Book Report: Nintendo Role-Playing Games by Christopher Lampton (1991)

This is a book aimed at the middle-school or early high-school market, and it describes, briefly and zealously, some of the role-playing games available for the original NES. These include The Legend of Zelda, Shadowgate, Ultima, Dragon Warrior, and whatnot. Each has a couple of pages that includes some information about the storyline, a bit of comment on the game play, and tips that range from knowledgeable and insightful to vague, general, or obvious, possibly depending upon whether the author played the game before writing it up.

I’d call it a walk down memory lane, but that’s cliche and I was not an NES guy. But it did give me the urge to install a new role-playing game. Or maybe install one that I bought in the past when I’ve had this passing urge. Or maybe hook up an NES and run through one of these games. Instead, I’ve started a game of Civilization IV which I’ll probably abandon in a couple of days. Face it, gaming’s not high on my priority list these days.

But I liked the book. A simple read.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: One Knee Equals Two Feet by John Madden with Dave Anderson (1986)

This is an insightful book from 1986, the beginning almost of Madden’s commenting career. He was fresh off of his years coaching the Raiders and being one of the all-time greatest coaches in the game. Within it, he describes the elements of each position, including coaching, and describes what he thinks makes a successful player at that position and who are the all-time best at that position (through 1985). Unfortunately, that means a lot of Chicago Bear loving, including extolling the virtues of Jim McMahon. Or Ed. Whichever wore glasses and was flaky. Or dark glasses and was flaky. Of course, if he wrote the book in 2006, he’d be all about Brett Favre, who played the game like quarterbacks did before they were drones radio-controlled by the coaches on the sidelines.

The best insight from the book: Madden had to teach his linemen to be aggressive. Unlike linebackers, who were sort of normal-sized, linemen where huge from birth and were conditioned throughout their youth to be gentle and to not use their size to their physical advantage. So he had to teach them otherwise. Fascinating insight.

A good book if you’re into football at all. Even if nobody gets icepicked in it.

Books mentioned in this review:

Not The Best Spin

That Air France plane that crashed on its way from Rio to Paris? The authorities, meaning whomever the papers are quoting and not necessarily authoritative on anything, are quick to dismiss a terrorist bomb.

Authorities these days are quick to dismiss terrorism in any catastrophe for fear of fanning the flames of fear.

Instead, they’re trying to soothe the public by saying the plane probably just fell apart in midair.

That doesn’t exactly make me want to hop on a plane. Call me crazy, but call me a cab for my next trip across country.

Where Were You When Obama Changed The World?

I think Obama’s speech on Muslimism given in the land where The Mummy was set will prove to be as fundamentally game-changing in the world as his paradigm-shifting speech on race was in the United States. It will be taught in textbooks and quoted by the citizens of the world by memory, just like school children now recite the verbal gems he deployed when distancing himself from that one guy.

As If Thousands of Technohipsters Suddenly Cried Out In Terror At Once And Were Suddenly Silenced

How do you like it, technohipsters? WaPo: DOJ preparing antitrust probe for Apple, among others:

Apple, Google, Yahoo! and Genentech are subjects of a fresh antitrust investigation surrounding hiring and recruiting practices among companies in the tech industry, according to Washington Post staff writer Cecilia Kang.

“By agreeing not to hire away top talent, the companies could be stifling competition and trying to maintain their market power unfairly,” antitrust experts said in the article. Hiring and recruiting can sometimes be a touchy affair, as Apple found out late last year when trying to hire Mark Papermaster. The investigation may suggest some kind of written agreement among large tech firms to not hire away each other’s top talent.

Your cherished icons are businesses, and your cherished administration has determined they are evil.

Elected Officials Fear Job Insecurity

Growing list of politicos find fault with term limits:

Imagine Missouri’s stately Capitol with a vacuum hose attached like a glove around its rounded dome.

That’s how House Speaker Ron Richard describes the effect of term limits on the General Assembly.

“There’s always a vacuum up here. There’s always someone seeking power,” Richard said. “If the legislative branch doesn’t get it, forces outside the building might set policy.”

Over time, Richard said, lawmakers develop the institutional knowledge and personal fortitude to become powerful enough to stand up to the executive branch and the hordes of lobbyists who try to influence legislation. But when term limits force out elected officials before they get properly seasoned, he said, the vacuum sucks the power right out of the Capitol.

The speaker’s comments land him firmly on a growing bandwagon of Republicans and Democrats in the Show-Me State who have become disillusioned with Missouri’s constitutionally mandated limits on the amount of time elected officials can serve in the House and the Senate.

Yeah, it sucks not ruling after you get the taste for it and having to go find a job in an economy like this.

You know who continues to approve of term limits? I do. It keeps individuals from becoming too powerful and keeps the ranks of lobbyists so full of former legislators that they, too, aren’t as powerful.

Book Report: Your Money or Your Life by Neil Cavuto (2005)

I find Cavuto to be the most engaging of the Fox News hosts. He’s pleasant, polite, and assertive, and he always looks as though he believes that his guests are full of crap. In many cases they are.

This book collects, in written form, some short pieces of comment he used on his television programs in the late nineties and the early part of this century. He offers a couple paragraphs on dot-coms, on the Fed, various recessions we’ve passed through in the last decade, the Iraq War, Congress, and so on and so forth. In the Brave New World, they remind us of the time Before, the time of prosperity and opportunity. I can’t imagine a collection from 2008 through 2018 would look like. If it would be allowed to be printed.

That said, it’s only an okay book. The topics are handled with empathy and whatnot, but given that they’re based on thirty second comments at the end of a newscast, you don’t get really deeply into a topic. Since they say a lot of the same things, the book is also a bit repetitive since a collection from a decade or so is going to cover the same thing the same way sometimes. If you’re going to read the book, break it up by reading a chapter a night or such. Maybe that’s how normal readers do things instead of reading for hours at a sitting.

I’m a bit saddened that I don’t get to see his program more often, but I’m busy afternoons and the guy isn’t taking an afternoon bottle these days.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: The Father Hunt by Rex Stout (1968)

Rex Stout falls, in the Brian J. Noggle Pantheon of Crime Fiction, into the second tier of demigods. The Nero Wolfe books more closely resemble the Watson/Holmes school than hardboiled PIs, but they feature pretty punchy writing and the first person narrative style popularized by the pulps. I’ve read a number, and I like them well enough, but they’re not Ross MacDonald or Raymond Chandler books.

In this book, a woman comes to Archie Goodwin, Wolfe’s assistant, and wants the duo to find out who her father is. She was raised by a frugal and detached mother, and when the mother dies, she leaves her daughter a quarter of a million dollars “from her father.”

Wolfe and Goodwin find the trail leads through a wealthy, unliked family and might well solve the hit-and-run death of the mother.

It’s okay reading, but not MacDonald.

Books mentioned in this review:

The Villiage Takes The Child To Raise It

‘They stole my little girl,’ says mother judged too stupid to care for her baby:

A young mother who was judged too stupid to care for her own baby has accused social workers of ‘stealing’ the child from her.

The woman, who must be identified only as Rachel for legal reasons, is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights in a last ditch attempt to halt the adoption of the child, now aged three.

She has told the Mail that she was bitterly unhappy with her treatment at the hands of social workers at Nottingham City Council.

Her daughter, referred to only as K, was born three months prematurely with severe medical complications. Officials felt the first-time mother lacked the intelligence to cope with the child and care for her in safety.

K was eventually discharged from hospital and given to a foster family.

But although her health has now improved to the point where she needs little or no day-to-day care, the child is due to be handed to adoptive parents within three months.

Rachel will then be barred from further contact.

The adoption is going ahead despite a recent psychiatrist’s report which declared that the 24-year-old has ‘good literacy and numeracy and that her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range’.

It said the unemployed former cleaner had no previous history of learning disability or mental illness.