Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: How horses evolved / Spanish king does damage control / Humanity and Halley’s Comet / COVID’s sexual secrets / Kim Novak survived Hollywood’s abuses

This week: How horses evolved / Spanish king does damage control / Humanity and Halley’s Comet / COVID’s sexual secrets / Kim Novak survived Hollywood’s abuses

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. ‘What I Want Out of Life Is to Be Loved’: Kim Novak on Healing After Leaving Hollywood
By Scott Feinberg | The Hollywood Reporter | March 2021
“The icon of Vertigo — and Trump target at the 2014 Oscars — reveals what liberated her after years of studio system abuse, her bipolar diagnosis and the untold story behind her rumored romance with Sammy Davis Jr.”

2. A year on, what lessons have been learned from the pandemic?
Babbage :: The Economist | March 2021
“How past pandemics shaped society and can the ‘new normal’ be a better normal?”

3. 160 years later, Confederate constitution an ignoble relic
By Jay Reeves | Associated Press | March 2021
“Composed in faded ink on five large sheets of animal skin connected in a single scroll more than 12 feet (3.7 meters) long, the constitution is stored in a vault and rarely seen in public. By contrast, the U.S. Constitution is on display at the National Archives, visited by 1 million people in a typical year.”

4. In the Path of Halley’s Comet, Humanity Might Find Its Way Forward
By Henry DaCosta, Mitch Myers and Jeffery DelViscio | Scientific American | March 2021
“The work of decoding the cosmic traveler has surprising relevance right now”

5. A Year of Secrets
By Anna Silman | The Cut :: New York Magazine | March 2021
“COVID-era confessions, from ski trips to lovers to second jobs”

6. Spain’s King Felipe VI struggles to repair tarnished image of royal family
By Miguel Gonzalez | El Pais | March 2021
“The scandal over the alleged financial irregularities of his father, Juan Carlos I, has been compounded by his sisters’ decision to jump the Covid-19 vaccine line. Can the monarch fix the damage?”

7. Fences around the Capitol are a temporary fix. Here’s what we should do.
By Russel Honoré | Opinion :: The Washington Post | March 2021
“We don’t want to lose our democracy, but fences won’t protect it.”

8. Witch Hunting in Early Modern Europe
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Precolumbian Civilizations of Mesoamerica | Islam’s Enigmatic Origins | White Women of the Harlem Renaissance | The Harlem Renaissance

9. Why we need to take bad sex more seriously
By Katherine Angel | The Guardian | March 2021
“Consent has been portrayed as the cure for all the ills of our sexual culture. But what if the injunction to ‘know what you want’ is another form of coercion?”

10. Cave Art
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2020
Also see: The Trojan War | Marco Polo | Clausewitz and On War | The Evolution of Horses

Kate Stone’s Civil War: A man-flirt is detestable

Stone, riding her horse with a pistol in her belt, decides that the antebellum age of young love, innocent flirting, and romantic dreams is over.

1864

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone, riding her horse with a pistol in her belt, decides that the antebellum age of young love, innocent flirting, and romantic dreams is over.

July 18, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Only the quiet routine of home duties. Nothing from the outside world. Oh, for letters from [those] who have bidden us adieu to know what is going on and how they arc faring in their new life.

Mrs. St. Clair and Neta Irvine came in and I tried to be unusually polite and non-committal to Mrs. St-Olair. She is such a dangerous woman that, I am afraid of her. She will start any report, and now she is most intimate with the Yankees. … Mr. Moore dined with us. Mr. Moore is the most belligerent minister I ever saw and the hottest Southerner. He cannot reconcile himself to defeat. There are two Yankee cotton-buyers in town. They are very conciliating in manner, we hear, and dumb as to the war.

Mollie Moore and I took a lovely ride this afternoon entirely alone but with pistols gleaming at our side. I fancy the good people of Tyler, the conservative, will be horrified if they saw them, but we will hope for the best and trust they did not spy our weapons. We took them more for a frolic than anything else, but the roads are said not to be entirely safe with so many hard cases roving around. Mollie and I were longing for a ride and good long gossip together, and all our cavaliers have left us. Mollie told me all about “Adonis” and confesses to a partial engagement, but she evidently does not expect to keep it. We decided that the girls would all have to change their war customs, stop flirting, and only engage themselves when they really meant something. The days of lightly-won and lightly-held hearts should be over.

Mr. Moore’s accounts of the frolics of Willy and Jimmy Carson on their bachelor ranch worry me considerably. I am afraid they will get into serious trouble carrying on so with those country girls and will carry their flirtations too far, and they are but boys turned loose with no one out there to restrain them. Hope they will soon come in, and I will talk to them. Might do some good. A man-flirt is detestable, and I do not want those boys to degenerate into that.

We are living now on the fat of the land, plenty of milk, cream, butter, and gumbo, vegetables of all kinds, melons, and chickens. I am only sorry Mamma and the boys cannot be with us to enjoy it. The outer world is still a sealed book to us. Few mails.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: It is unavoidable

Business consumes more and more of the Stone family as fundamental changes loom on the postwar horizon.

water

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Business consumes more and more of the Stone family as fundamental changes loom on the postwar horizon.

July 13, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Mamma started this morning on another visit to the farm on the prairie. She may not return but may send for us to join her there. A letter from Jimmy said Mr. Smith wished to leave her employ as soon as he returns from Shreveport, and of course she must go up to straighten out the accounts with him. It is a disagreeable trip for business, and she dreaded it so. We hated to have her go, but it is unavoidable. We shall miss her so. I have plenty of work on hand to keep me busy.

About all the gentlemen we know have gone. … We have been riding frequently on horseback and in the carriage. Jimmy’s horse, sent home on wounded furlough, is well at last, and I must try him now that the carriage and the loaned horses and owners are gone.

More katydids are vociferating their news than I ever heard.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Our best fancy yellow organdies

Stone offers a slice of springtime social life in East Texas as friends and neighbors come and go.

KS63

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone offers a slice of springtime social life in East Texas as friends and neighbors come and go.

May 25, 1864

Tyler, Texas

We have bidden Julia and Mrs. Payne farewell this evening. “It may be for years and it may be forever,” as they return to Camden the entire cortege, Negroes and all. Maj. Street sent an ambulance for them and they secured a wagon here. Julia is perfectly delighted to go back, but Mrs. Payne is not so pleased. I surely would let that strong, healthy Major come for me. I would not travel 200 miles over rough jolting roads to meet him. But then I am not in love with him and she is. That makes a vast difference, I suppose. I spent the night with her, and we sat up nearly all night having our last confidential chat together.

Thursday Julia and I, dressed in our best fancy yellow organdies, went calling with Mamma. Found nearly everyone out. Julia and I deserted Mamma and perambulated around town looking for flowers, stealing them through the palings and decorating our heads with them. At Mrs. Wells’, we were regaled on huge slices of poundcake and fine music. Jimmy Stone and I rode out to see Mrs. Prentice. She likes Jimmy very much and says he reminds her so of her young son Horace, who died at about his age. The ride was delightful through the woods, sweet with the wild grape fragrance.

Jimmy Stone has gone to the prairie [Lamar County], and Johnny is lost without him. Our usual succession of visitors — boys, officers, doctors, and ladies.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: To every young lady

Recent Confederate victories still warm Stone’s heart, and neighboring Louisiana refugees are optimistic they will be home soon. But Stone thinks otherwise even as she rides past a prison camp filled with thousands of Union prisoners.

KS57

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Recent Confederate victories still warm Stone’s heart, and neighboring Louisiana refugees are optimistic they will be home soon. But Stone thinks otherwise even as she rides past a prison camp filled with thousands of Union prisoners.

May 7, 1864

Tyler, Texas

Uncle Johnny and family are living with us now. They are all in bad health, but Tyler will build them up. …

Jimmy and Eddie have just left. Both the Jimmies are in a high state of indignation and contempt at an order signed by Gen. [Edmund] Kirby Smith just received from Shreveport detailing them as overseers. So Mrs. Carson was successful and sent it on. The boys consider it a perfect outrage and say they will not submit to such a thing.

Jimmy and I went out to see Mrs. Levy and found them most sanguine as to the speedy close of the war. They think we will be traveling homeward by fall, but I think not before next spring. …

We have company nearly all the time now. It makes it seem something like the old home days, a crowded house. Mrs. Gen. Roane and Capts. Smith and Empy were out recently. She is very pleasant, though Julia has taken a prejudice against her. Julia has liked only one person she has met Capt. Empy. He is a great flatterer with a stock of ready-made compliments that he weighs out to every young lady as a grocer weighs out sugar. He is persuaded that he is irresistible. Capt. Smith has long hair and is a rollicking, jolly young fellow overflowing with fun.

Dr. McGregor says there is much sickness in town, and he is too busy for much calling. Jimmy Carson and I rode out beyond the Yankee camp yesterday. The blue-coated prisoners are swarming within the stockade, several thousand of them, and those captured in Arkansas are expected every day. I rode Gold Dust. He is so well-gaited. Joe begs me to keep him and to ride him to death if I wish, but to let no one else ride him.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Huntsman’s moment / Childish norms / The Literary King / Digital archives / Self-deception

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. Huntsman: ‘Sane Republican’ ready for his moment
By Steve People and Holly Ramer | Associated Press | Jan. 7
“After sitting out the Iowa caucuses and investing all his hopes in this state, [Jon] Huntsman has struggled to find a voice that resonates with voters. The former Utah governor is proud to announce that he’s no longer ‘the margin-of-error candidate’ — in New Hampshire, at least. But he’ll need to do far better than that for his campaign to continue after Tuesday’s primary.”

2. Beyond Pink vs. Blue
By Dana Goldstein | The Nation | December 2011
“Parents of young children often marvel that, despite their own egalitarian intentions, their kids are the ones who police traditional gender norms.”

3. You Can’t Always Get What You Want: On Stephen King
By Charles Taylor | The Nation | December 2011
“Thirty-seven years after the publication of his first novel, Carrie, King still seems not just underrated but uncomprehended.”

4. The gift of tongues
The Economist | December 2011
“What makes some people learn language after language?”

5. Fire in the Library
By Matt Schwartz and Eva Talmadge | Technology Review | January/February 2012
“Once, we stored our photos and other mementos in shoeboxes in the attic; now we keep them online. That puts our stuff at the mercy of companies that could decide to throw it away—unless Jason Scott and the Archive Team can get there first.”

6. The secret life of J Edgar Hoover
By Anthony Summers | The Observer | December 2011
“For half a century, the FBI director waged war on homosexuals, black people and communists. Now, a controversial film by Clint Eastwood [opening in England] is set to reveal some of the explosive truth about him. Here, his biographer Anthony Summers tells all.”

7. How to Mobilise a Million
Activate :: Al Jazeera | November 2011
“Thousands of young Sudanese are demanding an end to the violent rule of Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan.”

8. What Are the Limits to Human Self-Deception?
By Stanton Peele | Psychology Today | November 2011
“People have no limits to their ability to reconstruct reality self-servingly”

9. Control Yourself!
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | March 2011
“Is there evidence that Kegel exercises really strengthen bladder control?”

10. The Delicious Mr. Ed
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | October 2011
“Why don’t Americans eat horse meat?”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. PLAYER’S ANTHEM Junior M.A.F.I.A., Lil’ Cease, Lil’ Kim & Notorious B.I.G.
2. REBIRTH OF SLICK Digable Planets
3. THIS D.J. Warren G
4. STILL DRE Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre
5. HANDS UP Lloyd Banks
6. SPELL CHECK Lil’ Kim
7. SHADOWBOXIN’ GZA
8. PASSIN’ ME BY Pharcyde
9. TIPSY J-Kwon
10. ROCK THE PARTY Benzino