What I learned this week, August 3, 2012

I have been looking for this for a long time… and now, here it is, on Youtube. Alfred Hitchcock’s version of the Roald Dahl short story Man From the South with Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre.

It’s almost a half-hour long… but find a time when you can sit down and watch the thing.

I think this story is the best example of how to manipulate tension, excitement, and dread in a tight little story I have ever seen. This version is a bit droll for my taste – the original text is more horrific. It’s been done and riffed on many times (check out Quentin Tarantino’s version as the fourth and last story in the otherwise-horrible film, Four Rooms).

I try and study it.

This is what I want to write.

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

— Neil Gaiman


The 12 Best Spies in Film

An interesting list.

Of course….

Shaken, not stirred.

There is no controversy about who is number 1.

From Casino Royale (1953) Chapter 7

“A dry martini,” he said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”

“Oui, monsieur.”

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?”

The Vesper


Why flavorful Southern hot sauces don’t pack much heat


I’m sorry, but this is about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. As a child, I lived in a few locations that had… well, let’s say they had a lot of flies – a lot. Swatting flies became a cheap amusement for when there was precious else to do. I would have given anything for this thing.

Now, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself.

Salt blasting shotgun eradicates insects with extreme prejudice

The Bug-A-Salt



I had to watch this… I didn’t think it could be done. Apparently, it can. It has to be real… it’s from the Internet.


MATCHBOOK. bikinis meet their match

Clever matches between bathing suits and books. Each match discovered by hand. We should have been doing this all along, am I right?



Cedars Food Truck Park

Looking for something to do over the Weekend, I was drawn to the Grand Opening of a new food truck park, Dallas’ first, The Cedars Food Truck Park, down in the Dallas Heritage Village on the south side of downtown.

I rode the DART train to the Cedars Station and walked across the no man’s land south of downtown to the park.

Most of the food trucks were in a big arc around the open grounds.

A lot of trucks and a wide variety of food.

There were eighteen food trucks at the park for the grand opening. It’s a little scary how many of them I have already eaten at and written about:

Since I was there early and it was still scorching hot – the lines were non-existent and I chose some sushi from Crazy Fish.

Music was provided by a three piece mountain-folk group, The Sicklies – that I know nothing about but will see again if I have the chance.

The Sicklies

Liquid refreshments were provided by the folks from the nearby bar/club Lee Harvey’s – serving up some beer from the Deep Ellum Brewing Company. Their stout was as excellent a dark beer as I have had in a long time – really good stuff.

Beer from The Deep Ellum Brewing Company, served up by the folks from Lee Harvey’s. The beer lines were plenty long – a lot of thirsty folk.

The whole evening was a blast. As the evening grew long and the air grew cooler the crowd grew until there were long lines at the food trucks and even longer ones for the beer. I didn’t stay too late – I didn’t want to make the walk back to the DART station in the pitch of night.

Sometimes the big city shows you its good side – it did tonight. I’m not sure if it was the presence of all the old historic buildings, the comradeship of the past, or if it was simply a well-planned event, but everyone was smiling and talking to each other. A happy time… with food, and very good beer.

A photographer – You don’t see these cameras very often any more. Shame, really.