Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Monday, April 23, 2012

Something You Put Balls On

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.

T for 2 Edition!

FILM
The Thin Man
Former detective Nick Charles gets pulled into a murder case by a friend and drinks and wisecracks his way through the investigation as the bodies and one-liners pile up. The suspects are an extremely eccentric cast of characters, and Charles unveils the murderer at a dinner party where all are present.1 A classic.
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
Two West Virginian hillbillies (Alan Tudyk & Tyler Labine) are enjoying time at their new fixer-upper cabin when a group of college kids mistake them for kidnappers and plot revenge. Soon the roles are reversed, and everything becomes a bloody mess. A hilarious send-up of horror films.2
TELEVISION
The Tick
The Tick is all brawn, no brain. His sidekick, Arthur, dresses as a moth and is afraid of combat. Together with fellow super-ish heroes (such as Die Fledermaus and American Maid), they help protect The City from evildoers (such as El Seed and The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight). And every episode ends on a poignant(-ish) note. An excellent superhero satire.
Twin Peaks
Everything David Lynch does is bizarre. And this is no different. An idiosyncratic FBI agent investigates the peculiar death of an odd girl in a town with strange characters (and queer secrets). If you love weird (and I mean love it), this offbeat series is for you.
GAME
Ticket to Ride
One of the best gateway games out there. Simple to learn, yet fun for players of all ages. Collect cards to claim train routes across North America, netting more points by completing longer segments or reaching further destinations. Or, just block your opponents' routes. That's fun, too. (For 2-5 players. Other versions and locations also available.)3
Tichu
I've been addicted to this game for six months.4 It's a rare breed: a partnered trick-taking game that doesn't use trump suits. Lead one card, and the highest card takes it. Lead a pair or straight or full house, the highest of that type wins the hand. You can vie for points, or bid you'll get rid of all your cards first and get a hefty bonus. Uses a standard deck plus four special cards, and although the basics aren't too hard to grasp, it's six months later, and I'm still figuring out better strategies. (Best with 4 players.)
MUSIC
They Might Be Giants
They've been putting out great (and slightly odd) music for nearly 30 years, but I'm highlighting them today for what they've done since 2005: kids' music. Most such music becomes grating by the second time through. As a new(-ish) parent, I'm grateful there are now at least three albums I'll be able to listen to without wanting to put my ears through a cheese grater: one each for ABCs, 123s, and Science!
The Tragically Hip
If you've never heard of The Hip, then I'm guessing you've never been Canadian, either.5 Nine of their albums have hit #1 there. And if you catch them live, lead singer Gordon Downie will rant or tell fictional stories in the middle of certain songs, unique to that show. Although they're the last band I saw in concert, I'm not that big a fan... but my wife is. This one's for her.
LITERATURE
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Pretend, for a moment, that I’m a guy. Guys don’t read 500+ page love stories. Yet, right from the opening scene (I don’t count the unnecessary prologue as the opening scene), I was hooked. With (unpredictable) time travel involved, Clare can first meet Henry when he’s 35, and he can first meet her 14 years later when he’s 28, and it all makes perfect sense. It’s a very clever premise, and Niffenegger handles it deftly. A fantastic book.
Timeline by Michael Crichton
My favorite Crichton novel. No, it's not great writing (I assume, based on other books of his I've read more recently), but it is fun. A group of researchers use a billionaire's time machine to go back to the Middle Ages and rescue their professor, who has inadvertently gotten trapped there. Then, they inadvertently get trapped there.

Thus ends the tally of too many T titles. Ta ta till tomorrow.


1 And he/she would have gotten away with it, too, if not for Nick and Nora Charles and their dog.
2 As is The Cabin in the Woods, in theaters now. Although they are completely different styles of movie.
3 After a while, you might discover the Space Ghost method (i.e. coast-to-coast) wins more often than not. To help combat this, plays using the 1910 expansion.
4 Specifically, its iPod app. I've yet to play a real human person. The AI — on medium difficulty — is such that even after 130+ games, I still only win about 60% of the time.
5 Nor did you grow up listening to Canadian radio from just over the border, like my wife did.

24 comments:

  1. I've always enjoyed TMBG but my significant other can't stand them.

    I haven't read The Time Traveler's Wife but I'm pretty sure I have a copy of it around the house somewhere. I have read Timeline and I agree with you. It's just fun.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Can't stand TMBG? Wow. I figured people either loved 'em, liked 'em, or were indifferent. Still, I suspect if you threatened to play an album, to stop you he might filibuster vigilantly.

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  2. The Time Traveler's Wife really was an excellent book. It was so long, yet I somehow read it quicker than the average.

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    1. Same for me. I churned through that thing in near-record time. (That's a slight exaggeration, since I believe "record time" is how long it takes to play both sides of a record.)

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  3. Replies
    1. Both Myrna Loy and William Powell are excellent (though yes, only one gets an Mmm...)

      But here's the crazy thing: As much as I love this film, for some reason I've yet to see any of the sequels. Sometimes I can't explain me.

      Delete
  4. Tucker and Dale, Spoon! I also like the giants and Time Traveler's Wife.

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    1. SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOON! (I would also have accepted "Not in the face! Not in the face!")

      Also, it's probably best if you don't refer to them as "the giants." Not until we're completely sure that's what they are.

      Delete
  5. I love The Thin Man. I'm actually really disappointed that it's being remade, especially with Johnny Depp. It won't have the same quality. I think that movie holds up all these years later.

    Also, if you see Ticket to Ride India, I entered that contest as well. The map is almost identical to mine. It's heartbreaking. We both envisioned the same thing. He tweaked the rules and I didn't and that made the difference. I can't play that version of the game. It should have been mine! *raises fist to the heavens as lightning splits the sky*

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    1. They're remaking The Thin Man??? Honestly, has Hollywood already gone through its requisite 5 original scripts this year? What's next, Citizen Kane, with Snooki as Rosebud?

      And hey, haven't seen the India map yet, but if I ever do I shall disparage it greatly and play something like TtR: Outer Mongolia instead.

      Delete
  6. i really wanted to like the time travelers wife, but didn't

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    1. I feel the same way about My Dinner With Andre. Not at all similar in topic, style, or even medium, but that's where my mind went first. Then it went to ice cream. It often goes to ice cream.

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  7. You're dead on about 'Timeline.' It's not great literature, per se (snobbish, I know), but it's great fun to read.
    I hadn't realized just how violent the Middle Ages were.
    I guess that Black Plague thing tended to have a lot of people on edge.

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    1. Oh, anything can seem violent if you look at it with the right lens. And by "right lens" I mean "a bloody lens with which you have just bludgeoned potential carriers of the Black Plague to death."

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  8. I think you have that Snooki film where she appears as "Rosebud" with a porno. She's perfect in that role.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ah, I see what happened. I was thinking "sled," but the last two letters weren't supposed to be e-d.

      (Actually, I still have no idea what Snooki looks -- or sounds -- like. And for this I am eternally grateful.)

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  9. Replies
    1. Wait, are you saying I'm the man, or that Tucker and Dale are the man? Or by questioning who's the man even if I was originally the man am I no longer the man? I don't feel like the man.

      Great, now I'm depressed. Once again, I'm brought down by "the man."

      Delete
  10. Excellent T choices. Twin Peaks is one of my all time favorite series, and who doesn't love The Tick. SPOOOOON!

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    1. The only people who don't love The Tick have never watched The Tick. Those poor, misguided souls.

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  11. Oy, the Thin Man is the only one I know. Powell and Loy were so cool and sophisticated, I loved the series. Loved Asta too.

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    1. Asta I've always been indifferent to, except when it comes to crossword puzzles. Then, he's a star!

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  12. Okay stripping away all that I am not interested in on this post we are left with: Twin Peaks, never watched when it was on but now being a follower of David (Lost Highway) Lynch, I may need to see if Blockbuster has the series DVD's and The Tragically Hip, love them and turned several people on to them in the mid-90's. Love the Road Apples CD! Good call Nate.

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    1. I prefer David (Mulholland Dr) Lynch myself.

      Not interest in 8 out of 10, though? Not even The Thin Man. What a shame.

      Delete