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.
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
Bidsand 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.
by Tony Medley
Run time 158 minutes.
OK for children.
While this is a disaster movie that nobody will
take seriously, it’s instructive to know that last week a 25-foot wide
asteroid missed the earth by 8,700 miles. That’s under the trajectory of
lots of our satellites. In May a 40-yard wide asteroid missed earth by
only 38,000 miles. We are in a shooting gallery and nobody’s watching,
except amateurs. The government has nobody tracking satellites that
might be on a collision course with earth. There was no official warning
of either of these satellite encounters this year. The dinosaurs roamed
earth for 125 million years. It is thought they were wiped out in the
space of only three years as a result of an asteroid hit about 65
million years ago.
The tagline for this movie is “we were warned.”
That’s the way I was feeling. I saw director-writer (with Harald Kloser)
Roland Emmerich’s 2004 disaster epic, “The
Day After Tomorrow” and it was one of the dumbest scripts in the
Hollywood. As a result I entered
this film “warned,” and without positive expectation.
So it was a great surprise to find a movie and
script that rose above the spectacular special effects. Let’s face it,
you have to suspend credulity when you enter a theater showing something
like this. “Hamlet” it is not. But for an action picture, this passes
muster; it keeps going at a breakneck pace. Emmerich used a B-list cast
headed by John Cusack to tell a pretty good adventure story of a
disaster caused by a huge eruption from the sun that causes, among other
horrible catastrophes, the switching of the poles.
Cusack is joined by Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor,
Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover and Woodie Harrelson, none of
whom possesses a name that brings throngs of fans flooding the ticket
offices. Emmerich was wise to use his money on the special effects,
because they are worth the price of admission (even if some are
laughable; I guess when you are creating something like this, you can’t
help but go too far), and I’m no fan of movies that rely on special
effects. How much did Emmerich devote to special effects? There are 511
people who received credit for working on special effects and 80
additional who received credit for art work for this movie. All that
effort is reflected in the high quality of the result.
The eruption of Yellowstone
is especially effective. And, for people who might want to say that
everything about this movie is ridiculous, Yellowstone
has had three supereruptions that we know about, 2.1 million years ago,
1.3 million years ago, and the last 640,000 years ago. The upward
movement of the Yellowstone
caldera floor—almost 3 inches each year for the past three years—is more
than three times greater than ever observed since such measurements
began in 1923. The three caldera-forming eruptions, respectively, were
about 2,500, 280, and 1,000 times larger than the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mt.St. Helens in
WashingtonState. Together, the three
catastrophic eruptions expelled enough ash and lava to fill the
Grand Canyon. Figure it out. Another eruption is due. It can
blow at any time with cataclysmic results.
But back to the movie, Cusack & Company are rushing
to get to some arks all the governments of the earth have built to save
the human race. Starting out, all Cusack and Peet and their children
have is a beat up car, and they have to get to
from Los Angeles, which
slides into the ocean right at the start of the movie. The others are
fortunate to be able to fly on Air Force One. Naturally, every plane
takes off racing just in front of earth splitting earthquakes that are
just behind the planes as they race down the runway.
It’s a great adventure, told in a reasonably
believable manner, considering that much of what is shown, especially
all the close calls Cusack & Co. endure, is highly unlikely, if not
preposterous. But cataclysms have happened to earth before and they will
happen again. Nobody knows when.
I was cringing at the prospect of sitting through 2
½ hours of what I anticipated would be a silly story and lots of
CGI, but I have to admit that the story is good
enough, the acting is well done, and the special effects mind-boggling.
This movie is very entertaining.