Loreta’s Civil War: The sensations of a soldier

Velazquez describes the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, condemns the instances of cowardice she witnessed, and recounts the horrors that stayed with her for the rest of her life.

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Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart will share edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Part 12: Velazquez describes the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, condemns the instances of cowardice she witnessed, and recounts the horrors that stayed with her for the rest of her life.

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It might be supposed that one battle would have been enough for me, and that after having seen, as at Bull Run, the carnage incident to a desperate conflict between thousands of infuriated combatants, I should have been glad to have abandoned a soldier’s career, and to have devoted myself to the service of the Confederacy in some other capacity than that of a fighter. Indeed, it so turned out, that the most efficient services I did perform in behalf of the cause which I espoused, were other than those of a strictly military character, although quite as important as any rendered by the bravest fighters when standing face to face to the enemy. But it was, in a measure, due to necessity rather than to original choice, that I undertook work of a different kind from that which I had in my mind when first donning my uniform. We are all of us, more or less, the creatures of circumstances; and when I saw that the fact of my being a woman would enable me to play another role from that which I had at first intended, I did not hesitate, but readily accepted what Fate had to offer.

The Battle of Bull Run, however, only quickened my ardor to participate in another affair of a similar kind, and the months of enforced inaction, which succeeded that battle, had the effect of making me long, with exceeding eagerness, to experience again the excitement which thrilled me on the sultry July day, when the army of the Confederacy won its first great victory. The sensations which, on the battlefield, overcome a soldier who knows nothing of fear can only be compared to those of a gambler who is playing for enormous stakes. The more noble origin of the emotions experienced in the one case over those excited by the other does not prevent them from being essentially similar, although the gambler, who is staking his all on the turn of a card, can know little or nothing of the glorious excitement of the soldier engaged in a deadly conflict with an enemy, and feeling that its issue depends upon his putting forth his utmost exertions, and that determined valor can alone secure him the victory.

The sensations of a soldier in the thick of a fight baffle description; and, as his hopes rise or sink with the ebb and flow of the battle, as he sees comrades falling about him dead and wounded, hears the sharp hiss of the bullets, the shrieking of the shells, the yells of the soldiers on each side as they smite each other, there is a positive enjoyment in the deadly perils of the occasion that nothing can equal.

At Bull Run, it so happened that I was placed where the fight was hottest, where the enemy made his most determined attacks, where the soldiers of the South made their most desperate resistance, and where, for hours, the fate of the battle trembled in the balance. When at length victory crowned our banners, the enemy fled from the field, and we saw no more of them, and desperate as was the fight, it was, notwithstanding the great number of killed and wounded, unattended with the peculiar horrors, the mere thought of which is calculated to send a shudder through the strongest nerves.

The second battle in which I participated — that at Ball’s Bluff — was accompanied by every circumstance of horror; and although in the excitement of the moment, when every faculty of mind and body was at extreme tension, and I was only inspired with an intense eagerness to do my whole duty for my cause, I did not fully realize the enormities of such a slaughter as was involved in the defeat of the Federals at that place, I have never been able to think of it without a shudder, notwithstanding that I have fought on more than one bloody field since. Such scenes, however, are inseparable from warfare, and those who take up arms must steel themselves against them. …

[T]here was a tolerably open piece of ground, cut up somewhat by ridges and hollows, and surrounded by a thick growth of woods. This timber for a while concealed the combatants from each other, and it was impossible for us to tell what force we were contending with. The woods seemed to be alive with combatants, and it was thought that the enemy was strongly fortified. Notwithstanding the uncertainties with regard to the number of our opponents, we attacked with spirit, and for a time the fight was bravely carried on by both armies. The enemy certainly fought exceedingly well, especially considering the precariousness of their position, although, of course, we did not know at the time the attack was made that our foes were in such a desperate predicament. …

I thought the struggle at Bull Run a desperate one, but that battle at its fiercest did not begin to equal this; and when finally we did succeed in routing the enemy, I experienced a sense of satisfaction and relief that was overwhelming. For three weary hours the fighting continued without intermission; and although for a long while the result was dubious, at length, as the chilly October day was about closing, the enemy having lost a great number of men and officers … and being hemmed in on three sides, were driven in confusion into the river.

Shortly after the fight commenced, I took charge of a company which had lost all its officers, and I do not think that either my men or myself failed to do our full duty. Perhaps, if I had been compelled to maneuver my command in the open field, I might not have done it as skillfully as some others would, although I believe that I could have played the part of a captain quite as well as a good many of them who held regular commissions as commanders of companies, and a good deal better than some others who aspired to be officers before learning the first rudiments of their business, and without having the pluck to conduct themselves before the enemy in a manner at all correspondent to their braggart style of behavior when not smelling gunpowder under compulsion. In this battle, however, fighting as we were for the most part in the woods, there was little or no maneuvering to be done, and my main duties were to keep the men together, and to set them an example. This latter I certainly did.

After the battle was over, the first lieutenant of the company which I was commanding came in and relieved me, stating that he had been taken prisoner, but had succeeded in making his escape in the confusion incident to the Federal defeat. I did not say anything, but had my very serious doubts as to the story which he told being the exact truth. He had a very sheepish look, as if he was ashamed of himself for playing a sneaking, cowardly trick; and I shall always believe that when the firing commenced, he found an opportunity to slink away to the rear for the purpose of getting out of the reach of danger.

I have seen a good many officers like this one, who were brave enough when strutting about in the streets of cities and villages, showing themselves off in their uniforms to the women, or when airing their authority in camp, by bullying the soldiers under them, but who were the most arrant cowards under fire, and who ought to have been court-martialed and shot, instead of being permitted to disgrace their uniforms, and to demoralize their men, by their dastardly behavior when in the face of the enemy. My colored boy Bob was a better soldier than some of the white men who thought themselves immensely his superiors; and having possessed himself of a gun, he fought as well as he knew how, like the rest of us. When the enemy gave way, I could hear Bob yelling vociferously; and I confess that I was proud of the darkey’s pluck and enthusiasm. …

At the point where I stood the Potomac River was very wide, and it presented a sight such as I prayed that I might never behold again. The enemy were literally driven down the bluff and into the river, and crowds of them were floundering in the water and grappling with death. This horrible spectacle made me shudder; for, although they were my foes, they were human beings, and my heart must have been hard, indeed, could it not have felt for their sufferings. I was willing to fight them to death’s door in the open field, and to ask no favors, taking the same chances for life as they had; but I had no heart for their ruthless slaughter. The woman in me revolted at the fiendish delight which some of our soldiers displayed at the sight of the terrible agony endured by those who had, but a short time before, been contesting the field with them so valiantly, and I could scarcely refrain from making some decisive effort to put a stop to the carnage, and to relieve my suffering foes. For the first time since putting on my uniform I was thrown off my guard, and should certainly have done something to betray my secret had I not fortunately restrained myself in time. Such scenes as these, however, are inseparable from warfare, and they must be endured by those who adopt a soldier’s career. The pitiable spectacles which followed our brilliant victory at Ball’s Bluff, however, had the effect of satisfying my appetite for fighting for a time; and after it was all over, I was by no means as anxious for another battle, as I had been after the victory at Bull Run. …

Looking Back: Proud to serve

Today in 1913, Joseph Ramirez was born. He faced down discrimination, became an engineer, fought in World War II, and took pride in his defense of his adopted county.

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Today in 1913, Joseph Ramirez was born. He faced down discrimination, became an engineer, fought in World War II, and took pride in his defense of his adopted county.

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LOOKING BACK
A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series highlights a few of these fascinating lives.

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Joseph P. Ramirez, born on Jan. 12, 1913, built a fulfilling life despite the discrimination he faced from landlords, school officials, and potential employers. He worked his way through school to earn an engineering degree.

He joined the Army in 1942 and was part of a headquarters unit that landed in the Philippines shortly before Douglas MacArthur made his triumphant return.

Ramirez persevered after the war. He married and settled in Chicago, always proud of how he and other Mexicans fought for their adopted homeland in World War II.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

Looking Back: Virtue of the war

Today in 1922, Simon Duarte Botello was born in Central Texas. Botello and his four brothers fought in World War II, and their younger brother immortalized their experiences in a small book.

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Today in 1922, Simon Duarte Botello was born in Central Texas. Botello and his four brothers fought in World War II, and their younger brother immortalized their experiences in a small book.

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LOOKING BACK
A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series highlights a few of these fascinating lives.

Simon Duarte Botello, born on Jan. 5, 1922, and his four brothers helped their father on their family farm in Central Texas. When World War II began, the boys enlisted, leaving behind their parents and eight younger siblings. The family gave up farming when the boys — the farm’s labor force — departed for war.

Three brothers were wounded. All five brothers returned home once the war ended in 1945. A younger sibling, Thomas, immortalized most of their experiences and memories in a small book, based on interviews and wartime letters.

The war’s greatest legacy on the homefront, Thomas concluded, was that it led to educational opportunities for millions of children, including many of the younger Botello siblings.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

Looking Back: It has to be done

Today in 1910, Johnnie W. Flores was born near Somerset, Texas, southeast of San Antonio. In 1941, Flores joined the Army, and, as part of the 36th Infantry Regiment in the European Theater, he saw and paid the war’s ultimate price.

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Today in 1910, Johnnie W. Flores was born near Somerset, Texas, southeast of San Antonio. In 1941, Flores joined the Army, and, as part of the 36th Infantry Regiment in the European Theater, he saw and paid the war’s ultimate price.

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LOOKING BACK
A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series will highlight a few of these fascinating lives.

Johnnie W. Flores, born on Feb. 10, 1910, was one of seven children living with their parents on a farm near Somerset, Texas. In his mid-twenties, Flores moved to California. He joined the Army in 1941.

His letters home encapsulated the evolution of the man’s character. The soldier faced down the horrific realities of war with practicality. He bought life insurance, and he sent half of his paycheck back to his mother. His letters also captured his romantic entanglements with young women in the U.S.

World War II brought him and his 36th Infantry Regiment to Europe, where he saw in late 1944 how war destroyed French communities and the “very green and beautiful” landscape. His letters captured his horror and his determined justification for such destruction.

By the end of the year, his family received news of the unthinkable. Read about what they learned and how they reacted, and the rest of wonderful profile here.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

Looking Back: Her honorable adventure

When the U.S. entered World War II, Bertha Flores faced down family tradition to serve in the Navy. It was an adventure she would never forget and an experience she would never regret.

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Today in 1921, Guadalupe Berta Rodriguez Flores was born in San Antonio, Texas. When the U.S. entered World War II, Flores faced down family tradition to serve in the Navy. It was an adventure she would never forget and an experience she would never regret.

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LOOKING BACK
A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series will highlight a few of these fascinating lives.

Bertha Flores, born on March 16, 1921, was raised in a quiet San Antonio family. Her father believed women belonged at home and no where else. The U.S. entered World War II in 1941, and he was not happy when his daughter joined the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES in 1943.

Her first big adventure came simply on the cross-country train trip from San Antonio to basic training in New York City. Flores marveled at every city and town she passed. She loved the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple and the variety of women she encountered as she prepared herself for wartime military service. Flores was one of only a handful of Latinas in her class. She made friends, danced, and trained to become a teletype operator.

She served at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, and she never forgot what the experience taught her. Read her wonderful profile here.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

Looking Back: Shadows of war

Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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Today in 1925, Andrew Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas. The Marine served during World War II and the Korean War, facing challenges he never imagined.

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The Looking Back series
During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series will highlight a few of these fascinating lives.

Andrew Aguirre, born on Jan. 4, 1925, joined the Marine Corps in 1944, delivered supplies to Marine units on Pacific islands, and helped move out the dead. He joined U.S. forces in China in November 1945, and was discharged in 1946.

Military life, he recalled, gave him a new lease on life and professional ambition.

But by 1950, he was back in uniform, this time in Korea. As he faced down battle-hardened North Korean soldiers, Aguirre had no idea what he was about to experience. Read his dramatic profile here.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

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.”

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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

21st century civil rights movement / David McCullough and the Brooklyn Bridge / Rewriting original American history / Touring the vibrator exhibit / Visiting Peru

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. Psychiatrist Who ‘Proved’ Gays Can Be Cured Says It Was All a Big Mistake
By Cassie Murdoch | Jezebel | May 21
“Not only does this ‘pray away the gay’ strategy not work, it’s actively damaging to patients who undergo it.”

2. Gays may have the fastest of all civil rights movements
By Mark Z. Barabak | The Los Angeles Times | May 20
“Public attitudes have shifted sharply in the last 10 years. Chalk it up to familiarity — among family, friends, co-workers and prime-time TV characters.”

3. Study Confirms That Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll Really Do Go Together
By Leslie Horn | Gizmodo | May 21
“Researchers in the Netherlands determined the ‘music-listening doses’ (which is a real term they actually used) of 944 students ages 15-25.”

4. Walking the Brooklyn Bridge with David McCullough
By Anna Sale | The Takeaway | May 21
“[His book] explored American history not through the eyes of a Founding Father or a President, but through one of the most important public works projects of all time: the Brooklyn Bridge.”

5. Finding the First Americans
By Andrew Curry | The New York Times | May 19
“Over the years, hints surfaced that people might have been in the Americas earlier than the Clovis sites suggest, but the evidence was never solid enough to dislodge the consensus view.”

6. A night at the vibrator museum
By Tracy Clark-Flory | Salon | May 19
“Early vibrators were hand-cranked, two-person jobs — and prescribed by doctors. How far we’ve come since then”

7. Obama stumbles out of the gate
By Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei | Politico | May 25
“Nothing inspires Democrats like the Barack Obama swagger — the supreme self-confidence on stage, the self-certainty in private. So nothing inspires more angst than when that same Obama stumbles, as he has leaving the gate in 2012.”

8. Five Reasons To Visit Peru That Aren’t Machu Picchu
By Lacy Morris | The Huffington Post | May 21
“Dine with the Peruvian elite, walk a manmade island, or raft a canyon that requires a mule to get to; but whatever you do, don’t beeline for the Andes then skip town.”

9. Rereading: The Sea of Fertility tetralogy by Yukio Mishima
By Richard T. Kelly | The Guardian | June 3
“Mishima’s ritualistic suicide in 1970 will always overshadow his work, but his dark saga of 20th-century Japan is mesmerising …”

10. Memorial Day: Remembering fallen of decade at war
By Allen G. Breed | Associated Press | May 25
“About 2.2 million U.S. service members have seen duty in the Middle Eastern war zones, many of them veterans of multiple tours. And more than 6,330 have died — nearly 4,500 in Iraq, and more than 1,840 in Afghanistan.”

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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. Shane Dwight — Pretty, Young and Mean
2. Gary Moore — All Your Love
3. Blue Condition — Cheap Wine
4. Dr. Wu — I Don’t Care Blues
5. Los Lonely Boys — Outlaws
6. Diane Durrett — From The Heart Of The Soul
7. Commitments — Chain Of Fools
8. Ian Moore — Muddy Jesus
9. Johnny Winter — Come On In My Kitchen
10. Howlin Wolf — Smokestack Lightnin
11. The Geoff Everett Band — Hole In My Life
12. Beth Thornley — Birmingham
13. Big Head Todd & the Monsters — Boom, Boom
14. Tommy Castro — Me And My Guitar

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Military spouses / Recession’s mental toll / OWS adrfit / Obama at the center / Sex on a plane

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. Help for military spouses
By Laura Dempsey | Politico | Jan. 12
“Underemployment among military spouses, who are more educated on average than their peers, remains rampant. These are dismal numbers even in today’s struggling economy.”

2. Fighting the Last War
By Elizabeth Dickinson | Washington Monthly | Janurary/February 2012
“As president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe triumphed over a fierce narco-insurgency. Then the U.S. helped to export his strategy to Mexico and throughout Latin America. Here’s why it’s not working.”

3. The depressing toll of the Great Recession
By Rob Waters | Salon | Jan. 11
“Mental health problems mount nationwide while budgets for treatment and care are shrinking”

4. After encampment ends, NYC Occupiers become nomads
By Meghan Barr | Associated Press | Jan. 12
“Amid accusations of drug use and sporadic theft, they’ve been sleeping on church pews for weeks, consuming at least $20,000 of the funds that Occupy Wall Street still has in its coffers.”

5. America and the Middle East: What Lies Ahead
By Ray Suarez | America Abroad Media | January 2012
“With American troops out of Iraq and leaving Afghanistan – what will America’s ‘strong presence’ in the region look like? ”

6. The center is back — and Obama needs to be there
By Mark Penn | The Hill | Jan. 11
“The center is back. After a year in which it looked like the Republican Party was headed to the extremes with Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Herman Cain and then Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney … took 49 percent of the Republicans who voted in the New Hampshire open primary.”

7. This much I know: Juliette Lewis
By Ben Mitchell | The Observer | November 2009
“The actress and singer, 36, in her own words”

8. Casting Inshallah
Al Jazeera World | December 2011
“An insight into life in a Moroccan town where many locals make a living as film extras for major Hollywood productions.”

9. The Water Cure
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | September 2010
“Why do they tell you to drink extra fluids when you are sick? Does it really do any good?”

10. ‘The Captain Requests That All Zippers Be Returned to the Upright Position’
By Brian Palmer | Explainer :: Slate | September 2011
“How are flight attendants supposed to deal with fornicating passengers?”

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TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:

1. SAMBA PARA TI Santana
2. BIRTHDAY PERFORMANCE Tito Puente
3. PUEBLO NUEVO Ruben Gonzalez
4. LA CUMBIA DEL MOLE Lila Downs
5. LA SOLEDAD Pink Martini
6. COMPOSITOR CONFUNDIDO Ibrahim Ferrer
7. LA RAZA Kid Frost
8. TI MON BO Tito Puente
9. ALMENDRA Ruben Gonzalez
10. EL CARRETERO Eliades Ochoa

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

3d printing / Not good enough / 2012’s Medicare debate / The new Jessica Lynch / Stuck with fat

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. Codebreaker Alan Turing gets stamp of approval
By Caroline Davies | The Guardian | Jan. 1
“Gay mathematician convicted of gross indecency in 1952 among those to be celebrated in Royal Mail stamps in 2012”

2. Babies may be getting bigger, but questions remain
By Andrew M. Seaman | Reuters | Jan. 2
“The weights and lengths of babies born in southwestern Ohio have been growing in recent decades, a new study found, but no link to obesity later in childhood was seen.”

3. The Fat Trap
By Tara Parker-Pope | The New York Times Magazine | December 2011
“Anyone who has ever dieted knows that lost pounds often return, and most of us assume the reason is a lack of discipline or a failure of willpower.”

4. Jessica Lynch’s New Life
By Jessica Lynch and Abigail Pesta | Newsweek | December 2011
“The teenage soldier who famously became a prisoner of war in Iraq has a new title: college graduate.”

5. 2012 Medicare debate is all about the baby boomers
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar | Associated Press | Jan. 1
“Baby boomers take note: Medicare as your parents have known it is headed for big changes no matter who wins the White House in 2012. You may not like it, but you might have to accept it.”

6. How to Stop a Multinational
Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“Argentineans are used to hitting the streets to start revolutions. … But now they are demanding that their valuable water sources up in the Andean Mountains be protected from the multinational mining companies they say are endangering their communities.”

7. What if Your Best Qualities Still Aren’t Good Enough?
By Donna Barstow | Psychology Today | November 2011
“A cartoon about ignoring ignorant people.”

8. 3D Printing: A Coming of Age Story
Big Think | December 2011
“3D printing is taking on an increasingly large role in the manufacturing processes of large American companies like GE.”

9. Fireworks at the Beach
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | November 2011
“Recently, at the San Diego ocean beach at night, we watched light emanating from every wave crest. News reports said it was caused by the red tide. How does it work?”

10. Two Worlds Colliding
By Cindy Y. Hong | Explainer :: Slate | November 2011
“Could it really happen?”