Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Adam Driver on acting / 2017’s best books / Lessons from 2017 film disasters / A new vision for UTSA DTC / Putin’s real desire

This week: Adam Driver on acting / 2017’s best books / Lessons from 2017 film disasters / A new vision for UTSA DTC / Putin’s real desire

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. Adam Driver: ‘Compared with the military, acting isn’t that difficult’
By Emma Brockes | The Guardian | December 2017
“The Star Wars actor on leaving the Marines, filming nude scenes with Lena Dunham and getting in touch with his dark side”

2. The year in journalism: The big players, best feuds, and more
By Peter Vernon | Columbia Journalism Review | December 2017
“A guide to what happened in the mediaverse in 2017”

3. Past Debates Echo in Split Between Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates
By John Eligon | The New York Times | December 2017
“Malcolm X was more open to using violence as a form of self-defense than Dr. King, even though their beliefs were more nuanced and overlapping than the popular perception. Whereas Du Bois pushed for an expansion of civil rights, Washington was more compromising, urging black people to look within … in order to minimize the terror they faced.”

4. 100 Notable Books of 2017
The New York Times Book Review | November 2017
The year’s best fiction, poetry, and non-fiction works.
From the Guardian: Best books of 2017
From Lit Hub: The 64 Best Book Covers of 2017 and The Best Reviewed Books of 2017 — History & Politics

5. 2017: the sequel … seven lessons for Hollywood after summer’s disasters
By Mark Sweney | The Guardian | December 2017
“Traditional box-office wisdom has been overturned — but new audiences are starting to emerge”

6. Three Months In, New UTSA President Lays Out Vision For Downtown Campus
By Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio | December 2017
“The idea is to make the downtown a destination, while increasing enrollment on the downtown campus. UTSA’s current enrollment on the downtown campus is about 4,000 out of a total enrollment of about 30,000.”

7. What Putin Really Wants
By Julia Ioffe | The Atlantic | January/February 2018
“Russia’s strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius. He’s really just a gambler who won big.”

8. The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook
By Josh Meyer | Politico | December 2017
“An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.”

9. American Sounds
By Heather Radke | The Paris Review | July 2017
“On the old, weird days of National Public Radio”

10. How to Be a Writer on Social Media
LitHub | July 2017
“[W]e asked the opinions of four authors whose social media prowess we admire: Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, Adam Grant and Alexander Chee.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: 100 Days / Bannon strikes back / Secrets of meteorites / Hitchcock on Theresa May / Prince’s final songs / CNN’s Jake Tapper

This week: 100 Days / Bannon strikes back / Secrets of meteorites / Hitchcock on Theresa May / Prince’s final songs / CNN’s Jake Tapper

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. Hope. Fear. Elation and Angst in 100 Days
USA Today | April 26
“Donald Trump’s victory elicited strong emotional responses, ranging from shock to elation to fear. … But people across the political spectrum shared one overarching belief: the country remains deeply divided.”

2. Bannon reasserts influence in 100 days push
By Jonathan Easley | The Hill | April 28
“Keeping up a blistering pace punctuated by executive orders and tough talk, Trump appears to have recommitted himself to the nationalist-populist themes he rode into office when Bannon acted as his campaign chairman.”

3. How meteorites reveal the solar system’s history
By Sophia Chen | New Scientist | April 19
“Clever ways to find more space debris, and pinpoint where it came from, will help us rewrite what we know about the solar system’s turbulent youth”

4. How Many People Can Earth Support?
CrowdScience :: BBC World Service | April 27
“Our planet is getting rather cosy. In just over 200 years, the global population has grown from 1 billion to almost 7.5 billion — and the best estimates suggest it’s going to keep on increasing.”

5. Dial B for Brexit: how Hitchcock would explain Britain’s current politics
By Peter Bradshaw | The Guardian | April 19
“Here’s how the director might have plotted a Theresa May movie”

6. Prince’s ‘Deliverance’: An Impressive Collection of Unreleased Songs Shrouded in Controversy
By Stereo Williams | The Daily Beast | April 19
“A posthumous album is often an uncomfortable reality for any die-hard fan; it’s understandable that anyone would want to hear unearthed gems from an artist they hold dear, but it’s just as understandable for anyone to believe rummaging through the vault of a deceased genius is exploitative and greedy. ”

7. CNN’s Jake Tapper Is the Realest Man in ‘Fake News’
By Taffy Brodesser-Akner | GQ | April 18
“The CNN anchor’s ramrod brand of honest outrage has made him a bona fide star and prompted an unlikely question: How, in an age of lies, does a guy make righteous truth-telling so damn entertaining?”

8. The Loves of Lena Dunham
By Elaine Blair | The New York Review of Books | July 2012
“Dunham has set the viewer free from having to keep score on either the man’s or the woman’s behalf. We can admire the two actors’ chemistry together. We can feel the erotic charge of the scene in spite of its limitations, qua sex, for Hannah. We can contemplate Hannah’s lack of sexual confidence without condemning Adam. …”

9. Into the woods: how one man survived alone in the wilderness for 27 years
By Michael Finkel | The Guardian | March 2017
“At the age of 20, Christopher Knight parked his car on a remote trail in Maine and walked away with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to avoid contact with people.”

10. The Baghdad Road
By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad | London Review of Books | May 4
“Who cares about another dead body in a war that — in its many incarnations: sectarian cleansing, religious purification, national liberation — has haunted this highway for the last 14 years? The place is in ruins.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Associated Press and The New York Times offered special reports on Obama’s legacy. Here are a few selections from their analysis series.

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This week: The Associated Press and The New York Times offered special reports on Obama’s legacy. Here are a few selections from their analysis series.

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 Obama Era
The New York Times | 2016 and 2017
“The Obama Era [explores in six parts] the sweeping change that President Obama has brought to the nation, and how the presidency has changed him.”
Also see: Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency

2. Obama racial legacy: Pride, promise, regret — and deep rift
By Sharon Cohen and Deepti Hajela | Associated Press | Jan. 4
“[H]is presidency did not usher in racial harmony. Rather, both blacks and whites believe race relations have deteriorated, according to polls. Mounting tensions over police shootings of African-Americans prompted protests in several cities and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Also see: Some key moments related to race during Obama’s presidency

3. As Obama accomplished policy goals, his party floundered
By Lisa Lerer | Associated Press | Dec. 24
“The leadership of the one-time community organizer and champion of ground-up politics was rough on the grassroots of his own party. When Obama exits the White House, he’ll leave behind a Democratic Party that languished in his shadow for years and is searching for itself.”
Interactive: The Obamas’ legacy in race, civil rights, social media, and more

4. Michelle Obama: A first lady who charted her own course
By Darlene Superville | Associated Press | Dec. 26
“As she navigated her way through, the woman who grew up on the South Side of Chicago discovered a talent for television and a comfort with Hollywood A-listers, haute couture and social media. And she used all of those elements to promote her causes — childhood obesity, support for military families, girls’ education — with at least some success.”
Also see: For girls, Michelle Obama is an empowering example
Also see: Michelle Obama: Life’s ‘greatest honor’ was being first lady

5. Michelle Obama loved fashion and the fashion world loved her
By Jocelyn Noveck | Associated Press | Dec. 26
“[U]nlike some past first ladies who favored one or two big-name designers, Mrs. Obama has spread her fashion choices among a huge stable of them — often promoting lesser-known names, and taking care to promote American designers at such high-profile events as inaugurations, conventions and state dinners.”

6. Obama makes his mark as first ‘social media’ president
By Kevin Freking | Associated Press | Jan. 6
“Obama’s two terms in office played out like a running chronicle of the trends of our times.”
Also see: President ending reign as pop culture king

7. 8 ways the US job market has evolved over Obama’s 8 years
By Christopher S. Rugaber | Associated Press | Jan. 6
“The unemployment rate is 4.7 percent. Jobs have been added for 75 straight months, the longest such streak on record. But many other trends, not all of them positive, have reshaped the job market over the past eight years. …”

8. In realist foreign policy, Obama found limits
By Bradley Klapper | Associated Press | Dec. 24
“Over eight years, Obama ushered in a new era of diplomacy, re-establishing the United States as the driving force behind fighting climate change and reducing the threat of nuclear weapons.”

9. Handing Trump a broad view of war powers
By Josh Lederman | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“After eight years as a wartime president, Barack Obama is handing his successor an expansive interpretation of the commander in chief’s authority to wage war around the globe. And that reading has continued to grow even as Obama prepares to pass control to Donald Trump.”

10. A quiet mission to export gay rights oversea
By Josh Lederman | Associated Press | October 2016
“The U.S. has deployed its diplomats and spent tens of millions of dollars to try to block anti-gay laws, punish countries that enacted them, and tie financial assistance to respect for LGBT rights. … Yet the U.S. encountered occasional backlash, including from some rights groups that said public pressure by the West made things worse.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Martin Sheen offers dad advice / Answering technology questions / The nation’s best small towns / Greening the soda can / Locating ‘Girls’ in New York

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. Martin Sheen on fathering: Faith, love, no regrets
By Lynn Elber | Associated Press | June 15
“Go ahead, ask the perfect father of the perfect child for parenting tips. But since most of us fall short of flawless, how about considering Father’s Day advice from a dad who’s grappled with personal shortcomings, seen a son face his own struggles and still counts his blessings.”

2. ‘The Godfather’ Monopoly: Make Him an Offer He Can’t Refuse
By Tim Newcomb | Time | June 15
[T]wo of the six tokens are a gun and a cannoli. … The other four tokens include a detailed Genco olive oil tin, the Don’s limousine, a dead fish and, of course, a horse’s head.”

3. Your Tech Questions, Answered: Part 1
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 4
“I store a lot of video, so ideally the backup drive has plenty of capacity. (And while I’m making this request from my wish list can my iTunes library be stored on this device so it’s accessible from any computer?)”

4. Your Tech Questions, Answered: Part 2
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 4
“In this batch of questions, I answer questions about scheduling e-mail messages, setting up a Wi-Fi network with multiple access points, how to archive iTunes music files. …”

5. Your Tech Questions Answered, Part 3
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 4
“In this batch of questions, I answer questions about setting up wireless audio, remotely accessing a parent’s computer, choosing a streaming-video option. …”

6. Your Tech Questions, Answered: Part 4
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 5
“In this batch of questions, I answer questions about unlocking an iPhone; using a projector and laptop for all your video needs; the most cost-effective way to connect your computer to your stereo system. …”

7. Your Tech Questions Answered, Part 5
By Sam Grobart | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 5
“In this batch, I answer questions about turning an old PC into a server of sorts; getting an HD signal through an antenna; contract-free mobile Wi-Fi. …”

8. Where to Find the ‘Girls’ in NYC
By Abbie Fentress Swanson | WNYC | June 11
“Help us map out where to find the ‘Girls’ in the city by sending in a spot you’ve seen in the series.”

9. The 20 Best Small Towns in America
By Susan Spano and Aviva Shen | Smithsonian | May 2012
“From the Berkshires to the Cascades, we’ve crunched the numbers and pulled a list some of the most interesting spots around the country.”

10. Toward a Greener Soda Can
By Matthew L. Wald | Green :: The New York Times | June 12
“Of all the materials that are commonly dropped in recycling bins, aluminum is by far the most valuable.”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN Percy Sledge
2. YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY Julie London
3. FLY ME TO THE MOON Julie London
4. I’LL FLY AWAY The Kossoy Sisters and Erick Darling
5. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES Dinah Washington
6. TRAV’LIN’ LIGHT Billie Holiday
7. I COVER THE WATERFRONT Billie Holiday
8. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME The Mamas & The Papas
9. UNCLE SAM SAYS Josh White
10. IN THE MOOD Glenn Miller Orchestra

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A new Canary island … Scorsese’s best … al-Qaida in Africa … Bachmann’s journey … Girl gangs

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. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Canary Island volcano: A new island in the making?
By Rob Hugh-Jones | The World and BBC News | Dec. 3
“An undersea volcano erupting just south of Spain’s Canary Islands may be the beginnings of a new island, or an extension to an existing one. For some, it’s a colourful spectacle — for others a major blow to their livelihood.”

2. Martin Scorsese’s greatest movies
By Matt Zoller Seitz | Salon | Dec. 3
“‘Raging Bull’s’ a contender, and ‘Taxi Driver.’ Which other films round out the iconic director’s best?”

3. Dreaming May Help Relieve a Bad Day
My HealthNewsDaily | Nov. 23
“The results show that during nighttime dreaming, also known as REM sleep, the brain processes emotional experiences in a ‘safe’ environment, or one in which stress chemicals are low. This processing may take the emotional edge off of difficult memories, the researchers said.”

4. Candy, cash — al-Qaida implants itself in Africa
By Rukmini Callimachi and Martin Vogl | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“The terrorist group has create a refuge in this remote land through a strategy of winning hearts and minds, described in rare detail by seven locals in regular contact with the cell.”

5. Bachmann, from Waterloo to White House contender
By Adam Geller | Associated Press | Dec. 3
“The choreographed repetition of modern presidential campaigns can turn the most personable candidate into an endless loop of talking points. But any close observer of Bachmann’s political career would be hard-pressed to dismiss her as two-dimensional.”

6. Plastic Bag Bans Spreading Across The United States
By Jordan Howard | The Huffington Post | Dec. 1
“Four cities in Oregon — Eugene, Corvallis, Newport and Ashland — are considering banning plastic bags at retail stores. The towns would join at least 10 other U.S. cities and counties that have prohibited plastic bags since 2008.”

7. Interesting readers, as well as writers
By Sarah Sweeney | Harvard Gazette | Dec. 1
“Book focuses on leading authors and the books they love”

8. Chelsea Clinton, Living Up to the Family Name
By Amy Chozick | The New York Times | Dec. 3
“Her move to television was a career shift she initiated, having her close advisers arrange interviews with top network executives and at one point working with the powerful Creative Artists Agency.”

9. Which Faulkner Novels Should HBO Adapt?
By David Haglund | Browbeat :: Slate | Dec. 2
“Clearly this is a question for true Faulkner aficionados, so I posed it to a handful of writers who know his work intimately—starting with a novelist who’s no slouch himself when it comes to literary adaptations.”

10. Rise of the girl gangs
By Brad Hamilton | The New York Post | Dec. 3
“As ‘crews’ proliferate in New York’s housing projects, officials worry about the increasing brutality of all-female wolfpacks”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY Donna Summer
2. POSSESSION Sarah McLachlan
3. ELSEWHERE (The Freedom Sessions) Sarah McLachlan
4. EROTICA Madonna
5. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS Foreigner
6. WAIT (The Whisper Song) Ying Yang Twins
7. KILOMETER Sebastien Tellier
8. THE ORBITING SUNS Jens Gad
9. PUNCH DRUNK Sade
10. LINGER The Cranberries