Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Pelosi’s war with the next generation / The evolution of the romance genre / Remembering the fall of Saigon / The T. Rex census / New histories of the UT Tower shooting

This week: Pelosi’s war with the next generation / The evolution of the romance genre / Remembering the fall of Saigon / The T. Rex census / New histories of the UT Tower shooting

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. Inside Nancy Pelosi’s War With AOC and the Squad
By Susan Page | Politico Magazine | April 2021
“How the House speaker put Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her place.”

2. How the romance genre found its happily ever after
By Angela Haupt | The Washington Post | April 2021
“Here, a dozen people — authors, editors, agents, cover artists and one mononymous male model — recount how the modern romance industry came together and took off.”

3. The Rhymes And Reasons Behind Re-Recording Your Own Classics
By Annie Zaleski | NPR | April 2021
“In general, the reasons for these re-records are simple: financial control and creative ownership.”

4. The Wizard in the White City
By Kirstin Butler | American Experience :: PBS | April 2021
“L. Frank Baum’s long and winding road to Oz, and the Chicago World’s Fair that inspired his life’s work.”

5. How many Tyrannosaurus rex walked the Earth?
By Ashley Poust and Daniel Varajão de Latorre | The Conversation | April 2021
“To estimate population, our team of paleontologists and scientists had to combine the extraordinarily comprehensive existing research on T. rex with an ecological principle that connects population density to body size.”

6. Forty years on from the fall of Saigon: Witnessing the end of the Vietnam war
By Martin Woollacott | The Guardian | April 2015
“Much suffering and grief lay in the past, but there was a presentiment, even as things ended in Saigon, that the future held more of the same.”

7. How to Collect Firewood
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | March 2021
“To cut enough wood to keep a house warm for the winter, you’ll need to know your way around a chain saw.”

8. Behind the Tower: New Histories of the UT Tower Shooting
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: 1968 – The Year the Dream Died | Harvey Milk, Forty Years Later | Stokely Carmichael: A Life | The History of the Family

9. What’s next for Cuba and the United States after Raul Castro’s retirement
By Joseph J. Gonzalez | The Conversation | April 2021
“Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel, who took office in 2018 after Raul Castro stepped down as president, has resisted calls for democratic reforms and has pressing economic issues to manage, as well as a pandemic. So does his American counterpart, President Joe Biden. The White House recently said Cuba policy is ‘not a top priority.’ ”

10. Frankenstein
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2010-2019
Also see: Shinto | The Hippocratic Oath | Thomas Edison | Cleopatra

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Who’s who in ‘The Post’ / The revolutionary world Cuba created / Paul Ryan ready to go / The inner turmoil of ‘Frankenstein’ / Key questions for falling in love

This week: Who’s who in ‘The Post’ / The revolutionary world Cuba created / Paul Ryan ready to go / The inner turmoil of ‘Frankenstein’ / Key questions for falling in love

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. Who’s Who in ‘The Post’: A Guide to the Players in a Pivotal Era
By Sam Roberts | The New York Times | December 2017
“The newsroom crackles with verisimilitude, its rotary phones, staccato typewriters and a veil of cigarette smoke evoking a bygone grittiness. At its heart are a wisecracking editor and matriarchal publisher.”

2. Cuba’s Revolutionary World
By Jonathan C. Brown | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | December 2017
“Cuba’s revolution attracted youthful visitors from all over Latin America who wished to learn how they too might become armed revolutionaries.”

3. Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming to An End
By Tim Alberta and Rachael Bade | Politico Magazine | December 2017
“He felt he was ‘made for this moment.’ But now, on the verge of achieving his long-sought legislative dream, he’s got his eyes on the exits.”

4. Out of Control
By Richard Holmers | The New York Review of Books | December 2017
Frankenstein is saturated in the heroic rhetoric of Milton’s Paradise Lost, the alienated imagery of Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ and the natural magic of Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey’ (all of which are actually quoted). It also clearly contains a series of philosophical debates between scientific hope and hubris, between friendship and betrayal, between love and solitude.”

5. The 36 Questions That Lead to Love
By Daniel Jones | Modern Love :: The New York Times | January 2015
“The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.”

6. Below Deck
By Lizzie Presser | California Sunday Magazine | February 2017
“Filipinos make up nearly a third of all cruise ship workers. It’s a good job. Until it isn’t.”

7. The 4 Things That Helped Gary Oldman Disappear Into Winston Churchill
By Kyle Buchanan | Vulture | December 2017
“Here are the four keys that finally helped Oldman to crack Churchill and deliver one of of the most acclaimed performances of his career.”

8. A Journey Through Havana’s Clandestine Book World
By Ruben Gallo and Lisa Carter | Lit Hub | December 2017
“I felt immeasurably happy to be surrounded by blacks and mulatas, old women sitting on stoops, and jineteros hustling boys, girls, cigars, pirated music, and almost everything else.”

9. A Comprehensive List of How Texans Mispronounce Places With Spanish Names
By John Nova Lomax | Texas Monthly | November 2017
“From Amarila to Wad-a-loop to the Purda-nalleez River, we’ve taken some liberties when it comes to pronunciation.”

10. Dystopia is Realism: The Future Is Here if You Look Closely
By Christopher Brown | LitHub | July 2017
“All novels are set in alternate worlds, even if most writers only invent the people that inhabit them. Dystopia just expands the scale of the alteration.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The best pieces on Cuba, the United States, the Castros, and what the future holds.

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This week: The best pieces on Cuba, the United States, the Castros, and what the future holds.

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

1. No word yet from Fidel amid historic US-Cuba shift
By Anne-Marie Garcia | Associated Press | Dec. 19
“Everyone in Cuba is talking about the startling turn in relations with the United States, with one notable exception: Fidel Castro.”

2. Without Washington as its enemy, what will define Cuba?
By Tom Gjeten | The Washington Post | Dec. 19
“Both governments are gambling that this new world will suit their respective political interests. In this negotiation, however, there is no win-win: One government or the other is likely to lose.”

3. Cuba’s cash boon for GOP
By Kenneth P. Vogel and Tarini Parti | Politico | Dec. 19
“[W]hile polls show that most Americans favor normalization, wealthy donors for whom the issue is a top priority overwhelmingly oppose engaging with the Castro regime. …”

4. Why Congress Hates Your Cuban Rum
By Tim Mack | The Daily Beast | Dec. 19
“Havana Club or ‘American’ Havana Club? How untangling decades of Washington’s embargo politics could start a rum war among the world’s most powerful alcohol companies.”

5. The Revolution Fidel Castro Began Evolves Under His Brother
By Damien Cave | The New York Times | Dec. 18
“At a moment described by many as an equivalent to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the absence of Fidel Castro … spoke volumes. For many Cubans, it confirmed that Fidel, perhaps by his own design, is slipping further into the past, into history, at a time when his approach to the United States seems to be fading as well.”

6. A Historical Perspective on the Cuba-U.S. Relationship
By Jason Steinhauer | Insights :: The Library of Congress | Dec. 19
“Let’s start with this: soon after Fidel Castro’s rise to power, the U.S. viewed Cuba as a security threat. What was the basis for that viewpoint?”

7. Detente Scrambles Political Calculus in Latin America
By Reed Johnson, Ezequiel Minaya, and Kejal Vyas | The Wall Street Journal | Dec. 18
“The Detente Between the U.S. and Cuba Has the Potential to Redraw Political and Economic Alliances Across the Hemisphere”

8. Cha-Cha-Cha: Obama’s On a Roll
By John Cassidy | The New Yorker | Dec. 19
“If you doubted that President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba was a political and strategic masterstroke, you only have to look at the reaction it has engendered to see otherwise.”

9. A Cuban who sold his beachfront home says he might regret that move
By Marco Werman | The World :: PRI | Dec. 19
“Yuro is part of the generation of Cubans known as the ‘lost generation.’ The ones who came of age after the fall of the Soviet Union — and the loss of all those Russian oil for sugar subsidies.”

10. The US Breaks Ties with Cuba
Witness :: BBC | Dec. 18
“It was in January 1961 that the USA first broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba. Wayne Smith was one of the last diplomats to leave the US embassy in Havana.”

11. Cuba: A Reading List
By John Williams | ArtsBeat :: The New York Times | Dec. 18
“[W]e asked editors at The Times to suggest books that offer the best looks at Cuba’s history and its relationship to the United States. Here are a few of their recommendations:”

12. Americans, here’s what you’ve been missing in Cuba all this time
GlobalPost | Dec. 19
“A new era in US-Cuba relations could see a travel ban lifted. Here are some of the sights US citizens could be visiting soon.”

13. U.S.–Cuba Agreement: Diplomacy At Its Best
By. John Parisella | Americas Quarterly | Dec. 18
“Just as Nixon went to China and Truman set up the Marshall Plan for Europe in the post-World War II era, Obama knew that he had to do something different with a nation just 90 miles off the U.S. shore.”

14. Pope Francis bridged gap between U.S. and Cuba during secret talks
By Paul Richter and Tom Kington | The Los Angeles Times | Dec. 18
“The pope’s secret role in the back-channel talks was crucial because, as a religious leader with the confidence of both sides, he was able to convince the Obama and Castro administrations that the other side would live up to the deal. …”

15. Topic: Cuba
By Ted Piccone and Richard Feinberg | The Brookings Institution | Dec. 2014
“See what they and other Brookings experts have to say about the measures and their impact on the two countries moving forward.”

16. Baseball in Cuba: A looming brain drain
By D.R. | The Economist | Dec. 18
“Cuban veterans represent the last remaining loophole in MLB’s regulation of players’ entry to the league, which helps to maintain competitive balance between rich and poor clubs.”

17. Opening Cuba and Closing Gitmo?
By James Stavridis | Foreign Policy | Dec. 19
“Havana will be pushing hard to shut the naval station at Guantanamo Bay — but Washington shouldn’t give in.”

18. Cuba’s Christmas Surprise for Caracas
By Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez | Foreign Policy | Dec. 18
“Despite Maduro’s self-serving rhetoric, future U.S. tourism dollars, increased remittances, and access to foreign markets could easily replace the resale value of Venezuelan oil. Cuba’s wily leaders have made it clear that they’re more willing to offend Maduro than to risk being left standing when the salsa stops.”

19. The Democrats’ risky Cuba bet
By James Hohmann and Kyle Cheney | Politico | Dec. 17
“Will Florida’s changing demographics offset a backlash among older Cuban-Americans?”

20. As Obama opens to Cuba, China experts remember benefits from U.S. engagement
By Simon Denyer | The Washington Post | Dec. 19
“China has become a partner with the United States in some ways but also a powerful rival, geo-strategically and economically. Its leadership remains deeply suspicious of Western values, even as it pursues a deeper relationship with the United States.”

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.”