. Then that same impulse to flight seized upon them too. Crying, whistling, calling, they skimmed the placid sea and left the shore. Make haste, make speed, hurry and begone; yet where, and to what purpose? The restless urge of autumn, unsatisfying, sad, had put a spell upon them and they must flock, and wheel, and cry; they must spill themselves of motion before winter came.”
― Daphne du Maurier, The Birds and Other Stories

Car Show, Denton, Texas