Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Pelosi’s war with the next generation / The evolution of the romance genre / Remembering the fall of Saigon / The T. Rex census / New histories of the UT Tower shooting

This week: Pelosi’s war with the next generation / The evolution of the romance genre / Remembering the fall of Saigon / The T. Rex census / New histories of the UT Tower shooting

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. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. Inside Nancy Pelosi’s War With AOC and the Squad
By Susan Page | Politico Magazine | April 2021
“How the House speaker put Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her place.”

2. How the romance genre found its happily ever after
By Angela Haupt | The Washington Post | April 2021
“Here, a dozen people — authors, editors, agents, cover artists and one mononymous male model — recount how the modern romance industry came together and took off.”

3. The Rhymes And Reasons Behind Re-Recording Your Own Classics
By Annie Zaleski | NPR | April 2021
“In general, the reasons for these re-records are simple: financial control and creative ownership.”

4. The Wizard in the White City
By Kirstin Butler | American Experience :: PBS | April 2021
“L. Frank Baum’s long and winding road to Oz, and the Chicago World’s Fair that inspired his life’s work.”

5. How many Tyrannosaurus rex walked the Earth?
By Ashley Poust and Daniel Varajão de Latorre | The Conversation | April 2021
“To estimate population, our team of paleontologists and scientists had to combine the extraordinarily comprehensive existing research on T. rex with an ecological principle that connects population density to body size.”

6. Forty years on from the fall of Saigon: Witnessing the end of the Vietnam war
By Martin Woollacott | The Guardian | April 2015
“Much suffering and grief lay in the past, but there was a presentiment, even as things ended in Saigon, that the future held more of the same.”

7. How to Collect Firewood
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | March 2021
“To cut enough wood to keep a house warm for the winter, you’ll need to know your way around a chain saw.”

8. Behind the Tower: New Histories of the UT Tower Shooting
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: 1968 – The Year the Dream Died | Harvey Milk, Forty Years Later | Stokely Carmichael: A Life | The History of the Family

9. What’s next for Cuba and the United States after Raul Castro’s retirement
By Joseph J. Gonzalez | The Conversation | April 2021
“Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel, who took office in 2018 after Raul Castro stepped down as president, has resisted calls for democratic reforms and has pressing economic issues to manage, as well as a pandemic. So does his American counterpart, President Joe Biden. The White House recently said Cuba policy is ‘not a top priority.’ ”

10. Frankenstein
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2010-2019
Also see: Shinto | The Hippocratic Oath | Thomas Edison | Cleopatra

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Caesar’s literature / A fashion show in 1968 / The genocide surprise / My Lai remembered / The history of natural disaster

This week: Caesar’s literature / A fashion show in 1968 / The genocide surprise / My Lai remembered / The history of natural disaster

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 Man in Moscow
By Amie Ferris-Rotman, Emily Tamkin and Robbie Gramer | Foreign Policy | March 2018
“Most of Washington is scared to meet with Russians. Jon Huntsman wants to meet as many as possible.”

2. Caesar Bloody Caesar
By Josephine Quinn | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“When Julius Caesar was thirty-one years old in 69 BCE, so the story goes, and serving as a junior Roman magistrate in Spain, he once stood lamenting before a statue of Alexander the Great because he had achieved so little at an age by which Alexander had already conquered the world.”

3. The Conversation Favourites
By BBC World Service | March 2018
“Meet the women who have inspired us”

4. The 1968 Fashion Show, the History Lesson Melania Missed
By Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell | Politico Magazine | March 2018
“It was supposed to showcase America First fashion. But not long afterward, manufacturing moved to China, and eventually, the Trumps moved into the White House.”

5. The Genocide the U.S. Didn’t See Coming
By Nahal Toosi | Politico Magazine | March/April 2018
“The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, primarily in the country’s Rakhine state, and have long faced severe discrimination from the Buddhist majority, which views them as illegal migrants. But this latest wave of violence is the worst in modern memory.”

6. 50 years ago, the My Lai massacre shamed the US military
By Tran Van Minh and Grant Peck | Associated Press | March 2018
“The American soldiers of Charlie Company, sent on what they were told was a mission to confront a crack outfit of their Vietcong enemies, met no resistance, but over three to four hours killed 504 unarmed civilians, mostly women, children and elderly men, in My Lai and a neighboring community.”
Also see, from American Experience: “My Lai,” a documentary film

7. Disasters Have Histories
By Chad H. Parker, Andy Horowitz and Liz Skilton | Process :: The Journal of American History/The American Historian | March 2018
“To many observers, disasters can seem like they erupt out of nowhere, in a catastrophic instant, but as historians, it’s our job to place them in time and space. So when I approach events like the recent storms, I start by asking: who was in danger? When did they arrive there? Why? Almost by definition, seeing disasters as products of history makes them seem less random and less inevitable.”

8. Today’s Eerie Echoes of the Civil War
By Manisha Sinha | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“Even before what historians call the political crisis of the 1850s, the rise of an interracial abolition movement had encountered mob violence in the streets and gag rules in Congress. From then on, abolitionism in the United States was tied to civil liberties and the fate of American democracy itself. By the eve of the war, in 1861, most people in the northern free states felt that the democratic institutions of the country were being subverted.”

9. The Daring Diplomat Who Proved One Person Can Thwart an Empire
By Emily Ludolph | Narratively | March 2018
“A whistleblower puts his life on the line to defy Soviet aggression. Sixty years later, this forgotten story of subterfuge, smears and suspicious death has never felt more timely.”

10. Does anyone have the right to sex?
By Amia Srinivasan | London Review of Books | March 2018
“Desire can take us by surprise, leading us somewhere we hadn’t imagined we would ever go, or towards someone we never thought we would lust after, or love. In the very best cases, the cases that perhaps ground our best hope, desire can cut against what politics has chosen for us, and choose for itself.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Hayes v. Tilden: Real dirty politics / E.O. Wilson on life / The best documentary on the Vietnam War / A review of the Democratic convention

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 do we procrastinate so much?
By Rowan Pelling | BBC News Magazine | Aug. 27
“As autumn approaches people finish off vital DIY, get ready to start a new job or prepare for school. At least, they would do if they weren’t in the grip of procrastination. …”

2. Is it a bird, a plane? No, it’s Putin, human crane
By Gabriela Baczynska | Reuters | Sept. 5
“Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has tracked a Siberian tiger and posed with a polar bear, on Wednesday took his love of wildlife to new heights by flying with cranes — to lead them on a migration route.”

3. Have Americans turned inward?
By Bruce Stokes | Global Public Square :: CNN | Sept. 7
“Foreign policy is the forgotten stepchild of the 2012 U.S. presidential election.”

4. Reviewing the political theater of the party’s convention
By Peter Marks | The Washington Post | Sept. 6
“Despite its agonizing interminability and waning relevance, a national convention still can be a star-maker. …”

5. Living in the Era of Megaterror
By Graham Allison | The New York Times | Sept. 7
“Today, how many people can a small group of terrorists kill in a single blow?”

6. Vietnam: A Television History
American Experience :: PBS
“From the first hour through the last, the series provides a detailed visual and oral account of the war that changed a generation and continues to color American thinking on many military and foreign policy issues.”

7. E.O. Wilson on saving life on Earth
TED | April 2007
“As E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TED Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of all creatures that we learn more about our biosphere — and build a networked encyclopedia of all the world’s knowledge about life.”

8. Hayes vs. Tilden: The Ugliest, Most Contentious Presidential Election Ever
Past Imperfect :: Smithsonian.com | Sept. 7
“For Rutherford B. Hayes, election evening of November 7, 1876, was shaping up to be any presidential candidate’s nightmare. Even though the first returns were just coming in by telegraph, newspapers were announcing that his opponent, the Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, had won.”

9. General Hancock’s Hour
By Glenn David Brasher | Disunion :: The New York Times | May 8
“Thanks to the information gleaned from runaway slaves, Winfield Scott Hancock’s chance to prove his merit came on May 5, with the Battle of Williamsburg.”

10. Trouble on the Triple Frontier
By Christine Folch | Foreign Affairs | Sept. 6
“The Lawless Border Where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay Meet”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The ‘napalm girl’ photo / Exercise and get smarter / A looming galactic collision / Texas traffic / Living to 100

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. Cheever’s Art of the Devastating Phrase
By Brad Leithauser | Page-Turner :: The New Yorker | May 31
“The more you read Cheever, the more you feel his best work is often less about plot than about language — about poetry in the broadest sense.”

2. AP ‘napalm girl’ photo from Vietnam War turns 40
By Margie Mason | Associated Press | May 31
“‘I really wanted to escape from that little girl,’ says Kim Phuc, now 49. ‘But it seems to me that the picture didn’t let me go.’ ”

3. Exercise Makes You Smarter, Thanks To A Common Gene
The Huffington Post | May 31
“It turns out that exercise does a lot more than get the blood pumping: in about 60 percent of the population, it may be responsible for the expression of a gene that floods your cells with … a protein that is thought to help with mental acuity, learning and memory.”

4. Mexico’s Drug Corruption Arrests: Why Soldiers Make Bad Narco Agents
By Tim Padgett | Global Spin :: Time | May 31
“While putting soldiers on the streets might have provided some short-term relief, the fact remains that in the long run soldiers make lousy anti-drug agents … and the longer they’re kept in that role, the more problems you’re going to have.”

5. NASA Predicts Our Galaxy Will Collide With Another In 4 Billion Years
By Carl Franzen | Talking Points Memo | May 31
“Andromeda, which is located 2.5 million light-years away, is moving rapidly towards the Milky Way at a rate of 250,000 milers-per-hour, a clip that will only increase as the galaxies approach.”

6. Are you feeling sleepy? Here’s why …
By William Leith | The Daily Telegraph | May 31
“The pace of modern life forces us to ignore one of the most powerful parts of our brain — the body clock. But at what cost?”

7. Yes, Texas Traffic Really is That Bad
By Jason Cohen | Texas Monthly | May 31
“INRIX, which released its numbers last week, also found that Austin was the eighth most congested city in America.”

8. Is the vice presidency worth having?
By Chris Cillizza | The Fix :: The Washington Post | May 31
“[Here] are our most up-to-date rankings of the vice presidential field … . This month we decided to cut to the chase and give a single line about the good and the bad of each potential pick.”

9. The secret to living over 100 is optimism, genetic background
GlobalPost | May 30
“A new study on aging studied participants over 95 of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.”

10. The 1 Percent’s Problem
By Joseph E. Stiglitz | Vanity Fair | May 31
“Why won’t America’s 1 percent — such as the six Walmart heirs, whose wealth equals that of the entire bottom 30 percent — be a bit more … selfish? As the widening financial divide cripples the U.S. economy, even those at the top will pay a steep price.”

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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. Blake Havard — Love
2. Mark Guitar Miller — Tired
3. Rob Mcmahan — Trouble
4. Summer and the Sinners — Breakin’ Up
5. Kid Rock — Country Boy Can Survive
6. The Midnight Flyers — Down Low
7. Tommy Z — Can’t Hide My Feelings
8. Los Lonely Boys — Man to Beat
9. Bleu Edmondson — Dallas
10. Dana Fuchs — Lonely for a Life Time
11. Chris Aaron Band — Grain Of Salt
12. Voodoo Blu — Blues is my Business