No Intention of Revisiting Any Galaxy

Alec Guinness
“A refurbished Star Wars is on somewhere or everywhere. I have no intention of revisiting any galaxy. I shrivel inside each time it is mentioned. Twenty years ago, when the film was first shown, it had a freshness, also a sense of moral good and fun. Then I began to be uneasy at the influence it might be having. The first bad penny dropped in San Francisco when a sweet-faced boy of twelve told me proudly that he had seen Star Wars over a hundred times. His elegant mother nodded with approval. Looking into the boy’s eyes I thought I detected little star-shells of madness beginning to form and I guessed that one day they would explode.

‘I would love you to do something for me,’ I said.

‘Anything! Anything!’ the boy said rapturously.

‘You won’t like what I’m going to ask you to do,’ I said.

‘Anything, sir, anything!’

‘Well,’ I said, ‘do you think you could promise never to see Star Wars again?’

He burst into tears. His mother drew herself up to an immense height. ‘What a dreadful thing to say to a child!’ she barked, and dragged the poor kid away. Maybe she was right but I just hope the lad, now in his thirties, is not living in a fantasy world of secondhand, childish banalities.”
― Alec Guinness, A Positively Final Appearance

Metal Ostrich Sculpture, downtown McKinney, Texas

Oblique Strategy: Not building a wall but making a brick

The whole family is now here, one son in from New Orleans, his cat ensconced in one bedroom, the other son from Houston, his black Labrador retriever settled into another.

Our Ring smart doorbell makes our cellphones tinkle in a delightful way every time the delivery man brings another present, the new Internet of Things Santa Claus.

We were up at eight; I had to drag myself – feet hurting, mind reeling – from bed; to see a morning showing of The Last Jedi at the local Alamo Drafthouse (the best place in the world to see a movie). I love the no talking/no texting or you will be thrown out policy. I love the fact that at nine in the morning they will bring a milkshake with alcohol in it to your seat. I love the stuff they put on the screen before the movie.

(on this snippet – if you get the joke “A talent agent is sitting in his office, a family walks in…” you should be ashamed of yourself)

I liked the film a lot better than I was expecting.

There is something wonderfully odd about seeing a movie early in the morning, other than the discount tickets. I’m so used to going at night – to emerge to sunlight and the realization that you still have another day to live – is almost wonderful.


What I learned this week, October 21, 2017

Pond at Fair Park

A pond in Fair Park. The red paths are part of a massive sculpture by Patricia Johanson – I have always loved those red paths running through the water, weeds, and turtles. A neglected jewel in the city.

Mapping Dallas: 7 neighborhoods for food and fun

Spirit of the Centennial, Woman’s Building, Fair Park, Dallas, Texas

I usually am fine with being poor, and I have a nice Bose bluetooth speaker that I am perfectly happy with. But, still, I wish I had a spare three grand to drop on this bad boy.

25 Best Film Directors of the 21st Century (So Far)

20 Worst Film Directors of the 21st Century (So Far)


‘Walking to the Sky,’ a Dallas treasure, prepares for return almost eight years after it vanished

Complete Streets Come to Life in Dallas

Your First… Your Worst

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson

Half-Price Books, Dallas, Texas

Half-Price Books, Dallas, Texas


What I learned this week, August 19, 2017

Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024

I really, really wanted to drive north next week and see the solar eclipse. Unfortunately, I can’t get off of work, so won’t witness the totality. I was bummed. But now, I feel better, because I discovered there will be another one in seven years and the path of totality will pass right over Dallas. Now I only have to survive seven more years.

Something else to live for.

Chemists Say You Should Add A Little Water To Your Whiskey. Here’s Why

12 Authors Share What it Takes to Make it as a Writer in Dallas

The front desk entrance to the Art Deco Belmont Hotel, with Smoke in the background.

10 Best Spots to Snap an Instagram in Dallas

Travelling Man – sculpture east of Downtown Dallas

People from the Seersucker Ride at Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

7 World-Famous Landmarks That Are Hiding Something From The Public

7 Wonders of the Horror Movie World

This week’s short film:


What I learned this week, August 12, 2017


The Brutal Saga of One Extremely Evil Railroad Crossing


That’s part of what motivated Cherry and company to conduct what they call the nation’s first “empirical analysis of rail-grade crossings and single-bicycle crashes.” To them, the problem wasn’t with the cyclists. It was with the roadway design and the fact nobody knows, scientifically speaking, the best way to bike over railroad tracks.

This footage is amazing and very, very hard to watch. It is beyond my imagination that a city could put in a dedicated bike lane that includes a railroad crossing at an angle of less than 30 degrees, and then take so long to try and correct it. Imagine someone building a road that wrecks a good percentage of the cars that drove on it. It would be on the national news.

Nobody gives a damn.


Restaurant Workers Reveal Their Personal Food Hacks And Tips



Brian Eno Explains the Loss of Humanity in Modern Music


In music, as in film, we have reached a point where every element of every composition can be fully produced and automated by computers. This is a breakthrough that allows producers with little or no musical training the ability to rapidly turn out hits. It also allows talented musicians without access to expensive equipment to record their music with little more than their laptops. But the ease of digital recording technology has encouraged producers, musicians, and engineers at all levels to smooth out every rough edge and correct every mistake, even in recordings of real humans playing old-fashioned analogue instruments. After all, if you could make the drummer play in perfect time every measure, the singer hit every note on key, or the guitarist play every note perfectly, why wouldn’t you?

One answer comes in a succinct quotation from Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, which Ted Mills referenced in a recent post here on Miles Davis: “Honor Your Mistakes as a Hidden Intention.” (The advice is similar to that Davis gave to Herbie Hancock, “There are no mistakes, just chances to improvise.”) In the short clip at the top, Eno elaborates in the context of digital production, saying “the temptation of the technology is to smooth everything out.”

The man is a genius.

To avoid traffic, this guy swims to work

Munich, Germany resident Benjamin David hated sitting in traffic on his way to his job at a beer garden. So instead of hopping in a car or on a bike, he now puts on a wetsuit and jumps into the River Isar for his daily commute.

This guy is my new hero – I whine so much about riding my bike to work… and this guy swims.

Not only that, but he works in a Munich beer garden.


Dining in a time machine: Couple tours Dallas eateries that have made it for four decades


I moved to Dallas in 1981 – the restaurants I fondly remember from that time that are still open include Campisi’s, The Grape, Spaghetti Warehouse, and, especially, Snuffer’s.


I Ride KC


In this blog, the author sets out to ride every street in Kansas City. What an interesting quest. I don’t think it would be possible to ride every street in Dallas, but it would be fairly straightforward to ride all the residential streets in Richardson. Something to think about.

Paying the price for breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture

Returning to the American cultural values of the 1950s — thrift, gratitude, temperance, continence, among others — would “significantly reduce society’s pathologies,” says Penn Law School professor Amy Wax in an op-ed published Thursday on and co-written with Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego School of Law.


Not all cultures are created equal’ says Penn Law professor in op-ed


This very interesting and needed op-ed will either create a shit-storm of argument… or, more likely, be completely ignored.

Penn Prof Faces Backlash for Saying “Not All Cultures Are Created Equal

This week’s short film….


No Country for Old Dogs

“You can find meanness in the least of creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it.”

—- Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

I am so tired when I come home from work – it’s a struggle to do anything other than fall asleep.

So I try to do something on the way home – anything remotely useful, fun, or interesting. Today I stopped off at a tea place, Kung Fu Tea, to get some milk tea and write a bit on my netbook.

Everything worked out, except I couldn’t think of more than a few interesting words – and once my tea was gone I packed up and went home. I sat on the couch to decompress and turned on the great mind-eater… the television.

Flicking deftly and expertly through a long-learned series of channels I ended up watching the last twenty minutes of “No Country for Old Men.” I love that movie.

First, I’m a big, big fan of Cormac McCarthy. I’ve read pretty much all of his books. I put “No Country for Old Men” in the middle of the pack… but middle of the pack for McCarthy is still better than pretty much anything else in the world.

I’m even a fan of the screenplay he wrote, “The Counselor.” Everybody else hated that movie. You see, the average moviegoer saw the previews and thought they were in for a drug deal-fueled thriller. And that isn’t what it is. It’s a Cormac McCarthy movie. The plot is merely a distraction, a feint that the magician waves in front of the audience to distract the suckers from what is really going on – you have to pay attention to the long bits of boring dialog – that’s where the real story lies.

Oh, and as for “The Counselor” – it doesn’t help that it has two scenes – one violent, one sexual – that are so far over the top that ordinary moviegoers are appalled to the point that there is no way they can enjoy the film. Again, that’s McCarthy. Read his masterpiece, “Blood Meridian,” if you want over the top. I read that the proposed Russell Crowe / James Franco movie version has been shitcanned. Probably just as well – “Blood Meridian” is unfilmable… as the best books must be.

Back to “No Country for Old Men.” I’m sure a lot of moviegoers thought that film also was a drug deal-fueled thriller… even after they had seen it. It isn’t. The movie is about the Tommy Lee Jones character and his inability to soldier on in the face of overwhelming modern evil. The rest of the plot is, again, a distraction… or more accurately a colorful backdrop against and armature holding up the story of the aging sheriff – the last of his line – as it plays out.

The movie ends with the defeated and retired Tommy Lee Jones telling of his haunting dreams. To end this way – it must also start this way or the whole thing is unfair. On my television, right after one showing ended, another began. So I stayed for a few more minutes. Sure enough, the movie starts with a five minute monologue voice-over spoken by the sheriff while scenes of beautiful West Texas desolation slide across the screen.

That voice-over, ignored and forgotten by most viewers, tells the whole story… before anything actually happens.

Our old dog, Rusty, slept on the couch through all this… as he does for pretty much everything. He has to get his solid twenty-three hours a day of sleep in or he isn’t happy. Right in the middle was a commercial for Burger King. Apparently, they have decided to take all the guts of a Whopper and wrap it in a tortilla. They call it a Whopperito.

This truly is the best of all possible worlds.

I couldn’t help but look at the sleeping dog and think about how happy he would be if he could ever get his paws on a Whopperito.

It would be the best day of his life.

PS – If you really want to see the two horrific scenes from “The Counselor” – and I hesitate to do this – you can watch them… here and here. But please don’t blame me – you were forewarned.


A Month of Short Stories 2015, Day Twenty Five – Running Away In Place

The last two years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month… you can see the list for 2014 and 2015 in the comments for this page. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year.

Today’s story, for day twenty five – Running Away In Place, by Brandon French

Read it online here:

Running Away In Place

Today I felt like a modern short story from an online literary journal.

And what we have here is a very California piece of short fiction. It contains some very serious themes – sexual abuse, incest, hopeless fatal cancer, early onset Alzheimer’s, transsexuality, the sins of the fathers… and so on – but all this is tied together in a structure of movie reviewing. It’s especially California because the movies are all big hits – a New York story would include obscure foreign and experimental films.

The climax of the story is an homage to “Touch of Evil”… “So let me just say one more thing about my friend Bryce –- if you’ll be kind enough to imagine some gorgeous black and white lighting, a tinkling piano, a corrupt and bloated sheriff lying dead in murky water and Marlene Dietrich in a jet black wig” followed by a famous quote.

It’s an unfair world, but still one that pales in the light of the silver screen.

I’m a screenwriter so I know you can’t create a character who is a pretty good guy for most of the story and then you find out he raped his grandmother, or ate his dog, because people will say no way, I don’t believe it, not credible. But the truth is that people who do bad things aren’t usually walking around with wild hair, death’s head tattoos, and Charlie Manson eyes. So when you ram into their shadow, it’s like hitting the side of a mountain on your Harley, and then wandering around like your head snapped off and you can’t exactly see where it rolled.