Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, A Gentle Touch by Bill Chance

He remembers those vanished years. As though looking through a dusty window pane, the past is something he could see, but not touch. And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.

― Wong kar-wei, In the Mood for Love

Mojo Coffee, Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana (click to enlarge)

A Gentle Touch

The drugs didn’t work. The stents failed to keep the flow going. Time had wracked its fatal damage in its efficient and inexorable way.

Nobody really told him what was happening but he knew. Especially the way they were gathering around him, a circle of faces either somber and quiet or swallowed in a false cheer. When they told him his sister was flying in from Seattle he knew the end was very close. She had not been on a plane in fifty years.

He had so many tubes stuck in him that when he would move the slightest bit one or another would be jostled and he would be hit by a horrific beeping from the machine attached to that conduit. If he was alone, he would suffer, palming the call button again and again for what seemed like an eternity until a nurse would finally come and turn off the infernal sound. It was worse if others were in the room – they would cluck and scatter like chickens until the nurse came – their protestations bothered him more than the beeping.

The balance of his life between future and past, between memory and hope, had now shifted completely to memory and the past. There was no future left and no hope.

And finally his memory was beginning to collapse and implode, fewer and fewer recollections were left. The past would slowly go to black and white, like an old television, then begin to fade until only a handful of echoes were left.

His life had been full. His marriage had lasted over half a century. He had been blessed with children, grand children, great grandchildren. He had a few victories and many, many defeats.

He was shocked, however, at what remained after all these accomplishments and catastrophes had faded.

Many decades ago his company sent him to a multi-evening seminar to learn a new accounting software program. He had met a woman there. She was sitting in the back near where he was and he noticed her walking to the front table to get supplies.

After the classes some of the employees would grab a coffee and talk about the software and how much they didn’t want to use it. Each time the woman seemed to end up sitting next to him at the large round table.

The two of them enjoyed talking to each other and he felt strangely excited on the drive home. After the last day of the class a handful of folks decided to keep meeting in the evenings – both he and the woman were in that group.

It was the start of a decade long friendship. The meeting became the high point of his week. The two of them would almost always sit next to each other. He remembered that sometimes she would laugh at something or make a point and reach out and gently touch him – on the shoulder or leg.

Nothing more ever came of the two of them. They had never even met outside of that group. He decided that they simply enjoyed each other’s company. He couldn’t say why.

The friendship eventually faded and finally dissolved completely. He hadn’t spoken to her in twenty years. Now, in his weakened state, he could barely remember her name and wasn’t sure the hazy memory was right.

But as the last few days fell away, the times he spent with her loomed larger and larger in his mind. His family wondered about the otherworldly expression on his face and the fact he paid less and less attention to them.

“He’s losing his mind,” they all said. And shook their heads sadly.

They weren’t wrong. But he was aware enough to wonder why it was this particular set of memories that were filling his last few miserable, precious days. Pleasant, bittersweet memories. Something that, at the time, meant little in the flow of days.

As his heart struggled, weakened, and finally gave out his final thoughts were of a quiet laugh and the innocent gentle touch of a friend’s hand along his leg.

It’s Bad You Know

Woke up this morning, feel ’round for my shoes
You know ’bout that babe, had them old walkin’ blues
Woke up this morning, I feel ’round for my shoes

You know ’bout that babe
Lord, I had them old walkin’ blues

Leavin’ this morning, I had to go ride the blinds
I’ve been mistreated, don’t mind dying
This morning, I had to go ride the blinds

I’ve been mistreated
Lord, I don’t mind

People tell me walkin’ blues ain’t bad
Worst old feeling I most ever had
People tell me the old walkin’ blues ain’t bad

Well, it’s the worst old feeling
Lord, I most ever had

—- R.L. Burnside – Walkin’ Blues

Dan Colcer Deep Ellum Art Park Dallas, Texas

Sometimes, when I’m driving my car… and I’m driving more than I like, because of COVID changes it’s impossible for me to ride my bike to work… I listen to podcasts from my phone. That takes too much fiddling and setup though – and I’m late in the morning and lazy in the afternoon. So I listen to a local radio station – KXT91.7 (you can listen online no matter where you live) – it’s a great station: no commercials, the DJs pick their own music and don’t talk (I hate the cackling stupid jokes of regular radio) and they sometimes they play your favorite music. Sometimes, best of all, they play stuff you’ve never heard before.

On my way in to work yesterday I heard some music I had never heard before and thought it was great. At my desk I looked up their playlist and found what I had heard was a North Mississippi blues master R. L. Burnside. The song on the radio was It’s Bad You Know from the album Come On In.

In this album, released in 1998, Burnside’s classic acoustic blues is mixed with modern electronic beats into a sort of hybrid dance music. From the wikipedia notes:

The album was expected to alienate purist fans of blues, but sold strongly, and peaked at number 20 on the Core Radio Chart. In addition to significant airplay, an ensuing music clip was slotted in MTV’s 120 Minutes. By March 1999, it had become Epitaph’s best-selling record, despite the label being, at its core, an outlet for punk rock. Burnside said that fans loved the album, feeling that both it and Ass Pocket “brought more crowds to the blues. They love it.” He reckoned that this was due to “trying to make people dance to the blues again.”

I had never heard of this album or R. L. Burnside… which is not surprising – in 1998 I had a couple of young kids running around the house and was isolated from the real world. I did have at least one song of his – doing Dylan’s Everything is Broken from Tangled Up In Blues but had never really followed down that particular rabbit hole.

Thanks to Spotify I now have ready access to R. L. Burnside and his catalog. Great stuff.

From my comments – check this out – Livin’ the Blues

What I learned this week, April 9, 2021

 

(click to enlarge) Book With Wings Anselm Kiefer Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Ian Fleming Explains How to Write a Thriller

“You have to get the reader to turn over the page.”


Lee walking in the surf at Crystal Beach. I checked my old blog entries – this was December 29, 2002.

How Fit Can You Get From Just Walking? 

Walking is good for you, obviously. But can it whip you into shape?


Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market Waco, Texas

Lessons From a ‘Local Food’ Scam Artist

Working summers at an authentically quaint roadside produce stand, a teenage salesperson is schooled in the not-so-subtle art of how to con a foodie from the big city.


Main Street Garden Park Dallas, Texas

How Crisco toppled lard – and made Americans believers in industrial food

Perhaps you’ll unearth a can of Crisco for the holiday baking season. If so, you’ll be one of millions of Americans who have, for generations, used it to make cookies, cakes, pie crusts and more.

But for all Crisco’s popularity, what exactly is that thick, white substance in the can?

If you’re not sure, you’re not alone.


Stylish bike rider, French Quarter, New Orleans

Cycling is ten times more important than electric cars for reaching net-zero cities

Electric cars aren’t truly zero-carbon – mining the raw materials for their batteries, manufacturing them and generating the electricity they run on produces emissions.


Trinity River Levee Dallas, Texas

Construction kicks off soon on Plano’s $1 billion Collin Creek redevelopment

I remember in 1981, when I first moved to Dallas, driving all the way from Oak Cliff to Plano in horrible evening traffic (it took over an hour) to visit this brand-spanking new wonder of a mall that had just been built – Collin Creek. Now its gone. I think I actually shopped there twice in those forty years, even though I’ve lived very close to it.


Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, The Boatman by Purnima Bala

“This boat that we just built is just fine –

And don’t try to tell us it’s not

The sides and the back are divine –

It’s the bottom I guess we forgot”

― Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

(Click to Enlarge) These boats full of Chihuly glass aren’t really floating on White Rock Lake like it looks. They are on the Arboretum infinity pool – beautiful.

From my old journal, The Daily Epiphany, March 23, 2001:

The border between the US and Mexico is a big deal in most places – controlled bridges, customs, crowds, fences, razor wire, a complete difference from one side to another.

Here in Big Bend the border is a greenish sluggish river, barely waist deep, and the crossing is a decrepit old rowboat called “La Enchilada.” A ride across the Rio Grande cost $2. “Pay me on the other side,” the boat’s captain told me – apparently to avoid the onus of doing business in a US National Park. Two quick strokes on his paddle and we were in Mexico.

A busy crowd on the gravel bar was hawking handmade jewelry, walking sticks, and rides by burro, horse, or pickup truck into the village. I walked past the jabbering, bargaining crowd (a handful of elderly tourists were renting some burros) and hoofed it the mile or so into the village.

It was a dusty, sandy walk through the floodplain thicket of mesquite into the village of Boquillas itself. It’s a dirt-poor border town, a few short dusty gravel streets lined with scattered adobe huts. Each hut has its own table covered with rock crystals, scavenged from the nearby mountains, for sale. The main street has one restaurant, Falcon’s, and a handful of cantinas – some very shady looking.

Above the village rears the amazing escarpment of the Sierra del Carmen. Those cliffs, jagged like broken teeth dominate the skyline of the entire park, visible clear up to the headquarters thirty miles away.

I settled into the breezeway of Falcon’s – surprisingly cool once I was out of the burning sun and shaded by the roof of traditional vigas. A few others were already there – a big group of tourists sitting at one long table and a couple of local Texas ranchers with their families – the men were bargaining with the owner of the restaurant over the sale of a pickup truck.

Two rooms selling really bad Mexican handicrafts flanked the open breezeway. I had hoped to buy Candy a birthday present there, but there wasn’t anything worth looking at. At the end of one room was the restaurant kitchen, which looked like one from a small apartment. The owner’s daughter stood there looking bored and cranked out the food. She was cooking on a Coleman camping stove powered by white gas. I don’t think the restaurant had electricity. One tourist asked to, “see the menu” and the daughter replied, “tacos y burritos.” Each were three for a dollar.

I ordered a Corona and a plate with three tacos and three burritos. The food was greasy and good – small handmade corn tortillas served with a bowl of diced jalapenos and onions. The beer was cold. I sat and ate and drank my beer and wrote a little in my notebook.

Local children selling little woven bracelets carried on pieces of cardboard swarmed the restaurant. I bought two for Nicholas, one said Big Bend the other Boquillas. The pesky kids were really bothering the big table of tourists. Eventually the wife of the restaurant’s owner came out and shooed them away – even the few that were standing around my table.

El hombre escribiendo!” she shouted at the children near me.

After finishing a second beer I decided to walk around a bit more, having to constantly fend off the little street vendors. I decided I was still thirsty so I stopped by one of the cantinas for a cold Dos Equis. It was a roomy bar with tables and two pool tables at the back; Spanish rap music blared out of an unseen boombox somewhere. The long bar was lined with every imaginable brand of cheap Mexican tequila, mescal, and sotol.

A sunburned Mexican drunk conned me into buying him a Tecate – then left me alone. A couple of American college girls came in for beers and then three guys wearing Chi Omega Intramurals T-shirts came in for shots and bought a round for the girls.

“Where you from?” the bartender asked the girls.

“Indiana.”

An older couple came in and bought four bottles of some odd colored liquor. The bartender carefully wrapped it so they could get it back across the border.

The owner came out from the back and sat with me and we spoke a bit, mixing English and Spanish. It is so rare that I speak Spanish anymore my mouth felt odd forming the sounds. The Mexican beer helped.

He made some rude remarks in Spanish about the girls at the bar; then asked me where I was from. I told him I drove through Monahans to get to Big Bend.

“Big prison in Monahans,” the owner said, “I have nephew in prison there.”

Then he indicated the sunburned drunk, “He is the police here, only police in Boquillas.”

I considered asking to see his badge but thought better of it. With the sleazy cantina, the dusty streets, and the mountains rising high overhead things were getting way too Treasure of the Sierra Madre feeling for me, so I decided to head back to Texas.

I bought a couple of walking sticks for the kids and a bag of quartz crystals for Lee’s rock collection from a woman in one adobe hut then walked back to the crossing and the rowboat. I shared the ride with the couple that had bought the liquor – they said it was a Mexican version of Blue Contreau or something, and they used it in Margaritas at parties, “Everybody comes over and loves our Margaritas!” the woman said.

I felt dusty and some water sounded good so my next drive was over a little way to the parking lot for the Hot Springs. A short walk down an interesting trail and I was at the springs. The hot water comes up from below into a little pool built out into the Rio Grande, a remnant of the old spa on the site. You can’t camp or park overnight there, but a group of canoeists were set up on the opposite bank, in Mexico, and had swum across to enjoy the hot water. The spring felt wonderful.

I chatted a bit with the canoeists. Two of them wanted to buy some wine and do a hike along the river so I gave them a ride to the Rio Grande Village store. By then the sun was starting to set so I made the long drive back to the Basin and my camp. Another good day, my last in Big Bend this trip.

This was written six months before the 9/11 attack. The border is, of course, very different now.

And today’s flash fiction:

The Boatman by Purnima Bala

from MoonPark Review

Purnima Bala Twitter

Purnima Bala Homepage

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Dream of the Rising Sea by Juan Morales

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”

― Anais Nin

Caribbean Sea

From my old journal, The Daily Epiphany, March 10, 1999:

Lee and I walked the crowded beach in the middle of town to kill the time. That little bugger walked for two hours straight, completely wearing me out. We both saw all sorts of interesting stuff.

Lee saw seashells, bits of colored rock, the best of which he stuffed into his pockets. He considered it a great honor to find jellyfish washed up on the beach, of which there were many. There were pet dogs to pet, jetties to walk out on, giant waves to marvel at. He finally wore me out and I sat down on a log and watched him standing along at the surf’s edge, watching the waves. He walked back to me and said, “Daddy, I don’t understand things, how things work, how they make big buildings and machines that work.”

I noticed other things: the drunk leaning over on the seawall bench next to the souvenir piers and puking, thin yellow vomit streaming out ’til he must have been empty, then popping up and asking passers-by “Hey, man, can I please borrow a dollar-twenty five, man,” his buddy, sleeping the sleep of the dead on a piece of old carpet on the sand below him, two other drunks dropping beer bottles down on his head trying to wake him, a family that looked like rejects from Jerry Springer having a heated argument, backwoods accents so strong I couldn’t even make out what they were saying, one female surfer, a beginner, was having a lot of trouble keeping her skimpy top on. I don’t understand how things work either.

And today’s flash fiction:

Dream of the Rising Sea by Juan Morales

from Bending Genres

Juan Morales Twitter

Pilgrimage Magazine – Juan Morales Editor

AlphaGo

“Don’t blame you,” said Marvin and counted five hundred and ninety-seven thousand million sheep before falling asleep again a second later.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I’ve been trying to break my habit of wasting time sitting around watching a bunch of YouTube videos after work. I should break this habit by writing, or reading, or riding my bike – but I am so damn tired and need to decompress before doing anything even vaguely useful. So I try to at least watch one thing – a movie or something like that (like one off my Criterion Channel List) instead of a series of short things. You know how it goes – you see the clickbate description and think “I HAVE to watch that” but then a half hour later you can’t even remember what it was that you watched.

So tonight my son walked in and asked if I’d seen AlphaGo and I said I had no idea. It is a documentary, on YouTube, but complete and in the whole. So I watched it and it was good… and interesting… and maybe even a little educational.

It is the story of a group of AI computer developers attempting to design a system that plays the ancient game of Go (the oldest board game in continuous play in history – at least on earth).

I played a little Go when I was younger – though I was always a chess player first and foremost (I gave up chess in college when I began to give a damn about how well I played. That made the game too stressful). Then, a few years ago, I read about people trying to program a computer to play Go. They said it was impossible – they considered the game too simple, too complex, and too subtle for digital mastery.

But now, using neural nets, AI, and machine learning they have done it.

The documentary is about a challenge between the system AlphaGo and the world’s best player – best of five.

It is a very interesting lesson on the rise of the machines and the promise/danger of sophisticated AI.

But the best part is the glimpse into the character of the humans. There are some fascinating people involved. Especially Lee Sedol, the Go master as he wrestles with the pressure of not playing for himself, or his country, but for his species.

Good stuff.

Chungking Express

We’re all unlucky in love sometimes. When I am, I go jogging. The body loses water when you jog, so you have none left for tears.

—-Chungking Express

I saw an interview with Martin Scorcese a while back where he described the Marvel movies as “Theme Park Movies.” He went on to say that if you enjoy them, good for you, but don’t let them crowd out “real” movies from the limited screen real estate.

I agree. I am superheroed out. Maybe, some day, I’ll watch another comic book movie… but right now I don’t think I could make it all the way through. Life is too short.

Luckily, I have The Criterion Channel. And a list.

Yesterday I made time to sit down and watch Chungking Express – a Hong Kong comedy/drama/romcom by director Wong Kar-wai. I’m not going to write a full review, mostly because a review pretty much always contains spoilers and in my latter years I try really hard to see films spoiler-free. I want to give anyone coming to my site the same consideration.

I knew nothing about Chungking Express (for some reason, I thought it was about a train) and was very, very pleasantly surprised. It has a unique structure – it is not a theme park movie – yet it is very enjoyable and not hard to watch.

It is one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movies (the structure has some resemblance to Pulp Fiction). He has an excellent YouTube video about the film – it’s divided into two parts. You are supposed to watch the first part before seeing the film, then come back and watch the rest (though even the second half is pretty spoiler-free).

A great movie – and Tarantino does know of what he speaks.

After seeing this movie I’ll never buy a can of pineapple without looking at the expiration date… and never listen to California Dreaming the same way.

Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, VHS by Bill Chance

“More pathetic than the digital age is the people who love it. They buy right into the “newer is always better” ideology and they can’t seem to grasp that the fun of VHS tapes, super 8 film, darkroom photography and vinyl records is far more worthwhile and human than the cold, high-tech atmosphere of everything being digitized. As the 21st century progresses, yeah, we’ll have our Netflix and our cellular phones and our artificial intelligence and our implanted microchips – and future generations will have lost something valuable. Sadly, they won’t even know what they’ve lost because we’re taking it all away from them.”

― Rebecca McNutt

Recycled Books, Denton, Texas

VHS

Gerard was not a neat person. Far from it. He sort of wanted to be but couldn’t get his head around how to pull it off. His apartment was always a terrible mess – clothes thrown in the corner, sink full of dirty dishes, and he could never remember which was trash day.

He did have a decent TV – a 19 inch Zenith. He had a VCR. A coworker had tried to talk him into buying a Betamax but he had settled, for no real reason, on VHS. The thing had cost him a week’s salary – but it gave him his money’s worth.

Gerard loved movies. He watched one at home almost every night. He worked in a downtown skyscraper and every day, at lunch, he would take the elevator down to the street, cross at a pedestrian light in the middle of the block, and enter the lobby of an ancient limestone building. It had an old-fashioned hallway going front to back lined with little stores – a newsstand, a candy store, a high-end luggage store, a coffee shop – the sort of things that catered to downtown office workers. It also had one of the early video rental places – a small private shop – common until Blockbuster came along and drove them all out of business. It had a meager selection, the boxes displayed on shelves behind the glass counter. To get an actual movie, you had to ask and the clerk would rummage around in drawers, click the cassette into its holder, and then deliver your plastic box by hand.

Purchasing tapes was expensive and they could only afford one copy of any title – so they were usually out of the movies Gerard wanted to rent. Looking through the loose-leaf notebook on the counter, he would have to ask over and over until he stumbled on a title that they had in stock. It was a bit of a pain, but he didn’t mind. He didn’t mind at all.

The clerk was beautiful. To Gerard, she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Pale, quiet, with a thick mane of fire-red hair – Gerard would stare as she rummaged around looking for a tape. This was the high point of his day. He was actually disappointed when she had one for him on the first try.

He was a very busy man and sometimes he had to take work home. On those days he knew he would be too busy to watch a movie but he’d rent one anyway – simply to spend a few minutes with the clerk. He also had to travel, often on short notice.

There were two women living in the apartment across the hall from him. He had helped the two out when they were in trouble with a couple of angry, violent boyfriends and they owed him a huge pile of favors. They were attracted to that kind of men and weren’t interested, romantically, in Gerard, but would help him out when they could. One, a beautiful, tall brunette, also worked downtown, only two buildings away from him. When he had to leave town, he would give her his videotape to return for him.

He wondered what the beautiful clerk in the video rental store thought of this woman coming by every now and then and returning his videos. She told him she never said anything to the clerk – just left the tape on the counter and walked out.

Gerard wanted to talk to the redhead so bad but he could not think of any way to do it without looking like an idiot. He was only a customer, one of hundreds. He was sure a lot of them hit on her. He didn’t want to be that guy. He thought, and thought, and thought, then had an idea. He pulled out a piece of paper and scribbled away for a while. Then he grabbed a pen, an envelope, a spare key, and another piece of paper. He went next door to see the girl that sometimes returned his tapes.

“Hey,” he said, “I need you to do me a favor, no big deal.”

“Sure, you have a tape.”

“Yes, I do, but I need another favor and I want you to drop something else off there for me too. First, I want you to copy this – in your own handwriting.”

He handed her the pen and two pieces of paper. She read the note.

“This note says I’m breaking up with you. And returning your key.”

“Yup.”

“It says I’m leaving and you are not to look for me.”

“Of course.”

“It is vicious, it makes me look awful.”

“Sorry.”

“Why the hell?”

“Don’t worry, I have my reasons.”

The woman thought for a minute, then broke out in a smile. She had noticed the clerk, of course.

“OK, sure, I’ll do it.”

She copied the note and Gerard sealed the envelope up with the key.

“Ok, tomorrow take this by the video rental shop and give it to the clerk. Be sure and tell her it’s for me. Oh, and here’s a tape, too.”

“Sure. But only one thing.”

“What?”

“I guess you’ll have to find someone else to take your tapes back when you’re out of town.”

“A price I’ll gladly pay.”

Gerard waited two days before he went down to rent another tape. He was so excited, he could barely breathe on the walk over. He planned to open the envelope, read the note right there, and maybe even cry a little bit. No way the clerk wouldn’t be moved by this. He could talk to her as a person, not a clerk and customer. He would ask her to go for coffee or a drink after work, to “help take his mind off his troubles.” No way could she refuse.

But nothing happened, she rented him the tape, same as always. He wanted so say something, “What about my note?” but realized that he couldn’t.

The days went by and he kept renting and returning and she never said anything. It was getting to be humiliating. He began to think he would have to find another video rental shop. He was even worried about the key. Why did he use a real spare key? The store had his address from the extensive form he had to fill out as a member and customer of the shop. Did somebody else have the note? Would they rob him? He wasn’t really worried though – other than his TV and VCR he didn’t own anything worth stealing and was thinking about new models of each anyway.

Gerard was relieved when a job came up that would take him out of state for a whole week. He dropped his last tape off.

“I won’t be renting for a week, I’m going out of town on business,” he said to the clerk. He hoped she might have some reaction, but only nodded. He decided that when he came back he’d move to another video shop a couple blocks over.

The week out of town was exhausting drudgery. His failure with the video store clerk weighed on him more than it should have. If she would have turned him down, that he could have dealt with, but this, her completely ignoring him, was so much worse. He imagined her throwing his letter in the trash with a sneer.

Gerard returned on a late flight and took a cab home. He was so tired and glad to be home, but he almost dreaded opening his front door. He pulled his suitcase through and turned on the light.

It was a shock. Everything was clean and neat as a pin. His dishes were washed and put up, his garbage was gone, and his dirty clothes had been done and neatly folded. His ratty old shower curtain had even been replaced with a new, fashionable one.

Once the shock had begun to fade, he saw that there was a note taped to the front of his TV. It said:

“If you want me to come over here and watch a movie with you, I will, but I wanted it to be a bit cleaner first.”

At the bottom of the note was stapled a “Free Movie Rental” coupon from the place downtown.

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Horsemouth and Aquariumhead by Elizabeth Turner

“Magic

Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,

Eddie touched a troll,

Laurie danced with witches once,

Charlie found some goblins gold.

Donald heard a mermaid sing,

Susy spied an elf,

But all the magic I have known

I’ve had to make myself.”

― Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

Fish on the sidewalk, Governor Nichols Street New Orleans, Louisiana

And today’s flash fiction:

Horsemouth and Aquariumhead by Elizabeth Turner

from Lost Balloon

Elizabeth Turner Twitter

What I learned this week, April 2, 2021

Found by a photobooth, Molly’s At the Market, French Quarter, New Orleans

Don’t Follow Your Gut

How should we make decisions in life? Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, a behavioral economist and cognitive neuroscientist, says that whatever you do, Never Go With Your Gut. It’s such bold advice that Dr. Tsipursky decided to make it the title of his latest book. In this interview, Dr. Tsipursky discusses his unorthodox approach and warns against the dangerous mental blindspots that lead to decisions we later regret.


(click to enlarge) Sixth and Camp in New Orleans – a beautiful row of Camelback Shotgun Houses

The Case for Rooms

It’s time to end the tyranny of open-concept interior design.


Sleep
Sleep

Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t

There are certain traits that lend themselves to “revenge bedtime procrastination.” There’s also a way out.


Drinks menu… the coffee looks good, but “Treats from the Teat” – I don’t know if that’s as catchy as they think it is.

How To Make Starbucks-Style Cold Brew Coffee at Home


I wonder what this guy was thinking… “Wow, there are too many people here! I give up!” or, more likley, “Hey! Quit staring at my penis!”

Hypocrites: How to Survive in a World Full of Them


Woman writing in a Moleskine Notebook, Wichita, Kansas

Can Introverts Be Happy in a World That Can’t Stop Talking?

Acceptance is key to the well-being and authenticity of introverts


Paula & Lucky Santa Fe Trestle Trail Dallas, Texas

Don’t Tell Your Friends They’re Lucky

Luck has a lot to do with success. We just don’t want to admit it.