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.”

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

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

Postal cuts … Huge black holes … The classic Marine Corps … Dems and religious voters … Secrets of Roman buildings.

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. Web an increasing tool to link campaigns, voters
By Beth Fouhy | Associated Press | Dec. 3
“Online advertising, once used primarily as a way to reach young and heavily wired consumers, has emerged as an essential communications tool in the 2012 presidential contest.”

2. Postal cuts to slow delivery of first-class mail
By Hope Yen | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“The changes … could slow everything from check payments to Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities.”

3. Study: Lawn care industry large source of income for Latinos
By Renee Saldana | NewsTaco | Dec. 5
“The authors do point out that the percentage of Latino-owned landscaping and lawn care industry is double the national average. …”

4. Literature of moment not a signal of decline
By T.R. Fehrenbach | San Antonio Express-News | Dec. 5
“From ‘Iliad’ to today’s vampires, they brighten our lives.”

5. Scientists find monster black holes, biggest yet
By Marcia Dunn | Associated Press | Dec. 5
“A team led by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the two gigantic black holes in clusters of elliptical galaxies more than 300 million light years away. That’s relatively close on the galactic scale.”

6. Q&A: Radio Over Wi-Fi Airwaves
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 28
“Q: I want a small device that will allow me to listen to the BBC Radio 4’s live stream. … I could use my laptop but then I’d have to keep plugging and unplugging it into the peripherals. … Is there another way?”

7. Postwar Marines: smaller, less focused on land war
By Robert Burns | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“This moment of change happens to coincide with a reorienting of American security priorities to the Asia-Pacific region, where China has been building military muscle during a decade of U.S. preoccupation in the greater Middle East. That suits the Marines, who see the Pacific as a home away from home.”

8. Democrats see opening among religious voters in 2012 election
By Josh Lederman | The Hill | Dec. 4
“Democrats are setting out to court faith-based voters by connecting their policies on economic issues to the values of equality, tolerance and humanitarianism.”

9. The Secrets of Ancient Rome’s Buildings
By Erin Wayman | Smithsonian | Nov. 16
“What is it about Roman concrete that keeps the Pantheon and the Colosseum still standing?”

10. The fresh ideas that can help save our world
By Yvonne Roberts | The Guardian | Dec. 3
“Climate change, ageing, joblessness, a healthcare crisis: tomorrow is a tangle of problems. The solution may lie not in politics, but in a ‘social innovation’ movement that is generating groundbreaking ideas”