Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Turkish soap operas / King’s ‘Whorehouse’ story / No (world’s) end in sight / Clinton’s legacy / 2012 fashion

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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. Dec. 21: The Winter Solstice Explained
By Joe Rao and Space.com | Scientific American | Dec. 21
“For northern latitudes, the solstice marks the beginning of winter, but ancient skywatchers didn’t understand the sun’s migration, fearing it could disappear forever as it dipped below the horizon.”

2. End of the world: Not this year
By William Booth | The Washington Post | Dec. 21
“The U.S. Missile Defense Agency reported no incoming meteorites capable of extinction events. In France, at a mountaintop popular with UFO enthusiasts, there was no sign of little green men seeking cavity probes. In China, where an apocalyptic Christian sect was predicting doomsday, the Shanghai stock market dipped slightly.”

3. 2012 styles that made our heads turn
By Samantha Critchell | Associated Press | Dec. 21
“Every year fashion offers up the good, the bad and the ugly. But what the industry is really built on — and consumers respond to — is buzz.”

4. Hillary Clinton: Unemployed
By Jean Mackenzie | GlobalPost :: Salon | Dec. 21
“Her widely heralded term as secretary of state has ended in turmoil. Could it affect her presidential prospects?”

5. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
By Larry L. King | Playboy | April 1974
“When a true son of Texas discovers they’ve closed down “the chicken farm” he takes his business to the free-lancers. Man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.”

6. Wayne LaPierre’s bizarre pop culture references
By Jamelle Bouie | The American Prospect :: Salon | Dec. 21
“‘Natural Born Killers?’ ‘Mortal Kombat?’ You wonder why the NRA is so feared when its leader is this addled”

7. 151 Victims of Mass Shootings in 2012: Here Are Their Stories
Mother Jones | Dec. 21
“Bearing witness to the worst year of gun rampages in modern US history.”

8. A Problem of Churchillian Proportions
By James Andrew Miller | The New York Times Magazine | Nov. 1
“After one of the longest waits in publishing history … the third and final volume of William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill, ‘The Last Lion,’ is finally about to arrive. …”
Also, read the book review: ‘We Shall Go On to the End’

9. Turkish soaps: threat to Pakistan’s culture or entertainment market?
By Mansoor Jafar | Al Arabiya | Dec. 21
“[T]he talk of the town in Pakistan these days is a flamboyant Turkish soap opera having a theme that revolves around a taboo subject like incest, besides over exposure, and other moral problems associated with the super rich class.”

10. Crazy Far
By Tim Folger | National Geographic | January 2013
“To the stars, that is. Will we ever get crazy enough to go?”

Author: Fernando Ortiz Jr.

Handsome gentleman scholar, Civil War historian, unpretentious intellectual, world traveler, successful writer.

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