What I learned this week, November, 15, 2017

10 Obscure Punctuation Marks

My favorite may be The ElRey Mark – This little two-headed exclamation point should be used when you’re cheery, but not over-the-top excited.


I like these a lot better than emojis.

Here’s how the Northaven and White Rock Creek trails might connect

If you don’t bicycle in Dallas – you don’t realize how cool this would be. It would connect two parts of the city that are separated by an effectively unpassable barrier.

White Rock Creek Trail

Northaven Trail

White Rock Creek

The southern terminus of the Cottonwood Creek trail, where it connects with the White Rock Creek Trail. The DART train is crossing White Rock Creek over the trail. This is about where the Northaven Trail could connect – tying a lot of city together.(click to enlarge)


Sheaffer Pens

Sheaffer Pens

What The Hell: Southwest To Expand Live Music On Flights

From Sichuan to Schnitzel, These Are the 8 Spiciest Dishes in Dallas

Complete Streets Come to Life in Dallas

Morning Dallashenge from the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza.

The air became hard, it developed edges, surfaces, and corners, like space was filled with huge stiff balloons, slippery pyramids, gigantic prickly crystals, and he had to push his way through it all

From But Does It Float
Works by Aldous Massey
Title: Roadside Picnic

What I learned this week, October 18, 2013

5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM

The fantastic films of Piotr Kamler


The last photograph in the article – the one labeled, “Trail System in Richardson, Texas” was taken right behind my house. One reason we bought the place was because the trail was scheduled to go in (though it took a lot longer than promised). Now, I rarely ride my bike on the trail – it is so popular with families and, especially, people walking dogs on a leash, that I feel safer on the street.

Your “Oh, wow!” for the day: Janet Echelman’s glorious suspended sculptures float over cities across the globe.

Deep in the heart of Texas: Photographers capture stunning series of pictures that show 1970s life in the Lone Star state

I found the National Archives collection of photographs on Flickr a while back while looking for copyright-free images to use in practicing with digital image software. There is some really interesting stuff in here.

You can read about the project here.

The US National Archives Photostream on Flickr It may be more useful Divided into Sets.

Examples that I like:

Secretaries, housewives, waitresses, women from all over central Florida are getting into vocational schools to learn war work.

Campers at Garner State Park, 07/1972

Constitution Beach - Within Sight and Sound of Logan Airport's Takeoff Runway 22r


Scott Adams’ Secret of Success: Failure


Your Guide to the 106 New Works of Public Art You Can See in Dallas This Weekend

I am really excited about Aurora tonight in the Arts District.

Red Jellyfish, from the Aurora Preview

Red Jellyfish, from the Aurora Preview


The light festival is responsible for 86 of the new public art pieces, which will be literally everywhere in the Arts District and at Klyde Warren Park on October 18. Rather than list them out individually, here’s a nifty interactive map to guide you through the exhibition, and here is a complete list of artists and works.



Here are the artists and the locations of the work, all of which will officially open this Saturday, Oct. 19. Click on the links to find out more about the individual projects.

Music (Everything I know I learned from the day my son was born) by Alfredo Jaar at the Nasher Scupture Center

Moore to the point by Rachel Harrison at Dallas City Hall

Flock in Space by Ruben Ochoa at the Trinity River Audubon Center

Black & Blue, Cultural Oasis in the Hills  by Vicki Meek at Paul Quinn College

Buried House by Lara Almarcegui at 2226 Exeter Ave in  Oak Cliff Gardens in Oak Cliff

Fountainhead by Charles Long at NorthPark Center

by Liz Larner at the University of Texas at Dallas

Trans.lation: Vickery Meadow by Rick Lowe at Ridgecrest Rd. in Vickery Meadow

CURTAINS by Good/Bad Art Collective at Bryan Tower, 2001 Bryan St. – Space will be open from 2-10 p.m.

dear sunset by Ugo Rondinone at Fish Trap Lake

[For more on Lowe’s Socially Engaged Art piece for Vickery Meadow, go here.]


What I learned this week, February 8, 2013

The 10 Most Useless Kitchen Gadgets

I’m afraid there are a couple of these I wouldn’t mind having. I will not tell you which ones.

California vs. Texas: Wild West Shootout

But behind the posturing lies a riveting drama. Two of our biggest and richest states, polar opposites on the political spectrum, are taking radically different approaches to attracting new jobs. Policymakers in Washington and beyond will be watching closely to see who comes out on top.


This is the Ali vs. Frazier of interstate rivalries. It promises to be the fight of the decade.

The Top Tools for Productivity

The number one tool is the Pomodoro Technique – which I’ve found to be very useful.


An Idea Pomodoro – timer, pen, composition book.

Hail Columbia!

The federal government’s relentless expansion has made Washington, D.C., America’s real Second City.

The Washington, D.C., region has long been considered recession-proof, thanks to the remorseless expansion of the federal government in good times and bad. Yet it’s only now—as D.C. positively booms while most of the country remains in economic doldrums—that the scale of Washington’s prosperity is becoming clear. Over the past decade, the D.C. area has made stunning economic and demographic progress. Meanwhile, America’s current and former Second Cities, population-wise—Los Angeles and Chicago—are battered and fading in significance. Though Washington still isn’t their match in terms of population, it’s gaining on them in terms of economic power and national importance.

In fact, we’re witnessing the start of Washington’s emergence as America’s new Second City. Whether that’s a good thing for America is another question.

3 Hottest Real Estate Markets in Dallas for 2013

I’m surprised that they mention Richardson, where I live, as one of the hottest real estate markets – though I am partial to the inner-ring suburb.

Of course the comments consistantly talk about how awful Richardson is – so it must be a great place.


An Afternoon with Ralph Steadman

He gets out his signature fountain pen and fills it with ink.

The 12 Best Acting Performances at Sundance 2013

Pen and Ink Blog Illustrates Stories Behind Tattoos

Is Urbanism the New Trickle-Down Economics?

12 Louisiana Bands You Should Listen To

Waiting for Texas – but this is getting close.

Check Out Your State Here

What I learned this week, December 21, 2012

Read a harrowing short story in a collection by Joyce Carol Oates the other night. It was literary in structure and style, but a crime thriller in effect. If I could, this is what I would write.

Spider Boy – from the New Yorker

High Lonesome, a great collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates

High Lonesome, a great collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates

This is from the Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s first anniversary party. Candy and I are in there, but you have to look quick.

Deep Ellum Brewing Company's Lineup

Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Lineup

I feel like such a nerd, commuting to work on a bicycle. At least I’m not the only one.

LeBron James says he bikes to most Heat home games to stay in shape

Ever since seeing the wonderful movie Tampopo, I’ve been bummed that Dallas has a lack of places to get decent Ramen. Finally, that seems to be coming to an end.
Dallas to Finally Get a Dedicated Ramen Spot

Even better, the place seems to be a product of the couple that did the cool Wicked Po’ Boys place here in Richardson.

What I learned this week, November 30, 2012


D Magazine: Why Does Dallas Hate Cyclists?

Bicycling in Dallas is too difficult and too dangerous. Bicycling magazine called Dallas the worst city for cyclists—twice (in 2008 and 2012). As a result, only heroes do it. And the solution is simple. We need only change the way we think.

When the story you are reading is published online, there will appear, without question, comments from people who will assail Mike McNair and hurl insults at cyclists of every stripe for getting in the way of their cars. A number of years ago, golf commentator David Feherty wrote a story for D Magazine about getting run over on his bike by a car in Dallas. He did a turn with Krys Boyd on 90.1 KERA to talk about the experience and his long rehabilitation. Online and on air, a sizable number of people said: “Screw the cyclists! They are a hazard and should get off the road!” Words to that effect.

That attitude is the first thing that must change if Dallas is ever to achieve its world-class ambitions. Bicyclists are like children. They are slow. They are sometimes unpredictable. They weave and wander and clearly think the world revolves around them. They infuriate. But they are our future. So we should not only tolerate them, we should encourage and coddle them.

Great News. The Dallas Museum of Art had free admission when it was first opened, and I was working downtown. While it is worth the paid admission, making it free enables a person to enjoy the place on a more informal basis. I used to go there and look at one piece of art only – really think about it. Hard to do that when you pay ten bucks to get in.

Museum Tower is an “attack” on the Nasher Sculpture Center’s garden, building and art

As Nasher Sculpture Center landscape architect Peter Walker sees it, the intense light reflecting off Museum Tower, the 42-story, $200 million condominium complex across from the center, is an “attack on the garden and on the building and on the art.” According to Walker, “What the reflection does is very much like putting light through a magnifying glass, it essentially burns everything that it sees.”

Writing in my Moleskine Journal outside the Mojo Lounge, Decatur Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

Anyone with free time in North Texas tomorrow, Saturday, December 1st, think about coming down to Deep Ellum for the first

Dallas Writing Marathon

Taps for growler filling behind the bar.

Craft and Growler, down on Exposition near fair park, is open and it’s a cool place. A long way for me to drive for a growler full of beer…. but it’s worth it (my car gets great mileage).

An Idea Pomodoro – timer, pen, composition book.

A freelance writer shares his thoughts and experiences using the Pomodoro Technique to cut down on distractions and squeeze more productivity out of his day.

How a tomato helps me get stuff done

What I learned this week, September 21, 2012

Why James Bond Fans Are Better Than Sci-Fi Geeks

Bond fans are different. They (we) make an effort. When I was younger, I found that watching the Bond films and reading the books made me a more active and motivated person. I began to take an interest not just in playing video games but in learning new things. Online Bond forums are, by and large, not a bunch of nerds arguing over fantasy scenarios but guys talking about actual skills: effective martial arts to learn for self-defense, good clothing decisions, how to fix cars, elegant alcoholic drinks, card-playing tips, travel locations, etc. These are real skills that you can go out and learn and use. You can’t learn how to fly an X-wing, do flips with a lightsaber, or use the Vulcan neck thing to take out a mutant invader.



There has been a lot of talk about Lincoln’s voice in the new Speilberg film – how Daniel Day Lewis interpreted him as having a higher voice than the usual booming baritone. This seems to be historically accurate.

It didn’t seem to be such a big deal, until I listened to this trailer:

Photographer and videographer Peter Sutherland followed six cyclists from different disciplines of cycling and personal backgrounds to produce short but moving documentaries on each one.

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on …our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.”

— From TEDxHouston speaker Brené Brown’s new book, Daring Greatly, released this month.

I keep reading everybody writing and saying that, “Rush is an idiot!”

I don’t know… this might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s pretty good anyway:

What I learned this week, July 6, 2012

girl from ipanema turns fifty



Frank Sinatra

Ella Fitzgerald

20 Songs for Sticking It to The Man

The Power and the Peril of Our Crowdfunded Future

This year Kickstarter has provided more money to the arts than the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

I like the song… may not be anything special – but any music video with Kelsey Gunn in it is worth an Embed. It’s odd seeing her in something serious after all those 5 Second films.

What I learned this week, April 6, 2012

Next to my table at one of my favorite coffee places was this 3D photograph with a pair of glasses attached by a piece of brown twine. Pretty cool (though the twine was a little too short and it was hard to see the full effect). I liked it better than Avatar.

Work hard and sacrifice and you can send your children to an elite private university. That’s my son, Lee, in the following video. He’s the one in the Red Suit. I always wondered who did stuff like that.

Hey, whatever gets you into the final four.

Sometimes, I dream of a life led like this:

Unfortunately, this is only a dream, my real life is like this:

“Are you casting asparagus on my cooking?”

I’m not a huge fan of Titanic (even though I did like it more than I thought I would) and have no intention of seeing the 3D version. However, I am amused at the one change they made in the movie. Apparantly after (spoiler alert) the boat sinks, they had the wrong starfield – plus it was reversed for the second half of the sky. An astronomer was enough of a pest to get it changed in the 3D version.

From Maybe Mousse

The Google Art Project

I am hard at work on the cover for my book of short stories. I shouldn’t care, nobody looks at the cover of Kindle books anyway – but fear based procrastination is rampant. At any rate, here’s a nice TED talk on designing book covers.

What a great idea! From Library Scenester –

sips card

Sips Card brings independent fiction and local coffee shop/bar venues together. Customers can find Sips Cards at participating coffee shop-like venues. Each card contains a QR code, loaded with a short story from an independent writer meant to last as long as their drink. The cards are venue specific and include their business information as well as that issue’s author, story title, and website.

For my own reasons (which some of you may know) I have always wondered what a severed head in a shopping bag might look like. Thanks to Helen Taylor, now I know.

I bet it’s heavier than you would think.

A head in a shopping bag

Finally, a French Scopitone. It’s another odd France Gall offering and has three creepy male dancers with even creepier sideburns… like her classic Bebe Requin.

What I learned this week, March 16, 2012

From the “I really wish I had thought of that,” department. Of course, the music is the “American Beauty” theme – but the fabric looks better than a plastic bag.

When I watch this, I think of what I know about chaotic systems and boundary conditions and I wonder if a setup like this could be designed to be “stable” – in that the fabric would continue to move in a random way, but staying within the boundary of the circle of fans – for an indeterminate time… like years. Imagine a museum exhibit that simply did this, day after day, week after week, for a year. I like to think of it still thrashing around in the dark, after the museum has closed, still dancing in inanimate beauty with nobody watching. Or, even better, I imagine a lonely museum security guard, at four in the morning, sitting there, looking at it, dreaming his own personal unique dreams.

And two pieces of cloth, plus my favorite Sigur Ros tune.

Really cool new Moleskine product.

Moleskine Messages – postal notebooks.

How do you pronounce Moleskine anyway?

And the correct answer.

More Moleskine hacks – How to set up a mini Moleskine for maximum productivity.

8 million hits – so you might have already seen this…. but even if you did, trust me, it’s worth watching again.

I loved Hee-Haw in high school. It was on in Managua, dubbed into Spanish (except for the songs and music). Trust me, Hee-Haw does not translate well. Still, I’d forgotten how much I loved this little ditty until I stumbled across it on a blog the other day.

Leadbelly’s The Titanic

Ten Tips on Maintaining an Organized LIfe