Visit Mission Concepcion on Oct. 16

For just one night, on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, at 8 p.m., an artist will project light onto the building, virtually “restoring” the Mission to its former glory.

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I’m a history teacher at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio. I teach both parts of the introduction to U.S. history. HIST 1301 begins the tour in Native America and ends with post-Civil War Reconstruction. HIST 1302 begins with Reconstruction and brings it to the modern era.

Every teacher ends the second half in different places: the Reagan Revolution, 9/11, the election of Barack Obama. Because I’m emphasizing the relevance of history to current events (if they leave my class with nothing else, at least they will be more sensitive to and appreciative of the historical roots of news events all around them), I intend to end the second half with the rise of ISIS.

I’ve slowly come to appreciate the historical richness and importance of San Antonio, if only because of my lifelong failure to fully appreciate Mexican and Tejano culture. But San Antonio has captured my heart and, more importantly, my respect as a historian. I’ve tried to share my new enthusiasm with my students by making them aware of the truly unique place of San Antonio in Spanish, Mexican, Texas, Confederate, and U.S. history.

One of their extra-credit opportunities is to visit one of the San Antonio Missions (a visit to the Alamo doesn’t count). They have to take a picture of themselves next to a sign indicating which Mission they visited, show it to me, and then they get an extra ten points towards their final grade for the semester.

As I just told them on our class blog, Ortiz History, I recently learned of one more reason to visit the beautiful Mission Concepcion. For just one night, on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, at 8 p.m., an artist will project light onto the building, virtually “restoring” the Mission to its former glory. That will be the highlight of a three-hour festival of food trucks, picnics, historical tours, music, and family-friendly activities spread throughout the mission grounds. Festivities begin at 6 p.m.

Learn more about the event on its Facebook page.

Illustrating the heart in a million different ways

Some friends have told me how much they love the photos I include with most of my posts.

Some friends have told me how much they love the photos that accompany most of my posts. Their compliments honor me.

I don’t consider myself a photographer, just someone who loves interesting patterns — the more abstract and colorful and contrasted the better. I tend to find beauty in everything I see.

My simple Tumblr blog collects and displays the best of the art I’ve used on Stillness of Heart, along with a variety of other odd photos, gifs, and videos.

Follow me on Tumblr, and enjoy.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Whitney Houston dead / Stories of the unemployed / Soviet ghosts in Afghanistan / Valentine’s Day gift ideas / Inspiring children

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. In Afghanistan, a Soviet Past Lies in Ruins
By Graham Bowley | The New York Times | Feb. 11
“As poignant in its imperial ambition as in its otherworldliness, the Soviet-era swimming pool atop Swimming Pool Hill here is as good a symbol as any of the doubtful legacy of empires. ”

2. 10 Far-out Valentine’s Gifts
Oddee | Feb. 9
“Valentine’s Day is coming and you still have no idea what to buy for your beloved one? We have compiled a list of 10 of the best strangest, weirdest and most unusual valentine’s gifts you can actually buy.”

3. 20 Reasons Your Flight Attendant Might Not Be Happy-Go-Lucky
Rants of a Sassy Stew | Feb. 10
“If your flight attendant isn’t chipper and licking your ass throughout the flight, there is probably a very good reason behind it.”

4. The Istanbul Art-Boom Bubble
By Suzy Hansen | The New York Times Magazine | Feb. 10
“It appears that Istanbul … is having its moment of rebirth. These newly wealthy corners of the East seem full of possibilities, but what kind of culture will the Turks create?”

5. Faces beyond the numbers of long-term unemployed
By Sharon Cohen | Associated Press | Feb. 11
“The frustrations of one 53-year-old North Carolina man are multiplied millions of times over across time zones and generations in a country still gripped by economic anxiety, despite increasing signs of recovery.”

6. Whitney Houston, superstar of records, films, dies
By Nekesa Mumbi Moody | Associated Press | Feb. 11
“She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.”

7. How war stories inspire children to learn
BBC News | Feb. 11
“Many fictional tales of loyalty and survival – often based on true wartime events – have also helped children to understand what happened.”

8. The case for global currency
By David Wolman | Salon | Feb. 11
“Would it make more sense to have one currency for the entire world?”

9. Rereading: Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes
By Briam Dillon | The Guardian | March 26
“Grieving for his mother, Roland Barthes looked for her in old photos – and wrote a curious, moving book that became one of the most influential studies of photography”

10. The siege of Leningrad
Witness :: BBC News | January 28
“When Leningrad was cut off from the rest of Russia by German troops during World War Two, one third of its population died.”

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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. Walter Trout — Blues Deluxe
2. Paul Thorn — Starvin For Your Kisses
3. Whiskey Myers — Thief Of Hearts
4. 8 Ball Down — Walk Down Blues
5. Z Tribe — LiL Hurricane
6. Robbie King Band — Wanting You
7. Brooks & Dunn — Caroline
8. John Fogerty — Swamp River Days
9. George Thorogood — You Talk To Much
10. Grace Potter — Sugar
11. 2 Slim and the Tail Draggers — Mother Load
12. Bo Cox — Gone
13. Van Wilks — Long Way To Crawl

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?”