Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Olympics beefcake / Gore Vidal’s career as a dramatist, plus a reading list / Detroit, the dumping ground / Human sculpture found in Turkey /

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 Olympics or Soft Porn? Female, Gay Fans Gawking at Male Athletes
By Tricia Romano | The Daily Beast | Aug. 3
“From Ryan Lochte to Tom Daley, the Web is awash with lascivious pictures of the men of the London Games. Did ‘Magic Mike’ set the stage for the worldwide gawkfest?”

2. Amazon Rainforest Gets Half Its Nutrients From a Single, Tiny Spot in the Sahara
By Alexis Madrigal | The Atlantic | Aug. 2
“At 17,100 square miles, the area is about a third of the size of Florida or 0.5 percent the size of the Amazon basin it supplies.”

3. Ben-Gore
By F.X. Feeney | Los Angeles Review of Books | Aug. 1
“There is an almost violent difference in scale and power between the novels that preceded [Vidal’s] career as a dramatist and those which come after.”

4. Washington’s War on Leaks, Explained
By Cora Currier | ProPublica | Aug. 2
“Leaks, of course, are nothing new in Washington, but now the Senate has jumped into the fray, with a new proposal to tighten control over the flow of information between intelligence agencies and the press.”

5. Gore Vidal’s reading list for America
By Michael Winship | Salon | Aug. 2
“The author’s recommendations were as brilliant and eccentric as he was”

6. Vacant Detroit becomes a dumping ground for the dead
By Corey Williams | Associated Press | Aug. 2
“It’s a pattern made possible by more than four decades of urban decay and suburban flight.”

7. Jonathan Harris: the Web’s secret stories
TED | July 2007
“With deep compassion for the human condition, his projects troll the Internet to find out what we’re all feeling and looking for.”

8. Archeologists Unearth Extraordinary Human Sculpture in Turkey
Science Daily | July 30
“A beautiful and colossal human sculpture is one of the latest cultural treasures unearthed by an international team at the Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP) excavation site in southeastern Turkey.”

9. Fighting for Nightfall
By Will Hickox | Disunion :: The New York Times | June 27
“Rather than securing the rest they badly needed, the exhausted soldiers of Col. Elisha G. Marshall’s 13th New York Infantry began building breastworks.”

10. Civil Rights Era Almost Split CBS News Operation
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | May 2005
“Walter Cronkite recalls CBS-TV coverage of civil rights in the 1950s, and how it threatened to divide the news department from network management.”

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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. The Kilborn Alley Blues Band — Watch It
2. Blackfoot — Sunshine Again
3. Susan Tedeschi — There’s A Break In The Road
4. Wiser Time — Devided
5. Curtis Salgado — Wiggle Outa This
6. Elvin Bishop — Midnight Hour Blues
7. Storyville — Fairplay
8. Chris Rea — Houston Angel
9. George Thorogood — I Drink Alone
10. Travis Tritt — The Storm
11. Flophouse — Everything Is Cool
12. The Stoney Curtis Band — Hard Livin’

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.”

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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

Iowa vote confusion / Europe’s future / Olympic sheep-shearing / Lovers exchange passwords / Preschool cuts

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. 2021: The New Europe
By Niall Ferguson | The Saturday Essay :: The Wall Street Journal | November 2011
“Niall Ferguson peers into Europe’s future and sees Greek gardeners, German sunbathers — and a new fiscal union. Welcome to the other United States.”

2. Sheep shearing an Olympic sport? New Zealand farmers hope so
By Matt Brooks | The Early Lead :: The Washington Post | Jan. 17
“With New Zealand hosting the world shearing championships in March, Federated Farmers Mean and Fiber chairwoman Jeannette Maxwell believes it’s time to strike while the clippers are hot.”

3. Countries consider time out on the ‘leap second’
By Frank Jordans | Associated Press | Jan. 17
“The United States, France and others are pushing for countries at a U.N. telecom meeting to abolish the leap second, which for 40 years has kept computers in sync with the Earth day.”

4. Password Sharing: For Teens, Access To Online Accounts Is A Sign Of Love
The Huffington Post | Jan. 18
“Would you want to share access to your email, Facebook and Tumblr accounts with the one you love? For more and more teens, the key to their heart comes with the passwords to their digital lives.”

5. Iowa Republicans to call caucus result split decision
Reuters | Jan. 19
“The Iowa Republican Party will certify this month’s presidential caucuses as a split decision between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, citing missing data from eight precincts, the Des Moines Register reported on Thursday.”

6. Recession slows growth in public prekindergarten
By Kimberly Hefling | Associated Press | Jan. 17
“The expansion in public prekindergarten programs has slowed and even been reversed in some states as school districts cope with shrinking budgets. As a result, many 3- and 4-year-olds aren’t going to preschool.”

7. This much I know: Morgan Freeman
By Simon David | The Observer | October 2010
“The actor, 73, on wearing an earring, being a good sailor, and dreaming big”

8. As the World Turns
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | April 2011
“Do the shifts of the Earth’s axis produced by earthquakes alter world weather?”

9. Five myths about the American flag
By Marc Leepson | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | June 10
“Americans love our flag. … Yet the iconography and history of the American flag, especially its early history, are infused with myth and misrepresentation. Here are five of the most prevalent myths.”

10. Civil War women: Abigail May Alcott
Civil War Women Blog | Oct. 22
“Abigail ‘Abby’ May Alcott (1800–1877) was an abolitionist, women’s rights activist, pioneer social and one of the first paid social workers in the state of Massachusetts.”