Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Center of Attention

During this year's Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, I'm highlighting things more people should know about. For the most part, I'll be ignoring the most popular and widely known items (and sometimes my personal favorites) in order to promote the unfamiliar and underappreciated.

Now then, let's get to it.


FILM
A Night at the Opera
Everyone knows of the Marx Brothers. That's not the point. The point is most people will tell you Duck Soup is their best film, when it's actually this one. The trio tries to help a friend get the recognition he deserves as a singer, and get the girl, though like in any Marx Bros. flick the plot isn't the point. The point is... well, I've already told you the point. So point your remote at the TV and get to laughing.1
TELEVISION
NewsRadio
If you've never seen this, it might surprise you anyone would recommend a show with either Andy Dick or Joe Rogan, let alone both of them. But when you've got (the amazing) Phil Hartman and (the insane) Stephen Root to balance things out, you may even find yourself starting to like Dick (and/or Rogan). A wonderful show. It would have lasted longer, but for Brynn Hartman robbing the world of her husband; Jon Lovitz can be quite good (*cough* The Critic *cough*), but he's no Phil Hartman.
GAME
Notre Dame
In the shadows of the Cathedral, you're vying for gold, prestige, and influence markers (to gain even more gold and prestige). Each turn, you get three action cards. Do you keep the one you want the most, or one you don't want your opponents to have? Oh, and don't forget about the rats. More arrive every turn, and if you don't keep those buggers at bay, they'll plague you. Literally. (For 2-5 players.)
MUSIC
Nehedar
The first time I heard Nehedar's music, it was through a stranger's headphones while on a bus to D.C. That stranger's name? Nehedar.2 She was only working on her first album at the time, but now she's got five under her belt. Her songs have a great mix of styles that complement her beautiful voice, and you need to check out High Tide, just released last month. Fan. Tas. Tic.
LITERATURE
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
It was the best of books, it was the worst of books. I don't read a great deal of fantasy novels, since I can only take so much of characters named "Hrothgar, son of Prothisnar, Grand Vizier of the Council of Tiddlewazzle" fighting off thieves and then sitting around a fire eating stew. But this book isn't like that. Here, one character recounts his amazing life, from his childhood as a travelling performer through his transformation into a legendary (and notorious) magician. It truly is a riveting tale. But here's my problem: I knew this was the first of a series, but from the way it opened I assumed he'd tell his whole story and then the end of the book (as well as future books) would have him dealing with the current threat. Instead, it ends with him 1/3 of the way through his story. I'm not saying this to stop you from reading it. You should still read it. It's excellent. But now that you know what's what, you shouldn't reach the end with the same disappointment and frustration I did.


1 Note: Pointing the remote might not be enough. Try clicking some buttons, too.
2 Okay, technically her name is Emilia; she just records under Nehedar. But if I'd said, "That stranger's name? Emilia." you'd have all been like, "Who the hell is Emilia? Your wife? I thought your wife's name was Denise." and I'd have been like, "Whatever. I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that, since I didn't, seeing as how we're not actually talking right now. You're just reading my blog." and you'd have been like, "Well, I was reading your blog, but now we're just having an imaginary conversation in a footnote, and you're starting to piss me off." and I'd have been like, "La la la la la la la." So, it's good I said it the way I did.

24 comments:

  1. Just checked out High Tide. VERY COOL.

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    1. I'm glad I could put you onto her. I thought you'd like her style.

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  2. She's got a lot of Joni in her voice!

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    1. I'm not overly familiar with Joni Mitchell, but now that you point it out, yeah, I do hear the resemblance.

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  3. Name of the Wind is good. I think it still has its fair share of weird names and eating stew though.

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    1. Some weird names, sure, but no one is concerned with who is who's father and all that family hierarchy nonsense. As for the stew, as long as a book only has it's fair share, I'm fine with it. As long as they don't overdo it.

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  4. Tiddlewazzle...hehehe

    I loved NewsRadio when it was on. A Night At The Opera is a fantastic film. And I own a copy of Name of the Wind but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

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    1. You're already 3/5 of the way there! Now all you have to do is listen to Nehedar's album and then picture an animated singing hunchback. Or something like that.

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  5. Never liked Andy Dick but News Radio was a great show.

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    1. I first learned of Andy Dick because of the show, so while I didn't necessarily like him, he didn't actually annoy me until he started popping up in other things after NewsRadio ended. As if the rest of the cast had somehow kept him reined in (or at least as reined in as A Dick can be).

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  6. I started reading that book by Patrick Rothfuss, but couldn't get into it. Maybe if I finally hack a major dent in my current library stack I'll try it again . . .


    The Golden Eagle
    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

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    1. Well, don't force yourself to read it on my account, but know that it does pick up a bit when he starts getting going telling his story. (Or, perhaps it's just not for you. With so many great books out there to choose from, why waste the time plodding through one that doesn't speak to you?)

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  7. can't read it if i know the ending will disappoint--very interesting post

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    1. No no no, that's not what I was trying to say. I meant that since you now know it ends with 2/3 of the story left, you can mentally prepare for it and not be disappointed like I was.

      If you're not going to read it, don't not read it because of what I said. Do it because it's not your type of book.

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  8. Wait wait wait. WHY have i never seen this Notre Dame game at my game store?! WTF - now i'm going to need to buy a new board game...

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    1. To be fair, I'm not sure I've seen it in a game store, either. (Then again, with the internet and my brother-in-law's massive collection, I don't really visit those anymore.)

      Sorry to feed your addiction. (Not really. Game on.)

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  9. NewsRadio was just hitting its stride when tragedy hit. Such a shame! :)

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    1. I know. Losing Bill McNeal and Troy McClure in one fell swoop? Tragic.

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  10. Didn't watch too much Marx Bros growing up and I saw news radio a couple times. The rest is all new stuff to investigate. Your theme this year has been pretty damn cool and you've done well on every post.

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    1. Thanks, Chuck! I'm glad I was able to bring it all together so far (overextending myself as usual by opting for five categories). I only hope I can keep it up through to the end, through the tougher letters where there's less to choose from. I feel like I'm already running on fumes.

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  11. Oh I liked NewsRadio! Not as much toward the end... but I thought it was a great show!

    Jo
    In Which We Start Anew

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    1. Yeah, it's hard for a show to sustain its excellence for more than a couple seasons. Perhaps that's why I have such an affinity for the ones cancelled before their time; they never had a chance to fade toward mediocrity.

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  12. Love Night at the Opera. And News Radio. As for Hrothgra and so forth - honestly, in those kids of novels (and movies) I'm never sure it's a person, place, or someboody imitating a cat coughing up a hairball.

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    1. I think you've pretty much hit on how fantasy authors come up with the names. They can't come up with anything they like, so they turn to their cat -- they're geeks, so they inevitably own at least one cat -- and say, "What've you got for me?"

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