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Jeff DeSurra "Reader, thinker, occasional writer" RSS Feed (Diamond Bar, CA)

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The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse
The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse
by Molly Knight
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.98
99 used & new from $1.03

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Strong Book with a Few Missteps, July 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The TL;DR version of this review: I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Dodgers or avid baseball fans in general despite two disappointing chapters at the end.

When I first hear about this book, I was incredibly excited for it. The last few years for the Dodgers have probably been the most exciting since the 80s. After finishing the book over the weekend, I really enjoyed reading it, though my excitement was tempered a bit through the last couple chapters.

First, Molly Knight is an excellent writer. There is never a point where the book drags or lulls. I found myself reading this much faster than I usually do because of the flow. The writing pulls you into the drama of moments, recreating the uncertainty, the unpredictably, so that you feel the same surprises and tension all over again. This is a book you won't want to put down once you start.

Knight also does an excellent job of laying out the scene and the absolutely absurdity of everything that was going on with the Dodgers in 2012 and 2013. She goes back all the way to the sale of the Dodgers from the O'Malley family to Fox, then to the McCourts, detailing the circumstances that led to each sale and what put the Dodgers in their sad state in 2011. As a Dodger fan, it was painful to relive those moments, but they have poignancy because of Knight's writing. Knight goes into what led to the bankruptcy, what led to the sale to the Guggenheim group, and the crazy season that progressed in 2013 with all of its highs and lows.

Knight does a good job of giving everyone a fair shake. That doesn't mean that every person comes out looking great, but Knight avoids using common perception to cover the people in her book. She presents the facts as they are and lets her readers decide what to think. This is probably no more true for anyone than Yasiel Puig. Knight goes to great lengths to show his whole story, focusing both on the good and the bad parts of his persona, but never passing judgment on him one way or the other. She simply presents the picture leaving it to readers to decide whether he is a privileged child who was never reined in or a player who was constantly in fear of losing his family or his life and left without proper support.

My only disappointment with the book came in the last two chapters. By far the best part of the book is Knight's coverage of the 2013 season where she goes into great detail of the Dodgers awful start, the injury bug that the team couldn't shake in the first half, and the subsequent outburst that came in the second half of the season. The problem is that so much time was spent on that one season that the rest of the book feels rushed. It takes about six chapters to cover the 2013 season; the 2014 season and the offseason after are covered in just two. Perhaps the part that I was looking forward to the most - the replacement of Ned Colletti and the front office with Friedman and his crew - was the least detailed part of the book. There aren't any revelations about how the Dodgers were able to pull Friedman away from Tampa Bay when so many other teams had failed, or the rationale behind creating the front office in the way they did. The 2014 season was also glossed over aside from some details on how the playoffs played out. This isn't too say that it's not well written in those chapters, but those chapters felt more like a season recap in a sports magazine.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Despite the last two chapters, it was a fascinating read and it kept my attention the entire time. Knight is an excellent writer that expertly captures the behind-the-scenes events during some of the most exciting Dodgers seasons in recent memory. I hope this is the first of many books she writes on baseball because she has a gift for it.

Watch Dogs - PlayStation 4
Watch Dogs - PlayStation 4
Offered by Hello TECH_TOYS
Price: $19.44
334 used & new from $7.46

148 of 185 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing rehash of other open world games, June 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I really wanted to like this game. I, like many others, was really excited when I saw the screenshots and gameplay trailers. This was the the first game for PS4 that I really wanted, and I pre-ordered it almost the moment it became available. The first hour was pretty neat getting to know this new world of hacking in an open world setting. Ultimately though, the game really disappoints. Watch Dogs tries to be innovative with the everything-is-hackable environment and giving its NPCs individual personalities. Unfortunately the story is lackluster at best, the supporting cast of characters is forgettable, and after the shine of the hacking gameplay wears off (very quickly), it feels like GTA without the inspiration or, frankly, fun.

First, the positives. The visual presentation is amazing. This is a next-gen game that really takes advantage of the hardware the PS4 packs. Chicago looks amazing, and feels like a busy-bustling city. It also feels huge. There is plenty in the city to see and explore, and the game's built-in Foursquare-esque mechanic gives the player a reason to find interesting spots in the city. The small details are very well presented as well, from sounds a people talking on the phone around the city, the thread patterns on Aiden's clothing, different sounds from the cars you "borrow," the sound of the trains; it gives Chicago life.

There are aspects of the hacking mechanic that are also very cool. Hacking an item is as easy as holding down a button and watching your work take effect, and some of the puzzles created to access certain items can be pretty interesting. By far the most gratifying effect is causing a blackout: watching all the generators explode, the lights going out, and sneaking away like a crafty ninja. Some of the available cars are also pretty cool. I also found breaking into boats and cruising on the water a cool experience as well (especially when escaping the police or enemies).

The biggest weakness of the game is the story. I'm a big fan of immersion plots, getting thrown into the story and learning about your character as time goes on. Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption did this really well. But in Watch Dogs, you are thrown into the story and never given much reason to care moving forward. The most basic plot line is that in a previous mission (played as the prologue to the game), a mistake made leads to the death of one of his loved ones. The rest of the game is essentially getting to the bottom of who was responsible. Yes, the story takes some twists and turns, but ultimately they're formulaic and uninteresting. Without any type of meaningful surprises or character development, the story really falls flat.

Aiden's character is also a difficult character to attach to. The game has a morality system (like so many others), but the story thoroughly casts Aiden as an antihero, making the morality system feel meaningless. The Infamous series did a good job of making the morality system feel like it had an impact in the game. The story changed, the way the city interacted with your character affected the gameplay, and ultimately the morality choices unlocked and locked parts of the game in interesting ways. In Watch Dogs, it feels like a tacked on system that was thrown in as an afterthought. Yes, citizens will become more afraid of you if you are more evil and will be more sympathetic to you if you act justly, but the game really forces you to play Aiden's character as evil (which is saying something since I tend to play my characters through the "good" tracks). It's far too easy to kill someone than spare them, and ultimately I don't really have a reason to care how I act. Again, compared to Infamous, my choices felt more impactful. Killing a civilian meant the breaking of a multiplier streak or gaining a super ability in Infamous: Second Son. In Watch Dogs, it just feels like an unimportant part of the game.

Another weak aspect of the game is also the side missions. Now, there is a lot of content to do on the side. There are mini-games that can be played, exploration tasks, and online missions (more on this later). The problem is that they're not original (Texas Hold'Em, the shell/hat game, running collecting coins while avoiding obstacles), they don't really unlock anything useful, and they're not very fun. But these side missions are literally everywhere and they take up a large portion of your map. Sure you can turn those icons off, but it really shows how empty the game.

The most frustrating thing to me (and probably the most debatable/controversial) is the online missions. The concept is a neat idea: as you roam through the city, you are also playing with other people in the game and you can initiate certain side games/missions against other players. This can be tailing other players, hacking their characters, and other types of intrusion missions. In theory, that sounds fun and a pretty unique style of gameplay, and for most things, it generally works (when the servers have actually been working to support this, though I expect that will get smoothed out over time). But the problem is that for some of these missions, you have no choice to back out. If a character starts hacking you, you have to drop everything and find them, and the game gives you no option to ignore it. You can't continue with the mission you're currently on, and you can't start new missions. All of your focus goes to finding the character hacking you. An example: I was working to hack one of the ctOS towers to open up more of Chicago, and while these ctOS towers aren't necessarily difficult puzzles to find, they do take a bit of work. Right as I arrived at the tower to hack it, I was informed that my player was being hacked. I didn't have the option to hack the tower then deal with this player. I have to climb back down the building, find the player, deal with them, and then re-climb the building from the beginning. In a game where things are already not feeling very fun, this was an extreme annoyance. Now, depending on your style and preference of gameplay, this may be an enjoyable feature, and that's fine. This is not something I was thrilled with. I'm a player that like to keep single player and multiplayer in controllable realms (i.e. I like to choose when I'm interacting with others and when I'm playing alone). So if you're a player like me, this aspect of the game will probably be very annoying. If not, then this may not be as big an issue to you. But to me, this was a big turn off.

[UPDATE: Some commenters have correctly pointed out that it is possible to turn off the multiplayer aspect of the game. However, by turning off the "online interactions" (the online tailing and hacking), you will also erase any progress and skills you gained using the online interaction missions. When you try to turn off the online interactions, it gives you a big warning message giving you that information. So if you disable it before beginning any part of the story, you're fine to turn this off. If you've done any part of it enough to unlock skills or progress, that will be erased if you turn it off. Again, to me, this is the most debatable part of the review. If this part of the game is something that is really enticing to you, then you can safely ignore this section. If you don't think you'll like this aspect of the game, know that you can turn it off but that you're also locking out part of the gameplay and progression. To me, it again emphasizes a poor design concept that's present throughout the game. But I want to make sure I'm being fair and giving accurate information. If this is the only part of the game that's preventing you from buying it, know that you can disable it from the outset. I still think at its heart, Watch Dogs is a two-star game, so it doesn't effect my overall rating or thoughts on the game, but hopefully this will help you make a more informed decision.]

Overall, I'm really just disappointed with the game. There are definitely some cools features and this planted a seed for potentially better games in the future. Unfortunately, this game is just not that fun. It was almost going to be impossible for this game to live up to the hype that was created around it, which I'm taking into account. After sitting with it for awhile and trying to assess, it is ultimately a dull game that tries to do what other open-world games have already done much better. Hopefully Ubisoft can take the foundation they've laid here and build it up into a more interesting, tighter game next time around.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2015 4:04 PM PDT

MLB 12 The Show - Playstation 3
MLB 12 The Show - Playstation 3
Offered by BooksandSoft
Price: $9.45
295 used & new from $0.01

70 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Again The Best Baseball Game, March 6, 2012
I've been playing The Show since the 2006 iteration, and have purchased every version since. Last year marked the biggest changes to the series by adding full analog controls, Move support (if only in the Home Run Derby mode), and completely revamping the Road to the Show mode. They also replaced Rex Hudler (bleck!) with Eric Karros (yes!) which appealed quite a bit to my Dodgers blue blood. While this year's version doesn't offer the same type of sweeping changes, the game continues to improve on the functions added last year and continues to strive for realism.

Here's a breakdown of the game with strengths and weaknesses.

GAMEPLAY: The biggest change this year is the pitching format. Pulse pitching replaces the meter with a pulsing circle that you place around the strike zone. Time the circle so that it's at its smallest point, and you get the most accurate pitches. The better the control of the pitcher (and the particular pitches), the slower and smaller the circle will be. Erratic pitchers will have fast pulsing circles. And as the pitcher tires, the pulsing increases. It's a neat innovation that does solve the problem of never having walks. It does also give you less control over the pitches and may feel unfair at times. Sometimes you'll feel that you've pinpointed the circle exactly at it's smallest point, and the ball will still manage to find the edge of the circle that's outside the strike zone. However, it does increase the realism, that you may want to pinpoint your pitch exactly, but in reality it is hard even for the best pitchers to place the ball exactly where they want it to go. Overall, I think it's a good addition, but if you feel it's unfair, you can always switch back to metered pitching.

Other than that, most of the gameplay remains unchanged. Analog batting now has the option to add left-stick zone control, but if you're uncoordinated like me, that becomes difficult to manage. Analog batting does seem a little more forgiving this year, but it's still a steep learning curve for beginners. Fielding remains mostly unchanged, as does baserunning. Again, if you're not a fan of the analog controls, all of button/digital controls remain in the options. In terms of Move Support, pitching and hitting are ok, fielding and baserunning are subpar. It's neat to try, but you'll most likely switch back to the dualshock after a few at-bats.

ROAD TO THE SHOW: Much of this remains unchanged. The point evaluation system implemented last year is back, and seems much more accurate to the situations than last year (and a little less forgiving). Your player begins as a Double-A starter instead of a bench player which is a plus. And there are a lot more customization options this year for aesthetics. Overall, nothing major different here, but still one of the best aspects of the game.

AUDIO/VISUAL: The graphics have been a selling point for this game for quite awhile, and this year is no different. Player models are much more accurate (I had to do a double-take the first time I saw Kershaw in the game). The stadiums look great, the crowd is a bit more diverse, and the player movements are more fluid than in previous years. I did notice some frame rate issues here and there, not enough to be a deal breaker, but enough to be noticeable.

The sound is still great. The sound of the bat crack is a little different, but overall the ambient noise and the sounds of the game make you feel like you're at the ballpark. The broadcasting trio are once again great, though many of their lines are rehashed from previous years. Still, Eric Karros took some more time in the studio this offseason to add good commentary, and it does bring the game to life. The broadcast presentation is definitely more realistic, but this will also add more time to a game. In previous years with full broadcast mode, I could get through a game in 45 - 60 minutes, but if you plan on taking in the full effect the broadcast mode this year, expect your games to last over an hour, even if you skip through some scenes. Still, this is a stand-out part of the game.

ONLINE: (UPDATED) The access to the online features has changed a little bit this year. In order to access the online features, you have to have an online pass which enables these features. Your online pass code is printed on the back on the manual in the box (not sure if you have to buy it separately if you buy from PSN, but that's outside the scope of this review). So there's no extra cost, though one hopes this isn't setting up a precedent for future releases. If you're planning on borrowing a friend's game to play online features, prepare to be disappointed. All of the online modes are immediately available from the main screen now, rather than being in a separate login area. The game rooms seem a little better organized than in previous years, with leagues and game rooms getting their own separate areas rather than being in one big online lobby.

The new online feature for this year is diamond dynasty. You create your own team and customize it, start with a group of 25 random players, and then purchase, sell, and trade player card packs (much like baseball cards) to improve your team. You can also spend points you earn to upgrade players in all their various aspects. It's a fun aspect, but it is also very time consuming, so a casual fan may not want to put in the extra effort to improve their team. But for those who enjoy taking a team of low-ability players and turning them into a super team, this will provide hours of new gameplay.

LOAD TIMES: This has been the worst part of this game for years. Especially last year, the load times were oppressively long, even to save games. This year, this aspect has been improved, but still only comes up to about average. You now have the option install 10 GB of game data instead of 5 GB onto the hard drive, and that does make a significant difference. Saves take just a couple seconds, while loads still take 10-15 seconds, sometimes a little longer. If you have the space (and unless you have a ton of games or an old PS3 model, you should), use it to install that extra game data. It makes a difference. Don't expect it to be lightning fast though.

OTHER: The updated stadiums and Marlin uniforms look good (well, good in the game; I personally am not a huge fan of the Miami Marlins uniforms, but to each his or her own). The little details are still what makes this game standout. There are now different options and styles for batting gloves and cleats. Your players can now wear the new giganto-helmets that have been sported by some players (such as David Wright), and all minor league players in the game wear them. The mascots, the grass, the random crowd members, all continue to bring the game to life.

CONCLUSION: This was more of a "one small step for baseball video games" moment for this series rather than the giant leap from last year, but the improvements continue to make this the must-have baseball game. The learning curve is still steep, though moving from meter pitching to pulse pitching is an easier jump than digital-to-analog controls. Load times are still excessive but more bearable, and the realism is still there. If you want to get the most realistic baseball experience you can without going outside and playing a game, this is your game. Have fun and play ball! (And since I'm a huge Dodger fan: It's tiiiiiiiiiime for Dodger baseball!!!)
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2012 3:20 PM PDT

PlayStation Move Starter Bundle
PlayStation Move Starter Bundle
Offered by The Excited Box
Price: $50.87
54 used & new from $25.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sony Gets It Right with Playstation Move, September 21, 2010
I picked up the Move a few days ago, and while I would like to have logged a bit more time playing, I think I have enough of a grasp of the new components to write a sufficient review.

First of all, for those looking for a quick recommendation, this is for you. Move is a very solid add-on to the PS3, and there is a ton of potential for future games. If you've been looking forward to Move's release and really want it, go get it. If you're unsure about it or don't feel the need to be on the cutting edge, wait until there is a better game selection available. However, this will be a must-have item once the game selection expands and more software developers take full advantage of the new hardware.

For those who want more details, here are my thoughts. As background, I only own a PS3 system, but I've also played a Wii with and without the Motion Plus (my brother owns one as well as a classmate in school, so I've logged quite a few hours on it). I think the Move slightly edges out the Wii, and here's how it breaks down.

Hardware: The Move, in my opinion, is superior to the Wii hardware. While the sensor bar and Wii controller (with the Wii Motion Plus) are mostly precise, the Playstation Eye camera and Move controller have a lot more precision and accuracy. Playing on the Wii, there are those occasional frustrating moments where your Mii will do something that you had no intention of doing, and on some games this happened frequently enough to be annoying (I'm thinking of Frisbee Golf on Wii Sports Resort as an example). While those moments are absent on the Move, they are far less regular, and my movements feel more one-to-one than on the Wii. With the use of the camera, I also see a lot more potential for innovative gameplay, including adding yourself into the same, or using the motion capture technology in ways the Wii can't mimic. Some of the demos have already showcased (such as Start Party and Eyepet). Both show strengths and weaknesses in the way they use the controllers. Wii uses the nunchuck addition with a wired connection, which allows for simpler nav controls as well as allowing two-handed gameplay. Move allows the player to use a second Move controller to allow for two handed wireless play and has some pretty innovative possibilities. The big downside is price: the nunchuck is a much cheaper addition while a second move controller will cost ~$50 + tax (depending on where you get it). Move also provides a navigation controller which has a wired connection to the Move controller. It's disappointing that Sony didn't include navigation controls on the Move controller like Wii does on its main remote, but (for now) this is only an issue when you need to quit a game or shut down the PS3 without pushing the power button, or navigating the PS3 startup menu. The nav controller hasn't been integrated into any games yet. So for the precision and room for innovation, I give this to the Move hands down. Wii is still slightly more cost effective, though if you already have a Playstation Eye camera, all you need to start using Move games is a Move controller.

Software: The Wii has a slight edge here, though I think this could change based on future game releases for the PS3. I'll give a more detailed review later on the included bundle software, but in general, the bundle software included with the Wii (both originally and currently) offers a more solid set of minigames than the PS3. And in the case of Wii Sports Resort, the selection is much wider and more engaging to a wider audience than Sports Champion. The difference between Nintendo and Sony is also clear in that Nintendo has the more "cartoony" feel while Sony is trying to go for realism. I tend to like the latter, but this is more of a subjective opinion. At the same time, Sports Champion offers a solid games that showcase some of the capabilities of the Move components. It feels like a fleshed out demo, which is both good and bad. There is a very limited selection of release date games available, so this makes it hard to give a full review of the software. Still, the potential in the games available in demo and the showcase in Sports Champion is exciting.

Sports Champion: I give the game a solid fours stars because most of the games are a lot of fun and it shows the various ways the Move can be used. There are only six minigames available, which is one more than Wii Sports, but not all the games are as equally solid as the Wii Sports games were. Three (and arguably four) games are the same as in Wii Sports/Sports Resort: Archery, Table Tennis, Frisbee Golf (and Gladiator Duel, somewhat similar to Sports Resort's swordplay). Sports Champion also includes Bocce Ball and Beach Volleyball. Of these games, Bocce Ball, Frisbee Golf and Gladiator Duel are by far the best. Bocce, though simple, becomes very addictive and along with Frisbee Golf, showcases the precision of the Move hardware. The trajectory, speed, and spin of the ball feel accurate and precise with your movements. Likewise in Frisbee Golf, where you can have very precise motions to manipulate the path of the Frisbee. In Wii Sports Resort, it often felt like the was a 50-50 chance that my frisbee would go the direction I wanted it to. With the Move, have a few practice runs, I could basically direct the frisbee where I wanted it to go and put curve on it effectively and intentionally. Now, Sports Champion's Frisbee Golf is striving much more for realism. Whereas the Wii's game only required you to hit the frisbee into a large glowing pillar, Sports Champion uses real Frisbee Golf holes (the chain-and-basket hole). Again, depending on your preference, you may like PS3's model better than Wii's or vice versa. I can go either way.
Table Tennis, Vollyball, and Archery are all OK, but not as strong as the other three (more coming on Gladiator Duel soon). Archery is the strongest of these three, and is reasonably fun. But without the second Move controller, it feels stripped down. With one controller, the only movement required is to reach back to your "quiver", pull out an arrow, and then aim at your target. This is still challenging, but doesn't feel a lot like Archery. Credit should be given to Sony for figuring out how to make archery a one-handed sport, but if you're not ready to buy a second controller, this will be a little disappointing (and tiring for your arm). Table Tennis is also good, but feels the least precise of the six games. This was the game where I felt the most confused about why I wasn't hitting shots, when they were spinning when I didn't want them to, and why the ball would seem to go slower or faster than how I hit it. Again, not a terrible minigame, but the imprecision sucked some of the fun out of the game. Volleyball is the weakest for me, because I felt the least immersion. You mimic the movements of Volleyball pretty accurately (in terms of bumping, setting, spiking and serving), but the characters move themselves around the court, so all you're doing is basically waiting for the ball to be back on your side so you can go through the motions again. It can be fun, but it's still a little weak.

The AI starts out a little simplistic, maybe too easy, but they do eventually start getting better. This does get annoying though if you are doing multiplayer and playing with an AI team member (especially in Bocce ball). It can feel like you have to do the work all by yourself if you are playing on low difficulty levels. The character animations are fun, if not over the top. The soundtrack makes you feel like you're in a Harry Potter movie (not necessarily in a good way), and become a little melodramatic and cheesy. You may find yourself going to the audio menu to turn off the music after 15 minutes or so.

Finally, Gladiator Duel and the use of two Move controllers. If you really want to take advantage of the Move and Sports Champion, you have to have two Move controllers. For Gladiator Duel and Archery especially, it changes the entire gameplay. In Gladiator Duel, you fight against another character using a shield and some type of gruesome looking weapon (ranging from battle axes to maces to long swords and other deadly weapoins). If you use one controller, you control both the shield and weapon with one hand, using the underside button to engage the shield. While this still makes the game fun, it is nowhere near as fun as using one controller to control each piece of equipment. With both controllers, you actually feel like a gladiator, trying to position yourself more effectively and blocking and striking from a more secure stance. The movement of your character is also much easier to manage with two controllers. With Archery, you actually feel more like an archer by having to pull back the arrow on the bow. Overall, the gameplay experience is entirely changed when one player uses two Move controllers. And, multiplayer options become accessible with two controllers on games that are not turn-based.

A quick word about the controllers: I like the layout better on the Move controller simply because it is more comfortable in my hand. The button placement takes a little getting used to, especially if you've played a Wii, but eventually it also feels very natural. The ball on the controller, changes color not only based on the ambient light in the room, but also in reaction to game events. Do something good, and the ball with flash congratulatory lights; make a mistake, and it will let you know.

In summary, the Move is a solid component add-on and a solid investment for any PS3 owner. If you have a Playstation Eye camera already, all you need is the controller to start using Move games. If you're still hesitant about the Move, wait a couple months until Sony releases more games for it to make a decision, and if you have a friend with one, try it out. But if you're ready for it and just needed to hear some review about whether it's worth it, wait no longer. The Move will provide hours of fun, and the potential of this component is pretty exciting.

Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter
Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter
by Richard Shenkman
Edition: Hardcover
93 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tempered Recommendation, July 3, 2008
I think for the most part I agree with this author. However, I'm a bit reluctant to fully recommend this book. While the author presents a lot of statistics to demonstrate his point, statistics can't always be trusted. They can be twisted to paint a picture that doesn't accurately reflect reality. That's not to say that I think his point is wrong; I do think the evidence is compelling enough to support his point, but I take it with a bit of caution.

I also found his section on television compelling, though it's pretty much a summary of "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman. In it, though, he reveals his bias toward newspaper. It seemed to hint that newspapers are a source of unbiased information, and I'm not sure I agree with that. Perhaps the main difference between TV and printed news is that TV lends itself more to commentary while printed news leans more toward strict reporting with commentary. But there was still no argument as to why I should trust what I read in the news rather than what I hear and see in the news. I would have appreciated if in the epilogue that pointed to sources of good information that is for the most part unbiased and explained a little more clearly why newspapers do provide a better source of reliable information.

All that said, I found this book to be stimulating. It raises some good questions, identifies key weaknesses, mainly the myth of "The People," and tries to find out why the American Public is as uninformed as it appears to be. I would recommend this book with reservation. It might be good to compliment it with a book like Postman's, another good book on a similar subject.

Monster RadioPlay 300 Universal Full Spectrum FM Transmitter MBL-FM XMTR300 (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Monster RadioPlay 300 Universal Full Spectrum FM Transmitter MBL-FM XMTR300 (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
12 used & new from $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works Great!, June 1, 2008
I've been using this FM transmitter for my new 80GB zune, and so far it has been great. It has a pretty powerful signal, so it wasn't very difficult to find channels to use. There hasn't been any static, even when the transmitter is sitting on my passenger seat, and the sound quality is very good. The transmitter does not have a charger, so if you want to charge your Zune or iPod or other mp3 player, you'll need to either by the more expensive transmitter with the charger, or a splitter and a separate charger. The only qualm I have with it is the buttons for the three saved channels are a little sensitive, so sometimes if I accidentally bump it or if stuff starts to move around next to it, it will switch channels. But it has worked great so far. A good investment.

Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (American Society of Missiology Series)
Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (American Society of Missiology Series)
by David Jacobus Bosch
Edition: Paperback
69 used & new from $4.07

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foundational Book for Understanding Mission, April 28, 2008
This is a cornerstone for studies in missional theology. David Bosch gives a thorough analysis of Christian mission movement throughout history, starting from the biblical foundations for missions and moving through six paradigms he identifies throughout history. It is very dense, slow reading, but Bosch is also a writer who can be skimmed well. His writing is very structured, allowing a more casual reader to skim through some of the more dense sections without losing important content while still being able to converse with a more academic reader who has read the details as well. For anyone who takes mission seriously in the church, this is a must-read book.

History of the World Christian Movement: Earliest Christianity to 1453
History of the World Christian Movement: Earliest Christianity to 1453
by Dale T. Irvin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.89
110 used & new from $5.00

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meanders Too Randomly through History, April 28, 2008
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This book was assigned for my church history class at Princeton Theological Seminary. It looks promising at the outset because of the large number of scholars who have contributed to the book. It incorporates scholars from different cultures and institutions to attempt to bring together an ecumenical view of Church History. Unfortunately that goal is never achieved. The book wanders aimlessly through church history, never clearly identifying what time period they're trying to cover and making much of what they're trying to present incoherent. This is mostly likely the result of so many different voices trying to get a say. There are better church history overviews, such as Justo Gonzalez's two volume "Story of Christianity." There are some good sections here and there, such as the section on Islam, but this is a book better left on the shelf.
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The Craft of Research, 2nd edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
The Craft of Research, 2nd edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Wayne C. Booth
Edition: Paperback
482 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Useful Resource for Research Papers, April 28, 2008
This has been an extremely helpful resource for framing and developing a good research paper. It takes the reader step-by-step through the process of finding a topic of interest, narrowing that topic into a question, making that question relevant to a wider audience, then moving to researching that question, developing arguments, and putting those arguments into a coherent structure. The authors have set up the book so that it can either be read through cover to cover or used as a reference guide for particular sections. For students beginning their first research papers, this is an exceptionally helpful book to make a daunting task much more manageable. Highly recommended.

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Seventh Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Seventh Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Kate L. Turabian
Edition: Paperback
560 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Refernce Manual, April 26, 2008
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This is more of a reference book than a sit-down-and-read-through book. It provides proper formatting for footnotes, in-text citations, and bibliography, and gives some guides for planning, structuring, and writing papers. If you're looking for a book that is a little better for how to craft arguments and progress through a paper logically, "The Craft of Research" is better for those reasons. Still, this is a convenient book to have on the shelf for reference, especially with proper citation.

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