Friday, January 16, 2004

and a little something to hold you kids over the weekend.
Why, yes sir! That can you opened WAS full of worms!
I'm officially "the guy from out of state who won't shut up about his home state." As much as I loathed these people before, i am now one of their ranks.

I think it's that Texas has been my context for 20+ years, and Arizona is kind of... blah. Not much interesting happens here. Nobody is from here, nobody gives a damn about Phoenix as much as the proximity to Sedona, and for the most part, you get the feeling folks weren't that attached to the places they came from in the first place.

I find that, as not one interesting thing has happened since I moved to Arizona, I tend to have to use my past (ie, my stay in Texas) as a reference for all anecdotal points, evidence, storytelling, etc...

So, yesterday, someone was talking about textbooks in public education, and I mentioned how Texas doesn't allow for a proper explanation of evolution in it's textbooks for grades K-12 and the implication for publishers across the country. We drifted off to other topics (including a discussion about Giants, which was kind of fascinating), but somehow ended up on the planets, and were trying to figure out how big Mars is.

"Is it as big as Texas?" someone asked me, rather pointedly.

I kind of laughed, but it suddenly became very, very clear... everyone is sick to death of hearing about how things were in The Lone Star State.

Whether I like it or not, i am still in Arizona. THis fact is not going to change until something drastic occurs. But I also need to respect that for some reason, these people adore this place. And I need to quit looking backward and start looking more at this place and what it has to offer. Arizona is, and can be, many things. I may not like all of them, but I wasn't exactly Little Mary Sunshine about all that went down in Texas, either.

I will henceforth quit referring always to how "it's this way here, but in Texas...", ecause it's dumb and it doesn't matter what they do in Texas (even if it is better).

Thursday, January 15, 2004

A cat owner writes:

Dear Melbotis,

How do you feel about cats? Have you ever met any?

A cat owner

Dear A cat owner,

Mel not always live in smelly hot place. Long ago, Mel live with funny girls and they have many, many cat things. Mel would spend countless hour with funny cat things stare at him. Stare and stare. And then Mel go crazy and chase cat until Mel get tired and lay down and one day Mel move in with chubby-boy-thing and white lady. White lady sleeps alot and then gets fired and she is home alot. But not as much home as yellow cat who punch at my head and occasionally bite the tail. The cat stupid and bite the sleepy lady and the lady yell and flap hands and go "Jeff! You little bastard!" and the chubby man quit looking at flicker-box and laugh at lady and cat. Then I go outside.
Josh writes:

Dear Melbotis,

When is it okay to play with the lights off?


Josh Lowry

Dear Josh,

This is toughy. Mel not absolutely sure when it okay. When mel in yard, sometime the light on and sometime the light off. Light on mostly in middle of day in yard, but at same time, light off in house. At night, outside, light off. In house, light on, until chubby-man-thing go to bed. Then light off. Lady sleep all time whether light on, off, flickering, music blasting or cat sitting on her head. When the light go off in house at night, man say "All right, pets. Time for bed." which is dumb, because bed is always there. No time for bed. So when light on in backyard mel run and run and runa nd run and bark at stupid neighbor dog. Bark bark bark. At night, light off in yard, and Mel run and run and run and bark bark bark. Not make much difference.
But Mel suspect something deeper lay at root of Josh question. So mel think and think and think and think and think and come up with nothing. So he think some more. And then he think how sad he not know and want a treat because when mel eat, mel happier. So Mel lay down and think about treat. But Mel think maybe you ask Mrs. Lowry when it okay, and if that not good, you ask Mrs. Lowry dad, because he know Don to be straight shooter. In fact, mel will forward question to Mr. Shannon Dad and tell him Josh ask and then he be very proud.
Molly writes:

Dear Melbotis,

Who was the nastiest villian you ever subdued?


Dear Molly,

As golden retriever, Mel tend to like everyone except stupid dog next door. Mel am genetically incapable of disliking anyone. When bad people, like small people in stroller go by, I bark bark bark, but I never get to them. Tiny people in strollers are not real people, so Mel is not liking them because they scream and poo on self. Also slightly larger small people who smell like syrup. Bleah!
Mostly I used to try to catch funny man who leave things in box in front of house, but due to fence, never got hold of him or man who steal smelly garbage.
No matter how much Mel would like to capture people, it not happen too often, but when i want revenge, i poop on carpet. If Mel had one person he could bring to justice, would be lady who take Mel temperature.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

With Bush announcing today that we, as a nation, are once again spacebound, is there anyone who didn't think of this article?
FYI, kids... I have no idea if this movie will be any good or not, but I can tell you I will see it. Warner Bros. missed the boat by not doing something similar with The Blackhawks, and the look and feel is vintage Superman crazy robot.

C'est la vie. Any movie willing to put giant humanoid robots in it is a movie I want to see.

So it's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow for my summer fun.
Christopher Reeve triumphantly returns to Smallville in his role as the mysterious Dr. Swann! If you didn't see his appearance last season, it was fantastic.
Couple of things...

I've added Molly's blog to the The League. If I remember correctly, she is in Japan, but as I do not know Molly, I do not know why she is in Japan. In fact, after hearing scary stories about working in Japan for half an hour on Friday, I feel kind of bad for Molly, but as she is somewhat unsinkable, nobody needs to pity her.

So check out Molly's blog. (and yes, Molly... I took quite a shine to the web-link on your blog...)

Speaking of friends of the Uncanny Dedman, RHPT surfaced yesterday sounding a bit glum. So check in on Randy and make sure the dude is okay. He has a wedding coming up, after all.

Thirdly, one of my bestest pals ever, Jeffrey Alan (Peabo) Peek, announced he was engaged yesterday. Engaged. My little Peabo is all grown up.

I don't really know the girl. I met her once in September, but she seemed like a swell dame, which may be reason enough to warn her off now. Anyhoo, I've known Jeff since 4th grade, we went to college together and the dude was in my wedding in one way or another. He's a square G and an all around decent guy. He's also a defense attorney in Austin, so he gives my brother a good run for his money. Adrianna is some sort of legal-thingy (a lawyer maybe... we were drinking... my memory is hazy here) at the Mexican Consulate in downtown Austin. Aside from that bit of information and the fact that she has a winning smile, the girl remains a bit of a mystery. So I wish Jeff "Peabo" Peek and Adrianna (sp?) the best of luck. Well, really, I wish Adrianna the best of luck, because she will now be legally bound to Peabo for the duration.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

They don't make one big enough for our pal, Mel.
Jeff S. writes:

What is Heather's damage?

Sincerely, -Jeff

Dear Jeff,

mel am wondering same thing. Mel say "do something to me gently with chainsaw." Blowing up school with everyone inside is less funny now than in 1987 before mel was born. When Mel born, back in good old day of 1999, not much to do but go to Bryan house and pee on Jeff bed while jeff not around. Also, lick Jeff toothbrush to show how much we love Jeff. Many time I run in circle and then poop. Hurray! me will have treat and lay down. Mel not expecting so many question in first day.
Jamie asks:

Dear Melbotis,

If you were a superhero, what would your super powers be? Also, what are your secrets for keeping that striking figure of yours?


Mel not know why you send e-mail when I on tile while you sit on couch. You are mean for not let me on couch and I hate stupid you for no couch sitting. Stupid cat always on couch and get nice treat, but Mel on stupid tile. If Mel were Superhero mel have amazing power to open gate and go outside. Mel also would punch stupid neighbor dog in head. Stupid neighbor dog would not be so tough then.
Mel also think Jamie being disingenuous with last question and ask how Jamie keep amazing skinny-squirrel-like shape when Jamie not protecting house all day? Mel get only dry food once a day and chase ball. You eat bean dip. Also, mel have ability to rearrange molecules and change solids to liquids or gas.
Randy wirtes:

Dear Mel,

What's Ryan and Jamie Steans really like? Is the irreverant, off-beat humour Ryan presents in his blog merely a front for somethng more sinister? What kind of evil lie in their hearts?

Keep barking!



Me am so glad you kick off Ask Melbotis! question column with serious intellectual challenge! Mel also impressed with inappropriate use of plural/ non-plural in your question. So! What am Ryan and Jamie really like? Ryan is like stinky recliner and Jamie is like big white squirrel with no tail. Hello! Where is the ball? Hello! But to point... am Ryan sinister instead off-beat humor? Where is ball? Hello, ball. Is treat time? Hello! Is man-chair and white squirrel sinister? Possibly. Sometime they go off to outer space and leave me in house or yard until sun come back down and then I bark bark bark bark and birds poop on tree. Good-bye.
Ask Melbotis!!!

hey, kids!

If earning a Melly isn't your bag, and you feel you have more questions than answers, Melbotis is now here to solve your riddles and fill in those troublesome gaps public education was unable to properly caulk up.

Romantic trouble? Difficulties in the workplace? Need help sorting out a thorny legal issue? Melbotis is your dog!

Mel has seen a lot of the world, and he's met a lot of people. And, honestly, he's got a lot of sage wisdom I can't utilize all for myself.

So, if you have a question and you don't mind seeing it printed in these pages with a full answer to your question, why don't you write to Melbotis? He'd love to hear from you and he'd love to expound upon the many, many topics of which he is an expert.

(disclaimer: Melbotis's answers come from the mind of a dog which thinks anything beyond the fence is outer space. Legal advice is for entertainment purposes only.)
In the wake of the Holiday Absoludicrous Media Contest, I have decided that maybe no prize is better than a dumb prize. or maybe not. Anyway, Marvel comics (home of Spider-man, Daredevil, Hulk and Captain America) has long given out the fabled "No Prize." It's essentially a prize for folks who spotted a mistake, could answer some trivia, etc... but they weren't going to win anything for it, just some recognition. Superman comics long handed out the "Baldies" which I assume were named after Lex Luthor's difficulties at the barber shop.

Henceforth, I am handing out "Mellies". To win a "Melly", all you need to do is answer trivia, point out where I'm wrong, or somehow otherwise earn the attention of the League for a few moments.

THe first Melly up for grabs goes to the person who first can tell me what the hell is going on in this photo.
(hint: it's great these guys show up before a crisis, but where are they afterward?)

Monday, January 12, 2004

Oh, we got in our new PC last night. It's kind of exciting. It was also really nice that, since we bought it from Dell instead of building something ourselves, the whole thing was pretty much ready to roll when we opened the box.
In a long list of questionable purchases, most recent was the comedy album by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. It's not that I really regret purchasing the album, it's more that the album makes me feel like I'm in 7th grade, wishing to god Mom doesn't bust in and hear all that filthy talk. This sort of thing used to be reserved for late night viewing of Eddie Murphy specials, Richard Pryor videos and the occasionally unsurfaced Redd Fox record.

We didn't use a lot of profanity in my house. In fact, "sucks" was not considered acceptable until i was in 9th grade. Mom broke the ice one spirng evening when, while on a phone call, I heard her say "I thought she was going to shit a brick." Well, from there the floodgates opened, and the Steans household has slowly become potty mouth central. We don't drop the F-Bomb, and taking the Lord's name in vain is still frowned upon (but will rarely actually illicit a verbal reprimand). But a lot of stuff that didnt fly when i was a tyke is now par for the course.

But of course, like most boys, I'd secretly had a pirate's vocabulary since about 5th grade. The switch flipped on and off at the presence of anyone resembling authority, and I only rarely got called on my vulgarities. In hgh school, somebody made the mistake of telling me "speak with the vulgar, think with the refined," which I took, wrongly, to give me free license to drop the F-bomb as frequently as possible.

And then in my second job in college, we had some modicum of restraint, but cursing wasn't exactly taboo at the Camelot Records. My third job in college might as well have been on a submarine, and the profanity flowed like fine wine. If you weren't emphasizing your point with the F-word, you weren't really trying to make a point. And so it went.

Saddest of all of this is how twisted the language of my beautiful wife has become since when we first teamed up. Now, it's like her super power is never running out of obscenities. It's really pretty funny, as it always is when otherwise very nice people blurt one out, and I've grown to find it endearing instead of just feeling guilty over my bad influence (Jamie insists she was like this before, but I remember a time... I remember a time...).

Things kind of came to a head in college in my screenwriting class. I was asked by several people who were reviewing my script to "please, please try to keep the profanity under control." And I felt a little bad, but not that bad. It was distracting them all from how incoherent the screenplay actually was.

The current job is certainly no place for profanity. In fact, slang of any sort kind of leaves about half the staff looking at you like you just walked off the moon. And that's fine. I reserve the blue talk for the freeway system and parking lots. I've found a well=placed Charlie Brown "Arrgghhhh!" usually gets my point across here in the office.

But Triumph... Triumph has managed to take it to a whole level I haven't been on in a long time, back before I decided being gross wasn't really funny anymore. I really wish I had a little jambox so i could hide on the other side of the bed and listen to the record, turning it off the second anyone walked in the room.

And I think that's kind of genius.

Now if any of you ever saw the hypnotically upsetting "TV Funhouse" which ran on Comedy Central around 2000-2001, you might have a pretty good idea what you'd be in for. I could go on and on about 'TV Funhouse," but the bottom line is that it just wasn't a show for everybody. Or, possibly, for anybody. It doesn't really matter how jaded you THOUGHT you were, because "TV Funhouse" had a little something to upset everyone.

And so it is with Triumph's new album. Anyway, go listen to it if you want to, you sick bastards, but don't say I didn't warn you...

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Greetings, Leaguers.

It appears Superman will continue to fly high for a few more seasons on TV's Smallville and Justice League.
Now, Superman's Kryptonian canine companion, Krypto, is getting his own children's series.
Good news? I think so. Dogs with super powers should be much more prevalent on television. It will also be interesting to see how many folks suddenly realize why my license plate reads "KRYPTO".

I also heard that Alien Legion may be getting a 30 episode animated run. I loved this comic back in middle school, and I've been purchasing some of the recent collections from Checker and Titan press. For anyone who likes kooky aliens and gritty, tough action, you might dig this comic. It's the cat's pajamas. My hopes are high for the animated series.

Packers are out of the play-offs. My football season is unoffically over. I will still watch some of the Superbowl, but most likely I will not be very invested in it.

I am trying to draw to a close the conversation about art and it's value which has been percolating over on JimD's site. At some point you're debating. At some point, you're beating a very dead horse.

At some point I have watched just too many home improvement shows and decided that I, too, was a master carpenter. Growing up I used to help The Old Man out in the garage, and, thusly, already knew a thing or two about how to use power tools when I began building sets in high school drama. Since then my handiwork has been limited to changing lightbulbs and air filters. A few months ago,a fter having watched "While You Were Out" one too many times on TLC, I decided to build some furniture. I have now built a 40" x 40" CD rack, a sort of CD rack/ cell phone and wallet holder, and now I have built a coat rack/ footlocker. Jamie seems pretty pleased. I am a little skeptical of the durability of the coatrack section. Only time and gravity will tell if the coatrack is, in fact, a success.

Randy's lady, Emily, had this insight into blogging. She has allowed me to share.

I try not to read people's blogs because im jealous that i can't do a blog of my own, but i have given in. It's reality TV for the internet. I'm a closet blog reader. I live in shame :(

and that about sums it up.