Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Sinking Mexico City / The brief Trump presidency? / A lurking Hitler double / Michael Flynn’s symbolism / Big Mama Thornton’s soaring blues

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This week: Sinking Mexico City / The brief Trump presidency? / A lurking Hitler double / Michael Flynn’s symbolism / Big Mama Thornton’s soaring blues

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. Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis
By Michael Kimmelman | The New York Times | Feb. 17
“Unlike traffic jams or crime, climate change isn’t something most people easily feel or see. It is certainly not what residents in Mexico City talk about every day. But it is like an approaching storm, straining an already precarious social fabric and threatening to push a great city toward a breaking point.”

2. The Thinning of Big Mama
By Cynthia Shearer | Oxford American | Feb. 15
“She seems to have dwelt by necessity in the margins of prosperity and material success. Considering the successes of her many contemporaries and collaborators, as we listen to her music today … Big Mama’s story raises a persistent question: How could she flourish this way (however briefly) but ultimately fail to thrive?”

3. Michael Flynn, General Chaos
By Nicholas Schmidle | The New Yorker | Feb. 18
“What the removal of Flynn as the national-security adviser reveals about Donald Trump’s White House. ”

4. Austrian authorities seeking Hitler double seen around birthplace
By Michael Shields | Reuters | Feb. 11
“The man, estimated to be 25 to 30 years old, was last seen in a local bookstore browsing through magazines about World War Two, adding he had identified himself in a local bar as ‘Harald Hitler.’ ”

5. These books were beloved. But what happens after their owner dies?
By Laura Krantz | The Boston Globe | Feb. 17
“In this region of intellectuals, used bookstores find themselves inundated with calls as more baby boomers die and others downsize. At the same time, many libraries have faced budget cuts that make them unable to accept the extra stock, and the Internet has rendered many reference books useless.”

6. An essential reading list for understanding Donald Trump
By Pete Vernon | Columbia Journalism Review | Feb. 14
“[T]he profiles and investigative pieces on the list range from skeptical to outright hostile. But despite being burned time and again, Trump seems addicted to the limelight that comes with attention from the media. From Wayne Barrett’s early investigations into a little-known, Queens-born developer to Maggie Haberman’s look at Trump’s life in the White House, the president has welcomed journalists into his life in ways few politicians ever have.”

7. The Talk
Austin American-Statesman | February 2017
“For generations, black parents have had The Talk with their children about how to survive interactions with police: Don’t argue. Don’t get shot. Don’t give them a reason. Come home.”

8. Donald Trump is on his Way to the Second or Third Shortest Presidency in American History
By Ronald L. Feinman | History News Network | Feb. 15
“[Vice President Mike] Pence could … invoke the 25th Amendment, Section 4, with the approval of a majority of the cabinet, which would make Pence ‘Acting President.’ Some might call it a ‘palace coup’ but Pence could make a convincing case that it is too risky to leave Trump in power.”

9. The fire this time — the legacy of James Baldwin
By Lanre Bakare | The Guardian | Feb. 15
“His work fell foul of civil-rights-era binary racial and sexual politics but, as a new film shows, now Baldwin’s ideas are used to explain everything from Trump to Black Lives Matter”

10. The President Who Never Earned His Varsity Letter
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | November 2014
“When Nixon ran for president a second time, in 1968, he quietly pondered recruiting the Green Bay Packers’ Vince Lombardi for his ticket — until his campaign manager (and later attorney general) John Mitchell discovered that Lombardi was a Democrat.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Bomb threat at UT Austin / What men and women really want / The presidency through Obama’s eyes / Codex of Archimedes

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. UT Bomb Threat Declared A Hoax, Response Questioned
By Audry White | The Texas Tribune | Sept. 14
“At about 8:35 a.m., a caller told university staff that bombs around campus would detonate 90 minutes from the call. UT officials, though, did not issue an emergency text alert to the campus until about 9:50, just 15 minutes before the supposed time of detonation.”

3. First Planets Found Around Sun-Like Stars in a Cluster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory :: NASA | Sept. 14
“NASA-funded astronomers have, for the first time, spotted planets orbiting sun-like stars in a crowded cluster of stars. … Although the newfound planets are not habitable, their skies would be starrier than what we see from Earth.”

2. Women from Venus? Men from Mars? The Real Sexual Gender Divide
By Michael Castleman | All About Sex :: Psychology Today | Sept. 13
“Men and women feel more similar about sex than most people imagine.”

4. Our Diplomats Deserve Better
By Prudence Bushnell | The New York Times | Sept. 13
“Diplomats don’t often make headlines until something horrible happens.”

5. Obama’s Way
By Michael Lewis | Vanity Fair | October 2012
“To understand how air-force navigator Tyler Stark ended up in a thornbush in the Libyan desert in March 2011, one must understand what it’s like to be president of the United States — and this president in particular.”

6. The Salton Sea: Death and Politics in the Great American Water Wars
By Matt Simon | Wired Science | Sept. 14
“Considered to be among the world’s most vital avian habitats and — until recently — one of its most productive fisheries, the Salton Sea is in a state of wild flux, the scene of fish and bird die-offs of unfathomable proportions.”

7. William Noel: Revealing the lost codex of Archimedes
TED | April 2012
“How do you read a two-thousand-year-old manuscript that has been erased, cut up, written on and painted over?”

8. Hollywood’s Spacesuits
By Diane Tedeschi | Air & Space Magazine | Sept. 13
“A sci-fi historian’s guide to movie spacesuits, from wacky to realistic.”

9. Working on the Railroad
By Rick Beard | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 11
“[O]ne of the most important public projects of the 19th century took 20 years to approve.”

10. Obama by the Numbers
By Mark Warren and Richard Dorment | Esquire | Sept. 14
“Here, as a service to clarity and sanity, is the story of the Obama administration in raw, irreducible numbers.”

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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. Zed Head — Till I Lost You & Electraglide Shuffle
2. Dean Haitani — All Roads Lead To Rome
3. Freedom and Whiskey — Kettlebottom Blues
4. Josh Gracin — Please Come Home for Christmas
5. Marc Broussard –Home
6. Paul Rodgers — Muddy Water Blues
7. Victor Wainwright and the Wild Roots — What You Want
8. Hill Country Review — Highway Blues
9. Too Slim and the Taildraggers — Testament
10. Kevin Ball — Mexi-Tele’ Blues
11. Duffy — Hanging On Too Long
12. Storyville — There’s a Light

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Persia’s Alexander the Great / Iraq emerges as Iranian ally / Pakistan, our frenemy / More shelter needed for Austin’s homeless / One man juggles five lovers

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. Alexander the not so Great: History through Persian eyes
By Ali Ansari | BBC News Magazine | July 14
“lexander the Great is portrayed as a legendary conqueror and military leader in Greek-influenced Western history books but his legacy looks very different from a Persian perspective.”

2. The Afghan Air War
By C.J. Chivers and Ben Solomon | The New York Times | July 2012
“[Chivers] flies in an F/A-18 over Afghanistan, examining changes in America’s air power and how Afghan troops will fare without it.”

3. Amber Waves of Green
By Jon Ronson | GQ | July 2012
“Guess what, compatriots? The gap between the richest and the poorest among us is now wider than it has been since we all nose-dived into the Great Depression.”

4. Iraq-Iran Ties Grow Stronger As Iraq Rises From The Ashes
By Dan Froomkin | The Huffington Post | July 14
“Though technically a democracy, Iraq’s floundering government has degenerated into a tottering quasi-dictatorship.”

5. More shelter space for homeless women needed, local advocates say
By Andrea Ball | Austin American-Statesman | July 13
“Currently, those who want a place to stay are routinely turned away from local shelters because of a shortage of beds, said Richard Troxell, founder of the advocacy group House the Homeless.”

6. Our high-maintenance relationship with Pakistan
By David Ignatius | The Washington Post | July 13
“The two countries talk about strategic cooperation one month and feud the next. They claim to be allies against terrorism, even as each side’s intelligence service conducts operations the other regards as hostile.”

7. Terry Moore: Why is ‘x’ the unknown?
TEDx | June 2012
“Why is ‘x’ the symbol for an unknown? In this short and funny talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer.”

8. An Interview with Eva Illouz
By Jessa Crispin | Bookslut | July 2012
“Haven’t you for years felt like you were being conned somehow in the realm of relationships?”

9. The Single Guy Juggling Five Girls in One Week
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | Feb. 28
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Single Guy Juggling Five Girls in One Week: 29, male, single, East Village, straight.”

10. Death of Sid Vicious
Witness :: BBC News | Feb. 2
“With his snarl and spikey hair, the Sex Pistols bassist, Sid Vicious, was the embodiment of punk rock.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. QUEIQU’UN M’A DIT (Someone Told Me) Carla Bruni
2. SPINNING Zero 7
3. SILVER LINING David Gray
4. LYING PEACEFULLY Pepe Deluxe
5. MISGUIDED ANGEL Cowboy Junkies
6. ALWAYS ON MY MIND Willie Nelson
7. STANDSTILL Hardkandy
8. THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE Thievery Corporation
9. NEVER THE SAME Supreme Beings of Leaisure
10. LEAN ON ME Sounds from the Ground

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Texas congressional district maps … Less retirements … Airpower diplomacy … Iran’s drug problem … Hoover myths.

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. Whales in the desert: Fossil bonanza poses mystery
By Eva Vergara and Ian James | Associated Press | Nov. 20
“Experts say other groups of prehistoric whales have been found together in Peru and Egypt, but the Chilean fossils stand out for their staggering number and beautifully preserved bones. More than 75 whales have been discovered so far – including more than 20 perfectly intact skeletons.”

2. Goodbye, Golden Years
By Edward L. Glaeser | The New York Times | Nov. 19
“But lately, labor patterns haven’t conformed to historical precedent: recent increases in unemployment haven’t encouraged many older Americans into retirement. Why not?”

3. Why U.S. Needs Airpower Diplomacy
By Adam B. Lowther | The Diplomat | Nov. 22
“Better use of the U.S. Air Force is the most cost-effective and flexible approach to boosting the American presence in the Asia-Pacific.”

4. Chasing the Dragon in Tehran
By Roland Elliott Brown | Foreign Policy | Nov. 18
“Behind its façade of Muslim piety, Iran is one of the most drug-addled countries in the world.”

5. Court ends Doggett-Castro fight
By Tim Eaton | Postcards :: Austin American Statesman | Nov. 23
“When a panel of three federal judges in San Antonio released its redrawn congressional map today, it put an end to the anticipated race between U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who have been battling each other in an acrimonious fight for a proposed congressional district that would have extended from Austin to San Antonio.”

6. World’s Lightest Material Takes Hits Like a Champ
By Kevin Lee | GeekTech :: PC World | Nov. 21
“The material’s lightness comes from its extremely low density of 0.9 milligrams per cubic centimeter (mg/cc), which makes carbon nanotubes seem heavyset at 1.3-mg/cc.”

7. How to Decide When to Turn Down a Job Offer
Lifehacker | Nov. 21
“Even if you’ve been interested enough in a company to apply and go on an interview, when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, you should take time to consider whether or not this job is actually right for you. Here are some warning signs to look out for.”

8. American Zoetrope: In a galaxy not from Hollywood …
By John Patterson | The Guardian | Nov. 17
“If there had been no Zoetrope, the film studio founded by Francis Coppola and George Lucas in San Francisco in 1969, there would be no Star Wars, argues John Patterson”

9. Five myths about J. Edgar Hoover
By Kenneth D. Ackerman | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Nov. 7
“Hoover served as director of the FBI for 48 years, holding the job under eight presidents from Calvin Coolidge to Richard M. Nixon. But ask most people about J. Edgar Hoover, and the subject turns to sex.”

10. Civil War women: Lucy Webb Hayes
Civil War Women Blog | Oct. 6
“Among her children, relatives and friends, Lucy Hayes was known as a warm, charitable woman of humility. She played the piano and the guitar, and also used the newly installed telephone in the mansion. On numerous occasions, the First Lady invited African American musical groups to perform in the White House.”