Friday, April 14, 2006

Odds and Ends

So, despite what the cover of Newsweek would have you believe, nobody gives a shit either about Katie Couric moving to CBS news or, possibly, the CBS evening news. (Who the hell is home in time to see the national news?)

Don't believe me? Gallup says:

Only about 1 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to watch the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in the anchor seat, and roughly the same percentage say they are less likely to watch, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. Despite Couric's presumed power to produce high ratings, only 6% of Americans say they will be less likely to watch the Today show when Couric's replacement, Meredith Vieira, steps in. Seven percent say they will be more likely to watch.

Apparently most people don't care who Meredith whats-her-name is, either. I will say my mother has said how happy she is Katie's got herself a new job, but in 31 years I've never seen her watch the evening news, so I doubt we'll see the KareBear start now. I could be wrong. I could be wrong.

SGH has pitched some sort of League-a-Palooza here in Chandler, AZ. Look, I've spent three years in these pages both complaining about this place and trying to escape. Why... WHY would you people want to come here? I guarantee you, two seconds after arriving here you would have a moment of clarity and start looking for a way to change your departure day and time.

1) Today it was 95 degrees. This is as nice as it will be until October 31st.
2) There is nothing to do in Chandler.
3) My comic collection loses it's novelty in about twenty minutes.
4) I'm terrified RHPT may come and discover my entire room dedicated to pictures I've taken of him through his blinds in various states of undress
5) Jamie has a terrible beef-jerky like smell
6) I've secretly been living in Atlanta this entire time

Anyway, you guys are nice to try to come to my aid and amuse me. But let's hold off until the weather is not going to burn out your eye-balls before we entertain any notions of coming to the desert.

Plus, I might be going to ACL Fest, depending on what I can work out. (Radiohead, Jim. Radiohead.)

Uh, what else...?

I watched both episodes of South Park's "Cartoon Wars." Check them out if you have a chance.

I'm trying to figure out where I can get a pair of roller skates. (skates, not "blades"). I've decided that Chandler is completely flat, which means I would NEVER be skating uphill, which means, in a way, Chandler is a perfect roller rink.

Oh, and what's this? My old pal from college, Richard, is getting hitched up to his longtime girlfriend, Laura. Richard isn't really a Leaguer, and, in fact, I haven't heard from Richard in, like, forever. But it sounds like I may be invited to the wedding in late October. I hope Richard is planning on a "Halloween Costume" themed wedding, because I have all kinds of ideas. If Shannon has any info on this, it would be much appreciated.

Anyhoo, it's late and I don't have much for you guys today.

I'll be dipping into the Melbotis Mailbag this weekend. Stop on by!

Oh, and Happy Easter, Leaguers. Whether you're doing the church thing, the secular thing, or taking advantage of the Easter tradition and getting some time off, enjoy.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

In the News:

I don't know what was up today, but here are some interesting bits:

-CNN actual headline: Star wears red shirt, no pants to Walk of Fame ceremony

-Apparently a giant rabbit is prowling the British country-side in a manner eerily similar ot "Curse of the Were-Rabbit"

-Those wacky Iranians have figured out how to make enriched uranium. But Condi will not let this stand. I'm not sure what part of the UN charter say the US gets to tell everybody else what to do, but I also understand why this might make the US a bit nervous.
I'm going to break this down for you not following the news:
1) 1970's, a bunch of Iranians kick out the Shah and go all fundamentalist kooky
2) Crazy Iranians take US citizens hostage
3) League, aged 5, vaguely remembers hostages being freed
4) US and Iran do not get along
5) Ayatollah Khomeni hires the Joker (fresh off killing Jason Todd) to become Iran's ambassador to the UN. Joker given complete diplomatic immunity by lousy UN charter. Superman and Batman team-up and foil the Joker's plot to use his lethal "Joker Gas" on the UN General Assembly. Jim Aparo's pencils rock in this issue.
6) US invades Iraq. Threatens anyone looking funny at US in the region with a "who want's some?" sort of squinty-eyed Eastwoody thing. US does much chest punding and making of "Whoooo"ing sound.
7) Many US citizens buy little ribbon magnets for their cars.
8) Iranians feel threatened.
8) Iranians elect fundamentalist who promises he will "take no guff"
9) Former US hostages say, "hey, wasn't that the a@@hole who held us hostage...?"
10) Iran decides to start either petroleum free energy program or world-ending nuclear program, depending on who you wanna believe
11) US says "The only people who can have nukes are us, Russia, a scad of former USSR countries, India, maybe Pakistan, and like four other countries."
12) Iranians point to small article on back of Denny's menu stating they are a sovereign nation and can pretty much do whatever the hell they want, a la the U.S.
13) IAEA feels uncomfortable as friend caught in the middle
14) Condi makes her "angry face"
15) Saber rattling commences
16) Realizing this may go past 5:00, UN Security Coucil orders out for pizza.

There you go.

-In fake news, a sequel is planned for Snakes on a Plane (in someone's imagination).

-Thousands of Phish fans suddenly headed for Alaska before the laws change

That's my news-in-brief.

Thanks to everyone for a swell birthday! It was a good one and certainly one for the record books.

Steanso has gone wayyyyy out of his way to make sure that I do not forget some key moments from my childhood. Go to AoS. (editor's note: The League is known as "Roundball" at AoS)

We'll be back soon, same bat time, same bat channel.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


You are my Superman!
Love, Mrs. League

I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever.
Hey, it's The League's 31st Birthday.

Happy Birthday to me.

I've tried to make it a little tradition to post the lyrics to a song each year on this day.

Waitin' for a Superman
Flaming Lips

Asked you a question
I didn't need you to reply
Is it gettin' heavy?
But they'll realize
Is it gettin' heavy?
Well I thought it was already as heavy
As can be

Is it overwhelming
To use a crane to crush a fly?
It's a good time for Superman
To lift the sun into the sky

'Cause it's gettin' heavy
Well I thought it was already as heavy
As can be

Tell everybody
Waitin' for Superman
That they should try to hold on
Best they can
He hasn't dropped them
Forgot them
Or anything
It's just too heavy for Superman to lift

Is it gettin' heavy?
Well I thought it was already as heavy as can be.

Tell everybody
Waitin' for Superman
That they should try to hold on
Best they can
He hasn't dropped them
Forgot them
Or anything
It's just too heavy for Superman to lift
The League Taste Tests Coca-Cola Blak
(imagine a little dash over the "a" in Blak)

aka: My Coke has an Identity Crisis

Coca-Cola Corp decided some time ago to start playing mad scientist in their R&D division. From this infusion of R&D dinero we've had some interesting concoctions.

Coke with lemon pledge.
Coke with Lime.
Coke Zero.
Booze ready vanilla coke.

I heard Tina Fey say something about Coke with coffee in it on Saturday Night Live. The League loves him some Coke, but we REALLY loves us some coffee. Parched and tired from my journey to AZRD on Saturday night, I was looking for something refreshing yet full of amphetamines to really get me going.

And, By GOD, they had new Coke BlaK (imagine a little line over the "a" in Blak).

What does The Coca-Cola company have to say for their new product? Well, check it out (and dig the loungy music).

Jamie was skeptical, especially given the debacle which was the Jones Soda Holiday Feast, but, folks, we at League HQ must continue to find ways to assist you, the consumer.

I was a bit a'feared, not having Steanso to back me up, so I invited JLA'er and recent widower Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny to assist me in trying out the new beverage. And, as always, Jeff the Cat.

Jeff wisely tries to separate himself from the fun

What of the bouquet?

Apparently I have cat hair all over my shirt, plus some sort of stain I hadn't noticed. I should have worn my white lab coat.

It smells like Coke with coffee in it. Or possibly coffee with Coke in it. Sweet, but bitter. Like when a rabbit goes evil

For some cockamamie reason Jamie believes ice will somehow dilute the test. Well, being a man of science, The League decides to try both ways.

fizzy, but not threateningly fizzy

I decide it looks okay and smells weird. Like there's coffee in my Coke.

bottoms up! The first taste is always the hardest.

Longing for yesteryear...

Huh. The first sip is seriously weird. Lots of carbonation and a very sweet coffee flavor, like cold coffee with too much sugar in it. Not necessarily a bad thing. When I was five I used to sneak drinks of my mom's coffee when she wasn't looking. It tastes like that. At first.


Wait. What the hell is that? Now it tastes like Coke. Sort of. I think I can still taste coffee, but I'm not sure. How can a liquid have more than one flavor? Clearly the makers of this drink are up to some serious mad science. I have no idea what I'm drinking.

I consult with Elongated Man, and he suggests I try some crushed ice before I make a verdict.

Not just embued with stretchy powers, Ralph is also a top notch detective.

At this point I'm not really clear on whether I should be drinking this stuff for breakfast, with a burger, smoking a cigarette to be hip (although I'm thinking a Kool is the sort of cigarette this soda deserves), or if it should be 4:00 AM, I'm delirious and no longer care what I drink. But a little ice can't hurt.



Is it Coke in my coffee?

Or Coffee in my Coke?

Either way, it's... I dunno.

The League, delighted to try out a soda and not wanting to barf. Sometimes it's the little things, Leaguers.

I can't figure out who thought this would be a big seller. It's coffee and Coke. If you're a fan of sweetened cold folgers and you love Coke, man, I may have a product for you. Otherwise, really, I can't imagine ever buying this stuff again. I'll probably finish the 4-pack it came in, but I expect this stuff will disappear faster than Crystal Pepsi.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Melbotis Mailbag

Well, you guys were supposed to get another taste test this evening, but Blogger is being weird and I can't seem to upload those all-too important photos.

So, a little bit early we're going to do something new. You guys sent in some questions and whatnot as part of the 2006 Melbotis Awards. We're going to re-route those e-mails to this new experiment: Melbotis Mailbag.

If you have questions or comments, send them on in. We'll do what we can to answer your every query.

Let's see here.

CrackBass asks: Why does the League obsess about Burger King and/or Jones Soda?

Well, Burger King fascinates me as it is the #2 or #3 fast food franchise, certainly well behind McDonalds, and yet BK seems to have better items on the menu than McD's. Note how every Leaguer had an opnion on what's worth chowing on at the BK, but I am guessing the reaction to a question about McDonald's would have met with disdain.

Plus, BK has a kick-ass mascot.

Not only is McDonald's food not considered to be as good, McDonalds has never had an entertaining commercial in it's storied history. Their mascot isn't even amusing. It's madness.

My fascination with Jones Soda's Holiday Feast? Well, it's soda supposedly flavored like items which were never meant to be had in soda form. How can you not want to at least see what these dudes were thinking? It's a sort of stupid thing to do, turning brussel sprouts into soda. And we at the League are always curious about the intentionally stupid.

All right... what else..

Nathan says: Why does the League obsess about how un-hip Chandler is? Of course it's un-hip, just like most of America! It can't all be Austin, LA, NYC, etc. I used to dog San Antonio all the time, but now it's home, and there's plenty of things I love and hate about the city.

Randy asks: Why does The League obsess about Austin. Stop living in the past, dude.

I felt these two questions were interrelated as they both tie into my dissatisfaction with my current geographic situation.

Why not Chandler, AZ? Well, there's nothing to do in Chandler. That's not to say there's nothing to do in Phoenix or Arizona. There's just nothing to do in Chandler, and, moreover, nobody to do it with.

I don't think that because Chandler is un-hip like the rest of America is a good reason to roll over and accept boredom as my fate. In fact, I think that's a fairly terrible idea. Why on earth would I compromise my idea of an ideal place to live because other people live to go to Target, buy minivans and play golf? I am not bagging on Phoenix (and I well could, but I don't). I'm bagging on Chandler because it's exactly the kind of suburban nightmare I always swore I would avoid winding up living in. I can't reiterate enough: there is absolutely nothing to do here. And nobody to do it with.

We live a forty five minute drive into town, for those of you keeping score at home. It's about thirty minutes just to get to Tempe.

Look, a big night on the town on Chandler is grabbing dinner (nothing wrong with that) and going to a movie. Again, nothing wrong with that. But after four years that wears a little thin. And doing much of anything else usually has significant dollar signs attached. Yeah, we went to rollerderby this weekend (an hour drive, btw), and are going to a Diamondbacks game this weekend (to see Nathan's Astros). Hopefully we can continue to find things to do outside of Chandler.

Four years in and the only people I know out here are my co-workers, and that's a mixing of business and pleasure which really doesn't work out so well. Especially when you have to be "the boss" again on Monday. And the few other folks we've met out here sort of ended up with kids. Sorry, new parents... you will abandon your childless friends. It's true. I think the childless couples are just creepy to the kids, anyway.

We're not completely blameless in the whole ordeal. Jamie and I tend to keep to ourselves sometimes.

On a different note: One big reason we're ofter seeking a return to the Lone Star state is that we're now far enough away from family that Jamie has a support structure of one (moi). I don't know how many of you have folks in your house who could need hospitalization at the drop of a hat, but after a while, you kind-of/sort-of wish that you were a car ride rather than a plane ride away from folks who would be all too happy to assist.

A LOT of people are always telling us to skip town and go see the desert, etc... And to be truthful, that's a little tough for us to do. At least for me. I always hate being more than an hour from Jamie's hospital unless we have parents or a working knowledge of an area (do you know where your ER is? The average wait times?).

So am I being misty-eyed about Austin? Probably. I did live there for most of my life, so I'm biased. And I'm also probably spoiled. I miss having non-chain restaurants to go to. I miss living four miles from work, working with my friends and having an endless array of opportunities every night of the week, all withing ten miles of the house. There's a pretty good reason Austin has the reputation it has, both good and bad.

Chandler does not have:
Any decent record shops
Barton Springs
Alamo Drafthouse (or any independent cinema)
decent touring bands
decent local bands
coffee houses not crawling with seniors
Bar BQ
decent bars
Spam-o-Rama (and dozens of other nonsensical events)
A great comic shop
Any of my terrific friends or family

I don't particularly feel the "hipster" attachment to Austin (I did move there when I was 10, after all). But I do think the lifestyle there in Austin was something I'd become accustomed to.

It's not about living in the past, team (and thanks for putting it in such a classy way, RHPT). It's about how you want to spend the rest of your life. I'm not ready to throw my hands in the air and decide the rest of my life should be reheated leftovers from Chili's and trips to the mall to buy sneakers. That's just not how we'd prefer to wind up here at The League.

Whoops. That wound up a little heavier than I intended the first Melbotis Mailbag to end up. I'm not really sure I completely answered your questions, but I gave it the old League of Melbotis try.

Feel free to send in questions. We'll see what we can do.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


"Who doesn't like Pirates?" asks Jamie.

Yep. We're a little down about the conclusion of the A&E series "Rollergirls" here at League HQ.

However, thanks to the cleverly placed ad spots during the program and The League's ability to utilize Google, we located our local Rollerderby league to see what all this rollerderby we'd been seeing on TV was really like.

For $10.00 a pop, I figured it was better than spending money on "The Benchwarmers" and absolutely killing my Saturday night. That, and instead of bitching endlessly about how there's nothing to do in Chandler, we up and left Chandler for parts unknown.

So, for $23.00 (I got my tickets online ahead of time with a $1.50 service charge), we ventured forth to check out the April 8th bout of the AZ Rollerderby. The bout was between The Bruisers and the Surly Gurlies. Some debate was had ahead of time as to whether we should cheer for one team over another, followed by which team.

Jamie threw in immediately with the Pirate-themed Surly Gurlies before we'd left the house. I refused to take sides until we got to the match, assuming I'd pick a team before the end of the first half. Probably whomever was losing.

We finally located the much-advertised but never-before-seen Castles and Coasters on our way up the freeway, and also noticed a few other locations which had incorporated "Castle" into their name, not the least of which was "Castle Boutique" which welcomed "Lords and Ladies", leading the League to believe that perhaps the "Castle Boutique" was not a stop-off for kiddies on their way to the fun park.

The sports complex which held the derby also had a curious castle theme, although at least two to three miles away from the amusement park. We arrived half an hour early, said "hello" to some lady on skates in a sort of balloon-like costume, and wandered in to a fairly empty builidng. Live-music was provided by a sort of rock-a-billy/surf rock/punk group called (I think) "Grave Danger". The announcer's audio completely sucked, so I'm still not sure of the name of the band, but I am positive it was not "Great Naked", which is what I THOUGHT he said at first. I have decided that when Steanso and The League finally cut their first album, by GOD, that will be the name.

Upon arriving, I also immediately threw in with the Surly Gurlies. Two factors there. a) PIRATES!!! b) the aptly named "Brickhouse".

The arena was not as seen on Rollergirls. (The TXRD was using one of the spaces at Austin Studios/ aka Robert Mueller airport. Which means that the TXRD's "Thunderdome" may have been paid for by the producers of the show in order to make the program easier to produce.) Instead, AZRD uses an ice rink sans ice. Which basically means a flat, open surface with a taped-off track.

You may notice that NASCAR events are NOT on a flat surface, which keeps cars from flinging off the track at each turn. TXRD also has a concave surface in which to skate, which keeps the players on the track and also makes it plenty exciting as the players smack into the rail, etc.. Jamie pointed out that the pit in the center of the track for TXRD seemed a lot larger than AZRD. Could be. I'm not up to speed on regulation size for rollerderby tracks, but there was enough space left over that I would be uncertain as to why they would not utilize more space for the track if they wanted it.

Anyhoo, prior to the match I was a little concerned about how the players would stay on the track. Answer: the AZRD game appeared to be a bit slower than TXRD, and, yes, players did occasionally go zipping right off the track and into the audience. Which was alternately scary and funny. As I mentioned, it was a hockey rink. Jamie and I were firmly behind the glass, watching from some bar-stools.

Prior to the match, watching a dozen players circling the track to warm up had a pleasing fish-bowl effect. When I am a crazy billionaire super-villain, I shall always have a rollerderby track I can peer out onto from my oversized chair and watch rollerderby girls skating in circles.

Apparently the AZRD is also hitched to the hockey scoreboard in the sports complex. Instead of four fifteen minute quarters, we were treated to three twenty minute periods and two lengthy breaks during which "Grave Danger" would rock out and the many alterna-kids would dash outside for a smoke. We were very confused by the hockey-timing of the game and were getting up to go after the second period, but found it odd so few people were leaving.

The place was probably not sold-out, but it WAS fairly full. And there were a lot of kids. I spent part of teh first period talking to some kid named "Josh" who was probably ten and was clearly now a third wheel since his Scottsdale-y looking Mom had married "Paul". Poor Josh and I were trying to puzzle out the intricacies of the game and his mom kept turning around to tell him to "leave (me) alone". Honestly, Josh was figuring things out better than I was, so I was enjoying talking to him. Although I think he was more interested in the mechanics of the game than girls in pirate and nurse outfits on skates. Ah, youth.

Luckily with the cost of a ticket we received a small program explaining the rules. Which really helped, because the mechanics were slightly different at AZRD than what I'd seen of TXR, and while scoring seemed similar, I lost track of the "Jammer" a lot, and couldn't figure out when each "Jam" was ending.

Our pirate ladies got their asses handed to them, although they did come alive in the 3rd period. They suffered some nasty spills, alot more than the Bruisers, and the poor EMT really earned his dough dashing from girl to girl.

All in all, it was a fun night out. The next match is in May, so I'm hoping Jamie will be up to see the Surly Gurlies take on the Bad News Beaters.

One other thing: There was a fairly professional video crew with a multi-camera system set-up. I don't think it was for Season 2 of Rollergirls, but I am wondering if this isn't going to show on our local cable channels 7 or 9.

Apparently these teams are all over the place. You Leaguers should Google to see if there's a team in your neck of the woods.

Here's a page with an QT of some AZRD action. It, uh, loads automatically, so click at your own peril.