Friday, February 25, 2011

Tea, Reality, and Stunts

Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family by Tamara Chalabi
For much of the twentieth century, the Chalabis were among the most influential families in Iraq. In the 1920s they were at the forefront of their country's awakening to modernity, and they played an integral part in the establishment of its monarchy. As courtiers, politicians, businessen, rebels, merchants, and scholars, the Chalabis enjoyed vast privilege until the end of the 1950s, when they were forced to flee to the land of exile, myth, and imagination, where their beloved homeland took on the quality of a phantom country. In between came rebellions, foreign interventions, and the transformative development of oil wealth.

Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal
More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to the world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that video games are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.

Stuntman! My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life by Hal Needham
"I wrecked hundreds of cars, fell from tall buildings, got blown up, was dragged by horses, and along the way broke fifty-six bones, my back twice, punctured a lung, and knocked out a few teeth...I hung upside down by my ankles under a biplane in The Spirit of St. Louis, jumped between galloping horses in Little Big Man, set a world record for a boat stunt in Gator, jumped a rocket-powered pickup truck across a canal for a GM commercial, was the first human to test the car air bag -- and taught John Wayne how to really throw a movie punch."

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