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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

December 18, 2011

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. Christopher Hitchens, Consummate Writer, Brilliant Friend
By Ian McEwan | The New York Times | Dec. 16
“His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater’s famous phrase, he burned ‘with this hard gem-like flame.’ Right to the end.”

2. I Gave My Kids a Terrible Present
Jimmy Kimmel Live | Dec. 12
Kids react when they get crap for presents.

3. Polemicist Who Slashed All, Freely, Dies at 62
By William Grimes | The New York Times | Dec. 16
“He was a master of the extended peroration, peppered with literary allusions, and of the bright, off-the-cuff remark.”

4. Merriam-Webster picks ‘pragmatic’ as Word of Year
By Stephanie Reitz | Associated Press | Dec. 15
“Though it wasn’t traced to a specific news event or quote from a famous person, searches for ‘pragmatic’ jumped in the weeks before Congress voted in August to increase the nation’s debt ceiling, and again as its supercommittee tried to craft deficit-cutting measures this fall.”

5. Occupy Wall Street’s center shows some cracks
By Amy Westfeldt | Associated Press | Dec. 14
“Instead of 24-hour base camps, Occupy Wall Street’s center of gravity has devolved into dozens of smaller groups with different agendas and objectives.”

6. Q&A: Fixing to Defrag a Disk
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Sept. 1
“Q: I keep getting errors when I try to run the Disk Defragmenter program in Windows. What can I do?”

7. Iraq: Key figures since the war began
Associated Press | Dec. 18
“U.S. deaths as of Dec. 15, 2011: 4,487, according to the Pentagon.”

8. The Golden Rule
Flying Bachelorette | June 2011
“Many flight attendants are upset about the way passengers behave onboard these days — but what about how flight attendants behave?”

9. Sarah Kay: How many lives can you live?
TED Talks | May 2011
“Spoken-word poet Sarah Kay was stunned to find she couldn’t be a princess, ballerina and astronaut all in one lifetime.”

10. Edward and Mrs Simpson
Witness :: BBC News | April 1
“When Edward VIII fell in love with Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, he had to choose between his throne and her.”

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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. Paul Thorn — Turnip Greens and Long Way from Tupelo
2. Dave Herrero — Bark
3. Tommy Crain and the Cross Town All Stars — Why I Sing the Blues
4. The Geoff Everett Band — Young Love Blues
5. John Mayall — Jacksboro Highway
6. The Shawn Fussell Band — Tulia Texas
7. Bo Cox — Gone
8. Stevie Ray Vaughan — The Sky Is Crying
9. Carolyn Wonderland — Trouble In The City
10. Moosters — Executioner
11. George Thorogood — I Didn’t Know
12. Anna Popovic — Wrong Woman
13. Chris Rea — Houston Angel

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