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Forces of Geek’s FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

This Sunday is Father’s Day, an actual holiday, dedicated to selling neckties and paperweights.

And while most dads (or paternal figures) are likely happy with an afternoon in their man cave watching Jaws or RoboCop undisturbed, or an uninterrupted bowel movement and a copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, here are some of our suggestions that would make the most of the day.

And no neckties.

The Ghost Army of World War II
By Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles

In the summer of 1944, a hand-picked group of young GIs landed in France to conduct a secret mission. Armed with rubber tanks, fake artillery, and more than a few tricks up their sleeves, their job was to create a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe, with the German Army as their audience. From Normandy to the Rhine, the 1,100 men of the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troops, known as the “Ghost Army,” conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions, and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Many of the deceivers were recruited from art schools, including such future luminaries as Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, Arthur Singer, and Art Kane. As they traveled across Europe, they filled their duffel bags with the drawings and paintings they created between missions. Based on meticulous research and interviews with surviving members of the Ghost Army, and lavishly illustrated with the soldiers’ original artwork and never-before published documents, The Ghost Army of World War II tells the riveting true story of a group of young artists and engineers who wielded imagination, paint, and bravado to save thousands of American lives and help win the war.


The Roosevelts: An Intimate History DVD

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, chronicles the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. It is the first time in a major documentary television series that their individual stories have been interwoven into a single narrative. This seven-part, 14 hour film follows the Roosevelts for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962.

The series encompasses the history the Roosevelts helped to shape: the creation of National Parks, the digging of the Panama Canal, the passage of innovative New Deal programs, the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights abroad. It is also an intimate human story about love, betrayal, family loyalty, personal courage, and the conquest of fear.

Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti and Edward Herrmann portray the voices of Eleanor, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt in reading of their personal letters and writings. The DVD and Blu-ray both include special features – 13 bonus videos, making of The Roosevelts, and deleted scenes with an introduction by Ken Burns.

The Collected Plays of Arthur Miller (Library of America)

The ultimate gift for any theater lover: the essential American playwright in a three-volume deluxe collector’s boxed set. Over the course of his nearly seventy-year career, Arthur Miller (1915–2005) reshaped and permanently expanded the range of the American theatre. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Awards, he crafted a body of work—searing, courageous, and profoundly honest—that forms an essential part of our national literature. Now, to celebrate his centennial, The Library of America and acclaimed playwright Tony Kushner present a definitive three-volume edition of Miller’s collected plays––all the works that established him as the indispensable voice of the twentieth century stage—in a deluxe boxed set.

Volume 1 (1944-1961)
In the inaugural volume of its collected edition of Miller’s plays, The Library of America gathers the works from the 1940s and 1950s that electrified theatergoers and established Miller as one of the indispensable voices of the postwar era. Among the plays included are All My Sons, the story of an industrialist confronted with his moral lapses during World War II; Death of a Salesman, the wrenching tragedy of Willy Loman’s demise; The Crucible, at once a riveting reconstruction of the Salem witch trials and a parable of McCarthyism; and A View from the Bridge, Miller’s tale of betrayal among Italian immigrants in Brooklyn, presented here in both the original one-act and revised two-act versions.

This volume also contains the intriguing early drama The Man Who Had All the Luck, the first of Miller’s plays to be produced on Broadway, along with his adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, the autobiographical one-act A Memory of Two Mondays, and Miller’s novella The Misfits, based on the screenplay he wrote for Marilyn Monroe.

Volume 2 (1964-1982)
The volume opens with After the Fall (1964), Miller’s much-anticipated return to the theater after an eight-year hiatus. An imaginative tour de force that unfolds within the mind of its main character, Quentin, the play struck some viewers as scandalous for its apparent revelations about Miller’s marriage to the late Marilyn Monroe. Incident at Vichy (1964) dramatizes the roundup of Jews in Vichy France during World War II in a vivid and harrowing single act. The Price (1968)—Miller’s biggest Broadway success since Death of a Salesman—portrays the relationship between two brothers, a successful surgeon and a struggling policeman, as they negotiate the sale of their dead father’s belongings. Like The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), a “catastrophic comedy” about Adam, Eve, and original sin updated for modern times, the witty Up from Paradise (1974) treats characteristically grand themes in what was for Miller an uncharacteristically comedic and musical vein.

Taken together, the plays in this collection trace the remarkable, evolving range of Miller’s genius as he experimented with new forms and themes. The American Clock (1974), based on Studs Terkel’s Hard Times, offers a broad, stirring panorama of American life during the Depression years. By contrast, The Archbishop’s Ceiling (1977)—set in an ornate apartment in eastern Europe that may or may not be bugged—is as intricately plotted and psychologically complex as a spy thriller. Playing for Time (1980), a groundbreaking teleplay based on a firsthand account by a Holocaust survivor, tells the story of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz. Also included are several shorter one-act plays and dramatic sketches—The Reason Why (1970, published here for the first time), Fame (1970), The Poosidin’s Resignation (1976), I Think About You a Great Deal (1982), Elegy for a Lady (1982), and Some Kind of Love Story (1982).

A fifty-page selection of Miller’s notes and essays on the plays—including a thoroughgoing critique of Method acting, never before published—rounds out the volume.

Volume 3 (1987–2004, with Stage and Radio Plays of the 1930s & 40s)
This third and final volume in The Library of America’s definitive edition of Arthur Miller’s plays gathers eleven memorable later works that reveal him testing the boundaries of his art and continuing to experiment with new forms and styles. As a special feature, it also includes eight rediscovered plays from the 1930s and 40s, all published here for the first time: six radio dramas written for broadcast during World War II and two apprentice stage plays, selected by volume editor Tony Kushner. 


Miller’s astonishing range is everywhere on display in this collection. It opens with a pair of austere, elegiac one-act meditations on memory and loss, I Can’t Remember Anything and Clara, originally performed in 1987 as a double bill entitled “Danger: Memory!” following these is a history play on an epic scale—The Golden Years, about the fall of Montezuma, written early in Miller’s career and revised by him in 1987 for BBC radio—and the vividly contemporary, tightly plotted crime thriller Almost Everybody Wins (filmed as Everybody Wins in 1990). The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), Miller’s last play for Broadway, puts a bigamist center stage for a meditation on the limits of love and forgiveness.

In The Last Yankee (1993), two husbands meet in the waiting room of a psychiatric hospital where their wives are patients, and all four are changed by their encounter. Broken Glass (1994) reflects on the relationship between public events, private lives, and personal responsibility in the wake of the Nazi Kristallnacht. The Ryan Interview (1995) and Mr. Peters’ Connections (1998) offer poignant takes on growing old. Resurrection Blues (2002), a wildly satirical broadside aimed at what Miller felt to be an increasingly absurd media culture, follows an American movie crew traveling to a banana republic where they hope to film a live crucifixion. Finishing the Picture (2004), loosely based on events around the filming of The Misfits, in 1960, with Marilyn Monroe, was Miller’s last play and in many ways his most experimental.

Miller made his professional debut during World War II as a radio playwright. Published here for the first time are six wartime radio dramas, including Thunder from the Mountains, which starred Orson Welles, and Mare Island and Back, about wounded veterans of the war in the Pacific. Also newly published are two of his apprentice stage plays: The Grass Still Grows (1939), a lovingly detailed comedy about a family in financial distress, and his dark, flawed, ambitious underworld drama The Half-Bridge (1942).

The volume concludes with a selection of Miller’s prose reflections on his late plays, among them “On Screenwriting and Language” (about Almost Everybody Wins) and “About Theatre Language” (on The Last Yankee).

American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam DVD

April 1975. During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon, South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. City after city and village after village fell to the North while the few U.S. diplomats and military operatives still in the country contemplated withdrawal.

With the lives of thousands of South Vietnamese hanging in the balance, those in control faced an impossible choice – who would go and who would be left behind to face brutality, imprisonment or even death.

The Academy Award-nominated Last Days of Vietnam, directed by Rory Kennedy, includes both a  theatrical and extended version of the program.

Shuffle and Deal: 50 Classic Card Games for Any Number of Players
By Tara Gallagher

Improve your skills or learn to play fifty of the most popular card games for any number of players with this fully illustrated color guide featuring vintage art from around the world.

Whether you’re looking forward to a quiet night at home or planning a get-together with friends, Shuffle & Deal includes one-on-one play as well as party games for two to four players. Tara Gallagher has curated a selection of classics, each chosen for its fun factor as well as its nostalgic value. Here are games that we (or our parents) grew up with: Rummy, Spit, Cribbage, Crazy Eights, Canasta, Cucumber, Egyptian Ratscrew, Cheat, Betrayal, Scat, 9-Hole Golf, Wall Street, Buh, 7-Hand Rummy, Hearts, Ghost, and more.

Gallagher includes complete rules and variations, fascinating anecdotes about card-playing history, strategies for winning, and a glossary of “card-speak” jargon. Featuring a wide selection of games and a handy bookmark, and illustrated with rich, colorful card art from medieval times to the present day, Shuffle & Deal offers hours of fun for all ages.

The Wire: The Complete Series Blu-ray

In the six years that have passed since the conclusion of the HBO series The Wire: The Complete Series, the critically acclaimed drama has turned into a worldwide phenomenon that has been hailed as “the best show in the history of television” by MSNBC. This summer, the series will make its highly anticipated debut on Blu-ray disc for the very first time.

The 20-disc box set featuring all 60 episodes of the hit series in a stunningly re-mastered 16×9 full-screen HD format is showcased with newly redesigned box art. The Wire: The Complete Series on Blu-ray with Digital HD  is loaded with an exciting slate of bonus materials, including four behind-the-scenes documentaries, three prequels that explore life before The Wire, and an all-new cast and crew Q&A from the Paley Center for Media’s The Wire reunion event.  The Wire: The Complete Series is a must-have for all TV connoisseurs!

The Wire depicts an American urban dystopia, framed in our time, in which easy distinctions between good and evil and crime and punishment are challenged at every turn. In five successive seasons, the series depicts a Baltimore in which institutional prerogatives, economic inequalities and a brutalizing drug war confound the efforts to advance the city and its people. The series’ first season lays out the futility of the drug war, while the second highlights the deindustrialization and the death of the working class. The third season introduces the city’s political culture and lays out the forces that stand in the path of actual reform. The fourth season addresses the educational system and the actual opportunities that remain to coming generations. The fifth and final season examines the media culture and its role in perpetuating the status quo. Amid all of this, carefully drawn characters on both sides of the law and from a variety of Baltimore cultures move forward as best they can, human to a flaw, struggling against a system that seems weighted against civic progress.

Big Hard Sex Criminals
by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Collecting the first ten issues of the Eisner and Harvey award-winning, TIME Magazine Best Comic of the year of our lord 2013, Sex Criminals, in an oversized hardcover format guaranteed to embarrass you to order.

Sex Criminals is the story of Suzie and Jon, two people with the same secret: when they have orgasms, time freezes. Suzie is a feisty librarian, determined to keep the local library from closing. Jon is a discontented assistant to a banker, looking for an excuse to turn on his unscrupulous employer. When they discover they can stop time together, it’s obvious what they should do with their extraordinary ability: rob banks to save Suzie’s library.

And of course: complications ensue. And it’s not just that the Sex Police (yes, the Sex Police) are on to the time-freezing bank bandits. Suzie and Jon will have to grapple with what a relationship means when it stops being about just sex and starts being about love.

A bawdy and brazen sex comedy for comics begins here, by Matt Fraction (Satellite Sam, Hawkeye) and Chip Zdarsky (Prison Funnies, Monster Cops).

The Sixties DVD

From the Cold War to the War in Vietnam, from the Space Race to the Long March to Freedom and Civil Rights, the events of the 1960’s were both dramatic and transformative. The Beatles invaded America, Man landed on the Moon and the Women’s, Environmental, Conservative and Gay movements were all born In its examination and portrayal of this most consequential time, this CNN Original Series reveals why it was truly “The Decade that Changed the World.”

Executive produced by Emmy Award-winning producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (HBO’s “John Adams” and “The Pacific”), and Emmy Award-winning producer Mark Herzog (History’s “Gettysburg”), The Sixties explores the most turbulent decade of the modern era in America.

Saga Book One
By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Collecting the first 18 issues of the smash-hit series, this massive edition features a striking new cover, as well as special extras, including never-before-seen sketches, script pages, and a roundtable discussion with the creators about how Saga is really made. Altogether, this hardcover contains over 500 pages for less than fifty bucks!

Written by Eisner Award-winning “Best Writer” Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, The Private Eye) and drawn by Harvey Award-winning “Best Artist” Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel’s fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation.

The Healthy Back Bag
HBBevo Nylon Black M

The HBB is a unique bag designed with the human body in mind. Designed with the help of a chiropractor, its ergonomic shape contours to the natural curve of the spine, taking strain off the back, neck and shoulders making it the most comfortable bag one will ever carry.  The bag’s trademarked teardrop shape and the organization of the internal pockets makes the weight feel up to one third lighter by redistributing the bag’s center of gravity, all while relieving stress on the neck, shoulders and back.  The HBBevo was designed to carry all of today’s portable electronics in an ergonomic way.

The bag is manufactured out of distressed nylon making it strong, flexible, lightweight and durable.  In addition it’s machine washable and dries quickly.  Among it’s features are an interior zippered padded pocket holds a tablet or other item requiring protection, an easy-to-access exterior pocket which fits most cell phones and has a magnetic closure, a cushioned neoprene strap that rests comfortably upon one’s shoulder allowing a molded fit to the body, 2 interior angled pockets, a key hook, pen slots & 5 internal pockets, a Baglett D-ring, an interior & exterior spine pocket, and 4 exterior pockets.

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series Blu-ray

Throughout its five-season run, the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire garnered 18 Emmy Awards and critical accolades for its superb cast and its unfaltering attention to 1920s period detail. From Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Terence Winter and Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, the series chronicles the life and times of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Golden Globe winner Steve Buscemi), the city treasurer whose double role as politician and bootlegger makes him the city’s undisputed czar at a time when illegal alcohol has opened up highly lucrative opportunities for rumrunners and distributors. In a city defined by notorious backroom politics and vicious power struggles, Nucky must contend with ambitious underlings, relentless Feds, rival gangsters — including Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano and Al Capone — and his own appetite for women, profits, and power at a time when Prohibition proved to be a major catalyst in the rise of organized crime in America.

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series features all 56 episodes of the series’ five-season, award-winning run in a 20-disc box set. Each episode is presented in 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. In addition to the bonus features previously included on individual season releases,

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series includes an exclusive bonus disc containing never-before-seen content, including:

  • Building The Boardwalk – Executive Producer/Director Tim Van Patten and crew discuss how the Atlantic City boardwalk was brought to life
  • Shooting The Series – Learn how the look of the series was developed through conversations with Directors of Photography Jonathan Freeman and Bill Coleman
  • Designing The Series – Production Designer Bill Groom and Set Decorator Carol Silverman discuss their process and the challenges faced in creating the authentic look of the series
  • Visual Effects – Whether bringing to life Atlantic City or Havana, Cuba, Visual Effects Supervisor Lesley Robson-Foster illustrates the creation of some of the show’s award-winning visual effects
  • The Final Shot: A Farewell To Boardwalk Empire – A look back with the cast and crew as they discuss the origins of the show, their favorite moments and more 
  • Anatomy Of A Hit – Creator/Executive Producer/Writer Terence Winter, Executive Producer/Director Tim Van Patten and Executive Producer/Writer Howard Korder discuss the choreography for some of the series’ most murderous hits

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road
By Abbie Bernstein 


Max Rockatansky returns. Haunted by his turbulent past, the wandering Road Warrior becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. Seeking escape from the tyranny of Immortan Joe, what follows is a high-octane Road War – and a chance for redemption.

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road is the official companion to the highly anticipated movie, featuring the imaginations of George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Peter Pound and Mark Sexton. Filled with art and photography, The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road features a number of early sketches and concept art focusing on the characters, makeup and costumes, the vehicles, the Citadel. Storyboards and photographs (location photos, plus gorgeous images of weapons, props and the assorted modes of transportation. “What a lovely book”.

Star Wars Second Edition TIE-Fighter SMS Headphones

Lightweight and durable, each pair is styled with an emblem on the ear
caps to depict its respective Star Wars theme or character. These very cool TIE-Fighter inspired On-Ear Wired folding headphones feature the distinctive cockpit window on each individual ear cap and are sleek, ultra-durable and comfortable.
The professionally tuned 40mm drivers delivers amazing
richness without distortion.

With a matte faux metallic headband, TIE-Fighter ear caps and black leather memory-foam cushions and truly fantastic sound (superb base and clarity), these headphones are also comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Included within the package are an embossed carry case, a Star Wars branded removable cable with 3- click mic, a cleaning cloth, a Second edition Star Wars poster, a -sheet of first edition Star Wars stickers, an owner’s manual and a certificate of authenticity. These headphones are truly unique, but more importantly, are first rate in terms of quality.  This is there rare case where you’re eyes don’t deceive you.  Trust them.  These are a must have for any Star Wars fan/audiophile.

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