Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The history of the ‘Macarena’ / World War II and shark obsession / The true importance of the French and Indian War / The last U.S. commander in Afghanistan / The no-till garden

This week: The history of the ‘Macarena’ / World War II and shark obsession / The true importance of the French and Indian War / The last U.S. commander in Afghanistan / The no-till garden

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. The making of ‘Macarena,’ the Spanish smash hit that got the world dancing
By Sergio Del Amo | El Pais | July 2021
“In 1996, Antonio Romero and Rafael Ruiz shot to the top of the US charts with a remix of their song and stayed there for 14 weeks; 25 years later, they look back on the highs and lows of their runaway success”

2. Before Shark Week and Jaws, World War II spawned America’s shark obsession
By Janet M. Davis | The Conversation | July 2021
“The monumental wartime mobilization of millions of people placed more Americans into contact with sharks than at any prior time in history, spreading seeds of intrigue and fear toward the marine predators.”

3. The War That Made Our World
By Ross Douthat | The New York Times | July 2021
“The war that evicted the French from North America was not only incredibly fascinating but also one of history’s most important wars. Indeed, from a certain perspective, it was more important than the American War of Independence”

4. The Last Commander
By James Kitfield | Politico Magazine | July 2021
“General Austin ‘Scott’ Miller found a new way to push the Taliban back in Afghanistan. Then, instead of pressing the fight, he became the man in charge of pulling America out.”
Also see: ‘In the End We Felt Betrayed’: Vietnamese Veterans See Echoes in Afghanistan
Also see: What America Didn’t Understand About Its Longest War

5. Looking for Love in a Prison Cell
By Elizabeth Greenwood | LitHub | July 2021
“He gets an allotted number of monthly phone minutes, and once he has spoken to his family and lawyers he spends the remainder on his stalkee. My phone once documented eight missed calls from the prison over the course of one evening.”

6. The historical precedent of U.S. wartime evacuations
By Monica Campbell | The World | July 2021
“The U.S. has a history of evacuating wartime allies — helping the Vietnamese in 1975, and then Kurdish refugees and Kosovo Albanians in the 1990s. Guam, a U.S. territory, is where some refugees have been taken before being processed and resettled in the United States.”

7. Bringing Up Baby: Bones, Balls, and Butterflies
By Sheila O’Malley | The Criterion Collection | July 2021
Bringing Up Baby is the silliest thing to happen to American comedy, too, and has been a reminder for eighty-three years (and counting) of how necessary and sneakily profound silliness can be.”

8. The case for the no-till garden
By Adrian Higgins | The Washington Post | July 2021
“Many gardeners have discovered that, by not disturbing the soil, they can grow vigorous vegetables and other plants with fewer fertilizers and a reduced need for watering and weeding.”

9. How to Tell if Extraterrestrial Visitors Are Friend or Foe
By Avi Loeb | Scientific American | July 2021
“They’ll most likely be robotic and guided by AI — so we’ll need our own AI to figure them out”

10. Papal Infallibility
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2008-2020
Also see: Queen Zenobia | Dante’s Inferno | The Translation Movement | Tacitus and the Decadence of Rome

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Steinbeck the sadist / Burial in the Texas State Cemetery / Use more cash / Beekeeping superstars / Evacuations as a hurricane looms

This week: Steinbeck the sadist / Burial in the Texas State Cemetery / Use more cash / Beekeeping superstars / Evacuations as a hurricane looms

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 Village Voice (1955–2018)
ArtForum | September 2018
“The Voice was a cultural necessity for decades, a breeding ground for generations of passionate and relentless journalists, critics, and writers, where they could hone their chops, flex their intellects, dig deep and deeper still into acts both heroic and criminal, whether civic or aesthetic.”

2. John Steinbeck was a sadistic womaniser, says wife in memoir
By Sian Cain | The Guardian | September 2018
“Gwyn Conger Steinbeck’s newly unearthed book tells of troubled marriage to author.”

3. Thousands of People Live in These Ancient Spanish Caves
By Alexandra Genova and Tamara Merino | National Geographic | August 2018
“The Sacromonte and Guadix caves in Granada have been occupied for centuries. See what life there is like today.”

4. What Do I Have to Do to Get Buried in the Texas State Cemetery
By David Courtney | The Texanist :: Texas Monthly | August 2018
“A Brownsville woman wants to spend eternity in close proximity to Ma and Pa Ferguson.”

5. Self-Care: A Working Definition
The New York Times | August 2018
“A collective, non-exhaustive list of behaviors and diagrams that keep us on point, compiled by some employees of The New York Times.”

6. Put away that credit card. You need to use cash more
By Neil Swidey | The Boston Globe Magazine | August 2018
“Big banks are the big winners when shoppers whip out the plastic. Meanwhile, Americans sink further into debt.”

7. Edward Snowden Reconsidered
By Tamsin Shaw | NYR Daily :: The New York Review of Books | September 2018
“This summer, the fifth anniversary of Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance passed quietly, adrift on a tide of news that now daily sweeps the ground from under our feet. It has been a long five years, and not a period marked by increased understanding, transparency, or control of our personal data.”

8. The Super Bowl of Beekeeping
By Jaime Lowe | The New York Times Magazine | August 2018
“Almond growing in California is a $7.6 billion industry that wouldn’t be possible without the 30 billion bees (and hundreds of human beekeepers) who keep the trees pollinated — and whose very existence is in peril.”

9. How to Evacuate Cities before Dangerous Hurricanes
By Leonardo Dueñas-Osorio, Devika Subramanian, Robert M. Stein | Scientific American | October 2018
“With new risk maps, authorities hope to avoid mass exoduses and blocked exits.”
Also see from Scientific American: Hurricane Is a Natural Selection Experiment

10. Why I fell in love with Salamanca
By John Clarke | El Pais | August 2018
“Erasmus student John Clarke recounts how the city and its 800-year-old university captured his heart.”