Saturday, March 29, 2008

5th Anniversary of League of Melbotis

Well, holy $#!%.

The League of Melbotis turns 5 on Sunday. Our first post went out on Sunday March 30th, 2003. I had no plans for League of Melbotis at the time, short of keeping up with JimD and this Randy fellow.

In many ways, League of Melbotis has become a chronicle of my life that I never really anticipated. And while possibly originally conceived as some soapbox, its become a doorway into a community/ family of its very own in a way that on March 30th, 2003, I never would have expected.

In the past five years I've been able to find folks who dropped off my radar, have met new people, made new friends, been able to announce births, celebrate birthdays, ring in the Holidays, share our little victories, announce the arrival of our own little puppy, track our move back to Austin, tracked relationships into marriage, and, sadly, had to wish a few good people good-bye.

We've had some weird moments, like when Meco showed up in the comments section. We've had some fun contests, entirely too much about Superman, enjoyed UT's National Championship, and all kinds of stuff.

The League of Melbotis welcomes all like-minded individuals willing to use their unique abilities for the betterment of mankind.

The blog has changed, I am sure, since I left Arizona. I've changed in the past five years, too, I'd guess. I see things in older posts I miss doing. I see things I think that maybe work a little better now. It's no longer a tool to keep me attached with friends and family back home, but it now lets me keep tabs on friends and family all over the place.

And, hey, I've had an opportunity to get on my little soapbox and talk about the comics, movies, cartoons and stuff that I love, and love to hate. Thanks for being a part of that discussion.

So... Thanks again for making this worth doing. We've enjoyed it. We hope you've enjoyed it.

In the next week few weeks, I should be hitting 2500 posts. 2500. That's kind of unreal.

And God help you if you read them all.

Thanks for letting me be a part of your life. Jamie and I thank you. Mel thanks you. And Lucy and Jeff, too.

Don't forget, the party for Mel's birthday is April 19th, sometime in the afternoon after 2:00. We'd love it if you could be there. E-mail me if you need directions.

If you can't make that... April 27th, The Alamo Drafthouse at LakeCreek is showing Superman at 1:00 and 7:30. You know the League of Melbotis will be there. We're going to the 1:00 show.

Thanks to all of you once again. Here's to five more.

Superman Rights go to Siegel Family

Hey Leaguers

I am going to try to wait this one out and see what happens, but this is of no small significance to DC Comics, Warner Bros., Superman fans and the future of the Man of Steel.

As you might know, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, very young men at the time, sold the rights to National Comics for Superman for about $130. Siegel's widow and daughter have apparently successfully sued for rights to the Superman property, plus money going back to 1999 or so.

I really, really do not understand the legality of the situation. Moreover, I have no idea what control this would give to the Siegels and/ or Shusters going forward in regards to control of the property from a creative standpoint. While Siegel might have gone in a different direction with Superman, its tough to say that National and DC have not been good stewards of the character. How many other pulp/ childrens/ sci-fi properties have survived for 70 years?

Unfortunately, WB's inability to share more in the profits from Superman merchandising and licensing may mean the Siegels have some bad blood. No idea what that could mean.

For more, read Heidi's report at The Beat.

In addition, read the story as covered by the New York Times.

The Siegels have everything to gain by playing well with DC/ Warner Bros, and it would be nice if they would be comfortable with a financial deal rather than a creative deal.

I believed Shuster's heirs may have had a stake in this as well, but it seems he might not have any heirs according to this article. So stay tuned...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Light blogging

I apologize for the light blogging. It's been a busy week.

In the meantime, I leave you to ponder

SUPERMAN: Family Man

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Peabo

It is true. Jamie and Peabo celebrate their birthdays just a few hours apart.

I haven't seen much of Peabo this year. Between his new kid, a busy family life, church and his shady law practice, it's tough to catch up with Peabo. And its been since Halloween since I've seen the guy, but I wish him all the best on his birthday.

I didn't buy him a present or anything, but, you know... you can wish a guy a happy birthday.

I've known Peabo since our arrival in Austin in 1984. We were in the same 4th grade class, lived down the block from one another, played sports together, attended college together (with one year as roommates) and the dude was in my wedding. So there's some history there.

Anyhoo, Happy B-Day, Peabo. Hope its a good one.

A DITMTLOD special report: Sarah Jessica Parker = Not Teh Sexy?

Apparently Maxim, the magazine for guys too cowardly to justgooutandbuysomepornfortheloveofmike, has put out a list of female celebrities who are assumed to be sexy in the media, but with whom Maxim begs to differ.

They've presented a list of the 5 Unsexiest Women Alive.

There are two gut reactions to this list:

1 - Oh, those poor women.
2 - HA ha ha ha ha ha. (pause) BWAH HA HA HA HA HA.

The League believes both reactions are appropriate. It can't be fun to be Sandra Oh and to wake up one morning to find out you've been deemed one of the 5 Unsexiest Women Alive. I would say she's never really tried for sexy, but I have cable, and I once stumbled across "Dancing at the Blue Iguana". And it was not the gritty slice of life picture it was trying to be. It was so dull, I made it only long enough to see Sandra Oh in it, say something negative about Arli$$, and move on.

What is interesting is that Sarah Jessica Parker tops the list. For many a year, fans of the show "Sex in the City" have insisted that SJP was everything that a sexy, independent, urban-chic woman should be.

Others on the list are a bit more obvious.

Coming in at #5 is trainwreck Britney Spears, the subject of last night's highly disturbing episode of South Park.

#4: Madonna. Who sort of quit being sexy right after "Express Yourself", just as she was gearing up to try to chastise America for not wanting to be sexy with her, leading to her eventual move to the UK, where she morphed into a Disney villain.

#3: Sandra Oh. Poor, sad, Sandra Oh. Who is just trying to be a working actress, for chrissake.

#2: Amy Winehouse. Because a crack-smoking 20-something burning away her talent with the crystal meth and deeply in need of an intervention in public is funny-sad, and in no way sexy.

So why does SJP hit #1? She's together. She's got a career that hasn't involved becoming a public nuisance. There are plenty of other actresses who are unconventional for TV and the big screen.

All of the women on the list are generally attractive, I suppose. But that's not really what Teh Sexy means.

In many ways, we have no idea who Sarah Jessica Parker is, but we do know who Carrie Bradshaw is. And, according to the editors of Maxim, is it possible that it is not SJP, but Carrie Bradshaw that has been found wanting? Is it possible that Carrie bradshaw, and not SJP, has been deemed the least sexy woman alive?

Is it a schizm between what fans of the program feel is sexy and fun versus what frat boys who can't work up the courage to buy real porn find sexy? Does SJP not fit within the mold of the typical Maxim girl? (20, in her underwear, and apparently just come in from out of the rain?) No doubt that's part of the case.

To some extent, sure... the women on the list don't really meet the imaginary standards of the girls in Maxim. Young, somewhat coltish and seemingly available to the kind of guy who might pick up Maxim, anyway. And different kinds of guys like different kinds of girls. I don't think Tina Fey would show up for a Maxim photoshoot.

I have gone on record, stating that I understand that Nicole Kidman is supposed to be gorgeous, but I have yet to find a dude who considers her a Dame in the Media they Might Dig. I see the high cheek bones, the huge eyes, the perfect skin... but what is there to hang onto? Perhaps a different case from Sarah Jessica Parker, who is a bit less conventional, but it is an example of someone that the Entertainment Tonight's and TMZ's of the world would insist that we all must be ga-ga over. But are we? Who made that decision?

Is it a case of what I shall call "The Julia Roberts Effect"? Where the press insists that we all find someone fascinating and beautiful, when, really... meh. That might be what women relate to, or even aspire to, but...

But, mostly, I sort of think Sex in the City, despite the promise of the name of the show, was a major turn-off.

Not Teh Sexy?

Fans of Sex in the City love Carrie Bradshaw because she wears cute outfits that are not office appropriate. She gets in daffy, messy romantic entanglements with sensitive guys who want to work things out. When they don't work out, she learns a little life lesson and/ or is able to re-assert the fabulousness that the show promises regarding her lifestyle. She has a big apartment in Manhattan and great shoes and seems to afford the cost of it all by writing one column a week where she talks about the thing she knows and loves best: herself. She has friends who she doesn't work with who can always make it for lunch, and nobody minds that they all get wrapped up in each other's very personal business (nor do the boyfriends seem to mind that every intimate detail is openly discussed). She goes out every night of the week. Through countless sexual and romantic entanglements in the show's run, nobody was ever really hurt. Nobody ever seemed to actually react in the kind of crazy ways people do when real entanglements come to an end. And, anyone who has seen as few episodes as I've seen would still know that at the end of the day Mr. Big was there as the safety net, the safe guy who would always be there when our heroine got done sowing her oats and decided she wanted for someone else to pay for her expensive shoes.

And they call superhero comics an escapist, adolescent fantasy...

To the point, what is attractive to any guy about Carrie Bradshaw?

Do you find someone sexy who is going to describe your romantic entanglements in a weekly column? Or who has a back-up plan in a rich, good looking guy who rides around in limos?

I don't think this is a question of gender inequality in programming. Could a show with the same basic premise, starring four men, have made it on the air with a title called "Sex in the City"? And if it did, it certainly wouldn't be heralded as empowering and glimpse into the world of urban sophisticate. Quite the contrary, I'd guess.

What little online reaction I've read seems to be women surprised to hear that men do not love SJP/ Carrie Bradshaw the way her fans do. They've pointed to SJP's inner beauty, the fact that maybe she is pretty, but not so pretty that she clearly wouldn't hang out with you... But most of what they're praising is not actually Sarah Jessica Parker, it's Carrie Bradshaw, plus the costuming department for her show.

Returning to "The Julia Roberts Effect"... Maybe this is sort of the same thing as when guys are baffled that women might not find their action hero of choice, the one they'd like to be like, to be the perfect male specimen. For example, I do not think Jamie wants for me to be:
-Jet Li from "Fist of Legend"
-Ash from "Army of Darkness"
-Clint Eastwood from "The Outlaw Josey Wales"
-Kareem Abdul Jabbar
-George Reeves.
But I think she'd appreciate it if I were more like Harrison Ford circa 1980 or so.

For the record, I think SJP is reasonably attractive. And I certainly believe Teh Sexy doesn't come in a certain Maxim-approved package. I'm not sure if my DITMTLOD columns have always reflected that belief, but there you are.

No matter how much SJP's defenders may wish it to be true:

-shoes are almost never that exciting to guys
-it takes a sepcial kind of guy to want to have his physical and personal shortcomings detailed in a weekly column. One that his folks could read.
-Making a career out of whining about your seemingly endless string of failed personal relationships when you're pushing 40 is in no way cool.
-(In fact, a little self reflection that isn't taking place in a weekly column might be good)
-Guys do not care what designer you are wearing. Consider how many guys you've ever heard of who watch the Oscars "just to see the dresses"
-that tutu? Kind of stupid.

I am not sure this was helpful.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Jamie

If Superman had known it was going to be this kind of party, well...

Hey, Leaguers!

March 25th is Jamie's birthday. This, of course, means the world to us at League of Melbotis. 33 times around El Sol is no small thing to salute.

I am afraid I have not done everything I could this year to make sure Jamie has the birthday she deserves. There will be no cake until the weekend. No balloons tomorrow. No dancing clown surprising her mid-day. It seems this year that the birthday may have gotten away from me.

So, I'm sorry, Pumpkin. Let's see what we can't do to make your birthday a good one over the weekend.

I have an anniversary coming up at the end of next month, so I'm going to refrain from putting feelings into words and whatnot for the time being.

Happy Birthday. I love you.

Batman hopes your birthday is 'da bomb!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter/ birthdays/ tomfoolery

Friday my folks came into Austin. They were supposed to be going to the design center for the hourse they're going to build in Steiner Ranch (a planned commnity/ suburban enclave off 620, sort of out by The Oasis). Apparently that didn't happen. I'm not really clear on the whole story.

I was wrapping up another week at the office, but managed to wrap up before 6:00, so I could join the family, plus Heather, plus the Neely family at Fado's, down off 4th. The area is much changed in the past few years. What was once a fine but not terribly upscale area has become a somewhat silly and cost-prohibitive area. For God's sake, there's a bar which may or may not have sharks living under the dance floor.

Austin is a changing town. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like its changing to favor those with more money than brains. Yes, I am passing judgment.

Saturday we took the dogs to the park with Mom and Dad. Cousin Susan showed up with her dog, Pierre. Pierre is a tiny corgi, who most recently was saluted for his alerting Susan to an unwanted visitor of the rodent variety.

Saturday night we met up at Fonda San Miguel. I think we were all pretty impressed. I know I enjoyed my dinner and cocktails.

Today we went to church, then to lunch. In the afternoon, Jamie and I went to see "The Bank Job". The "Bank Job" is not a great movie. It is a better movie than i was expecting. The first quarter is pretty much what you'd expect: The Asphalt Jungle by way of Guy Ritchie. It's supposedly a true story, and if it is, its kind of exciting. If its not... well, it still makes for an interesting crime drama. Especially as the story is very wrapped up in concerns Americans might not have dreamt up (or handled differently) the movie is a bit off-kilter from what I expected.

Also, aside from the fact that it was identified as 1971 or so, the movie apparently didn't really have the budget to actually appear as if it took place in 1971. Especially with star Jason Stratham looking as if he walked off another cars & kung-fu epic.

I also don't understand why, when I got to the Westgate theater, all of the trailers are for post-J-Horror low budget slasher or horror flicks. There's nothing particularly horrific about The Bank Job, but it seemed that before the movie, that was all they advertised. including the almost ubiquitous trailer for The Ruins. Which people say is a good book, but... this looks like a typical horror movie, most likely fetauring gruesome deaths and the virginal heroine being the only one to escape at the end. Am I close? Who knows... I will most likely never see the movie.

The winner for best movie title of 2008 will have to go to "Midnight Meat Train". I don't know what its about. A guy killing people on the subway, I think, but the trailer was dark, loud and intended to scare me. But it sort of made me feel, instead, like I was sitting there with the sort of anticipation one feels when you're 8 and you and your friend agree to hit one another in the face, just to know what it feels like. And you already hit your friend, and it looked, just, really awful. So now you're sitting there with your eyes shut, waiting for him to pop you one... It's not a real sense of dread. It's a sense of the antiicpation of meaningless violence. And if I ever thought that was okay, old age and weariness with the torture-porn genre has made me numb to the whole thing. Even if they did stunt-cast Brooke Shields.

But, really, I am not sure you can beat that title.