Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A name seen from space … Prince Andrew … Jesus sightings … A fight over Guadalcanal … Arthur Ashe at Wimbledon.

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. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. The tragedy of imperial retreat
By Tarak Barkawi | Al Jazaeera | July 21
“When the US withdraws from Afghanistan, don’t expect much help for the people it leaves behind.”

2. Sheikh’s Name Written In Sand Visible from Space
By Natalie Wolchover | Life’s Little Mysteries | July 21
“Hamad bin Hamdan al Nahyan, a billionaire Sheikh and member of Abu Dabhi’s ruling family, has had his name carved into the sandy surface of an island he owns in the Persian Gulf.”

3. Stephen Marche and Arthur Phillips on Shakespeare
The Paris Review Daily | July 21
“The cult of Shakespeare is one of the weirdest and most persistent in literature. This spring, Arthur Phillips and Stephen Marche each published books on the obsession. … They discussed their various journeys into the heart of this cult by e-mail.”

4. Prince Andrew’s Tabloid History
By Matt Pressman | Vanity Fair | August 2011
“Prince Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein … is only the most recent of his many public blunders. Whether it’s the company he keeps or his driving technique, Andrew usually makes the news for all the wrong reasons.”

5. Jesus sightings in food (and walls) – in pictures
The Guardian | July 21
“A couple from South Carolina have claimed to have found the image of the face of Jesus Christ on a Walmart receipt. Here are other examples of Jesus turning up in everyday life.”

6. Unmanned Navy boat has brains – and an attitude
By Hugh Lessig | Daily Press | July 21
“The Navy is advancing its development of Autonomous Maritime Navigation, using unmanned craft that can patrol waterways and ports without humans at the helm – and without humans at the joystick, for that matter.”

7. Long-Term Unemployment, by State
By Sara Murray | The Wall Street Journal | July 21
“More than one in three jobless Americans were out of work for at least a year in a handful of U.S. states that appear to be disproportionately caught up in the nation’s long-term unemployment problem.”

8. Mitt Romney’s Sad Tour of America’s Modern Ruins
By Elspeth Reeve | The Atlantine Wire | July 22
“To hammer President Obama on the sluggish economy, Romney has been touring businesses around the country that closed during the recession.”

9. Arthur Ashe wins Wimbledon
Witness :: BBC News | July 1
“In 1975 he became the first African-American man to win the tennis tournament. His friend and agent, Donald Dell, talks about that memorable match – and about what else Ashe might have achieved if he had not died young.”

10. Dogfight Over Guadalcanal
Secrets of the Dead :: PBS
“Deep in the jungle of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific … are the rusting remains of a World War II-era fighter plane. … Research confirms that the plane is the doomed Wildcat flown by James ‘Pug’ Southerland in one of the most heroic and legendary dogfights in aviation history.”


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. Jason Ricci & New Blood — I’m A New Man
2. Stingray — Met Me In The Middle
3. John Mayall — Snake Eye
4. Storyville — Lucky One More Time
5. Dan Granero — My Baby
6. Pat Green — Me And Billy The Kid
7. Barely Legal — White Line Fever
8. Joe Galea — Wash My Hands
9. Max Meaza — The Long Goodbye
10. Texas Boogie — Adelie
11. Tim Gaze & Rob Grosser — Six Strings Down
12. The Bois D’arcs — Feel All Right
13. Zed Head — Shotgun
14. The Ramblin Dawgs — Steppin Up

Author: Fernando Ortiz Jr.

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

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