Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Madonna’s masterpiece / Sex worker hate / Kremlin’s plan for Trump / The intellectual Athens / Vacuum of space

This week: Madonna’s masterpiece / Sex worker hate / Kremlin’s plan for Trump / The intellectual Athens / Vacuum of space

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 Oral History of Madonna’s Truth or Dare
By Matthew Jacobs | Vulture :: New York Magazine | May 2021
“The groundbreaking pop documentary’s participants look back, 30 years later.”

2. Ancient Rome Will Never Get Old. Take It From Mary Beard.
By David Marchese | Talk :: The New York Times Magazine | May 2021
“The success with which the Cambridge classics professor, best-selling author, television documentary series host and feisty Twitter star has done so has elevated her to something akin to icon status — though, like the subjects she studies, that status is not free of complications, which she welcomes.”

3. ‘Get a Real Job, Whore’: The Dark Reality of Sex Worker Hate
By Siri Dahl | The Daily Beast | April 2021
“Consider the ways sex workers impact their communities and the economy, on scales both large and small. Last year, for the first time in my life, I was able to donate significantly to causes I care about, such as racial justice, trans rights, sex worker rights, LGBTQIA+ youth programs, and my local stray cat rescue (cat lady here, at your service). I know countless other sex workers who did the same.”

4. The Black Panther Party Has Never Been More Popular. But Actual Black Panthers Have Been Forgotten.
By Santi Elijah Holley | Critical Mass :: The New Republic | April 2021
“While the Panthers have become a staple of pop culture, veteran members of the group remain invisible.”

5. The letter ‘Ñ,’ the identity of Spanish the world over
By Alberto Lopez | El Pais | April 2021
“The character has its origins in the Middle Ages, and is the only one to have been created in Spain. Despite this, it was omitted from the Spanish Royal Academy dictionary until 1803”

6. Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House
By Luke Harding, Julian Borger and Dan Sabbagh | The Guardian | July 2021
“Putin has repeatedly denied accusations of interfering in western democracy. The documents seem to contradict this claim. They suggest the president, his spy officers and senior ministers were all intimately involved in one of the most important and audacious espionage operations of the 21st century: a plot to help put the ‘mentally unstable’ Trump in the White House.”

7. Return the National Parks to the Tribes
By David Treuer | The Atlantic | May 2021
“The jewels of America’s landscape should belong to America’s original peoples.”

8. The ‘Spanish’ Influenza of 1918-1920
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Foreign Fighters in the Spanish Civil War | French Child Ambassadors in the East | The Zionist Movement in Czechoslovakia | The Impossible Presidency

9. Hawaiian shirts are returning – but ‘people want to think twice’, says expert
By Priya Elan | The Guardian | April 2021
“Celebrities have been spotted wearing the shirts, but they could be seen as ‘embodiments of the history of American colonization’”

10. Authenticity
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2009-2019
Also see: The Siege of Vienna | The Vacuum of Space | Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World | The School of Athens

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

This week: Dealing when a friend has a baby / America beyond Trump / Powerless Puerto Rico / Dancing with Madonna / Loving your library

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. A Friend’s Pregnancy
By Julia Wertz | The New Yorker | October 2016
“I was happy for her, but I was afraid it would have a negative impact on our relationship. It was certainly not what I wanted, but I knew such an epic life event would change our relationship irrevocably, and I was scared.”

2. War Without End
By C.J. Chivers | The New York Times Magazine | August 2018
“The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.”

3. Planning for the Post-Trump Wreckage
By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy | August 2018
“When the president eventually exits the White House, the rest of us will quickly have to make sense of the world he’s left behind.”

4. What Happened in the Dark: Puerto Rico’s Year of Fighting for Power
By Daniel Alarcon | Wired | August 2018
“More Americans rely on Puerto Rico’s grid than on any other public electric utility. How one renegade plant worker led them through the shadows.”

5. Nuance: A Love Story
By Meghan Daum | Medium | August 2018
“My affair with the intellectual dark web”

6. 2001 Is Still Teaching Us How to Pay Attention to Movies
By Colin Fleming | Slate | August 2018
“Your mind need not be going.”

7. Step one for befriending a goat: Smile
By Karin Brulliard | Animalia :: The Washington Post | August 2018
“Goat subjects … had already shown themselves to be adept at reading subtle human body language. Now, the researchers have found, goats are also able to distinguish happy people faces from sad ones — and they prefer happy.”

8. Dancing with Madonna Kept Me Alive
By Salim Gauwloos | Outlook :: BBC World Service | July 2018
“Salim Gauwloos became famous dancing with Madonna on her iconic Blond Ambition tour. Madonna used the tour to promote freedom of sexuality and sexual health. All of this made a young Salim feel extremely uncomfortable. The reason he was so anxious was that he was harbouring a secret.”

9. The Dos and Don’ts of Supporting Your Local Library
By Kristin Arnett | LitHub | August 2018
“For God’s sake, do not recatalog a book with Sharpie”

10. My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader’s mother speaks for the first time
By Martin Chulov | The Guardian | August 2018
“Nearly 17 years since 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s family remains an influential part of Saudi society – as well as a reminder of the darkest moment in the kingdom’s history. Can they escape his legacy”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Rum from India? / Earth’s coldest place / Inventor of Liquid Paper / Madonna and Harry Dean Stanton / Other people’s problems

This week: Rum from India? / Earth’s coldest place / Inventor of Liquid Paper / Madonna and Harry Dean Stanton / Other people’s problems

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. Forget the Caribbean: Was Rum Invented in India
By David Wondrich | The Daily Beast | July 2018
“Newly discovered evidence suggests that rum production predates the Caribbean by at least 1,000 years and may have actually started in South East Asia.”

2. Coldest Place on Earth Found — Here’s How
By Alejandra Borunda | National Geographic | June 2018
“It’s a place where Earth is so close to its limit, it’s almost like another planet.”

3. How Ancient Mummies Helped This Soccer Player Get to the World Cup
By Sarah Gibbens | National Geographic | June 2018
“After Paolo Guerrero tested positive for cocaine, scientists used Inca mummies to argue that the result may have been influenced by something else.”

4. How Is the Declaration of Independence Preserved
By Tim Palmieri | Scientific American | July 2018
“The National Archives and Records Administration uses science and technology to keep one of America’s most important historic documents safe.”

5. Do You Like ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ Science Would Like to Know Why
By Tom Mashberg | The New York Times | July 2018
“The mysteries of the aesthetic response, and the creative impulse, have become a burgeoning area of inquiry for scientific researchers across many disciplines.”

6. What lies in the lab: The gruesome murder at Harvard that transfixed New England
By Paul Collins | The Boston Globe Magazine | July 2018
“Wealthy George Parkman vanished into thin air one day. Then a janitor started snooping around a Harvard lab and made a grisly discovery.”

7. Ask Yourself This: What Burdens Is That Other Person Carrying
By Carl Richards | Sketch Guy :: The New York Times | July 2018
“And how would I treat them differently if I knew”

8. Bette Nesmith Graham, Who Invented Liquid Paper
By Andrew R. Chow | Overlooked :: The New York Times | July 2018
“Graham brought it to market and by the end of her life led an international business out of Dallas that produced 25 million bottles a year at its peak, with factories in Toronto and Brussels. She would sell the company for $47.5 million and donate millions to charity.”

9. ‘He Pretty Much Gave In to Whatever They Asked For’
By Michael Kruse | Politico Magazine | June 2018
“Trump says he’s a master negotiator. Those who’ve actually dealt with him beg to differ.”

10. Madonna talks to Harry Dean Stanton about her newfound stardom
By Harry Dean Stanton | Interview | May 2018
“I laugh at myself, I don’t take myself completely seriously. I think that’s another quality that people have to hold onto, you have to laugh, especially at yourself.”

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

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”

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

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