Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Texans we need to know about / The value of literary glory / Gender stereotypes endure / Trump’s 547 Twitter insults / Hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorist

This week: Texans we need to know about / The value of literary glory / Gender stereotypes endure / Trump’s 547 Twitter insults / Hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorist

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. 31 Texans Taking Charge
Texas Monthly | December 2018
“From gymnast Simone Biles and Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to political megadonor Tim Dunn, here are 31 Texans who are changing the way we think about politics, education, food, philanthropy, and, well, pretty much everything else.”

2. How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
By Emily Michot and Julie K. Brown | Miami Herald | November 2018
“Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, despite sexually abusing dozens of underage girls according to police and prosecutors. His victims have never had a voice, until now.”

3. Is Literary Glory Worth Chasing?
By Tim Parks | NYR Daily :: The New York Review of Books | November 2018
“Is writing worth it? Does it make any sense at all to pursue literary glory? Are the writers we praise really the best anyway?”

4. Outdated Gender Stereotypes Are ‘Very Much Alive’
Home School :: The Atlantic | November 2018
“[P]arents shouldn’t dictate gender roles to their children.”

5. The 547 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List
By Jasmine C. Lee and Kevin Quealy | The Upshot :: The New York Times | (As of November 21)
You can organize it alphabetically or chronologically.

6. Inside the Hunt for the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist
By John P. Carlin | Politico Magazine | November 2018
“How a British hacker joined ISIS’s top ranks and launched a deadly global cyber plot.”

7. In the Era of #MeToo, Men Don’t ‘Know’ About Predatory Men — but Women Do
By Libby Lenkinski | Los Angeles Review of Books | November 2018
“One of the revelations of the #MeToo moment is the broad understanding that every woman in our society has endured sexual violence in one way or another and all of us carry the effects of those traumas with us in various ways in our lives. This is compounded by the intersectional realities of our identities — women of color face a different layer of discrimination than white women, as do Native women, fat women, Latina women, Jewish women, Muslim women, trans women.”

8. The Pugnacious Outlaw Women Behind My Protagonist
By Katrina Carrasco | LitHub | November 2018
“From Hellcat Maggie to the Great Sandwina, eight women who defied their era”

9. Standish Meacham and Multiculturalism in the Public University
By Carson Wright | Not Even Past :: Department of History, UT Austin | November 2018
“In both facets of his academic life, Dr. Meacham was devoted to the building up of marginalized groups. An academic background in the humanities — in History — shaped Dr. Meacham’s view in a way that drove him to make a positive impact at the University of Texas.”

10. 16 in a refugee camp: Here’s what her days are like
By Masuma Ahuja | Girlhood Around the World :: The Lily | October 2018
“Her teenage years are unfolding in the limbo of a refugee camp — a settlement that is inherently meant to be an in-between place, not one where you can expect to build a life or a future — and in the backdrop of a conflict that forced her family to flee from Syria.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The myth of Robert E. Lee / The liberalism of Islam / Comey’s intellectual history / Trump’s credibility / Writing in a library

This week: The myth of Robert E. Lee / The liberalism of Islam / Comey’s intellectual history / Trump’s credibility / Writing in a library

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. The Myth of the Kindly General Lee
By Adam Serwer | The Atlantic | June 4
“Lee had beaten or ordered his own slaves to be beaten for the crime of wanting to be free, he fought for the preservation of slavery, his army kidnapped free blacks at gunpoint and made them unfree — but all of this, he insisted, had occurred only because of the great Christian love the South held for blacks.”

2. There Is No Better Place to Write than the Library
By Joe Kanon | Atria :: LitHub | June 8
“For over twenty years I have been writing in the New York Public Library — eight novels and a ninth underway — and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”

3. In defense of ‘The Skimm’
By Kaitlin Ugolik | Columbia Journalism Review | June 6
“Yes, the news is often complicated. Yes, we should encourage readers to pay attention for more than a few minutes each day. But when we imply that there is only one ‘right’ way to consume the news, or to be informed, we exclude people who don’t — or can’t — fit that mold.”

4. NASA Jobs: The Application, Selection Process For How To Become An Astronaut
By Nina Godlewski | International Business Times | June 7
“There’s no set schedule for how frequently NASA puts out a call for applicants. Since 2000 it has announced classes in 2004, 2009, 2013 and now 2017. … So if you’ve been dreaming of space, you may have to wait a few more years to get your next shot at the stars.”

5. James Comey’s Intellectual History
By Nicholas Schmidle | The New Yorker | June 7
“After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, in 1985, Comey clerked for Judge John Walker, Jr., George H. W. Bush’s cousin, in the Southern District of New York. Comey became a Republican. In public, however, he portrayed himself as nonpartisan.”

6. ‘The Leftovers,’ Life, Death, Einstein and Time Travel
By Maureen Ryan | Variety | May 2017
“‘The Leftovers’ is about quantum mechanics. Don’t let the sex cults and post-death karaoke distract you. It is essentially a showcase for physics.”

7. The 35 words you’re (probably) getting wrong
By Harold Evans | The Guardian | June 5
“Have you made a flagrant error, in confusing your alternative choices? The legendary Fleet Street editor Harold Evans proscribes this glossary to solve your language dilemmas”

8. AP FACT CHECK: Trump contradicts homeland security secretary
By Calvin Woodward and Jim Drinkard | Associated Press | June 5
“President Donald Trump can’t be counted on to give accurate information to Americans when violent acts are unfolding abroad.”

9. Trump’s dangerous delusions about Islam
By Christopher de Bellaigue | The Guardian | February 2017
“The president and his advisers paint Muslims as enemies of modernity. The neglected history of an age of Middle Eastern liberalism proves them wrong”

10. Governor Struggles to Lead as Texas Republicans Splinter Into Factions
By Manny Fernandez and David Montgomery | The New York Times | June 5
“Mr. Abbott is facing a fundamental question: How conservative is conservative enough for the governor of a state that defines the right in America as much as California defines the left?”

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

This week: Reviews of ‘True Detective’ and ‘OITNB’ / Tracking the Islamic State in the U.S. / Happy birthday to George H.W. Bush / Women try to understand ‘Goodfellas’ / New b/w photos of Paris

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This week: Reviews of ‘True Detective’ and ‘OITNB’ / Tracking the Islamic State in the U.S. / Happy birthday to George H.W. Bush / Women try to understand ‘Goodfellas’ / New b/w photos of Paris

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. ‘True Detective’ Season 2: TV Review
By Tim Goodman | The Hollywood Reporter | June 11
“Let’s just say it’s no season 1.”

2. ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Is Somehow Funnier and Sadder Than It’s Ever Been
By Richard Lawsom | Vanity Fair | June 11
“This season, bawdy pubic-hair gags bump up against jokes about economics and spiritualism, the grime of prison life allowing for visceral, intimate revulsion, but also serving as a kind of blank canvas for larger metaphor.”

3. ‘George H.W. Bush’
American Experience :: PBS | 2008
“The life and career of our 41st president, from his service in World War II and his early career in Texas to his days in the Oval Office, first as vice president to Ronald Reagan, then as the leader who presided over the first Gulf War. Drawing upon Bush’s personal diaries and interviews with his closest advisors and most prominent critics, the film also explores Bush’s role as the patriarch of a political family whose influence is unequaled in modern American life.”

4. Climate Hope City: how Minecraft can tell the story of climate change
By Keith Stuart | The Guardian | June 12
“As part of our Keep it in the Ground campaign, the Guardian has commissioned a Minecraft map exhibiting a city filled with real-world climate initiative”

5. Two Women Try Their Hardest To Understand ‘Goodfellas’
By Lauren Duca and Eric Whitney | The Huffington Post | June 11
“I immediately threw my Godfather Blu-ray box set in the trash of overflowing tissues; I clearly just watched those to fuel the anti-violence protest rallies I go to after Wednesday book club. What do we do? Do you want to bring over a couple pints and consult Carrie Bradshaw for advice? My whole world is changing.”

6. Serge Ramelli captures Paris in black and white
Architectural Digest | June 2015
“Serge Ramelli’s striking black-and-white photography of Paris is the subject of a forthcoming book from teNeues. Through Ramelli’s lens, the City of Light and its notable landmarks are rendered dark and moody.”

7. Visiting Presidential Libraries
By Nina Kendall | On the Road with the Histocrats | February 2015
“Are you looking to connect more with history? Are you planning a trip with friends or family who isn’t as excited about history as you? Consider adding a Presidential Library visit to your calendar.”

8. Busted
By Grace Na | Slate | June 11
“Why the women on Orange Is the New Black are serving time, one by one.”

9. Map: Is Islamic State in a neighborhood near you?
By Adam Goldman | WorldViews :: The Washington Post | June 11
“U.S. authorities have charged more than three dozen men and women around the country in connection with the Islamic State. Men outnumber women in those cases by a margin of nearly 5 to 1. The average age of the individuals — some have merely been charged, others have been convicted — is 26. One is a minor.”

10. D-Day Wasn’t the First Time Eisenhower Felt as if He Had Lost a Son
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | Jun 2014
“Almost a half-century later, Eisenhower called this ‘the greatest disappointment and disaster in my life, the one I have never been able to forget completely.’ “

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The French Revolution and the Terror / Cuba after Castro / The older genius / A new planet’s secrets / How Cheney remade the world

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This week: The French Revolution and the Terror / Cuba after Castro / The older genius / A new planet’s secrets / How Cheney remade the world

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 French Revolution’s reign of terror
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC Radio 4 | May 2005
“How did the French Revolution descend into such extremes of violence? Who or what drove The Terror? And was it really an aberration of the revolutionary cause or the moment when it truly expressed itself?”

2. Why should female characters have to ‘behave’?
By Barbara Ellen | SheSaid :: The Guardian | March 27
“Did people demand that Travis Bickle shut up and get back in his cab in ‘Taxi Driver’? Did anyone tell Jack Nicholson that Jack Torrance made all men look bad in ‘The Shining’?”

3. The Dangers of a Cuban Collapse
By Daniel Serwer | Politico Magazine | March 26
“It could happen sooner than we think. Is Obama ready?”

4. Late Bloomers
By Malcolm Gladwell | The New Yorker | 2008
“Why do we equate genius with precocity?”

5. Mammy Revealed, and Not Just Her Red Petticoat
By Julie Bosman | The New York Times | March 26
“‘Gone With the Wind’ Prequel Coming in October”

6. Dwarf planet discovery hints at a hidden Super Earth in solar system
By Ian Sample | The Guardian | March 26
“Though exciting in its own right, the discovery raises a more tantalising prospect for many astronomers: that a ‘Super Earth’ up to 10 times the mass of our planet orbits the sun at such a great distance that it has never been seen.”

7. He Remade Our World
By Mark Danner | The New York Review of Books | April 3
“Cheney believed in a ‘unitary executive,’ believed quite literally that ‘the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.’ ”

8. Could a tsunami such as the one that affected the Indian Ocean [in 2004] happen in the United States?
Can It Happen Here? :: U.S. Geological Survey | 2014
“We outline the sources of data that can help answer the question, and then indicate when and how large tsunamis have been for specific regions of the U.S.”

9. Unraveling the mystery of Vivian Maier, one of America’s great street photographers
By Kristin Hohenadel | The Eye :: Slate | March 24
“Maier was intensely private, socially awkward, estranged from family, a loner; even those who shared the same roof with her seemed merely to observe the eccentric woman who insisted on locking her bedroom door and fiercely guarding her boxes of worldly possessions, without ever knowing exactly who she was.”

10. Ankara: ‘Israel to compensate Turkey’ over flotilla raid
Al-Arabiya | March 25
“The May 2010 Israeli assault on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara while it was in international waters on its way to Gaza triggered a severe diplomatic crisis between the two countries.”

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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. Band Of Heathens — Jenny Was A Keeper
2. Dr.Wu — Nothing Like Texas
3. The Arc Angles — Good Time
4. Albert Collins — Iceman
5. Rory Gallagher — Loanshark Blues
6. Red Hot Blues Sisters — Ocean Beach
7. The Fabulous Thunderbirds — Got To Get Out
8. Mick Hayes Band — Maria
9. Robin Trower — 21st Century Blues
10. Cross Canadian Ragweed — Boys From Oklahoma
11. Jimmy Thackery — Empty Arms Motel
12. The Blue Dogs — Make My Way
13. Devon Allman — Midnight Rider

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Snowflake secrets / Shirttail tips / Touch your true self / Viagra in a condom / 1998 embassy bombings

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. An expert’s take on snowflakes
By Amina Khan | Los Angles Times | Dec. 23
“Each one is different, but Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht explains why there’s even more variety than we might imagine.”

2. Style Q&A: How Long Should the Front be of an Untucked Button Up Shirt?
By Grant Harris | The Primer | December 2011
“The most versatile button up shirt can be worn both tucked in and untucked. But with different lengths and cuts, it can be hard to tell if a shirt fits untucked.”

3. The Four I’s
By Jeremy Sherman | Psychology Today | September 2010
“The idea of getting in touch with one’s true self has become a joke, mostly because people who pledged to do so back in the 1980s were too earnest, and, well, out of touch.”

4. Ranked: Every Saturday Night Live Cast Member Ever, From Worst to Best
By Phil Nugent | Nerve | Dec. 19
“A highly scientific survey that will surely lead to no disagreements.”

5. Durex’s new ‘Viagra in a condom’ helps put lead in your pencil
By Jeff Mills | Nerve | Dec. 8
“The gel, or ‘erectogenic compound,’ from U.K. drugmaker Futura, is based on the chemical nitroglycerin, and boosts blood flow in the penis (and hopefully bedroom spirits).”

6. Will China Dominate Solar Power Forever?
Big Think | Dec. 21
“China’s ability to scale solar power production, thanks to enormous factories and a streamlined process of approving their construction, has made it the world’s leading producer.”

7. A Charley Horse in Bed
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | June 2009
“Why does one get muscle cramps while sleeping or resting?”

8. Can You Get a Good Night’s Rest in Your Airplane Seat?
By Forrest Wickman | Explainer :: Slate | Nov. 23
“The science of sit-sleep”

9. The Polyamorous Transman Getting It On to the Glee Soundtrack
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | March 14
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Polyamorous Transman Getting It On to the Glee Soundtrack: transman, 26, performance poet, Prospect Heights, in a polyamorous relationship with a primary partner.”

10. Al-Qaeda 1998 Embassy Bombings in Africa
Witness :: BBC News | May 3
“We remember the day in 1998 when al-Qaeda bombed America’s embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and hear the harrowing testimony of a man who was blinded for life in one of the blasts.”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. PROTECTION Massive Attack
2. SLIP INTO SOMETHING MORE COMFORTABLE Kinobe
3. THE SWEETEST TABOO Sade
4. GOOD ENOUGH (The Freedom Sessions) Sarah McLachlan
5. CLIMBING UP THE WALLS Radiohead
6. ELSEWHERE Sarah McLachlan
7. ONLY LOVE Chris Coco
8. FEVER Peggy Lee
9. THE LOOK OF LOVE Susanna Hoffs
10. LOVER (Darkhorse remix) Sr Mandril

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

A new Canary island … Scorsese’s best … al-Qaida in Africa … Bachmann’s journey … Girl gangs

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. Canary Island volcano: A new island in the making?
By Rob Hugh-Jones | The World and BBC News | Dec. 3
“An undersea volcano erupting just south of Spain’s Canary Islands may be the beginnings of a new island, or an extension to an existing one. For some, it’s a colourful spectacle — for others a major blow to their livelihood.”

2. Martin Scorsese’s greatest movies
By Matt Zoller Seitz | Salon | Dec. 3
“‘Raging Bull’s’ a contender, and ‘Taxi Driver.’ Which other films round out the iconic director’s best?”

3. Dreaming May Help Relieve a Bad Day
My HealthNewsDaily | Nov. 23
“The results show that during nighttime dreaming, also known as REM sleep, the brain processes emotional experiences in a ‘safe’ environment, or one in which stress chemicals are low. This processing may take the emotional edge off of difficult memories, the researchers said.”

4. Candy, cash — al-Qaida implants itself in Africa
By Rukmini Callimachi and Martin Vogl | Associated Press | Dec. 4
“The terrorist group has create a refuge in this remote land through a strategy of winning hearts and minds, described in rare detail by seven locals in regular contact with the cell.”

5. Bachmann, from Waterloo to White House contender
By Adam Geller | Associated Press | Dec. 3
“The choreographed repetition of modern presidential campaigns can turn the most personable candidate into an endless loop of talking points. But any close observer of Bachmann’s political career would be hard-pressed to dismiss her as two-dimensional.”

6. Plastic Bag Bans Spreading Across The United States
By Jordan Howard | The Huffington Post | Dec. 1
“Four cities in Oregon — Eugene, Corvallis, Newport and Ashland — are considering banning plastic bags at retail stores. The towns would join at least 10 other U.S. cities and counties that have prohibited plastic bags since 2008.”

7. Interesting readers, as well as writers
By Sarah Sweeney | Harvard Gazette | Dec. 1
“Book focuses on leading authors and the books they love”

8. Chelsea Clinton, Living Up to the Family Name
By Amy Chozick | The New York Times | Dec. 3
“Her move to television was a career shift she initiated, having her close advisers arrange interviews with top network executives and at one point working with the powerful Creative Artists Agency.”

9. Which Faulkner Novels Should HBO Adapt?
By David Haglund | Browbeat :: Slate | Dec. 2
“Clearly this is a question for true Faulkner aficionados, so I posed it to a handful of writers who know his work intimately—starting with a novelist who’s no slouch himself when it comes to literary adaptations.”

10. Rise of the girl gangs
By Brad Hamilton | The New York Post | Dec. 3
“As ‘crews’ proliferate in New York’s housing projects, officials worry about the increasing brutality of all-female wolfpacks”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY Donna Summer
2. POSSESSION Sarah McLachlan
3. ELSEWHERE (The Freedom Sessions) Sarah McLachlan
4. EROTICA Madonna
5. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS Foreigner
6. WAIT (The Whisper Song) Ying Yang Twins
7. KILOMETER Sebastien Tellier
8. THE ORBITING SUNS Jens Gad
9. PUNCH DRUNK Sade
10. LINGER The Cranberries