Recommended reading / viewing / listening

‘The Force Awakens’ (of course) / A highway marriage proposal / ‘Thriller’ makes history / Confessions of a cartel killer / Trump’s unpleasant talents

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This week: ‘The Force Awakens’ (of course) / A highway marriage proposal / ‘Thriller’ makes history / Confessions of a cartel killer / Trump’s unpleasant talents

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. Trump, Master of the Seven Deadly Sins
By Michael D’Antonio | Politico Magazine | Dec. 16
“How the GOP leader has succeeded for 40 years by bringing out the worst in people.”

2. Libya’s cultural heritage ‘being destroyed and plundered by Isis’
Associated Press :: The Guardian | Dec. 15
“Museums and UN say ancient artefacts and artwork are in danger of obliteration or being looted and sold illegally”

3. A Houston Marriage Proposal Stops Traffic
By Katie Rogers | The New York Times | Dec. 16
“Drivers did not give them more than a few seconds to celebrate. As the ecstatic couple hugged, the blare of car horns could be heard as people in trucks and S.U.V.s began to drive around the couple and their entourage, who were also recording.”

4. Alter Your Reading… Alternate History Picks Sure to Make You Wonder
By Billy Gschlecht | Bibliofile :: New York Public Library | Nov. 5
“Alternate history is an interesting and imaginative look at what might have been, sometimes for the better or worse, but certainly always different.”

5. Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ sets new sales record
By Anthony McCartney | Associated Press | Dec. 16
“The album has sold 30 million copies in the United States, making Jackson the first artist to attain 30-time multiplatinum status …”

6. ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Top Gun,’ ‘L.A. Confidential’ Among 2015 National Film Registry Selections
Variety | Dec. 16
“Each year, the Library of Congress adds 25 notable films to its permanent collection, ensuring that the titles will be preserved for generations to come.”

7. 30 lives extinguished, but no regrets: A killer’s story
By E. Eduardo Castillo | Associated Press | Dec. 15
“This is a story from the other side, the tale of a man who kidnaps, tortures and kills for a drug cartel. His story is the mirror image of those recounted by survivors and victims’ families, and seems to confirm their worst fears: Many, if not most, of the disappeared likely are never coming home.”

8. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: The fanboy dissection of a film that restores faith
By Michael Cavna and David Betancourt | Comic Riffs :: The Washington Post | Dec. 16
“With John Williams’s soaring score still ringing in our ears, and the uplift of this soon-to-be globally embraced film still dizzying our senses, here is Comic Riffs’ fanboy dissection of the Star Wars franchise reawakened …”

9. Revisiting ‘Star Wars’ Before ‘The Force Awakens’
Here & Now :: NPR | Dec. 14
“That was back in the day when the first Apple II computers went on sale and Space Mountain was opening at Disneyland.”

10. When T.R. Saw Lincoln
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | May 2014
“For Theodore Roosevelt’s family, Lincoln’s cortege was no abstract public ceremony. “

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: ‘Force Awakens’ trailer sets record / Obama and the Charleston shooting / What ‘Back to the Future II’ correctly anticipated / Rachel Dolezal’s hair / Drunk Nixon during a Mideast crisis

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This week: ‘Force Awakens’ trailer sets record / Obama and the Charleston shooting / What ‘Back to the Future II’ correctly anticipated / Rachel Dolezal’s hair / Drunk Nixon during a Mideast crisis

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. After Charleston Shooting, a Sense at the White House of Horror, Loss and Resolve
By Peter Baker | The New York Times | June 18
“After a series of police shootings, protests and riots, this latest eruption of violence reflected a country on edge and a president struggling to pull the American people together. Any hopes of what supporters once called a ‘postracial’ era now seem fanciful as Mr. Obama’s second term increasingly focuses on what he termed ‘a dark part of our history.’ ”

2. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ second trailer sets YouTube world record
NewsBeat :: BBC News | June 18
“Guinness World Records says the clip, released in April, was watched more than 30 million views in a day.”

3. How ‘Back to the Future II’ Got 2015 Surprisingly Right
By Caseen Gaines | Vanity Fair | June 18
“In Hill Valley’s future, cosmetic surgery has become easy and commonplace. Doc Brown’s face is made more youthful by visiting a ‘rejuvenation clinic,’ and careful observers will notice the presence of Bottoms Up, a breast-enhancement company, which advertises on the McFly television and can be seen in the background of some future scenes.”

4. Crash Course Astronomy: Comets
By Phil Plait | Bad Astronomy :: Slate | June 19
“They used to be considered omens, but when you cast aside superstition what you find are endlessly amazing and fascinating examples of nature at its best.”

5. Engineering Map of America
American Experience :: PBS | June 2015
“Dozens of museums, institutions and PBS stations have partnered with American Experience to bring you archival images, documents and videos related to America’s engineering history.”

6. The blackest thing about Rachel Dolezal is her thousand-dollar hair
By Tashara Jones | New York Post | June 16
“How on Earth does she get her white hair to behave like black hair? And, perhaps more importantly, how much does it cost?”

7. That Time the Middle East Exploded — and Nixon Was Drunk
By Tim Weiner | Politico Magazine | June 15
“All agreed that what the Soviets proposed in the Middle East was a potential disaster. If U.S. and Soviet soldiers started landing in the middle of the battle, each side standing with its allies, it could look like the opening day of World War III.”

8. Hillary’s Sixties Surge
By Gail Sheehy | Politico Magazine | June 14
“It’s take a career in the spotlight, but Hillary Clinton finally seems to be comfortable with her age and her gender.”

9. Beyond Caitlyn Jenner Lies a Long Struggle by Transgender People
By Clyde Haberman | Retro Report :: The New York Times | June 14
“A survey of 4,509 Americans adults conducted in late 2013 by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 65 percent had close friends or relatives who were gay or lesbian. Transgender? Only 9 percent. Even so, awareness of transgender people and their issues is clearly growing, and not just because of Ms. Jenner.”

10. After Pearl Harbor, F.D.R. Showed Confidence That U.S. Would Exist in 1956
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | May 2014
“This letter was Roosevelt’s testament that 15 years hence, there would be a United States, and it would have a president, not some Japanese or Nazi viceroy.”

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