Saturday, October 24, 2009

Batman Musical 2

So I got to looking, and there are actually several musical versions of Batman on YouTube.

From "Batman: Beyond". An aged Batman attends a performance of a musical based on his life.

Batman does the Batusi

Batman sings "Am I Blue"

Here's a whole site dedicated to a Batman Broadway show that almost happened. Seriously, this had Tim Burton and other big name people attached.

Which may have been canceled in the wake of this MadTV skit, which in turn was a direct response to where Warner Bros. and Joel Schumacher's inability to reconcile their ideas regarding Batman. See "Batman and Robin" for how that worked out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Batman Sings!

If you didn't see "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" this Friday, woe unto you.

For the season premiere, the producers put together a musical episode, featuring NPH as "The Music Meister".

This is exactly the sort of place where your comic fans who get into comics to see "edginess" and myself part ways. I WANT to see NPH singing as a villain, Gorilla Grodd dancing and Black Canary belting out a tune. If I've one regret, its that the show has a moratorium on using Superman, who I would love to see lighting up the Great White Way.

If you see the episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister" as an option on your DVR, I highly recommend recoding.

By the way, Grey DeLisle did a fantastic job singing. Which I learned should come as no surprise as, in addition to her extensive voice-over career, she has several albums to her name.

Waco without Internet

I am back. I apologize for the lack of a post. The router was down at my La Quinta, and so I did not post, nor was I able to work yesterday from my room.

I had also not packed a book, as I was planning to work and post. So... I got acquainted with a lot of late afternoon and evening basic cable.

Luckily, I met up with work-chums and we all went to Ninfa's in Waco's revitalized downtown area. It was a lovely evening out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wait for it...

Swamp Thing Ate my Time

Short post as I am headed to Waco in the morning for 36 hours or so, and have not yet packed.

And, rather than work on LoM, I watched the 1982 film, "Swamp Thing". Which I do not think I'd seen since its cable-run around 1983 or 1984.

I am much more familiar with Swamp Thing from the DC Comics that spawned him as a horror hero character, but I got on board late with the series prior to its cancellation, have only read a few collections, watched the show on TV circa 1991, and know that as The League is to Superman, there are many-a-Swampy-fan.

The movie is directed by horror-meister Wes Craven, and features Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, and Dick Durock as the actual creature.

Unfortunately, Mr. Durock passed last month, and as I'd enjoyed him as Alec Holland/ Swamp Thing in the TV series, I decided to check out the original movie, which I had no real recollection.

It's a product of its time, as post-70's, 50's-monster-retro schlock. Only the Swamp Thing's costume approaches convincing, the actors are clearly having a grand time chewing the scenery, and its remarkably malaria free, filmed in swamps somewhere near Charleston, SC.

Given how frikkin' seriously most comic dorks take Swampy and his adventures, it was a bit jarring. But, like all good DC characters, Swamp Thing is elastic enough as a character that it works, and you can simply enjoy his comics as something different all together.

That's not to say the movie is Oscar material, but I enjoyed it for what it was, which was: A bra-less Barbeau and a swamp monster duking it out with a mad scientist and his minions and a mutant or two. And on that description alone, I think I've just sold myself on watching the movie again.

I recommend The Swamp Thing's Alan Moore-penned stories, when Moore took the concept (which wasn't all that far from the movie, anyway), and showed DC how they could update already good concepts, keeping the comic intact, while expanding the possibilities for new kinds of story-telling.

By the end of the Swamp Thing run I was reading, Swamp Thing was revealed to be a nigh-omnipotent Earth Elemental, with control over the Earth's greenery, and no real physical form (and people say Superman has too many powers...). Anyway, its good stuff, and I highly recommend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LoM: Wrapping It Up

Yes, this is how Superman writes in his diary. And, no, I do not know why he would own such a chair.

The Last Issue of League of Melbotis will be published in 2009.

It is true. I'm currently planning on shutting off the lights and putting the chairs on the tables prior to the holidays.

I sincerely appreciate all the support, but due to budget cuts, yadda yadda...

These days it seems that my output is exceeding my input by a great degree. It seems unwise to believe that I'd have much worth saying if its just coming from the echo chamber of my head. And I miss input. And if I am going to have output, I'm not sure I'm ready for posts about how directors missed the point of Galactus as what I leave as my legacy to mankind.

A date has been selected. A little randomly at that, but a date. I do not want to stop publishing abruptly, and I do not want to stop because life circumstances say I have to. But all parties end, and it may be time to start clearing away the bottles and get the plastic red cups off of every flat surface in the place.

Often the question comes to mind: am I now not blogging completely out of habit? I believe the answer is: Yes, I am blogging completely out of habit rather than any particular good reason. Honestly, I do not like to think of what that likely means. But I do like the thought of where I could turn that time and energy, if I've the will to do so.

And more than anything, while I enjoy the site, I've ignored old projects while indulging myself in the far simpler task of musing on TV, movies and comics. As much as I love forcing you to look at Superman and Jimmy Olsen, I deeply miss actually making things.

An original attempt at LoM was also written in Kryptonese. My readership levels, honestly, weren't all that much different.

I thank anyone and everyone who ever stopped by League of Melbotis. I've a special tip of the hat to anyone who ever commented, and a tearful, prideful salute to my Loyal Leaguers, many of whom have become terrific friends.

There's a lesson to be learned from American TV finally realizing shows should wrap up and have a conclusion. At some point, too many shows become a self-perpetuating machine that don't do much but give back to the loyal few and itself. Comics are learning this is an issue, too. So why not LoM?

It would be nice to end a bit more like Promethea, Sandman, Preacher, etc... than feel we've dragged out this thing for way, way too long. Probably too late for that, but...

For years I've thought about when one ends something like this. There isn't any natural marker beyond events which... well, I'd rather we say adios to what's been for me, a grand and happy experiment, on a cheerful note. And so, lets do this with a smile on our faces. And take maybe too long, but long enough so we know we're doing the right thing.

And with all that said... We may be back. Just not at League of Melbotis. Like Superman, there can be a Gold, Silver, Bronze age... all of these things. But I like the idea of closing the book on this volume in my own life and seeing what happens when you reboot. I just don't feel I need a Crisis to do so. I'd very much like to do it without any crisis at all.

So we've got a a couple of months to go. Hopefully the urgency will mean I try a little harder and its worth it a little more for everyone involved. We can clear up any business, figure out what was left outstanding, and make sure we all go home in a good mood, even if the hour is a bit late and we know we're going to pay for it tomorrow.

The last post is currently slated to be December 20th. We look forward to filling the next two months.

Despite my feeling very good about this decision, this has been, I confess, a very difficult post to write.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Caffeinated Joe Has Spooky Shorts

short videos and films, that is...!

Here's just a sampling of what he's got to waste your time today in the true Halloween spirit!

I think Jason will appreciate this one

Go here for all the videos

More About Me(me)

I think you're supposed to do this with one word answers.

Where is your cell phone.........................pocket
Your hair............................................unmanaged
Your mother........................................ADHD
Your father.........................................Admiral
Your favorite thing................................Jamie
Your dream last night.............................non-existent
Your favorite drink................................neat
Your dream/goal..................................invincibility
The room you are
Your fear...........................................entropy
Where do you want to be in 6 years..........Sirius
One of your wish list items......................Power Ring
Where you grew up..............................Texas
The last thing you did............................brushed the dog
What are you wearing...........................standard uniform: fall/ winter
Your TV............................................omnipresent
Your pets..........................................quite mad
Your life...........................................steady-state
Your mood.........................................code red (its always code red)
Your car............................................Babar
Favorite store.....................................Austin Books
Your summer......................................frikkin' too long and too hot
Your favorite
When is the last time you laughed.............Venture Bros. 4 Season Premiere
Last time you idea
Three of my favorite foods.....................fresh bread, fish, canned green beans
Three places I would rather be right now......Oa, the park w. Team Steans, seaside in Costa Rica

The Red Death is Going to Ruin Your Party

This is a scene from one of my favorite movies, the 1925 Lon Chaney starring "Phantom of the Opera".

If you skip to 2:10 in the timeline, you'll get right to the Phantom upping the ante.

While we think of films as "Black and White", two-toned color processes were being experimented with even then. And the use of tint on a scene to indicate day, night, etc... was par for the course. In the past few years, Universal found original reels that had not been re-printed to simple black and white emulsion, and the effect is simply stunning.

I'd seen this movie a half-dozen times, but the two-tone color gives it a definite kick the graytones don't really capture.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birthday Girls

Happy Birthday to Ms. Lauren Roth, who had a birthday last week, and who was so kind as to invite us out to Austin's premier Karaoke bar, Common Interest, on Friday night.

Steven sang two songs in my presence, wowing the crowd in particular with Hank Williams Jr's immortal classic "A Country Boy Can Survive", peppered with a lot of "Thank you, Austin!" thrown in.

Lauren, who looked lovely, gave us some rockin' 80's before tuning introspective with "Yesterday".

I am sad to say The League never screwed up enough courage to get on the mic and sing any of the tunes he was considering, and only upon departing did he realize "I totally should have sung 'Tomorrow' from 'Annie'".

Thanks for the invite, Team Roth-Harms!

Saturday we joined FunHeather and friends to celebrate the birthday of Heather Wagner, newly returned from Lubbock and now a practicing speech therapist. It was a lovely dinner, but a lot less singing happened. Except for the requisite "Happy Birthday" rendition, I suppose.

Met some new folks, felt a little old, and enjoyed a lovely meal at one of Austin's favorite spots, Fonda San Miguel.

Happy B-Day to both, and thanks for making sure we had an action-packed weekend!

Balloon Boy

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be...

Ha ha. Just kidding. What kind of blog would this be if I weren't judging everyone who caught my attention for a split second? This means you, Emily!!!!

But, like everyone else, I've been thinking about Balloon Boy.

In case you had not heard, the Sheriff of Larimer County, Colorado has deduced that the entire balloon chasing production on Thursday wasn't just a hoax, but one intended to land the family involved a television contract. And apparently scrambling the air force, shutting down the Denver airport, involving a massive portion of the police force and untold numbers of public servants isn't exactly legal. Thus, the Sheriff is throwing the book at the Heene family.

Marshall had a post on this, responding to an article on gawker

My own brother had this to say.

Mostly, I'm admiring the entire scenario as a perfect encapsulation of how I believe a portion of the populace has viewed the post-Survivor/ Richard Hatch era of pointless celebrity. And, as countless other navel-gazers have concluded in regards to the sort of Z-level fame and meritless notoriety sought by the those such as Heene: this isn't actual celebrity.

There's no word for what this is, but if eskimos have a few dozenw ords for snow, for the number of fame-seeking jack-asses there are in the world, we need a word that better describes the Z-Level fame via reality show. You know... the kind of famous that earns you a life being known as "Juice-a-Licious" from your run on "Flava of Love" or assuming people will know or care who you are because you were a jackass on Survivor six years ago.

There's no real name for that kind of fame. Please send in your ideas.

What's so beautiful about the Balloon Boy story is how jumbo-sized hubris, ineptitude and counting on a six year old to keep a story straight spun out into a yarn that, if you made it up, people wouldn't buy it... And now, when and if the tale is folded into someone's TV movie of the week or Oscar winning picture, what with charges filed, nobody actually needs to pay Heene for his side of the story. And Papa Heene may well wind up in jail (and will most certainly go broke on legal costs).

Sounds like a Coen Bros. project to me.

The Gawker article blames "us", which I don't buy. If we hear a kid is pilotlessly drifting across the Colorado sky in a runaway balloon, we're going to tune in every once in a while to see if that kid is okay. The dimensions of our displays don't matter. Yes, "we" watched a balloon floating across the landscape (well, I didn't. I saw the headline and then walked into a two hour training presentation, and by the time I was done, it was all over). That's like blaming "us" for Baby Jessica falling down a well back in the 80's.

Yes, it was something exploited by Heene, but there is more than voyeurism in this, or guilt the media should feel for breaking a live story. "We" don't need to feel shame for clicking on a hyperlink to understand a headline in bright yellow at the top of I understand that because Heene fooled us, Gawker is trying to turn that into a "we should have known better" story of personal shame, but... I'm not buying it this time. There are a lot of things "we" should have known better than that nobody has bothered to shame anybody about.

Reality TV isn't what created someone like Heene, but it did make the myopic pursuit of fame-by-any-means-necessary seem like it may have a greater likelihood of success, once you realized you may lack any actual talent. And, it cut out the middle-man of asking people to love a character, and let them get right to the business of loving you directly. Had Heene's grasp not over-extended his reach, no doubt he would be cutting a deal with somebody right now to feature his wacky family and their exploits. Unfortunately, in believing he and his brood were smarter than, apparently, literally everyone in Colorado and/ or America, he screwed up. (Not to mention appearing twice before on TV, pitching shows about his family to basic cable networks, and leaving a trail of videos seemingly demonstrating exactly what sort of jackass he was molding his children into).

If any of the Heene kids wanted a chance at not ending up in the fail column, maybe humiliation and a little jail time for their old man on a national scale will give them a moment of pause before they decide they, too, can outsmart laws of physics and a background check.

Heene's actions weren't harmless (all the resources that had to be brought forth to deal with the situation), and had he succeeded, if he was willing to exploit his kids in this situation, what would have been next? If the book is thrown at him, so be it. And if it gives the next idiot inflating a balloon and actually sticking his kid into the balloon a moment of pause, all the better.

I think Jason posited that people were mad at the Heene's because they had become invested in the gripping story of danger that turned out to be false, but I'd suggest that was only part of the story. That may be true, but its also possible there is a population out there who doesn't buy the E! channels narrative, or that of the Insider, Entertainment Tonight, etc... and who have grown quite tired of the cult of celebrity and the past decade's insistence that we know about people like Richard Hatch, Kardashians, the awful New York woman of VH1, any Real Housewife in any city, Jon & Kate and a thousand just like them. And seeing someone cut down before they had an opportunity to pop up on our Yahoo News page, in our headlines on, etc... that they somehow managed to take care of themselves sits okay with many of us.

Sorry your dad is going to jail, Balloon Boy. God bless you for doing what kids do so often and telling some part of the truth. Lord knows CNN barely bothers with it anymore. Heck, Wolf Blitzer was so baffled he didn't even have a line of questioning he could follow immediately when the cat was out of the bag and wandering around the table.


I would get this, but Jamie's patience with me is thin as it is.


But, yes, I would like to see how far one could take a TR impersonation around town. Its too bad congress is no longer in session...