Friday, September 12, 2003


this bear was cornered in a suburban neighborhood. Before shooting it with a tranquilizer dart, they placed a trampoline beneathe the bear to insure it would land safely. Apparently the cops don't understand the difference between a trampoline and a net. The bear bounced clean off the trampoline and landed on the ground. Don't worry, it was out like a light the whole time and slept it off under the watchful eyes of a vet.
I can't tell you I know exactly what this means, but it looks like UT's RTF department is opening a production studio on campus to make indie films using free student labor. Actually, since students pay tuition, they will probably pay to get credit for working on these films. It sounds cool, but if I know anything about UT, the movies which are produced will probably be really, really boring.

Oh, well. After years of waiting for someone else to bring productions to Austin, somebody at UT finally got their act together to give students a chance to actually do something other than scramble for one of five jobs a year which open up in Central Texas in the the world of film.
One of these days and it won't be long.
I'll rejoin them in a song.
I'm gonna join the family circle at the Throne.
No, the circle won't be broken.
By and by, Lord, by and by.

Johnny Cash, 1932-2003

Despite the fact I lived in Texas for 20+ years, I've still had trouble adjusting to the heat of the Arizona summer. Keep in mind that the Arizona summer begins in mid-April and continues into early October. But already, here in mid-September, the mornings are beginning to cool.

The afternoons are insanely hot, so much so that the brain doesn't seem to actually function on any level but the reptilian survival mode if you spend anything more than a few scant minutes in the sunlight. Any myths about the desert cooling at night don't really apply in July and August. But the past week, it's actually been cool in the morning, and, as a result, my mood is much, much better upon arriving at the office.

Soon the proper weather will begin, marked by the return of the retirees from northern states. That's fine. I can appreciate the insane driving if I can crack my windows and just enjoy the cooler weather once again. HURRAH.

But yesterday, at 4:45am or so, Jamie poked me in the shoulder to wake me up.

"The fire alarm is chirping. The battery must be dying."
"The fire alarm is chirping."
"THe fire alarm---"
So I went out to check, and yes, one of our smoke detectors was chirping. THe one twelve feet overhead on the vaulted ceiling. At 4:45 in the morning in the living room.
I wandered back toward the bedroom to tell Jamie what the story was. And I looked into the guest bathroom on my way past, and Mel was standing in the tub.
"What are you doing in the tub?" I said.
"I am a-scared," he said.
"Of the chirping?" I said.
"If that's what you want to call it," he replied.
"But you weigh 116 pounds! You can take down a grown man in a heartbeat!"
"Look," he sighed. "I am a-scared, and I'd like some help."
"I'll see what I can do," I nodded.
So at 5:00am, my beautiful wife was standing atop the decorative ledge running around our living room, helping me to get down the damn fire alarm.
My dog is such a pansy, but was he ever happy we stopped that chirping. I just have a scenario in mind now, should our house ever be robbed. THese men will come into the house to find Mel standing in the tub and looking alarmed. I don't really want to be ashamed of him in front of robbers. Oh, well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My friend Juan Diaz said something to me a while back that I thought was kind of odd at the time, but now I agree with him. Juan said, "I never felt like it was the 21st Century until the day of September 11th."
Juan told me this in early 2002, I think. And at the time, I kind of nodded solemnly but wasn't really sure what he meant. But I've figured it out, and I know what he means. Unlike all of us who laughed at how much 1999 was like 2000, he had been sitting on his hands waiting for a watershed event to define the 21st Century. I mean, why wouldn't he have been disappointed in everything up until 9-11? We'd been promised massive blackouts, massive fiscal collapse and an enduring nightmare scenario to spark at midnight on December 31st, 1999. And I remember holding my breath as we crossed over to 2000, exhaling in a scream as I, and the 30 odd folks I was with, realized the earth was not going to open up and swallow us.
It was the last really good party I remember. I stayed late, til 4:00am, drank champagne, didn't get sick, walked home and fell over in the middle of 45th street east of Duval. I have no idea how long I laid there clinging to the pavement, greatful for the shining promise of the 21st century.

I woke up in a Las Vegas hotel room on the morning of September 11th, 2001. Jamie and I were on our first vacation in over a year. The economy had already started to falter, and she had officially been terminated from her job on September 7th. We had some money and we went.

Sometime around 8:30am Mountain time, I was in the john, doing my morning duties when my brother called my cell phone. I assumed it was work, asking me to fix some technical issue or other from a distance. I shouted for Jamie to pick it up. "It's Jason," she said thru the door.
"He said something about a plane crash..." she was holding the phone out to me.
"Turn on the TV," he said.
"Turn on the TV," I said.
"What?" she asked.
"Why?" I asked.
"Turn on your TV. A plane ran into the World Trade Center."
"Jesus Christ. Was it-"
"I don't think it was an accident--"
"On purpose. Yeah."
"Turn on the TV," I said.
"Why?" she asked.
"Turn on the fucking TV."
She didn't want to, or she was confused or something... but if my brother called at 8:30 in the morning when he was supposed to be at work... and if he... and she wouldn't turn it on...
We talked for a few minutes, but here's the truth... we were on Mountain time, I guess, and so it had to have been almost 10:30 Eastern time... but I don't know when the towers actually fell. I don't know if I was watching re-runs, or what I was watching. I have no idea if I saw it in real time or not, and it doesn't really matter.
But I knew I was in a Las Vegas hotel room, a thousand miles from home.
I tried to call a car rental company within the hour. I remember that. I knew we weren't flying anywhere. But the cars were all already gone. I called my folks, I called my brother, I called work... anything... Nobody wanted to talk. We were okay, they were okay, call us if you need anything....
We got breakfast, sitting in the diner of the casino at the Luxor, watching folks just going about their business. Nobody knew on the floor. Nobody had the slightest clue but the guys watching the television screens who were betting on the dogs and the horses.
The waitress looked at us with wide eyes. She must have known we knew. I wondered how many tables she'd been to this morning... Hi, coffee and water? Oh, and there are thousands dead in New York, the Pentagon is smoking and a plane load of folks incinerated in a dell in Pennsylvania. Cream with that?
"Nobody knows..." I said.
"Maybe not."
"Jesus Christ, you'd think they'd care more if they knew. You'd think they could quit gambling for two fucking seconds..."
"Everyone does things differently," she said. And she's right.
We stayed holed up in the hotel room for two more days just watching the news. We'd go get a meal, hang out on the casino floor or whatever for a while, and I'd want to go back and see what they were saying. The projected body count dropped that first day from the 10's of thousands to 10 thousand or less.
I watched folks still gambling, still going about their business. We went to a show the night afterward. I felt sick to my stomach the whole time and I wanted to get out and go. I stayed under the covers or sat at the edge of the bed and I wanted to ge the hell out of Nevada. And we did. Eventually.
But that flight home, with the nervous faces and everyone... everyone ready to go down swinging so that this should not ever, ever happen again...
But this is all about me and what happened to me, which wasn't anything.

Tomorrow and tonight and all week, they're going to replay the footage we're all familiar with. And dead people's families are going to fill our television screens.
So tomorrow I'm committing to a day of silence here at The League. I'm not going to ask what we've done since then, and I'm not going to ask if we're any safer. I'm not going to debate the politics or put a flag around the site for a day. I'm not going to try to say anything about everyone or anyone who died, because I didn't know them, and that's well worn territory. So I'm going to be quiet, and I'm going to shut up for once.



New York
I may have just found the winning keywords for The League. It turns out that people are nuts for the hooker/ stripper from The Joe Schmo Show. I received many, many, many hits yesterday from folks seeking info on the high priced hooker.

Viva America.

I tried to find info on who the hooker was for all you pre-verts out there seeking her out (since you're already here, I can at least try to be a helpful resource), but I'm pretty busy, and I don't care enough to really help you out. Go look at the bra ads in the Sunday paper, you sick-o's.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

First off:

Randy and Jeff Shoemaker are the sole winners of the Green Lantern contest. Even my own beautiful wife failed to know that the Green Lantern is from Sector 2814 (I swear, you put 8 years into trying to share useful information with someone....). In high school I had a plastic Green Lantern ring which would glow in the dark. It was free and one of the coolest give-aways ever seen at a comic shop. One day I will obtain a full sized Green Lantern ring. One Day. But, it will be useless without the power battery...

Anyhow, I may have screwed up those looking for the Green Lantern's Pledge. Apparently, it's actually an OATH. What the hell do I know...? Nothing. It's an OATH. So, on that note...


In Brightest Day
In Blackest Night
No Evil Shall Escape My Sight
Let Those Who Worship Evil's Might
Beware My Power
Green Lantern's Light

and secondly....

about once every nine months or so Jim D. updates me regarding the movements of underground indie rockers, Dead Yeti. He did so again today, alerting Randy and me to the latest drama.

Jim Dedman wrote:
> both of you must, must, must blog about yeti. i mean, really . . .

In response, I wrote:

>For going on 4 or five years now I've received regular e-mails about Dead Yeti. And about once a year, I point out that I have not a clue about Dead Yeti. I wish I did. I think it would complete the Alpha/Omega relationship which is the Steans/Dedman synergy.
> It's not that I'm not interested, it's that I really have never really been exposed to Dead Yeti.
> Alas.
> But keep it up, loyal Yeti fan.
And, gee... here's one to make you shed a little tear...

Leni Riefenstahl kicked the bucket at the age of 101. Wow, if there were ever evidence that the good die young, this is it.

I don't think anyone is going to ignore Riefenstahl's technical achievements, but it's kind of hard to dismiss her involvement in the rise of the Nazi party. I open the door to you, the reader, to do your own exploration of the life and times of Riefenstahl.

So long, Leni. And don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.
I've been avoiding politics like the plague for many a month now, but I think it's time i came out of the political closet. The League of Melbotis hereby formally endorses the Reverend Al Sharpton for President of the United States of America.

Look, I'm a white suburban kid from Texas. The burroughs of New York and the entire context which Al Shaprton comes from is as foreign to me as the moons of Mars. I know dick about race relations and the class struggle. But I know Al Sharpton is completely insane. I like that about the man. I try to imagine what it would be like to call Al Sharpton "Mr. President" and my ears get warm with glee. The guy gets arrested on a regular basis, is usually embroiled in some sort of law-suit, and has a head of hair second only to John Kerry.

So when it comes time to participate in your primaries and strawman elections, vote Sharpton. If California can consider Arnie, can't we, as a country, consider the wackiness which would ensue with Sharpton at the helm?

Monday, September 08, 2003

One would assume I would have enjoyed Spike TV's The Joe Schmo Show more than I did. But I didn't.
The show rides a curious line between letting a guy humiliate himself on national TV, and trying to allow it's actors to be wacky enough to freak him out. But the truth is, pretty much NOTHING they attempted to do on the show actually seemed to work.
If you haven't seen the show or heard about it, the Joe Schmo Show is a "fake reality show" in which a "reality game show" is being taped under false pretenses. The host and other 7 contestants are all paid actors, and only Matt is an actual "contestant."
I guess the idea was to put a willing participant into a pressure boiler in which circumstances continue to grow stranger and stranger, but the reality is, "reality tv" is so over-produced and scripted to begin with, they really aren't able to
1) make Matt think anything weird is really going on
2) make Matt not act as completely insane as the rest of the cast is supposed to be doing.

Because everyone else is a paid actor, all of these actors are incredibly self-conscious of every move they make as their characters. Thusly, it all seems pretty tame compared to the nutcases who usually inhabit reality TV. Matt is pretty much just trying to ape what he's seen on other reality shows by forming alliances, etc... Unfortunately, as the show is "scripted", there's not much in the way of drama (or anything at stake) aside from whther or not Matt will think these people are actors (which they assume he will clue into). But as I said before, actual reality shows are populated with such a bunch of prima donna freaks that, coupled with Matt's unbridled enthusiasm for being on TV, there is no reason for him to suspect a damn thing.

The moment where I realized that the people putting on this show have a mindset which will probably utterly fail them was when, in episode 2, they had a game called "Hands on a High Priced Hooker" in which all 8 contestants were asked to put a hand or body part on a porn actress. Last person on won the pimping "immunity robe". (the immunity robe was probably the best part of the last hour I watched last night). The fatal flaw was that the punishment for LOSING the game was getting your own room (Joe Schmo had to share a bed with two others prior to this). THis just seemed like an odd choice of punishments, laundry room or no... in addition, it was assumed that this guy they plucked from middle-America would leap at the chance to hang onto a stanger's breast on National TV.

In short, it never occured to the producers of the show that 1) they were rewarding failure, or 2) that Matt might perceive he had more to gain by taking the high road on this one.

In short, I saw how the show was going to work, and I've seen enough of it. After a week or whatever in this house, this guy is not going to realize these people are actors, even if they totally screw up, as a few of them have already done. And it's safe to assume Matt is going to get the $100K the show promises, anyway, as compensation for being the butt of the show's 1 note joke.

In college, we would have loved how "meta" this show was. After being inundated with this sort of crap for so long, it's just the next logical step in the same crap heap all of these shows have become.

BTW, regarding Friday's posts... NOBODY has stepped up with the Space Sector of Earth's Green Lantern. And Jim gave a me a stern dressing down for neglecting to mention the greatest Green Lantern of the Giffen/ DeMAtteis JLA era, Guy Gardner.