POF Archive: May 2018

I have been writing this drivel for decades. Browse through my archives by clicking the links below.

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (8/10)

Another rambling philosophical tome from Taleb. It expands on the idea that good policy emerges from the participants having skin in the game. I'm not sure it works as a coherent whole, but there are enough nuggets of brilliance scattered between the insults, diatribes and math to make it worthwhile.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 05/31/2018 - 22:53

Black Magic (9/10)

Black Magic is a strange mix of horror and bumbling romantic comedy. Nothing in this movie makes any sense and I loved just about every minute of it. The plot is focused on various characters hiring a voodoo shamen to cast love spells. It's filled with all sorts of skulls and weird voodoo action like centipede eating, dog wresting, forced lactation and hair stealing. The climax is super cheesy lightning bolt voodoo duel atop a crumbling, unfinished building.

Black Magic

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:30

The Kid with the Golden Arm (6/10)

There are a few gorey moments, but for the most part this was a rather ho-hum Shaw Bros. kung-fu outing. Silly plot involves protecting a treasure caravan, five uniquely adorned outlaws, and a drunken maste. Doesn't really make sense and the fights are not terribly inspiring.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:15

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (8/10)

I've been watching The Expanse lately and wanted to get a taste of the novels that the show is based upon. This was a good read, and the show is a pretty close interpretation of the story. I'm not sure if I can keep going with the book though. If the T.V series gets cancelled I might have to.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:10

Goodbye Old Friend

Last view before uninstall...

It's been just about a year since I purchased The Witcher 3 from GOG.com and I have finally finished the DLC content. The Blood and Wine expansion like getting a completely new game world to explore. Worth every penny. But alas, I think it's time to uninstall this fantastic game. I suppose I could keep going to try to complete all the achievements but my time and SSD space is limited. For now I will patiently await the release of Cyberpunk 2077. On the up-side, I will never be forced to play a boring round of Gwent again.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Tue, 05/22/2018 - 12:15 in

Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell (7/10)

Sowell is always an interesting read. However, I find that he can be a bit repetitive in his points from book to book’I get it, minimum wage laws are dumb. Yet, despite his persistence, nobody appears to be listening (it's no surprise that in interviews he is quite pessimistic about the future). But for all his repetition, there are always a few nuggets of novel insights in each of his essays. My favorite from this book is his observation that demographic statistics seem to ignore average ages of various statistical groupings. When the average age of a particular group is 18–25 you are going…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 05/21/2018 - 13:38

Excalibur (6/10)

I'm not quite sure why this movie was so popular when it came out. I remember hearing that they watched it in an English class in my high school even though there was a bit of nudity in it (was there a PG rated cut I'm forgetting about?). It's pretty corny and almost sounds like the actor's voices were dubbed. There's a bit of Zardoz lingering here, but not enough to make it fun to watch. It's like all the budget went into polishing the armor. All that said, I feel like this one might improve with repeated viewings. For now, meh.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 05/20/2018 - 16:56

Deadlight: Director's Cut on PC (7/10)


This one was a freebie from GOG.com of which I knew nothing about before playing it. Turns out, it is a 2.5-D platformer’meaning, it's a 3-D rendered game but you only move in the standard two dimensions of a classic platformer. I'm not a huge fan of platform games, I'm not very good at them. Thankfully this one is slow-paced, not too twitchy and yet, it's not quite a puzzle platformer either. There is just enough action and thinking to keep an old-timer like myself interested for a few hours.

There is a little bit of a story which is told mostly through comic style art cut-scenes. There…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 05/19/2018 - 19:08

Dishonored on PC (8/10)

Dishonored Stealth Kill

A while back I gave this game a spin during a Steam free weekend and ended up setting it aside I guess because I couldn't quite grok the stealth mechanics. On this second go around I've realized that it's all about using your magic skills for just about every encounter. In fact, by the end of the game the player is well-nigh invincible will his arsenal of teleportation, mind control and time dilation. I'm too old to be wasting my time mastering a video game, so I welcome it when games feel like they get a little easier as I go along.

There's enough of a thread of plot to keep it engaging…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Fri, 05/11/2018 - 15:02

The Raft by Robert Trumbull (8/10)

The harrowing true life account of three airmen who are adrift in a rubber raft for thirty-four days following an emergency landing in the Pacific Ocean. It's written a blunt, mid-century pulp style very much befitting a Reader's Digest book of the month from back in the 1940s (which it was). Short and to the point. Spoiler alert: includes details of their bowel movements on the twelfth day. For a much better and detailed lost at sea tale I would highly recommend Steve Callahan's Adrift.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 05/09/2018 - 22:49

The Gulag Archipelago (Vol. I & II) by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (7/10)

This massive book has been sitting on my shelf taunting me for twenty-plus years. Ages ago it was recommended to me (by my art professor, Richard Long) as essential reading in the canon of conservative thought. It was only after having read some lesser (in page length) works about the Russian prison system’mainly, The Darkness at Noon and To Build a Castle’and having watched the excellent satirical T.V. series Comrade Detective, that I have mustered the energy to tackle this. Going into this endeavor I didn't realize this copy was only two volumes of the seven books of The Gulag Archipelago an…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 05/05/2018 - 19:27