Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

The Big Short by Michael Lewis:
This book on the 2008 mortgage crisis had some potential, but never fully drew me in. The author falls into the trap that Michael Crichton faced in some of his later books: jumping between a gaggle of main characters that rarely interact with each other, resulting in a set of disjunct vignettes and names on a page. By about 2/3rds through the book, I was just reading to finish it -- the writing is good, and the explanations of the more obtuse concepts are as clear as they could be, but it just didn't make me want to read it.

Final Grade: C-

Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost:
This is the third in Troost's set of travel books, and I liked it more than Getting Stoned with Savages but less than Sex Lives of Cannibals. On the plus side, the story is more cohesive than the previous book, and a good dose of historical writing ties his trip through China together from beginning to end. As a minus, his entire reason for leaving his family at home and wandering around China for a couple months seems like a shabby excuse to write a travel book, and it's used more to set up the action rather than to provide a purpose for each of the sights he visits. This book also could have been trimmed by a hundred pages or so without many tears.

Final Grade: B

How We Operate by Gomez:
This CD is an earlier release from Gomez, whose CD, A New Tide I reviewed last month. It's catchy, over 50 minutes long, and lacks any whiny indie songs. Definitely a good pick for $4 from Amazon Marketplace.

Final Grade: A-

Costco's Kirkland Mickey Mouse Chicken Nuggets w/Whole Grain Breading:
These chicken nuggets may have gotten a high score from Consumer Reports, but they break the "everything is good at Costco" mold by tasting peculiar. The innards are not whole chicken pieces or obviously processed -- instead, they contain some sort of hybrid that's too rough tasting to be a McNugget but not flavorful enough to be from Wendy's. The breading gets crispy, even in the microwave, but this requires that each nugget come imbued with too much oil, which seeps through multiple paper towels while cooking. Stick with the Safeway brand chicken strips which are only slightly more expensive but actually taste good.

Final Grade: D

Chatroulette Plans Penis-Recognition Algorithm to Block Pervy Users
Woman sets office on fire to go home early
French prisoner a little sketchy on the anatomical details

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