Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: FEMA and Hurricane Maria / Dear Abby and #MeToo / Learn to be happy at Yale / Understanding Sarah Huckabee Sanders / Summer books, movies, and TV

This week: FEMA and Hurricane Maria / Dear Abby and #MeToo / Learn to be happy at Yale / Understanding Sarah Huckabee Sanders / Summer books, movies, and TV

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. FEMA Was Sorely Unprepared for Puerto Rico Hurricane, Report Says
By Francis Robles | The New York Times | July 2018
“The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plans for a crisis in Puerto Rico were based on a focused disaster like a tsunami, not a major hurricane devastating the whole island. The agency vastly underestimated how much food and fresh water it would need, and how hard it would be to get additional supplies to the island.”

2. Plane Bae Teaches Us That Other People’s Lives Are Not a Movie for Us to Watch
By Dan Solomon | Texas Monthly | July 2018
“How a chance encounter on a flight to Dallas turned into an internet sensation, and why it shouldn’t happen again.”

3. Dear Abby, #MeToo
By Jessica Weisberg | The New York Times | April 2018
“[#MeToo] created room for the sort of discussions that once were restricted to, essentially, just one type of public space: advice columns. For decades, the columns were where women with creepy bosses or abusive husbands went to air their grievances.”

4. At Yale, you can take a course on being happy
By Billy Baker | The Boston Globe | April 2018
“The success of the class has been unprecedented. So many students signed up that the meeting space had to be moved to Woolsey Hall, a cavernous, cathedral-like auditorium typically used for things like symphony concerts. The sheer volume of students requires two dozen teaching fellows.”

5. Margaret Atwood on How She Came to Write The Handmaid’s Tale
By Margaret Atwood | The Folio Society :: LitHub | April 2018
“The origin story of an iconic novel”

6. The Puzzle of Sarah Huckabee Sanders
By Jason Schwartz | Politico Magazine | May/June 2018
“How a bright, competent and likable young operative became the face of the most duplicitous press operation in White House history.”

7. Hear Stanley Kubrick Explain the 2001: A Space Odyssey Ending In a Rare, Unearthed Video
By Matt Miller | Esquire | July 2018
“The director famously refused to give his interpretation of the sci-fi masterpiece.”

8. Summer Reading: Movies & TV
By Ben Dickinson | The New York Times Book Review | June 2018
New books about Bruce Lee, David Lynch, The Wire and 2001: A Space Odyssey, along with recommendations on new thrillers, true crime, travel, sports and more.

9. How Syria Came to This
By Andrew Tabler | The Atlantic | April 2018
“A story of ethnic and sectarian conflict, international connivance, and above all civilian suffering”

10. The Woman Who Brought Down Bill Cosby
By Neeti Upadhye | The New York Times | April 2018
“Andrea Constand is the only woman among more than 50 accusers whose complaint against Mr. Cosby has resulted in a conviction. A jury found him guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Rape at University of Texas / Trump goes down in defeat / Granddaughter, grandfather both remember war / Selena fans / Great television sagas

This week: Rape at University of Texas / Trump goes down in defeat / Granddaughter, grandfather both remember war / Selena fans / Great television sagas

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. This is what I thought war was supposed to look like
By Tara Copp | The Dallas Morning News | March 2017
This is the first of four excerpts from Copp’s new book The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story
Also see: Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

2. Selena super-fans celebrate her in song, dance, likeness
By Julie Garcia | Corpus Christi Caller-Times | March 21
“With blunt cut bangs, long brown hair and a spectacular red shade of lipstick, Nadia Garcia is the image of a young Selena Quintanilla Perez. Garcia twirled on a stage in the center court at La Palmera mall to “Baila Esta Cumbia” dressed in a white bustier and matching white pants in front of a crowd of people who came to celebrate the late Tejano songstress.”

3. 15 percent of female undergraduates at UT have been raped, survey says
By Lauren McGaughy | The Dallas Morning News | March 24
“The study was comprehensive, surveying 28,000 students during the 2015 academic year at 13 UT academic and health campuses. A project of the School of Social Work’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, this survey is just the first round. A second one will be repeated in two years …”

4. How The Americans Became the Best Show on Television
By Matt Brennan | Paste | March 24
“No longer limited to marriage and espionage, The Americans is now the evocative saga of a family that just happens to have two spies in it.”

5. ‘The closer’? The inside story of how Trump tried — and failed — to make a deal on health care
By Robert Costa, Ashley Parker, and Philip Rucker | The Washington Post | March 24
“Shortly after House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled the Republican health-care plan on March 6, President Trump sat in the Oval Office and queried his advisers: ‘Is this really a good bill?’ And over the next 18 days, until the bill collapsed in the House on Friday afternoon in a humiliating defeat — the sharpest rebuke yet of Trump’s young presidency and his negotiating skills — the question continued to nag at the president.”

6. The Art of Paying Attention
By Michelle Dean | New Republic | March 20
“Why we need critics to think about power and how it works.”

7. ‘Sometimes I laugh at this farce’: six writers on life behind bars in Turkey
By Kareem Shaheen and Maeve Shearlaw | The Guardian | March 23
“Six persecuted writers describe the mental and physical toll of living in the country that jails more journalists than any other”

8. How Many Books Will You Read Before You Die?
By Emily Temple | Lit Hub | March 22
“It depends, of course, on how you’re counting, but for our purposes here, it’s down to two primary factors.”

9. Life with migraines: ‘It feels like a creature is pushing itself through my skull’
By Anna Altman | The Guardian | November 2016
“When I was 26, I started suffering from dizziness, brain fog, fatigue and chronic pain. I’d had migraines since childhood, but these felt different”

10. Jackie Robinson and Nixon: Life and Death of a Political Friendship
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | June 2014
“In 1968, furious over Nixon’s courtship of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who had once led the segregationist ‘Dixiecrats,’ Jackie backed the Democratic nominee, Hubert Humphrey.”

Waiting for ‘Mad Men:’ Draper returns on April 5

Seven episodes left. I hope it is worth the wait.

The Hollywood Reporter noted earlier this morning that the final seven-episode run begins on April 5.

I hope it is worth the wait.

In the meantime, enjoy one of my favorite endings.

Videos I Love: Life swirling around me

Leave it to “Mad Men” to again capture life’s sadness, loneliness, and joy in seemingly simple and definitely beautiful moments.

Leave it to “Mad Men” to again capture life’s sadness, loneliness, and joy in seemingly simple and definitely beautiful moments.

One of their new teasers for the final season did just that. It looks like what I feel as I walk through life swirling around me.

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.

Podcast recommendations

A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

IMG_2893

A close friend recently asked to me to recommend some interesting podcasts. Here is my list. It’s not comprehensive, and the categories are quite general. For regular readers of this blog, nothing on this list will surprise you.

Thankfully, most podcasts cover several subjects, and so they’re hard to classify as one thing. Generally, I like news programs, lectures to intelligent crowds (but not recorded classroom lectures), or one-on-one conversations. I mostly avoid call-in shows — I like to keep the public out of the equation whenever possible — but I make exceptions for exceptional programs.

As of Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, the iTunes library tells me I have 2,311 podcast episodes. It calculates that it will take me 66 days, nine hours, 23 minutes, and 46 seconds to listen to all of them.

NEWS
DocArchive — BBC World Service
Global News — BBC World Service
Newshour — BBC World Service
Best of Today — BBC Radio 4
Podcast of Week — CSPAN
New Yorker: Out Loud — The New Yorker
New Yorker: Comment — The New Yorker
Story of the Day — NPR
World Story of the Day — NPR
Hourly News Summary (central to my hourly existence in this life) — NPR
The World — PRI
The Takeaway — PRI and WNYC
TribCast — The Texas Tribune
Washington Week — PBS
PBS News Hour — PBS

NEWS :: DOCUMENTARIES
Documentary of the Week — BBC Radio 4
Outlook — BBC World Service
American RadioWorks — American Public Media
Longform Podcast
ProPublica Podcasts
DecodeDC
Radio 3 Essay — BBC Radio 3
The National Press Club podcast
Weekends on All Things Considered — NPR

NEWS :: FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Economist podcast
Inside CFR Events — Council on Foreign Relations
Brookings Event podcast — The Brookings Institute
Prime Minister’s Questions — The Guardian
The Stream — Al Jazeera English
Worldview — WBEZ

NEWS :: SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY
Marketplace Tech Report — American Public Media
New Tech City — WNYC
Quirks and Quarks — CBC
Science Weekly — The Guardian
Stardate podcasts — McDonald Observatory
Science Times — The New York Times
Environment podcast — NPR
Nature podcast — Nature

FILM / TV
Front Row Daily — BBC Radio 4
The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell — KCRW
Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith — CBC

MUSIC
Legacy Podcasts: Rock — Legacy Recordings
Legacy Podcasts: Sarah McLachlan — Legacy Recordings
Other Directions — Steven Lee Moya
Soundcheck — WYNC
The Blues File — WXPN
Classical Performance — WGBH
25 Years of Chill Out Music — Roebeck
50 Great Voices — NPR
From the Top — NPR
Jazz Profiles — NPR
Chillsky
Properly Chilled
Escuela de Rumberos Salsa podcast

BOOKS
Book Review Podcast — The New York Times
Q and A — CSPAN
After Words — CSPAN
The Guardian Books Podcast
Writers and Company — CBC
Bookworm — KCRW
The New York Review of Books podcast
Between the Lines — WABE
Unfictional — KCRW
New Yorker: Fiction — The New Yorker
Selected Shorts — PRI
World Book Club — BBC World Service

GENERAL ARTS / LIFE
The Brian Lehrer Show — WNYC
The Leonard Lopate Show — WNYC
TED Talks — TED
The Best of YouTube
Arts and Ideas — BBC Radio 4
Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon podcasts
Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin — WNYC
The Current — CBC Radio
Ideas — CBC Radio
The Forum — KQED
Fresh Air (as long as Terry Gross isn’t on) — NPR
RadioWest — PRI
Studio 360 — PRI and WYNC
To the Best of Our Knowledge — PRI
WGBH Forum
Radio Times — WHYY

HISTORY
Conversations with History — UC Berkeley
Free Library podcast — Free Library of Philadelphia
American History TV — CSPAN
Great Lives — BBC Radio 4
15 Minute History — University of Texas at Austin
BackStory — University of Virginia
The History of Byzantium — Robin Pierson
Walter Cronkite’s History Lessons — NPR
History: Days of Infamy, Daily Life
The Journal of American History Podcast
Lectures in History — CSPAN
Lincoln and the Civil War
Witness — BBC World Service
Los Angeles Public Library Podcast
Miller Center Forums — The University of Virginia Miller Center
New Books in History
Pritzker Military Library Podcasts
Virginia Historical Society Podcasts
We the People Stories — National Constitution Center

Waiting for ‘Mad Men:’ Ads and fads

Fashion updates and playing with the promo poster.

As I wait for the new season of “Mad Men” to begin, I’ll share a few of the more interesting links I’ve found. Read past entries in this series here.

1. Fashion tips AMC’s “Mad Men” blog wants to help you look your best for Fashion Week with videos, photos and a multimedia magazine. It’s pretty cool. Get started here.

2. AdBusted! Minimalist ads advertising the season premiere of “Mad Men” on March 25 have inspired creative scamps to fill in the white space, often brilliantly. Check out some recent examples here and then do your own.

(Photo from the soundtrack album)

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Screaming babies / Clinton: The consensus candidate / Gay-friendly wisdom / GOP love for Puerto Ricans / ‘Downton Abbey’ addicts

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. Why screaming babies are so hard to ignore
By Nick Collins | The Telegraph | Jan. 21
“Few situations are more infuriating than taking your seat on an aeroplane or train, closing your eyes, and hearing a baby at the other end of the cabin open its lungs with the gusto of an Italian tenor. ”

2. Bill Clinton: Someone We Can All Agree On
By Charles P. Pierce and Mark Warren | Esquire | February 2012
“Even his staunchest enemies now regard his presidency as the good old days. He has become the rare consensus figure in a country that has lost all sense of consensus. So we talked to him about where it went, and how we might get it back.”

3. How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work
By Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher | The New York Times | Jan. 21
“Though Americans are among the most educated workers in the world, the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need, executives say.”

4. How I became a ‘Downton Abbey’ addict
By Lizz Winstead | The Guardian | Jan. 22
“Yes, I know it’s just a glossy drama about the idle rich and their servants, but these idle rich are so classy compared with ours”

5. Houston’s Mayor stresses Economic Benefits of Marriage Equality
By Emily Deprang | The Texas Observer | Jan. 22
“In other words: being gay-friendly brings home the bacon.”

6. Are Puerto Ricans the Key to a Republican Victory?
By Justin Velez-Hagan | Politic365 | Jan. 23.
“Puerto Ricans already account for the second largest group of Hispanics in the U.S. (they make up 10% of all Hispanics), but are growing at an increasingly rapid pace, especially in Florida. More importantly, so is their voting power.”

7. Exploring Stories With Deep Dive
By David Erwin | Beta620 :: The New York Times | January 2012
“Deep Dive … allows users to discover something then focus their attention deeper based on that piece of content.”

8. This much I know: Elmore Leonard
By John O’Connell | The Observer | December 2010
“The author, 85, on Dizzy Gillespie, not being frightened, and being a good guy”

9. As the Worm Turns
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | August 2011
“Do earthworms have any sense of place or direction? When they are dug up in the garden and put back down someplace else, do they just return to work, or do they try to get back to their former location?”

10. The Lindbergh kidnapping
Witness :: BBC News | February 2011
“When the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh disappeared it was assumed he had been kidnapped.”

Waiting for ‘Mad Men:’ Time torture

One more excruciating torture to endure until the two-hour season premiere.

As I wait for the new season of “Mad Men” to begin, I’ll share a few of the more interesting links I’ve found. Read past entries in this series here.

There are some fans out there (not me, of course) who are literally counting down the seconds until the two-hour season premiere, and the sadistic AMC has decided to have a little fun with them.

The network, which recently announced that Season 5 begins on March 25, has created a countdown clock for all the impatient fanatics out there. Now you can watch irrecoverable moments of your life tick by, your brittle mind mesmerized, before you realize the insanity what you’re doing.

One more excruciating torture to endure until the two-hour season premiere. Sigh. Time for an Old Fashioned to numb the pain (and embarrassment).

(Photo from the soundtrack album)

Videos I Love: Trailer for ‘Downton Abbey: Season Two’

It’s a beautiful and horrifying trailer that sometimes brings a tear to my eye.

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

I was late when it came to falling in love with “Downton Abbey,” the British miniseries exploring the lives of an aristocratic family and their servants before and during World War I. But by the second episode I was head over heels.

I don’t think my passion had anything to do with my love for history in general. In this case, I was simply someone drawn into first-rate storytelling. Nothing complicated about that. It didn’t hurt that my romantic streak was more than a little stimulated, as was my writer’s mind, which is always searching for fresh inspiration for my own fiction writing.

So when I came across the trailer for the second season, which has already aired in Britain and premieres in the United States tomorrow night, my heart leapt. It’s a beautiful and horrifying trailer that sometimes brings a tear to my eye, set to a gentle and haunting cover of U2’s “With or Without You,” sung by Scala and Kolacny Brothers.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Overpopulation myths … Obama’s reality … Sexy health benefits … Float the park … Canine PTSD

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. The origins of Peru’s mysterious Nasca Lines
By Suemedha Sood | Travelwise :: BBC Travel | Dec. 2
“Preserved by the hot sun and a dry climate, the Nasca Lines have been embedded with mystery ever since the Nasca civilization collapsed, around 600 AD.”

2. After Duty, Dogs Suffer Like Soldiers
By James Dao | The New York Times | Dec. 1
“If anyone needed evidence of the frontline role played by dogs in war these days, here is the latest: the four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts.”

3. The city that floats
By Will Doig | Salon | Nov. 29
“Want more waterfront? Need room for garages or playgrounds? In the future, they’ll float — and the future is now.”

4. Sexual Healing
By Christie Aschwanden | Medical Examiner :: Slate | Dec. 1
“Does making love make you well?”

5. When ‘getting it done’ becomes impossible
By Danny Schechter | Al Jazeera | Nov. 30
“Obama started out with the idealistic ‘Yes We Can’, but now focuses on re-election and being the lesser of two evils.”

6. Q&A: Finding Other Ways to Record TV Shows
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 22
“Q: Can I digitally record TV shows without having to pay extra for the DVR equipment and service from the cable company?”

7. Obama 101
By Victor Davis Hanson | National Review | Nov. 30
“Few presidents have dashed so many illusions as Obama.”

8. 5 Things Afghan History Can Teach Us
By Suleiman Wali | The Hiuffington Post | Nov. 29
“[F]ive key points emerge that could help the country lay a better foundation for itself once American and NATO forces reduce their presence or leave altogether.”

9. Five myths about the world’s population
By Nicholas Eberstadt | Five Myths :: The Washington Post | Nov. 4
“The world’s population hit 7 billion people this past week, according to United Nations estimates, launching another round of debates about ‘overpopulation,’ the environment and whether more people means more poverty. …”

10. Civil War women: Annie Haggerty Shaw
Civil War Women Blog | Sept. 28
“Annie Shaw died without ever seeing the Shaw Memorial on Boston Common. What many consider to be the greatest public sculpture in the United States, the high-relief bronze monument honors Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the African American soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. It took sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens almost 14 years to complete.”

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

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. Big Head Todd & The Monsters — House Burn Down
2. Big Head Todd & The Monsters — Sweet Home Alabama
3. Little Big Town — Boondocks
4. Hill Country Review — Let Me Love You
5. The Geoff Everett Band — On the Road Again
6. Robert Earl Keen — 10,000 Chinese Walk Into a Bar
7. Garry Moore — King of the Blues
8. The Mark Knoll Band — Lay It On the Line
9. Chris Rea — Truck Stop
10. Kenny Wayne Shepard — Was
11. Wes Jeans — Stratus
12. Clay McClinton — One of those Guys
13. Cactus — The Groover
14. The Pride and Joy Band — Evil Thoughts