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.  


Thumbnails December 2009

by Tony Medley

The Blind Side (10/10): Sandra Bullock finally reaches her potential in this wonderfully entertaining, heart-warming true story of Michael Oher (newcomer Quinton Aaron) and the chance at life given him by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock). Unlike most movies about living people, the real Leigh Anne is at least as beautiful as movie star Bullock (in a blonde wig), who captures Leigh Anne’s feistiness with remarkable fidelity. Her award-quality performance overcomes the film’s main weakness, Aaron’s lack of athleticism, even though the rest of his performance as a disadvantaged street kid is credible. Bullock’s performance is matched by that of young Jac Head, who plays Tuohy’s son, S.J., with captivating brilliance, reminding me of the irrepressible Ricky Nelson before he became a rock star and adopted an Elvis-like sneer.

2012 (8/10): After director-writer Roland Emmerich’s 2004 disaster epic, “The Day After Tomorrow” I had low expectations for his newest. So it was a great surprise to find an entertaining movie that moves at breakneck speed and compliments the spectacular special effects (some laughable). 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 were, respectively, about 2,500, 280, and 1,000 times larger than the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Figure it out. Another eruption is due. It can blow at any time with cataclysmic results.

This Is It (7/10): This isn’t the greatest documentary ever made, nor is it full of terrific music, unless you just live or die with Michael Jackson. But it is extremely well done, a fascinating snapshot of a music idol shortly before an untimely death.

The Box (7/10): Starting like a fairly straight forward thriller, this  descends into weirdness involving scenes that are phantasmagorical. I can’t say I enjoyed this movie, in the ordinary definition of “enjoy,” but it did keep me involved and it did cause me to think about it long after I left the theater. To me, that’s a good definition of an entertaining movie.

Pirate Radio (5/10): About an offshore ship broadcasting banned rock ‘n’ roll into England in 1966, this looks like a made-by-the-numbers movie it is so predictable. After a plodding, uninvolving first 2/3rds, writer-director Richard Curtis terminates this long dirge with a Titanic-like ending that seems, well, interminable. The only things I liked about it were Kenneth Brannagh, who plays the delightfully evil Sir Alistair Dormandy, the stodgy minister who is out to kill Pirate Radio and all the people on board, and the sound track which includes some entertaining music, although I would have picked different songs from the era to highlight. It would have been more enjoyable if I had just closed my eyes and listened to the music.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (5/10): Unfortunately, this light-hearted story about the government’s preposterous attempts to harness paranormal abilities to combat its enemies makes no sense. George Clooney and Ewan McGregor give performances that do the unique material great credit. But director Grant Heslov seems like a pianist hired to do a electrical job. He’s got all the wires and connections and stuff, he just doesn’t know how to put them all together in a cohesive form.