Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: A guide to impeachment / How do you attach to people? / What happens to Meghan Markle’s royal wardrobe? / Mysteries of Kim Kardashian’s fridge / The search for Malaysia’s missing plane goes on

This week: A guide to impeachment / How do you attach to people? / What happens to Meghan Markle’s royal wardrobe? / Mysteries of Kim Kardashian’s fridge / The search for Malaysia’s missing plane goes on

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. What Is the Impeachment Process? A Step-by-Step Guide
By Weiyi Cai | The New York Times | January 2020
“In America’s 243-year history, only three previous presidents have faced impeachment proceedings. The Constitution does not prescribe a specific process and neither does federal law, leaving Congress to set its own rules. Here’s how the fourth impeachment has unfolded, and what to expect in the coming weeks.”
Also see: What Democrats Can Learn From the Forgotten Impeachment of James Buchanan
Also see: John Roberts likely to play modest role in impeachment trial

2. How you attach to people may explain a lot about your inner life
By Elisa Dermendzhiyska | The Guardian | January 2020
“Early interactions with caregivers can dramatically affect your beliefs about yourself, your expectations of others, and how you cope with stress and regulate your emotions as an adult.”

3. June Bacon-Bercey, pathbreaking TV meteorologist, dies at 90
By Emily Langer | The Washington Post | January 2020
“There were weathermen and weathergirls, but for generations, female meteorologists were practically unheard of. So, too, were black atmospheric scientists..”

4. Alaska man survives three weeks with little food and shelter
BBC World News | January 2020
“He lived on canned foods that survived the blaze and made a basic tent out of debris in the sub-zero temperatures.”

5. What will happen to Meghan Markle’s royal wardrobe after family exit?
By Elana Fishman | The New York Post | January 2020
“[T]he duchess has noticeably scaled back on her fashion spending lately, opting to recycle items already in her closet and lean on more affordable style staples rather than regularly debuting new finds from beloved brands like Givenchy, Stella McCartney and Roland Mouret, as she did when she first became a member of the monarchy.”
Also see: The Hypocrisy of Harry and Meghan’s Decision
Also see: Where did it all go wrong for Harry and Meghan?

6. Remembering Elizabeth Wurtzel, a Proudly Difficult Person
By Benjamin Wallace | The Cut :: New York Magazine | January 2020
“She cycled, proudly, through jobs and agents and editors and publishers. She could treat people badly. She’d blow deadlines and be rude and endlessly dramatic. More compassionate friends chalked it up, most of the time, to mental illness and drug addiction or understood it to be the collateral damage of her life force.”

7. What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane
By William Langewiesche | The Atlantic | June 2019
“Five years ago, the flight vanished into the Indian Ocean. Officials on land know more about why than they dare to say.”

8. The Cold Truth About Kim Kardashian’s Fridge — and Yours
By Alaina Demopoulos | The Daily Beast | January 2020
“Kim Kardashian’s minimalist fridge made a lot of people angry — or at least confused. Here’s why we get so emotional about other people’s refrigerators, and ashamed of our own.”

9. How Democrats Can Win Back Obama-Trump Defectors
By Sean McElwee and Brian F. Schaffner | The New York Times | January 2020
“They don’t have to lose their souls to do it. Just the opposite.”

10. A History of the U.S. Marine Corps
By Augusta Dell’Omo | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | September 2018
“The U.S. Marine Corps may now proudly boast to be the home of the few and the proud, but this wasn’t always the case. In the early part of the 20th century, it was the poorest funded and least respected branch of the military, and at the end of World War Two there was actually a movement to shut them down.”
Also see: Who Signs Up to Fight? Makeup of U.S. Recruits Shows Glaring Disparity

My Old-Fashioned Summer

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails.

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails. One friend said he always loved the simplicity of my preparation. I said I never did anything fancy. It was always simply about the drink and about the ceremony of sharing that first sip with someone special.

Salud …

 


1. I begin with a beautiful glass …

 



2. I drop in a Demerara sugar cube …

 



3. I douse it with aromatic bitters. Three or four dashes. I give the cube a moment to soak it up. ​…

 



4. I use a muddler to crush the soaked cube and mix it with the bitters. Essentially, I’m trying to make a paste or syrup base.​ …

 



5. I drop in a single large ice cube or sphere.​ …

 



6. I slowly pour in three fluid ounces of bourbon, usually Bullitt.​ …

 



7. I gently stir it 20 times, keeping the back of the spoon lightly pressed against the inside of the glass as I stir.​ …

 



8. I cut off an orange rind, and with the white part facing up, I hold it over the drink and quickly fold it lengthwise. The oils spray into the bourbon. I then rub the rind along the edge of the glass and the inside of the glass. I then drop it into the drink.​ …

 



9. I drop in two Luxardo cherries and two spoonfuls of the dark syrup.​ …

 



10. I light a cigar, watch the sunset and take a moment to appreciate the small luxuries and pleasures of life.​

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. A Friend’s Pregnancy
By Julia Wertz | The New Yorker | October 2016
“I was happy for her, but I was afraid it would have a negative impact on our relationship. It was certainly not what I wanted, but I knew such an epic life event would change our relationship irrevocably, and I was scared.”

2. War Without End
By C.J. Chivers | The New York Times Magazine | August 2018
“The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.”

3. Planning for the Post-Trump Wreckage
By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy | August 2018
“When the president eventually exits the White House, the rest of us will quickly have to make sense of the world he’s left behind.”

4. What Happened in the Dark: Puerto Rico’s Year of Fighting for Power
By Daniel Alarcon | Wired | August 2018
“More Americans rely on Puerto Rico’s grid than on any other public electric utility. How one renegade plant worker led them through the shadows.”

5. Nuance: A Love Story
By Meghan Daum | Medium | August 2018
“My affair with the intellectual dark web”

6. 2001 Is Still Teaching Us How to Pay Attention to Movies
By Colin Fleming | Slate | August 2018
“Your mind need not be going.”

7. Step one for befriending a goat: Smile
By Karin Brulliard | Animalia :: The Washington Post | August 2018
“Goat subjects … had already shown themselves to be adept at reading subtle human body language. Now, the researchers have found, goats are also able to distinguish happy people faces from sad ones — and they prefer happy.”

8. Dancing with Madonna Kept Me Alive
By Salim Gauwloos | Outlook :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“Salim Gauwloos became famous dancing with Madonna on her iconic Blond Ambition tour. Madonna used the tour to promote freedom of sexuality and sexual health. All of this made a young Salim feel extremely uncomfortable. The reason he was so anxious was that he was harbouring a secret.”

9. The Dos and Don’ts of Supporting Your Local Library
By Kristin Arnett | LitHub | August 2018
“For God’s sake, do not recatalog a book with Sharpie”

10. My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader’s mother speaks for the first time
By Martin Chulov | The Guardian | August 2018
“Nearly 17 years since 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s family remains an influential part of Saudi society – as well as a reminder of the darkest moment in the kingdom’s history. Can they escape his legacy”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The biblical view of Beyonce / Stephen King looks back / How writers build new worlds / Young Jean Lee takes on Broadway / Reading the classics

This week: The biblical view of Beyonce / Stephen King looks back / How writers build new worlds / Young Jean Lee takes on Broadway / Reading the classics

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Beyoncé and the Bible
By Sonia Paul | PRI :: Studio 360 | July 2018
“Yolanda Norton, an assistant professor of Old Testament at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, just taught a course called ‘Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible.’ In the course students learned what Beyoncé can teach us about the Bible, and what the Bible can teach us about Beyoncé.”

2. Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor
By Mark Hertling and Molly K. McKew | Politico Magazine | July 2018
“Make no mistake: Hacking the 2016 election was an act of war. It’s time we responded accordingly.”

3. How to Make This the Summer of Missing Out
By Hayley Phelan | The New York Times | July 2018
“What’s happening Who cares. Meet JOMO, FOMO’s benevolent younger cousin.”

4. Why Read the Classics
By Italo Calvino | The New York Review of Books | October 1986
“There should therefore be a time in adult life devoted to revisiting the most important books of our youth. Even if the books have remained the same (though they do change, in the light of an altered historical perspective), we have most certainly changed, and our encounter will be an entirely new thing.”

5. Goldfinger and the myth of a Bond girl’s death
By Christian Blauvelt | BBC Culture | July 2018
“Many think Goldfinger actress Shirley Eaton died during filming after being painted gold. But is this true In the first episode of Debunked, Christian Blauvelt takes a look.”

6. Young Jean Lee’s Unsafe Spaces
By Parul Sehgal | The New York Times Magazine | July 2018
“The first female Asian-American playwright on Broadway takes aim at identity and watches the audience squirm.”

7. Chaos from order
By John R. Allen | Brookings | July 2018
“In my 45-year career as a national security professional and Marine Corps General serving my country, I have never seen a moment like the one we are in now.”

8. The generation that grew up on Stephen King is taking him back
By Randall Colburn | The Outline | July 2018
“The author is going through a cinematic renaissance, thanks to directors who grew up as fans.”

9. Journalism in the Age of Trump: What’s Missing and What Matters
By Michael Massing | The Nation | July 2018
“Has the preoccupation with the president pushed aside other urgent stories”

10. From Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, How to Build a World
By A.D. Jameson | LitHub | May 2018
“The Art of Making the Imaginary Seem Real”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Fighting climate change / Iran’s view of the West / Kissinger on Trump’s America / The legacy of “The Dark Knight” / Remembering Blockbuster

This week: Fighting climate change / Iran’s view of the West / Kissinger on Trump’s America / The legacy of The Dark Knight / Remembering Blockbuster

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
By Nathanial Rich | The New York Times Magazine | August 2018
“It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe.”

2. Managing the Unmanageable
By Margaret MacMillian | The Reith Lectures :: BBC Radio 4 | July 2018
“Speaking to an audience at the Northern Irish Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast, Professor MacMillan outlines how both states and the people have sought to justify warfare — from self-defence to civil war — focusing on examples from Irish and British history.”

3. What does Iran think of the West
By Pooneh Ghoddoosi and Matthew Chapman | The Inquiry :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“It dates back to the Western desire for Iran’s rich oil reserves in the early 20th century, and continues through the CIA-backed coup in 1953, which strengthened the Shah’s grip on the throne. The Western powers supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, while the US is believed to have unleashed a highly effective cyber-weapon against the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran has reasons to be equally suspicious of Moscow — with the Russian Empire seizing large parts of historical Persia in the 19th century.”

4. Deciphering the sex scenes in Spain’s medieval churches
By Manuel Morales | El Pais | July 2018
“Experts meet to discuss the meaning of highly explicit sculptures made 1,000 years ago”

5. 230 Minutes With Michiko Kakutani
By Shawn McCreesh | Vulture :: New York | July 2018
“Instagramming New York by night on her first publication day.”

6. The Complicated Legacy of ‘The Dark Knight’
By Richard Newby | The Hollywood Reporter | July 2018
“Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed film changed the movie landscape when it was released 10 years ago this month, but at what cost”

7. Americans Have Some Pretty Vanilla Sexual Fantasies
By Ashley Fetters | The Atlantic | July 2018
“A new book on the science of sexual desire finds Americans are surprisingly romantic and loyal to their partners when they fantasize about sex.”

8. The History Behind the Graffiti of War
By Jonathan Bratten | The New York Times Magazine | July 2018
“About 5,000 years ago, someone decided to paint a battle scene between archers in a cave in Spain — perhaps one of the first instances of what we’d call “war graffiti” today. That person was probably an early grunt who had just finished griping that the chow was bad and that he’d had to march too far that day. Because as long as there has been war, there have been soldiers leaving behind their doodles, names or other markings for historians to muse on why they did so.”

9. For One Last Night, Make It a Blockbuster Night
By Justin Heckert | The Ringer | July 2018
“Everything is 10 years behind in Alaska — including the way people see movies. In three stores across the coldest state in the union, Blockbuster captured the imagination of its residents long after the company ceased operations around the rest of the country. But now, the late fees are finally coming due, and the end of the Blockbuster era is upon us.”

10. Read 13 of the Best Literary Interviews from Interview
By Emily Temple | Interview :: LitHub | May 2018
“RIP a Great American Magazine”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Rum from India? / Earth’s coldest place / Inventor of Liquid Paper / Madonna and Harry Dean Stanton / Other people’s problems

This week: Rum from India? / Earth’s coldest place / Inventor of Liquid Paper / Madonna and Harry Dean Stanton / Other people’s problems

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Forget the Caribbean: Was Rum Invented in India
By David Wondrich | The Daily Beast | July 2018
“Newly discovered evidence suggests that rum production predates the Caribbean by at least 1,000 years and may have actually started in South East Asia.”

2. Coldest Place on Earth Found — Here’s How
By Alejandra Borunda | National Geographic | June 2018
“It’s a place where Earth is so close to its limit, it’s almost like another planet.”

3. How Ancient Mummies Helped This Soccer Player Get to the World Cup
By Sarah Gibbens | National Geographic | June 2018
“After Paolo Guerrero tested positive for cocaine, scientists used Inca mummies to argue that the result may have been influenced by something else.”

4. How Is the Declaration of Independence Preserved
By Tim Palmieri | Scientific American | July 2018
“The National Archives and Records Administration uses science and technology to keep one of America’s most important historic documents safe.”

5. Do You Like ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ Science Would Like to Know Why
By Tom Mashberg | The New York Times | July 2018
“The mysteries of the aesthetic response, and the creative impulse, have become a burgeoning area of inquiry for scientific researchers across many disciplines.”

6. What lies in the lab: The gruesome murder at Harvard that transfixed New England
By Paul Collins | The Boston Globe Magazine | July 2018
“Wealthy George Parkman vanished into thin air one day. Then a janitor started snooping around a Harvard lab and made a grisly discovery.”

7. Ask Yourself This: What Burdens Is That Other Person Carrying
By Carl Richards | Sketch Guy :: The New York Times | July 2018
“And how would I treat them differently if I knew”

8. Bette Nesmith Graham, Who Invented Liquid Paper
By Andrew R. Chow | Overlooked :: The New York Times | July 2018
“Graham brought it to market and by the end of her life led an international business out of Dallas that produced 25 million bottles a year at its peak, with factories in Toronto and Brussels. She would sell the company for $47.5 million and donate millions to charity.”

9. ‘He Pretty Much Gave In to Whatever They Asked For’
By Michael Kruse | Politico Magazine | June 2018
“Trump says he’s a master negotiator. Those who’ve actually dealt with him beg to differ.”

10. Madonna talks to Harry Dean Stanton about her newfound stardom
By Harry Dean Stanton | Interview | May 2018
“I laugh at myself, I don’t take myself completely seriously. I think that’s another quality that people have to hold onto, you have to laugh, especially at yourself.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Fidel Castro’s love affair / Celebrating the brilliance of “Scarface” / The secret power of ISIS / Molly Ringwald looks back / The British Empire’s shadow on today’s world

This week: Fidel Castro’s love affair / Celebrating the brilliance of Scarface / The secret power of ISIS / Molly Ringwald looks back / The British Empire’s shadow on today’s world

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. ‘My Dearest Fidel’: An ABC Journalist’s Secret Liaison With Fidel Castro
By By Peter Kornbluh | Politico Magazine | April 2018
“The untold story of how Lisa Howard’s intimate diplomacy with Cuba’s revolutionary leader changed the course of the Cold War.”

2. Revisiting the Controversy Surrounding Scarface
By Jason Bailey | Vulture | April 2018
“It landed on VHS and Betamax the following summer, at what may have been the perfect moment, as home video reached a penetration point and videotape rentals were becoming part of the average moviegoer’s diet.”

3. End of the American dream? The dark history of ‘America first’
By Sarah Churchwell | The Guardian | April 2018
“When he promised to put America first in his inaugural speech, Donald Trump drew on a slogan with a long and sinister history — a sign of what was to follow in his presidency”

4. How Trump Moved the Mexican Border North
By Emily Gogolak | Politico Magazine | April 2018
“It started in Texas. And the rest of the country is next.”

5. The ISIS Files
By Rukmini Callimachi | The New York Times | April 2018
“We unearthed thousands of internal documents that help explain how the Islamic State stayed in power so long.”

6. ‘The Clock Is Ticking’: Inside the Worst U.S. Maritime Disaster in Decades
By William Langewiesche | Vanity Fair | April 2018
“A recording salvaged from three miles deep tells the story of the doomed ‘El Faro,’ a cargo ship engulfed by a hurricane.”

7. What About ‘The Breakfast Club’?
By Molly Ringwald | The New Yorker | April 2018
“Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo.”

8. 5 Reasons Why a Writer Should Move to Tampa
By Arielle Silver | LitHub | April 2018
“Welcome to the lightning capital of North America.”

9. My Caribbean trip opened my eyes to the legacy of the British empire
By Lenny Henry | The Guardian | March 2018
“After Brexit, the Commonwealth could play a crucial trading role. But the historic associations with slavery still resonate.”

10. Essential Writing Advice from Virginia Woolf
By Emily Temple | LitHub | March 2018
“Woolf was a once-in-a-generation mind, and as both a writer and publisher, she had strong opinions about what made a piece of literature great (or, more often, mediocre). Luckily for us, she wrote many of her ideas down, in some of the many essays and letters she penned over the course of her life.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Robert Frost / Puerto Rico’s enduring agony / A Mediterranean megaflood / Men and mental health / Repealing the Second Amendment

This week: Robert Frost / Puerto Rico’s enduring agony / A Mediterranean megaflood / Men and mental health / Repealing the Second Amendment

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. A Bittersweet Journey Back to Puerto Rico After Maria
By By Luis Ferré-Sadurní | The New York Times | March 2018
“The Times joined a family on their return to Puerto Rico months after fleeing Hurricane Maria’s fury. The homecoming was not what they expected.”

2. Why Dictators Write
By Colin Dickey | The New Republic | March 2018
“What Saddam Hussein’s romance novels and Kim Jong-il’s film criticism reveal about authoritarianism.”

3. In Her Orbit
By Helen MacDonald | The New York Times Magazine | March 2018
“Nathalie Cabrol searches the Earth for the secrets of life on Mars”

4. America’s Most Widely Misread Literary Work
The Atlantic | March 2018
“Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ is often interpreted as an anthem of individualism and nonconformity, seemingly encouraging readers to take the road less traveled.”

5. A Megaflood-Powered Mile-High Waterfall Refilled the Mediterranean
By Katherine Kornei | Scientific American | March 2018
“Buried sediments near Sicily suggest water rushed into the sea’s partially dried-out eastern basin at speeds reaching 100 miles per hour”

6. A Brief History of Trump Insulting Women Who Call Him Out
By Lisa Ryan | The Cut :: New York Magazine | March 2018
“Here, a look back at Trump’s habit of degrading women who accuse him sexual misconduct or impropriety — or who simply dare to stand up to him.”

7. How Trump favored Texas over Puerto Rico
By Danny Vinik | Politico | March 2018
“A POLITICO investigation shows a persistent double standard in the president’s handling of relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria.”

8. Repeal the Second Amendment
By John Paul Stevens | The New York Times | March 2018
“Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. … But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”

9. We Asked People Why They Got Sober
By Graham Isador | Vice | March 2017
“In my life, most stories of sobriety had been fed to me through after-school specials or sensationalized retellings on the evening news. The following are stories from real conversations I had with friends about why they stopped drinking and drugs. At times, the stories felt both much bigger and much smaller than I had expected them to.”

10. Men don’t talk about mental health. They should.
By Jordan Rubio | Houston Chronicle | March 2018
“Going through such emotional lows has been deeply shameful to me. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just tough it out and get over it. I disparaged myself, thought myself weak and worthless and pathetic. The guilt of going through something like this haunted me as though it were a great sin.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Caesar’s literature / A fashion show in 1968 / The genocide surprise / My Lai remembered / The history of natural disaster

This week: Caesar’s literature / A fashion show in 1968 / The genocide surprise / My Lai remembered / The history of natural disaster

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Trump’s Man in Moscow
By Amie Ferris-Rotman, Emily Tamkin and Robbie Gramer | Foreign Policy | March 2018
“Most of Washington is scared to meet with Russians. Jon Huntsman wants to meet as many as possible.”

2. Caesar Bloody Caesar
By Josephine Quinn | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“When Julius Caesar was thirty-one years old in 69 BCE, so the story goes, and serving as a junior Roman magistrate in Spain, he once stood lamenting before a statue of Alexander the Great because he had achieved so little at an age by which Alexander had already conquered the world.”

3. The Conversation Favourites
By BBC World Service | March 2018
“Meet the women who have inspired us”

4. The 1968 Fashion Show, the History Lesson Melania Missed
By Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell | Politico Magazine | March 2018
“It was supposed to showcase America First fashion. But not long afterward, manufacturing moved to China, and eventually, the Trumps moved into the White House.”

5. The Genocide the U.S. Didn’t See Coming
By Nahal Toosi | Politico Magazine | March/April 2018
“The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, primarily in the country’s Rakhine state, and have long faced severe discrimination from the Buddhist majority, which views them as illegal migrants. But this latest wave of violence is the worst in modern memory.”

6. 50 years ago, the My Lai massacre shamed the US military
By Tran Van Minh and Grant Peck | Associated Press | March 2018
“The American soldiers of Charlie Company, sent on what they were told was a mission to confront a crack outfit of their Vietcong enemies, met no resistance, but over three to four hours killed 504 unarmed civilians, mostly women, children and elderly men, in My Lai and a neighboring community.”
Also see, from American Experience: “My Lai,” a documentary film

7. Disasters Have Histories
By Chad H. Parker, Andy Horowitz and Liz Skilton | Process :: The Journal of American History/The American Historian | March 2018
“To many observers, disasters can seem like they erupt out of nowhere, in a catastrophic instant, but as historians, it’s our job to place them in time and space. So when I approach events like the recent storms, I start by asking: who was in danger? When did they arrive there? Why? Almost by definition, seeing disasters as products of history makes them seem less random and less inevitable.”

8. Today’s Eerie Echoes of the Civil War
By Manisha Sinha | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“Even before what historians call the political crisis of the 1850s, the rise of an interracial abolition movement had encountered mob violence in the streets and gag rules in Congress. From then on, abolitionism in the United States was tied to civil liberties and the fate of American democracy itself. By the eve of the war, in 1861, most people in the northern free states felt that the democratic institutions of the country were being subverted.”

9. The Daring Diplomat Who Proved One Person Can Thwart an Empire
By Emily Ludolph | Narratively | March 2018
“A whistleblower puts his life on the line to defy Soviet aggression. Sixty years later, this forgotten story of subterfuge, smears and suspicious death has never felt more timely.”

10. Does anyone have the right to sex?
By Amia Srinivasan | London Review of Books | March 2018
“Desire can take us by surprise, leading us somewhere we hadn’t imagined we would ever go, or towards someone we never thought we would lust after, or love. In the very best cases, the cases that perhaps ground our best hope, desire can cut against what politics has chosen for us, and choose for itself.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Al Pacino’s career / Denis Johnson / Remembering the Branch Davidians / W.E.B. Du Bois and America / Colin Powell on raising children

This week: Al Pacino’s career / Denis Johnson / Remembering the Branch Davidians / W.E.B. Du Bois and America / Colin Powell on raising children

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Al Pacino on His Legendary Roles
By David Edelstein | Vulture | March 2018
“The actor discusses his first major New York retrospective.”

2. Astronomers get glimpse of dawn of universe 13.6 billion years ago
Associated Press | February 2018
“After the Big Bang, it was cold and black. And then there was light. Now, for the first time, astronomers have glimpsed that dawn of the universe 13.6 billion years ago when the earliest stars were turning on the light in the cosmic darkness.”

3. Lying Down in the Dirt
By Janet Steen | Longreads | February 2018
“An Interview with Denis Johnson”

4. The Ghosts of Mount Carmel
By Michael Hall | Texas Monthly | April 2003
“In the ten years since a devastating fire took the lives of 74 Davidians, a group of survivors has returned to the windswept plains east of Waco, like ghosts haunting the site of their former compound. A new church has been built at Mount Carmel, and inside, they listen to their leader preach the same apocalyptic doctrine, and they wait for David Koresh to return.”

5. 33 of the Weirdest Philip K. Dick Covers We Could Find
By Alicia Kroell | LitHub | March 2018
“Eyes, Brains, Babies, and Marilyn Monroe”

6. When W. E. B. Du Bois Was Un-American
By Andrew Lanham | Boston Review | January 2017
“Du Bois … fought furiously against persecution. He crisscrossed the country giving speeches, wrote passionately about his trial, and built a small but vigorous coalition that helped preserve social justice causes during a decade that tried desperately to strangle them.”

7. Trump’s Fantasies Meet the Harsh Reality of His Presidency
By Jeet Heer | The New Republic | February 2018
“He got rich by spinning a false narrative about himself. That strategy isn’t working in the White House.”

8. Kids need structure
By Colin Powell | TEDxMidAtlantic | October 2012
“How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children, starting before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.”

9. The Afterlife of Pablo Escobar
By Jon Anderson | The New Yorker | March 2018
“In Colombia, a drug lord’s posthumous celebrity brings profits and controversy.”

10. Slavery and the American University
By Alex Carp | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“From their very beginnings, the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply.”