Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: San Antonio’s delicious secret / The unexpected new world after 9/11 / Impeachment lessons from the Nixon nightmare / Black female relationships in literature / The Haitian Revolution

This week: San Antonio’s delicious secret / The unexpected new world after 9/11 / Impeachment lessons from the Nixon nightmare / Black female relationships in literature / The Haitian Revolution

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. Pork Chop Tacos Are San Antonio’s Best-Kept Secret
By José R. Ralat | Texas Monthly | September 2021
“While figuring out how to eat one might seem daunting, it’s well worth the effort.”

2. Beyond Forever War
By Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon | Foreign Affairs | September 2021
“A Smarter Counterterrorism Approach Is Now Within Reach”

3. From 9/11’s ashes, a new world took shape. It did not last.
By Calvin Woodward, Ellen Knickmeyer and David Rising | Associated Press | September 2021
“From the first terrible moments, America’s longstanding allies were joined by longtime enemies in that singularly galvanizing instant. No nation with global standing was cheering the stateless terrorists vowing to conquer capitalism and democracy. How rare is that? Too rare to last, it turned out.”

4. Republicans and Impeachment — Lessons from the Nixon years
By Jeet Heer | Start Making Sense | October 2019
“Republicans and impeachment: In the case of Nixon, it took them until the very end to jump ship — and those who defended him (Reagan and Bush Sr.) had better political futures than those who didn’t.”

5. An incredibly resilient coral in the Great Barrier Reef offers hope for the future
By Nikk Ogasa | Science News | August 2021
“The reef’s widest coral has survived for hundreds of years and weathered many bleaching events”

6. Scientists say a telescope on the Moon could advance physics — and they’re hoping to build one
By Nicole Karlis | Salon | September 2021
“The Moon’s lack of atmosphere and darkness could offers unique observations of the universe”

7. Making a Way Out of No Way: Celebrating the Power of Black Female Relationships in Literature
By Dawn Turner | LitHub | September 2021
“The seven books … share similar themes of women empowering one another against formidable odds.”

8. Medgar Evers: A Hero in Life and Death
By Jennifer Davis | The Library of Congress | July 2021
“Medgar Wiley Evers, civil rights activist, voting rights activist and organizer, was born 96 years ago this month in tiny Decatur, Mississippi. He would go on to become one of the nation’s most significant 20th-century voices in the causes of civil rights and social justice before being assassinated at the age of 37.”

9. The Voice of Orson Welles
By Farran Smith Nehme | The Criterion Collection | November 2018
“Nothing but Welles’s voice could have achieved that gentle mockery of the rich midwesterners and their privileges, as when he describes the long process of a lady hailing a streetcar and the sad yearning for Tarkington’s vanished world — too slow for us now, all of it.”
Also see: The Magnificent Ambersons — Surfaces and Depths

10. The Iliad
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2014-2018
Also see: e | The Sun | Brunel | The Haitian Revolution

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Using a volcano to learn about the center of the earth / Begin a new Federal Writers Project / America’s toxic mythologies / An Islamic map from 1154 / Running Kabul’s airport under the Taliban

This week: Using a volcano to learn about the center of the earth / Begin a new Federal Writers Project / America’s toxic mythologies / An Islamic map from 1154 / Running Kabul’s airport under the Taliban

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. A spacesuit designer on what to wear to the moon
By Alissa Greenberg | NOVA :: PBS | September 2021
“An engineer-artist duo wants to create sleeker spacesuits that meet the challenges of a low-pressure environment while offering more mobility — and looking cool.”

2. It’s Time for A New Federal Writers Project
By David Kipen | Start Making Sense | June 2021
“It’s a great idea: creating a new Federal Writers Project, hiring a thousand out of work writers and journalists to document American lives during the pandemic year.”

3. Nothing sacred: From Jefferson to Jan. 6, America’s toxic mythologies are destroying us
By Donald Earl Collins | Salon | September 2021
“Thomas Jefferson hid the ugly truth of Bacon’s Rebellion — an early example of the myths emerging around Jan. 6”

4. The Islamic World Map of 1154
By Sundeep Mahendra | The Library of Congress | August 2021
“Over the course of nine years, and drawing on earlier works by Ptolemy, Arabic sources, firsthand information from world travelers and his own experience, [Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Idris al-sharif al-Idrisi] in 1154 completed what became one of the most detailed geographical works created during the medieval period.”

5. The Taliban now controls Kabul airport. How will it run it?
Al Jazeera English | August 2021
“The Taliban wants Turkey to operate the airport as it controls security, but the next steps to revive the transport hub are still unclear.”

6. Julie Pace named new Associated Press executive editor
By David Bauder | Associated Press | September 2021
“Pace said it was important to push all of the AP’s journalists — text reporters, video, still photographers, fact checkers and graphics producers — out of individual silos to work together in presenting compelling stories.”

7. The other cradle of humanity: How Arabia shaped human evolution
By Michael Marshall | New Scientist | August 2021
“New evidence reveals that Arabia was not a mere stopover for ancestral humans leaving Africa, but a lush homeland where they flourished and evolved”

8. Surprise undersea volcano could offer unique window into Earth’s interior
By Akila Raghavan | Science | July 2021
“In a new study, the scientists suggest the seamount could represent a completely new type of seafloor volcanism, fueled by a hidden, shallow reservoir of magma.”

9. Parasite: Notes from the Underground
By Inkoo Kang | The Criterion Collection | October 2020
“[It] reveals the Kims, as sympathetic and unfairly treated as they are, as utterly capable of the banality of evil, in part because of their own overidentification with underdogs, and the inherent goodness they assume they can lay claim to. The layers of self-deception build on top of one another until, finally, it all comes crashing down.”

10. The Thirty Years War
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2014-2018
Also see: The Wealth of Nations | The Eunuch | Social Darwinism | Chivalry

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The origin of the Moon / Myths of hijab / The Articles of Confederation / Barbie the feminist / Loving or hating AOC

This week: The origin of the Moon / Myths of hijab / The Articles of Confederation / Barbie the feminist / Loving or hating AOC

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. Where did the Moon come from? A new theory.
By Sarah T. Stewart | TED.com | February 2019
“The Earth and Moon are like identical twins, made up of the exact same materials — which is really strange, since no other celestial bodies we know of share this kind of chemical relationship. What’s responsible for this special connection”

2. Five myths about hijab
By Nadia B. Ahmad and Asifa Quraishi-Landes | The Washington Post | March 2019
“It’s not a headscarf — and it’s not just for women.”

3. The Constitution Most Americans Have Forgotten About
By Peter Feuerherd | JSTOR Daily | March 2017
“The Articles of Confederation set off the long-running feud between states’ rights and Washington, a debate that still rages today.”

4. Five next-gen space rovers
By Imogen Bagnall | The Guardian | February 2019
“The cream of the new breed of craft heading for the moon and beyond”

5. My Life at 47 Is Back to What It Was Like at 27
By Meghan Daum | Medium | February 2019
“Post-divorce, I’ve returned to my old ways.”

6. Barbie, Like her Creator, Is a Feminist
By Susan Shapiro | The Daily Beast | March 2019
“Barbie turns 60 today. When her creator was that age, she launched a business making comfortable prosthetic breasts. On the Dick Cavett Show, she asked the host to feel them.”

7. Hero or villain, Ocasio-Cortez remains a media fixation
By David Bauder | Associated Press | March 2019
“Boldness, youth and an embrace of social media have made AOC — the shorthand is already widely known — a hero to the left, a villain to the right and irresistible to journalists.”

8. With Michael Jackson, It’s Different
By Josephine Livingstone | The New Republic | March 2019
“Why his fall from grace implicates all of us”

9. Wealthy, successful and miserable
By Charles Duhigg | The New York Times Magazine | February 2019
“The upper echelon is hoarding money and privilege to a degree not seen in decades. But that doesn’t make them happy at work.”

10. No Collision
By Bonnie Honig | Boston Review | December 2018
“In the face of climate apocalypse, the rich have been devising escape plans. What happens when they opt out of democratic preparation for emergencies”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Stay-at-home moms / Invisible octopuses / The rare transit of Venus / The damage from Texas textbooks / Departures of Kristen Wiig and Peggy Olson

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. How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us
By Gail Collins | The New York Review of Books | June 2012
“Ever since the 1960s, the selection of schoolbooks in Texas has been a target for the religious right, which worried that schoolchildren were being indoctrinated in godless secularism, and political conservatives who felt that their kids were being given way too much propaganda about the positive aspects of the federal government.”

2. Stay-at-Home Moms Report More Sadness, Anger and Depression than Working Moms
By Bonnie Rochman | Family Matters :: Time | June 1
“Gallup.com found that working mothers report greater well-being than stay-at-home moms. Is a job the ticket to bliss?”

3. How Octopuses Make Themselves Invisible
By Katherine Harmon | Octopus Chronicles :: Scientific American | June 1
“Do they survey the whole area in their proximity and incorporate the general hues and patterns into their skin display, or do they pick out just a few nearby landmarks for a more precise match?”

4. Tuesday is last chance to see transit of Venus
By Elizabeth Weise | USA Today | May 31
“It happens only four times every 243 years. If you want to see the famed transit of Venus, next Tuesday is your last chance this century.”

5. A Study in Farewells: Kristen Wiig and Peggy Olson
By Sasha Weiss | Culture Desk :: The New Yorker | June 1
“What a relief — and what a brilliant coincidence — that the gods of TV charted a course this week from Peggy’s quiet triumph to Wiig’s loud one, and one we can all share in.”

6. Christina Hendricks on Joan’s Epic Moral Moment
By Gwynne Watkins | The Stream :: GQ | May 30
“The emotionally wrenching episode was the best so far this season, and a tour de force for actress Christina Hendricks (whose hourglass beauty gets more press than her considerable acting chops).”

7. Issues for His Prose Style
By Andrew O’Hagan | London Review of Books | June 2012
“[Ernest Hemingway] never takes nouns for granted. He invests his whole personality in them, because nouns are the part of speech where a person gets to show off.”

8. NASA to future moon explorers: Don’t ruin our Apollo landing sites
By Larry McShane | The New York Daily News | May 29
“Space agency issues guidelines to help other lunar missions to protect historic remains”

9. Are literary classics obsolete?
By Laura Miller | Salon | May 30
“A new study says today’s writers are influenced by authors of the present, not the past”

10. The ‘Muslim Schindler’
By Mehdi Hasan | The New Statesman | May 23
“A lawyer by training, he used his negotiating skills to try to persuade the Nazis’ experts on racial purity that the 150 or so Iranian Jews living in the city in 1940 were assimilated to non-Jewish — and ‘Aryan’ — Persians through history, culture and intermarriage.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. WHY TRY TO CHANGE ME NOW Fiona Apple
2. SLOWLY Max Sedgley
3. SAIL AWAY David Gray
4. WHY Annie Lennox
5. WAS LOVE Captain Ahab
6. SMALL OF MY HEART Madison Violet
7. HEAVEN’S GONNA BURN YOUR EYES Thievery Corporation
8. TA DOULEUR (Your Pain) Camille
9. MEET YOUR NEW LOVE Atlantic/Pacific
10. ANGEL OF SOLITUDE Alias

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?”

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

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