What I learned this week, June 24, 2022

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

The Strange Case of Buddy Holly’s Final Pair of Glasses

Sheriff Jerry Allen of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, was combing through a storage vault in a courthouse basement on February 29, 1980 when he came across an envelope. It was from the coroner’s office and read, “Charles Hardin Holley, rec’d April 7, 1959.” Allen opened it and found a pair of black-framed angular eyeglasses, the lenses scratched.

Campsite, Lake Ray Roberts, Texas

Ultralight backpacking hacks no one tells you about

You pack it, you carry it.

Nick reading Harry Potter.
Nick reading Harry Potter. Is this the first one?

Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind

A new study suggests that exposure to large home libraries may have a long-term impact on proficiency in three key areas

On the other hand Is Reading a Waste of Time

History of the Conquest, Hank Willis Thomas, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

You Need to Practice Being Your Future Self

Being busy is not the same as being productive. It’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running to a destination. They’re both running, but being busy is running in place.

Venus Victrix (The Judgement of Paris), Pierre Auguste Renoir & Hercules the Archer, Antoine Bourdelle, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Dead on Arrival

At the opening of the 1950 classic film noir, D.O.A., Edmund O’Brien strides purposefully into a big-city police station, proceeds down long, endless corridors, and finally arrives at a door marked Homicide Division. “I want to report a murder,” he says to the head detective. “Who was murdered?” asks the cop. “I was,” replies O’Brien.

L’Absinthe (detail) by Edgar Degas

WHO Chief Now Says He Believes COVID Did Leak From Wuhan Lab After an Accident in 2019

Was there ever any doubt?

Wind Turbines Blackwell, Oklahoma (click to enlarge)

Is the Green Energy Climate Cabal Crumbling?

As President Joe Biden waxes poetic about the amazing “transition” his energy policies will affect, the green fervor in Europe is flailing.

On the Nose

“Then love knew it was called love.
And when I lifted my eyes to your name,
suddenly your heart showed me my way”
― Pablo Neruda, Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada; Cien sonetos de amor

Strip center outside of my work

I was waiting for my ride in the triple digits on the busy road that skirts the high tech manufacturing campus where I work. Over ten thousand folks work at that location – though most use the exits on the other side. I stared at a couple of the businesses settled in – a coffee shop named Kaffeine and a bar named Drinks.

A little too much on the nose… don’t you think? But I guess when you are stumbling on the way to work, trying to wake up and face the day – you don’t want to sift through cute coffeehouse names like The Roasted Bean, Espresso Express, or HuggaMug Cafe. All you need is the stimulant – therefore Kaffeine.

Same thing on the way home. All you want is to kill those same overstimulated nerves – all you need is a Drink… or two… or three…..

What I learned this week, June 17, 2022

Downtown Square, McKinney, Texas

5 Questions the Most Interesting People Will Always Ask in Conversations

The point is to get beyond the dreaded small talk.

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!”

Bad thinkers

Why do some people believe conspiracy theories? It’s not just who or what they know. It’s a matter of intellectual character

When you pick a mudbug up – he’ll spread his claws out and try to look as big and as mean as he can. He still looks delicious – no matter how hard he tries.

Cloned crayfish accidentally created in an aquarium are conquering the world

Today, the freshwater marbled crayfish populates various ecosystems across Asia, Europe, and Africa, and they all trace back to a single genetically identical individual born less than three decades ago.

The river and the Hwy 90 double bridge from the Crescent Park Bridge, New Orleans

The Power of the Bittersweet: Susan Cain on Longing as the Fulcrum of Creativity

In search of the most transcendent solution to “the problem of being alive in a deeply flawed yet stubbornly beautiful world.”

How to Stop Sugar Cravings Once and For All

Plus, the best foods to try when you’re in the mood for something sweet.

Commanding Heights : Keynes on Inflation | on PBS

Progressives should fear inflation more than recession (substack.com)

Biden Can’t Fix Inflation If He Can’t Stop Lying About It – PJ Media

KURT SCHLICHTER: Them: ‘You Must Care!’ Us: ‘No.’

What I learned this week, June 10, 2022

Book With Wings Anselm Kiefer Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

20 Short Novels To Stay Up All Night Reading

Unputdownable books you can finish in bed tonight

Car fire just north of downtown, Dallas.

Rand Paul warns of ‘double digit’ interest rates, recession, and joblessness.

I am old enough to remember the early 1980’s – with 20% interest rates, hyperinflation, and terrible joblessness. It wasn’t fun. It feels like that right now.

The historic Renner School House, in Dallas Heritage Village, with the skyscrapers of downtown rearing up in the background.

$1,500 inflation relief payments for staff, 4% tuition increase for students at this university.

For the last couple of decades – higher education has been the biggest scam in history and it’s not getting any better.

LBJ Freeway and TI Boulevard, Dallas, Texas

Famed economist Robert Shiller sees ‘good chance’ of recession.

I am old enough to remember the early 1980’s – with 20% interest rates, hyperinflation, and terrible joblessness. It wasn’t fun. It feels like that right now.

Green and Red Sriracha

Sriracha maker warns of ‘unprecedented shortage’ due to supply issues. “

“Therefore, all orders submitted on or after April 19, 2022, will be scheduled AFTER Labor Day (September 6, 2022) in the order it was received.”

Even Sriracha… really?

Carol Roth on Twitter: “We are 100% in the position we are now because too many people believed you could suck the rainbow farts out of unicorns’ asses instead of reality.”

Epic twitter thread.

Biden is “Scared” Ukraine May Win, Analyst Asserts

Simon Tisdall claims that this fear is already condemning Ukraine to one of the ‘forever wars’ that, on the campaign trail in 2020, the American president pledged to end.

Ice Cold Coca Cola

“Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: Frequently there must be a beverage.”

― Woody Allen, Without Feathers

A reminder of what one of these looked like at the unveiling

I’ve been thinking about the themes (and there are quite a few) of the amazing movie I saw yesterday, Everything Everywhere All at Once. One of the themes is to enjoy and appreciate the ordinary things every day.

This morning I was thinking about this while I waited for my coffee water to boil in the microwave (3 minutes and thirty seconds) I stood in the little break area staring at the soft drink machine. It had a little red LED screen and across this was scrolling, “Ice Cold Coca Cola – 29°.” I know the twenty nine degrees isn’t really possible… but still.

I thought about how much work went into making the plastic bottles of Coca Cola, transporting then there, then creating the frigid atmosphere inside the machine. All I had to do was swipe the little piece of plastic in my pocket and the delicious ice cold beverage would be mine.

It really is a miracle. I actually love Diet Coke – and after a five mile bike commute it sounded like it would be something I might really like. I did settle for my coffee then, but all day I thought about those red scrolling letters, “Ice Cold Coca Cola – 29°.”

This is truly the best of all possible worlds.

What I learned this week, June 3, 2022

FAILE uses the year 1986 in their work – the year of the Challenger Disaster.

The New Normal Is Failure

The clusterfark in Uvalde is just a symptom of a much bigger pathology. It is a symbol of the failure of every institution in our society. And the solution is never to revamp the institutions and eject the parasites heading them. It’s always – always – to take power from us and give it to the people who screwed up in the first place.

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

People who drink coffee daily live longer, study says.


This is ART!

Mona Lisa is attacked with custard pie by man disguised as elderly woman in a wheelchair screaming ‘think of the planet!’… before he’s dragged away by security.

“The man, who wore a dark black wig and lipstick, turned out to be an artist and climate change activist who said he pied the prized painting in protest. ‘Think about the Earth. People are in the process of destroying the Earth!’ he declared as he was led away by security guards. ‘Artists think about the Earth, that’s why I did this. Think of the planet!’”

As Karol Markowicz tweets, “An environmental activist trying to destroy the Mona Lisa is in line with what leftism is right now. They think their righteous cause means all of their behavior is OK and this is reinforced by a friendly media who covers riots as if they are peaceful protests. It’s wrong.”

Get Ready for $1 Per Egg: USDA Forecast Predicts Highest Food Inflation Since 1980. 

“All of the predictions in the May report from the USDA are subject to upward revision.”

Renner School House desks.

Harvard professor finds remote school led to massive learning loss

Remote and hybrid learning during the COVID pandemic led to large declines in academic achievements, especially in high poverty districts, according to a study from Harvard University economist Thomas Kane.

“High poverty schools were more likely to go remote and the consequences for student achievement were more negative when they did so,” the research team with Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research reported.

I have friends with school-age children. Every one of them says that the schools are a disaster post-pandemic and the kids have been irreversibly harmed. “We have destroyed an entire generation,” one parent of told meand keep in mind they were talking about their own children.

We Have Entered the Self-Pity Stage of the Biden Presidency.

There’s no doubt that Democrats are seeing a perplexing disconnect with the public: In one particularly daunting example, the onetime recipients of the now-expired expanded child tax credit have, according to polls, moved from supporting the Democrats to supporting Republicans—all despite the fact that no member of the GOP supported the expansion of the credit. But the carping over how the people are failing to truly see the distinction between the parties only underscores the self-pitying tone of the administration and its leader at the moment.

Real Americans prefer an economy with low inflation and increasing wages — like we had before the lockdowns — to an economy that practically requires child tax credits just to get by.

 One Man’s Case Shows Why the Looting Isn’t Going To Stop Any Time Soon: Serial looter committed serious crimes, never spent a day in prison.

Grumpy Fuckers

“Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.”

― Emily Dickinson

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

I received a random internet ad for merch from the “Grumpy Fuckers Coffee Shop.” I liked it – not enough to order anything (at least not right away) but I did look up the address on Google Maps – 253 Gunt Street, Cardiff, Wales. I wanted to see what the storefront looked like. I was a bit disappointed when I discovered the address didn’t exist.

It is all Fake News.

But is the best kind of fake news. It is the kind that I wish I had thought of myself.

The City at Night

“We live as we dream–alone….”

― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Woodall Rogers Expressway, Dallas, Texas

I used to never remember my dreams… and when I did they were gray, ordinary, and frustrating. Lately, they have been vivid and memorable, if more than a bit disjointed. Maybe as the dreams of my waking life are slowly extinguished… the sleeping ones come alive.

Last night, among other things, I dreamed that I shot someone…half on purpose (my tiny revolver had a hair-trigger). The bullet went through his neck, but he survived. He was pissed, though.

That’s all I can think of right now – I have to go to sleep – we’re a car short and I have to ride my bike to work – and that means I have to get up before dawn so I can leave as the sun comes up. Otherwise it’s already too hot.

In the meantime – here’s something I wrote in December, 1998.

I’m writing another entry sitting in the van, waiting in a parking lot. This time it’s a long way from home. I have a focus group at eight thirty, on the tenth floor of a big office building, at Park Central on the northern arc of Dallas’ LBJ freeway loop. I have better things to do with my time than sit here, but they’ll pay me a hundred dollars, cash. Allowing an hour to get here, it only took twenty minutes, so I found this lot in a commercial strip right off Central Expressway. About a half hour to kill before I drive back to the building, that’s how long the batteries in this old Dell can hold out.

I had wanted to go exercise after work and there is a club located between there and here. I forgot my damn shoes again, can’t very well work out in steel-toed safety boots, so I stayed in my office a couple hours late. Time is becoming so precious, it drove me nuts. Nowhere to go, no money, nothing much to do (I was so sick of work, it was tough to get anything extra accomplished). So I sat and did some light computer stuff and watched the hands turn.

At least the van is a good place to type. The middle bench seat is roomy enough for me to hold the laptop on my lap, there is enough stray light from the parking lot to illuminate the keys without washing out the screen. Also, the van isn’t stalling. I was about to give up yesterday, when I put another fresh tank of fuel in her, and presto- no more problems. My guess is that the recent cold snap condensed water into the gas tank, it took a refill to work itself out.

Across the street from here is a big hospital. This is where both Nick and Lee were born. It seems like I’ve been there a hundred times, for childbirth classes, medical emergencies, routine checkups. We don’t have the HMO anymore, so we don’t come back here now. One reason I dropped it was because I was concerned about the drive from Mesquite, it scared me to think of Candy driving over here in the awful traffic with a sick kid strapped in beside her.

The traffic is scary. The intersection of LBJ and Central may be the busiest in the Metroplex, maybe the country. Lines of white, lines of red. Going either seventy or stopped. I constantly look at these thousands and thousands of cars speeding past and wonder where all these people are going. What are their dreams? Are they happy? Do they really want to go where their car is pointing? Why are they in such a hurry to get there?

Honk! Honk! Honk! The car alarm on a big sedan is going off. A woman gets out. Is it her car? Is she confused by the alarm and can’t shut it off? Or is she stealing the thing? I don’t care. It stops, she gets back in. Nobody calls the police. There the car goes.

Behind this strip, this line of office supplies, fast food Chinese, medical equipment, and podiatrist, is the dark slash of a creek. I know that linear wilderness better than I know the wild street; the White Rock bicycle trail runs back there. It starts five miles to the south at the lake and winds along the creek embankment, using the floodplain to cut through these civilized islands unseen and undisturbed. The day was dry and warm, I wish I had my bike and was able to get some late season fresh air back there today. Or I wish I had a nice light and could run the trail now. Swooshing along in the dark, heart pumping, legs pumping.

Oh, well.

I think I’d better wrap this up, save the file and get going. I’m not sure exactly where to park (there is a maze of garages around the office complex) and I don’t want to be late. They won’t give me my money.

Thanks for listening to me ramble, thanks for helping me kill a few minutes away from home, thanks for the memories and the city at night.

What I learned this week, May 27, 2022

5 Incredibly Effective Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

A psychologist explains why negativity dominates your daily thoughts, and what to do about it

The Most Beautiful Place in Each U.S. State

Tourists reflected in a metal bird. Travelling Man Sculpture, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

The Most Overrated US Tourist Destinations (and where to go instead)

Cozumel, Mexico

The Most Overrated Tourist Destinations in the world (and Where to Go Instead)

Lee walking in the surf at Crystal Beach. I checked my old blog entries – this was December 29, 2002. Fifteen years ago, almost to the day.

This Beautiful Island in North Carolina Has the Best Beach in the U.S., According to Dr. Beach Himself (yahoo.com)

Boy looking at his shadow on Richard Serra’s My Curves are Not Mad – Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

American Madness – by Bari Weiss – Common Sense (substack.com)

More What I learned this week, We’re All Fucked Edition May 24, 2022

Collapsed Hard Rock Cafe, New Orleans

The Economic Doom Loop Has Begun › American Greatness (amgreatness.com)

From “House”

Housing Bubble: The Spike in Home Prices Is Steeper Than It Was before 2008 | National Review

Posing for photos at the Leaning Tower of Dallas

My Biden-Voting Friend Had ‘No Idea’ Things Could Get This Bad. Buckle Up, Buddy, We’re Just Getting Started – PJ Media

“ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE:” Ricky Gervais released a Netflix special today slamming the trans cultists and hoo boy grab your popcorn.

“Remember how Netflix sent a memo to all its woke staff telling them to cowboy up and stop being so offended at everything? Yeah, I think this Netflix special from Gervais was the reason!”

Sacrifice III, Lipchitz, Jacques, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Why is Xi Jinping doubling down on a ‘zero-Covid’ policy that is causing massive economic distress and public anger in China? (firstpost.com)

Not just Russia: America has a problem speaking truth to power, too (nypost.com)

Biden on record gas prices: It’s an “incredible transition” to my vision for a green future – HotAir