Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Gad Preceder

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.

E is ever so evil. It took me forever to settle on these first few...


FILM
An Evening With Kevin Smith
Admit it. Some of you scoffed when you saw this pick. Others may have even guffawed. Don't worry, I get it. Although fanboys adore him, and airlines love him twice as much, most find his movies a bit too sophomoric (and they're not wrong).1 But here's something you might not know: Smith is funnier — and more insightful — than his movies. And this compilation of Q&A sessions with the director of Clerks, Dogma, et al. proves it. If you like any of his films, or simply enjoy hearing directors discuss their craft, take an hour (or four) and check this one out.
TELEVISION
Exit 57
I've only seen multiple episodes of 3 shows that begin with E. One was far too popular for this list, one is going strong in its fifth season, and one was cancelled after a dozen episodes. (I'll give you three guesses as to which one this is.) Sketch comedy is always uneven, so of course some skits were better than others, but this is the show that started the careers of Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris. Alas, you won't find it on DVD (or even VHS) anywhere, but luckily for us, we have the Tube of You.
GAME
Euchre
Of all the E games I've played (that's E games, not e-games), I've only played one more than twice in the past 15 years.2 And that's Euchre. It's quite popular in some areas (such as where my wife grew up) and completely ignored in others (such as where I did). Played with the 9s through Aces of a standard deck of cards, it's a trick-taking game wherein the Jack of the trump suit is the highest card, and the Jack of the same-colored suit the second highest. Easy to learn the basics, but the strategy... yeah, that could take you a little while.
MUSIC
Eels
What better for today than a band fronted by a man named E? They've been around for a while, but other than a couple minor hits and some play on soundtracks, they've remained on the fringe of mainstream. How to describe their music? Quirky, catchy, crazy, wonderful. Among my favorite tracks: "Fresh Feeling", "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues", and "Saturday Morning".3
LITERATURE
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
In this alternate version of 1985 Britain, dodos still exist, the Crimean War rages on, and minor characters have started disappearing from books. But when Jane Eyre gets kidnapped and her story starts to unravel without her, literary detective Thursday Next must go into Brontë's novel to set things straight. This is the first of a series, and Fforde is a master at messing with the English language.4 Whether you're a fan of English lit or offbeat humor or crazy wordplay, or even if you simply like to chuckle at disposable characters with names like Kannon and Phodder, you're in for quite the treat.

The End. Got any E's for me?


1 Penis.
2 If I'd said 16 years, Egyptian Ratscrew would have also been on the table. That's why I didn't say 16 years.
3 The music video for this one started with a guy making dozens of pancakes in a shack in the woods, and ended with him surrounded by dancing zombies in the back of an 18-wheeler. True story.
4 He makes my wordplay look like Child's Play. You know, that movie with the murderous doll. Yup, next to Thursday's, my attempts at grammatical wit are bloody horrible.

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for the "E's" I didn't know about.

    Teresa

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    1. You're welcome. That's what I'm here to do: expand people's horizons. (And I bet you probably didn't even know you had horizons...)

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  2. An Evening With Kevin Smith is definitely entertaining. I'll have to check out the other Es particularly the card game. I hadn't even heard of it before but I'm definitely familiar with Egyptian Ratscrew!

    xoxo Lloralye @ Adorning Schemes A to Z

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    1. I'd heard of euchre in my youth, but always assumed it was a game only old people played, like bridge or canasta. (I've since learned of friends who grew up playing canasta. Bridge? Yeah, not so much. Maybe back in Omar Sharif's day.)

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  3. I do like kevin Smith, but with all his podcasts he might be getting a bit overexposed.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. Perhaps you're right. I wouldn't know. You see, I recommended his Q&A, but I've actually only seen/heard/read one thing Smith has made since 2001 (Clerks 2), and that I thought was just okay.

      Although I certainly enjoyed An Evening..., it really only got the spot because every other E film I felt comfortable recommending was too well-known for such a list (in my opinion, anyway).

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  4. I saw your earlier lists and still haven't seen anything I recognize. That's hard to do you know!

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    1. Wow, not one thing? Impressive. Let's see how long I can keep the streak going!

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  5. I was a big fan of Entourage, but it kinda lost steam after a while. Enlightened is a new show on HBO that is entertaining enough.

    I'm guessing that one of the shows you talked about is Eureka? The popular one is E.R.? And the one cancelled after a dozen episodes is Extras?

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    1. You're dead on with ER and Eureka, but the dozen-and-done show was meant to be the one I detailed: Exit 57. (My wife thought the same as you; clearly, I could have picked my words better.) And Entourage is on my to-see list.

      To date, I've only seen one full episode (if that) of Extras, Early Edition, and Everybody Hates Chris But Loves Raymond For Some Reason.

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  6. I love the Eyre Affair, fantastic choice!

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    1. Thanks, Jo. I have no idea how Jasper Fforde's brain works, but I want in.

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  7. An evening with Kevin Smith is absolutely one of my favorites. And my friends and I have a eucre night at least once a week.

    Great E's.

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    1. Thanks, Teresa. I envy your weekly card game. In truth, I've only played euchre on night in real life, the first time I visited my wife's family. I've honed my skills on an iPod app since, but as of yet, had no occasion to play again.

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  8. I'd kick your ass in euchre...in a friendly way but still so's you'd notice...

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    1. Pretty confident, aren't you? I'll have you know I've been playing euchre regularly against AI bots. And that I stands for intelligence, so it's not like I've been beating a couple of pushovers. In fact, they even best me every so often... but only like four times out of ten.

      So yeah, you'd kick my ass friendily. But I'd whoop you at Scrabble.

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  9. Music for "E"
    Emerson Hart
    Embrace
    Ellis Paul


    Movies for "E"

    Ed Wood - a great movie about the worst director of all time. Johnny Depp is awesome, Martin Landau is brilliant as Bela Lagosi.
    Easy A
    Elizabethtown - not my favorite Cameron Crowe film, but it has what so many movies are missing: heart.
    Entrapment

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    1. I enjoyed Easy A more than I thought I would. And Ed Wood is excellent, but I decided the fervent Kevin Smith fan club was smaller than the fervent Johnny Depp one.

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  10. No occasion to play Euchre? Surely you jest! Just say the word next time you are in the 716! It's pretty much a Schmitz family staple...best served with a side of cold Genny Light (if you ask our Granny, that is).

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    1. Since my first visit, only twice has euchre been played (or considered) in my presence: at my wedding rehearsal game night (when I was too busy working the room), and at a picnic last summer (when the games ended five minutes after I arrived). Next time I'm in town I'll have to take your advice -- on the game, not on the Genny light -- and raise the topic myself.

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