What I learned this week, July 30, 2017

How Government Wrecked the Gas Can

Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.

It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives. It’s the bureaucrats’ way of reminding market producers and consumers who is in charge.


Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

Why car drivers just lost my support for city streets

I have been somewhat skeptical of this whole car and vehicle lane investment the city has been building for the last 200 years …. They’ve built them in front of my home and my neighbors’ homes. My first thought, naturally, was of the inconvenience and safety issues — cars drive so fast! What if they hit my house? Or my neighbor? Or, me? But I also understand the desire of cars to have priority. They are so large, so loud and so dangerous, after all.

However, an incident that keeps occurring every day has tipped the scales. As I was making my way home, I was stuck at a standstill trying to cross the street. “What was the reason for this?” I wondered. As I got closer, the answer was evident: Hundreds of cars were riding down the street to gloat. (As they do every day now!)


For the Love of Kettle
Looking at the art

The Weird and Wicked World of the Singing Cowboy
by Clay Stinnett

13 REASONS WHY ORIGINAL ART IN THE HOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS A BED

Having original art in the home is vital to your well being. Art is a key piece of furniture for many reasons and yet it is sometimes put on the back burner in comparison to other home objects. This list is dedicated to the understanding of importance of art from perspectives of interior design, well being, social atmosphere, creating a mood in the home, and more. One quote that stands out about the importance of original art is the following, “You would never put fake books on your bookshelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?”

Tethered to an Upside Down Giant
by Richard Ross

I am always amazed when I am in an expensive house and the shelves and walls are filled with stuff purchased from some “home store” – unoriginal crap made by some poor semislave laborer in some far-off tropical country. I want to scream, “Buy real things! Buy local art! Put something that means something to you on your walls and shelves!” It’s like they want to conform to some unwritten rule – “you will buy crap from the appointed crap stores and you will display it as a flag to other idiots that you know and follow the unwritten rules.”

Persuation, from Twenty Heads


I remember when Aw Shucks opened. I was living a block away at the time. There was a nice little family-owned Mexican restaurant in the building and I was a little disappointed when it closed… until Aw Shucks opened – it was really good. And it’s still there, 35 years later.

Love it or Not, Aw Shucks Has Had an Undeniable Spirit on Greenville for Nearly 35 Years


From the same series… The Inwood Lounge. I remeber when it opened – it was so cool. This was before Netflix and there was nothing better than going to a film at the Inwood – going early and meeting in The Lounge for a Martini beforehand. That was the 1980’s… and that was a long time ago. But The Lounge is still the same… maybe it is out of date, but maybe out of date sometimes works.

Where the ’80s — and Maybe Some Ghosts — Live On: Inwood Lounge, the Haunted Movie Haunt

The Inwood Theatre is a baby boomer, celebrating its 70th birthday in May, but few things are more iconically ’80s in Dallas than The Inwood Lounge. Instantly, you may picture the wall of thick, squared glass and violet runner lights, like something you’d see in the club Sarah Connors visits in Terminator, or the crystal-clear, ice-sheened martinis.

“It’s definitely a victim of its time,” Clardy says, describing the lounge space. “Between the glass tile, the wall, the little fountain running through it — it looks like the ’80s had one too many cocktails and vomited all over the place.”


A Lot Like Prayer: Remembering Denis Johnson

I did not know he had passed away. It’s sad, I love his work.

He does have a posthumous book of short stories coming out next year. I wrote about the title story here – A Month of Short Stories 2015, Day Thirteen – The Largesse Of the Sea Maiden. You can read the story online from the New Yorker here – The Largesse Of the Sea Maiden


Ohh Crap

The Dallas Library Is Selling Off a Bunch of Books

After the demise last summer of its bookstore, BookEnds, now the site of the madhouse that is the Office of Vital Statistics on the first floor of its downtown branch, the Dallas Public Library turned to moving its surplus stock with biannual clearance sales. The summer sale is set for Aug. 12 and 13 at the J. Erik Jonsson central branch, the library announced today.

About 40,000 books (print and audio), CDs, and DVDs will be on sale at exceptionally low prices, which, as far as we’re concerned, makes this the social event of late summer in Dallas.


I enjoy short films and have been pleasantly surprised at how many are available for free on youtube. Here’s one I like:

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What I learned this week, May 14, 2017

After 500 years, Leonardo da Vinci’s music machine is brought to life

Rather than plucking the strings, as a harpsichord would, this instrument, called the viola organista, lowers the strings onto spinning wheels which are wrapped in horse hair. This acts as a bow would on a violin. The resulting sound gives the impression of a group of string instruments. The project took Zubrzycki 3 years and 5,000 hours to complete.


The Harlan Ellison Show

The star of the long-running Harlan Ellison show is 82 now. A stroke two years ago slowed him down somewhat, though not nearly enough to stop him from working. What his admirers fear above all is the loss of his voice—sometimes annoying, sometimes sappy, always funny, always insistent, and always arresting. As George Edgar Slusser puts it, “In its ubiquity and insistence, this voice becomes both guardian and guarantor of the stories, projecting a sense that here is not dead but living discourse—words spoken and re-spoken that are worthy of being guided through the years, mediated to other human beings, and reassessed in terms of their relevance again and again.”

It is this voice—Harlan Ellison’s voice—that deserves preservation for generations of readers, of writers, of 12 year olds who dream of other worlds.


What if We Discovered an Alien Civilization Less Advanced Than Our Own?

Fourth, what would we do if we really found rock-solid evidence of a pre-industrial civilization on a planet around another star? We couldn’t communicate with them by any currently known method. Unless physicists make some kind of wildly unanticipated new discovery, there is no practical way that humans could travel there, either. Potentially we could send miniature interstellar probes to examine the planet and learn more about its inhabitants. A project called Breakthrough Starshot is exploring the kind of technology needed to do something like that. Such probes would be so small and speedy that the aliens there would have no idea they were being watched


Oysters, Despite What You’ve Heard, Are Always in Season

The life cycle of a particular species, the temperature and quality of the water in which an oyster grows, and how the mollusk is handled after leaving that water all can affect its health and taste — and your health.

“Essentially if you buy oysters that are grown in healthy waters and they’re handled properly, then there’s no problem with eating them any time of the year,” said Donald Meritt, an aquaculturist at the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.


Saudi Arabia Whines US Has Too Much Control Over World’s Oil

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has asked the U.S. to stop producing so much oil, according to a report Thursday.

OPEC’s report blames the U.S. in particular because hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has greatly increased American oil production. The new production has led a lengthy period of very low oil prices. OPEC claims raising global oil prices will “require the collective efforts of all oil producers” and should be done “not only for the benefit of the individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy.”


6 Reasons You Should Watch Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Before Season Three Premieres


How Alamo Drafthouse Is Changing the Moviegoing Experience

 


I have had a crush on the actress Natalie Dormer, ever since The Tudors. I saw this short “The Brunchers” on ShortsTV and really enjoyed it – even if it isn’t anything more than a bit of fluff. I was glad to find it was available to watch on Netflix.

You’re welcome.

Nick’s Birthday

Today is Nick’s twenty-first birthday.

Time flies – it’s hard to believe it’s been that long.

After work, I drove down to Big Shucks on Mockingbird to meet the family and friends for dinner. We always love the place – great, unhealthy, cajun and fried food (I had an oyster po-boy – usually I get the Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, but not tonight) and we packed a bunch into the back room.

Texting

Nick and some friends laughing at the text messages some strange woman sent Lee.

After stuffing our faces, everyone came back to our house for further festivities. Lee and I then drove the revellers into old downtown Plano and dropped them off. They’ll call us when they need to be picked up – I think Lee will make two trips to bring everybody back.

I have to work tomorrow, so I’m messing around the house and will try to get some sleep – I’ll be the only one, I’m sure.


In other news, Lana Del Rey has a new video out for my newest favorite song, Video Games. I really like it.

from her facebook page – HOLLYWOOD SAD CORE SUMMERTIME SADNESS DOPE SPECIAL THANKS TO Tim van den Hoff (vloedlicht.nl) and Andrew Livingston whose films inspired this video. Super-8 …..