Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The business of writing / The song of the Cuban protests / The editor of the world’s most famous crossword puzzle / How to be back in the airport / A 150-year old fragrance is back

This week: The business of writing / The song of the Cuban protests / The editor of the world’s most famous crossword puzzle / How to be back in the airport / A 150-year old fragrance is back

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. ‘Your evil revolution’: How a reggaeton anthem inspired Cuba protests
By Nancy San Martin and Mimi Whitefield | National Geographic | July 2021
“‘Patria y Vida’ turns a Castro slogan on its head, inspiring thousands to demand reform in the island nation”

2. The Business Side of Being a Writer
By Susan Orlean | Medium | July 2021
“Being a writer means you are running a small business, manufacturing sentences, and you are the owner of the business, and the foreman of the factory, and the guy working on the production line, and the person driving the truck to deliver the sentences to your customers.”

3. Searching for Moby-Dick (and the Elusive Truths of America’s Pastime)
By Rick White | LitHub | July 2021
“Two decades later, sabermetrics are the only metrics that matter,’big ball’ is baseball, baseball is boring, and Whiteyball has gone the way of the ‘Pequod’ and the hand-hurled harpoon. What else should one have expected? It was, like Melville’s masterpiece, and like all other fine works of American art, destined in time to be swallowed up like Jonah, either in obscurity or by the whale of American corporate oligarchy.”

4. ‘I’ve outlasted them all’: The spectacular life of the world’s most powerful crossword editor
By J Oliver Conroy | The Guardian | July 2021
“The New York Times’ Will Shortz has appeared on The Simpsons, written riddles for a Batman villain and sold over 1m copies of a sudoku book. He talks hate mail, controversial clues and why puzzles are like drugs”

5. The completely correct guide to being back in an airport
By Natalie B. Compton | The Washington Post | July 2021
“No one wants to listen to you yell about client synergies, Richard”

6. Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A Kid’s-Eye View
By Dana Stevens | The Criterion Collection | May 2021
“[L]ike all the kids in director Amy Heckerling’s tender, funny, sometimes painfully well-observed comedy of teenage manners, I spent most of my spare time in one of several sprawling suburban malls, because where else was a high schooler in the early eighties supposed to go?”

7. Galileo and the Pope Fell Out over a Story about a Cicada
By Nuno Castel-Branco | Scientific American | July 2021
“The legendary scientist used the insects’ songs as a metaphor for his theories about the universe. It didn’t go well”

8. Shipwrecked scent: A perfumer re-creates a 150-year-old fragrance
By Amanda McGowan | The World | July 2020
“A ship called the Mary Celestia sank in 1864 off the coast of Bermuda. About 150 years later, divers visiting the shipwreck uncovered a perfectly preserved bottle of perfume. Perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone worked to re-create the 150-year-old scent.”

9. My Time as (Probably) the Most Assaulted Cabinet Member in History
By Dan Glickman | Politico Magazine | June 2021
“The worst part? All the food people threw at me.”

10. Samuel Beckett
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2008-2020
Also see: The Fire of London | Heat | Neuroscience | Bolivar

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

What not to wear on a plane / Navy adviser torpedoed / Heading into the Republican National Convention

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. Airlines can say: You can’t wear that
By David Koenig | Associated Press | Aug, 25
“Airlines give many reasons for refusing to let you board, but none stir as much debate as this: How you’re dressed.”
Also see: Airline rules on clothing are usually vague

2. Sunk
By Jeff Stein | The Washington Post Magazine | Aug. 21
“Why was a Navy adviser stripped of her career?”

3. A Media Personality, Suffering a Blow to His Image, Ponders a Lesson
By Christine Haughney | The New York Times | Aug. 19
“Just as quickly as his employers had questioned his credibility, they rallied around him.”

4. How Long Do You Want to Live?
By David Ewing Duncan | The New York Times | Aug. 25
“How many years might be added to a life? A few longevity enthusiasts suggest a possible increase of decades. Most others believe in more modest gains. And when will they come? Are we a decade away? Twenty years? Fifty years?”

5. Hubble Captures a Collection of Ancient Stars
ScienceDaily | Aug. 25
“Hubble Space Telescope has produced a beautiful image of the globular cluster Messier 56 (also known as M 56 or NGC 6779), which is located about 33,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Lyra (The Lyre).”

6. For some Republicans, convention could be springboard to future
By Peter Schroeder | The Hill | Aug. 26
“Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) will introduce Romney before he officially accepts the party’s nomination, while Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) is delivering the convention’s keynote address.”

7. Daniel Ogilvie: Why children believe they have souls
TED New York | July 2012
“Rutgers University Professor of Psychology Daniel Ogilvie is researching what causes people to believe in souls and the afterlife.”

8. A short history of the phony political convention
By Andrew O’Hehir | Salon | Aug. 25
“The GOP’s phony living-room stage is the latest twist in a history of carefully crafted, content-free spectacle”

9. The Author of the Civil War
By Cynthia Wachtell | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 6
“Sir Walter Scott not only dominated gift book lists on the eve of the Civil War but also dominated Southern literary taste throughout the conflict.”

10. The Mike Todd Party: Cronkite Recalls a TV Low
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | November 2004
“[W]hen the crowd got out of control, a bland publicity stunt turned into a giant food fight. Cronkite recalls the disastrous night.”

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

TUNES

This weekend, I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the wonderful Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Zed Head — Nice To Love You
2. Zed Head — Kick Start
3. Hill Country Review — Let Me Love You
4. Marc Brousard — Home
5. Bleu Edmondson — Southland
6. Popa Chubby — Fire
7. Rocky Athas Group — Tearin’ Me Up
8. Keb Mo — Shave Yo Legs
9. Kenny Wayne Shepherd — Blue On Black
10. Ian Moore — Nothing
11. Clay McClinton — One Of Those Guys
12. Anna Popovic — How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That
13. ZZ Top — Nasty Dogs And Funky Kings

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Ideas to explore Mars / Love the child-free life / Appreciating our national parks / Ashtrays on airplanes / Sexy T-shirt sniffing

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. Expatriates in drug violence-riddled Mexico: Stay or go?
By David Agren | USA Today | May 23
“Horrific violence between warring drug cartels has been a fact of life in parts of Mexico for years. What is most frightening to Mexicans here, though, is that the victims were selected because they were innocent.”

2. Mars or Bust! Scientists Flood NASA With 400 Ideas to Explore Red Planet
Space.com | May 25
“Scientists have responded in a big way to NASA’s call to help reformulate its Mars robotic exploration strategy, submitting about 400 ideas and Red Planet mission concepts to the space agency.”

3. Childfree Women: Tell Us What You Love Most About Not Having Kids
By Emma Gray | The Huffington Post | May 23
“I’m content to live a life that just wouldn’t be possible if I was financially and emotionally responsible for another human being.”

4. Robert Caro: The Big Book
By Chris Jones | Esquire | April 12
“Time has eaten everything around him, and still he is not done. But until he is done, one part of the world that we will never see again will not die.”

5. Mars probe catches its own shadow
Associated Press | May 24
“Mars Rover Opportunity catches its own late-afternoon shadow in a view eastward across Endeavour Crater on Mars.”

6. Ken Burns: National parks feed America’s soul
By Ken Burns | USA Today | May 21
“These parks are part of our commonwealth, part of that which brings us together as Americans, that which has served as a beacon to the rest of the world.”

7. Staying Secure on the Road
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | May 22
“Is hotel Wi-Fi safe to use?”

8. Why Airplanes Still Have Ashtrays in the Bathrooms
By Jamie Condliffe | Gizmodo | May 22
“You might think that they’re a hangover, from more liberal days, on planes yet to be replaced — but you’d be wrong.”

9. Job, economy fears mix with hope for Class of ’12
By Sharon Cohen | Associated Press | May 26
“For thousands of new graduates making the big transition this spring, there are pressures to find jobs quickly, pay off loans and, in some cases, start a second career, all against the backdrop of the slow-healing economy.”

10. Sex, scents and pheromones
By Lauren Eggert-Crowe | Salon | May 19
“At L.A.’s hottest new party, singles hook up by sniffing slept-in T-shirts. Is it science or speed dating?”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. MANNISH BOY Muddy Waters
2. IT’S RAINING Irma Thomas
3. HOW BLUE CAN YOU GET? (Live) B.B. King
4. GOOD TO ME Irma Thomas
5. CATFISH BLUES B.B. King
6. HIGH HEEL SNEAKERS Tommy Tucker
7. AT LAST Etta James
8. THE THRILL IS GONE B.B. King
9. A CHANGE IS GONNA COME Sam Cooke
10. ALL I COULD DO IS CRY Etta James & Riley Hampton

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Obama’s recess / Angry people / A Taliban peace / Know yourself / Time’s passing

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. Obama and the definition of ‘recess’
By Joseph Williams | Politico | Jan. 2
“Since the holidays, GOP congressional leaders have used a handful of senators and a procedural technicality to keep their chamber active, gaveling in and out of session for a few minutes every two to three days. The strategy: Play keep-away with Obama’s power to fill confirmation-level jobs in their absence. ….”

2. Knowing How to Talk to Angry People is a Skill You Can Take to Any Job
By Megan McLachlan | Primer | January 2012
“There’s no getting away from them — dealing with pissed off people at work can be a daily occurrence. Learning to handle them correctly will not only make your life easier, it’ll get you ahead.”

3. Family of Six Thrown Off US Airways Flight for Trying to Fit into Just THREE Seats
The Flying Pinto | Jan. 1
“It’s articles like these that make me realize how misinformed the flying public really is.”

4. Afghan Taliban on Night Raids, New Explosives, the ISI, Peace
By Ron Moreau | Newsweek | December 2011
“Too bad the Taliban and their ISI backers have other ideas.”

5. Challenging Chavez
Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“When Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, took office in 1999 he was embraced by many who had felt excluded from the traditional political order. … Villca Fernandez is determined to speak out, regardless of the risks, even if that means sewing his lips together.”

6. Mixed Signals
By Sam Gosling | Psychology Today | December 2011
“You likely see yourself very differently from the way others see you. A little self-awareness can prevent a lot of misunderstanding.”

7. Worry More About Worrying Too Much
By David Ropeik | Big Think | December 2011
“Zebras don’t get ulcers because when they are under attack, they either run away, or get eaten. They don’t stay stressed. We get ulcers, and suffer a lot of other serious damage, because we do.”

8. Time’s Winged Arrow
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | April 2009
“As children, it seemed we had to wait an eternity to wait for something to happen. Now, the Sunday paper that just came is here once more. Why is it that as we age, time seems to race along?”

9. Hairy-Kiri
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“Do animals commit suicide?”

10. Bay of Pigs invasion
Witness :: BBC News | April 2011
“In April 1961 Cuban exiles, backed by the US government, tried to overthrow Fidel Castro. Boatloads of counter-revolutionaries stormed the beaches of a bay in Cuba. They soon ran out of ammunition, and without backup their mission failed. We hear from one of those exiles.”

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