Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sounds like it's time to switch to the caesar salad...
A Birthday for Jamie

Hey, everybuddy! Friday is Jamie's big birthday. In order to celebrate, we're shaking the dirt of this one horse town off our sorry hides and we're heading for sunny San Diego, California.

Jamie turns the big three-oh on this particular birthday, and it's a landmark occasion by anybody's measure. Hopefully she will refrain from making me put away my childish things.

She's a special person, she is. And I am very lucky to have her. She is beautiful and funny and smart, and she's as kind and patient as anyone. She gives without asking, and makes my life better.

She puts up with a lot from me and from the world, and she does it all with infinite grace. I never stop learning from her.

She is the world to me, and I hope that I can make a fraction as happy on her birthday as she makes me each day.

Happy birthday, Jamie. I love you.

Needless to say, you'll note that The League is going on hiatus until our return next week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The League Presents: Samantha Maja Cone

Leaguers, last week we brought you the first published account of the shocking new entrant to the human race, Samantha Maja Cone. Just mere hours after her arrival on Planet Earth, Samantha's pa, Nathan, rung me up to tell me all was well with baby and mother.

Now Renata and Samantha are home, and the first pics of Samantha are in.

Samantha contemplates the mysteries of the cosmos. Note, she already has her wrist band for ZZ Top tickets. Rock n' Rollllllllllll!!!!!

Samantha is prepped for travel and/ or sleeping. Jamie wears a similar harness so she doesn't fall out of bed.

Samantha is tuckered out after her big travel day. Ah, to go back to the simple days of her youth, floating suspended in a pod of amniotic fluid...

Nathan and Renata try to guess how much the baby will fetch on the black market.

So congratulations, Cones! You done had a baby! You guys are going to be groovy parents.

Just remember, it's never too late to change her legal name to "Dr. Octopus."

Monday, March 21, 2005

The League presents: Suggestions for Further Reading

For all the comics-related broo-ha-ha which goes on here at The League, all too infrequently do I feel I really point potential readers to comics which they may enjoy.

Now, keep in mind, literally hundreds of comics are published every month, so this is not some exhaustive, definitive list of worthwhile comics. This list is meant to be a sort of suggestion box for folks who might pop their head into the local comic shop and find the sensory overload a bit frightening.

This being the first column on this topic, I want to cover a few things in case you are new to comics and you want to take a look inside your local comic shop. Next time we'll move on to actual comics The League would suggest for further reading.

Tips for the new comics consumer:

1) Tell the guy behind the counter that you don't know anything about comics, but you're curious. Come prepared to tell him what TV shows and movies you like. This is helpful as many, many comics are not about superheroes. Some are funny, some are soap operas. Some are historical fiction.

2) Do not feel obligated to buy a comic just because the counter guy put it in your hand. If it appears to be too violent or too sexy or whatever, it probably is. You CAN try telling them "that's a bit more (violent, sexy, etc...) than what I had in mind."

If the comic shop guy can't adjust his/her mindset to point you toward something you're more comfortable with, s/he's a bum and should go out of business. Go ahead, browse for a minute and then leave.

3) Manga is not a genre. Manga just suggests a comic came from Asia and will have a few cultural shorthand things in common (big eyes on some characters, an alarming number of girls dressed as nurses and school girls). There are all kinds of Manga, so don't go in expecting all ninjas or G-Force or giant robots. There is also something called hentai. Do not touch.

4) If you are a girl, do not make eye-contact with the boys shopping in the store. The comic nerds are already afraid of you and may do something rash if they feel threatened.

If a comic nerd not affiliated with the store attempts to talk to you, answer him politely and avoid eye-contact. Actually addressing him will lead him to believe he has found his soulmate, and you just got yourself a stalker.

5) For the love of Mike, if you find something you decide is so goofy you want to make a scene, don't. Do not make a big show out of making fun of the goofy item. a) you may be completely misunderstanding some insidery comic-book joke, or b) you may have just broken the heart of the comic nerd who was standing behind you waiting for you to move so he could grab his copy of "Underage Radioactive Samurai Salamanders". This guy may have devoted his entire life to collecting "Underage Radioactive Samurai Salamanders", and you've just ruined the one thing which was making this guy's life bearable. He's 55 and lives with his mother. For God's sake, be kind.

6) Yes, they all wear tights and have huge pectoral muscles.

7) Yes, the girls are all drawn in very little clothing. The unrealistic proportions are not meant to make you feel bad about yourself.

If you must, you can feel secure in the knowledge that the artist's closest contact with real women is the checkout girl at Blockbuster.

8) No, you cannot actually do that in real life. We already know that it is unlikely that Batman could actually, physically, ever take that pose or survive jumping off of roofs.

9) Yes, the crappy looking black and white comics are drawn by pale, pimply looking guys who have girlfriends who look just like them. It is exactly as you suspect.

10) Yes, there are really THAT MANY Batman books on the shelf. And, yes, surprisingly, that many Archie comics. I don't know who reads them, either.

11) Prepare yourself for bizarre debates which may sound as if they are taking place in the psycho ward at county hospital. There may be some boring conversation about writers and artists, but be prepared for lengthy discussions on Batman's ears, the identity of the BEST Green Lantern, and who is stronger, Thor or (insert super-strong super hero here). These conversations will go on for far too long. And get really weird. And Superman is stronger than Thor. End of story.

12) The comic shop will also carry lots of extras, such as toys, posters and role-playing game materials. There are also trading card games and a game called "Hero Clix." Do not, under any circumstances, allow anyone to engage you in a discussion on "Hero Clix", "Vs." or "Magic: The Gathering."

If this occurs, feign ignorance of the english language.

13) If you are looking for comics for small kids, make sure you immediately tell the shop keep that you are looking for a children's comics. Tell him/her how old the child is, and await further instructions. Do not assume because something looks cute, it is innocent. Sometime I will have Jamie discuss "Fancy Froglin and the Sexy Forest".

14) It is, in fact, true that Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns are the greatest superhero comics ever written. If anyone disagrees with this statement in the comic shop, you can punch them in the gut, because they're a filthy liar. No, Deadpool is not better than either of them. The guy who just told you that is an idiot.

15) If you're artsy, go in to the store, request Craig Thompson's "Blankets" or something by Daniel Clowes. You'll be happier and feel really arty.

16) If you hate your own life, request the work of Chris Ware. You'll get a really interesting comic and you will have your worst fears confirmed.

17) Comics are not like books. It may take a short while to adapt to the visual language of comics, especially as you jump from artist to artist and genre to genre.

So that's it. That's my tips for going to the comic shop. Next time I'll actually come back and suggest some comics for further reading.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Fake animals on the TV!!!

I'm watching a kick-ass fake documentary on Animal Planet about dragons.

Tolkein aside, I haven't been much of a swords, sorcerers and dragons sort of guy in many years. (What ever happened to you Zack the Elf? You were the best D&D character ever...!) But this show rocks.

Anyway, if this replays, you have to check it out.

It is far superior to the movie I watched last week on cable.

I guess this Dragon program is kicking off a week of specials on mythological and imaginary creatures called "Animal X."

You can see the listings for this week and choose which epsidoes you want to watch. I, myself, will be tuning in for the episode on Thursday night which may or may not feature footage of my brother.

From my program listings:

Bigfoot: Investigator might have discovered evidence that Bigfoot is alive and well in Texas.
Dear Melbotis

Jamie writes:

Dear Melbotis,

It's been a while since we've heard from you. Are you still answering questions? What's your take on new puppy Lucy? How has her presence changed your life? How has it changed Jeff the Cat's?

Dear Jamie,

Melbotis agree that it been long time since Mel say much. Ever since Mel get e-mail, Mel have many, many e-mails. Mel keep getting e-mail from many bank asking for information for verification and Mel keep having to send and send and send. Won't bank keep Mel information written down on sticky paper?

Also, Mel send off for pills to make Mel a "man." Mel looking forward to being man and yelling at other dogs. "Sit down, doggy! Go outside, doggy!" Mel will play trick when Mel is man and Mel will go into garbage can all he want and nobody stop him.

This is what Mel think he look like when he is man.

(Mel not sure if this accurate, but Mel hear this man maybe have no testicles either)

Mel will answer many questions when Mel get them, but sometime Mel get question and he forget despite Mel having best of intentions.

Thank you, Jamie for reminding Mel every ten minutes of e-mail.

You ask about little black dog who show up. Little black dog kind of scare Mel, then Mel remember he is huge and show little black dog who boss is. So Mel pretend to eat little black dog, and when that not work, Mel actually try to eat little black dog. Little black dog is much better now.

In some way, little black dog is happy addition to backyard. Mel spend many, many afternoon in backyard with nothing to do except protect house from stupid neighbor dog. And while laying in sunshine and occasionally barking at other doggies has it plusses, sometimes Mel will get bored and sleep for, oh.... ten hour straight. Mel suppose this not real good for Mel's weight (which Stupid Man always say is, "Just fine, my man. We'll be fat together.")

Anyway, little black dog say to me, "Hey, doggy! Hey, doggy! Hey, doggy!"
And Mel say, "What?"
And she say, "What?"
And Mel say, "You say 'Hey, doggy!'"
And little black doggy say, "What?"
And Mel say, "What?"
And then little black doggy go off and chew on a rock.

Sometime she chew on Mel's ear, and Mel have to pin Lucy, but all in all, Mel like little black doggy and hope he not have to eat her.

Before answering mail, Mel went to cat and said, "hey, Cat! What about little black dog?"
And Jeff say, "-the temperature at 5:00 shall be 72 degrees with winds out of the southwest."
And Mel say, "No, little black doggy."
And Jeff say, "Your classic rock station with all the hits! Rockin' 98.5 FM!!!!"
So Mel not sure. But sometime Jeff throw up now after little black doggy tries to say "Hello."

Mel hope all Leaguers having good day. Mel happy to be back at glowy pizza box thing.