Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The priceless Oxford comma / Trump and Spicer tangle with GCHQ / Paris Hilton: Empire builder / Reversing Earth’s rotation / Find free money

This week: The priceless Oxford comma / Trump and Spicer tangle with GCHQ / Paris Hilton: Empire builder / Reversing Earth’s rotation / Find free money

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. White House Tries to Soothe British Officials Over Trump’s Wiretap Claim
By Peter Baker and Steven Erlanger | The New York Times | March 17
“The GCHQ quickly and vehemently denied the contention in a rare statement issued by the spy agency on Thursday, calling the assertions ‘nonsense’ and ‘utterly ridiculous.’ By Friday morning, Mr. Spicer’s briefing had turned into a full-blown international incident. British politicians expressed outraged and demanded apologies and retractions from the American government.”

2. Paris Hilton: I’m not the dumb blonde people thought
By Richard Johnson | The New York Post | March 16
“[T]he Champagne-quaffing, table-dancing party monster has morphed into a businesswoman who’d rather stay home and cook dinner for her boyfriend than go out clubbing into the wee hours.”

3. If Earth’s spin reversed, everything would be different
By Hannah Fry and Andrew Pontzen | BBC Future | March 15
“What would happen if our planet suddenly started turning the opposite way, or slowed to a crawl? One thing is for sure, it wouldn’t be a smooth outcome for civilisation …”

4. Is Trump Trolling the White House Press Corps?
By Andrew Marantz | The New Yorker | March 20
“At daily briefings, Sean Spicer calls on young journalists from far-right sites. The mainstream media sees them as an existential threat.”

5. Lack of Oxford comma costs Maine company millions in overtime dispute
By John Waller | The Boston Globe | March 16
“A class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers hinged entirely on a debate that has bitterly divided friends, families and foes: The dreaded — or totally necessary — Oxford comma, perhaps the most polarizing of punctuation marks.”

6. Racing in Cocaine Valley
Witness :: Al Jazeera | February 2017
“In the jungles of Peru, young coca farmers risk everything to win a deadly motor race, now a vibrant local tradition.”

7. The Nazi Spy with 1,000 Faces
By Marc Worthman | The Daily Beast | February 2017
“‘Come and get me,’ he taunted authorities, but this spy and killer could not be taken down — until his Nazi spy masters slipped up.”

8. The Right Words for the Job: How Gendered Language Affects the Workplace
By Deb Liu | Medium | February 2017
“What surprised me was how deep our gender-specific language runs. These words were not said with misogynistic or negative intent, but rather they were used in apparently innocuous ways.”

9. Free, Official Sources to Find Unclaimed Money
USA.gov | February 2017
“There might be unclaimed funds or property waiting for you from savings or checking accounts, wages and pensions, tax refunds, life insurance policies, and a lot more. Companies may offer to find this money for a fee. And scammers may try to trick you with fake promises of money from the government. But you can find your unclaimed money yourself for free.”

10. When J.F.K. Secretly Reached Out to Castro
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | December 2014
“Ambassador William Attwood, a Kennedy delegate to the United Nations, secretly called Castro’s aide and physician, Rene Vallejo, to discuss a possible secret meeting in Havana between Attwood and Castro that might improve the Cuban-American relationship. …”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Prince and Beyonce / Tubman on the $20 / QEII turns 90 / Abigail Adams / Shakespeare, the American

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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. Boston cheers Tubman going on the $20 bill
By Eric Moskowitz | The Boston Globe | April 21
“Although Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland and spent most of her free life in upstate New York, she has deep ties to Massachusetts, the center of the abolitionist movement.”

2. Tubman’s In. Jackson’s Out. What’s It Mean?
By Jennifer Schuessler, Binyamin Appelbaum, and Wesley Morris | The New York Times | April 20
“Does having her on the bill make a real difference — either to how we think about our history, or how we think about our money?”

3. What Prince Taught Me About Love. And Sex. And Time.
By Dave Holmes | Esquire | April 21
“Thirty-five years ago, I heard Prince’s voice. Eighteen years later, I was in his presence.”

4. The Best Tweets By People Losing Their Sh*t Thinking Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ Was a Divorce Announcement
Cosmopolitan and Esquire | April 24
“Some people think she’s writing about her dad’s infidelity, not Jay Z’s, but it seems unlikely he is totally innocent here.”

5. Veep’s most profane, brutal and brilliant burns
By Janet Upadhye | Salon | April 24
“The result is 160 seconds of hilarity. Enjoy.”

6. Trump terrifies world leaders
By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Bryan Bender | Politico | April 21
“And Obama’s reassurances aren’t calming them down.”

7. William Shakespeare: a quintessentially American author
By Robert McCrum | The Guardian | April 9
“From Abraham Lincoln’s White House readings to Hollywood westerns and West Side Story, Shakespeare’s plays are an integral part of the American dream. So how did this icon of Englishness become a U.S. phenomenon?”

8. ‘Remember the Ladies’: Edith Gelles on the incomparable letters of Abigail Adams
Library of America | April 18
“Abigail Adams’s letters are the best record we have of the American Revolution from a woman’s point of view. No other Founding family has left such a trove of family letters as the Adamses.”

9. A Busy Queen Elizabeth II Pencils In a 90th Birthday
By Dan Bilefsky | The New York Times | April 20
“Through seven decades, she has remained gloriously and relentlessly enigmatic in one of her signature pastel outfits and colorful hats, chosen, royal experts say, so onlookers can spot her in a crowd.”

10. Kennedy, L.B.J. and a Disputed Deer Hunt
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | August 2014
“Someone present thought the president-elect looked ‘like a football fan.’ Another felt that in the rural Texas setting, Kennedy looked as if he were ‘on Mars.’ ”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Smarter shopping … Wasting time online … High-speed rail derailed … Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich … Women’s pleasure

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. Smart Spending: Minimize your mall time
By Mae Anderson | Associated Press | Dec. 8
“With advance planning and a little know-how you can minimize your mall time — and save money.”

2. 10 Stupid Male Misconceptions About Female Masturbation
Sex :: The Frisky | Nov. 15
“Men, bless them. They love to think about us masturbating, at least the way they think we masturbate based on porn they’ve seen.”

3. Ron Paul, spoiler?
By George Will | The Washington Post | Dec. 9
“He is in the top tier in Iowa and would alienate Republican voters if he indicated an interest in bolting the party next autumn.”

4. Why the Odds Are Still Stacked Against Women in Hollywood
By Kim Masters | The Hollywood Reporter | Dec. 9
“A handful of women run studios, win Oscars and influence TV, but across the board, the gains females had begun to make in the entertainment industry are leveling off.”

5. The creative side of ‘doing nothing’ online
By Melissa Bell | The Washington Post | Dec. 9
“Beguiled by gifs of polar bear babies being tickled and people eating popcorn, we return, lemming-like, to dive off the cliff into the sea of Internet memes and Facebook posts.”

6. Golden Moche Bead Returned to Peru
Andean Air Mail and Peruvian Times | Dec. 9
“The gold bead, measuring 4.5cm tall by 7cm wide and most probably once on a necklace, was part of an exhibition on Art of Ancient America in the Palace of Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

7. Gingrich the candidate? GOP lawmakers grapple with the idea
By Kathleen Hennessey | The Washington Post | Dec. 9
“For some who had a close-up view of his tumultuous House leadership, his surge in the Republican race isn’t welcome. Others say he’s changed.”

8. The Misplaced Stuff: NASA loses moon, space rocks
By Seth Borenstein | Associated Press | Dec. 8
“In a report issued by the agency’s Inspector General on Thursday, NASA concedes that more than 500 pieces of moon rocks, meteorites, comet chunks and other space material were stolen or have been missing since 1970.”

9. Requiem for a Train
By Will Oremus | Slate | Dec. 7
“High-speed rail is dead in America. Should we mourn it?”

10. Q&A: Ditching Dial-Up for 3G
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Dec. 5
“Q: We spend our weekends in a rural area that offers only dial-up Internet, which is very inconvenient. We do, however, have both AT&T and Verizon cellphone coverage. Can we use these cellphone networks to access the Internet? If so, will we need to pay by minutes of usage?”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. CRAWLIN’ KINGSNAKE Buddy Guy
2. SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN’ Howlin’ Wolf
3. THE THINGS (THAT) I USED TO DO Stevie Ray Vaughan
4. DEATH LETTER (Organized Noize remix) Johnny Farmer
5. BALL N’ CHAIN Big Mama Thornton
6. BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN Albert King
7. AS THE YEARS GO PASSING BY Mighty Joe Young
8. HAVE YOU EVER LOVED A WOMAN Derek & The Dominoes
9. PRIDE AND JOY Stevie Ray Vaughan
10. TAKE ME Mable John