Thursday, August 17, 2006

Idle Speculation

I am not a detective. I don't have any clues other than what's on CNN. But does the whole thing with this Karr guy getting picked up in Thailand for the death of JonBenet Ramsey not just feel... off?

Like most folks, back in 1996 I assumed that JonBenet's death had been at the hands of a family member. A few years ago I was watching a news magazine program or true-crime show (thought I think it was Dateline or 48 Hours) and they brought on a retired federal agent who had gone into business as a consultant and had eventually been hired by the Ramseys. Since watching that guy, who always seemed a lot more credible than the Sherriff's Dept. of Boulder, CO, I've more or less believed that the Ramseys didn't committ any crime. Or else they went way out of their way to leave evidence pointing to someone else and the Boulder cops didn't pick up on it.

Anyhoo, I'm willing to put money down that this Karr guy may have committed many crimes in his life, but that he was not in Colorado on the night of JonBenet Ramsey's death. That said, it would be nice to see the actual perpetrator brought to trial.


Well, Leaguers, you've probably noticed a sad lack of reviews around here, but you guys also haven't really been clamoring to find out what's going on with the All New Atom or anything, so until I'm in a state of mind to jump into reviews, etc... once more, you will have to go without.

If I had to make some suggestions:

The new Checkmate series by Greg Rucka is written so well it makes my head hurt. It's rife with the frustating political tango/ espionage sort of stories that makes you want to pull your hair out, but you suspect is a lot closer to how the real world works than you want to spend the energy thinking about. Well characterized, mature stories, nice art and, hey... it's got Mr. Terrific! The League loves Mr. Terrific.

All-Star Superman continues to be very good. I'm eagerly anticipating issue #5.

The first issues of the post OYL core Batman titles are uniformly good. The new editorial team has already pulled Batman out of the endless cycle of being a jerk to everyone around him.

You Say Goodbye, I Say Wha-?

So, I was supposed to end my job on August 25th, but I pushed the date back to September 8th. My co-workers had already planned a goodbye party for me, so on Wednesday I had a pretty elaborate good-bye party.

We had a nice ice cream cake and apparently everyone was given a dollar limit and told to go buy me a Superman themed gift. So, consequently I am now the proud owner of the Superman Returns Heat Vision Scope, a Superman basketball and severla other Super items. Plus a red towel with a super-logo taped to the back. I tacked that to the wall, cape style. It looks sharp.

As I'm not gone yet, it was a bit like attending your own funeral. At UT I went to the party, said my good-bye's, went back to my office, checked my e-mail and left. Here I have to start a new semester and continue through what is our busiest time of the year for the next few weeks.

Anyhow, it's nice to know the people you work with can at least fake liking you. I was both genuinely surprised and moved. I sort of expected a happy hour and that would be that.
What Up With The League?

DC Direct... it is as if you can read my mind (such as it is).

Can a Helen Slater Supergirl statue be far behind? Well, probably, yes. But I'm betting 2008 gets us a Christopher Reeve Superman.

Whoo-Hoo! Wonder Woman. My first and oldest crush.

Today has been sort of crazy. Again. We agreed to an offer on our house. So... now we have to have the house inspected, have something called an LSR approved, and then wait for some interminable amount of time for full loan approval for Ryan of Earth-3.

We've got a few days before we can move from "active-with contingency" to "pending". The whole pending thing is key, because it means that realtors are far, far less likely to keep showing League HQ to the public. Which means we can live in our house again and breathe.

But it also means we can start thinking about a house in Austin. Hopefully the future League HQ we'd picked out will still be available. Otherwise, we gotta head back to town and start looking again. Bleh.

Honestly, I totally DO NOT understand the house buying/ selling thing. You can't buy a different house until you sell your own house. So, what I don't get is that, if all goes well, we're supposed to close on the 15th. Which means that, in theory Ryan of Earth-3 could move in his stuff that day. Which means we have to move our stuff out by the 14th. BUT, because it takes about the same amount of time to run the process for us on our end, we would probably close after the 15th.

My point is, for all the houses that are bought and sold in the US, I've as of yet heard a satisfactory explanation for how people usually get their stuff from one place to another, and where the hell their stuff is inbetween houses. If we're out on the 14th, doesn't it stand to reason we should already have a place for it to be on the 14th?

Of course we keep hearing stories of gloom and doom about how someone's loan can fall through at the 11th hour and we'd be stuck with a house we now can't afford because we have two mortgage payments, plus we're stuck with having to put the house on the market again.

It seems like there's got to be a smarter way to do this, but nobody seems to know what it might be.

All very confusing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Comic Dorkout

Is it just me, or did Civil War: Frontline #5 dip into DC territory?

Essentially setting up The Negative Zone as Marvel's answer to The Phantom Zone, complete with a Kingdom Come-style Gulag.

However, this is Marvel U which is usually set up to not have quite the crazy technology or have characters popping around between dimensions at will. I get the whole Gitmo thing, but this series is turning into a well plotted and scripted, yet somehow ham-handed, allegory. Okay.

So... Just who the heck built that Negative Zone prison thingy? Normally I don't dwell on these sorts of tidbits, but I was just having a hard time buying government contractors hanging out in the Negative Zone for the year or so it would take to build a facility of the scope that they're suggesting. Which also suggests a massive government payout to build the thing, not to mention the fact that we're only a few months into Civil War, which may mean the facility has been there for quite some time.

In the DCU you can build a massive underground evil-shrine/ terrorist complex under a major metropolitan area and nobody will notice. Marvel's never really been into anything that wacky.When a transdimensional fortress appears in the DCU, there's usually some sorry explanation like "We contacted Orion and Big Barda and they brought us New Genesis technology, which we used to construct the facility in a few weeks". You just sort of learn after a while of reading DC books that this sort of stuff just sort of occurs.

So, no wonder Annihilus is so irritable these days over in Annihilation. He's got all these humans in his front yard, tearing the place up. It would make me want to destroy the universe, too.

And uhmmm...

(located by Superman Homepage)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

1) For Jim...

Who is making the great escape.

2) Sometimes even The League doesn't know what to make of some Superman fandom.

I can't believe it's butter.

3) I don't think we're going to jinx it, so I'm going to go ahead and share this:

Some dude named Ryan has made us an offer on the house.

Apparently he's a big comic geek.

I don't even know what to make of that.

I hope he enjoys our Spider-Man wallpaper border. And getting my junk mail.

4) This means we can probably move forward with thinking about departing for Austin.

5) I have a vision of Jason sitting on my front porch with his guitar, pickin'n'grinnin.

6) I'm pretty busy. Tonight has been sort of odd and crazy.

7) Flavor of Love Season 2 is somehow even more disturbing than Season 1. I can't look away.

8) I have no way to document or prove it, but I was flipping channels this evening and went past an infomercial where they had printed across the bottom of the screen that a woman had achieved "FINANACIAL SUCCESS".

sound it out, kids... sound it out...
Arden Update

Arden continues to rock out...

This photo reminds me of a fine tune by the Presidents of the United States of America.

Poke & Destroy

Girls, girls, girls, girls are so polite
They don't crush everything that they see
You can take 'em to a funky funky forest with big glass spiderwebs
Hangin' from the ceilin'
They wouldn't feel the uncontrollable urge
To tip and push and kick and rip and tear and smash and squish and...

Poke and destroy
Poke and destroy
Poke and destroy
I'm a boy, I wanna poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy
Poke and destroy
Poke and destroy
I'm a boy, I wanna poke and destroy!

([Spoken:] "Poke and Destroy")

I want to poke!


(and destroy!)

Boys, boys, boys, boys are set to kill
They wanna crush everything that they see
You could take 'em to a creepy museum with dinosaur bones
Hangin' from the ceilin'
They'd feel the uncontrollable urge
To tip and push and kick and rip and tear and smash and squish and'

Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
I'm a boy, I wanna poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
I'm a boy, I wanna poke and destroy!

(poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke and destroy!)
I want to poke!

(kick it down, rip it down, burn it down and kick it! Yeah!)
And destroy

(and we'll do it 500 more times!)


Out in the wild with a girl I know
She see a little thing in the sand
She pretend to leave it alone, leave the creature in it's home
But I don't understand

If I find a delicate thing
I wonder how it would look split at the seams
Girls talk, say "it's beautiful"
I gotta poke it to know it, I gotta LIGHT IT ON FIRE AND...

Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
I'm a boy, I wanna poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy!
I'm a boy, I wanna poke and destroy!
Poke and destroy! (and destroy)
Poke and destroy! (and destroy)
Poke and destroy! (and destroy)
Poke and destroy! (and destroy)
Poke and destroy! (and destroy)
Poke and destroy! (and destroy)
Poke and destroy! (and destroy)
I'm a boy, I wanna poke and destroeeeee...ahhh...(cough cough)...ahem!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Letter from Nathan

Hi Ryan,

I thought this might be of interest to you and Superman fans around theLeague.

When I found out earlier this year that the "Richard Donner Cut" of Superman II would be coming out in the fall, I began to wonder if all the product placements would still be in the film. After all, wasn't some 75%of the footage for Supes II already in the can when the Salkinds wrested the film away from Donner? And then wasn't it re-shot? The memo on this page seems to indicate that as late as 1979, new footage was being shot for product placements (and more action). The document is from Marlboro, who received an amazing 20 mentions in the film. A far cry from "You know, you really shouldn't smoke, Lois."

I'm thinking the Donner cut will have fewer product placements. By the way, the current "Superman Returns" also reminded me of this whole thing when Superman drank himself a tall cool Budweiser with Jimmy Olsen. And then went flying to save that airplane! (editor's note: in Superman Returns) Not a good message.


We all saw Superman III, and we're just glad Superman didn't manage to get his "mean drunk" on. Although I remember, as a kid, almost jumping out of my seat when Clark kicked Red-K Superman's @ss. I need to review again, but did Superman hook up with the blonde in Superman III? I kind of think he might have...

I was re-reading some recent postings and it's nothing but a litany of the drudgery of moving. Bleh. I said from the outset that it would be some heavy lifting, but I didn't mean for it to come back to Loyal Leaguers as a dull recitation of our status.

So what's fun?

"Talladega Nights" turned out to be really funny. I usually want to hit people with a frying pan when I hear that they aren't going to the movies for any reason other than to be passively entertained. I do not accept that you should "turn off your brain" when you sit down in a movie theater. Usually that's the last, gasping excuse someone uses when you start to tear apart a movie for being woefully inconsistent and insulting to the viewer's intelligence. I don't think "Talladega Nights" is the Citizen Kane of NASCAR comedies (that title now and forever belongs to "Six Pack", starring Kenny Rogers). But Talladega Nights does well what so many Apatow/ Ferrell movies have done over the past few years: it manages to make jokes that work terrifically well as part of a very silly universe just next door to our own. The story isn't anything we haven't seen before, but it also isn't just a lame excuse to foist a character upon us and then let the character appear in set pieces (just think virtually any SNL skit-to-movie translation). In short, the movie has it's own internal logic and character arcs that are all tied up neatly in order to ensure that everything else can hang on the internal structure.

I'm overthinking this. Anyway, the movie is funny. Go see it. Everyone in it is hilarious. For some reason they cut Michael Clarke Duncan's funniest part and put it back in during the closing credits. You still get to see it, so I guess that's okay. I'm a fan of the "Smokey and the Bandit" insert of outtakes for comedies.

Rumors are swirling for a Superman Returns Sequel. I'm also eagerly awaiting the final announcement from Warner Hoem Video regarding what DVD's we can expect for the Fall. There's a new boxed set of the Reeve movies with a lot of additional material set to be released, the Donner version of Superman II (the Zod movie), and, of course, whatever they decide to do with Superman Returns. There was supposed to be a 14-disc collector's edition of Superman Returns, plus the Reeve movies, but I have no idea if that will happen now or not. I'm seeing a lot of conflicting reports.

Yes, I will be going to see Hollywoodland.

I am now obsessed with the idea that I chose NOT to pick up New Gods #1 at Austin Books. Argg... and I also thought I had Mister Miracle Vol. 3, Issue #7.... but I don't. So now I need to get that issue to truly complete my Mister Miracle collection. Then I shall feel free to move on to New Gods, Forever People and Jack Kirby's Fourth World.

The item I still dream about, my personal Holy Grail? Action Comics #252.

Also, DC Presents #87.

I found the Action Comics with the debut of the Supermobile over the weekend. As a kid I had a toy of the Supermobile. I think it's in my parents' attic with my Matchbox cars. I've been meaning to retrieve it for years, but it was too darn hot in Houston when we were home last time, and there were too many boxes of Christmas decorations between me and the toys.

I saw over at CBG's blog that JAL and CBG have somehow found one another once again, and I like to blame LoM for the happy reunion. JAL, CBG, Michael and The League were all once co-contributors to media projects in the glory days at UT-RTF, and also, once upon a time, watched "The Price is Right" together between classes. Truly, it was CBG and JAL who got me onboard with PiR as the ultimate gameshow. I used to be a "Sale of the Century" and "Jeopardy" kind of guy, but now I'll take Plinko any day.

Oh, and CBG... Hope you're feeling better. Very sorry to hear about your incident.

Oh, and before I close up... "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" is shaping up to be a really unique gameshow. Even by the third episode, some of the contestants haven't quite clued in to what's going on. Backstabbing and the usual machiavellian tactics for winning reality shows aren't going to work here. Superheroes don't operate that way. Nor do they swear revenge, Fat Momma. And poor, poor Monkey Woman. Exposed as a fraud!

The producers have an excellent understanding of the unwritten code of superheroics, and the traits akin to true superheroes that joe-average on the street doesn't usually contemplate. The twists and turns of the comics creep their way into the story in a well-timed manner... right down to me asking out loud "How long before we see Ty'Veculus again?" Sure, he learned the value of honesty, but he failed to get the idea that self-sacrifice doesn't just apply to civilians.

Anyhow, I hope the show has a long life ahead of itself. The League can admit when it's wrong...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I was sort of complaining that Tarzan the Ape Man with Johnny Weismuller was boring, but now he's wrestling with a lion. Maybe the photography is awesome, but it looks like Weismuller really went toe-to-toe with a lion. How do you get the insurance company to cover that?

"Uh, yeah... and on page 46, Tarzan fights a lion."
"...a stunt man fights a lion?"
"No. Well, ha ha... See, we want to do it pretty close-up, and he ain't wearing nothing, so we can't fake it... So, yeah. This guy we got to play Tarzan, he said he WANTED to fight the lion."
"Sounds like one hell of a picture! Glad you guys are casting this athlete guy and not some name actor. Just shoot the lion fight first."

After watching for a while, I think I need a chimpanzee for a pal. But like Tarzan, not Michael Jackson.

We spent the weekend with Jason. It was a working weekend, so... sorry to all of you Leaguers in Austin I didn't get to catch up with. All in due time.

It feels good to be back in Austin. I was honestly concerned I'd lost the map of the city I had in my head, but a few minutes on the road, and it was back. Businesses might switch out, but most of the landmarks remain. A lot of faces are new, but the crowds are still familiar, the food and music and the feel of the city are fairly much the same. In time, I know the four years in Chandler will melt away into one of those things you bring up at dinner parties or when somebody else mentions it.

Austin continues to fight for it's Austin-ness. Occasionally the "Keep Austin Weird" movement can feel a bit too much like a marketing slogan, and sometimes you sort of want to throttle some of the folks revelling in their weirdness at the expense of everyone around them. But after four years in the land of cookie cutter homes and haircuts, I appreciate the sentiment more than a little. The citizens want a say in how their city grows and changes, and not to necessarily just give in to the whims of every developer who can scrape together enough coin to put down a strip mall. The city may not meet everyone's definition of beauty, but I've seen what happens when a whole city decides to be "tasteful".

As Jamie and I return, we can't expect Austin to make our fun for us, but it's nice to sit down with the Chronicle and see literally dozens of options on any given night and hundreds of options for activities per week, college football, and all the stuff that isn't listed. And that's not including the fun you make for yourself with friends, a grill and all that jazz.