Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The X-Man: Origins

This (and when I say "this," I mean this right here (you know, these words I'm writing right now (or, more accurately, these words I've already written but which you're reading right now (yeah, that's better)))) is my 100th post.

Since I ran a contest for The Wheel's one-year anniversary, this time I thought I'd offer up something more valuable than Amazon gift cards: information.1

So today, on this auspicious occasion, I will tell you why this blog is named Sometimes, the Wheel is on Fire. I'll give you a hint: It has absolutely nothing to do with Bob Dylan.

Let me start you off with this (anonymous) entry from my most recent contest:
A Conn College student late one night
Of Ixion did inquire
Turns to the footnote and there finds
Sometimes the wheel is on fire
Confused yet? Well, let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

You see that guy up at the top of my blog, the X-Man? That's Ixion. I know some of you are too lazy to look, so here he is again:

Anyway, a while back, two friends were reading about Ixion for a course on Greek mythology. A king of the Lapiths, Ixion murdered his father-in-law and later lusted after Hera, causing Zeus to expel him from Mount Olympus.

Now, this was one of those text books rife with footnotes. And not the kindly, sometimes humorous footnotes you find here. These were academic footnotes, meaning references to source material or long, boring passages providing further background.

As a result, neither of my friends had read a single footnote so far that chapter. Yet both friends — independent of each other, I might add — felt compelled to flip to the back of the book to see what more there was to say about Ixion's punishment.2 You see, as retribution for his actions, Ixion is bound to a spinning wheel for all eternity.

The footnote adds these six little words:   82 Sometimes the wheel is on fire.

So there you have it. Two friends stumble upon a bizarre and amusing phrase, and a decade later I commandeer it for my blog. Actually, they were happy to let me have it, especially after they saw the fiery Ixion logo I'd designed. And even more especially once they learned he isn't always engulfed in flames.3

Plus, I love that my blog — which practically runs on footnotes — gets its name from a footnote. I'd write a footnote about it, but I don't want to be too cliché.4

One hundred blog posts. Wow.

1 I never said it would be more valuable to you. It's more valuable to me, though, since I value my money.
2 Yes, since the notes are at the back of the book, they're technically endnotes, not footnotes, but no one cares. So shut your face and pay attention.
3 Refresh the page if you don't believe me. One out of five times, the Ixion in the top banner will be mercifully extinguished. The rest of the time, I'm not nearly as merciful.
4 Thus, I will instead write about yetis. Although this is the first I've mentioned yetis here, theirs is a cause near and dear to my heart. Much like Muslims, yetis are characterized as violent and hateful, when the vast majority are compassionate, peace-loving individuals. Don't persecute all yetis because of the actions of an abominable few. Please, in this time of need, pledge your support to I SAY, the International Society for the Advancement of Yetis. Tell 'em Nate sent you.


  1. How cool is that!? The flames actually do extinguish! I think that is the cleverest banner I have ever come across--and it constitutes a sample of your 'artwork', so that pleases me immeasurably!
    I've never actually checked to see how many posts I've done (and I'm not going to, so that I won't feel compelled to have some kind of a contest or something--too much like awards for my comfort)

  2. Congratulations on your hundred post! I'm looking forward to hitting mine in October. Also looking forward to reading more of your posts. A pleasure it is to meet you, Nate!

  3. JB, I can't really bring myself to put that logo in the same category as the rest of my real (i.e. physical) artwork, but I'm glad you like it and the concept behind it. As for keeping track of posts, just because other people run contests when they hit round numbers doesn't mean you have to do the same. You should always march to the beat of a different poet, or something like that.

    Jeffrey, thanks for the kind words! A pleasure to meet you, too, sir.

  4. LMFAO!!! THAT is the best footnote ever! (well except for some of yours) and therefore, your blogtitle is even cooler!

    On a nerdy side note, did you know Yeh-teh means "That thing there"? also, there are actually 4 different kinds of yetis that tend to get lumped all together. There's a possibility one kind is actually a bear.

    Yes, i am a super nerd when it comes to cryptozoolgy. I'm not even ashamed

  5. Loving the footnotery! You go with your footnote-y self.

    Congrats on your 100 posts...
    and Happy Friday!

  6. Falen, there's no shame in being a cryptozoology nerd. Although, I do feel some shame from not being one. Methinks I'll have to rectify that.

    Lola, glad you enjoy the footnotedness, and thanks for the congratulations! And a happy Friday to you, too (albeit on a Sunday; I'm a bit slow sometimes).

  7. I love a good yeti story.



    (P.S. My blog thrives on footnotes, but I suspect 1 time out of 70 people read them. But just so you know, I read them. Therefore, I love that you named your blog after a foot/endnote.)

  8. Carol, I'll have you know I always read the footnotes. So that's at least 2 out of 70.:)

  9. That is an AWESOME origin story. The wheels in my head are turning. I may have to steal this from you.

    (But are the wheels on fire?)

  10. You're welcome to it, Joe. Steal away.

    As for your question, the answer is really quite simple. Since nowhere in your comment did you say "It burns! It burns!" I can safely assume that the wheels in your head are not on fire... yet.

  11. Unless the fire destroyed my pain receptors. I did not smell smoke, but what if it destroyed those receptors too! What if I can't receive anything and right now my brain is being cooked like a delicacy?

  12. In that case, Joe, what you do is avoid Hannibal Lecter at all costs. Well, unless the fire has now ravaged your eyes. Then you're toast. (Figuratively speaking, of course. Literally, you'd be more like bread pudding.)