Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Al Pacino’s career / Denis Johnson / Remembering the Branch Davidians / W.E.B. Du Bois and America / Colin Powell on raising children

This week: Al Pacino’s career / Denis Johnson / Remembering the Branch Davidians / W.E.B. Du Bois and America / Colin Powell on raising children

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. Al Pacino on His Legendary Roles
By David Edelstein | Vulture | March 2018
“The actor discusses his first major New York retrospective.”

2. Astronomers get glimpse of dawn of universe 13.6 billion years ago
Associated Press | February 2018
“After the Big Bang, it was cold and black. And then there was light. Now, for the first time, astronomers have glimpsed that dawn of the universe 13.6 billion years ago when the earliest stars were turning on the light in the cosmic darkness.”

3. Lying Down in the Dirt
By Janet Steen | Longreads | February 2018
“An Interview with Denis Johnson”

4. The Ghosts of Mount Carmel
By Michael Hall | Texas Monthly | April 2003
“In the ten years since a devastating fire took the lives of 74 Davidians, a group of survivors has returned to the windswept plains east of Waco, like ghosts haunting the site of their former compound. A new church has been built at Mount Carmel, and inside, they listen to their leader preach the same apocalyptic doctrine, and they wait for David Koresh to return.”

5. 33 of the Weirdest Philip K. Dick Covers We Could Find
By Alicia Kroell | LitHub | March 2018
“Eyes, Brains, Babies, and Marilyn Monroe”

6. When W. E. B. Du Bois Was Un-American
By Andrew Lanham | Boston Review | January 2017
“Du Bois … fought furiously against persecution. He crisscrossed the country giving speeches, wrote passionately about his trial, and built a small but vigorous coalition that helped preserve social justice causes during a decade that tried desperately to strangle them.”

7. Trump’s Fantasies Meet the Harsh Reality of His Presidency
By Jeet Heer | The New Republic | February 2018
“He got rich by spinning a false narrative about himself. That strategy isn’t working in the White House.”

8. Kids need structure
By Colin Powell | TEDxMidAtlantic | October 2012
“How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children, starting before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.”

9. The Afterlife of Pablo Escobar
By Jon Anderson | The New Yorker | March 2018
“In Colombia, a drug lord’s posthumous celebrity brings profits and controversy.”

10. Slavery and the American University
By Alex Carp | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“From their very beginnings, the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Profiles of first ladies / Childfree and loving it / A boring mission to Mars / A Texas-made space telescope / Nixon’s love for Jews

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This week: Profiles of first ladies / Childfree and loving it / A boring mission to Mars / A Texas-made space telescope / Nixon’s love for Jews

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. The First Ladies
C-SPAN | 2013 and 2014
Watch the stunning and fascinating series about the women as intelligent, complex, canny, and noble (if not more so) than the presidents their husbands became.

2. The Choice To Be Childfree
On Point with Tom Ashbrook :: NPR | Aug. 23
“Childless by choice. We look at the trend of couples saying ‘no thanks’ to having kids.”

3. Dating Superman
By Seth Stevenson | Slate | May 2013
“The ultimate superpower would let you find, woo, and mate with the perfect person”

4. Olivia Wilde Takes Center Stage
By Emma Brown | Interview | Aug. 22
Drinking Buddies is Olivia Wilde’s first time carrying a film, but it is certainly not her last. With upcoming roles in everything from Rush to Spike Jonze’s Her and Paul Haggis’ Third Person, Wilde is the girl of the moment.”

5. Danger! This Mission to Mars Could Bore You to Death!
By Maggie Koerth-Baker | The New York Times Magazine | July 2013
“It would be catastrophic if humanity’s greatest voyage were brought low by the mind’s tendency to wander when left to its own devices. ”

6. Some Newly Uncovered Nixon Comments on the Subjects of Jews and Black People
By Elspeth Reeve | Atlantic Wire :: Atlantic Monthly | Aug. 21
“Richard Nixon was like many a Millennial (or middle-aged politician) who’s gotten busted for sending racy emails or sexts — even though he knew everything he was saying would be archived forever, he still said really inappropriate things.”

7. UT, A&M telescope to be 10 times sharper than Hubble
By Robert Stanton | Houston Chronicle | Aug. 21
“This Saturday, the third mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be cast inside a rotating furnace lab at the Steward Observatory in Tucson, Ariz. It’s the only facility in the world where mirrors this large are being made.”

8. Turkey’s Women Strike Back
The New York Review of Books | Aug. 19
“Just as some Turks have recognized for the first time that violence against the Kurds in the east is no different than the police violence they are now experiencing in the west, they are also becoming aware that state meddling in women’s lives means meddling in the lives of everyone.”

9. Not-so-empty nests: When adult children live at home
By Adriene Hill | Marketplace Life | May 2013
“There are more than 22 million adult children still living at home with their parents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

10. The End of Second Acts?
By Shadd Maruna and Charles Barber | The Wilson Quarterly | Spring 2013
“The mass warehousing of convicts is a sign of America’s faltering belief in second chances. Considering how individuals atone for their crimes can help us restore rehabilitation as an ideal.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Colin Powell reflects / Political advice from Cicero / A parent’s suicide / Camp David’s relaxed influence / Video frames

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. Colin Powell on the Bush Administration’s Iraq War Mistakes
By Colin Powell | Newsweek | May 13
“Colin Powell reflects on lessons from the battlefield to the halls of power — including the mistakes of the Iraq War, his infamous U.N. speech, and the crimes at Abu Ghraib. ”

2. The spirit of 1812
The Economist | May 19
“The [U.S. Navy] hopes to restore its prestige by celebrating a forgotten conflict”

3. Campaign Tips From Cicero
By Quintus Tullius Cicero and James Carville | Foreign Affairs | May/June 2012
“[T]he author clearly knew a lot about Roman politics in the first century BC, which turn out to have a distinctly familiar feel.”

4. When a Parent Commits Suicide: A Psychiatrist’s Advice
By Harold S. Koplewicz | The Daily Beast | May 18
“It’s the kind of death that’s doubly painful for children, who often need help handling conflicting and disturbing feelings. How to help the kids who are left behind.”

5. Robert Caro’s Tristram Shandy Moment
By Dean Robinson | The 6th Floor :: The New York Times | May 18
“Two hundred and fifty years ago, another writer — albeit a fictional one, trapped inside a novel — got similarly bogged down trying biographize his own self. ”

6. Camp David and Thurmont: A mountain shared, a world apart
By David Zak | The Washington Post | May 17
“Town officials are prepared for the worst, expecting the best, and will support citizens who want to exercise their constitutional rights by chanting in the general direction of a campground they can’t get within four miles of.”

7. Dickens, Browning and Lear: what’s in a reputation?
By Robert Crum | The Guardian | May 17
“The bicentenaries of three great Victorian writers underline the capricious nature of literary afterlives”

8. Q&A: Capturing a Video Frame
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | May 14
“How can I extract a single frame of the video and change it into a still picture?”

9. Rereading: Mildred Pierce by James M Cain
By Sarah Churchwell | The Guardian | June 24
“Todd Haynes has adapted Mildred Pierce, James M Cain’s novel about a divorced mother in the depression, as a sumptuous TV mini-series. But what has been gained and what lost in the process?”

10. The Greensboro Four
Witness :: BBC News | February 1
“On 1 February 1960, four young black men began a protest in Greensboro, North Carolina against the racial segregation of shops and restaurants in the US southern states.”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. CAN’T YOU HEAR ME KNOCKING The Rolling Stones
2. DEEP DARK TRUTHFUL MIRROR (Unplugged) Elvis Costello
3. A STROKE OF LUCK Garbage
4. GIMME SHELTER The Rolling Stones
5. FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST (Unplugged) Rod Stewart
6. HARD TO MAKE A STAND Sheryl Crow
7. MUSIC Madonna
8. WE CAN WORK IT OUT (Unplugged) Paul McCartney
9. SHE’S WAITING Eric Clapton
10. HEY JOE Jimi Hendrix

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Surprise Google street views / Man stays in motel with corpse / Spanking children / ‘Downton’ creator on the end / Obama’s secret army

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. U.S. Special Ops Forces Killed in African Spy Plane Crash
By Spencer Ackerman | Danger Room :: Wired | Feb. 20
“Four Air Force Special Operators on a spy mission over east Africa died when their U-28 plane crashed as it was returning to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. It’s another reminder of the hidden costs of the U.S.’ expanding shadow wars in Africa.”

2. The street views Google wasn’t expecting you to see — in pictures
The Guardian | Feb. 20
“Artist Jon Rafman’s photo project The Nine Eyes of Google Street View, named after the nine lenses mounted on a Google Street View car, collects the strange and beautiful images they capture by accident from around the world.”

3. Man Stayed In Motel Room With Girlfriend’s Corpse For 2 Days
The Huffington Post | Feb. 20
“A suburban Chicago man faces several felony charges after allegedly staying in a Joliet, Ill. motel room with his dead girlfriend’s corpse for two days — and buying alcohol with her money instead of immediately notifying authorities.”

4. US Interventions in the World since WWII
By Juan Cole | Informed Comment | Feb. 20
An interactive graphic explores the dozens of incidents since the Cold War began.

5. Spanking may worsen a child’s aggression
By Deborah Kotz | The Boston Globe | Feb. 13
“As the mother of two sons, I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to break up one of their physical fights with a smack on their bottoms. I’ve been able to hold myself back, and that’s likely a good thing. …”

6. Julian Fellowes Overcomes His Scruples and Looks Back at Season 2 of ‘Downton Abbey’
By Dave Itzkoff | ArtsBeat :: The New York Times | Feb. 19
“[He] spoke about the many story lines at play in Season 2; the American television series he is influenced by; and when, if ever, ‘Downton Abbey’ might come to a conclusion.”

7. WikiLeaks, a Postscript
By Bill Keller | The New York Times | Feb. 19
“It was a hell of a story and a wild collaboration, but it did not herald, as the documentarians yearn to believe, some new digital age of transparency. In fact, if there is a larger point, it is quite the contrary.”

8. In ‘Downton Abbey,’ a Glimpse of Texas’ Energy Future
By Terrence Henry | The Texas Tribune | Feb. 20
“While dealing with the intricacies and politics of inheritance, servile romance and afternoon tea, the characters of the show also have to adapt to a time of rapid innovation.”

9. Navy SEALs: Obama’s Secret Army
By Daniel Klaidman | The Daily Beast | Feb. 20
“At a time when many Americans think their government is inept, the ‘Special Operators’ get the job done. Just ask the President, who is doubling down on the Navy SEALs.”

10. Making History: Christopher Heaney
By Jen Eckel | Not Even Past | Feb. 7
“In the interview, Christopher tells us about how he stumbled upon Hiram Bingham, the subject of his undergraduate thesis and first book, and how he combined his love of archaeology and history to become a historian of Latin American history.”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. CHASE Jan Hammer
2. ONE MORE NIGHT Phil Collins
3. GOD MOVING OVER THE FACE OF THE WATERS Moby
4. THE TALK Jan Hammer
5. THE BOYS OF SUMMER Don Henley
6. VOICES Russ Ballard
7. DRIVE The Cars
8. YOU BELONG TO THE CITY Glenn Frey
9. EVAN Jan Hammer
10. DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER Crowded House

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Grinding teeth / Anglicans in Catholic Church / Islamic life in France / Spanking kids

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. Bloomberg Kissed Lady Gaga and the World Didn’t End
By Connor Simpson | The Atlantic Wire | Jan. 1
“New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated with drinks, Chinese food, noise makers and confetti and sealed with a kiss at midnight, but some celebrate differently, like by kissing Lady Gaga, clashing with the cops, burning cars in Hollywood and stripping on CNN. Welcome to 2012.”

2. Some Anglicans apply to join the Catholic Church
By Michelle Boostein | The Washington Post | December 2011
“The Vatican [was] set to launch a structure … that will allow Anglican parishes in the United States — and their married priests — to join the Catholic Church in a small but symbolically potent effort to reunite Protestants and Catholics, who split almost 500 years ago.”

3. Emily Dickinson
Civil War Women Blog | December 2011
“She was a deeply sensitive woman who explored her own spirituality, in poignant, deeply personal poetry, revealing her keen insight into the human condition.”

4. Muslims of France: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Al Jazeera World | December 2011
“Many Muslims would die for France during the First and Second World Wars, but did France recognise their sacrifices? How a generation of Muslims abandoned their parents’ dreams of returning home and began building their lives in France. What challenges face the young Muslims who grew up in France and entered adulthood at a time of economic crisis?”

5. Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself?
By Carlin Fiora | Psychology Today | December 2011
“To navigate the social universe, you need to know what others think of you — although the clearest view depends on how you see yourself.”

6. Will We One Day Stop Evolving?
By Michio Kaku | Big Think | October 2011
“Can evolution go on forever, or will we one day stop evolving?”

7. Beware of presidential nostalgia
By Fareed Zakaria | Global Public Square :: CNN | December 2011
“[W]e cannot really tell the quality of a leader judged from the noise of the present. We need time and perspective.”

8. Pro/Con: Spanking
By Jessica Pauline Ogilvie | Los Angeles Times | December 2011
“Pro: Studies show that spanking, properly utilized, can lead to well-adjusted children. Con: Spanking is harmful and can hinder kids later in life.”

9. The Nightly Grind
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2009
“Why do some people grind their teeth at night?”

10. Can an Airline Pilot Really ‘Make Up’ Time During a Flight?
By J. Bryan Lowder | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“Is it just a way of calming passengers?”