Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Closing the door on 2020, and a look ahead

That was a year to remember, no? 2020 will go down as a year many will look back upon in horror, or choose to forget and move on from, but I have to say it was not so bad for me, personally. I did not lose anyone in my family to COVID-19. I kept my job, bought a home gym, had published my first book, connected with some old friends, and managed to read 51 books. My oldest daughter completed her first semester of college while living at school and staying healthy. As a family we cancelled parties and trips, and missed dining out and seeing concerts and shows, but also hunkered down and grew closer as a family. 

As for The Silver Key, I cranked out 67 posts in 2020. A few that might be of interest to you:

Most popular: Of sword-and-sorcery, politics, and the Flashing Swords that Wasn't. With 862 views and 15 comments, this was both my most-viewed and most-commented upon post in 2020. This one tackled both a highly controversial issue (Robert Price's utterly out-of-place introduction to Flashing Swords 6) and was linked to from many places on the web, so no surprise there. In general I'm trying to stay away from controversy and shit-stirring (I came close to writing a post ripping Time's ridiculously garbage "100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time" list, for example, then canned the idea) but I felt compelled to comment on this story.

Second most popular: My Father, the Pornographer, a Memoir. My review of Chris Offutt's memoir of his father, Andrew J. Offutt, was my second most viewed post of the year. This book also happens to be one of my favorite reads of 2020. If you are interested in Offutt's sword-and-sorcery, growing up in rural Kentucky in the 70s and 80s, convention life, father-son relationships, or just appreciate good writing, I can't recommend this one highly enough. It's raw and honest and incredibly well-done.

A painful memory: 2020 sucked for many reasons, but the loss of Neil Peart back in January is particularly painful. I grew up listening to RUSH and idolizing the band for their lyrics and musicianship, and Peart was the brightest talent in an extraordinarily talented trio. I'll be playing a few RUSH songs on New Year's in honor of his memory. We also lost the great Charles Saunders this year, D&D artist Jim Holloway, and others.

Some great reads. Of the 51 books I read this year most were at least good/very good, a couple sucked, and a few were great. Some of my favorites included H. Rider Haggard's The Wanderer's Necklace (review on DMR Blog), the aforementioned Offutt memoir, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and Frans Bengtsson's The Long Ships. Right now I'm in the middle of a re-read of The Lord of the Rings, wrapping up The Two Towers, and I've no doubt that this is the finest work of fantasy ever written. I re-read The Broken Sword earlier this year and that too is as good as I remember.

A heavy metal party cataloged. If you haven't read my posts recollecting the heavy metal themed parties I threw at my house from 2011-2018, a couple with a live Judas Priest tribute band in my living room, give these a spin. I still can't believe that shit happened (and I remained married afterwards).

What's coming next? Your guess is as good as mine. I've decided not to launch a podcast, but I (think) I've hit upon my next idea for my second book. I'm going to keep blogging here, and guest-posting on a few sites around the web. If you have any ideas for subjects or topics, or authors or titles you'd like to suggest I cover (or not cover), leave me a comment here or send me an email. I always love getting comments and suggestions.

Thanks for reading, and here's to turning the page on 2021.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Tom Moldvay/Basic D&D "Inspirational Source Material" vs. Appendix N

Gary Gygax’s Appendix N has been the recipient of much analysis, praise, scrutiny, and exploration. With Appendix N Gygax provided a roadmap for the literary inspirations of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in a now famous list located at the back of the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, one that has since served as the launching pad for aspiring D&D historians, fantasy readers, authors, and podcasters. For example, we now have a work of non-fiction based on the list, Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons, as well as the Appendix N Book Club podcast.

This is all well-deserved attention and praise, in my opinion. D&D can certainly be played as-is, without knowledge of the literary influences that gave to the ruleset its unique flavor and a suggested style of game play, but knowing and reading the sources Gygax used when drafting the rules makes for a better game, in my opinion. D&D is both a dice-based strategy game with wargaming roots, and an immersive roleplaying and shared storytelling experience, and the latter aspect is enriched by classic fantasy and sword-and-sorcery literature. I have not sat at a table and played a game run by a DM raised on a strict diet of modern videogames, for example, but I would bet good money that the experience would be quite a bit different than a game run by a DM steeped in Tolkien and Moorcock and Howard and Vance.

With that as a preamble, I believe that a similar list provided by Tom Moldvay in the 1981 Basic D&D rulebook, “Inspirational Source Material,” provides a slightly superior roadmap than Gygax’s Appendix N, and probably deserves a bit more attention. Like its more famous cousin, Moldvay’s suggested reading list is a wonderful gateway to a rich lode of imaginative material, and for many (myself included) served as a roadmap for stories sought out in the days of youth.

There is significant overlap between the two lists. Appendix N includes a few authors not listed in Moldvay including Frederic Brown, August Derleth, Margaret St. Clair, and Stanley Weinbaum. I have read some Derleth, and St. Clair’s The Shadow People is on my TBR list, but am not familiar with Brown or Weinbaum. Brown appears to have written mainly in the science fiction genre, as did Weinbaum, with Brown also branching out into mystery. These seem to be idiosyncratic choices unique to Gygax; not being familiar with their work I can’t readily say if there are aspects of their work that Gygax borrowed for AD&D. I’ll leave that for someone else.

Where Moldvay’s list eclipses Appendix N is in its completeness and attention to detail. Gygax has a tendency in Appendix N to settle for the shorthand Latinate “et. al” (“and others”). Gygax states that in some cases he meant to cite specific works, but when no works were listed he simply recommends all of a given author’s writings. This has the benefit of allowing for more open-intended interpretation, but lacks precision. This may not so much a problem now, but in the pre-internet days of 1979 it makes an aspiring readers’ job a lot more difficult. It was for me, and I found Moldvay’s list a lot easier to access (the same could be said for the clarity of the Moldvay rules themselves, which I find superior in many ways to AD&D first edition, but that’s a post for another day). Moldvay appends “et. al” to at least as many authors as does Gygax, but always lists at least one, if not multiple, actual book titles for the reader.

Moldvay’s list is more comprehensive, while still managing to be confined to a single page in the basic rulebook. Some big names I’m very fond of jump out at me immediately: Moldvay lists Karl Edward Wagner (Bloodstone, Death Angel’s Shadow, and Dark Crusade), E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros, Lloyd Alexander (The Book of Three, The Black Cauldon, the Castle of Llyr), Talbot Mundy’s Tros of Samothrace, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment, and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. None of these appear on Appendix N. Perhaps most noteworthy, Moldvay also lists Clark Ashton Smith (Xiccarph, Lost Worlds, Genius Loci). Many have pondered why Gygax did not include the third of the Weird Tales holy trinity along with REH and Lovecraft, as Smith’s lush, ornate prose recalls something of Gygax’s writing style, and his dark necromancers and evil spellcasters seem like they could easily have stepped out of The Vault of the Drow.

Moldvay cheats a bit and gives us a quick list of “additional authors of fantasy fiction” which allows him to slide in authors like James Branch Cabell, H. Rider Haggard, John Jakes, C.L. Moore, Meryvn Peake, and others. Both Gygax and Moldvay list Lin Carter as recommended, though they target different titles (Gygax lists Carter’s “World’s End” series, while Moldvay cites Carter’s contributions as editor of The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories as well as Flashing Swords).

In general Appendix N seems to be far more idiosyncratic and indicative of Gygax’s particular tastes, while Moldvay’s is curated with a broader base and general fantasy reader in mind. Moldvay’s specific call-outs to adolescent fantasy appears indicative of an intended younger target audience for Basic D&D. B/X served as a gateway to the hobby (“Ages 10 and Up,” it noted on its cover), while AD&D and its dense, encyclopedic manuals were probably better suited for later teens and early 20-somethings. Moldvay also lists several recommended works of non-fiction.

I would say, you can’t go wrong using both lists as a basis for your own reading and filling in gaps in classic works of the imagination. Certainly any work that makes both lists is something you probably should read while you’re still making rounds around the sun. You can read Appendix N in its entirety here. I have included a screenshot of Moldvay’s Inspirational Source Material below.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

What I've read to date, in 2020

I keep a relatively modest goal of reading one book a week, about 52 books in a year. I wish I could increase that total, but between work, family and friends, keeping a modicum of physical fitness, writing, housework, other obligations, and occasional bouts of laziness, a book a week is the most realistic number for me these days.

It appears that I'm not going to quite hit that goal this year, though I'm going to come real close (I've just begun The Two Towers and I have the rest of the year off from work). Yes, I fudged a bit with a bunch of disparate short stories I read in preparation for the Goodman Games S&S panel, but I figure the combined page count was about right to qualify as a "book."

The list follows:

1. Tolkien and the Critics, Neil Isaacs and Rose Zimbardo (finished 1/5)

2. Hap and Leonard, Joe Lansdale (finished 1/12)

3. The Evolution of Modern Fantasy, Jamie Williamson (finished 1/26)

4. Getting Things Done, David Allen (finished 2/2)

5. Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins (finished 2/6)

6. The Last Celt, a Bio-Bibliography of Robert E. Howard, Glenn Lord (finished 2/9)

7. Jack London Stories, Jack London (finished 2/16)

8. The Door to Saturn, Clark Ashton Smith (finished 2/29)

9. Kothar and the Conjurer’s Curse, Gardner Fox (finished 3/1) 

10. Kothar of the Magic Sword, Gardener Fox (finished 3/8)

11. Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse (finished 3/19)

12. The Wanderer’s Necklace, H. Rider Haggard (finished 3/28)

13. Tarnsman of Gor, John Norman (finished 4/5)

14. Outlaw of Gor, John Norman (finished 4/10)

15. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (finished 4/14)

16. The Return of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs (finished 4/23)

17. The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (finished 5/7)

18. Hannibal, Thomas Harris (finished 5/13)

19. The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, Robert E. Howard (finished 5/22)

20. The Swords of Lankhmar, Fritz Leiber (finished 5/28)

21. Swords and Ice Magic, Fritz Leiber (finished 6/9)

22. Swords Against Darkness, Andrew Offutt ed. (finished 7/3)

23. The Knight and Knave of Swords, Fritz Leiber (finished 7/6)

24. Witches of the Mind, Bruce Byfield (finished 7/12)

25. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (finished 7/17)

26. Darkness Weaves, Karl Edward Wagner (finished 7/22)

27. My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir, Chris Offutt (finished 7/25)

28. The Conan Companion, Richard Toogood (finished 7/26)

29. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller Jr. (finished 8/5) 

30. Heroes of Atlantis and Lemuria, Dave Ritzlin ed. (finished 8/11)

31. The Knight of the Swords, Michael Moorcock (finished 8/24)

32. Artists, Outlaws, and Old-Timers, Tom Barber (finished 8/30)

33. The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers (finished 9/7)

34. “Laughing Shall I Die”: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings, Tom Shippey (finished 9/20)

35. Sword-and-sorcery short story mix (“The Shadow Kingdom,” “The Tower of the Elephant,” “Black God’s Kiss,” “Hellsgarde,” “Liane the Wayfarer,” “Turjan of Mir,” “The Tale of Satampra Zeiros,” “The Seven Geases.” Etc.). (finished 10/2)

36. The Tritonian Ring, L. Sprague de Camp (finished 10/4)

37. The Knight of the Swords, Michael Moorcock (finished 10/8)

38. Bloodstone, Karl Edward Wagner (finished 10/12)

39. The Broken Sword (1971), Poul Anderson (finished 10/19)

40. Hammer of the Gods, Gavin Chappell ed. (finished 10/24)

41. ‘Salem’s Lot, Stephen King (finished 11/1)

42. Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny (finished 11/8)

43. The Guns of Avalon, Roger Zelazny (finished 11/15)

44. Sign of the Unicorn, Roger Zelazny (finished 11/17)

45. The Hand of Oberon, Roger Zelazny (finished 11/22)

46. The Courts of Chaos, Roger Zelazny (finished 11/26)

47. The Long Ships, Frans Bengtsson (finished 12/7)

48. Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock (finished 12/14)

49. The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien (finished 12/22)

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Last Wolf, a review

If you are a fan of Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane, or his horror fiction—or even if you’re only mildly interested in Wagner but have a broader interest in the development of modern horror fiction and its commercial boom in the 1970s and 80s—I recommend you seek out and watch The Last Wolf.

Last night I rented this new documentary which debuted on what would have been the 75th anniversary of Wagner’s birth. It’s available on Vimeo for rent ($2.99) or purchase ($5.99) and runs just north of an hour and 40 minutes of screen time.

The Last Wolf covers the details of Wagner’s life, from his birth in 1945 to his untimely death in 1994, as told through a series of wide-ranging interviews. Filmmakers Brian McKnight and Brandon Lunsford have done a wonderful job seeking out and arranging thoughtful interviews with Wagner’s siblings, his ex-wife, childhood friends including John Mayer, and several horror and fantasy luminaries including the likes of Peter Straub, Dennis Etchison, Stephen Jones, David Drake, S.T. Joshi, and Ramsey Campbell, among others. We get everything from Karl’s precocious early days in the classroom as the youngest of four children in Wagner household, to his days as a medical student, breaking into writing, hanging out with the likes of Manly Wade Wellman, founding Carcosa Press, and tearing up the scene as a charismatic figure at fantasy and horror conventions. It includes some actual footage of him speaking on panels and the like, which is surprisingly hard to find.

The filmmakers also used a substantial amount of footage of Wagner’s former residences and schools, artistic long shots of creeping Kudzu vines and menacing sticks, and the like, which lends the film an arresting visual appeal. Wagner is feted as underappreciated but major horror author and editor who married pulp traditions and Weird Tales with a modern horror sensibility and helped ring in the horror boom of the 1970s. The film takes its time (which I loved) on the mimeographed fanzines and small press magazines of the 1970s, the likes of Whispers for example, that provided Wagner and many other authors an important outlet to tell their stories. “Sticks,” perhaps Wagner’s greatest story, appeared in Whispers. A LOT of love and care and effort went into this documentary, and it shows. Kudos to everyone involved in this project and I gladly would have watched another hour of run time.

The Last Wolf is not perfect. I think it suffers a bit from a lack of a strong narrative thread. The absence of an agenda is refreshing and the interviews carry the documentary along, but the story meanders without an omniscient voice overlaying some basic facts and dates. This will not impede or deter any of Wagner’s hardcore fans, but will make the film less accessible to a general audience.

The film is broken up into four parts. Part 3 (“Undone by his Own Bad Habits”) treats with Wagner’s alcoholism, which ultimately cut his life short at age 49. This tragic aspect of his life was not sugar-coated, and The Last Wolf spends time examining the terrible impacts wrought by booze on his professional writing life and his personal friendships. There is also talk at the end from his siblings about his languishing literary estate, and the apparent lack of interest in his works by major publishing houses. This helps explain why his works remain hard to obtain in print (although I have to think some smaller press publishers would gladly take up the offer to reprint the Kane stories, at least). Straub theorizes that Wagner’s lack of novel output is partially to blame, as short stories are a hard sell these days unless your name happens to be Stephen King.

You should support these types of efforts with your dollars. Per the producers all the money made streaming the film will help produce a limited edition DVD/Blu-ray copy with some additional scenes. Show your appreciation and go watch The Last Wolf.

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Last Wolf is out

I'm really looking forward to this new documentary on Karl Edward Wagner. "The Last Wolf" has been some time in the making by Brian M. McKnight and Brandon Lunsford and is now available for purchase on Vimeo. 

Check out the trailer here:

There is a huge dearth of critical and biographical material on Wagner and I hope this film helps to rectify that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Long Ships, Frans Bengtsson (or, what a year was 1954)

I have this very edition.
I’m not sure what was in the water in 1954, but can we have a little bit more of that, please?

That fabled year saw the publication of none other than:

  • The first volume of the greatest work of high fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
  • Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword, arguably the finest book-length example of sword-and-sorcery/heroic fantasy
  • The complete English language translation of Frans Bengtsson’s The Long Ships, one of the finest examples of historical fiction I have encountered.

Not a bad year (he says, with typical tongue-in-cheek Viking understatement).

To be fair, Bengtsson’s novel was first published in the early 1940s in a two volume set, but in Swedish, the author’s native tongue. Book one (The Long Ships contains four short books) was published in the United States in 1942 under the title Red Orm. But 1954 was the first time the complete book was made available to an English-speaking audience.

The Long Ships is quite simply terrific in almost every way. It’s a highly readable page turner, with adventure packed onto almost every page. It’s studded with good humor and some laugh-out-loud funny moments and exchanges, even in the midst of some pretty grim events. And it is the distillation of the Northern Thing. The Long Ships channels the old Icelandic Sagas into a modern style, while keeping some of the cadence of the language and literary conventions of this old story-style and preserving the spirit of that heroic age. The Sagas were known for their deadpan delivery of heroic deeds, nasty misadventures, and terrible tragedies that would leave us moderns standing slack-jawed in awe, horror, or incomprehensibility, and The Long Ships likewise delivers. For example: “The year ended without the smallest sign having appeared in the sky, and there ensued a period of calm in the border country. Relations with the Smalanders continued to be peaceful, and there were no local incidents worth mentioning, apart from the usual murders at feasts and weddings, and a few men burned in their houses as the result of neighborly disputes.”

Now, my neighbor sometimes lets his leaves sit on his lawn a little too long for my liking, and these sometimes blow onto my greensward. But I don’t burn his house down (with him in it) out of retribution. But I do live in a very different age (for which I thank God—mostly. An occasional murder at a feast would be nice).

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Where to start with Karl Edward Wagner's Kane

My latest essay can be found over on the Goodman Games website. "Where to Start with Karl Edward Wagner's Kane" is my first piece for the website of Tales from the Magician's Skull

I had fun with this one. If you're not interested in clicking through, spoiler alert: I went with the collection Night Winds. I always favor checking out an author's short stories, if available, before committing to a novel, and Night Winds offers a nice representative offering of Kane stories. But it's hard to go wrong with anything Kane.

I've been writing a lot about Kane lately but this is merely a coincidence. Bill Ward asked me to write this latest essay following our recent sword-and-sorcery panel session at Bride of Cyclops Con. I had already been working on the DMR piece prior. And as Deuce Richardson reminded me recently, December 4th marked what would have been Wagner's 75th birthday.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Doom scrolling and distraction

I caught myself yesterday mindlessly scrolling my iphone, reading comments on stories about the end of capitalism. Then a story about the inability of developing countries to remove their dependency on fossil fuels, and the accompanying inevitability of the planet’s ecological destruction. Depressing numbers on climbing COVID-19 cases and a looming possibility of 200K more deaths. Political gridlock. Rampant graft and hypocrisy. On and on. Depressing, in a time when the cold weather has arrived and we’re driven inside, and there’s no escape. Winter is coming and it’s not looking good, folks.

Or is it?

This is all part of a larger issue that I think has been conflated and labelled as “fake news.” I would not call all of the aforementioned problems fake, but the feeling of impending doom these types of stories engender is a symptom of being constantly in the news, and people’s Twitter opinions. In short, of this phenomenon called doom scrolling, 24-7. You get to hate it all, you come to hate new media and tech companies for spawning this new world of inattention and distraction and doom scrolling, and so it all becomes fake news. It doesn’t feel real anymore, and it feels like the only ones who are winning are companies like Facebook who are selling my data in increasingly troubling targeted ads (I was talking to my wife about wine yesterday, and sure enough an ad for a wine subscription service came up in my social media feed. And yes, I have Alexa, and it’s probably listening to everything we say at the counter).

So, what do we do about it? What do I do about it?

I’m coming to loathe Facebook, even though it has SOME tangible value. I like seeing what beers are hitting my local liquor stores (I follow a couple liquor store pages), or when a water main breaks in town (I follow Merrimac news), or when someone posts something sword-and-sorcery related (I follow Pulp Sword-and-Sorcery, and a few other groups). I like seeing when people who I’m friends with, post something genuine. That happens too, albeit infrequently.

I could do without all the rest. Either I start mercilessly cutting shit out, and unfollowing, or I limit the amount of usage, maybe to a couple windows of time each day. And get back to living in the real world of my own life, of my job, my private work, my family, my circle of friends. Reality, and not this consumption of digital 1s and 0s that tells me the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and the only way out is to surf the cutting edge by consuming more information and reading the next snarky comment or the next platitude left by some celebrity I vaguely like.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Update: Flame and Crimson reviews

It's hard to believe but I'm closing in on one year since the publication of Flame and Crimson: A History of Sword-and-Sorcery. I sent the final edits over to Bob McLain at Pulp Hero Press in December 2019, and the book was available on Amazon shortly after the turn of the new year. I waited some 5-6 weeks with baited breath for the first reveiws, not knowing if the book sucked, was wildly off-base, boring, etc. To anyone who has ever written a book, we are brothers in arms and I can safely say I don't envy you this experience. I would sort of compare it to baring a piece of my soul with total strangers. Fear of rejection, ridicule, etc. are very real obstacles.

To say that I'm happy with the response is an understatement. As of this post it's received 32 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars. Goodreads has tracked an additional 17 reviews, averaging 4.35 out of 5 stars.

Beyond the numbers, I've been thrilled with the words of those who have taken the time to share their thoughts about the book. I don't know these folks from Adam, but to read comments like these is incalculably rewarding:

I feel like I have been waiting years for someone to write a book like this. Sure, others have tried on occasion, but no one really did a comprehensive capture of the genre before now. And this is not just a history, but a thematic synthesis and-dare I say it-a work of literary criticism. 


Well structured, researched, and written, this is a great text for those who wish to write in the genre and those who've done some reading, but aren't sure about the best path to take in exploring it further.


I admit my vision is rose colored. The author is nearly my age and came upon his love for Swords & Sorcery (he actually prefers swords and sorcery—I am not as picky) in an almost identical way as I. He even shares my adoration of Heavy Metal tunes. 


Much self-published sf and fantasy criticism is not very good - but Murphy's book is very well written. He is not an academic so we are spared the typical turgid prose that comes from University presses. Highly recommended. 


All that is most interesting, but Murphy is also ENTERTAINING while explaining. The book is never boring and always fun to read; sometime I actually laughed out loud. But you always feel that he is serious about his topic and the involved research, so it never gets silly. Do yourself a favor and buy this book.


If you are at all interested in the history and cultural impact of S&S literature, this book is definitely worth your while. Every time I wanted to raise a little quibble with something the author said, my objection was answered within two pages. Informative and entertaining!


Just today I was treated to an amazingly kind review from Bill Ward over at Tales from the Magician's Skull (which if you're a fan of S&S and not subscribed to, you're doing yourself a disservice). This last paragraph made every bit of the six+ years of effort that went into the conception, research, and writing of Flame and Crimson worth the struggle:

I’ve been searching high and low for this book for years, but of course, no one had written it yet! I’m glad Brian Murphy finally did because he has produced no less a seminal work than Lin Carter’s Imaginary Worlds (1973) or Don Herron’s The Dark Barbarian (1984). In recent decades we’ve had some amazing essays and deep scholarship in the field, and a first-rate biography of Robert E. Howard (Mark Finn’s Blood & Thunder), but no one had filled the real need for a single volume, narratively coherent history of sword-and-sorcery until Flame and Crimson. But make no mistake, Murphy’s book isn’t simply good because it’s necessary, it’s indispensable because it’s magnificent.

There are other reviews worth sharing, and I will at some point. Flame and Crimson is certainly not perfect, and there are things I wish I had done differently. 

But for now, to anyone who has read and enjoyed this book, THANK YOU. I hope in some measure I have helped to illuminate the highs (and fun lows) of this remarkable fantasy subgenre. And have entertained you along the way.