Relaxing

Stillness of Heart is taking some time off to fully enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Stillness of Heart is taking some time off to fully enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Stay in touch. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

See you in the fall.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A world failure in Haiti … Alien destruction … 2012 election rhetoric … Pre-bed drinks … What would President Hillary Clinton have done?

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. How the World Failed Haiti
By Janet Reitman | Rolling Stone | August 2011
“A year and a half after the island was reduced to rubble by an earthquake, the world’s unprecedented effort to rebuild it has turned into a disaster of good intentions.”

2. Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists
By Ian Sample | The Guardian | The Guardian
“Rising greenhouse emissions may tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report for NASA”

3. Archaeologists comb newly-found Civil War POW camp
By Russ Bynum | Associated Press | Aug. 18
“Archaeologists are still discovering unusual, and sometimes stunningly personal, artifacts a year after state officials revealed that a graduate student had pinpointed the location of the massive but short-lived Civil War camp in southeast Georgia.”

4. The rhetoric of the 2012 election will be about race
By Joseph P.A. Villescas | NewsTaco | Aug. 18
“In this racially charged election, previous and future representatives will be judged according to their influence on regional Latino issues related to education, healthcare and job creation as well as their dedication to improving the quality of life for residents in Austin, Kyle, Lockhart, Maxwell, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Seguín and San Antonio.”

5. What a Rick Perry Presidency Would Look Like for Women
MeanRachel :: Huffington Post | Aug. 17
“With a governor who has a women’s health record that’s a bumpy country mile long possibly becoming our next President, what would it mean for women across America? Allow me.”

6. Pre-Bed Booze May Bust Rest
By Katherine Harmon | 60-Second Health :: Scientific American | August 2011
“A nightcap may force the body to work harder at repair during sleep, making for a less restful night”

7. What Would Hillary Clinton Have Done?
By Rebecca Traister | The New York Times Magazine | Aug. 17
“[I]n a period of liberal disillusionment, some on the left are engaging in an inverse fantasy. Almost unbelievably, they are now daydreaming of how much better a Hillary Clinton administration might have represented them. ”

8. Dimming the Red Lights in Turkey
By Anna Louie Sussman | The New York Times | Aug. 19
“Since the 1870s, prostitution has thrived in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, which houses Kadem and its sister street, Zurafa.”

9. When Looking for Love, Women Spurn Science
By Jennifer Welsh | LiveScience | Aug. 18
“Finding romantic love can be a distracting goal for anyone, but for women thoughts of romantic goals are particularly distracting from science, technology, engineering and math, new research suggests.”

10. Economic Myths: We Separate Fact From Fiction
By Michael Grabell | ProPublica | Aug. 18
“1. Taxes have been going up and are high compared to levels in other countries. 2. The stimulus failed./The stimulus rescued the economy. 3. The stimulus should have been bigger.”

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. I’M LIFE The Fixx
2. ANGELINA FLASHBACK Jan Hammer
3. LOMBARD TRIAL Jan Hammer
4. POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME Def Leppard
5. TURNING POINT Jan Hammer
6. WHO ARE YOU John Murphy
7. DESIRE U2
8. WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE Bon Jovi
9. I WISH SOMEONE WOULD CARE Irma Thomas
10. NIGHTTIME IS THE RIGHT TIME Ray Charles

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

China’s navy … Women in Mexico’s drug war … Young Americans no dreamers … Brazil’s girl power … Studying the storm surge.

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. Mexico’s Drug War, Feminized
By Damien Cave | The New York Times | Aug. 13
“The number of women incarcerated for federal crimes has grown by 400 percent since 2007, pushing the total female prison population past 10,000.”

2. Troubled Waters: Why China’s Navy Makes Asia Nervous
By Austin Ramzy | Time | Aug. 10
“China’s armed forces are modernizing — military spending has grown by an annual average of 15% since 2000 — and after a decade-long charm offensive in East and Southeast Asia, Beijing has begun taking a more aggressive stand on territorial disputes.”

3. New hurricane scale puts more focus on storm surge
By Mary Wozniak | The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press | Aug. 14
“A newly patented hurricane scale better predicts the potential destruction from both wind and storm surge, but the National Hurricane Center won’t say whether it will be endorsed or used.”

4. Bachmann and Perry — a beautiful 2012 rivalry
By John Whitesides | Reuters | Aug. 14
“It was Michele Bachmann’s big moment in the political spotlight and Rick Perry stomped all over it.”

5. Generation Vexed: Young Americans rein in their dreams
By Tiffany Hsu and Shan Li | The Los Angeles Times | Aug. 14
“Amid so much economic uncertainty, many are rethinking career plans, putting off marriage and avoiding the stock market like the plague.”

6. Brazil’s Girl Power
By Cynthia Gorney | National Geographic | September 2011
“How a mix of female empowerment and steamy soap operas helped bring down Brazil’s fertility rate and stoke its vibrant economy.”

7. The Hope That Flows From History
By Christina D. Romer | The New York Times | Aug. 13
“Adding to the despair is the oft-repeated notion that it took World War II to end the economic nightmare of the ’30s: If a global war was needed to return the economy to full employment then, what is going to save us today? Look more closely at history and you’ll see that the truth is much more complicated — and less gloomy.”

8. The Female Eunuch, 40 years on
By Rachel Cusk | The Guardian | Nov. 20, 2010
“Funny, angry, clever and hopeful – The Female Eunuch set out to transform women’s lives. Does Germaine Greer’s seminal tract still speak to feminists?”

9. The Single Guy Getting Over His On-Again, Off-Again Girlfriend
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | May 23
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Single Guy Getting Over His On-Again, Off-Again Girlfriend: Male, high school teacher, 39, Astoria, straight, single.”

10. Italian internees
Witness :: BBC News | June 10
“When Italy joined World War II in June 1940, British-Italian men were rounded up and interned.”

TUNES

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. Mike Zito — 39 Days
2. Chris Rea — Lone Star Boogie
3. The Terry Quiett Band — Long Saturday Night
4. Lady Antebellum — Lookin’ for a Good Time
5. The Insomniacs — Angry Surfer
6. Anna Popovic — Get Back Home to You
7. Stevie Ray Vaughan — The Sky is Crying
8. Douglas Acres — Grand Theft Mojo
9. Tommy Crain & The Cross Town All Stars — For the Music
10. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals — Some Kind of Ride
11. Los Lonely Boys — Texican Style
12. Beau Hall — Hell & Ecstasy
13. Preacher Stone — Mother To Bed

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Memory crystals … Obama’s anger … Latino population growth … Tsunami in Antarctica … A woman’s erotic brain.

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. Superman’s Memory Crystals Inch Closer to Reality
By Matt Cantor | Newser | Aug. 15
“Hard drives could soon be made from glass.”

2. His Anger Is a Start
The New York Times | Aug. 16
“[President Obama’s] anger is long overdue. But it would be much more effective if he combined it with strong ideas of his own for how to fix the economy, rather than the thin agenda he is now promoting. ”

3. Growing Latino population should not be a shock
By Marc Rodriguez | NewsTaco | Aug. 15
“The U.S. Census Report, or at least the documents from the past four decades, should officially be considered the government’s equivalent of the television broadcast version of the Spanish-language telenovela.”

4. America, the Dysfunctional
By Leslie Bennetts | The Daily Beast | Aug. 15
“As pundits bemoan the broken political system, historians tell Leslie Bennetts that even as far back as Jefferson and Hamilton, acrimony is just the American way.”

5. Can Rick Perry Govern?
By Dave Mann | Texas Observer | Aug. 15
“Texas governor is a terrific campaigner but has accomplished little in office.”

6. Tohoku Tsunami Created Icebergs In Antarctica
NASA | Aug. 8
“A NASA scientist and her colleagues were able to observe for the first time the power of an earthquake and tsunami to break off large icebergs a hemisphere away.”

7. Mikhail Gorbachev: I should have abandoned the Communist party earlier
By Jonathan Steele | The Guardian | Aug. 16
“The former president looks back on his role in the fall of the Soviet Union 20 years ago in an exclusive Guardian interview”

8. Vintage box camera portrays Mayan women
By Jack Chang | Associated Press | Aug. 16
“Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd made his way to the Guatemalan mountain city of Coban in July to photograph these women vying to become this year’s National Indigenous Queen of Guatemala, who is honored for helping keep alive the country’s rich Mayan history.”

9. Vaccines are important to everyone’s health
By Jeff Kreisberg | NewsTaco | Aug. 16
“You never outgrow your need to be vaccinated. No matter what your age, there are recommended vaccines to help keep you, your family, and your community safe.”

10. The Female Erotic Brain, Mapped
By Maia Szalavitz | Healthland :: Time | Aug. 16
“Not surprisingly, the brain region associated with sensation from the clitoris was distinct from those that respond to stimulation of the cervix or vagina. Each area of the genitals showed up in its own spot, clustered in one region of the brain — the same region associated with genital stimulation in men — overlapping but separate.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Singing to John Brown … President Matt Damon? … Perry’s perks … Life fades in scorched Texas … History of women’s protests.

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. As Texas Dries Out, Life Falters and Fades
By Richard Parker | The New York Times | Aug. 13
“Up in Austin, Gov. Rick Perry is moving toward a run for the presidency. But he has had precious little to say about the drought that is devastating his state. He did organize a prayer for rain back in April. Looking at that blazing hot, clear blue sky up there, it seems heaven isn’t listening.”

2. Flannery O’Connor reads ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’
Manasto Jones | May 18, 2009
“This is a recording from 1959 of Flannery O’Connor … Vanderbilt University.”

3. Perry offers perks to donors who raise generous funds
The Fix :: The Washington Post | Aug. 13
“According to a strategy document obtained by The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, there are four levels in the Perry donor universe.”

4. A Brief History of Women’s Protests
By Megan Gibson | Time | Aug. 12
“Timing is everything, especially when it comes to a rally.”

5. A first look at the National September 11 Memorial
By Blair Kamin | Cityscapes :: The Chicago Tribune | Aug. 14
“A tough work of abstract minimalism, softened by waterfalls and oak trees, seeks to meld remembrance and regeneration”

6. Oldest survivor of Bataan Death March dies at 105
By Jim Suhr | Associated Press | Aug. 15
“‘Doc’ Brown was nearly 40 in 1942 when he endured the Bataan Death March, a harrowing 65-mile trek in which 78,000 prisoners of war were forced to walk from Bataan province near Manila to a Japanese POW camp. As many as 11,000 died along the way. ”

7. Matt Damon for president? In US politics, they have seen crazier scripts
By Paul Harris | The Guardian | Aug. 14
“The line between Hollywood fame and political power is often blurred, so suggestions that the liberal actor might run can’t be dismissed”

8. Why they sang about John Brown
By R. Blakeslee Gilpin | The Boston Globe | Aug. 14
“How a violent revolutionary inspired the Union’s great marching song – right here in Boston”

9. Rereading: Love on the Dole by Walter Greenwood
By John Harris | The Guardian | Aug. 7, 2010
“An evocative portrayal of life in depression-era Britain, Love on the Dole sold thousands when it was first published in the 1930s. John Harris visits the Salford streets where it was set and finds some grim resonances”

10. Mixed race marriage victory in US
Witness :: BBC News | June 9
“In 1958, a mixed-race couple were banished from the US state of Virginia for breaking its laws against inter-racial marriage.”

‘A child of love’

Part 9 of this special series focuses on Tennessee Williams, the famed playwright, who embraced his diary as shelter from the depressive snowstorms that ravaged his life

This special Stillness of Heart series explores the Morgan Library & Museum’s fascinating exhibit, “The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives.”

Part 9 focuses on Tennessee Williams, the famed playwright, who embraced his diary as shelter from the depressive snowstorms that ravaged his life. Success, drugs, sensual companionship, even public accolades like a Pulitzer Prize (for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”) all failed to calm his suffocating anxiety, loneliness, and despair.

“A child of love — dined on the terrace with the cathedral spires lit up and a mass choir singing Catalonian folks songs on the Square below. Then love — came twice, both ways, and divinely responsive as if a benign Providence, or shall we be frank and say God, had suddenly taken cognizance and pity of my long misery this summer and given me this night as a token of forgiveness.”

Examine images of his amazing diary and listen to the museum’s audio guide here.

Entries in this series:
Part 1: Introduction to the exhibit and Charlotte Brontë
Part 2: Frances Eliza Grenfell
Part 3: Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne
Part 4: Paul Horgan
Part 5: John Newton
Part 6: Mary Ann and Septimus Palairet
Part 7: Walter Scott
Part 8: Bartholomew Sharpe
Part 9: Tennessee Williams
Part 10: John Ruskin

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The ultimate quake predictor … Be smart — be bilingual … The Moche culture … The busy Jessica Chastain … A guide to quarterbacks.

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. Nancy Wake, saboteur and special agent, died on August 7th, aged 98
The Economist | Aug. 13
“Of the 39 SOE women infiltrated into France, 11 of whom would die in concentration camps, she was perhaps the most redoubtable.”

2. Pursuing the Grail of an Earthquake Predictor, but Facing Skeptics
By John Upton | The New York Times | Aug. 13
“The project, called QuakeFinder, involves installing some 200 five-foot-tall sensors near fault lines to measure changes in underground magnetic fields and detect electrically charged particles in the air. The theory behind it is that changes in electromagnetic fields can foretell quakes.”

3. Why It’s Smart to Be Bilingual
By Casey Schwartz | Newsweek | Aug. 7
“The brain’s real super-food may be learning new languages.”

4. Can We Make Jurassic Park Yet?
By Natalie Wolchover | Life’s Little Mysteries | Aug. 11
“Even if we do someday find ancient dinosaur DNA, it will be in shambles — snippets of code just a few base pairs long. We’ll have no idea how to stitch the snippets together. Thus, sequencing the dinosaur genome from fossilized tissues or blood may never be a viable route to their revival.”

5. The Moche Culture – Some Historical Background
By Jaime Briceno | Arqueologia del Peru | Aug. 13
“Studies of Moche iconography have contributed substantially to our understanding, offering insight into Moche ideology and ritual.”

6. Jessica Chastain’s Busy 2011 Launches Her Star
Huff Post Entertainment | Aug 13
“Attention, moviegoers: Here is the preemptive answer to the question each one of you will, inevitably, ask at some point over the next six months: Her name is Jessica Chastain, and she’s here to stay.”

7. The Longform.org Guide to Quarterbacks
By Max Linsky | Slate.com | Aug. 13
“From pre-draft jitters to post-retirement bliss, five glimpses into the minds of NFL QB’s.”

8. London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew
By Robert Douglas-Fairhurst | The Guardian | Oct. 16, 2010
“Henry Mayhew’s dazzling ‘Cyclopoedia’ of London street life gave voice to the city’s poor and has influenced writers from Kingsley to Larkin.”

9. The Guy Battling a Sunburn and His Girlfriend’s HPV
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | June 6
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Guy Battling a Sunburn and His Girlfriend’s HPV: male, writer/editor, 24, Bushwick, straight, in a relationship.”

10. Attack on the Osirak reactor
Witness :: BBC News | June 8
“It is 30 years since Israeli war planes destroyed a nuclear reactor in Iraq.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Modern movie star power … More details from the Bay of Pigs … Castro turns 85 … A civil war within Libya’s civil war … Overcoming insecurity.

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. Uncommon Knowledge
By Ken Lewis | The Boston Globe | Aug. 14
“Think your way to confidence. In case of fire, call an insecure person. In politics, networks matter.”

2. The Pentagon’s new China war plan
By Stephen Glain | Salon.com | Aug. 13
“Despite budget woes, the military is preparing for a conflict with our biggest rival — and we should be worried.”

3. Tribal Rifts Threaten to Undermine Libya Uprising
By David D. Kirkpatrick and C.J. Chivers | The New York Times | Aug. 13
“Saddled with infighting and undermined by the occasionally ruthless and undisciplined behavior of its fighters, the six-month-old rebel uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is showing signs of sliding from a struggle to overthrow an autocrat into a murkier contest between factions and tribes.”

4. Why not Bloomy?
By Steve Kornacki | New York Post | Aug. 13
“Conditions mayor wanted in ’08 are happening in this election.”

5. Cuba’s Fidel Castro, US foe and hero of Latin American left, turns 85
Associated Press | Aug. 13
“Revolutionary icon Fidel Castro marked his 85th birthday behind closed doors … as the aging leader famous for railing against Washington increasingly fades from the spotlight — even if his outsize persona continues to cast a long shadow over Cuban society and U.S. relations.”

6. Untold Story of the Bay of Pigs
By Robert Dallek | Newsweek | Aug. 14
“Newly declassified CIA documents reveal new blunders and how close America came to war during the failed invasion of Cuba.”

7. Why aren’t these actors famous?
Salon.com | Aug. 12
“Slide show: These 10 underrated film and TV stars deserve to be household names”

8. The Good, the Bad, Not the Ugly
By Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott | The New York Times | Aug. 11
“Stardom can look cheap in the age of Snooki, but movie stars do still matter at the box office, and a system of sorts exists, even if it doesn’t work like the one that turned Lucille Fay LeSueur into Joan Crawford.”

9. Sorority Girl With Implants Making the Most of Open Relationship
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | June 13
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Sorority Girl With Breast Implants Making the Most of Her Open Relationship: female, college student/”sorority princess,” Morningside Heights, 22, straight, in an open relationship.”

10. OJ Simpson car chase
Witness :: BBC News | June 13
“In June 1994, America watched in disbelief as the police chased the retired sports star OJ Simpson, along the freeways of Los Angeles.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Two moons … PMQ: The Video Game … London burns … Latino endearments … USA’s soccer coach.

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. Earth Had Two Moons, New Model Suggests
By Ker Than | Daily News :: National Geographic | Aug. 3
“Earth may have once had two moons, but one was destroyed in a slow-motion collision that left our current lunar orb lumpier on one side than the other, scientists say.”

2. Q&A on S&P’s downgrade of US debt
By Pallavi Gogoi and Peter Svensson | Associated Press | Aug. 6
“What did Standard & Poor’s do? What does a downgrade mean? Does it mean U.S. interest rates will go up?”

3. It’s PMQs — the video game
By Helen Lewis Hasteley | New Statesman | Aug. 1
“You might have heard people saying that politicians treat Prime Minister’s Questions like a game. Now, you can, too!”

4. London Riots Put Spotlight on Troubled, Unemployed Youths in Britain
By Landon Thomas Jr. and Ravi Somaiya | The New York Times | Aug. 9
“Widespread antisocial and criminal behavior by young and usually unemployed people has long troubled Britain. Attacks and vandalism by gangs of young people are ‘a blight on the lives of millions,’ said a 2010 government report commissioned in the aftermath of several deaths related to such gangs. They signal, it said, ‘the decline of whole towns and city areas.’ ”

5. New U.S. soccer coach seeks high energy vs. Mexico
By Chelsea Janes | USA Today | Aug. 9
“Jurgen Klinsmann will pace the sidelines for the first time as coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team Wednesday night when the Americans take on Mexico in a friendly in Philadelphia.”

6. A list of the top Latino endearments
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Aug. 9
“Latinos love nicknames, especially endearing ones, but I have to admit it’s probably due largely in part to the fact that Spanish is a language very amenable to nicknames.”

7. Mona Lisa recreated with coffee
The Telegraph | Aug. 4, 2009
“The Mona Lisa, one of the world’s most famous paintings, has been recreated with 3,604 cups of coffee – and 564 pints of milk. ”

8. The ‘Mostly Straight’ Woman Jumping From One Male Lover’s Bed to Another’s
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | June 27
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the ‘Mostly Straight’ Woman Jumping From One Male Lover’s Bed to Another’s: female, web editor, Spanish Harlem, 25, mostly straight, casually dating.”

9. Rereading: The Rainbow by DH Lawrence
By Rachel Cusk | The Guardian | March 19
“Lawrence is still seen by many as controversial – and controversial he was, but the highly sexed pornographer of public imagination bears no relation at all to the man whose modes of thought and self-expression still retain the power to provoke violent disagreement.”

10. Rape of Nanjing
Witness :: BBC News | June 17
“In 1937, the Japanese army went on the rampage after invading the Chinese city of Nanjing. Hundreds of thousands of people are thought to have died.”

‘A bold shore and no danger’

Part 8 of this series focuses on Bartholomew Sharpe, an incredibly daring English pirate and excellent navigator who preyed on Spanish sailors along the western coast of South America.

This special Stillness of Heart series explores the Morgan Library & Museum’s fascinating exhibit, “The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives.”

Part 8 focuses on Bartholomew Sharpe, an incredibly daring English pirate and excellent navigator who preyed on Spanish sailors along the western coast of South America. Sharpe was sent back to England to be tried for murder in 1682, but he carried a secret gift for the king that he knew guaranteed his acquittal.

Examine images of his amazing diary and listen to the museum’s audio guide here.

Entries in this series:
Part 1: Introduction to the exhibit and Charlotte Brontë
Part 2: Frances Eliza Grenfell
Part 3: Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne
Part 4: Paul Horgan
Part 5: John Newton
Part 6: Mary Ann and Septimus Palairet
Part 7: Walter Scott
Part 8: Bartholomew Sharpe
Part 9: Tennessee Williams
Part 10: John Ruskin