Saturday, January 29, 2005

So I guess today Iraq had it's first real elections.

Now, Iraq had elections in recent memory, but with Saddam nabbing 99% of the vote, as I recall, one is led to believe the opposition just wasn't really putting their heart into it.

And, despite how you or I or whomever may feel about the road to the election, I'd like to think we can agree that it would be a good deal if this democracy thing will take root in Iraq. It's a wait and see experience at this point, which is sort of leaving me feeling a bit like Lone Star and Barf toward the end of the second act of Spaceballs.

"C'mon, Schwartz..."

You're not sure it's going to work, but you think if you stare at it hard enough, maybe... just maybe MegaMaid will switch from suck to blow.

Anyway, here's to Iraqis learning how to cast a vote. More importantly, here's to Iraqis hopefully not shooting at one another when their candidate of choice doesn't get the job.

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I really, really, really have nothing to write about. But, I know even the Loyalist Leaguer is probably sick of failed contests and me yammering on about how anything DC Comics does is ingenious.


I've decided to come up with a new column I can toss in here when I reach the point at which I have time to post, but nothing to post about. It's not going to be a super hero spot-light. That sort of went over like a lead balloon.


If there's one thing The League is missing, it's lots of violence. Short of that, we're also missing drugs and sex. Since violence isn't really a part of my life, and the only drugs in this house are all on the up-and-up, I must revert to sex.

Unfortunately, Jamie has more or less put a ban on allowing me to discuss our more intimate details, and without a good CAD program, I'm not really sure I could really get my points across here, anyway.

SO... Inspired by supersite, RetroCrush, The League has joyfully lifted somebody else's idea.

It's time to take a peek back at how The League became the man he was. It's time to look back at Dames In the Media Who The League Once Dug.



If I'm going to do this, I might as well start early. And why not with one of my earliest memories?

God knows what armchair psychologists would say about how this personality effected my young mind (we will much more thoroughly discuss this in the Yvonne Craig Column), but first and foremost of chicks I once dug (and continue to dig) is Wonder Woman as portrayed by the lovely Lynda Carter.

Lynda Carter looks radiant in her Wonder Woman get-up.

I don't really remember much from the first airings of the Wonder Woman TV program. Mostly I remember Wonder Woman did a lot of twirling. And what kid doesn't also like to do a lot of twirling? So, you know, I sort of thought maybe Wonder Woman and I had something in common we could talk about.

Why was Wonder Woman so cool?

1) Girlfriend has an Invisible Jet. This means she's a pilot. That's cool. The jet is either magical or has some awesome cloaking technology. That's very cool. And she hasn't chosen some lame mode of transportation that somehow involves a magical horse with wings or a horn. That's doubly cool.

2) Her secret ID? She works for the military. She's a woman in uniform either as Diana Prince or as Wonder Woman. You've got to like that.

3) She's un-selfconscious standing around in a swimsuit that looks like it was designed by the costumers at Six Flags. For this fact alone, Diana Prince should be saluted.

4) She punches people. Look, when you're a four-year-old boy, you're convinced that if you could just punch people correctly, all would be right with the world. Your entire MO for somehow affecting yoru world is to poke and destroy. Wonder Woman slugs a lot of people. Again, at age 4, I thought me and Wonder Woman had a lot we could talk about.

5) Magic Lasso. Charles Moulton Marston who dreamed up Wonder Woman back in the 1940's as a positive role-model for girls and boys was sort of a freak. I really don't have time to get into all of this here, but I suggest you read Les Daniels' Wonder Woman: The Complete History.

6) Steve Trevor. Wonder Woman's love interest was a dude who was a suave military man in his own right, who probably appreciated Diana Prince in her own right, but he REALLY appreciated Wonder Woman. But really, the point is, at least Wonder Woman's love interest wasn't a complete loser.

7) Bullet Proof Bracelets. So, dude is going to shoot at you? And you can't throw down a smoke bomb like Batman or let the bullet bounce off your eye-lid like Superman? You best get yourself some bullet-proof bracelets. And, you'd best know how to use them. (comic trivia: Wonder Woman's bracelets are functional, and also symbolize the wrist shackles the Amazons once wore after being enslaved by Hercules and his thugs.)

Hit me with your best shot. Fire away.

8) Ravor Sharp Tiara. I can't remember if this ever came into play on the show or cartoon, but Wonder Woman used to be able to throw her tiara to cut ropes and whatnot.

9) Can fight crime in clearly uncomfortable boots. Seriously, those things look awfully uncomfortable.

No part of the Wonder Woman ensemble was designed to be comfortable, functional or to leave much to the imagination.

10) Not as crabby as Super Friends Wonder Woman. Look, I love Wonder Woman. She's the best. She's my favorite pantless super hero. But Wonder Woman on the Superfriends was always sort of crabby. She always sounded more like a 2nd Grade teacher trying to get her class inline rather than like a fun super hero. I'll take Lynda Carter's take on the role any day.

Because his powers are only slightly more useful than owning a Pocket Fisherman, Wonder Woman is forced to give Aquaman a ride home once again. Unbeknownst to Wonder Woman, Aquaman is going to awkwardly make a pass at her when she drops him off.

So, there you have it. Dame #1: Wonder Woman by way of Lynda Carter.

I need to pick up that DVD collection at some point...

Jim D. brought Steven G. Harms' enthusiastic review of Rilo Kiley to my attention this morning.

You know, I feel exactly the same way about Waffle Crisp.

This one's for Jim D.
It appears Condoleeza Rice will be the new face of the United States in international politics.

Secretary of State. Condi Rice.

I'm just trying to sit back and let it all sink in.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Something is going down at DC Comics.

1) It seems DC is getting back into the idea of continuity.

For those of you who do not know what continuity is: The way that serial or episodic television programs build on one another as one long story? How what characters learn from episode to episode effects how they will behave in subsequent episodes? How if Character A gets their eye poked out, in the next episode, s/he most likely will not have an eye?

That's continuity.

Comics from both DC and Marvel sort of gave up on continuity a few years ago. The writers stated that they needed the freedom to tell their own stories. There may have been some truth to that, but the writers were hired to do a job. In my opinion, the writers weren't willing to do their homework when they came onto a project and wanted the freedom to do whatever they felt like.

Unfortunately, this had a widespread chilling effect on the comic industry. Intended to bring in new readers, the move drove off long time fans. Despite the fact that a fan may have been loyally reading, say, SpatulaMan, since 1970, if Hot Writer of the Week showed up, he was under no obligation to know anything about the comic he was writing. And Hot Writer usually saw to it that he was in print telling unhappy fans that they were being immature or silly for being confused when major stories from the series were altered or ignored altogether.

2) Continuity on titles is rolling into interconnectivity of titles once more

Back in the bad old days, continuity also meant that if, say Spatula Man got a new hat in his own comic, when he appeared in League of Utensils the next month, there he'd be with his new hat. He might even comment on the new hat. And voila! Instead of one comic book you read, as these comics sort of bumped up against one another, you had this sort of vast tapestry of comics to pick from and see what was going on in different aspects of the same world, all telling different stories.

Recently DC has made a point of ensuring major characters guest in each other's comics and discuss events from multiple titles. (ex: Wonder Woman might show up in Superman comics and mention an event from JLA).

This not only assists in presenting a cohesive single view of events and characters in DC Comics, but it also reminds me of why I sort of thought comics were cool when I was a kid. Michael Chabon referred to the effect as "secret knowledge." Simply by being familiar with the comics, a whole separate ongoing and interesting world was constantly unfolding each month in each issue of each comic. And the ability to keep up with it gained you a unique perspective on teh tapestry as a whole.

It's also a good outlet for my OCD.

3) A Crisis Brewing?

DC has been trying to relive the colossal boom of Crisis on Infinite Earths since 1986. Crisis not only sold phenomenally well as an individual series, but helped sell through a lot of other comics being published.

What this took was a heck of a lot of coordination on the part of the DC staff to make sure all the comics could sensibly tie-in to Crisis.

DC would love to see a pile of comics in 2005, just like they did in 1986.

Hints of a crisis really began back in Superman/Batman #6 when Luthor got stomped by Superman and, in the epilogue, promised "a crisis!"

4) What does it all mean?

It means that not only have a few hints online suggested a new "Crisis" is brewing, but that with increased continuity across multiple comic titles and writers clearly working together, it's a lot of fun reading multiple DC comics right now.

It's not clear yet what the Crisis event is, but there have been hints of it everywhere from Superman/Batman to Teen Titans. Identity Crisis, the huge cross over event of 2004 appears to have been the first act in what the writers have planned.

I welcome folks to check out DC comics to see what's going on these days.

If NOT, I would redirect you to the All-Star titles which should be debuting this summer.

3) DC All-Stars for new and occasional readers

Recognizing that some of their comics have run since 1938, DC isn't pressing new readers to necessarily pick up the past 70 years of comics. They're releasing contained multi-issue stories with familiar story elements folks might expect picking up a DC comic.

I know I've harped on these before, but when they come out in a few months, I'd really encourage folks to pick them up. These'll be fun stories told by the absolute best in the superhero business.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Well, goodness, kids. It's been a while.

Got back a few hours ago from seeing "In Good Company". Not The League's preferred faire, but you know, if you eat bean burritos every day, eventually you're going to get sick of them.

Fairly decent flick, and when it slowed down I spaced and ogled Scarlett Johannsen.

The film tackles a lot of fairly mundane topics from the business world and attempts to bring them into sharp focus. I was feeling sort of squirmy that the story hinges completely on the fact that one of the central characters is a 26 year old who had risen to a seemingly unearned position of authority.

A few years ago when I started in my job, I suspect I may have been viewed with some of the same contempt by some who suspected my age. Luckily, I have the unfortunate issue of looking older than I actually am, and was able to sort of fly under the radar.

In the completely non cut-throat world of university staff, things like degrees earned and seniority are weighed with an amazing amount of import. So, I learned quickly to keep my non-Master's having mouth closed, and my non-30+ self safely age-agnostic. Occasionally it will come out that, yes, I am 29 (all too soon to be 30), and that, yes, I have no Master's degree (as if somehow I did something wrong by not obtaining a Masters). These are mini-powder kegs in the university environment, and it's best not to try to come across as a hot shot, or the weird lady from the registrar's office will come down on you like a ton of bricks when she decides you're getting too big for your britches.

Speaking of University work, I have been very busy with the projects I'm responsible for. I seriously clocked hours in the triple digits last week, and this week ran a little long as well. It's the first week of the semester, and that always means a circus in higher education.

I'm not really sure what the point of all of this is, except that I am, in fact, sort of back.

I think I probably missed some good stuff while I was out. I saw Bush got inaugurated, and that his flashing the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign was thought to be a sign of El Diablo in parts on Scandinavia and beyond. I actually would LOVE to find out some guy we elected twice was, in fact, in league with dark forces. It would at least make me understand a little bit more about how our world functions.

Saturday Night Live chose to jump on the "Hook 'Em Horns" thing with a skit involving Amy Poehler as Jenna Bush continually flashing the "Hook 'Em Horns". And then, in a sort of weird bit, the skit sort of made fun of UT in comparison to Yale, playing it off as a hick school. Which not only wasn't funny, but reminds me of why conservatives can't stand the mythic East Coast Liberals. Whether true or not, in their eyes, any and all things associated with Texas will forever be those of the unwashed and the crassness of the nouveau riche. So, you know, their University must be full of troglodytes who can barely wipe themselves.

Outside of Texas, you begin to realize, sure, folks from the East think all Texans are sort of mildly brain damaged, arrogant bastards. But folks from Arizona believe it, too. And, unfortunately, Texans all too infrequently are able to give anyone any reason than to think that maybe it is a state run by yokels and red necks.

I do get tired of the knowing nods and shit-eating smirks when I am asked where I came from before Arizona. You do spend a lot of time saying "Well, not everybody is like that."
"But it is like that," folks counter with.
"Yeah, well," I say, rubbing my eyes. "There's usually a grain of truth to most of what you suspect."

I think people, at least people in Arizona, have a sort of hard time understanding what a vast state Texas is, and how the geographic regions are, in fact, quite different culturally.

"I always thought everyone from Texas was a racist," a co-worker asked me. That's how she put it: I thought everyone from Texas was a racist.
"Isn't that where they dragged the guy behind the truck?"
But you're not going to go down to Houston and find that happening. Or Dallas, or Midland. It was butt-assed nowhere Texas, in atown nobody had ever even heard of until some drunk bastards decided that night was the night to show that thousands of years of civilization means nothing when you think nobody is going to catch you. But it's Texas. And try and tell anyone that Vidor is not San Antonio, and you're wasting your breath.

"You've been to Waco?" folks ask me.
"Yeah," I say. "And no, I never saw any Davidians. Just Baptists."
"That was weird. What did they do with the site?"
"First of all, it's not actually in Waco. It's outside of town. Waco is a little weird, but the Davidians were not in Waco. And I think some extreme libertarians bought the land and they're rebuilding the compound on it."
This is always met with blank stares.
"Texas," I assure them, "Is a weird place to live."

You do not hear about people in Maine having problems with 51 day cult stand-offs. You do not have a show called "Cleveland" about people sporting fake Ohio accents and dressing in cartoonish Ohioan outfits that still runs overseas. New York State is never confused with New York City. Possibly California and New Jersey carry some of the same weight each time they declare their statehood. And when I state I am from Texas, people (and I mean maybe 30% of the time) think it's okay to say "I'm sorry!" and then laugh about it. Like, you know, you KNOW you should be ashamed, right?

Right. Because here in Arizona you have so much more to live for.