Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: How to hold it all together / Celebrating Spanish women writers / Improving one’s life during the pandemic / Einstein proven right again / The return of art deco

This week: How to hold it all together / Celebrating Spanish women writers / Improving one’s life during the pandemic / Einstein proven right again / The return of art deco

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. Holding it Together, Falling Apart
By Matthew Salesses | LitHub | September 2020
“Holding it together (as apt a phrase as any for this moment of self-isolation, anxiety, and political failure) implies that there is something coming apart. But what?”

2. Remembering the Forgotten Women Writers of 17th-Century Spain
By Theresa Machemer | SmartNews :: Smithsonian Magazine | September 2020
“A show in Madrid highlights female authors who penned histories, biographies, poetry, novels, scripts and more”

3. The Age of Innocence is a masterclass in sexual tension
By Sam Jordison | Reading Group :: The Guardian | September 2020
“In Edith Wharton’s wonderful novel about New York high society, a simple tap of a fan or glance across a crowded room can feel intensely charged”

4. 11 Ways Smart People Are Using This Crisis to Improve Their Lives
By Andrew Snavely | Primer | September 2020
“In this strange, unprecedented time, we have been given a unique opportunity with social distancing: More space and more time.”

5. Is it safe to open mail and packages during the pandemic?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | April 2020
“There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spreading through mail or parcels, according to the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

6. A star orbiting the Milky Way’s giant black hole confirms Einstein was right
By Emily Conover | Science News | April 2020
“Decades of observations revealed the rotation of the star’s elliptical orbit”

7. A century after art deco’s birth, designers say we’re due for a revival
By Michelle Brunner | The Washington Post | April 2020
“A hundred years after the 1920s came roaring in, the era’s signature aesthetic continues to inspire design snobs and regular folks alike. Art deco — that familiar style of art, architecture and design with a sometimes-wacky blend of historic and futuristic influences — is still beloved. And if trend forecasters are to be believed, we are ripe for a full-scale art deco revival.”

8. I Dream of COVID
By Grace Gravley | Spring 2020
“I was curious to know how the anxieties of the moment would translate to our dreams.”

9. Can You Tell If Someone Is Smiling Just by Their Eyes?
By Katie Heaney | The Cut :: New York Magazine | April 2020
“Though Tyra Banks taught us to smize, I personally have gotten the sense that people I’ve smiled at from behind my mask haven’t really understood that I’m smiling at them.”

10. The charm of elderberries
By Niki Segnit | 1843 :: The Economist | December / January 2020
“A cooked elderberry tastes somewhere between a ripe red plum and a prune. Just don’t eat them raw”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Celebrating Amelia Earhart / The power of male friendships / The Marines in Lebanon / Bringing down Saddam Hussein / The beautiful game around the world

This week: Celebrating Amelia Earhart / The power of male friendships / The Marines in Lebanon / Bringing down Saddam Hussein / The beautiful game around the 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. Holy Wars and the Founding of Saudi Arabia
By Eric Czuleger | Ozy.com | November 2016
“Because he may have been the original jihadist”

2. Who suffers when local news disappears
By Kyle Pope | Columbia Journalism Review | July 2018
“We need to move away from the arguments that the country should care about laid-off reporters or that the suits should be held to account. This can’t be about us.
It has to be about why the country should care if local news goes away, which is the trajectory we now find ourselves on.”

3. Amelia Earhart’s Mysterious Death Shouldn’t Overshadow Her Life
By Keith O’Brien | LitHub | July 2018
“Worse still, perhaps, with the focus squarely on Earhart, history has all but erased the other women who flew with her in the 1920s and 30s — female pilots who made daring flights of their own in a time when many men believed women had no business flying airplanes.”

4. Football, Free on the Streets
By Garnette Cadogan | NYR Daily :: The New York Review of Books | July 2018
“The sight of people playing football daily in public spaces around the world is visual testimony of how the presence of bodies can turn the commonplace into the marvelous; proof, too, that football is a world game not because of the millions drawn to watch the World Cup, but because of the millions for whom the game is alive every day on the street, tournament or none.”

5. Male Friendships
By Nastaran Tavakoli-Far | The Why Factor :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“From the Obama-Biden bromance to the transformative experience of the men’s group … what men can get from their friendships with other men that is unique.”

6. Yes, sit-stand desks may help people sit less at work
By Lisa Rapaport | Reuters | July 2018
“Workers who use sit-stand desks may reduce the amount of time they spend in a chair by more than an hour a day, according to a review of research on the best ways to curb sedentary time at the office. ”

7. When the Marines Came to Lebanon
By Anthony Elghossain | The New Republic | July 2018
“Sixty years later, a classic Middle Eastern intervention under Eisenhower now looks like a symbol of a dysfunctional relationship.”

8. Crypto Rico: Blockchain for a Broken Paradise
The Documentary :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“Whilst many thousands of Puerto Ricans are leaving the island after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, a small group of wealthy ‘crypto-preneurs’, are moving to this US territory. They harbour hopes to reboot paradise using blockchain technology … and bring prosperity back to this financially struggling island.”

9. Scientists say black hole discovery proves Einstein was right
By Ruth Brown | The New York Post | July 2018
“Scientists have observed for the first time a star’s light being warped by a supermassive black hole — and they say it backs up Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity while rebuking Newton’s ideas about gravity.”

10. Saddam Hussein: My part in his downfall
By Adnan Sarwar | 1843 :: The Economist | August / September 2018
“Adnan Sarwar went from praying in the mosques of Burnley to patrolling the streets of Basra. Fifteen years on, he remembers the sun, sex and bomb disposal”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The myth of Robert E. Lee / The liberalism of Islam / Comey’s intellectual history / Trump’s credibility / Writing in a library

This week: The myth of Robert E. Lee / The liberalism of Islam / Comey’s intellectual history / Trump’s credibility / Writing in a 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. The Myth of the Kindly General Lee
By Adam Serwer | The Atlantic | June 4
“Lee had beaten or ordered his own slaves to be beaten for the crime of wanting to be free, he fought for the preservation of slavery, his army kidnapped free blacks at gunpoint and made them unfree — but all of this, he insisted, had occurred only because of the great Christian love the South held for blacks.”

2. There Is No Better Place to Write than the Library
By Joe Kanon | Atria :: LitHub | June 8
“For over twenty years I have been writing in the New York Public Library — eight novels and a ninth underway — and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”

3. In defense of ‘The Skimm’
By Kaitlin Ugolik | Columbia Journalism Review | June 6
“Yes, the news is often complicated. Yes, we should encourage readers to pay attention for more than a few minutes each day. But when we imply that there is only one ‘right’ way to consume the news, or to be informed, we exclude people who don’t — or can’t — fit that mold.”

4. NASA Jobs: The Application, Selection Process For How To Become An Astronaut
By Nina Godlewski | International Business Times | June 7
“There’s no set schedule for how frequently NASA puts out a call for applicants. Since 2000 it has announced classes in 2004, 2009, 2013 and now 2017. … So if you’ve been dreaming of space, you may have to wait a few more years to get your next shot at the stars.”

5. James Comey’s Intellectual History
By Nicholas Schmidle | The New Yorker | June 7
“After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, in 1985, Comey clerked for Judge John Walker, Jr., George H. W. Bush’s cousin, in the Southern District of New York. Comey became a Republican. In public, however, he portrayed himself as nonpartisan.”

6. ‘The Leftovers,’ Life, Death, Einstein and Time Travel
By Maureen Ryan | Variety | May 2017
“‘The Leftovers’ is about quantum mechanics. Don’t let the sex cults and post-death karaoke distract you. It is essentially a showcase for physics.”

7. The 35 words you’re (probably) getting wrong
By Harold Evans | The Guardian | June 5
“Have you made a flagrant error, in confusing your alternative choices? The legendary Fleet Street editor Harold Evans proscribes this glossary to solve your language dilemmas”

8. AP FACT CHECK: Trump contradicts homeland security secretary
By Calvin Woodward and Jim Drinkard | Associated Press | June 5
“President Donald Trump can’t be counted on to give accurate information to Americans when violent acts are unfolding abroad.”

9. Trump’s dangerous delusions about Islam
By Christopher de Bellaigue | The Guardian | February 2017
“The president and his advisers paint Muslims as enemies of modernity. The neglected history of an age of Middle Eastern liberalism proves them wrong”

10. Governor Struggles to Lead as Texas Republicans Splinter Into Factions
By Manny Fernandez and David Montgomery | The New York Times | June 5
“Mr. Abbott is facing a fundamental question: How conservative is conservative enough for the governor of a state that defines the right in America as much as California defines the left?”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The truth of ‘Westworld’ / U.S. interference with other democracies / Einstein’s first wife / A new era of Reconstruction / James Buchanan’s presidential transition

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This week: The truth of ‘Westworld’ / U.S. interference with other democracies / Einstein’s first wife / A new era of Reconstruction / James Buchanan’s presidential transition

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 names Conway counselor to president
By Brooke Seipel | The Hill | Dec. 22
“Conway will continue her role as a close adviser to Trump, working with senior leadership to further the his administration’s goals.”

2. Does ‘Westworld’ tell a truer story than a novel can?
By Stuart Kelly | The Guardian | Dec. 20
“The conventions of prose fiction are bound up with an understanding of life that feels more and more outdated — not so with this box-set drama”

3. The U.S. has a long history of hacking other democracies
By Mariya Y. Omelicheva, Ryan Beasley and Christian Crandall | Monkey Cage :: The Washington Post | Dec. 20
“We examined unclassified Central Intelligence Agency documents and historical academic research on U.S. interventions to identify 27 U.S. clandestine operations carried out between 1949 and 2000. Most U.S. ‘secret wars’ were against other democratic states.”

4. Russia Missing from Trump’s Top Defense Priorities, According to DoD Memo
By John Hudson, Paul McLeary, and Dan De Luce | Foreign Policy | Dec. 20
“Besides placing an emphasis on budgetary issues, ‘force strength,’ and counterterrorism in Iraq and Syria, the memo noted other briefings between the Defense Department and the Trump transition team on China and North Korea. But Russia was not mentioned.”

5. We are witnessing the birth pangs of a Third Reconstruction
By the Rev. William J. Barber II | ThinkProgress | Dec. 15
“We need a moral movement to revive the heart of American democracy and build a Third Reconstruction for our time. This work is not easy, and it will not be completed quickly. But we know what is required to move forward together.”

6. Harmony Amidst Division: The Cabinet of James Buchanan
By Rick Allen | Muster :: Journal of the Civil War Era | Dec. 17
“History never specifically repeats itself, but there are parallels between 1856, 1860, and 2016. As we, like Buchanan and Lincoln, transition from one era in our national history to another, let us remember the only way to achieve true success requires the inclusiveness of both people and ideas.”

7. Analysis: On transgender Texans and bathrooms, a call to stay calm
By Ross Ramsey | The Texas Tribune | Dec. 19
“Some Texas lawmakers were in a hurry to require transgender Texans to use the restrooms that match the genders listed on their birth certificates. But the policy and politics are complicated enough to prompt the governor to tap the brakes.”

8. The Making of an American Terrorist
By Amanda Robb | New Republic | Dec. 15
“Robert Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic and killed three people. Did the right-wing media help turn a disturbed loner into a mass murderer?”

9. The Forgotten Life of Einstein’s First Wife
By Pauline Gagnon | Scientific American | Dec. 19
“She was a physicist, too — and there is evidence that she contributed significantly to his groundbreaking science”

10. The President Attends the World Series
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | October 2014
“Herbert Hoover’s surprise appearance at Game 5 of the Philadelphia Athletics vs. the Cubs in Philadelphia, in October 1929, was one of the last happy moments of his presidency, occurring two weeks before the stock market collapse that ushered in the Great Depression.”