The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others. Also included is a detailed Guide to Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game even easier. Click book to order.  

Man on Wire (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time: 94 minutes

On August 7, 1974, the day before Richard Nixon resigned, Frenchman Philippe Petit high-wire walked between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. This James Marsh documentary chronicling the event comes across like a good caper flick, as Petit’s team planned its clandestine assault for eight months (Petit had been planning it for six years), finally smuggling all the gear into the towers and onto the roofs. Despite a ragtag team of compatriots, this is a compelling story of what has been called “the artistic coup of the century,” using archival films and interviews with Petit and all the members of his team, both from the early ‘70s and from the present day, to tell the story of this remarkable feat.

This film, although a documentary, is like a caper film. James Marsh has used archival footage and interviews The people that Petit recruited to be part of his team sometimes come across as a modern day reincarnation of the keystone cops, so diverse and bizarre are they all. The fact that these people accomplished what they did is almost as remarkable as Petit’s achievement in walking between the two towers.

Although 94 minutes is a little too long to tell this story, the last half hour, when Petit actually mounts the wire and starts his jaunt, is so tense that my heels felt weak as I watched Petit dance out across the chasm between the towers, over 1,000 feet above the ground. Since the entire affair was clandestine, until the throngs below looked up and saw him up there, there was no net. If Petit made just one misstep, it was curtains.

Most of us, if we were actually crazy enough to try something this daring, would just want to get across, get it over with. Not Petit, once he was out there on the wire he savored every minute, going back and forth, back and forth, lying down, doing all sorts of things, for almost 45 minutes. He admits that he was very close to death (duh!).

It would take a cool customer, indeed, not to feel the tension when Petit ventures out onto the wire for his 45-minute journey 1,350 feet above New York’s streets. This is a fascinating account of a moment from history that will never be repeated.