Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Texas congressional district maps … Less retirements … Airpower diplomacy … Iran’s drug problem … Hoover myths.

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. Whales in the desert: Fossil bonanza poses mystery
By Eva Vergara and Ian James | Associated Press | Nov. 20
“Experts say other groups of prehistoric whales have been found together in Peru and Egypt, but the Chilean fossils stand out for their staggering number and beautifully preserved bones. More than 75 whales have been discovered so far – including more than 20 perfectly intact skeletons.”

2. Goodbye, Golden Years
By Edward L. Glaeser | The New York Times | Nov. 19
“But lately, labor patterns haven’t conformed to historical precedent: recent increases in unemployment haven’t encouraged many older Americans into retirement. Why not?”

3. Why U.S. Needs Airpower Diplomacy
By Adam B. Lowther | The Diplomat | Nov. 22
“Better use of the U.S. Air Force is the most cost-effective and flexible approach to boosting the American presence in the Asia-Pacific.”

4. Chasing the Dragon in Tehran
By Roland Elliott Brown | Foreign Policy | Nov. 18
“Behind its façade of Muslim piety, Iran is one of the most drug-addled countries in the world.”

5. Court ends Doggett-Castro fight
By Tim Eaton | Postcards :: Austin American Statesman | Nov. 23
“When a panel of three federal judges in San Antonio released its redrawn congressional map today, it put an end to the anticipated race between U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who have been battling each other in an acrimonious fight for a proposed congressional district that would have extended from Austin to San Antonio.”

6. World’s Lightest Material Takes Hits Like a Champ
By Kevin Lee | GeekTech :: PC World | Nov. 21
“The material’s lightness comes from its extremely low density of 0.9 milligrams per cubic centimeter (mg/cc), which makes carbon nanotubes seem heavyset at 1.3-mg/cc.”

7. How to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer
Lifehacker | Nov. 21
“Even if you’ve been interested enough in a company to apply and go on an interview, when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, you should take time to consider whether or not this job is actually right for you. Here are some warning signs to look out for.”

8. American Zoetrope: In a galaxy not from Hollywood …
By John Patterson | The Guardian | Nov. 17
“If there had been no Zoetrope, the film studio founded by Francis Coppola and George Lucas in San Francisco in 1969, there would be no Star Wars, argues John Patterson”

9. Five myths about J. Edgar Hoover
By Kenneth D. Ackerman | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Nov. 7
“Hoover served as director of the FBI for 48 years, holding the job under eight presidents from Calvin Coolidge to Richard M. Nixon. But ask most people about J. Edgar Hoover, and the subject turns to sex.”

10. Civil War women: Lucy Webb Hayes
Civil War Women Blog | Oct. 6
“Among her children, relatives and friends, Lucy Hayes was known as a warm, charitable woman of humility. She played the piano and the guitar, and also used the newly installed telephone in the mansion. On numerous occasions, the First Lady invited African American musical groups to perform in the White House.”

Waiting for ‘Mad Men’: A dictator and a cookbook

An interview with the guy who play Lee Garner Sr., a great blogger, and a new ‘Mad Men’ cookbook.

As I wait for the new season of “Mad Men” to begin, I’ll share a few of the more interesting links I’ve found. Read past entries in this series here.

1. Madman boss? AMCtv recently interviewed John Cullum, who plays Lucky Strike’s Lee Garner Sr. When asked what kind of boss he’d be, Cullum joked, “I would be a benign dictator.”

2. Blog beauty: I’ve been a long-time fan of Natasha Vargas-Cooper and her Mad Men Unbuttoned blog. There’s a sad beauty in her view of the Draper world and how history is about to ravage it. I can’t wait for her return as the new season dawns. “Every brush with adult behavior,” she wrote last year, “anything from smoking, to sneaking out, to driving, to fucking — is wrapped in a gauzy, loving haze. … What’s alarming, then, is when grown-ups act like teenagers: denying themselves nothing, cherishing their transgressions like merit badges, constantly chasing the beginning of something, unable to parse the sensations of joys from despair.”

3. Don an apron: For those of you who must absolutely live like Jane, Don, Sterling or Peggy, there’s a new cookbook on the way to further complement your crazed-fan efforts. Recipes for the characters’ favorite dishes will also note when the dishes appeared in the series.

(Photo from the soundtrack album)

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Latinos ready to ‘teach’ … GOP candidate spouses … New approach to sex ed … The GOP debate … Rivers that go nowhere.

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. 11 ways to skip weight gain this Thanksgiving
The Dallas Morning News | Nov. 15
“Thanksgiving kicks off a season of plentiful food, parties and stress. Staying healthy, both mentally and physically, can be a challenge. Avoid common pitfalls with these healthy strategies, adapted from a story by health reporter Nancy Churnin.”

2. Couple forced to exchange Facebook passwords during divorce
By Michael Gartland | New York Post | Nov. 20
“The legal precedent, in the midst of a nasty custody battle between Stephen and Courtney Gallion, could mean more battling couples will be forced to give up their social-networking secrets.”

3. Aging in place: A little help can go a long way
By David Crary | Associated Press | Nov. 20
“According to surveys, aging in place is the overwhelming preference of Americans over 50. But doing it successfully requires both good fortune and support services. …”

4. Taking First-Class Coddling Above and Beyond
By Jad Mouawad | The New York Times | Nov. 20
“Carriers on international flights are offering private suites for first-class passengers, three-star meals and personal service once found only on corporate jets. They provide massages before takeoff, whisk passengers through special customs lanes and drive them in a private limousine right to the plane. … The amenities in the back of the cabin? Sparse.”

5. Not All Rivers Reach the Sea
By Rachel Nuwer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Nov. 17
“For six million years, the Colorado River ran its course from its soaring origins in the Rockies to a once-teeming two-million-acre delta, finally emptying 14 million acre-feet of fresh water into the Sea of Cortez. But now, a multitude of straws are drinking from the river. …”

6. GOP debate: Newt Gingrich beats back immigration critique
By Alexander Burns | Politico | Nov. 22
“Ascendant Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich delivered an unapologetic defense of his views on immigration Tuesday night, declaring in a foreign policy debate that the GOP should not adopt a platform on immigration that ‘destroys families that have been here a quarter-century.’

7. The meaning of 9/11’s most controversial photo
By Jonathan Jones | The Guardian | Sept. 2
“Thomas Hoepker’s photo of New Yorkers apparently relaxing as the twin towers smoulder says much about history and memory”

8. Teaching Good Sex
By Laurie Abraham | The New York Times Magazine | Nov. 16
“Across the country, the approach ranges from abstinence until marriage is the only acceptable choice, contraceptives don’t work and premarital sex is physically and emotionally harmful, to abstinence is usually best, but if you must have sex, here are some ways to protect yourself from pregnancy and disease.”

9. GOP candidate spouses — secret weapons or dangerous millstones?
By Chris McGreal | The Guardian | Nov. 18
“Gloria Cain helped dent harassment accusations against her husband but Anita Perry’s defence of Rick made things worse”

10. Latino men are always the most critical of me
NewsTaco | Nov. 18
“Latino men are the ones who have most insulted my intellect and tried to ‘teach me’ how I should navigate the world.”