Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Has Madonna gone crazy? / Sandals and flip-flop advice / NBC’s Olympics coverage slammed / U.S. Grant’s third star / Too many Agrippinas

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. The Truth About the Shoes of Summer, Sandals, Flip Flops and Wedges
By Steve Rosenberg | The Huffington Post | July 25
“Let the truth be told, most shoes are not designed for comfort — only for fashion.”

2. Nazis, breasts and guns: Has Madonna lost it?
By Laura Barcella | Salon | July 27
“Madonna’s European shows have included swastikas, sex and violence. Is it more than the usual button-pushing?”

3. NBC lambasted over banal butchering of opening ceremony
By Emma G. Keller | The Guardian | July 28
“Tim Berners-Lee? Who’s that? Madagascar? Oh, like the kids movie! If you’re going to make us wait hours to watch the ceremony live, NBC, the least you could have done is keep quiet”

4. Pot of crusader gold found where Richard I defeated Salahaddin
Al Arabiya | July 28
“The castle was used by the Crusaders as a stronghold between 1241 and its destruction in 1265 when it was attacked by the Egyptian Sultan Baybars.”

5. Lincoln, Congress, Grant, and the Lieutenant General Act
By Brooks D. Simpson | U.S. Capitol Historical Society | May 4
“The act made Ulysses S. Grant a lieutenant general and gave him command of the Union Army.”

6. They loaded mortars in the war, so now what?
By Pauline Jelinek | Associated Press | July 25
“U.S. combat troops patrol dusty pathways in Afghanistan, look for hidden roadside bombs, load and fire mortar shells at insurgents’ positions. So when they come home, how will that help them land a civilian job?”

7. Jakob Trollback rethinks the music video
TED | April 2008
“What would a music video look like if it were directed by the music, purely as an expression of a great song, rather than driven by a filmmaker’s concept?”

8. Sorting out the Agrippinas
By Mary Beard | A Don’s Life | July 24
“One of the problems of the first century AD is that there are simply too many Agrippinas.”

9. A Black Spy in the Confederate White House
By Lois Leveen | Disunion :: The New York Times | June 21
“Journalists, historians, even the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame and the C.I.A. have celebrated the extraordinary Mary Bowser, yet most Americans have never heard of her.”

10. Mariel Boatlift from Cuba
Witness :: BBC News | May 25
“In 1980, more than 100,000 Cubans left the island in a boatlift from Mariel harbour.”

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

TUNES

Tonight 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. Ron Artis Family Band — You Can’t Lie To Grandma
2. Z-Tribe — Defending the Blues
3. Ian Moore — Pay No Mind
4. John Mayall — With You
5. Grace Potter — Stop The Bus
6. Jerry Forney Blues Band — I’ll Play The Blues
7. Preacher Stone — Old Fashion Ass Whoopin
8. The Buddaheads — Howlin’ At The Moon
9. Lost Immigrants — Can’t You See
10. Paul Thorn — Pimps & Preachers
11. Jeff Strahan — Amen To The Blues
12. Stony Larue — Solid Gone
13. Bob Seger — Come To Papa

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

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