Calling all Leaguers!

Melbotis (Mel-boh-dis) Perkins is a 116 lb. golden retriever dedicated to Truth, Justice and the American Way.

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

Comics, superheroes, giant robots, doggies, space ships, movies, personal journal, schadenfreude.

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    Items of import:
  • Nanostalgia: Collaborative Media Review
  • Melbotis Store! Melbotis items at CafePress
  • Phoenix Suns
  • University of Texas Football

  • Leaguers:
  • Dedman's site
  • Cowgirl Funk
  • Adventures of Steanso
  • Steven G. Harms
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  • Distorted Veracity
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  • Houstonist
  • Digest: TST
  • Natalie

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  • cbgblog

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  • Dave's Long Box
  • Return to Comics
  • Comic Blog Legion
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  • Wonder Woman Museum
  • Emerald Dawn
  • Superman is a...
  • Hulk's Diary

  • Some sites worth looking into:
  • Arizona Rollerderby
  • Dames in the Media The League Once Dug
  • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Why Superman?
  • Texas Public Radio
  • Lunchtime with The League
  • Eddie Johnson's Jump Shot Club
  • Lileks
  • retroCRUSH

  • Blogs taken at the suggestion of others:
  • Mr. Jones
  • NFL Draft Review
  • The Black Table
  • Hammer!


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    The League Totally $@%*ing Sells Out!

    Are You HOT or NOT?

    Saturday, July 30, 2005  

    The League goes to see these movies because we know you won't...

    After having watched commercials for a few weeks and noting Lynda "Wonder Woman" Cater was in the film, The League did some crafty maneuvering and tricked Jamie into going to see Disney's new teen super feature "Sky High".

    Sky High is pretty much, beat for beat, what one would expect if you've seen the trailers. The movie is pretty much a lot of elements from lots of coming-of-age movies tied in with a Harry Potter-lite element. The movie is riding the superhero trend, more in the vein of Incredibles than Spider-Man.

    The movie follows Will Stronghold, child of two of the greatest superheroes on earth (an earth which is well fortified with super beings, it is suggested) as he leaves the public school system to start his Freshman year at Sky High, a school for the children of super powered folks. The school is there to prepare these kids to follow in their parent's footsteps.

    Nothing is really made of Will wanting to buck the family tradition, which is a relief. A character wishing for a humdrum life when he can shoot lasers out of his eyes might make for compelling inner monologue in a comic, but it's a tough sell to kids 3-12. Nor does it make for the best use of the filmic medium. Instead, he's much more concerned about not being able to live up to the legacy his father (and, apparently, grandpa) have established before him.

    Will's parents are the Commander (Super Strength) and Jetstream (karate-wielding flier), but Will has not yet shown any powers himself. Of course, there's a lovely girl who likes him whom he hasn't noticed except as friend (which seems like an odd-bit of science fiction as she's quite pretty), and the pretty, popular girl whose attention he soon wants to get. Due to the fact that Will's powers don't seem to be materializing, Will is tossed in with "Hero Support" aka "Sidekicks", the folks with superpowers so negligible that they're destined for a life of assisting folks with better powers (can you see the direction this is going?).

    The movie is directed towards two audiences. 1: Kids who will watch anything with people shooting fire out of their eyes (ie Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) and, 2: The Parents of the Kids who will actually get the jokes in the movie.

    Watching the movie in a near full house as we did, I sincerely got the feeling the parents (especially the dads) were enjoying the movie more than their kids. And maybe that wasn't a mistake. The main characters may all be high-school aged kids, but the teachers include two members of Kids in the Hall, Lynda Carter, Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell and Cloris Leechman. And, perhaps befitting, the adults in the film seem to have taken the roles because most of them are really pretty funny.

    Kurt Russell's "Commander" is given to ham-handed hero speak, in a sort of too-thought out attempt at speechifying (a Kurt Russell we've all sort of missed in recent years). Dave Foley plays an instructor for the Sidekicks, teaching sidekick skills and still milking his glory days as the long forgotten "All-American Boy". Kevin McDonald plays the "Mad Science" instructor with the two foot cranium. Bruce Campbell is the coach, and Cloris Leechman plays the school doctor (with X-Ray vision). And Lynda Carter is... Lynda Carter. Does she really need to be anything else?

    Will kids think word problems involving flying superheroes are funny? Well, the adults seemed to like it. Will they understand why 12-story robots are inherently funny? No. Their still in a phase where 12-story robots are a dangerous threat. And, you know what? That's okay.
    (ed note: I loved the gaint robot sequence. There just aren't enough giant robots in movies)

    The prerequisite points about friendship, self-worth and avoiding popular girls are made in a manner slightly less embarrassing than in the typical Teen-Wolf film. Will kids get a lot of the snide commentary on high-school culture the film's producers slip in? Probably not. Well, maybe.

    In one last hint that the movie is also catering to parents, the soundtrack is largely composed of 80's tunes, including an unlikely cover of the Talking Heads' "And She Was". Of course I say that, and I think the kids these days are nuts for the 80's so they might really dig a new version fo "Voices Carry".

    Ed side note: Yesterday a troop of girls I saw walking across the Target parking lot looked like 1985 had barfed them up like an overripe hairball. Jamie suggested they were headed for a costume party, but that seemed a little high-concept. Plus, here in AZ it's the first week of school, so all the kids are in "fashion week" where they're breaking in their new personality they bought over the summer. (I miss having to break in really dark blue jeans that felt like they were made out of card-board tubes)

    As a whole, the movie works just fine. It's nothing I'm going to be modeling my life after, but I might watch it again at some point on cable. It's nothing I'm going to recommend "YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM". But it's also not the piece of junk I was more or less expecting.

    Don't expect anything too amazing, and don't be shocked when some of the FX are a bit hokey. But also give the producers some credit for showing a love for the material.

    Now, for an added bonus: The League rants about nerds/ jocks in comics

    Probably due to the overwhelming popularity of Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel has been publishing a spate of comics starring teen-agers. The excuse is: Teen-agers are learning about themselves and it's much more fertile territory.

    The problem is this: The only story they ever bother to tell is apparently the one which resonates most with comic fans. Nerd gets bullied by "idiot jock", nerd stumbles into amazing powers, nerd gets cheap, violent revenge. Or not. But the common thread is that there's some enormous moose in the hallway at school seemingly torturing our poor, helpless hero who has undiscovered poetry in his/ her soul and is looking for an opportunity to unleash it (and impress the pretty girl/ guy).

    Ugh. It's bad enough that this is the perception of "how things are in high school", but let's be honest... everyone is a jerk to everyone else at that age. You don't need enormous "jocks" picking on "nerds" for 15-17 year olds to start bugging each other. And, secondly, the people buying these comics are how old? And they're still picking this stuff up?

    I can take some of it. I do, after all, enjoy most of Ultimate Spider-Man. And the nebbish dweeb reveals amazing abilities was the basis for Action Comics #1. I even don't mid reading teen-books (I pick up Teen Titans). BUT, get a new origin. No more jock-pummeling wish fulfillment. Spider-Man did it first and did it better.

    Oh, and Narnia Rant: I really want to see this movie. But I need to read the book first.

    11:07 PM |

    Friday, July 29, 2005  

    Soooo... The week began with four Scout leaders at the Boyscout Jamboree getting electrocuted sticking a tent pole into a power line. Article.

    Later in the week, El Presidente was running late due to weather issues and hundreds of Boy Scouts were taken down by oppressive heat at the Jamboree. Article.

    And then today a Scout Leader was killed by a lightning bolt. Article.

    Indeed, Scouts are not having The Best Week Ever. That, and if you're not quite a Cub Scout and not quite a Boy Scout, you're called a Webelo. And that's just awful.

    11:29 PM |

    Speaking of comics...

    The Onion A.V. section has two interviews this week with comic writers The League is fairly familiar with.

    The first interview is with Brian K. Vaughn. I'm reading the collections of Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina, and highly, highly recommend both series. Vaughn is a uniquely thoughtful writer, looking at big picture/ fantastic ideas and then making them believable and human.

    If you don't normally pick up comics and you aren't too keen on superheroes, I'd probably have no trouble putting Y: The Last Man in your hands. In fact, I am going to break the fourth wall here and directly suggest that Maxwell might really enjoy this book.

    Steanso or Jim D. seem like Ex Machina type-of-guys.

    Interview #2 is with Geoff Johns, a minor diety in the DCU proper.

    I first really noticed Johns on either JSA or Flash. I can't remember which. But I've been reading his comics for about 3 - 4 years. I actually remember sitting in the Austin airport waiting for Jamie to come back from her interview in AZ while reading "Flash: Blood Will Run" and thinking "Yeah, I DO like this Johns guy."

    Johns also got me reading Hawkman, something I was sure would simply never happen, delivered with a new Teen Titans series in a way the more recent DC teen books hadn't come close to touching. He's now working on Infinite Crisis with Phil Jimenez, which is the big comics event this year. (I also have to mention, I really, really dig Jimenez's work. Sure, it's a lot like Perez, but his Wonder Woman comics were just astounding to look at. And, Jimenez got me reading WW, which is something I never thought I'd do.)

    Anyway, check out the interviews. Good stuff, even if Johns' interview sort of necessitates some prior knowledge.

    8:29 PM |

    Thursday, July 28, 2005  
    So, everybody wish Steanso the best of luck.

    I am sorry to say that due to several factors having nothing to do with his own performance, Friday is Steanso's final day at his current law firm. He's exiting stage left, and I hope that when he goes, he's going to leave them aghast and filled with horror. Sadly, I suspect that he will not rise to the occasion and will probably be civil about the whole deal.


    I haven't been writing as much as I'd like. I feel like I need to write something comicbook related as it's been a while.

    The only thing I can work up the energy for at the moment is Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Especially the OMAC Project and the tie-in issues of Superman and Wonder Woman. I don't want to say much, but I highly recommend the OMAC series and the JUly issues of all three Superman comics and Wonder Woman. The storyline is called "Sacrifice". Check it out. Should have significant ramifications in the DCU world for quite some time.

    Also, I've been diving into longboxes at comic shops lately and looking for back-issues of Superman. It's been fun. The comics are just written from an entirely different era, and era in which the events of Sacrifice would never even be imaginable. But there's still value in these older stories. There's a lot of imagination in these comics and a real focus on fun and directly entertaining an all-ages audience. For me, the Superman comics from this era have a terrific charm.

    Looking at the dates on the comics is a bit mind-boggling as you can really see DC comics stayed locked in the same groove right up to Crisis on Infinite Earths that it had built in the 1960's. While Clark was worrying about whether he should marry Lois or Lana for the 200th time, Frank Miller was introducing Elektra and cooking up Dark Knight Returns.

    In other topics, I've been watching a lot of NASA Channel. The launch of the Discovery has been fantastic television, including the docking with the ISS and the somersault Eileen pulled off today.

    And, lastly, I never got in my $0.02 on Lance's 7th victory at the Tour de France.

    Well, it's all been said now, but that makes the achievement no less astounding. Like everyone else, I never paid any attention to cycling until Lance started winning tours, and I certainly never cared about drafting or time trials or any of the rest of it. We've now got our Babe Ruth of cycling. Or maybe Mohammad Ali. I dunno.

    Looking forward to seeing what the ma does with the rest of us his life as he's only a year older than Steanso.

    Congrats, Lance.

    Oh, and I watched my first Phoenix Mercury game. That's WNBA, kids. Apparently we sucked until recently. Then our players came in from Europe, and we're much better now. At one point we were up on the LA Sparks by 30 points.

    I am now a huge fan of European players Vodichkova and Stepanova. Vodichkova scored 24 points before taking the bench with 6 minutes or so left in the game.

    I'm tired.

    Best of luck, Steanso.

    There's always work at the post office. Go get a haircut.

    9:53 PM |

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.

    8:14 AM |

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005  

    Jamie... I am sorry to report that High-Fiving White Guy has been traded.

    Suns trade Voshkul to Charlotte

    The key to the Suns' success this season was not the outstanding play of MVP Steve Nash or the astounding ability of Marion or Stoudemire. No, the glue that held the team together was the same mysterious force who ensured that the Suns bench would never defy gravity and fly off into the troposphere.

    All season long Voshkul kept Bo Outlaw company in the furthest reaches of Benchland, firmly planted upon the pine a few minutes walk from Mike D'Antoni. When Stoudemire or Nash came in from play, especially at a time-out, Voshkul would rise and high-five them. He also performed high-fiving duties when Quentin Richardson or Shaun "The Matrix" Marion would hit a three-pointer. These high-fives were usually with Bo Outlaw.

    I wish High-Fiving White Guy a tremendous future in Charlotte. He is sure to bring a lot of spirit to a rather languid bench and will, no doubt, team his own mass with the native gravity of Earth to marry the bench to the floor for another season.

    4:30 PM |

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005  

    Perhaps only funny to those of us who own a cat.

    7:44 PM |

    The Shuttle returns to orbit.

    11:49 AM |

    Monday, July 25, 2005  
    All-Star Batman and Robin Review

    Hey, here's another review of All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder from in the imcomparable Return to Comics.

    10:12 PM |

    The League Journeys to BMT
    a full report

    As Jamie and I drove away from the airport today, heading home from our fabulous weekend, Jamie turned to me and said, "You really can't write anything funny about the weekend. Jim will hang himself."

    True enough, I suppose. But the weekend was terribly fun, even if my personal amusement was at the expense and discomfort of others. Why? It's always about The League, here at The League.

    This fine weekend, The League dumped off the pets at the PetsMart PetsHotel, jumped a plane and took a small journey to Spring, TX. We then popped over to Beaumont for the first ever Assemblage of Loyal Leaguers.

    We arrived in Houston on Thursday, just in time for dinner. Had dinner with The League's parental units in their palatial suburban abode, hung out and rapped for a bit, and then toddled off to bed.

    Friday was a day of slack. The League crawled out of bed, lurched downstairs and came face to face with young Kelsey B., my folk's two-year-old next door neighbor. Kelsey is about 22" of pure dynamo, and we're all expecting big things out of her.

    Dad and I sort of puttered and drank coffee, tried to do a headcount of who the hell all was coming to dinner my mother had planned, and then Jamie and I took to the pool at the Spring, TX annex of League HQ. The pair of us bobbed and floated, took in some daylight (which, refreshingly, wasn't cooking the meat off of our bones) and then chilled. The Admiral and I set sail for ice cream and ice, and made a side-trip for me over to Bedrock City Comics (a fine, fine chain of comic shops in Houston) where I picked up the seminal "Last Superman Story" issue, a signed John Bryne comic and a TPB of "Stray Toasters" which I had been looking for for about 15 years.

    The admiral shook his head in disappointment and we headed for Kroger to get Vanilla and Magic Shell.

    Loyal Leaguers Shannon C. and Josh Q. Lowry showed up first, followed quickly by John and Julie B. (married just this spring). Jason arrived in short order with Cassidy the three-legged dog in tow. Completing the massing, Peabo arrived with his long-suffering wife and utterly confused sister-in-law (who is in our fair nation studying up on her English).

    I tried to catch up with as many folks as possible, but it was a bit of physical challenge, given how I hadn't seen most of the folks represented in many months. Nonetheless, the company of all in attendance was appreciated. We staye dup too late and talked possibly too much.

    Saturday we all finally got out of bed, showered, ate and hit the road for BMT.

    As Loyal Leaguers will be able to tell you, Jim D. is involved with the Board of Directors at Beaumont's historical Jefferson Theater. He's been involved with the Summer Film Series at the Jefferson, and, as such, had secured a print of the director's cut of the 1978 film masterpiece, Superman: The Movie.

    With Steanso, Jamie and The League in one car, and Peabo, wife and sister-in-law in the other, we made it to BMT far later than originally planned. But that's the magic of trying to politely wrangle that many people, all of whom are there because they want to say hello to you, and all of whom have said they want to go along with your hare-brained scheme to see the Superman movie.

    Well, something also got lost in the translation (literally) as Jeff explained to Adriana and Lucy that we were going to a Sneak Preview of "the new Superman movie." Jeff's not a "details" sort of guy, I suppose, and the change fo plans didn't bother him. Further, he'd promised a beach to Adriana and Lucy, but a beach was not to be had. Alas.

    Anyhoo, our merry troop met up with Jim D. and at Carlo's Ristorante in Beaumont, and for the first time, I met RHPT.

    Firstly, Randy is exactly the same height I thought he'd be. No taller nor shorter. Nor larger nor smalled. His photographs pretty much tell the whole picture. What the photos can't convey is that Randy's a very nice, sharp guy with an odd tale to tell about a flood in his house.

    We had a lovely lunch at Carlo's, then headed over to Jim's preferred comic shop, at which I found a few Superman comics which I snatched up immediately. One of which was the classic "Kryptonite No More" comic from back in the day, which I suspect was a bit underpriced.

    From there we took a colorful tour of the back streets of BMT, trying to get around a train. I thought maybe Jim planned to kill us all and dump our bodies in the tall grass, but we eventually did located the Jefferson Theater.

    The Stately Jefferson Theater

    The Marquee announcing a line-up sure to make fanboys wet themselves

    Let me state that The Jefferson easily rivals Austin's Paramount Theater in it's decor and venerable charm.

    We entered the lobby to the sound of pipe-organ music, which Steanso pointed out was playing "YMCA". The Jefferson employs an organist, a wonderful gentleman we had opportunity to speak with, who also had music for Superman, which he had mastered.

    I was disappointed only in that I don't live in BMT and will not be there in the next few weeks for the Wild West Series which he has promised to preceed with "The Magnificent Seven" and other great themes from some of my favorite movies.

    There was a very nice man playing the organ, but, clearly, he was not playing when I went downstairs to get a picture.

    We were also referred to a few pizza joints in town and told to ask for specific organists. So Jamie and I are actually going to go to Pipe Organ Pizza this weekend if Lou is playing. Should be fun.

    Jim suggested we go to the balcony for the best view and to get a nice, old-timey theatrical experience, so we went upstairs and selected some seats.

    Included in this shot are some of the pipes to the pipe organ. Plus an idea of how nice the interior is at the Jefferson. Shot, I might add, from the balcony.

    Jamie demonstrates the proper enthusiasm for Superman: The Movie

    The lights dimmed, we took our seats and the movie began.

    Look, sometimes things happen nobody can control, and, people, it's not Jim's fault. But just as the Planet Krypton exploded into a radioactive mass, hurling kryptonite chunks to the far reaches of space, the projector died. Or, more accurately, the shutter broke on the projector.

    The organist leapt back to his position and kids began dancing around the theater, some family stole our seats and Randy fell asleep, complaining of exhuastion.

    Steanso eagerly awaits the next reel of the film.

    But, as I say, sometimes things happen.

    Sadly, the film could not be shown, and we all got refunds.

    The League Assembles!
    left to right,, Steanso, Lucy, Adriana, Peabo, Mrs. League

    Jim had some business to take care of at the theater, so we abandoned him and took our ticket money and headed for Crockett Street where we holed up for the next few hours and drank beer and chatted.

    All said, we had a really good time talking to Jim and meeting Randy. It was a heck of a lot of fun to actually see each other and not rely on comments sections and e-mail to communicate.

    Jim has apologized, and it's totally unnecessary. He's a champ for getting the film in the first place, and we all apprecaite the work he did. Sometimes technical glitches happen.

    Anyhoo, we were SUPPOSED to fly out Sunday morning, but Jamie wasn't feeling well at all, so we delayed and flew out today instead.

    So, long story short, I spent Sunday chilling out with my mom.

    Anyway, thanks again to all Loyal Leaguers who could participate, and special thanks to Jim for making the whole thing possible. You're #1 in my book.

    Why city authorities have requested Superman just fly over intersections instead of pressing the button and waiting for the cross-walk.

    9:59 PM |

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