What I learned this week, October 15, 2021

Artwork in the Braindead Brewing Company, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

The great reimagination of work’: Why 50% of workers want to make a career change

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Americans to reassess their relationships with work. 

The Labor Department’s most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary suggests that roughly 4 million Americans are quitting their jobs each month in a trend that has become known as “The Great Resignation.” 

I am shocked at how many people are leaving my place of work. The most common reason is the vaccination mandate – but a lot of people are just burned out. It won’t be long – but I will join them soon. It’s pretty much all I think about.


Standing Man With Radiating Words, Leslie Dill, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

25 Words That Don’t Mean What They Used To

It’s to be expected that the words we use will change and develop over time as they begin to be used in original and innovative new contexts. But in some instances, these developments can lead to words gaining new meanings entirely different from their original implications—and the 25 words listed here have done just that.


Something In front of Braindead Brewing Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

How to declutter your mind

If your brain is a heaving mess of work and life to-dos, find some focus with these straightforward steps from Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journal.


Damian Priour, Austin Temple (detail) 2000 fossil limestone, glass, steel In Memory of Buddy Langston 1947-2004 Frisco, Texas

12 Old Words That Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms

English has changed a lot in the last several hundred years, and there are many words once used that we would no longer recognize today. For whatever reason, we started pronouncing them differently, or stopped using them entirely, and they became obsolete. There are some old words, however, that are nearly obsolete, but we still recognize them because they were lucky enough to get stuck in set phrases that have lasted across the centuries. Here are 12 words that survived by getting fossilized in idioms.


Fountainhead Charles Long Northpark Center Dallas, Texas

Are we really mindless victims of consumerism?

To prove the advertising industry’s omnipotence, critics have been repeating some myths for more than half a century.


A Stoic’s Key to Peace of Mind: Seneca on the Antidote to Anxiety

A twenty-four-hour news cycle that preys on this human propensity has undeniably aggravated the problem and swelled the 8% to appear as 98%, but at the heart of this warping of reality is an ancient tendency of mind so hard-wired into our psyche that it exists independently of external events.


New Orleans Gargoyle, Thomas Randolph Morrison, New Orleans, Louisiana

How to (Finally) Put an End to Pointless Arguments

Count me as a Buster Benson fan. His 2016 Cognitive bias cheat sheet is legendary among behavioral designers. I have a framed print out of his codex in my home and I’ve enjoyed his writing on various topics for years. He has extensive experience building products that move people at Slack, Twitter, and Habit Labs.

More things I learned this week, October 9, 2021

Timber, by Gene Koss, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana (click to enlarge)

Why it’s not surprising that young men are abandoning college

The recent surge in stories about young men abandoning higher education — college women outnumber men 3 to 2 — may have surprised a few headline writers, but the graffiti about the decline of men and boys has been on the wall for decades.


Wildflowers south of Dallas.

Friluftsliv: the Nordic concept which could help to boost your mental health

Is your mental health in need of a boost? Here’s how embracing the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’ could help.


Pasta
I pour a can of tomato sauce over the pasta, garlic, one chipotle pepper (only one!) and onions that I have been cooking in olive oil in a medium dutch oven.

The Pasta Sauce Hailed as the World’s Best Is Surprisingly Easy to Make at Home

First, the ingredients. You’ll need a 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes; one peeled, halved onion; and 5 tablespoons of butter. (Yes, 5 whole tablespoons of butter.) You’ll also want a pinch or two of salt.

Put everything together in a single pot and set it to simmer over medium heat on the stove for 45 minutes, uncovered. Give it the occasional stir.

And that’s it. After the 45 minutes is up, toss out the onion halves, and pour the sauce over your favorite pasta. Easy.


Sleep
Sleep

How I finally learned to sleep

For decades, Kate Edgley struggled with insomnia. She tried everything, but nothing seemed to work… Here, she reveals the terrible toll it took on her life – and how she eventually realised her dreams


Both parties’ ignorance of electoral reality has led to our present political discontents

Here’s a jarring thought: Most political analysts and most political strategists for our two political parties have been operating off flawed data and flawed assumptions. The result has been one political surprise after another and the election of the two most unsatisfactory presidents, in the minds of many voters, since Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan in the 1850s.


“Schitt’s Creek” & Local Economic Power

Much of the show’s thematic arc follows the Rose family as they slowly loosen their grip on the superficial beliefs and identities they previously held and come to embrace the community—ultimately becoming far warmer, more compassionate citizens in the process. One of the real victories in storytelling throughout the show’s arc is the absence of heavy-handed moralizing or preaching. Rather, the town and its people simply exist as they are, and themes are explored through a matter-of-fact demonstration of how things could be. This is true in the refreshing, straightforward way that David and Patrick’s openly gay relationship plays out, as well as the theme I’d like to discuss here, which is the lack of corporate control over the small town’s economy. 


My Xootr Folding bike on the West Bank Levee Trail

Circuit Trail Conservancy breaks ground on Trinity Forest Spine Trail

Faster, please.

What I learned this week, October 8, 2021

Here’s some origami I did. I’m working on a story and I decided to origami my draft. The design is called, “This is a bunch of crap.”

Our Brains Tell Stories So We Can Live

Without inner narratives we would be lost in a chaotic world.


Gridman 3 Stephen Daly 2007 Sandblasted Aluminum Dallas, Texas

The chronic stress survival guide: how to live with the anxiety and grief you can’t escape

Stress can feel like a baseline condition for many of us – especially during a pandemic. But there are ways to help alleviate the very worst of it, whether through support, sleep or radical self-care


6 Decluttering Strategies Minimalists Swear By

It’s time to tackle that junk drawer.


Loco Gringos

How to Be Self-Aware

Only when we admit we have a problem can we begin to find solutions. In the first episode of How to Build a Happy Life, we explore the neuroscience of emotional management, practices that help us befriend our inner monologue, and challenges to getting in touch with our feelings. Our journey to happier living starts with the question: How do I feel right now?


The aluminum grid of the Winspear Opera House sunshade – very high overhead, reflected in the pool.

Misplaced Nostalgia Obscures Truth About the Left

Our social and political deterioration did not start with Joe Biden’s election or Jonathan Greenblatt’s elevation to the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League.


Simple Mathematical Law Predicts Movement in Cities around the World

A new model could help model disease transmission and urban planning


At the Heart of Our Divisions

We didn’t need a new poll from The University of Virginia Center for Politics and Project Home Fire to tell us that many Democrats see fascists when they look at Republicans and many Republicans see Communists when they look at Democrats. Forty-one percent of Biden voters and 52 percent of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that the time has come to split the country into red and blue states. There is a widespread feeling on both sides that we are not friends but enemies.

A Pendulum Day

“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”
― Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

But if fell later as they tried to move another piece. Note the rare “suspended section” of blocks. I’m not sure of the physics of leaving a few behind for a handful of microseconds.

Along with my Difficult Reading Book Club I’m plowing ahead through Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum – ten pages or so a day. It’s enjoyable, though truly difficult. I feel I should be looking up every odd word – searching out details on every unique concept – but there are pages to get through so I soldier on. Have to come back later. I’d take notes – but they would be longer than the tome itself.

One concept that haunts my dreams is the eponymous swinging orb. I knew about the Foucault Pendulum, of course. I have even seen one – a big, famous one – at the Smithsonian in Washington (though it looks like it isn’t there any more). I knew the theory, that the pendulum is actually always going in the same plane, but the earth moves under it. The more I thought about it the more I realized it isn’t that simple.

What follows is some boring, technical crap. If that doesn’t interest you, here’s some cute cat photos.

Ok, I can imagine a Foucault Pendulum at the North Pole. I can see it moving around in 24 hours.

But, I thought, what about one at the equator? Wouldn’t it be stationary?

So I looked it up online and I was right. It would not move.

But what threw me off were the latitudes in between. Because there is an angle between the string of the pendulum and the rotation of the earth – it rotates, but slower. The closer to the equator, the longer it takes to go around. The precession period for an ideal pendulum and support system is 23.93 hours (a sidereal day) divided by the sine of the latitude. In the middle of the US, this is about 32 hours. This period of time is called a pendulum day.

sidereal day(23.93 hours)<solar day(24 hours)<pendulum day(varies by latitude) (though I guess there is a latitude near the north pole where the pendulum day is the same as the solar day….)

The problem that I have is this: imagine the pendulum at our latitude… it goes through a 24-hr. cycle… now the pendulum is in exactly (more or less) the same spot that it was at the beginning… yet the pendulum, because the pendulum day is longer than 24 hours, is not at the same spot.

If the pendulum is truly staying the same… and the earth moving beneath it… why doesn’t it return to the same relative spot in 24 hours?

I spent way too much time thinking about it. I kept thinking about cones.

I’m not sure I’ve completely worked it out – but this site helps. Here is the meat of the text:

The ‘plane’ of the pendulum’s swing is not fixed in space

It is worthwhile correcting a common misunderstanding about Foucault’s Pendulum. It is sometimes said (perhaps poetically) that the pendulum swings in a plane fixed with respect to the distant stars while the Earth rotates beneath it. This is true at the poles. (It is also true for a pendulum swinging East-West at the equator.) At all other latitudes, however, it is not true. At all other latitudes, the plane of the pendulum’s motion rotates with respect to an inertial frame.

It is easy to deal with this misunderstanding. Consider a pendulum at the equator, swinging in a North South plane. It’s obvious from symmetry that the plane of this pendulum doesn’t rotate with respect to the earth and that, relative to an inertial frame, it rotates once every 24 hours.
description

Alternatively, consider the motion of a point on the earth at a place that is neither at the poles or the equator. During a day, a vertical line at that place traces out a cone, as shown in the sketch at right. (If the earth were not turning, the half angle of the cone would be 90° minus the latitude.) During each cycle of the pendulum, when it reaches its lowest point its supporting wire passes very close to the vertical. So, at each lowest point of the pendulum, its wire is a different line in this cone. This cone is not a plane, so those lines do not all lie in the same plane!

For yet another argument, consider the motion of the pendulum after one rotation of the earth. With respect to the earth, the period of precession of the pendulum is 23.9 hours divided by the sine of the latitude. For most latitudes, this is considerably longer than a day. So, after the earth has turned once, the pendulum has not returned to its original plane with respect to the earth. For example, our pendulum in Sydney precesses at a rate of one degree every seven minutes, or one complete circle in 43 hours.

(I apologize for emphasizing this rather obvious point. I only do so because a correspondent has pointed out to me that many web pages about the Foucault pendulum – and even, allegedly, a few old text books! – make the mistake of stating that the pendulum swings in a fixed plane while the earth rotates beneath it.)

So, what is the path of motion of the pendulum? Remember that the point of suspension of the pendulum is accelerating around Earth’s axis. So the forces acting on the pendulum are a little complicated, and to describe its motion requires some mathematics. (Indeed, even talking of a ‘plane’ of motion on a short time scale is an approximation because even in half a cycle the supporting wire actually sweeps out a very slightly curved surface.)

Now my head hurts. Unfortunately I can’t relax. I have my reading to do.

Sweet dreams.

What I learned this week, October 1, 2021

Paths, 2014, by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, Hall Sculpture Collection, Arts District, Dallas, Texas

Strangers less awkward, more interested in deep conversation than people think

After the shitstorm of the last few years, we are all looking to make some new friends, or at least new connections. It’s a daunting thought, especially for people my age. Maybe there is hope.


Perforations in the roof of the Pavilion in Pacific Plaza Park, downtown Dallas, Texas

National CD Player Day – October 1, 2021

The first CD player was sold on October 1, 1982. I bought my first player not long after that… a couple years maybe. It was an amazing piece of tech to me… I was amazed at the fidelity. Only recently (because of Spotify) did I finally move my rack of precious audio CDs into a closet for storage.


Vietnamese Pickled Carrots & Daikon Radish Recipe (Đồ Chua)


The trail runs through thick forest near the south end. While I was taking this photo – my tire was losing air.

Secret, hidden gem’: New Dallas forest refuge was once the Elm Fork’s most notorious illegal dump

Frasier Dam Recreation Area


My coffee thermos.

How to Make Better Coffee


We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of It Is Nonsense.


The Most Important Device In The Universe Is Powered By A 555 Timer

A Descent Into the Mythos

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

From my old web-site – from 2003 or so.

Since my porcine companion, Portobello Poblano, (we call him “Porto” for short) and I had a grand day of adventure planned, we decided to have a hearty lunch at the restaurant in our hotel, the Akimbo Arms. Porto had the fried chicken and cream gravy which is too greasy for me, so I ordered the fruit plate.

The mangoes, strawberries, and plums were wonderful. The melon balls, green, yellow, and fleshy orange were passable, cool yet a tad slimy. I was horrified to discover there were no grapes on my plate (and they are in the prime season now!).

I complained to our waitress, a stoic, statuesque woman, until I was literally blue in the face. Finally she left to fetch a bunch.

Where is she? She is the slowest waitress I have ever seen! It is as if she is made of stone!

The young man aged before our eyes. The day darkened, he changed. His painting, though, became developed in color and enveloped in light. This is art. The artist grows old but the years of experience are preserved in the bright colors on his canvas.

We are approaching the heart of the Mythos.
The Dallas “Sacred Can”
A mural, a memorial to the creators of it all.

The Rhinos were being overrun by their mortal enemies, the Hephalumps. Their horrible Hephalump claws were penetrating the inner perimeter defences. It would be only a matter of minutes until the Hephalumps were dancing their victory jig over the corpses of the enemy. Soon it would all be wails, horror, the grinding of horns into aphrodisiacal teas.

The only recourse available to the heroic, if dim-witted, Rhino commander was to call in an air strike on his own position. On his command the orange-flamed lead finned death screamed from the green afternoon sky.

The only victor on the field of battle today would be the angel of death and her minions of buzzing flies and conqueror worms.

We came to a door.

Adventure

A door, a door to where?

Electric Frankenstein (“Takes on Texas!”)
Chumps
Huge Peter
Orbit Room
BARFeeders
Pump ‘N Ethyl
Spazmis
Urine Trouble
The Murderers (on tour) (all ages)
Hi Yah!

Visa and MasterCard Accepted

We had credit cards, so we went in.

The yuppies were advancing on the Mythos. Buiding their condominiums, their gated communities.

In self-defence, the denizens built this moat. Lined its walls with the most effective totems in their arsenal.

The spiked foot
The burning bathtub. (Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans).
The crazy old man.

That’ll hold them yuppies, keep the barbarians at the gate.

We were now past the paintings and the only remaining clue to the mystery that was the Mythos were the Cylinder Mounuments. These were everywhere, lined up, these wooden shafts. The local denizens decorate these poles with metal and paper. They are studded with small strips of steel, hammered in or shot through by spring loaded guns. Starnge cryptic messages are sometimes attached, extolling the virtues of various mysterious meetings, shindigs.

What strange ceremonies lead to the decorating of these poles? What goes on in these promised parties?

We came around the corner and there it was. Up high, next to a drawing of the king’s head and crown. The roundear king’s grubby hand reached up towards the words. Small print, yet legible, the words, the words. We had walked so far and braved so many dangers to find these words, this phrase.

But what did they mean?

This is a place that in which you are in a joint of pleasure and pain. A possible everlasting joy of never reaching the end.

Ah was watchin’ mah TeeVee when this voice comes on and says that it was time to activate the ‘Mergency Broadcast System. The voice said it was only a drill, but I decided not to take any chances. I ‘membered that there was this place where the street goes under the railroad tracks, an underpass, I ‘membered that there was one of them yeller ‘n black deals, fallout shelter signs. So me ‘n Ol’ Paint, we walked down to the spot. Ol’ Paint is too old for me to ride ‘er, so we both walked.

Ah saw what I thought were rooskie planes flyin’ overhead so we giddyuped under those tracks as fast as we could. Ol’ Paint ‘n I huddled ‘gether in that there underpass, which smelled o’ wino piss somthin’ awful, I’m not afeared to tell ya, fer what seemed like hours and hours. We heared what we thought was the end of the world, this terrible rumblin’ and shakin’ and what not. We were plum scared, we was, I’m not afeared to tell ya.

Turned out out it was only a fast frieght out o’ Beaumont, carryin’ imported machine tool parts and tank cars of acrylic monomers ‘cross that bridge over our heads, but we didn’t know any o’ that, not at the time anyhow. So we were sorely relieved when that policeman told us nothin’ was goin’ on and rousted us otta there. He told us to move along and we went out the other end from the one we come in on.

And there he was. Painted up on the pillar ‘tween the two roads, one goin’ in, the other out. The darm Cactus Cat-Dog Angel, painted up there, pretty as real life. And twice as scary too. As relieved to find out the world wasn’t endin’ in a nucular holocaust, that Cactus Cat-Dog Angel shore gave us the willies, chillin’ right up our backbones.

We’d both heard the stories. ‘Bout the Cactus Cat-Dog Angel showin’ that day out in Abeline, ’bout how the sun had turned red and the wind blew hot, and all the birds flew off, squakin, in fear. Folks don’t talk ’bout much mor’n that, they’s too skeered. In Fort Stockton, ‘n Monahans, ‘n Tulia too, all those towns where nobodys got nowhere to go ‘cept out into the open land with the sagebrush and mesquite when the scary things come.

Since that day, Ol’ Paint ‘n I go down to those tracks and check on that ol Cactus Cat-Dog Angel, makin’ sure he ain’t up to nothin’ bad. Sometimes I leave a little beef jerkey, or a half a plug of chewin’ ‘baccy there by the wall, Ol’ Paint ‘l leave a hank of fresh hay or a piece o’ salt lick. Just to be sure.

Don’t hurt nothin’ to stay on the good side. Y’all know what I mean?

The Giant showed up out of the blue. Pulling his wheeled cart he tore through the parking lots, grabbing cars left and right.

He chose carefully, not the most expensive or most exotic vehicles. He picked certain ones because he liked their colors.

The police were overmatched, they were forced to call out the big guns, the army and Toho studios.

But as the tanks were assembled, as the planes took to the air, the Giant decided to leave, as suddenly as he arrived.

“I think I hear my Mommy calling!” were his only cryptic words as he left.

At the edge, we found the artists working on the Mythos itself. A young man, painting. Extending the wonder, the art, the legends on and on, into the darkness.

Porto and I climbed up through the crack, hammering steel pegs into the rough rock as we went. We used our trusty sisal ropes to pull our bicyles and other provisions up after us.

We were afraid the Mythos would be extinct on the surface, but as our eyes became used to the sunlight we spotted a sign that indicated we would have a clear view ahead.

One look at the wall, with its Atlas and winged globe, fantastic preacher, and purple eye creature, showed us that the Mythos was alive and well in these here parts.

We were now at the end, the last door. Set behind one of the mysterious metal encrusted cylinder monuments was the nondescript entrance. As Porto and I were examining the portal, a dirty man shuffled up to us on the street.

“Cain’t y’all read! It says there to Leave yer rad’ators outside!”

Properly warned, we leaned our radiators up against the monument, pulled open the door, and passed through.

She was handsome, he was beautiful. They were in love. They were doomed.

The dark slick night, red hotel sign blinking vacancy, reflected in wet asphalt of the parking lot. He sat in his car outside room 15, idling the engine. A cold, hard mist continued to fall.

On the dash was an empty bottle of Jonny Walker Red, on the seat beside him was a loaded 38. She was inside the room, excited, expecting romance.

“Sorry, honey, not tonight” he said to nobody in particular as he backed out into the night.

Porto and I were worried that we would be lost in this savage land. The symbols and streets were mazelike and confusing, promising unknown pleasure or death around each blind corner.

Luckily, the denizens of this place had provided a map, applied with cunning dexterity and accuracy to an side wall. My companion and I stopped for a pull on our refreshment flasks and discovered the map.

As a matter of fact, I practically leaned my bicycle upon the very lines before I was able to decipher the ‘glyphs and determine its meaning.

Lady luck and her elusive lover, Good Fortune, have both smiled upon us this very day.

A crack a creavase.
Tremendous hideous strength.
Sound of rumbling, steel and rubber thunder.
Through the crack of light
giant luminous buildings, floating on air
and green green cash

Down here the lost wander
sleeping unseen in the open
smells of filth, smells of alcohol
Shanty smells, in the clear, yet dark

Climb, climb if you dare
If you can
Don’t forget us
Thought we know you will.

We’ll forget you too.

There is no way that I can put down in this humble notebook all the wonders that Porto and I saw, heard, and smelt on our perilous journey through the Mythos.

At the end though, as we were returning to the paddle boat, was a surprise for me. A very personal surprise.

Totally by accident (dare I say it – by Chance?) we met up with Betsy, a woman I was in love with a long, long time ago. It was a youthful, torrid affair, but I was soon put off by her sometimes coldness, and the terrific differences in our backgrounds. So I grew proud, and resentful, and then came that one terrible, regretful night, when I drank too much cheap wine, and said things that should have been left unsaid.

We have drifted far across over these years, but meeting her again brought the memories back. Her regal air, that precious spit curl on the side of her head, those firm naked breasts.

Betsy and I will meet again next week. What will happen? I don’t know. I’m wiser now, I can see clearly what I gave up for pride long, long ago.

Here in the Mythos, the tales and stories of the real world filter in. But they become distorted, warped by the peculiar needs and desires of the people here into lessons for their own place and time.

“The little engine that could” is a mural in honor of the little steam train that almost made it over the mountains, bringing toys for the deserving girls and boys. He almost made it but needed help from Arcturus, the eagle, and Wilbur, the strongman of the mountains.

But when the engine reached the city on the other side, he didn’t mention Arturus or Wilbur and took all the credit for himself. He was hailed a hero; songs, books, and films were made in his honor. Parents would tell the fable to their children in a pitiful and futile attempt to spur the kids on to a purposeful and brave life.

At night though, the engine would hear the caw, caw, of high and distant eagles. When he rolled past the woods, it seemed that someone would throw mudballs and faint curses from the deepest forest.

It wasn’t long before the little engine was replaced by diesel-electrics. He was left to rust on a siding, croaking out his tale to any unfortunate passersby. His story lives on, but he is known now by the few that know him as a pitiful old loser, whining away on lost glories.

What I learned this week, September 24, 2021

Bicycles stacked up in front of Hot & Cool

How to make new friends as an adult

If you’re not used to having a lot of friends any more, you may actually need to remind yourself to engage. Set time on your calendar for a phone call or make plans to get a cup of coffee or to do something else together. As an adult, your life gets busy, so scheduling time with friends is a recognition of the complexity of your life, not a sign that you’re doing something you don’t really want to do.


Monumental Head of Jean d’Aire (from The Burghers of Calais), Auguste Rodin, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Lost perspective? Try this linguistic trick to reset your view

In the 2nd century CE, in the sunset of his life, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius began recording meditations on how he had lived. The questions he asked himself are the same ones many of us find ourselves asking today: how does a person live a meaningful life? How does one find resilience in the face of suffering? What does it mean to be happy?


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

Why I’m glad that I’m an ‘overthinker’

Examining every aspect of a question can be exhausting, but the most amazing insights can be gained that way


Working on freeform embroidery, Klyde Warren Park Dallas, Texas

The way we view free time is making us less happy

Some people try to make every hour of leisure perfect, while others hate taking time off altogether. Have we forgotten how to enjoy free time?


French Quarter Levee, New Orleans

How to Love: Legendary Zen Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on Mastering the Art of “Interbeing”

“To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.”


Five skills to learn in your spare time, and how to master them

A decade or two ago, if you wanted to learn something new, you’d have to pick up a book or find a way to get some hands-on experience. Now though, educational tools are at our fingertips: there are incredible online resources for everything you could want to learn. It’s literally never been easier to gain new skills—which is why it’s a great use of your spare time.


Shakespeare Sculpture, Dallas Arboretum

21 Phrases You Use Without Realizing You’re Quoting William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare devised new words and countless plot tropes that still appear in everyday life. Famous quotes from his plays are easily recognizable; phrases like “To be or not to be,” “wherefore art thou, Romeo,” and “et tu, Brute?” instantly evoke images of wooden stages and Elizabethan costumes. But an incredible number of lines from his plays have become so ingrained into modern vernacular that we no longer recognize them as lines from plays at all. Here are 21 phrases you use but may not have known came from the Bard of Avon.

What I learned this week, September 16, 2021

My son is at a friend’s house watching Thursday Night Football and I’m at home surfing the web. This is what I learned.

Underneath the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. (click to enlarge)

5 Mindful Habits that Lead to a Minimalist Home

Creating a beautiful, minimalist home can be done in one fell swoop with the help of some major de-cluttering—but maintaining a minimalist home is a whole different story.


Underneath the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. (click to enlarge)

Be a Schedule Builder, Not a To-Do List Maker

Imagine you bought a new phone, but at the end of each day, every day, the operating system crashed. Would you keep using the faulty phone? Of course not. You’d take it back to the store, complain, and get a new one.

And yet, many people run their entire lives on a faulty operating system. It’s called the to-do list. Have you ever met someone who runs their day using a to-do list and actually finishes everything they said they’d do? Me neither.

To-do list devotees keep a running register of all the things they promise to get done, but at the end of the day, they’re surprised to find the list of uncompleted tasks has gotten longer, not shorter. The next day, they repeat the Sisyphean practice. Their days, months, and sometimes entire careers are spent in a harried blur of never getting enough done, even though they’re using a technique that’s supposed to make them more productive.


Blockchain, explained

Blocks? Chains? How does this whole thing work?


Jars of Kimchi, half and full gallons.

Common factors within the gut associated with depression and bipolar disorder

New research has found that there is a common, overlapping environment in the gut bacteria of people living with mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.


Wildflowers south of Dallas.

How humans created color for thousands of years

Back before we could paint our world with pixels, we needed precious commodities to make pigments.


Gymnast, by Enrique Alferez, bronze, Poydras Street, New Orleans

A Beginner’s Guide To The Unsung Heroes Of Gym Equipment

Be honest: Do you dash towards your fave treadmill every time you go to the gym? Or do you wander around, look at the equipment, and try new things? While it’s totally fine — and even beneficial — to stick with a solid and predictable workout routine, there’s something to be said for shaking things up on occasion, too.


Recycled Books, Denton, Texas

Why William Gibson Is a Literary Genius

Forty years after his breakout story, “Johnny Mnemonic,” the father of cyberpunk remains one of the best writers around

A Day of Zoom Meetings

“The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance, and goodwill can cause as much damage as ill-will if it is not enlightened. People are more often good than bad, though in fact that is not the question. But they are more or less ignorant and this is what one calls vice or virtue, the most appalling vice being the ignorance that thinks it knows everything and which consequently authorizes itself to kill. The murderer’s soul is blind, and there is no true goodness or fine love without the greatest possible degree of clear-sightedness.”
― Albert Camus, The Plague

A little way farther down the wall is “Chomp”, also by Amber Campagna

Today, work was a day of Zoom meetings, webinars, and long lists of unanswered questions. Although I go into work every day there is an army of people at home writing PowerPoint presentations and espousing on what is better for everybody else.

Today was the day that Biden’s Covid-19 Mandate hit like a ton of bricks (yes, we employ more than 100 people and yes, we do business with the government) and a lot of folks are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

I am fully vaccinated and have been for a long time. There are some people I know that are strongly opposed to the shot. There are more (mostly vastly younger than me) that are simply too lazy to get the needle. I don’t know.

Now that the best plans are laid – and I take a very close look at them – it really won’t make a difference until early next year. Really. It is all a dance, a show, virtue signalling. Take my word for it.

Box Office Poison

“Death is a funny thing. Not funny haha, like a Woody Allen movie, but funny strange, like a Woody Allen marriage.”
― Norm Macdonald, Based on a True Story

Funerary Figure (tau-tau) Dallas Museum of Art Dallas, Texas

I saw today that Norm Macdonald passed away. I usually don’t go all social media when a famous person dies. Especially since I don’t know the person personally – their death won’t really affect me at all. Their artistic output is still there. Now there are some exceptions – I still think about the music that Stevie Ray Vaughn would have produced….

At any rate, I have always been a fan of Norm Macdonald. He had that combination of unique dry odd humor and political incorrectness that is rare today. He will be missed.

I suppose everyone has their Crackerjack YouTube moments they can come back to when feeling a little blue. One of mine – one of my very favorites – was a Norm Macdonald guest stint on Conan with Courtney Thorne-Smith. I saw that Conan re-uploaded a good quality version onto YouTube today, in honor of Norm… and that made me happy.

I know you’ve probably seen it before – but if you haven’t here it is. Be sure and watch ’til the end – one of the best lines ever… I still wonder if it was really impromptu (never say to someone like Norm Macdonald “Do something with that, you freak,”) – I like to think it is.