Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Persia’s Alexander the Great / Iraq emerges as Iranian ally / Pakistan, our frenemy / More shelter needed for Austin’s homeless / One man juggles five lovers

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. Alexander the not so Great: History through Persian eyes
By Ali Ansari | BBC News Magazine | July 14
“lexander the Great is portrayed as a legendary conqueror and military leader in Greek-influenced Western history books but his legacy looks very different from a Persian perspective.”

2. The Afghan Air War
By C.J. Chivers and Ben Solomon | The New York Times | July 2012
“[Chivers] flies in an F/A-18 over Afghanistan, examining changes in America’s air power and how Afghan troops will fare without it.”

3. Amber Waves of Green
By Jon Ronson | GQ | July 2012
“Guess what, compatriots? The gap between the richest and the poorest among us is now wider than it has been since we all nose-dived into the Great Depression.”

4. Iraq-Iran Ties Grow Stronger As Iraq Rises From The Ashes
By Dan Froomkin | The Huffington Post | July 14
“Though technically a democracy, Iraq’s floundering government has degenerated into a tottering quasi-dictatorship.”

5. More shelter space for homeless women needed, local advocates say
By Andrea Ball | Austin American-Statesman | July 13
“Currently, those who want a place to stay are routinely turned away from local shelters because of a shortage of beds, said Richard Troxell, founder of the advocacy group House the Homeless.”

6. Our high-maintenance relationship with Pakistan
By David Ignatius | The Washington Post | July 13
“The two countries talk about strategic cooperation one month and feud the next. They claim to be allies against terrorism, even as each side’s intelligence service conducts operations the other regards as hostile.”

7. Terry Moore: Why is ‘x’ the unknown?
TEDx | June 2012
“Why is ‘x’ the symbol for an unknown? In this short and funny talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer.”

8. An Interview with Eva Illouz
By Jessa Crispin | Bookslut | July 2012
“Haven’t you for years felt like you were being conned somehow in the realm of relationships?”

9. The Single Guy Juggling Five Girls in One Week
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | Feb. 28
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Single Guy Juggling Five Girls in One Week: 29, male, single, East Village, straight.”

10. Death of Sid Vicious
Witness :: BBC News | Feb. 2
“With his snarl and spikey hair, the Sex Pistols bassist, Sid Vicious, was the embodiment of punk rock.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. QUEIQU’UN M’A DIT (Someone Told Me) Carla Bruni
2. SPINNING Zero 7
3. SILVER LINING David Gray
4. LYING PEACEFULLY Pepe Deluxe
5. MISGUIDED ANGEL Cowboy Junkies
6. ALWAYS ON MY MIND Willie Nelson
7. STANDSTILL Hardkandy
8. THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE Thievery Corporation
9. NEVER THE SAME Supreme Beings of Leaisure
10. LEAN ON ME Sounds from the Ground

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

MLK’s image still evolves / The Greatest turns 70 / A ‘Titanic’ tragedy at sea? / Matching fingerprints / ‘Acting’ gay

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. If You’re Mad for ‘Downton,’ Publishers Have Reading List
By Julie Bosman | The New York Times | Jan. 11
“Publishers are convinced that viewers who obsessively tune in to follow the war-torn travails of an aristocratic family and its meddling but loyal servants are also literary types, likely to devour books on subjects the series touches.”

2. Ali still the Greatest as he celebrates 70th
By Tim Dahlberg | Associated Press | Jan. 15
“The voice that used to bellow that he was ‘The Greatest’ is largely muted now, save for those times in the mornings when he is able to whisper his thoughts.”

3. Cruise tragedy conjures memories of doomed Titanic
By Tamara Lush | Associated Press | Jan. 15
“Are such comparisons to a 100-year-old tragedy fair?”

4. GOP’s Latino problem gets worse
By Thomas Schaller | Salon | Jan. 11
“Romney’s Spanish-language TV ads can’t overcome the party’s poor reputation among Hispanics”

5. Q&A: Turkey’s military and the alleged coup plots
By Bridget Kendall | BBC News | Jan. 6
“The former head of the Turkish armed forces, Gen Ilker Basbug, has become the biggest casualty yet of a huge crackdown on alleged conspirators against the government which has brought hundreds of military and security officers to trial.”

6. Pakistan’s Slow-Motion Coup
By C. Christine Fair | Foreign Policy | Jan. 5
“Islamabad’s generals are out to destroy Pakistani democracy. Obama should try to stop them.”

7. Towering legend, flawed man? King’s image evolving
By Brett Zongker and Samantha Gross | Associated Press | Jan. 15
“On the National Mall in Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. is a towering, heroic figure carved in stone. On the Broadway stage, he’s a living, breathing man who chain smokes, sips liquor and occasionally curses. As Americans honor King’s memory 44 years after he was assassinated, the image of the slain civil rights leader is evolving.”

8. Match Making
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | May 2010
“Is a voice print as distinctive as a fingerprint, or have I just been watching too much ’24’?”

9. When Do Gay Kids Start ‘Acting Gay’?
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | September 2011
“Sometimes when they’re toddlers”

10. Weathermen radicals in the USA
Witness :: BBC News | March 2011
“In March 1970, three white middle-class revolutionaries from the Weatherman movement accidentally killed themselves at their New York safehouse.”

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

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Wiser Time — High Time Mind
2. Floyd Lee Band — Mean Blues
3. Eric Guitar Davis — Put Me Down
4. Pat Green — Wrapped
5. Rick Fowler — Back On My Good Foot
6. HoneyBoy Dupree — These Blues Is Killin’ Me
7. Jet — Are You Gonna Be My Girl
8. Electrofied — Put Your Hands In The Air
9. Delbert McClinton — Every Time I Roll The Dice
10. Rico Enriquez — Crossroadblues
11. Voodoo Snakes — Fire
12. Ernie Payne — Nothing Wrong With Texas
13. Los Lonely Boys — Polk Salad Annie
14. Los Lonely Boys — Evil Ways
*Outro song by Chris Duarte — Let’s Have A Party

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Obama’s recess / Angry people / A Taliban peace / Know yourself / Time’s passing

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. Obama and the definition of ‘recess’
By Joseph Williams | Politico | Jan. 2
“Since the holidays, GOP congressional leaders have used a handful of senators and a procedural technicality to keep their chamber active, gaveling in and out of session for a few minutes every two to three days. The strategy: Play keep-away with Obama’s power to fill confirmation-level jobs in their absence. ….”

2. Knowing How to Talk to Angry People is a Skill You Can Take to Any Job
By Megan McLachlan | Primer | January 2012
“There’s no getting away from them — dealing with pissed off people at work can be a daily occurrence. Learning to handle them correctly will not only make your life easier, it’ll get you ahead.”

3. Family of Six Thrown Off US Airways Flight for Trying to Fit into Just THREE Seats
The Flying Pinto | Jan. 1
“It’s articles like these that make me realize how misinformed the flying public really is.”

4. Afghan Taliban on Night Raids, New Explosives, the ISI, Peace
By Ron Moreau | Newsweek | December 2011
“Too bad the Taliban and their ISI backers have other ideas.”

5. Challenging Chavez
Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“When Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, took office in 1999 he was embraced by many who had felt excluded from the traditional political order. … Villca Fernandez is determined to speak out, regardless of the risks, even if that means sewing his lips together.”

6. Mixed Signals
By Sam Gosling | Psychology Today | December 2011
“You likely see yourself very differently from the way others see you. A little self-awareness can prevent a lot of misunderstanding.”

7. Worry More About Worrying Too Much
By David Ropeik | Big Think | December 2011
“Zebras don’t get ulcers because when they are under attack, they either run away, or get eaten. They don’t stay stressed. We get ulcers, and suffer a lot of other serious damage, because we do.”

8. Time’s Winged Arrow
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | April 2009
“As children, it seemed we had to wait an eternity to wait for something to happen. Now, the Sunday paper that just came is here once more. Why is it that as we age, time seems to race along?”

9. Hairy-Kiri
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“Do animals commit suicide?”

10. Bay of Pigs invasion
Witness :: BBC News | April 2011
“In April 1961 Cuban exiles, backed by the US government, tried to overthrow Fidel Castro. Boatloads of counter-revolutionaries stormed the beaches of a bay in Cuba. They soon ran out of ammunition, and without backup their mission failed. We hear from one of those exiles.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Less marriage / Buttercups’ secret / Facebook targets suicidal intent / Ongoing Iran war / Social media myths

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. Married couples at a record low
By Carol Morello | The Washington Post | Dec. 13
“Just 51 percent of all adults who are 18 and older are married, placing them on the brink of becoming a minority, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census statistics. …”

2. The Buck Stops Here: $1 Coins to Be Curtailed
By Jefrey Sparshott | The Wall Street Journal | Dec. 13
“More than 40% of the coins that are minted are returned to the government unwanted, the Treasury said. The rest apparently sit in vending machines — one of the few places they are widely used — or in the drawers of coin collectors.”

3. Secret to Buttercups’ Yellow Spotlight Revealed
By Wynne Parry | LiveScience | Dec. 13
“Children have long known that if you hold a little buttercup flower under your chin on a sunny day, the underside of your chin will be bathed in a yellow light.”

4. Hope in a Sea of Dictatorship
By Ahmed Rashid | NYR Blog :: The New York Review of Books | Dec. 13
“One of the uncomfortable results of Pakistan’s late November decision to close down US and NATO supply routes to Afghanistan is that it has forced Washington to rely more on the Central Asian countries that border Afghanistan to the north.”

5. Facebook offers counselling to suicidal users
By Emma Barnett | The Telegraph | Dec. 13
“Facebook has launched a new initiative which will allow those users with suicidal thoughts instant access to crisis counsellors via its instant messenger service.”

6. Iran war: Has it already begun?
By Noga Tarnopoisky | GlobalPost | Dec. 12
“Analysts say the war with Iran began years ago, and is now reaching its apex.”

7. Rives: A story of mixed emoticons
TED Talks | Feb. 2008
“Rives tells a typographical fairy tale that’s short and bittersweet ;)”

8. Five myths about social media
By Ramesh Srinivasan | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Sept. 15
Myth 1: “Social media gives power to the people”

9. Civil War women: Anna Surratt
Civil War Women Blog | Sept. 4
“Anna Surratt is remembered chiefly for her heartbreaking efforts to save her mother from being hanged by the U.S. government. After the guilty verdict, a tearful Anna tried to see President Andrew Johnson at the White House to plead for her mother’s life, but she was prevented from doing so.”

10. Waco siege
Witness :: BBC News | April 19
“In 1993, around 80 people died in the fire that ended the siege at the headquarters of a Christian cult in Waco, Texas.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Obama and TR … Afghanistan’s future … Flash drive lifespan … Voyager 1 flies on … ‘Acceptable’ GOP candidate.

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. Planning Afghanistan’s future beyond 2014
By Anne Gearan and Juergen Baetz | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“Pakistan is seen as crucial player in the region because of its links and influence on insurgent groups that are battling Afghan government and foreign troops and that sometimes use Pakistan as a base for their operations.”

2. Hidden mountains make up Antarctica’s true terrain
Short Sharp Science :: New Scientist | Dec. 5
“Antarctica is hiding something. It may look like a fairly flat, snow-covered wasteland, but the BEDMAP project has pulled back the ice sheet to reveal the mountainous bed topography of the continent underneath.”

3. Republicans See Gingrich, Romney as ‘Acceptable’ Nominees
By Frank Newport | Gallup.com | Dec. 5
“All other candidates seen as unacceptable by half or more of Republicans.”

4. Rooftop Films Gives Occupy Wall Street Its Own Film Series
By Felicia R. Lee | ArtsBeat :: The New York Times | Dec. 5
“Rooftop Films is a nonprofit best known for showing movies outdoors (hence the name). In a statement released on Monday, Dan Nuxoll, the program director for Rooftop, said the series was prompted by a public outpouring over the events surrounding Occupy Wall Street.”

5. Before Obama Invites Teddy Roosevelt Comparisons, Read TR’s Words
By Mark Memmott | The Two-Way :: NPR | Dec. 6
“Roosevelt’s speech — delivered after he had left the White House and as he was beginning a bid to return there on the Bull Moose Party ticket (he didn’t succeed) — has become known for his words about ‘the square deal.’ ”

6. Q&A: The Lifespan of a Flash Drive
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | July 19
“Q: Several years ago when I bought a flash drive, the clerk said it would retain info for five years. Is this true as a general rule for flash drives? Do they wear out?”

7. From the archive, 6 December 1933: Liquor legal again in the United States. Mr Roosevelt’s appeal last night
The Guardian | Dec. 6
“In this the President called on all citizens to co-operate with the Government in its efforts to restore a greater respect for law by confining purchases of alcoholic beverages to licensed dealers or agencies. ”

8. Barack Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt
By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jennifer Epstein | Politico | Dec. 6
“Just over a hundred years after the Bull Moose delivered his New Nationalism speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, Obama is scheduled to tout his own square deal — he’ll describe it as everyone getting a fair shot — there on Tuesday. The president will call for broader consumer protections and for the Senate to confirm his director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

9. The Future of Computing
Science :: The New York Times | Dec. 6
“This special issue takes a many-faceted look at a set of technologies that are changing the world in more ways than could ever have been foreseen.”

10. NASA spacecraft exploring solar system’s edge
By Alicia Chang | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“Voyager 1 still has a little way to go before it completely exits the solar system and becomes the first man-made probe to cross into interstellar space, or the vast space between stars.”