Saturday, August 16, 2008

More Olympics: Phelps

You're a genetic freak, but you're our genetic freak.

Eight Medals. EIGHT. 8.

CNN has it here.

Olympics: Libby Trickett

This is Australian swimmer Libby Trickett. She's quite good and has won some medals.

I just like saying her name out loud.

Libby Trickett.

Libby Trickett.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Melbotis Mailbag!

Hey, it's been a while since we've heard from some of you. So why don't you write in with your updates, questions, comments, etc... and Melbotis and I will do our best to answer any and all questions sent our way.

Comic Fodder Post which I discuss the criticism of comic book writers as "fanboys".

Go here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When Cakes Go Wrong

Tip of the hat to Marshall for providing this work-day killer: Cake Wrecks.

There's something absoludicrous about a cake gone wrong. Perhaps because I find the cakes one gets at the grocery to be kind of... bizarre. They just don't represent anything you'd make for yourself or your family at home, and there's something so perfunctory about the cakes (not to mention the events that precipitate such a cake).

Add in the tragedy or utter indifference that must fill the lives of the makers of these cakes, and the feel of defeat which must strike the person who has come to retrieve the cake the day of the celebration. I, myself, picked up a cake for a former co-worker and friend named John. They had spelled his name "JHON", which we didn't notice until we were half-way back to the office with the cake.

But, you know... they misspelled JOHN. It was so weird to see it misspelled, I paused and looked at it for a long, long time, entering into that weird zone where you wonder if you know how to spell "John" yourself.

From watching Food Channel, I also know that desserts are now no longer just an artform for the palate, but for feats of edible architecture. Which, of course, is going to lead to awesomeness.

Bigfoot Story (sadly) Falling Apart

It sounds like the likelihood of us seeing a real Bigfoot corpse tomorrow is now next to nil.

And, I have to send out my sympathy to site-owner for CyrptoMundo, Loren Coleman. The reasone we couldn't get to his site the other day was that his server was hacked, and he's had to bring everything back up, entailing a lot of work during a possible high-profile time for Cryptomundo.

Anyway, Coleman describes why the story is crumbling here.

Whoever the guys are trying to get this hoax going need to learn how to strike while the iron is hot. And not put out a "bigfoot corpse" which makes Jamie burst into peels of laughter.

That's a Whole Lot of Kryptonians

click on image to have your mind blown

I know some folks don't like the work of Alex Ross. Those people amaze me (in a disappointed way).

Me, I'm an Alex Ross nut. Especially when he's painting The Man of Steel and Co.

There's an upcoming story crossing over the Super-Titles in the coming months entitled: New Krypton. Supposedly there's several thousand Kryptonians coming to Earth. At least that's what the DC promo materials have said.

There are so many question marks, I can't help but be interested. Plus, note the various eras of Superman publishing represented in the various Kryptonian outfits. And I think that silver one way, way up in the sky represents the Krypton of the Donner-directed Superman movie. (Also, note Silver Age Nightwing and Flamebird, heroes of Kandor, coming at you).

And, who is that center frame? That's my boy, Krypto, yo!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Cryptozoological Hoo-Hah

El Chupacabra runs amok in Cuero

Reed sent this article along: You know its summer when chupacabra shows up

Note that you can link over to some video from that page, caught from the dashcam of a police cruiser.

It looks like some sort of dog that's managed to breed with little hair, or else suffers from mange. Natural selection choosing to greatly decrease hair on a dog living in Texas kind of makes sense, so I really don't know what we're looking at. And I don't know if this is the same nasty thing that's been attacking small livestock for generations. But it certainly doesn't seem like a domesticated house pet with no interest in your pygmy goats.

The last one that turned up, though, turned out to be nothing spookier than a coyote.

With this summer's earlier, and far more bizarre find of the Montauk Monster, one expects the Moth Man to be found drinking Schlitz at some bar in West Virginia.

More on Georgia Freezer Sasquatch

I found a site that had nabbed the pictures from Cryptomundo of that Bigfoot in a Freezer. Sorry that took so long.

I want to say that while the thought didn't pop into my head until I saw it online, but I suspect that this isn't just a hoax, but some sort of viral marketing campaign. Maybe for Jack Link's Beef Jerky. Or maybe an ARG spun out of control or something.

You just hope that nobody wanted those Otter Pops they left on the bottom of the freezer

here's a part of a Press Release:

August 12, 2008


DNA evidence and photo evidence to be presented at a PRESS CONFERENCE
to be held on
Date: Friday, August 15, 2008
Time: From 12Noon-1:00pm
Place: Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto (A Crown Plaza Resort) 4290 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California 94306

Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. Menlo Park, California
Tom Biscardi, CEO



A body that may very well be the body of the creature commonly known as “Bigfoot” has been found in the woods in northern Georgia.

DNA evidence and photo evidence of the creature will be presented in a press conference on Friday, August 15th from 12 Noon to 1:00pm at the Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto at 4290 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, California, 94306. The press conference will not be open to the public. It will only be open to credentialed members of the press.
Here are some of the vital statistics on the “Bigfoot” body:
*The creature is seven feet seven inches tall.
*It weighs over five hundred pounds.
*The creature looks like it is part human and part ape-like.
*It is male.
*It has reddish hair and blackish-grey eyes.
*It has two arms and two legs, and five fingers on each hand and
five toes on each foot.
*The feet are flat and similar to human feet.
*Its footprint is sixteen and three-quarters inches long and five and three-quarters inches wide at the heel.
*From the palm of the hand to the tip of the middle finger, its hands are
eleven and three-quarters inches long and six and one-quarter inches wide.
*The creatures walk upright. (Several of them were sighted on the same day that the body was found.)
*The teeth are more human-like than ape-like.
*DNA tests are currently being done and the current DNA and photo evidence will be presented at the press conference on Friday, August 15th.

I won't get into how the holes that are starting to form as part of the story, but I wouldn't expect much by Friday.

Holy Overused Robinisms, Batman! (plus, Countdown to backlash)

Someone finally notices that newspaper headlines on Batman are dumb

When the mainstream press finally takes note of how worn out the Batman TV-series inspired Bat-headlines are (Ex: Holy Megabucks, Batman!), it is a ray of hope that the rest of the media will finally knock it off.

Check it out at the LA Times (blog section). Hat tip to The Beat.

Now, if we can just get the press to refrain from using the following: Bam! Whap! Zap! or Pow! in any other stories about super-heroes, there may be a chance for comics in mainstream journalism.

Backlash imminent

And for no other reason than that it seems time, and the movie is doing very well:
Prepare yourself for the beginnings of Dark Knight backlash, wherein many, many people take to the internets to tell you that Dark Knight wasn't all that great.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yahoos Claim to Have Corpse of Sasquatch

Hat tip to Occasional Superheroine for locating this story on CryptoMundo (what I assume is the New York Times for all your cryptozoological needs).

I've updated my link to a story where there are photos of the alleged creature.

Jason will surely freak out about all of this, but here we go...

Apparently some guys claim they have the body of a Bigfoot, found in Georgia. They're keeping the body in a freezer somewhere under armed guard until it can be released to the scientific community tomorrow. I, personally, think that this picture could be something, or it could be a latex mask and a costume shoved into a freezer with some deer innards. But I do find it interesting that they're taking it this far if its a hoax.

"But League," you say, "The Bigfoot lives in the Pacific Northwest!"
Oh, my friends... Bigfoots live all over the US. From our friends of the piney woods of Washington to the Bigfoot of Eastern Oklahoma to the Skunk Ape of Florida. Heck, if you turn and look around fast enough right now, there's probably a Bigfoot standing behind you.

The League streaks Zilker Park

Now, The League tends to be a bit cynical when it comes to cryptozoology. We're hopeful, but we mostly think that an undocumented species of 8 foot ape living in the US at this point is as likely as me learning Emmanuel Lewis is secretly living in Jamie's walk in closet.

I say that, but they DID just find several 10's of thousands more gorillas in Africa, so...

Anyway, mostly I'm deeply cynical of hoaxes and peoples' natural inclination to perpetrate hoaxes.

It will be interesting to see what these guys came up with. But it raises a good question.

Let us suppose these fellows in Georgia really have the body of a Bigfoot, and their find is confirmed and welcomed by the scientific community.

A) When you learn of the Bigfoot's authenticity, who is the first person you would tell?

B) If Bigfoot is real, what else might be real?

C) How would knowing Bigfoot is real change your outlook on life?

D) A Texas Oil Tycoon has offered a 300 million dollar bounty for finding and bringing back a corpse from another Bigfoot so he can stuff it and put it over his fireplace. A DotCom billionaire has offered 100 million for the first living Sasquatch brought into captivity. He's built a majestic habitat for the Bigfoot in Redmond, Washington. You think you know where a Bigfoot might be.

What do you do?

E) Any other thoughts on the possible reality of a Bigfoot?

Obligatory Olympics Post: Hyperbole and NBC

When I was in 6th grade, I recall being assigned a worksheet that was a quick exercise to check that we understood the lesson before we moved on within the framework of the day's lesson. We were learning about how to use metaphor, hyperbole and other tidbits of language that employ imagery.

One of the take aways from the lesson, that I found odd at the time, was Ms. Jarcik's off-the-book comment that you shouldn't use too much hyperbole, because people find it annoying. Well, normally The League loves hyperbole, but, darn it... if the announcers for the Olympics at NBC aren't ruining it for me.

In watching both men and women's gymnastics this week, it struck me that so much of why I have trouble watching gymnastics/ taking gymnastics seriously, is the insistence on every other phrase uttered from the announcer's mouth insisting that every single flip of the wrist or hop on the balance beam isn't just important to that routine... but that it's a mistake upon which the Olympics hang. And that, seriously, is not hyperbole.

Add in the turn-on-a-dime commentary in which the announcers switch from lauds and honor to expressing their disgust with some poor kid in tights, often within the same breath, and its often a mind-blowing ride trying to figure out if the announcers are lobbying for the beatification of some 16 year-old or blame her slip on the balance beam for crushing the spirit of America.

I know that these announcers' lives are gymnastics, but its just lacking that perspective that you get in about June about the baseball season from the announcers, when they're talking about what was on TV last night and what people in the crowd are up to.

It seems you can really point to gymnastics and diving as the two sports where the announcers don't just comment upon performance, but microscopically pick every movement apart (which is what the judges are doing) but do it in this really pedantic, school marm tone.

This evening the little blonde girl, Nastia, had a nigh-perfect routine, scoring a 16.9 (which is .1 away from perfection), and no sooner had the first announcer said "16.9!" than the other announcer was tripping all over himself to insist "It's just not going to be enough!"

Dude. Shut up. Learn to enjoy a moment or two. Life's too short. And, moreover... what are you like at home? What with the turn-on-a-dime swings between giddiness and praise to immediate condemnation...? It must be exhausting.

How anyone can tune these nags out, and how NBC can't find someone who doesn't come off like such a shrew for both diving and gymnastics is beyond me.

I feel bad, because it really makes the Olympics almost unwatchable when you have to listen to these announcers. Plus, I know Jamie loves gymnastics (she's a former cheerleader), and I too infrequently bite my tongue and just let it ride when the announcers make some breathless comment. So it leads to me ruining the whole thing for her.

So, really, NBC is slowly ruining my marriage with their sub-standard color commentators.

Astronaut Traverses Continent on Bike

Cousin Jim (he of the Rocket Racing League) has written to inform me of his pal, Astronaut John B. Herrington, who is about to begin a 4000 mile bike ride to promote kid's interest in math and science.

Herrington is also a member of Jim's RRL squad.

Even as I write that sentence, it makes me feel like such an underachieving loser.

Okay, on with the post.

Starting wednesday, Herrington will be riding from Cape Flattery, Washington to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Again, he's doing this on a bike. In the summer. 4000 miles.

So what are you doing with your summer?

This is why astronauts are astronauts and I am not.

Anyway, The League will be following Herrington on his trek via the interwebs. And you can, too, at his site: Rocketrek. if you have a chance, link over to the site from your own blog and help our Astronaut Herrington in his mission.

His mission for SCIENCE!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Mom Can Shred

KareBear, Pastor Bill and KareBear's partner in crime, Peggy

Yes, the guy in the middle is a pastor.

Somehow I imagine KareBear is tearing up "Crazy Train"

Wolf-Man is coming back to hassle you

Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

I like The Wolf Man.

I'm not as big a fan of the original The Wolf Man movies as I am of the first two Frankenstein pictures. But I do think the original Wolf Man is a really good time. Horror. Romance. Pathos. Wolf clubbing.

I knew the story of the original Wolf Man from one of my monster movie books from when I was a kid, and its been spoofed, imitated, etc... so often that the story seems, perhaps, more simple than it actually is thanks to its immediate familiarity.

Suffer poor Lon Chaney Jr., who is talented, but who never landed his father's career or reputation. Yet, Lon Chaney Jr's actually a genial sort of Wolf-Man, and you really pull for him. I can't really imagine anyone else in the role, but part of that's sealed with time. Like many of the monster movies, the Wolf-Man is a sympathetic figure cursed with an affliction rather than a creature of outright evil (see: Dracula).

Now, its never a good time being a werewolf. You tend to kill and eat your friends, tear up the countryside and generally cause a lot of havoc that you normally would not. And without the benefit of getting to be a player, a la Edward Hyde.

The movie also features Claude Raines, and, dammit, when it comes to genre movies, YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH CLAUDE RAINES.

here's a fan-made trailer for the original:

Anyhoo, looks like they've finished a lot of principle photography on a new version of The Wolf Man, starring Benecio Del Toro. This is a bootleg video of ComicCon footage. Watch it before Universal pulls it down.

The director is Joe Johnston, who isn't my favorite director, but who I think could handle the material pretty well. Especially if he just really cuts loose. Plus, hey, lovely period outfits for the art film snobs.

I don't know why some trailers look wrong, and some look right. I suppose a lot of it has to do with the Keanu Reeves quotient.

Plus, you know, the promise of werewolves.

Wolf Man then

Wolf Man now

In case you missed it, Steven's B-Day. Birthday celebration, desserts, video and Steven's generally positive demeanor, all by Lauren.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dark Knight in IMAX and in Perspective

Jamie, Jason, Wagner and Wagner's brother, Jeff, and I all ventured out to see "The Dark Knight" at the IMAX at the Bob Bullock Museum today. The show was sold out, as, I believe, all shows were sold out over the weekend for the IMAX.

It's true this movie is doing gangbusters. And on a second viewing, and sort of pondering what else I've seen this summer, rightfully so.

A second viewing revealed some plot holes I missed watching the movie the first time. Mostly regarding stuff like "well how did Batman know to be there then?" I'd say I'd let that slip, normally. But I reserve Batman simply KNOWING where to be for Batman as supporting character and seeing how he creeps out even his fellow JLA'ers. In a comic, cartoon or movie about Batman, he's a detective, and him figuring those sorts of things out is often what the story is about.

But, you know... Batman is cool like that, so if he just knows where to be, then... awesome. But had they done too much of this, its the same sort of thing that usually makes me say "I have absolutely no idea what is happening in this movie..." What bugs me about that sort of thing is that Batman IS a detective. At least in the comics. So would it have killed them to say "how did you find me?" And then have Batman give some idiot simple explanation.

I actually think I followed the plot a lot better this time instead of just gritting my teeth and letting the movie knock me over like a rogue wave. And, I am happy to say, the Batpod was just as cool on a second viewing.

Given the stories on all the clams Batman is making for Legendary and WB (and hopefully the folks who worked on the movie), I looked up how its ACTUALLY doing in an historical perspective. You can see where it's currently sitting at Box Office Mojo's adjusted dollars comparison page. Unlike every entertainment reporter in the world, this site actually takes inflation into account when making hyperbolic declarations about the success of a movie.

Right now, Dark Knight has almost made as much/ sold as many tickets as... Batman. Go figure. That said, I recall seeing Burton's Batman in the theater about five or six times over the course of several months, and Dark Knight's been in release for about four weeks. So... we'll see.

But its also sort of fascinating to consider ticket sales for something like "Cleopatra" when you compare it to the actual population of the time, number of screens, etc... In a way, it makes you really realize how even movies are narrowcasting to such a degree that when a movie DOES make superstar money these days, its worth looking at why that's happening.

How was Dark Knight in IMAX? I have no idea. We were sitting so close to the screen that I know the effect was totally lost on me. Aside for being able to say "Oh, THAT'S what it would be like to be a microbe floating somewhere near Morgan Freeman's face!", I don't know if I got everything out of it I could have. Jason actually got up and moved to the back and had to tell me the screen changed aspect ratios throughout. I hadn't even noticed because I was sitting in the middle of the image.

World Now Significantly Less Soulful

If you noticed that things seemed a lot less groovy today, there's a reason.

Isaac Hayes has passed away.

We're losing too many of the great ones.

Steven G Harms is old

I couldn't post on this before, because Lauren was attempting to keep things a surprise, but Happy Birthday to Steven G. Harms.

Last night we met up at Threadgill's on Riverside for some home-style cookin', and a whole crew of Harms friends and admirers were in attendance. Lauren busted out some really great desserts at the end (which I am not sure was okay with Threadgill's policy, but they didn't argue, either). So cupcakes AND cherry pie for all.

I had a brief passing thought that JimD should have been in attendance as his George Baileyness led, in one way or another, to many of the folks celebrating Steven's birthday. I also worried that if we were in the first act of a film and all celebrating such a nice birthday (we somehow managed to squawk out Happy Birthday in tune), that this had to be one of those coming of age movies in which someone was going to die in the third reel.

So, I am doomed.

Happy Birthday, Steve-N.

Byrne & Eno, together again

Do you like David Byrne? I do. Maybe not as much as some, but I have something like 80% of his stuff. Unfortunately, some time around 1995 I quit being able to remember the name of every song on every album I owned, so don't ask me what is on what album or anything. That part of my brain just doesn't function.

It seems Byrne and Eno have once again decided to collaborate. Funny, because just this week I was ripping "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" to iTunes for the first time, as well as Byrne's "Grown Backwards" and Eno's "Here Come the Warm Jets". I've owned all of them for a while, but hadn't made the transition to iPod status.

Here's a link to a website for the new album. be careful, as there's self-starting audio.

There's a free MP3. That's pretty cool.

The site includes tour dates.

I happen to already have tickets to see Byrne as he's headlining (as far as I'm concerned) ACL Fest this summer. I'm glad I already had tickets. I think if his only swing through Austin was part of ACL Fest and I wasn't going? I'd be very irritated.

But I have tickets, so I'll try not to think about how ACL Fest is sort of screwing up Austin as a destination city for bands on tour. I'll be there at the AT&T stage for Byrne at the 6:30 show. Let me know if you're there, too.