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Bounty of the Bay: A Treasury of Foods from the Tidewaters of the Chesapeake Bay
Bounty of the Bay: A Treasury of Foods from the Tidewaters of the Chesapeake Bay
by Michael T Dougherty
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.99
14 used & new from $16.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Comedy delivered in doubtful tales and even more doubtful recipes, August 15, 2015
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This slim volume contains 10 short stories, all set in the Chesapeake. Supposedly these stories were compiled by the (now defunct) "ladies of the Watts Island Gourmands Society" during the 1930s and 1940s, and only passed on to the author of this book recently, by the sole surviving member of that society. The stories are themselves historical, some set in the early 20th century, some in the 19th century, and a few even earlier. All of the stories involve food---Blackbeard's Burgoo, Surf 'N Sky Crab Cakes, Hog Island Pork Tenderloins, etc. A few even include recipes for the food.

The great joy of this book is the gentle comedy of the writing. For example, from the introduction to "Smith Island 21-Layer German Chocolate Cake":

"the civility of local folk should not be mistaken for virtue in every case. While great vices struggle to find a toehold here, there is more than enough folly, vanity, and pure foolishness to go around. And when one combines youth, beauty, price, an impossible naivete and skilled baking with a desperate group of German sailors in wartime, the mixture can result in something that comes very close to what we might call treason."

Or from "Hog Island Pork Tenderloins", about an interaction between lawmen enforcing prohibition and a local bootlegger, cooking a Spanish lunch for them:

"In his [the lawman's] personal opinion, Prohibition was the product of tiny bodies of crazed progressives with an unhealthy interest in ordering the lives of less evolved people through vast national programs. It was a mystery to him how they'd actually succeeded in getting the Constitution itself amended. But, by God this paella tasted good, especially the figs."

This is a collection of very funny stories. I only wish there were more. Perhaps the author will unearth some additional stories, from another 20th century lady's club.


American Nerd: The Story of My People
American Nerd: The Story of My People
by Benjamin Nugent
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.32
130 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Combining history of nerds with memoir of author's nerd life, March 19, 2010
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Ignore the harsh reviews. This is a wondrous history of nerds and nerddom combined with a quirky memoir. It's all here: science fiction, dungeons and dragons, computers, Elvis Costello, Japan, SNL's Todd and Lisa. Bonus: a great description of modern-day career anxiety: "losing momentum in your career, losing the aura of an up-and-comer, acquiring the odor of failure.... One professional mishap can make you a perceived failure and this scent can repel potential employers and render you an actual, quantifiable failure." A masterpiece.


Fluent In Stroll [2 CD]
Fluent In Stroll [2 CD]
Price: $12.39
39 used & new from $2.46

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, August 16, 2009
This review is from: Fluent In Stroll [2 CD] (Audio CD)
I have liked Big D ever since I heard their cover of the Specials' classic "Little Bitch". LA X is a great song. So is "Noise Complaint". But this album is far better than their previous work. It is a masterpiece, their ".. And Out Come the Wolves", their "Joshua Tree", their "Born to Run". Buy it now.


The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse
The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse
by Jane Kamensky
Edition: Hardcover
101 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb tale of a building, a bank failure, and the man behind both, May 19, 2008
This book describes the making and unmaking of the largest building in Boston---at the time---all built on bank notes of questionable value. It is a superb tale. The building construction is fascinating, the shaky finance more so, and the man behind it even more.


No Title Available

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an unusual and surprisingly fun board game, September 17, 2007
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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Spy Alley appears to be all about dice, landing on the right squares, and buying the right codebooks and disguises. But once you play, you realize the real action is elsewhere. The game is all about pretending to be someone you aren't and accurately guessing the identities of others.

A great family game for ages 7+.


The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto)
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto)
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.59
440 used & new from $0.03

13 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best business book of 2007, May 2, 2007
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2007 is only 1/3 done, but the year's best business book is already clear. Taleb's book is about black swans---highly improbable events that have a big impact on the world. Think 9/11, the East Asian crash of 1997, or the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Taleb's claim is that there are so many potential black swans that even though each one is very improbable, one or another hits on a regular basis. We are blind to the black swans ahead of time because each is unlikely. More importantly we are blind after the fact because we learn about the details of the black swan that actually hit rather than thinking about all the thousands that could have hit and did not.

Taleb is a scholar and an iconoclast, skewering many sacred cows while explaining his claims and backing up his ideas. Plus this book is a lot of fun to read.


No Title Available

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great family game, August 12, 2006
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My daughters (ages 8, 8, and 7) beg me every weekend to play this game. It is the right level for them: complex enough to be challenging, but not hard enough to discourage. And I am glad they are learning some American and Canadian geography along the way!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2006 7:44 PM PST


Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics
Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics
by Eric D. Beinhocker
Edition: Hardcover
46 used & new from $9.40

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing breadth, July 30, 2006
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In the business world, many people use biological and evolutionary metaphors. These cliches mean little; "the DNA of our business" has become another substitute for executive thinking.

Beinhocker's book is different. There are no metaphors here, biological or otherwise. Instead he demonstrates that economics is fundamentally an evolutionary system. Businesses are not like species or like genes or like anything else biological. Rather, both biological evolution and economic evolution are special cases of a more general evolutionary algorithm.

Along the way, Heinhocker explains what is wrong with traditional economics, how complexity economics explains many phenomena that puzzle traditional economists. He details some implications of complexity economics for business strategy, business organization, and business finance.

The breadth of the coverage here is astonishing, including biology and economics of course, but also strategy, organization, finance, computer science, business history, systems dynamics, and physics.

And oh yeah, the man can write. The book is dense with ideas, but his touch is light and easy to follow. This is not an academic treatise, of interest only to folks in Cambridge and Berkeley. Anyone in the business world will find this book readable, interesting, and useful.


Get It Done!: A Blueprint for Business Execution
Get It Done!: A Blueprint for Business Execution
by Ralph Welborn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $27.63
71 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars new, deep, and well-written, January 22, 2006
Good business books are rare in my opinion because they must combine three characteristics, each of which is unusual by itself. A good business book must be new, not merely a repeat of what others have said before. A good business book must be deep, not merely another superficial treatment of some topic. And a good business book must be well-written; life is too short to read poorly written books. Welborn and Kasten succeed on all three counts.

This book is new. There are a few books on business modeling (too few!) but none focus on the practical implications of business modeling for execution, on how building models and having models make businesses able to execute their plans. You will not find the contents of this book anywhere else on Amazon, at least not today, in January 2006.

This book is deep. About half of the pages in this book describe case studies, in which the ideas and claims are illustrated in some detail. The case studies come from different industries, including healthcare providers, financial services, and homeland security.

And this book is well-written, even fun in places. For example, the authors illustrate the value of knowledge codification with the example of a master chef in a restaurant. As long as the master chef's signature disk is something only she knows, her scope is limited to a small number of diners in Manhatten. When she codifies it into a recipe, the dish can be created in many places, in Manhatten Beach, California and Manhattan, Kansas.

Initially I had a style issue with this book. What issue? The authors often intersperse short questions in the middle of their paragraphs, to connect their sentences together. It is as if a reader was asking questions of them and they were answering, like this paragraph. Does it work? I found the technique annoying at first, but after a chapter, I became used to it, and I think it does work. I am going to try it in my own writing.


Logic3 i-Station Dock and Speaker Station for iPod
Logic3 i-Station Dock and Speaker Station for iPod
4 used & new from $15.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked this a lot better the first month, September 19, 2005
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I liked this product a lot the first month. It has a great form factor: fold it up for the suitcase, then unfold it for the hotel desk on business trips. And the sound is pretty good.

But my i-station did not hold up well. It now rattles on certain frequencies. And I used to use it as an alarm clock, setting the ipod to awake with music at a certain time, and leaving the i-station on. No longer: now when the ipod is off, my i-station emits a low purr, loud enough to keep me awake.


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