Videos I Love: Trailer for ‘Downton Abbey: Season Two’

It’s a beautiful and horrifying trailer that sometimes brings a tear to my eye.

I’m occasionally sharing some casual thoughts on a few videos that make me smile, make me think, or preferably do both. Read more from this special series here.

I was late when it came to falling in love with “Downton Abbey,” the British miniseries exploring the lives of an aristocratic family and their servants before and during World War I. But by the second episode I was head over heels.

I don’t think my passion had anything to do with my love for history in general. In this case, I was simply someone drawn into first-rate storytelling. Nothing complicated about that. It didn’t hurt that my romantic streak was more than a little stimulated, as was my writer’s mind, which is always searching for fresh inspiration for my own fiction writing.

So when I came across the trailer for the second season, which has already aired in Britain and premieres in the United States tomorrow night, my heart leapt. It’s a beautiful and horrifying trailer that sometimes brings a tear to my eye, set to a gentle and haunting cover of U2’s “With or Without You,” sung by Scala and Kolacny Brothers.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Stephen Hawking / The real Downton Abbey / The real unemployment rate / Facebooking for organs / Growing nails

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. Stephen Hawking to turn 70, defying disease
By Maria Cheng | Associated Press | Jan. 5
“British scientist Stephen Hawking has decoded some of the most puzzling mysteries of the universe but he has left one mystery unsolved: How he has managed to survive so long with such a crippling disease.”

2. Make it federal
The Economist | December 2011
“If their country is to function, Iraqis need to share power”

3. Turkey’s Museum of Shame
By Jenna Krajeski | Foreign Policy | December 2011
“Diyarbakir Prison is a notorious site of torture and repression. Now, activists want to transform it into a symbol of Turkey’s long war against the Kurds.”

4. The Real Downton Abbey: Juiciest Bits From ‘The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle’
By Tom Sykes | The Daily Beast | Jan. 1
“Séances, Rothschild love children, the Curse of Tutankhamen. Tom Sykes on the shocking real-life history of Highclere Castle, the setting for the smash-hit British TV drama.”

5. Who Are the 6 Million?
By Derek Thompson | The Atlantic | December 2011
“If they counted toward unemployment, the official rate would be 11 percent rather than 8.6 percent. As the economy picks up, and these people re-join the job hunt, the unemployment rate will go up before it goes down.”

6. For some in need, Facebook is route to new kidney
By Donna Gordon Blankinship | Associated Press | Jan. 1
“Between the kid photos and reminiscences about high school, more and more pleas for help from people with failing kidneys are popping up. Facebook and other social media sites are quickly becoming a go-to place to find a generous person with a kidney to spare, according to the people asking for help and some national organizations that facilitate matches.”

7. Pakistan: The New Radicals
Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“Activist Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi has dedicated his life to challenging the complex religious, economic and social divisions which threaten to strangulate Pakistan.”

8. The Toolbox of Self-Deception, Part I
By Sam Sommers | Psychology Today | September 2009
“To thine own self be true. But only some of the time.”

9. Watching Nails Grow
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | May 2011
“Why do fingernails grow faster than toenails? And why do the growth rates vary as I age?”

10. Justin Bieber’s One Time
By Forrest Wickman | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“Are virgins any more or less fertile than other people?”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:

1. ANGEL Massive Attack
2. LOVING’ TOUCHIN’ SQUEEZIN’ Journey
3. I WANT YOUR HANDS ON ME Sinead O’Connor
4. CREAM Prince
5. SENSUAL WOMAN The Herbaliser
6. MORNING HAS BROKEN Cat Stevens
7. IF YOU WERE THE WOMAN AND I WAS THE MAN Cowboy Junkies
8. HOLD ON Sarah McLachlan
9. YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL Joe Cocker
10. READY FOR LOVE India.Arie