Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A bold vision from Joint Chiefs officers … Another look at LBJ … What Voyager 1 has discovered … The new iTunes … 100 facts for Machu Picchu.

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. The Power Broker’s Other Voice
By Jason Sokol | Slate | June 13
“President Lyndon Johnson, domineering and manipulative, lives on in American memory as the classic power broker. … Yet this is not the Johnson who emerges from volumes seven and eight of The Presidential Recordings, a transcription of his phone conversations from June 1 to July 4 of 1964.”

2. The Y Article
By John Norris | Foreign Policy | April 13
“The piece was written by two senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a ‘personal’ capacity, but it is clear that it would not have seen the light of day without a measure of official approval. Its findings are revelatory, and they deserve to be read and appreciated not only by every lawmaker in Congress, but by every American citizen.”

3. Voyager 1 Reaches Surprisingly Calm Boundary of Interstellar Space
By Geoff Brumfiel | Nature and Scientific American | June 15
“The Voyager 1 spacecraft is at the limit of the ‘heliosheath’, where particles streaming from the Sun clash with the gases of the galaxy. Contrary to scientists’ expectation of a sharp, violent edge, the boundary seems to be a tepid place, where the solar wind mingles with extrasolar particles.”

4. Everything You Need to Know About the New iTunes
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise — The New York Times | June 13
“Last week, at the opening of its annual developers’ conference, Apple announced iCloud — its new online storage and syncing service for music, photos, files and software. Although not all of its features are available immediately, one part — “iTunes in the Cloud Beta” — is, if you’ve updated to iTunes 10.3.1. Here is a primer about what you need to know, right now, about it.”

5. Looking beyond Obama to ‘The Golden Age’
By Paul Rosenberg | Al Jazeera | June 11
“Obama has so far been a disappointment to many of his supporters, but he has awakened a worldwide need for real change.”

6. So Much More Than Plasma and Poison
By Natalie Angier | The New York Times | June 6
“Among nature’s grand inventory of multicellular creatures, jellyfish seem like the ultimate other, as alien from us as mobile beings can be while still remaining within the kingdom Animalia. Where is the head, the heart, the back, the front, the matched sets of parts and organs? Where is the bilateral symmetry?”

7. 100 facts for 100 years of Machu Picchu: Fact 59
By Catharine Hamm | The Los Angeles Times | June 12
“Hiram Bingham, a Yale professor, came upon the vine-covered ruins on July 24, 1911. Here, then, as we lead up to the century mark, are 100-plus facts about Machu Picchu, its country, its history and its players. We’ve been posting one each of the 100 days leading to the anniversary. Read from the bottom up.”

8. Why you’re wrong about who’s going to be elected president next year
By Tom Casciato | Need to Know | June 10
“It’s 2011, do you know who’s going to win the presidential election next year? The answer is no, you don’t. Even if you predict now that someone will win then, and that person ends up winning, it won’t be because you knew. You don’t know.”

9. The Balance of Melville
By David D. Robbins Jr. | The Fade Out | June 14
“His masterpiece, ‘Le Samouraï’ (1967), the story of a lone contract killer named Jef Costello, played by exquisitely by Alain Delon, seems to work in perfectly balanced pairs.”

10. How NASA Prepares for the Final Space Shuttle Launch
By Denise Chow | | June 14
“With just one more mission remaining before the end of NASA’s storied 30-year space shuttle, the agency has shifted its focus to the final launch of Atlantis on July 8. But exactly how does NASA get a space shuttle ready to fly?”


Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. The Insomniacs — Hoodoo Man
2. Carolyn Wonderland — Ain’t Nobody’s Business
3. Los Super Seven — Heard It On the X
4. Robbie King Band — Classic Case of the Blues
5. Jack County — Lonesome Radio
6. BB Chung King and the Budda Heads — Still the Rain
7. The Fabulous Thunderbirds — Painted On
8. Red Rooster Club — Fool for Your Stockings
9. Red Rooster Club — Lie to Me
10. Paul Rogers — Muddy Water Blues
11. Preachers Stone — Mother to Bed

Author: Fernando Ortiz Jr.

Handsome gentleman scholar, Civil War historian, unpretentious intellectual, world traveler, successful writer.

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