Few people consider West Texas vacation home territory (if you don’t count the ostentatious and puzzling Lajitas Resort and Spa), but Roger Black isn’t few people. Black — former art director for Rolling Stone, The New York Times and Newsweek — has built his rather unusual house in the middle of a remote 3,000-acre ranch. It takes him nine hours to get there from his Manhattan apartment, but Black insists it’s still a more pleasant journey than taking the Long Island Expressway to the Hamptons. Score one for West Texas. A slide show of the house can be viewed here.

Headed to the beach or mountains
but unsure what to do with your precious Fluffy? Check out the latest in pet industry extremes, Pet Airways. It’s an airline that flies pets between five U.S. cities (which for the time-being doesn’t include Dallas). It’s inaugural flight — covered here by the Los Angeles Times — was July 14 and, judging from the 10,000-plus fans it has on its Facebook page, we’d say it’s going to be a success.

Is Texas the new California?
That’s the take on this recent Economist article. The author says our fine state has “coped well with the recession, with an unemployment rate two points below the national average and one of the lowest rates of housing repossession,” and claims that Texas might — and here it stresses the might pretty excessively — indeed be the launch pad for America’s future.

And, just because,
check out a photo of something you’ve never seen before with the naked eye: a bubble bursting at the moment of contact.