Saturday, May 28, 2005

It's a weekend at home with the kids!

Lucy sees a bug.

Lucy trots about.

Riiiiiiissse, Darth Botis.

Jamie gets Mel ready. He's off to see Star Wars Episode III for the eighth time this week.

The League and Mel take in some sun.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Something for the weekend, courtesy of Doug. investigates comic book character fashion faux pas.

Click here to read.
Hey, kids.... hot tip from your ol' Uncle Ry.

We here at The League know that with the increase in wearable technology that social norms are changing on a month-by-month basis. When we see a person walking down the street talking to themself in a loud voice, seemingly to an invisible person, we no longer assume that the person is crazy. We give them the benefit of the doubt that mayhaps that person is merely on their tiny earpiece to their cell-phone and assume that the person in question is a total jack-ass who doesn't mind loudly sharing his conversations with everyone in a square-block.


What is STILL not okay is to use the office-floor bathroom, enter a stall, do your business and simultaneously call your parents to wish them a happy anniversary.

1) You should really plan a more special time of day to call your folks to wish them a happy anniversary
2) I don't need to hear your conversation echoing around the bathroom when I am trying to focus
3) I don't need to participate in the symphony of sounds echoing around the bathroom and ending up on a phone hundreds of miles away when I go to flush

Leaguers... be careful how and when you decide to use your portable phones. The League was caught by surprise this time, but next time this gentleman decides the bathroom is a good place to make a call, we're adding a lot of sounds to our usual bathroom routine.
Some movies which don't take place on Earth or have Earth-people in them which were developed post-Star Wars.

Items like Lord of the Rings and Conan don't count as the material was originally conceived before 1977. Items like Flash Gordon or FarScape don't count as the main character is an earth-people. Movies liek DragonSlayer are suspect as they don't exactly say they DON'T take place on Earth. But submit them and the jury can hash them out.

Here's my very short list:

Dark Crystal

Come on. Anyone sending in submissions will get an official "Mellie Award".

Bravo is running a series of three specials, each an hour long, "counting down" the top 20 super heroes, vixens and villains.

In order to make the show tie into movie stars and whatnot, they seem to have limited their selection to characters who have managed to appear in TV or movies.

They've also got three non-superheroes in their top 7 super heroes.

And Austin Powers is, for some reason, on the list.

Now, I'm not saying that you need a cape or a mask to be a super hero, but the selection seemed to ask that "the character is working for a good greater than him/ herself and have a costume." Which might include Rumsfeld during the Tech-vest days.

I'm going to go ahead and ruin it for all of you and say Superman doesn't win.

The show just has that same sort of vibe of "well, we want to do a show with lots of clips, but they really don't have that mnay different superhero movies, so... Okay. Austin Powers is a superhero, right?"

I don't know. I don't care that much.

But, because it's late, I didn't post yesterday, and I think bravo knows about as much about superheroes as McDonald's knows about healthy dining, I shall put it to you Loyal Leaguers.

Who are your three favorite superheroes? And, if you have time... why DO you have such a huge Aquaman collection?

Hawkman and Atom are easily distracted.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


RIP, Thurl Ravenscroft.

Mr. Ravenscroft was the voice of Tony the Tiger from the early 1950's, the voice behind the tune "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and numerous other voices from TV, radio and elsewhere.

NPR ran a story last night on Mr. Ravenscroft's passing. Apparently he also was one of the voices singing on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disneyland.

You can learn more about Mr. Ravenscroft here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Spurs win, Suns do not.

Hard fought game, and I think it's fair to say that the Spurs are as good as they've ever been in any incarnation. I'm finally learning to appreciate this Mohammad guy and Barry.

I do think Horry took a flop that resulted in Stoudemire's unwarranted foul, but Spurs were playing so well, they would have bagged this one, anyway.

Not much going on with us here at League HQ.

We realized recently that we'd fallen into a vicious circle in regards to raising Lucy to be a good little dog. We'd leave her outside all day while we were gone, letting her in only to eat and sleep. Then we'd go out and play with her, and try to do some training outside.

This meant that each time we let her into the house, she thought that it was time to eat. And if she didn't eat, she would just run in circles and tear the place up. This, of course, would get her booted back outside. We'd go outside again to play with her, but it was never for enough time.

Realizing we sort of had a wild dog living in our house, we've now been letting Lucy just tear the place up. It does help that she's older now and does seem to at least try to understand what's going on. She's got a long way to go, but I think with a bit of patience, in a few months time she'll be used to being inside for longer durations.

Will she ever quit chasing Jeff the Cat? Only time will tell.

Mel, on the other hand, both loves and is annoyed by Lucy. She tends to hop on him quite a bit, pull on his ears and just sit and bark at him from time to time. And sometimes he seems to really just want some quiet time away from her. Other times he looks positively amused with her. So, you know, it's a family.

Summer is on in Phoenix. We went from below average temperatures all spring to 110 in just a few weeks. I've heard Texas is already cooking, too. So good luck to all of ya'll. Keep an emergency case of Shiner nearby at all times.

I'm watching The Chronicles of RIddick out of the corner of my eye. It's not just Uncle George who likes to write silly space movies.

And what was once the DC Comics homepage has undergone a minor hop in what I think is probably the right direction. My guess is what you'll see there now is just a place holder for things to come.

It's now quite clear that the company is trying very hard to diversify it's audience, and step away from only being a company publishing comics in the world of Superman.

Last month, however, DC stepped away from what should have been a profitable venture into republishing European comics from Humanoids. I assume the partnership was dissolved due to low sales, but haven't heard anything definite. But if it WAS due to low sales, as always, The League has an opinion.

Too much of a good thing.

For years and years and years, Americans have heard how European comics are infintely superior to American comics in structure, writing and art. This is all subjective, but European comics do tend to be handled with an eye toward an adult audience. Unlike American comics where this usually means they've drawn naked ladies (which I assure you, they do in European comics), the content seems to require a greater sense of maturity than, say, Spawn.

I checked out the famous Metabarons series, Technopriests and a few others.

But here's the problem.

I actually LIKE the comics I'm reading already. They're fun. And I already spend probably an unreasoanable amount of money keeping my comic habit going. So when even something really nice looking comes out, I MIGHT check it out. BUT, keep in mind, now that comics are a direct sales item, they're pretty much printed to order.

Each month, as a loyal comic fan, I check a guide to see what I might want which is coming out in three months. I have to then tell my shopkeep what I'll want, and he places the order. So, essentially, I'm buying items without ever getting to hold them in my hand first.

Now, if I'm following a character, or writer, or artist I like, I can KNOW there's a good chance I'll like what I've ordered when it arrives. But my shop keep can't afford to way over order items he has no idea he can sell. So, consequently, my shopkeep might not order any of the Humanoids comics at all if nobody in the shop has been talking about them.

And knowing the crowd in my shop, believe me, they aren't talking about European comics. It's Wolverine or nothing.

So what does DC do?

They flood the market with these things.

They start releasing five or six of these things a month. That's over a hundred bucks a month in material they're suggesting I pick up on top of what I'm already picking up. Now, I'd probably only pick up maybe one or two a month, maybe. But that still adds up over a while.

So if it appears that these comics are only selling a few at a time, well, DC is going to think that nobody wants to even check the comics out. Which isn't and wasn't true.

I would have loved to have always had the option to pick up one or two of these books each month. But I was never going to buy all of them at once, and if they're printing to order... when, exactly, am I going to be able to pick them up?

Anyway, so long DC/ Humanoids relationship. I thought Metabarons was okay.

Yeah, who hired these assholes anyway?

Monday, May 23, 2005


This is a little tangential, but follow me here...

Here's a knock-off Darth Vader Doll known as "Galaxy Cop".

In order to bring greater value to Galaxy Cop, the makers have provided a real head under the helmet.

And this is not intentional, and maybe it's my own Rorschach test, but I think it looks suspiciously like Bill Frist. He just looks so HAPPY under that helmet.
Today, Jason said:

I think that the biggest question to come out of the whole Star Wars phenomenon is why can't there be more movies that truly engage the imagination of the audience and still pull off an interesting storyline with characters that we appreciate and care about? The crappy thing is how few movies there have been SINCE Star Wars that have managed to deliver a sensation of unfettered imagination and fantasy without immediately seeming silly. Star Wars reminded us that sci-fi and fantasy need not just be stories for children- they can also be the stuff of modern mythology.

Is Jason just smoking crack, or does Jason have something here?

This evening's post is meant to challenge you, the reader, to mention and debate Jason's point.

Is Star Wars the only film or film series to have created a viable reality outside of our own?

I'll go ahead and short circuit The Matrix film series and try to point out what I think Jason means. The Matrix is supposed to take place after Skynet finally defeats humanity. On Earth. At some point. But it doesn't provide us with an entirely new world. In fact, it REQUIRES our world as a reference point when the heroes enter The Matrix and do Kung-Fu and whatnot.

Okay, Leaguers... debate.

Chewbacca's Day at Glamour Shots

As noted last week Jennifer D. and Reed T. Shaw have been visited by Senor Stork and Meredith Cynthia is now an honorary member of Mono-Music.

Reed, Jen and QuickDraw have a bonding moment.

QuickDraw gives a wry smile. She has Daddy's keys, and tonight, she RIDES!!!!

QuickDraw cackles in delight, imagining her future life as a tiny bandita in the deserts of Old Mexico!

Tired out from a day of imaginary ransacking, QuickDraw takes a siesta with Jen. Jen looks forward to getting back to her life of actual ransacking.
Yes. Oh, yes.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The League Faces the End of the Star Wars Saga

My earliest memories are of abject terror.

1) Stepping on a bee outside our apartment and getting stung on teh sole of my foot.
2) Realizing that going headfirst down our apartment stairwell was not a grand idea
3) Wanting to crawl under my seat and die when the Tuskan Raider popped up over the ledge and shook his gaffi stick at Luke.

As a wee child of two or so, The Admiral (then just the Lieutenant-Commander) took my brother and myself to see Star Wars. He'd already seen it with my mom and some friends. On a lazy Saturday he took my brother and myself to go see what, for him, was a WWII fighter pilot movie in space.

In our house in Canton, MI, I can recall assembling Jason's Death Star toy and opening the bridge so I could swing Luke and Leia across, blissfully ignorant that the scene was stolen from a Ray Harryhausen creature-feature.

My mother saw to it that, though we didn't have a boatload of money, her kids had some cool Star Wars toys, Star Wars bedspreads and Star Wars wallpaper.

We saw Empire Strikes Back in Dallas, and my mind fizzled as AT-ATs walked across a barren snowscape. I was terrified of the Wampa, and a little disgusted at Han for sticking his friend in the corpse of a TanTan. Yoda spooked me a little bit, and like everyone else, I was amazed at what really lay behind the silly facade. And Vader, that bastard, could NOT be Luke's father. He was a liar.

Hours were lost after school trying to decide what it would mean if Vader WAS Luke's father. Hours were lost discussing the tactical advatange of having your gunner facing backward in your Snowspeeder. Even more time was lost trying to figure out what would become of smuggler who was put on ice for the amusement of an interstellar gangster we'd only heard whispers about.

Jedi was released, and we all went nuts. The creatures were even crazier in this outing. The Empire was seemingly defeated. Ewoks had saved the day. Vader was dead, but he had reconciled with his son, and somehow that made it okay.

Two things in particular stuck out to me upon my first viewing. 1) I liked this Admiral Ackbar guy. I liked his style. 2) Princess Leia in a metal bikini. Sure, I was in maybe third grade, but for some reason it seemed like a good idea.

All was resolved with Jedi. No more stories to tell.

I went to bed under Star Wars comforters for another year or two. My floor was covered in Star Wars action figures and assorted toys for about the same duration.

We all know that reaction to Episode I and II was, shall we say, mixed. But even then, my jaw hung as each new ship crossed the screen, as each new alien wandered from screen right to left. As each new world unveiled itself, alive and well, and not possibly just something plucked from some human imagination.

And, today Jamie and I caught the 5:05 showing of Revenge of the Sith.

Even before leaving, I felt as if I was jumping in the car to head off for a wedding.
"How do you figure?" Jamie asked as I noted the odd sense of uneasy anticipation I had in my gut.
"I don't know. It's like, when we come back, something is going to have ended or changed forever."
And I was right. It's over now. No more Star Wars movies from Uncle George. Not that I know of, anyway.
A lot of folks are going to draw a wry smile and say, "Good. These three sucked." And I'm not going to dispute that. The quality of the movies is almost neither here nor there. The point is, it's over.

Sure, Uncle George has stated that he'll allow some TV shows to be produced, or maybe some cartoons or something. But the feature films are over with. Everything now will be others riding on George's coattails, making a buck and, at best, hoping to catch some of the fire that he brought to our imaginations a lifetime ago.

They run these silly documentaries on basic cable on Star Wars almost non-stop. In each of them, it strikes me as odd to hear someone say, "Well, I thought Chewbacca was a crazy idea. A seven foot ape who doesn't talk?"

I grew up with Chewbacca. He's as familiar as peanut butter. He's like a friend from summer camp you haven't seen in years, but you feel like you can still speak knowledgably about him. He wears a bandolier and carries a bow-caster. He's an exceptional mechanic and pilot and doesn't care much for droids.

And all my life I grew up knowing what a Jedi was, and knowing that making the Kessel Run in under 9 Parsecs is really, really good time. And that Droids aren't allowed in bars. And that The Force will be with you. Always.

I can't imagine not having Star Wars in my life, no matter how much I bitch and complain. And I'll always be greatful to Uncle George for giving me a world to grow up in when I was too tired and bored of my own tiny little world.

It's over now, and whether or not I loved the new movie, it doesn't really matter. We all knew where this was headed, and part of me is glad to know that Uncle George wants to leave us standing on our heads so badly, we're going to all have to reach back into ourselves some 20-odd years and remember that it did all wind up okay. And what an odd way to end it all, on a dark and bitter note with the knowledge in hand that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

So long, Star Wars.

The Force Will Be With You.


I just want to be clear, before the game ends...

I don't care who wins the Western Conference. These are my two favorite teams. This is better than the Finals for The League.