Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Bring back Bill Clinton / Science of gaydar / Cheating or open marriage / The GOP and FIdel / Writer Alice James

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. Time to bring back Bill Clinton
By David Maraniss | The Washington Post | Jan. 22
“Still feeling queasy about the character questions surrounding the Arkansas traveler’s sexual behavior? How does that hurt him in a world where Pope Limbaugh pronounces that it was a “mark of character” for Newt to ask his second wife for permission while cheating on her”

2. Science Unlocks the Key to Gaydar
By Cassie Murdoch | Jezebel | Jan. 23
“Gaydar — the ability to be able to tell who’s gay just by looking or talking to them — is a ‘skill’ of debatable merit, but many people like to brag about having finely calibrated systems of working out who’s gay and who’s not.”

3. The Gingrich Question: Cheating vs. Open Marriage
Room for Debate :: The New York Times | Jan. 23
“If more people considered such openness an option, would marriage become a stronger institution — less susceptible to cheating and divorce, and more attractive than unmarried cohabitation?”

4. When a party flirts with suicide
By Steve Kornacki | Opening Shot :: Salon | Jan. 23
“The last time GOP elites lost control of their nominating process, they got Barry Goldwater — and an epic landslide”

5. How the educated elite view government
By Suzy Khimm | WonkBlog :: The Washington Post | Jan. 23
“Around the world, distrust of government is on the rise, but the public — particularly the educated elite — believes there should be more regulation of business, according to a new survey.”

6. Fidel Castro: GOP race is ‘idiocy, ignorance’
By Mackenzie Weinger | Politico | Jan. 25
“The former Cuban president wrote he was too busy to spend any additional time evaluating the Republican field.”

7. This much I know: Slash
Shahesta Shaitly | The Observer | November 2010
“The musician, 45, on Stoke-on-Trent, groupies, and being addicted to cooking shows”

8. The Height Equation
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | August 2011
“Is there an upper limit to human growth? Why does one generation grow taller than the last?”

9. Five myths about women in combat
By Jane Blair | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | May 27
“Women are dying in combat, but Congress still officially bans us from serving in combat units that engage the enemy with deliberate, offensive action.”

10. Civil War women: Alice James
Civil War Women Blog | Oct. 14
“Born into a wealthy and intellectually active family — sister of novelist Henry James and psychologist and philosopher William James — Alice James soon developed the psychological and physical problems that would end her life at age 43. Alice never married and lived with her parents until their deaths. She is known mainly for the diary she kept in her final years.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Screaming babies / Clinton: The consensus candidate / Gay-friendly wisdom / GOP love for Puerto Ricans / ‘Downton Abbey’ addicts

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. Why screaming babies are so hard to ignore
By Nick Collins | The Telegraph | Jan. 21
“Few situations are more infuriating than taking your seat on an aeroplane or train, closing your eyes, and hearing a baby at the other end of the cabin open its lungs with the gusto of an Italian tenor. ”

2. Bill Clinton: Someone We Can All Agree On
By Charles P. Pierce and Mark Warren | Esquire | February 2012
“Even his staunchest enemies now regard his presidency as the good old days. He has become the rare consensus figure in a country that has lost all sense of consensus. So we talked to him about where it went, and how we might get it back.”

3. How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work
By Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher | The New York Times | Jan. 21
“Though Americans are among the most educated workers in the world, the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need, executives say.”

4. How I became a ‘Downton Abbey’ addict
By Lizz Winstead | The Guardian | Jan. 22
“Yes, I know it’s just a glossy drama about the idle rich and their servants, but these idle rich are so classy compared with ours”

5. Houston’s Mayor stresses Economic Benefits of Marriage Equality
By Emily Deprang | The Texas Observer | Jan. 22
“In other words: being gay-friendly brings home the bacon.”

6. Are Puerto Ricans the Key to a Republican Victory?
By Justin Velez-Hagan | Politic365 | Jan. 23.
“Puerto Ricans already account for the second largest group of Hispanics in the U.S. (they make up 10% of all Hispanics), but are growing at an increasingly rapid pace, especially in Florida. More importantly, so is their voting power.”

7. Exploring Stories With Deep Dive
By David Erwin | Beta620 :: The New York Times | January 2012
“Deep Dive … allows users to discover something then focus their attention deeper based on that piece of content.”

8. This much I know: Elmore Leonard
By John O’Connell | The Observer | December 2010
“The author, 85, on Dizzy Gillespie, not being frightened, and being a good guy”

9. As the Worm Turns
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | August 2011
“Do earthworms have any sense of place or direction? When they are dug up in the garden and put back down someplace else, do they just return to work, or do they try to get back to their former location?”

10. The Lindbergh kidnapping
Witness :: BBC News | February 2011
“When the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh disappeared it was assumed he had been kidnapped.”

Add some pesto

As I cleared out some old papers from my “archives” this weekend, I came across a recipe for pesto.

As I cleared out some old papers from my “archives” this weekend, I came across a recipe for pesto.

Enjoy.

PESTO

2 cups fresh basil
1 cup olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse leaves and pat dry
Combine ingredients in blender or food processor
Refrigerate
The sauce freezes well too and lasts up to a year in the freezer

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Romney’s tax returns / Why we love Picasso / Appreciate the introvert / Love and Islam / Final JFK tapes unveiled

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. Mitt Romney’s tax returns shed some light on his investment wealth
By Lori Montgomery | PostPolitics :: The Washington Post | Jan. 23
“Mitt Romney offered a partial snapshot of his vast personal fortune late Monday, disclosing income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year — virtually all of it profits, dividends or interest from investments.”

2. The Rude Welcome That Awaits Rick Perry Back in Texas
By Erica Grieder | The New Republic | Jan. 21
“According to Public Policy Polling, his approval rating in the state now stands at 42 percent. Surprisingly, that is lower than Barack Obama’s, at 44 percent.”

3. JFK library to release last of his secret tapes
By Bridget Murphy | Associated Press | Jan. 24
“The tapes include discussions of conflict in Vietnam, Soviet relations and the race to space, plans for the 1964 Democratic Convention and re-election strategy. There also are moments with his children.”

4. Nerve Endings: Female, 19, New York
Nerve | Jan. 24
“He was taking it well, until he showed up at my door, drunk and sobbing into the buzzer …”

5. Obama can win big with FDR formula
By Robert S. McElvaine | Politico | Jan. 23
“No president for more than 70 years has been reelected with unemployment above 7.5 percent — as it is likely to be in November. If we go a little further back, however, unemployment was at 16.9 percent in 1936.”

6. Lifting Veil on Love and Islam
Ny Neil MacFarquhar | The International Herald Tribune | Jan. 23
“Even as the editors, both American-born daughters of immigrants, sought to fight society’s tendency to consider all Muslims extremists, they also struggled with the cultural proscription against describing private lives in public.”

7. Time for introverts to get some appreciation
By Sharon Jayson | USA Today | Jan. 23
“Because introverts tend to be more socially aloof … introversion is related to certain types of disorders, such as social anxiety or depression.”

8. Why we love Picasso
By Blake Gopnik | Newsweek | Jan. 23
“Pablo Picasso was the most inventive artist the West has ever known, and his drawings let us watch him inventing.”

9. This much I know: Kazuo Ishiguro
By Chris Sullivan | The Observer | February 2011
“As the film adaptation of his bestselling novel Never Let Me Go hits the screens, the author reflects on past passions, fatherhood and critical abuse”

10. What Makes Teeth Chatter
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | July 2011
“What might cause teeth to chatter other than the cold?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Cut back on non-friends / What Obama knew / Future of OWS / New treasures in Istanbul / Why do we yawn?

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. Unfriend Everyone
By Sam Biddle | Gizmodo | Jan. 20
“You have too many Facebook friends. You’re following too many people on Twitter. You’re connected to too many people who don’t care too much about you. Get rid of them. Get rid of all of them.”

2. Courts Moving Too Slow for April Primary Elections
By Ross Ramsey | The Texas Tribune | Jan. 20
“The Democratic and Republican political parties hold their state conventions June 7-9.”

3. Italy Finds a Heroic Foil for Its Scorned Captain
By Elisabetta Povoledo | The New York Times | Jan. 19
“Easily adapting to the national propensity for dualism, Italians have got themselves a hero to play against their antihero, a champion to their villain …”

4. Obama warned about skyrocketing debt before he took office
By Donovan Slack | Politico 44 :: Politico | Jan. 23
“Economic advisers warned President Obama before he took the oath of office that he would have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to help right the economy and such spending could run up the highest national debt since World War II. …”

5. What Future for Occupy Wall Street?
By Michael Greenberg | The New York Review of Books | Feb. 9
“Occupy Wall Street’s expansion to many other cities seems to have been preordained, but at the time it caught even its most committed supporters off guard.”

6. After Being Stricken by Drought, Istanbul Yields Ancient Treasure
By Jennifer Pinkowski | The New York Times | Jan. 23
“In the last dig season alone, the archaeologists uncovered port walls, elaborate buildings, an enormous cistern, a Byzantine church and stone roads spanning more than 1,000 years of occupation.”

7. Too many tests? Routine checks getting second look
By Lauran Neergaard | Associated Press | Jan. 23
“The worry: If given too often, these tests can waste time and money, and sometimes even do harm if false alarms spur unneeded follow-up care. It begs the question: Just what should be part of my doctor’s visit?”

8. Confident Obama Knows Wild Cards Can Loom Large
By Jackie Calmes | The New York Times | Jan. 23
“Democrats are enjoying the show, though mindful that much could change in the nine months before Election Day — as it often has in Mr. Obama’s term, and not for the better. ”

9. This Much I Know: Robert Duvall
By Tony Horkins | The Observer | February 2010
“The Hollywood legend, 79, on football, Brando and the tango”

10. The Yawning Gap
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2011
“Do people yawn when they are asleep? Why do they yawn in the first place?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Inside the Costa Concordia / What women want / Army recruits lose the BCGs / Confederate Heroes Day / Easing combat stress

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. Military dumps infamous ‘BCG’ eyeglasses
By Patricia Kime | Army Times | Jan. 20
“Military recruits who wear glasses no longer will have to endure the embarrassment of sporting BCGs — those beloved standard-issue specs, technically called S9s, which are universally known as ‘Birth Control Glasses’ because they’re supposedly so unattractive.”

2. Today’s Women: Newfound Power, Persistent Expectations
Schawk | January 2012
“[W]omen still feel the age-old pressure to do it all, look good and be liked. Anthem’s original research suggests that this creates a tension in women’s lives, and that traditional marketing messages that leverage these pressures might not be as effective as marketers think.”

3. Inside the Wreck of the Costa Concordia
By Alan Taylor | In Focus :: The Atlantic | Jan. 20
“Rescue workers have spent the past seven days rappelling from helicopters, scaling the hull, scrambling inside and diving beneath the wreckage, racing against the clock to find anyone alive inside the massive wreck.”

4. Celebrating Confederate Heroes Day in East Texas
By Forrest Wilder | The Texas Observer | Jan. 20
“The official state holiday is a day for Confederacy apologists to strut their stuff.”

5. Diagramming the Costa Concordia Disaster
By Heather Murphy and Vivian Selbo | Slate | Jan. 20
“An annotated look at the cruise ship fiasco.”

6. Wars lessons being applied to ease combat stress
By Julie Watson | Associated Press | Jan. 18
“When the Marine unit that suffered the greatest casualties in the 10-year Afghan war returned home last spring, they didn’t rush back to their everyday lives. Instead, the Marine Corps put them into a kind of decompression chamber. …”

7. Famous Photogs Pose With Their Most Iconic Images
By Jakob Schiller | Raw File :: Wired | Jan. 20
“Many of us can automatically recall these photos in our heads, but far fewer can name the photographers who took them. Even fewer know what those photographers look like.”

8. This much I know: Robert Harris
By John O’Connell | The Observer | April 2010
“The novelist, 53, on Polanski, his Hitler house, and Bob Monkhouse”

9. Flies in the Dark
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2011
“Where do flies go at night? In summer in Australia, flies are everywhere in the daytime but seem to disappear at night.”

10. People Power in the Philippines
Witness :: BBC News | February 22
“In 1986, thousands of peaceful demonstrators took to the streets of the Philippine capital, Manila. Just days later, President Ferdinand Marcos was forced from power.”

**************

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. Kenny Wayne Shepherd — Everybody Gets The Blues
2. Mark Kerr — Every Dog Has It’s Day
3. Doyle Bramhall — Jealous Sky
4. The Mark Knoll Band — You’ve Got A Lot To Learn
5. Grady Champion — Policeman Blues
6. The Shawn Fussell Band — Tulia, TX
7. Too Slim & The Tail Draggers — Been Through Hell
8. ZZ Top — Just Got Back From Babys
9. Brian Burns with Ray Wylie Hubbard — Little Angel
10. Johnny Lang — Livin’ For The City
11. Bleu Edmondson — 50 Dollars and a Flask of Crown
12. Dennis McClung Blues Band — The Red Rooster

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Iowa vote confusion / Europe’s future / Olympic sheep-shearing / Lovers exchange passwords / Preschool cuts

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. 2021: The New Europe
By Niall Ferguson | The Saturday Essay :: The Wall Street Journal | November 2011
“Niall Ferguson peers into Europe’s future and sees Greek gardeners, German sunbathers — and a new fiscal union. Welcome to the other United States.”

2. Sheep shearing an Olympic sport? New Zealand farmers hope so
By Matt Brooks | The Early Lead :: The Washington Post | Jan. 17
“With New Zealand hosting the world shearing championships in March, Federated Farmers Mean and Fiber chairwoman Jeannette Maxwell believes it’s time to strike while the clippers are hot.”

3. Countries consider time out on the ‘leap second’
By Frank Jordans | Associated Press | Jan. 17
“The United States, France and others are pushing for countries at a U.N. telecom meeting to abolish the leap second, which for 40 years has kept computers in sync with the Earth day.”

4. Password Sharing: For Teens, Access To Online Accounts Is A Sign Of Love
The Huffington Post | Jan. 18
“Would you want to share access to your email, Facebook and Tumblr accounts with the one you love? For more and more teens, the key to their heart comes with the passwords to their digital lives.”

5. Iowa Republicans to call caucus result split decision
Reuters | Jan. 19
“The Iowa Republican Party will certify this month’s presidential caucuses as a split decision between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, citing missing data from eight precincts, the Des Moines Register reported on Thursday.”

6. Recession slows growth in public prekindergarten
By Kimberly Hefling | Associated Press | Jan. 17
“The expansion in public prekindergarten programs has slowed and even been reversed in some states as school districts cope with shrinking budgets. As a result, many 3- and 4-year-olds aren’t going to preschool.”

7. This much I know: Morgan Freeman
By Simon David | The Observer | October 2010
“The actor, 73, on wearing an earring, being a good sailor, and dreaming big”

8. As the World Turns
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | April 2011
“Do the shifts of the Earth’s axis produced by earthquakes alter world weather?”

9. Five myths about the American flag
By Marc Leepson | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | June 10
“Americans love our flag. … Yet the iconography and history of the American flag, especially its early history, are infused with myth and misrepresentation. Here are five of the most prevalent myths.”

10. Civil War women: Abigail May Alcott
Civil War Women Blog | Oct. 22
“Abigail ‘Abby’ May Alcott (1800–1877) was an abolitionist, women’s rights activist, pioneer social and one of the first paid social workers in the state of Massachusetts.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Understanding SOPA / The 5-Second Rule / Looking back at Election 2012 / MLK papers now online / Romney’s faith issue

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. Concerns about Romney’s faith quieter but not gone
By Rachel Zoll | Associated Press | Jan. 16
“The second time around, the shock has worn off. The prospect of a Mormon president appears to be less alien to South Carolina Republicans who are giving Mitt Romney a second look after his failed White House bid in 2008.”

2. Peruvian food put back on the map in Britain
By Sam Jones | The Guardian | Jan. 16
“Restaurants will offer a taste of Lima — with the help of a ‘sacred quartet’ of chillies”

3. 200,000 Martin Luther King Papers Go Online
Open Culture | Jan. 16
“The documents give you a good glimpse of Dr. King’s role as a scholar, father, pastor and catalyst for change.”

4. 10 Important Life Lessons You Learn From Living Abroad
By Whitney Cox | BootsNAll | Jan 16
“It’s a world of implicit triumphs and it’ll-be-funny-later humiliations. Unpack your bags and look forward to these life lessons”

5. Analysis: Wannabe stars, failed hopefuls and the GOP drama that wasn’t
By Steve Krakauer | CNN | Jan. 16
“How did we get here? Where’s the drama, the intrigue, the subplots worthy of intense media salivation? Let’s take a look back”

6. Split by Race and Wealth, but Discovering Similarities as They Study Steinbeck
By Winnie Hu | The New York Times | Jan. 16
“Westfield and Plainfield are linked by a railroad line, but little else connects their residents.”

7. What Is SOPA?
By Brian Barrett | Gizmodo | Jan. 17
“SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress…”

8. This much I know: Tim Robbins
By Emma John | The Observer | September 2010
“The actor and musician, 51, on hatred, ice hockey, and winning an Oscar”

9. The 5-Second Rule
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | February 2011
“You know the five-second rule for dropped food? Is it really safe if you pick it up in time?”

10. The Krakow Ghetto
Witness :: BBC News | March 2011
“The city of Krakow in Poland was home to a large Jewish community before World War II. But with the arrival of the Nazis many of its Jews were deported, or fled. Then in 1941 a Jewish ghetto was built.”

Waiting for ‘Mad Men:’ Time torture

One more excruciating torture to endure until the two-hour season premiere.

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.

There are some fans out there (not me, of course) who are literally counting down the seconds until the two-hour season premiere, and the sadistic AMC has decided to have a little fun with them.

The network, which recently announced that Season 5 begins on March 25, has created a countdown clock for all the impatient fanatics out there. Now you can watch irrecoverable moments of your life tick by, your brittle mind mesmerized, before you realize the insanity what you’re doing.

One more excruciating torture to endure until the two-hour season premiere. Sigh. Time for an Old Fashioned to numb the pain (and embarrassment).

(Photo from the soundtrack album)

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

How should we sleep? / Are cruise ships stable? / Obama’s long-term strategy / Dating Latinos only / Huntsman campaign, RIP

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. Obama Faces Challenging Re-Election Climate
By Lydia Saad | Gallup | Jan. 16
“January indicators mostly align with losing incumbents, but there is still time for improvement”

2. Huntsman quits GOP race
By Kasie Hunt and Philip Elliott | Associated Press | Jan. 16
“Huntsman’s resume had suggested he could be a major contender for the Republican presidential nomination: businessman, diplomat, governor, veteran of four presidential administrations, an expert on China and foreign trade.”

3. The Embarrassment of Riches
By Pamela Haag | The American Scholar | Summer 2006
“Do not pity me for having more money than anyone I know. Still, wealth does have its mild difficulties”

4. He Told the Truth About China’s Tyranny
By Simon Leys | The New York Review of Books | Feb. 9
“The Communist authorities unwittingly vouched for the uncompromising accuracy of his comments. They kept arresting him for his views — four times since the Tiananmen massacre in June 1989.”

5. Am I a racist because I want to date Latino guys?
By Sara Ines Calderon | Pocho | Jan. 15
“Part of this is totally my fault and the result of my whining and chiflazón. There’s a misunderstanding about what motivates me and other people like me, who are interested primarily in dating other Latinos.”

6. How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics
By Andrew Sullivan | Newsweek | Jan. 16
“The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he’s a wimp.”

7. Cocaine: The New Front Lines
By John Lyons | The Saturday Essay :: The Wall Street Journal | Jan. 14
“Colombia’s success in curbing the drug trade has created more opportunities for countries hostile to the United States. What happens when coca farmers and their allies are in charge?”

8. How stable are cruise ships like the Costa Concordia?
By Paul Marks | New Scientist | Jan. 16
“Why was this massive ship so close to shallow rock outcrops? Why might the Costa Concordia’s depth-sounding sonar have been ignored? Why was the evacuation, so close to land, seemingly so chaotic?”

9. This much I know: David Remnick
By William Skidelsky | The Observer | July 2010
“The author and editor of the New Yorker, 51, on his memories of the Kennedy assassination, meeting Bob Dylan, and the last time he cried”

10. Of Heart and Guts
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | February 2011
“Is it better for digestion to sleep on the left side and better for the heart to sleep on the right?”