Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The biblical view of Beyonce / Stephen King looks back / How writers build new worlds / Young Jean Lee takes on Broadway / Reading the classics

This week: The biblical view of Beyonce / Stephen King looks back / How writers build new worlds / Young Jean Lee takes on Broadway / Reading the classics

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. Beyoncé and the Bible
By Sonia Paul | PRI :: Studio 360 | July 2018
“Yolanda Norton, an assistant professor of Old Testament at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, just taught a course called ‘Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible.’ In the course students learned what Beyoncé can teach us about the Bible, and what the Bible can teach us about Beyoncé.”

2. Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor
By Mark Hertling and Molly K. McKew | Politico Magazine | July 2018
“Make no mistake: Hacking the 2016 election was an act of war. It’s time we responded accordingly.”

3. How to Make This the Summer of Missing Out
By Hayley Phelan | The New York Times | July 2018
“What’s happening Who cares. Meet JOMO, FOMO’s benevolent younger cousin.”

4. Why Read the Classics
By Italo Calvino | The New York Review of Books | October 1986
“There should therefore be a time in adult life devoted to revisiting the most important books of our youth. Even if the books have remained the same (though they do change, in the light of an altered historical perspective), we have most certainly changed, and our encounter will be an entirely new thing.”

5. Goldfinger and the myth of a Bond girl’s death
By Christian Blauvelt | BBC Culture | July 2018
“Many think Goldfinger actress Shirley Eaton died during filming after being painted gold. But is this true In the first episode of Debunked, Christian Blauvelt takes a look.”

6. Young Jean Lee’s Unsafe Spaces
By Parul Sehgal | The New York Times Magazine | July 2018
“The first female Asian-American playwright on Broadway takes aim at identity and watches the audience squirm.”

7. Chaos from order
By John R. Allen | Brookings | July 2018
“In my 45-year career as a national security professional and Marine Corps General serving my country, I have never seen a moment like the one we are in now.”

8. The generation that grew up on Stephen King is taking him back
By Randall Colburn | The Outline | July 2018
“The author is going through a cinematic renaissance, thanks to directors who grew up as fans.”

9. Journalism in the Age of Trump: What’s Missing and What Matters
By Michael Massing | The Nation | July 2018
“Has the preoccupation with the president pushed aside other urgent stories”

10. From Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, How to Build a World
By A.D. Jameson | LitHub | May 2018
“The Art of Making the Imaginary Seem Real”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Adam Driver on acting / 2017’s best books / Lessons from 2017 film disasters / A new vision for UTSA DTC / Putin’s real desire

This week: Adam Driver on acting / 2017’s best books / Lessons from 2017 film disasters / A new vision for UTSA DTC / Putin’s real desire

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. Adam Driver: ‘Compared with the military, acting isn’t that difficult’
By Emma Brockes | The Guardian | December 2017
“The Star Wars actor on leaving the Marines, filming nude scenes with Lena Dunham and getting in touch with his dark side”

2. The year in journalism: The big players, best feuds, and more
By Peter Vernon | Columbia Journalism Review | December 2017
“A guide to what happened in the mediaverse in 2017”

3. Past Debates Echo in Split Between Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates
By John Eligon | The New York Times | December 2017
“Malcolm X was more open to using violence as a form of self-defense than Dr. King, even though their beliefs were more nuanced and overlapping than the popular perception. Whereas Du Bois pushed for an expansion of civil rights, Washington was more compromising, urging black people to look within … in order to minimize the terror they faced.”

4. 100 Notable Books of 2017
The New York Times Book Review | November 2017
The year’s best fiction, poetry, and non-fiction works.
From the Guardian: Best books of 2017
From Lit Hub: The 64 Best Book Covers of 2017 and The Best Reviewed Books of 2017 — History & Politics

5. 2017: the sequel … seven lessons for Hollywood after summer’s disasters
By Mark Sweney | The Guardian | December 2017
“Traditional box-office wisdom has been overturned — but new audiences are starting to emerge”

6. Three Months In, New UTSA President Lays Out Vision For Downtown Campus
By Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio | December 2017
“The idea is to make the downtown a destination, while increasing enrollment on the downtown campus. UTSA’s current enrollment on the downtown campus is about 4,000 out of a total enrollment of about 30,000.”

7. What Putin Really Wants
By Julia Ioffe | The Atlantic | January/February 2018
“Russia’s strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius. He’s really just a gambler who won big.”

8. The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook
By Josh Meyer | Politico | December 2017
“An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.”

9. American Sounds
By Heather Radke | The Paris Review | July 2017
“On the old, weird days of National Public Radio”

10. How to Be a Writer on Social Media
LitHub | July 2017
“[W]e asked the opinions of four authors whose social media prowess we admire: Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, Adam Grant and Alexander Chee.”

Videos I Love: The ‘Last Jedi’ teaser is here

I’m trying to breathe and not have a joy-induced heart attack, so I won’t add much more to this one.

I’m occasionally sharing some thoughts on a few videos that make me smile, make me think, or preferably do both. Read more from this special series here.

I’m trying to breathe and not have a joy-induced heart attack, so I won’t add much more to this one. Just watch and enjoy.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Trump’s inaugural lineup / Familiar faces in ‘Rogue One’ / How to cover a terrorist attack / David Bowie’s final year / Christmas and Confederate widows

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This week: Trump’s inaugural lineup / Familiar faces in ‘Rogue One’ / How to cover a terrorist attack / David Bowie’s final year / Christmas and Confederate widows

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. Trump’s inaugural parade lineup announced
By Nolan D. McCaskill | Forty Five :: Politico | Dec. 30
“The Jan. 20 parade will follow the swearing-in ceremony of [President-elect Donald] Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The committee characterized the list as an ‘initial’ version of groups that have accepted an invitation thus far.”

2. How ‘Rogue One’ Brought Back Familiar Faces
By David Itzkoff | The New York Times | Dec. 27
“Warning: This article contains spoilers about ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.’ ”

3. DC restaurant won’t put Trump in presidential mural
By Nikita Vladimirov | The Briefing Room :: The Hill | Dec. 29
“The mural features the founder of the restaurant, ‘Mama’ Ayesha Abraham, standing alongside 11 presidents, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama.”

4. Covering a potential terrorist attack? Keep these things in mind
By Nausicaa Renner | Columbia Journalism Report | September 2016
“Terrorism relies on the spread of fear, so any publicity — from journalists or otherwise — threatens to play into its aims. The ability of terrorists to disseminate information and recruit has only gotten more powerful with the rise of social media. [T]he Tow Center for Digital Journalism [recently] published three reports on how journalism should cover terrorism.”

5. 5 ways to make the populist-Republican coalition government work
By Richard V. Reeves | The Brookings Institution :: Forbes | Dec. 19
“Trump does not have the same political agenda as the Republican Party in Congress, to the extent, that is, that he has an agenda at all. He won the party’s nomination, but is almost entirely independent of the party’s machine, history and personal networks. Trump didn’t climb up the party floor by floor. He simply took the penthouse suite.”

6. David Bowie’s Final, Imaginative, Awesome Year
By Bruce Handy | The Hollywood Reporter | Dec. 20
“As the anniversary of his death approaches, collaborators on the music icon’s off-Broadway show ‘Lazarus’ share accounts of a cancer-stricken artist productive and engaged until the end.”

7. Syria Will Stain Obama’s Legacy Forever
By David Greenberg | Foreign Policy | Dec. 29
“The arc of history is long, but it won’t ever judge the president’s Syria policy kindly.”

8. A reflection on Barack Obama’s presidency
The Economist | Dec. 24
“From the ruins of Syria to the barricades in Congress and America’s oldest wounds, sometimes nothing has been the best he could do. Sometimes it was all he could do. The possibilities seem shrunken. After its collision with history, so might hope itself.”

9. Christmas Mourning, Confederate Widows, and the Aftermath of the Civil War
By Angela Esco | Muster :: Journal of the Civil War Era | Dec. 20
“Approximately 750,000 men died in the war. We know this number, know that it earns the distinction of being the bloodiest American war, but often we do not think about what this number meant, in terms of families changed, sons killed, women wearing black, buildings draped in crepe.”

10. Harry Truman, Five-Card Stud and the Cold War
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | September 2014
“Harry Truman was the president most publicly identified with poker, which seemed natural for a product of the Kansas City political machine led by the back-room Democratic boss Tom Pendergast.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

‘The Force Awakens’ (of course) / A highway marriage proposal / ‘Thriller’ makes history / Confessions of a cartel killer / Trump’s unpleasant talents

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This week: ‘The Force Awakens’ (of course) / A highway marriage proposal / ‘Thriller’ makes history / Confessions of a cartel killer / Trump’s unpleasant talents

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. Trump, Master of the Seven Deadly Sins
By Michael D’Antonio | Politico Magazine | Dec. 16
“How the GOP leader has succeeded for 40 years by bringing out the worst in people.”

2. Libya’s cultural heritage ‘being destroyed and plundered by Isis’
Associated Press :: The Guardian | Dec. 15
“Museums and UN say ancient artefacts and artwork are in danger of obliteration or being looted and sold illegally”

3. A Houston Marriage Proposal Stops Traffic
By Katie Rogers | The New York Times | Dec. 16
“Drivers did not give them more than a few seconds to celebrate. As the ecstatic couple hugged, the blare of car horns could be heard as people in trucks and S.U.V.s began to drive around the couple and their entourage, who were also recording.”

4. Alter Your Reading… Alternate History Picks Sure to Make You Wonder
By Billy Gschlecht | Bibliofile :: New York Public Library | Nov. 5
“Alternate history is an interesting and imaginative look at what might have been, sometimes for the better or worse, but certainly always different.”

5. Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ sets new sales record
By Anthony McCartney | Associated Press | Dec. 16
“The album has sold 30 million copies in the United States, making Jackson the first artist to attain 30-time multiplatinum status …”

6. ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Top Gun,’ ‘L.A. Confidential’ Among 2015 National Film Registry Selections
Variety | Dec. 16
“Each year, the Library of Congress adds 25 notable films to its permanent collection, ensuring that the titles will be preserved for generations to come.”

7. 30 lives extinguished, but no regrets: A killer’s story
By E. Eduardo Castillo | Associated Press | Dec. 15
“This is a story from the other side, the tale of a man who kidnaps, tortures and kills for a drug cartel. His story is the mirror image of those recounted by survivors and victims’ families, and seems to confirm their worst fears: Many, if not most, of the disappeared likely are never coming home.”

8. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: The fanboy dissection of a film that restores faith
By Michael Cavna and David Betancourt | Comic Riffs :: The Washington Post | Dec. 16
“With John Williams’s soaring score still ringing in our ears, and the uplift of this soon-to-be globally embraced film still dizzying our senses, here is Comic Riffs’ fanboy dissection of the Star Wars franchise reawakened …”

9. Revisiting ‘Star Wars’ Before ‘The Force Awakens’
Here & Now :: NPR | Dec. 14
“That was back in the day when the first Apple II computers went on sale and Space Mountain was opening at Disneyland.”

10. When T.R. Saw Lincoln
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | May 2014
“For Theodore Roosevelt’s family, Lincoln’s cortege was no abstract public ceremony. “

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: ‘Force Awakens’ trailer sets record / Obama and the Charleston shooting / What ‘Back to the Future II’ correctly anticipated / Rachel Dolezal’s hair / Drunk Nixon during a Mideast crisis

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This week: ‘Force Awakens’ trailer sets record / Obama and the Charleston shooting / What ‘Back to the Future II’ correctly anticipated / Rachel Dolezal’s hair / Drunk Nixon during a Mideast crisis

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. After Charleston Shooting, a Sense at the White House of Horror, Loss and Resolve
By Peter Baker | The New York Times | June 18
“After a series of police shootings, protests and riots, this latest eruption of violence reflected a country on edge and a president struggling to pull the American people together. Any hopes of what supporters once called a ‘postracial’ era now seem fanciful as Mr. Obama’s second term increasingly focuses on what he termed ‘a dark part of our history.’ ”

2. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ second trailer sets YouTube world record
NewsBeat :: BBC News | June 18
“Guinness World Records says the clip, released in April, was watched more than 30 million views in a day.”

3. How ‘Back to the Future II’ Got 2015 Surprisingly Right
By Caseen Gaines | Vanity Fair | June 18
“In Hill Valley’s future, cosmetic surgery has become easy and commonplace. Doc Brown’s face is made more youthful by visiting a ‘rejuvenation clinic,’ and careful observers will notice the presence of Bottoms Up, a breast-enhancement company, which advertises on the McFly television and can be seen in the background of some future scenes.”

4. Crash Course Astronomy: Comets
By Phil Plait | Bad Astronomy :: Slate | June 19
“They used to be considered omens, but when you cast aside superstition what you find are endlessly amazing and fascinating examples of nature at its best.”

5. Engineering Map of America
American Experience :: PBS | June 2015
“Dozens of museums, institutions and PBS stations have partnered with American Experience to bring you archival images, documents and videos related to America’s engineering history.”

6. The blackest thing about Rachel Dolezal is her thousand-dollar hair
By Tashara Jones | New York Post | June 16
“How on Earth does she get her white hair to behave like black hair? And, perhaps more importantly, how much does it cost?”

7. That Time the Middle East Exploded — and Nixon Was Drunk
By Tim Weiner | Politico Magazine | June 15
“All agreed that what the Soviets proposed in the Middle East was a potential disaster. If U.S. and Soviet soldiers started landing in the middle of the battle, each side standing with its allies, it could look like the opening day of World War III.”

8. Hillary’s Sixties Surge
By Gail Sheehy | Politico Magazine | June 14
“It’s take a career in the spotlight, but Hillary Clinton finally seems to be comfortable with her age and her gender.”

9. Beyond Caitlyn Jenner Lies a Long Struggle by Transgender People
By Clyde Haberman | Retro Report :: The New York Times | June 14
“A survey of 4,509 Americans adults conducted in late 2013 by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 65 percent had close friends or relatives who were gay or lesbian. Transgender? Only 9 percent. Even so, awareness of transgender people and their issues is clearly growing, and not just because of Ms. Jenner.”

10. After Pearl Harbor, F.D.R. Showed Confidence That U.S. Would Exist in 1956
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | May 2014
“This letter was Roosevelt’s testament that 15 years hence, there would be a United States, and it would have a president, not some Japanese or Nazi viceroy.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Bin Laden’s private life / The ‘sea monster’ / ‘Star Wars’ dead / A billion stars photographed / Thin women

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. Osama bin Laden lived in 5 safe houses, fathered 4 children
Associated Press | March 30
“The details of bin Laden’s life as a fugitive in Pakistan are contained in the interrogation report of Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, bin Laden’s 30-year-old Yemeni widow.”

2. Unemployment rates fall in 29 US states
By Christopher S. Rugaber | Associated Press | March 30
“Ohio, Texas and New York reported the biggest job gains.”

3. Towns People Realize ‘Sea Monster’ Is Actually a Big, Rotten Fish
By Maureen O’Connor | Gawker | March 30
It was just a sturgeon.

4. George Lucas: ‘Star Wars’ is dead
TMZ | March 29
“The Jedi Master’s master was leaving Toast in L.A. yesterday when we asked when he was finally going to release the long-awaited 7th, 8th and 9th installments of the greatest space saga of all time.”

5. Spotify Decides to Let Us Freely Stream Whatever We Want for a While Longer
By Adrian Covert | Gizmodo | March 29
“The company decided to extend free and unlimited streaming for everyone. How long the company won’t say, but if you’ve been holding off on paying for the service, you can breathe easy for a bit.”

6. The Pill Makes Women Richer
By Kate Sheppard | Mother Jones | March 28
“Widespread availability of oral contraception … has played a major role in closing the gender wage gap since the 1980s, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

7. This Undulating US Wind Map Is Utterly Hypnotic
By Andrew Tarantola | Gizmodo | March 29
“Appropriately dubbed “Wind Map,” it graphically displays barometric data — specifically surface wind speeds — collected from the from the National Digital Forecast Database.”

8. Mob trial gets reel with stunt out of ‘The Godfather: Part II’
By Mitchel Maddux and Dan Mangan | The New York Post | March 29
“In a scene straight out of “The Godfather: Part II,” a Mafia rat on the witness stand yesterday watched his brother walk into a Brooklyn courtroom — and sit with the family of the mobster he was testifying against.”

9. Picture captures a billion stars
By Jonathan Amos | BBC News | March 29
“Scientists have produced a colossal picture of our Milky Way Galaxy, to reveal the detail of a billion stars.”

10. Are thin women the enemy?
By Kate Dailey | BBC News Magazine | March 22
“From super-skinny celebrities to models with low BMI, people are speaking out about women they perceive to be too thin. But some experts worry this behaviour makes things worse.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

On wrong side of border fence / Texas redistricting’s cost / Mexican’s housewives wrestle / Contractors deal with Afghan risks / Orgasm rooted in the mind

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. Texans on wrong side of border fence grow anxious
By Christopher Sherman | Associated Press | Feb. 11
“In this lush area, the Rio Grande’s wide floodplain precluded building the fence right on the border so it was set back more than a mile in places, running behind the levees. The result is a no-man’s-land of hundreds of properties, and the people who work on them, on the wrong side of the divide.”

2. Slow Redistricting Lowers Clout of Texas Voters
By Ross Ramsey | The Texas Tribune | Feb. 10
“In a parallel political universe — one in which redistricting maps were in place and elections were on schedule — Texas would be getting national attention right now.”

3. The Mystery of the Millionaire Metaphysician
By James Ryerson | Slate | Feb. 10
“In the July/August 2001 issue of the late, great magazine ‘Lingua Franca,’ James Ryerson published an enthralling article about an anonymous benefactor who was paying professors huge sums of money to review a strange 60-page philosophical manuscript.”

4. Mexican Housewives Wrestling. Seriously.
The Huffington Post | Feb. 11
“Sometimes you just don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

5. Risks of Afghan War Shift From Soldiers to Contractors
By Rod Nordland | The New York Times | Feb. 11
“This is a war where traditional military jobs, from mess hall cooks to base guards and convoy drivers, have increasingly been shifted to the private sector. ”

6. Orgasm: It’s All In Your Head
By Kayt Sukel | Dirty Minds :: Psychology Today | Feb. 11
“That’s right, we can orgasm without a single physical touch. All thanks to our brains.”

7. We Don’t Care What You Say, George: Han Shot First!
By Matt Blum | GeekDad :: Wired | Feb. 10
“Yes, Lucas is actually claiming that he only changed the appearance, not what actually happened, in the Han-shoots-Greedo scene in Mos Eisley in the (real) first film.”

8. Everything You Need to Survive Losing Your Laptop
By Kyle Wagner | Gizmodo | Feb. 10
“I’ve learned enough about the hell that that puts you through to have some advice if you end up unexpectedly computerless.”

9. Clint Eastwood helps reveal secrets of brain evolution
By Lisa Grossman | The New Scientist | Feb. 5
“It turns out that brain regions that do the same job in monkeys and humans aren’t always found in the same part of the skull.”

10. Archaeologists strike gold in quest to find Queen of Sheba’s wealth
By Dalya Alberge | The Guardian | Feb. 11
“A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba derived her fabled treasures”

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

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. BAD TO THE BONE George Thorogood and the Destroyers
2. STILLNESS OF HEART Lenny Kravitz
3. GREEN RIVER Creedance Clearwater Revival
4. I NEED A MAN TO LOVE Janis Joplin
5. SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE Cream
6. THREE MORE DAYS Ray MaMontagne
7. T.B. SHEETS Van Morrison
8. MANSION ON THE HILL (Live) Bruce Springsteen
9. I BELONG TO YOU Lenny Kravitz
10. LAKE OF FIRE (Unplugged) Nirvana