Friday, June 25, 2004

the Lynda Carter 1970's television series Wonder Woman comes to DVD next week.

As Loyal Leaguers might imagine, The League is in no small way intrigued by Wonder Woman. Here's something that might probably get me beaten up over by the bike racks after school: I read Wonder Woman. I do. I really like Wonder Woman. She's got an invisible jet, she's into tying people up, and she wears next to nothing while saving the world. Seriously, given those qualifications, what's not to like?

Some of my earliest memories include Wonder Woman twirling her way into different outfits. I always wished she'd do the same on Superfriends, but it never happened. Superfriends Wonder Woman couldn't twirl, so great was the weight of the Aquanet. Not so with the beautiful Lynda Carter.

Lynda Carter suddenly makes me interested in computer technology of the late 70's...

The series isn't great by any standard, but dammit, I'm hard pressed to think of a better collection of videos than Lynda Carter solving crimes. Incidentally, Lynda Carter graduated from my employing university. Little trivia for you.

I don't recommend folks new to comics necessarily pick up Wonder Woman, but I do find it to be a good read. And if girls are looking for an action hero, my friends, here she is.

These days, Wonder Woman is more or less portrayed as a Warrior Princess sort of person... but not in the Xena mode, and almost never tongue-in-cheek. She's a bad-ass to be reckoned with, just about as tough as Superman, but with a worse temper. Anyway, it's always a fun read for me (Greg Rucka is currently writing...) and while I miss Phil Jiminez's Perez inspired take, this run ain't so bad.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

THanks to Jamie, Laura, Jason, Juan and numerous others who have all sent me this link.

Super strong baby.
Jim has, as promised, submitted his entries to the 2004 Mellies. Good for Jim. He's not the rat that the rest of you are who have not yet submiited a nomination of any kind. Some of you are rattier than others, especially people whose names rhyme with "dandy."

Thanks to Jim. I was wondering how long it would take before Fillmore showed up on the list of Presidents we just don't know enough about. I was disappointed to see Jim doesn't see the crystalline beauty in a democratic process where Al Sharpton can even manage to get his name on a ballot. I weep for Jim sometimes.

If Maxwell really loves me (and I know she does), she will rush down to Midtown Comics at Grand Central and get Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and Judd Winick to sign me some comics. If you can only get one, get Geoff to sign an issue of "The Flash" for me. If two, then get Rucka to sign the newer issues of Adventures of Superman. I am aware that seems to run counterintuitive, but I really like Johns' work on Flash and JSA.

Signing at Midtown Comics Grand Central
(very first signing at the new store!)
Thursday, June 24th from 5pm-7pm

Judd Winick, by the way, is the dorky cartoonist from the LA Season of The Real World (just before the show turned into 21 Year Old Hanky Panky Fest). It was the one with Pablo and Puck, I think. Judd now works for Marvel and DC. He's currently working on some Batman comics.
I forgot to mention my 1.2 seconds of fame.

Last Halloween, a household down the street from us participated in TLC's daily show about straightening up your junk entitled: Clean Sweep.

Clean Sweep basically has a host who is this blonde with a pretty bad eye-job (seriously, if she didn't have eye-work done, I'm Winston Churchill), a carpenter and a "professional organizer."

Embodying why the rest of the world hates the US, the people living in these houses have just accumulated too much stuff and delight in THAT being their biggest problem. Golf balls. Cabbage Patch kids. There's actually a common theme of too many toys for kids ages 1-4.

And, basically, these people dwell in heaps of items bought and never used. But they don't have the heart to toss away the stuff, nor the sense of mind to drive it to Salvation Army.

So they bring a lady in who basically throws away their stuff and gives them shelves. That's it. It's totally dumb.

Anyway, part of the show entails people having a garage sale in which they sell their used junk, and so Jamie and I wandered down the street to see the garage sale. I was pretty sure if I involved Mel we'd get some screen time, but even as I was signing the release papers so I could be on TV scrounging through these people's leftover plastic and moldy books, I got a sort of sinking feeling. I knew I was never going to buy enough of this useless crap to make it on TV for any length of time, and Mel was pretty much unwelcome.

At any rate, I bought what I think is a rare novelization fo the first Star Wars movie, and Jamie bought some lamp we threw away about a week after we brought it home. But we never did see the show. Until Tuesday night. I watched for forty minutes, and then, all too briefly, you can hear someone yell "Wanna buy a lamp?" And I turn and look at the lamp, as if to say "Are you serious?" Jamie is in the background of the shot looking on, and Mel is sort of waddling through the bottom of the shot. The total shot lasts about 1.5 seconds. If that.

So that's it. My brush with fame. C'est la vie.

It'll be interesting in a few years when they finally take me down, how Access Hollywood or somebody is going to locate that one second of footage and keep replaying it in slow motion to demonstrate my evil.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Who should be Superman in the next movie?

It's a question which plagues Super-nerds like myself. I, of course, open the floor and the comments section to any and all opinions. I liked Reeve and Reeves. Very different, but both great.

MSNBC asks the same question.

Tom Welling is probably my pick, if we can't get the greatest American alive, Dennis Haysbert.

So I ask Loyal Leaguers... who would look good in a blue unitard to you?
Apparently Lollapalooza 2004 has been cancelled.

I can't say I'm suprised.

I did have a very cool mother who let her two sons hop in their one son's barely functioning car and make an odd journey from Houston to Austin to Dallas, all in one day, so we could go to the first Lollapalooza. The line-up was pretty good, and a nice yardmarker for what was the music of the day.

Butthole Surfers
Rollins Band
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Jane's Addiction

And I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody. But this was before the festival had all the different stages and took up a land mass the size of Rhode Island. I went for the next few years, but became progressively less interested in the bands. I was never an Alice in Chains kind of guy, and by the time Metallica was headlining... I mean, please... Of course, I think that meant I missed Devo.

But I did get to see acts I would have otherwise missed. Front 242. Jesus and Mary Chain. Nick Cave. Other fun stuff.

And I most certainly would have gone to this year's show but for a few items.

1) It's insanely hot here in the summer, and I do not want to stand outside all day.
2) Jamie doesn't care about most of the acts, and wouldn't be that interested.
3) I couldn't figure out who from Phoenix would go with me, if not Jamie
4) I'm old

I am. I'm old. I have shit to do. I mean, I want to make time to go goof off for a day and see some great acts from my angry youth, but a whole day?

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear this got cancelled, but I do find it funny they basically said "yeah, once they're older than 23, they kind of don't like standing out in the heat all day."
If you're not watching Joe Schmo on Spike! TV, you're probably missing the most fun reality show on TV right now. They're only on episode 2 as of last night, so you have plenty of time to catch up. And believe me, it's not so complicated that you're not going to be able to follow.

Turns out my student worker, Scott "Scoot"/"Scotty", was once in a student improv group with "Eleanor" from the show. He didn't say much about her, except "it's weird, because she's not like that." Lord, I hope not.

Next week, The League is taking a much deserved rest and heading for Minnesota, land of 10 bajillion lakes. If you want to find us, we'll be here.

I don't really fish. I've only fished four or five times in my life. And I don't eat meat if I can help it, so I don't know that I'll be doing much fishing. But I do plan to bob around in a boat for a week watching the loons float over the lake.

Anyway, The League will be on hiatus, so I will redirect you all to my blogroll during that time.

Clinton's memoirs came out yesterday, but until it's in paperback and until I hear a decent review of the book, I'm not very inclined to pick it up. I voted for the man the one election in which I could, and I followed the misadventures of the Clintons with the rest of the country for the term of Bill's presidency. It's probably a worthwhile memoir to have. Just not yet, for me.

If anything, the interviews Clinton is giving on his book tour seem as interesting as any book is going to be. The left-leaning media is constantly fishing for him to bash the current administration, and the right-leaning folks are keeping quiet thus far, I guess. At least I haven't heard anything. But the whole thing is dredging up a lot of bad memories.

But it is nice to remember we had a President in the recent past who can form a complete sentence. And that's about as political as I feel like getting right now.

You know those commericals where somebody joins Bally's gym and in 30 days, they're suddenly sexy? I am getting none of that effect. But I also am overweight for real, not TV overweight. I'm the dude who would have been called "Tubs" or "Chubby" in an old 1940's western. People like me do not become sexy after joining a gym for a month.

And this should tell Randy why I would not dress as Superman for the annual Superman celebration, should I ever attend.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

whoa. A real supervillain.
Two things

1) And so it begins... And now for the long, painful descent we all knew was coming.

2) Apparently MTV is now running a commercial (I did not know this until last night) of a cartoon history of "bling-bling". This commerical also pronounces the phrase dead (although they say it died in 2003...). The cartoon is hilarious, and if anyone knows where to download it from, I would greatly appreciate a link.

It is nice to know I am not alone in this.
Yesterday sucked like a mighty black hole.

Really. It was awful.

At 10:30 on Sunday night, my woes began. I didn't get to sleep until 2:00am, and getting up for work (which I was an hour late for) made me feel just plain crummy all day.

The work day was sort of nightmarish, and then about 9:00 last night I ate one of my new "Philly Cheesesteak" Gardenburgers to try and get some protein in my body. In general, I like Gardenburgers. THis one was terrible. I woke up this morning pretty much convinced I was going to heave. I didn't.

My work woes, which I was unsure had by-passed me, were no longer present when I showed up today, and by 9:00, the fake-Philly Cheesesteak Gardenburger nausea has passed.

I miss real meat sometimes.

The bottom line is: When your servers go down, people get really pissy.
Hey Everybuddy,

Nordstrom has posted his nominations for the 2004 Mellies. God bless the little tyke for participating.

It occurs to me that I'm probably going to lose track of these nominations if they just appear on your blog. So you might want to e-mail them to Mel as well.

You can use the address over yonder


or Write to Melbotis

Monday, June 21, 2004

most important .mov file ever...

I'm in negotiations with the wife to attend next year.

To dream the impossible dream.
The 2004 Mellies are stirring up no small amount of controversy. In order to clear up some of the questions/issues/whatever... The League offers the following:

1) The 2004 Mellies are not a contest anyone can win. We're looking for nominations, but unless you are, say, the most loathsome celebrity, you're not winning anything. We're just looking for nominations so everyone can vote.

2) It's not that NOBODY sent in any nominations thus far. It's that nobody good sent in any nominations thus far. Except for Jill. We LOVE Jill here at The League.

3) Randy has decided to get in a huff over being singled out. He has taken his proverbial ball and gone to his proverbial home.

4) The last day to submit nominations was supposed to be the 30th, but I think I'll be bobbing on a lake in Minnesota, trying to catch some fish on the 30th, so it'll be sometime after all that.

5) If you live in Japan and feel culturally our of touch with US Pop Culture, feel free to submit whatever you like. We got no hard and fast rules here at The League.

In other news... sometime Saturday evening the end of my nose began to feel a bbit tender. On Sunday, it was reddish. Sunday night it was really getting reddish.

During the course of the day on Sunday I tried Jamie's Biore strips twice in order to try to unclog pores, etc...

Alas, this morning my nose was way worse than it was. I tried another Biore strip, which appeared to just take a layer of skin off my nose. It being a workday, I've soldiered on. Within two minutes of arriving, my co-worker Tom announced, "Hey, you look like... Yeah! You look like Roger Rabbit!"

It is not going to be a high self-esteem kind of day.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

It doesn't look like the Squawkbox is working. Sorry, team. No idea what's going on there. In fact, didn't look like it was working, either, so who knows.

anyway, hope everyone had a good weekend. I noticed NOBODY has entered a nomination to the 2004 Mellies. You're all ungrateful bastards.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Leaguers, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't plug Free Comic Book Day.

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is an annual event held by many comic shops across the country, and supported by comic book publishers, both large and small. Essentially, it is what it sounds like... kind of.

The publishers select a few titles from among their imprint. Usually these items will be one from each of their various demographics. For example, DC might print up a free Justice League Adventures comic based upon the cartoon series for younger kids. Teenagers might get Superman or Batman. 17 and up might get a Vertigo book, like Y: The Last Man.

I think DC is actually doing a Teen Titans, Go! free comic. I hear the Go! comic is actually pretty good.

Anyway, the point is, as long as you take one of each, the comics are FREE. Now, with all the different publishers participating, it turns into an event where you can walk out the door with about 10-15 free comics. Not bad. That's about $25 - 45 dollars worth of stuff.

The idea, of course, is for retailers to also vacuum their store for once already, and put up some cool displays of items folks might want to buy. And in the two years they've done FCBD, many shops have done okay with it. There were so many people, the event sort of had a carnival like atmosphere where I went. Of course, both times I happened to be at Austin Books on Lamar in Austin, which is an amazing comic shop.

So keep FCBD in mind as something to do on Saturday in two weeks. Heck, it's on July 4th weekend (FCBD = July 3rd), so it's just something fun to do after you've seen Spider-Man 2 and aren't quite ready to go out and Bar BQ.

And, Maxwell... NYC has some of the best shops in the country, and may have signings from big-name talent as the big-name talent gravitates mostly toward NYC. Or used. If you see Pual Levitz, give him my name. I command you to go to Midtown Comics and see what's going down.

Thanks to Randy for reminding me to say something about this day, which I assume will soon become a National Holiday... like Christmas or Arbor Day.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The League does not speak Spanish.

Two years of public education Spanish and one day of college Spanish (I dropped out the first day as the teacher ONLY would speak in Spanish... and I had nooooo idea what was going on), and to this day, at best, I can read signs and occasionally make out some very basic Spanish if I read it.

I briefly began to learn Spanish in 1994 when I did not have cable and the only station I could tune in was Univision. My roommates and I became swept up in some Telenovella, and after a few days, you do begin to pick up on a few things. Not much, but some stuff. Somehow the female stars of Univision were keeping us from wanting to (a) turn off the TV, or (b) get English channels.

Alas, someone went and bought a coaxial cable, English-language TV returned to our life, and the dream of becoming bilingual came to an end.

I also took a semester and a half of Italian. I was flunking Italian part 2 and had to drop. So, my last refuge was Danish, which is pretty much just drunken English. I got through it with a C and a B.

I can now proposition someone in the filthiest manner, order someone to shove something up their ass, and order a cup of coffee. Aside from that, my Danish is now a distant memory.

But last night I was flipping channels, and on Galavision (apparently a subsidiary of Univision, but for our purposes, a Spanish language TV channel), I saw the coolest thing ever.

I have no idea which program I was watching, but the show was a multitude of actors, all in weird make-up, with strings tied to their heads, re-enacting Thunderbirds.

For those of you not in the know, Thunderbirds was a television program starring a cast of marrionettes who were kind of a crack action-adventure team. There was usually a nefarious plot by a mad scientist, and the Thunderbirds would have to get in their very cool vehicles and race to the rescue. The puppetry in the show was about as good as you're going to expect out of marrionettes, I guess. Their mouths moved, their eyes rolled, but the whole feel of the show was kind of slow and weird. And they also had no problem intersplicing in close-up shots of real hands if they needed to show any sort of manual activity, such as opening a can, or playing with a Rubik's cube or whatever.

The coolest thing about the Galavision version was that the characters were humans, but the actors and director had committed to the Thunderbirds style. All of the actors had learned the walk (a sort of slow, bouncing motion as you go from point A to point B), knew that you never turn your head (you turn your whole body), and to speak, you only move your lower lip in a quick flapping motion. Also key, but slightly more subtle, you MUST walk everywhere with your arms either straight at your side, or bent 90 degrees at the elbow.

I have no idea why I find this so fascinating, but the fact that they were willing to re-make Thunderbirds as a live-action TV show, including all details right up to the strings coming out of the actor's heads, is just not the sort of thing you get on English speaking TV too often.

Curiously, Thunderbirds is being turned into a live action film in english, and directed by Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes. I have no idea why this is being funded, or how it can benefit from becoming a live-action movie, versus puppets.

Producer: So then I thought we'd have Tom Cruise play John Tracy!
Screen Writer: Yeah, he's got a good voice.
Producer: Voice?
Screen Writer: Yeah. THis is Thunderbirds.
Producer: Right! And it's going to have Tom Cruise in it!
Screen Writer: As the voice of John Tracy? Sounds good.
Producer: What the hell are you talking about?
Screen Writer: Thunderbirds is a licensed property. It's a puppet show. This script is for a puppet show.
Producer: Nobody is going to pay to watch puppets for 90 f**king minutes. SHit! Who else knows about this Thunderbirds show?
Screen Writer: Well, it's been in syndication on and off since the 60's...
Producer: Shit! I just spent $200,000 optioning this f**king puppet show! I can't spend $80 million on a f**king 90 minute puppet show! I wanted f**king Tom Cruise!
Randy steps up to the plate with another Super Rumor.

Can the WB actually put out a movie which respects it's franchise characters? Can they actually learn a thing from the multi-billion dollar success of Spider-Man?

If Catwoman is any evidence... Probably not.

I hope the rumor is true. The sooner they just make the darn movie, the sooner the pain will end. Right now it's like waiting to get hospital tape taken off.
SUPER thanks go out to JimD who provided this link.

The much hoped for arrival of Lois Lane on Smallville is now a reality. WHOO-HOOOOO!!!

Let's hope they cast her well. She's not only a fave-rave of The League, but she's possibly one of the four or five most important comic book characters of all time.
In lieu of creating any actual content, I've been editing and adding stuff like hyperlinks.

Go ahead and browse my blogroll down left, see if I don't have anybody listed that I probably should, and note the increase in fun and affordable links to other sites.
Special thanks to , and for plugging The 2004 Mellies.

Also, thanks to Jamie and Jill for actually submitting nominations.

No thanks to Randy, who has now gone into a huff and refuses to send in any nominations.

He will be taunted relentlessly in these pages until I get a nomination.

Nonetheless, he did send this bit today. The world gets odder and odder.

Will W be famous for saying America has fallen into a mayonnaise?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I don't even know what to say.

This should be a terrifically funny story, but it's not. It's scary.

Read here about The Swarm.
Some links to help you waste a few precious minutes of your miserable existence:

Titanic (re-enacted by bunnies in 30 seconds). Thanks to Randy for the link.

Best (free) online video game, ever. Thanks to Jamie for the link. (this is sort of the video game equivalent of the average student film...)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Introducing the "So Far, So What?" Awards


Leaguers, every year in late December or early January, better bloggers and publications than The League publish an end of the year re-cap of the year's entertainment, news, deaths, etc... It's usually done up in a "top five" or "top ten" list of the year. Or else just a "single best of the year" award for multiple categories.

Others publish stories on how stupid these lists are. Others publish relatiatory articles saying "nuh uh! It ain't stupid!" Too which, the first guy says "Oh, yeah it is!"

And it all ends in tears.

The truth is, everyone does much better lists than I'd ever compile, and since we're slightly more than half-way done with 2004, let's see where we're at.

The League is looking for submissions for "The 2004 Mellies."

Here's the rules for nominations:

1) All entries must contain a few words as to why your selection tops the category
2) No more than two selections per category per person.
3) Out of all entries, four will be selected for voting.
4) The nominated selections are selected by a complicated algorithm based upon number of repeat nominations and how funny the reasons are
5) Nominating ends June 30th.
6) Then we vote
7) We must submit a minimum of one nomination per category, or you may not nominate at all. Special Randy Rule: You may not complain that you don't know. Make something up if you have to.
8) Try to stick to things which were released or occurred since January 1, 2004. Try not to project into the future for things you have not yet seen or experienced.
9) Any reasons for any nominations you give may see print. Be sure you want your first name associated with your opinion before you start dropping the f-bomb all over the place.


1) Most loathsome celebrity (non-political)
2) Most loathsome television program
3) Most loathsome movie (theatrical release)
4) Most loathsome band/album/ song
5) Worst idea of the past 6 months
6) Best television commercial
7) Clearest, bluest day
8) Best candy
9) Least tragic event.
10) Worst blog topic at "League of Melbotis."
11) Best name for Jill's forthcoming child (sex is unknown. Submit one for each!)
12) Best item at Taco Bell
13) Most loathsome Democratic presidential nominee
14) Best book you read
15) Other blogs of wonder
16) Which former POTUS (President of the United States) do you know least about, but want to know more?

Sure, it's an unweildy list of categories, but I know you guys are up to it. Submit your nominations to me via e-mail. In early July, I'll post the voting and we can get cracking.

Sadly, there are no prizes for anybody this go round. Prizes are a huge hassle.

Monday, June 14, 2004


New Leaguers may not be familiar with what was once a staple of The League, and that's Toys That Should Not Be. TTSNB relies strongly on the adult collector market for toys, and is usually much more prevalent during Comic Convention Season as the toys are unveiled.

Now the problem I've had with TTSNB is that pretty much anything MacFarlane TOys puts out these days falls into this category. MacFarlane went from creating action toys of the popular Image Comics characters such as Spawn and... uh... I'm sure they've had other popular characters. But then they started this licensing jazz where they did very nice sculpts of movie properties, such as Hellraiser. And then they got bored as too few licenses were available or something, and they've moved into either public domain territory (ie: their horrific Wizard of Oz figures), and now into actual horror stories. Oh, and sports stars. They have a cool Yao figure I saw, but you have to assemble him as he's literally too tall for the packaging.

Which brings us to the curious case of the Elizabeth Bathory action figure. For those of you not in the know, Elizabeth Bathory was an Eastern European aristocrat who decided the best way to preserve her beauty was by bathing in a bathtub of the blood of young women (I'm not sure if they had to be virgins or not). At any rate, it is, in fact, a true story. And I kind of want to barf just thinking about it.

But MacFarlane toys not only thinks this is a neat story, they think you need this on the shelf next to your Chewbacca.

TTSNB proudly presents (oh, this is rated R, so scram out of here, you hooligans) the Elizabeth Bathory Action Figure and play set.

You can also see more real life horrors turned to action figures here. Note the "accessory pack". And the "Billy the Kid" action figure, while looking NOTHING like photos of the real deal, is one hell of a cool looking figure.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

bored to my toes, I blogged quite a bit over the weekend. Please inundate yourself with my boring reflections.

My abs hurt. Seriously. The gym is slowly killing me. I don't think my abs have hurt in years.

I am Ryan's abs.
Jim D., quite rightly, accuses me of relishing in schadenfreude in his un-review of Garfield: The Movie.

It's not that I like to see bad things happen to good people. It's that I enjoy seeing unfortunate things happen to people I like, especially when all that's at stake is cost of a ticket and the loss of two hours. It reminds me that it isn't just me.

Anyway, regarding Garfield...

I welcome Loyal Leaguers to read past my inane ramblings on pop-phraseology and get to the meat as Randy Reviews Garfield: The Movie. From what I hear, despite some bleeding from her tear ducts during the viewing of Garfield: The Movie, Emily is in stable condition and able to take visitors.
I humble myself before Maxwell who has more than fulfilled her end of the bargain and finally filled us all in as to what the big mystery was, but also because of mud pies and art.

God bless us, everyone.

I heard a bastardization somewhere today of the bling-bling. It was referred to as "the ching-ching." The vultures are already making off with the rancid parts, and I never saw the hyenas.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

sound the bells and hang the flags at half-staff...

a catch-phrase is dead.

The bling is dead. Long live the bling.

Today, at 2:20pm PT, the phrase "bling-bling", AKA "blingbling", AKA "BlingBling", died a horrible and miserable death as used, somewhat properly, by one of the stars of USA Network's Before & After'noon Movies. This marked the last time anyone will ever look good or not sound like an idiot using the phrase "bling-bling."

I first heard the phrase "bling-bling" around 2000. I had no idea what it meant, and let the phrase slide, assuming it would go as soon as it had come (as phrases do more when you're in college and around college). I had previously misinterpreted "'da bomb" as meaning something was bad, as in, it was a bomb. I was, clearly, very wrong. And I had already paid dearly for misinterpreting that one while working at a record store.

Finally the use of "bling-bling" used a critical mass in usage on television, in casual conversation, and finally I heard one of our student workers use it, and I had to ask.

"You don't know?"
"Why the &*#$ would I know what it means?"
"Don't you watch MTV?"
"I'm not twelve," I explained.
"Oh. Well," the student worker spoke very slowly, to explain to me, who was so unfortunate and so obviously un-hip. "It means, like, lots of flashy jewelry and stuff."
"Like... lots of gold."
"How the hell did anyone get 'bling-bling' out of that?"
"'Cause it's the sound that too much gold makes when it slaps together."
"That," I concluded, "Is the dumbest thing I ever heard."
"You're so not cool."
"Tell me about it."

But the phrase stuck around. Like a stray cat you thoughtlessly fed tuna the one time, it just hung around at the door.

As a non-extreme, non-hip, non-hiphop, nor Gen Y sort of person, I did my best suburbanite Gen Xer routine, and only used the phrase when I was being silly and poking fun at the phrase. But to no avail. Bling-bling was now part of the lexicon, and I was powerless against the forces of the hip. Talk show hosts used it. Guests on talk shows talked about their bling-bling (or blaeng-blaeng, as it is so often pronounced). I half-expected Diane Sawyer to toss out something about her bling-bling. I imagine Oprah was using the phrase, but, hell... all of a sudden, everyone was talking about their bling-bling.

It's a Gen Y thing, I think. Or a shift in the pop culture psyche. I've never been sure which. Pop stars in the 60's and 70's might show off a neat car, or wear a nice dress, but it wasn't something you talked about. And folks emulated maybe a little, but it wasn't something you ever thought about as adopting as your own lifestyle. But the publicists downplayed that aspect. In the 80's everyone was so high on cocaine, they allowed Robin Leach into their homes, and made America wonder what they had to do to get a gold-toilet seat, too. But for the most part, everyone was too drunk and high to even notice they owned much of anything.

But the J-Lo's, and Mariah Carey's and 50-Cent's and P-Diddy's TALKED about it. They TALKED about the stuff they bought, and what they owned, and it was a hell of a thing. They had the bling-bling, and who the hell were you if you didn't have some, too?

The new notion was this:

All of America is already famous. All of America is on the verge of being a star tomorrow. We can all sing well enough, dance well enough, and we all look good in those pants we got at the Abercrombie & Fitch. All of America is going to wake up tomorrow, and the TV cameras will be upon them, and, by GOD... we will be ready. We'll have on our bling-bling like our royal jewels and say "Jesus... what took you so long to figure it out?"

And so I was reading an article not too long ago, and they were using "bling-bling", but, as hip writers will do, they had co-opted and transmorgified the meaning. The writer had used "The bling" as something along the lines of the perfectly usable word "cachet". Something like "Senator Boring has the credentials and the bling-bling to be noticed." Hell, I don't remember exactly what was said, but I knew it wasn't good...

"They're using it out of the original context..." I pondered. But, you know... it was going to happen, and that's the way hip, young writers work and our language works.

But today...

Today I was watching USA's Before & After'noon Movie (which happened to be Burton's version of Batman), and at the commercial breaks, some genius decided we'd like to see some privileged high school girl get ready for prom. It was Before & After'noon, so we get a movie before noon and a movie after noon, and over 6 hours we get to see an already perfectly pretty girl get her hair done, so it's like before and after(get it????). And here's the good part: the girl is on the show because, tee hee, her first two trips to prom were SUCH A DISASTER, but this time, Mom wanted to make sure this evening would be the kind of night dreams and memories were made of...

Okay, NOTE TO PROM GIRL'S MOM: If your daughter's gone to prom with three different guys over three different years, she may already have that memory you're praying to God she doesn't already have.

So, anyway, the totally scary middle-aged lady who has made her life getting teen-age girls ready for cotillions and stuff has our Barbie dressed up and staring at the camera like Bambi in headlights, and declares she now needs her "bling-bling" (ie: her expensive looking rented jewelry provided by USA).

She. Needs. Her. "Bling-bling."


Yes, a phrase which began in the heart of the hip-hop community is now being bantied about by a 50ish lady owning nothing but Josh Groban and Anne Murray records. Bling-bling, from the mouth of this goober, in a suburban backyard, on a Saturday afternoon movie show. Bling-bling, which this jewelry really didn't qualify as anyway... bling-bling, which, may appear at some proms, but was most certainly NOT going to fit into this poor, deluded mother's vision of what was going to be a Disney-esque evening with magical chariots and coachmen (but was probably going to end with some puking and a lot of tears).


And as it slipped from the weird make-up/ ward-robe ladies' lips, there was a sound like glass breaking as a small part of America died.

Bling-bling, they're still going to invoke you. You're still a popular phrase. Maybe too popular? For the most part, they may even use you with the original meaning, but you will never be the same. They're going to drag you kicking and screaming into routine usage. You're going to be watered down like the original usage of "rock n' roll", or "juke." You were kind of silly to begin with, and maybe you were too cute for your own good. Maybe that was the source of your ultimate demise.

I'm not sure I can even miss you, bling-bling. How can I miss you if you won't go away?

I invite all Leaguers to share their memories of the bling...

Greeting, Leaguers!
A few months ago I threw down the gauntlet and challenged Jim D. and Randy to not only go see the new feature, Garfield: The Movie, but to write a review.

Well, Jim got a bit weak in the knees at the idea and went running back to his Bergman films. Randy, however, downed a bottle of Maalox and headed down to his local cinema.

I now owe Randy the ticket price and a debt of gratitude. He's saved us all a lot of trouble.

Garfield peers into the depths of Randy's beleaguered soul...


A few months ago, The League challenged Counselor and me to watch and review Garfield: The Movie. Counselor was unable to lower his standards long enough to view the film, but I have no such qualms. So yesterday, Emily and I trekked to our local mega-multiplex and viewed the movie. Per The League, I present my 500+-word review.

Like many children of the 80s, I grew up with Garfield. I recalled having dozens of Garfield books and watching his cartoons. I even received a Garfield phone for my Christmas one year. However, I was not excited about Garfield: The Movie when I heard about it. Instead, disappointment overcame me. It did not help matters that the Garfield in the movie is computer generated. I was used to the cartoon, 2D, Garfield. My inner child rejected the new-fangled 3D Garfield.

It was with this mindset I viewed the movie.

Garfield: The Movie does not compare to Garfield and Friends. No, Garfield and Friends is much better. Unlike other CGI characters such as Shrek, Nemo, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear, this Garfield is not very lovable. The cat is neither particularly cute nor adorable. In fact, the movie Garfield is rather irritating. Even Bill Murray – who voices Garfield – cannot save the character or the film. In fact, the human actors in the film – the two principles being Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Liz the Vet – are horrible. They, and the rest of the cast, look embarrassed to be in the movie. While most of the actors in the movie are B-List stars at best, it is surprising to see Hewitt here. It seems like only yesterday when she was an up and coming star in Hollywood. Now, she is relegated to mediocre roles and films such as this. The real star of the film is Odie. Unlike the CGI Garfield, Odie was cute, heart-warming, and lovable.

It goes without saying that the plot was simplistic and mawkish. It involves Garfield despising the newly adopted Odie then learning a lesson about friendship and sharing. There is also an evil villain, his dopey sidekick, and an army of cute animals. In the end, everyone is happy and the guy gets the girl. There were a few funny moments and zingers, but it was few and far between.

Unlike the Scooby-Doo movies, where there the CGI Scooby only serves as a foil to the other four human and primary characters, the decision to mix a CGI character with real cats and dogs makes for an odd combination. It would have served better to make the movie with 100% real animals ala Cats and Dogs or 100% CGI ala Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Shrek, et al.

Perhaps I am being too hard on Garfield: The Movie. I grew up with one idea and image of Garfield, and the movie presents a completely different view of the character. Of course, my reaction is rejection and spite. However, the movie targets a younger generation, one who did not spend Saturday mornings watching Garfield and Friends, and Sunday mornings reading the Garfield Sunday strip. Indeed, many of the children in the theater laughed at all the jokes and found the movie endearing. So in that sense, Garfield: The Movie succeeds, but if you are a child of the 80s looking for the Garfield of your youth, avoid this movie and instead buy (or rent) the soon to be released Garfield and Friends Vol. 1.

Nevertheless, if you happen to be stuck watching this film (say with a child), entertain yourself by attempting to spot Jim Davis, who – according to IMDB – makes an un-credited cameo as a "Drunken Conventioner".


So there you have it, Leaguers!

Thanks to Randy for going through this for the rest of us. I'm going to have to call into question the notion that Jennifer Love Hewitt ever had anything to offer anybody, let alone a sustainable career, but that's just me being snarky.

You can see what Randy is up to on a regular basis at his site:

Friday, June 11, 2004

More on Brad Meltzer's Identity Crisis limited series for DC Comics

Houston Chronicle

New York Daily News

St. Louis Dispatch

I also need to mention Steven Seagle's (not Seagal as I previously misspelled it in a fit of madness...) "It's a Bird..." This is an excellent graphic novel, but it's only out in hardback. I get deep discounts from my retailer as the lone Superman geek of his store on anything Superman related which he's overstocked.

Anyway, Seagle was recently interviewed about the graphic novel on NPR.
Thanks, Science!!!

Remember the scene in Slacker where the guy is locked in his room with dozens of TVs on, and a TV strapped to his back? And the guy explains that he decided to give up on real-life and turn to television because real-life just wasn't real enough?

Maybe we've transcended that and decided instead of all wanting life to be more like TV, we've decided our lives are as ripe as the lives on TV. At least the way we imagine our existences.

And thusly, some company has produced a camera which (I can think of two major practical uses right now...) will no doubt be used instead to perpetuate the navel gazing and endless recycling of our own boring lives as fodder for family slide shows and internet distribution.

Small enough to clip to a pair of eyeglasses, the camera will CONSTANTLY record your experience, keeping only the footage around the time you press record. But don't worry. It will always jump backward, so it's not like you're suddenly beginning a recording when you hit start. It starts 30 seconds before you hit record, if that makes any sense.

Thanks to Emily's boy-toy for the link.

It's the first real description and images from the new Krypto the Superdog series.

Lifted this from The Superman Homepage


Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ... dog! It's Krypto The Superdog!

Jettisoned to Earth after countless years orbiting in space as a test-pilot puppy aboard a malfunctioning rocket ship built by Superman's father, the fully grown Krypto immediately seeks companionship on the strange new planet, gravitating toward young Kevin Whitney, a boy who longs for friendship.

Endowed with an awesome array of superpowers--from heat vision to superior strength to flying--Krypto partners with Kevin to fight the evil forces that threaten the safety and well-being of both people and animals in Metropolis.

Joining Krypto and Kevin in their never-ending crusade are Bathound, Streaky the Cat, and the Dog Star Patrol, a group of selfless mutts who patrol our solar system for signs of trouble from villains intent on taking over the world. Join the amazing adventures of Krypto The Superdog!


Krypto in action

Krypto saving kittens

Jim D sent out this amazing link.

Ladybugs at

Read the reviews. I beg of you.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ray Charles has passed away.
A tribute to that favorite of summer treats, sure to send you into diabetic shock, THE OTTER POP.

More (official) information can be found here. There's something comfortingly lo-fi about the Jel Sert homepage that makes me want to ask them for a job. I imagine Jel Sert is somewhere in Anytown, USA, where I can hang out on my front porch and eat Otter Pops and enjoy 85 degree summers all year long.

And don't miss the Otter Pops' promotional page for the Otter Pops' band.
New York Times best selling author, Brad Meltzer, isn't just a comics fan. Somehow word got out several years ago that he was willing to write comics as well as his novels and whatnot.

He had a run on Green Arrow a short while ago, and yesterday launched DC Comics big event mini-series: Identity Crisis.

Identity Crisis is a 7 issue mini-series which is not just a whodunit, a la Detective Comics, but a series which is poised to be one of the key turning points for DC Comics' internal Universe.

I think it helps if you've read a lot of DC comics to enjoy the first issue, but I don't think it's completely necessary. The issue clearly details who everyone outside of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are, and if you even had a cursory glance at Superfriends, you can probably fill in the rest of the detail.

I don't usually poke my head up and say "hey, go look for this comic!", but today, that's exactly what I'm doing. Rags Morales' art is at the peak of perfection, and Meltzer has launched one of the single best first issues of a series or mini-series I've ever picked up.

Identity Crisis. Check it out.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Far be it from me to criticize other people (ho ho ho!), but last night I was watching a documentary on the STILL uncompleted Airbus 380, and it seems to me the Airbus guys have the single least efficient assembly process, ever.


Some parts are built in England. Some France. Some in Timbuktu. All need to be shipped to the Northern ports of France, and then TRUCKED all the way to Toulouse, France, half-way across the country. During this transit process, the parts need to travel down English canals and under bridges giving them about 1.5 feet of clearance. These aren't just any bridges. Several of them are historical, monumental types of bridges which actually happen to connect one side of town to the other. So if the water rises, I guess the people who live in these towns are just SOL.

Once in France, the parts need to travel on trucks the size of a small airplane, themself, just to make it to the factory where all the parts are assembled. These trucks take up the entire width of the road (both lanes), drive incredibly slowly, and are going to be stacked several trucks deep. Which means that, once in full production, these plane parts will routinely (weekly) jack up the French highways. This is not to mention that the route takes the trucks directly through a small village where clearance on either side of the trucks is about 20 inches. Not a lot of room for error. Also, that's 20 inches from people's bedroom windows. These trucks are big, loud, and mounted with huge "look out I'm a truck" lights. And this is going to happen once a week.

What was not mentioned in the TLC program I watched, but was mentioned on NPR, is that in order to routinely move these boats down the canals in England, they're going to want to dredge these canals. Which the environmentalists are having a fit over (I can't remember why), and the tax payers will have to foot the bill for. Further, they're not really sure that too many airports actually have runways long enough to accomodate this flying monstrosity, and at least one of the airports they're targeting using would need to extend it's runway into protected wetlands or something at the end of the runway. Brilliant!

Now the Airbus 380 is an amazing piece of engineering. It makes the double decker 747s look like tinkertoys. It's a fully realized double decker jumbo jet seating around 600 people (someone check these numbers for me...), and with a wingspan of 261 feet. That's in the nieghborhood of 85 yards. That's longer than virtually any quarterback can throw, and longer than any field goal kick I can think of. And it's actually pretty damn fuel efficient for it's size.

There are definitely going to be some growing pains as this thing gets off the ground. I'm just wondering what the hell was going thru the minds at Airbus when they decided THIS was how they were going to build and assemble the damn thing.

They clearly have not taken any Six Sigma training.
Oh, while it was Denby who sent the link of Ashcroft belting out his tune, she credits Ryan "Ted"/ "Ryan 2" Weston with the location of the clip.

Ryan can be seen performing with his band, Black Before Red, on a fairly regular basis in the greater Austin area. They're really good. Check them out.
Donald Duck turns 70 today.

Hurray for Donald! As one of the three mainstays of Disney Cartoons, Donald remains steadfast as a true piece of Americana, and his cartoons still work as well today as they did when they first debuted.

I need to find the Donald cartoon where it's snowing and he and his nephews have a snow-fort arms race. I think it's simply titled Donald's Snow Fight, but it's one of my favorite Donald shorts.

Happy B-Day, Donald!

thanks to Randy for the link...
there's nothing like contradictory real-life experience to shake your faith in television.

Granted, most of my life is now vicariously lived through television (who lives in a pineapple under the sea...? Why, I think it might be me...), but every once in a while I have an honest-to-God real life experience.

So last night I was watching Mythbusters on Discovery (part of the line-up of shows which have come to overwhelm my prime-time viewing habits). Mythbusters essentially takes urban legends and puts them to the test to see if they could happen. Two special effects professionals try to recreate the scenario as closely as possible, and then try to see if the scenario could have ever really happened. THey are usually assisted by this kind of spacey folklore expert they dug up form the local university.

Anyway, they'll take a story like "Peeing on the 3rd rail will kill you," and then test the hypothesis.

Last night they tested whether or not a soda can may blow up if left in a hot car, and, bizarrely, they concluded this was a myth, and could not happen.


In 1994 my pal RIchard and I borrowed his grandmother's enormous Town Car for a trip down to Astroworld. In order to get into Astroworld more cheaply, we wanted to hand in empty Coke cans with coupons printed on the back. So, en route, I drank a ton of soda. But not ALL of the soda.

Four days later, we'd forgotten to take the soda out of the car, and in the heat of a Houston summer... BLAMMO!!! Richard's grandma's car was coated in Coke which dried to a fine sheen on her leather interior.

In 1998, I was PA for the last Don't Mess with Texas commercial. We shot on several different locations around Austin, and part of my job was carting Cokes around town for the crew to enjoy during breaks.

It was unusually hot that June (I remember wilting, standing in an alfalfa field while some actor couldn't finish the line "It's just a little cigarette butt..!" THe shot was NEVER USED.). The last day of the shoot, I got into my car and discovered a few cokes had exploded inside my car, coating the interior with sugar and carmel coloring. While my car smelled terrific, it took a while to clean it. And then I stuck a Coke covered tape into my tape-deck, effectively ruining the deck.

The flaw in the Mythbusters experiment was that they put a Coke into a toaster over, and believed the oven had to reach 300 degrees before the Coke would explode. I don't think they gave the soda in the can enough time to heat up, so it's not as if the soda in the can ALSO reached 300 degrees before it blew. There was simply no measure of the liquid's temperature inside of the can. I'm also no scientist, but I do know how a solar convection oven works. I mean, you can literally roast a turkey in an aluminum and glass box if you leave it in the sun long enough, so tell me again why can't you properly heat a Coke in yoru car?

Anyway, the rapid heat change of the oven was also not indicative of the actual conditions of the car, nor the curve of how long it would take to heat liquid versus air. Come on. I wasn't even in honors level science classes for chemistry or physics, and I know this.

Apparently the Mythbusters guys, based in San Francisco, do not think it gets hotter than 85 degrees on a summer day (equating to 100 degrees in a car). To that, my friends, I say "HA!" As any of us from the rest of the country know, if it's 110 degrees outside (as it already is here in Sunny Phoenix), it's more like 160 degrees in your car. Hot enough to make you expire in pretty short order, anyway. Hot enough that you should know better than to leave any compressed gasses, aerosols, etc... in your car if it's going to sit in the sun.

Anyway, my faith in the Mythbusters' experiments is now forever shaken. I shall forever be left wondering whether or not the conditions of any and all of their experiments are not properly controlled.
Texas Story

A man walked into the produce section of his local
supermarket and asked to buy a half head of lettuce. The
boy working in that department told him that they only sold whole heads of lettuce. The man was insistent that the boy ask his manager about the matter.

Walking into the back room, the boy said to the manager,
"Some asshole wants to buy a half head of lettuce." As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him, so he added, "And this gentleman kindly offered to buy the other half."

The manager approved the deal and the man went on his way
Later the manager said to the boy, "I was impressed with
the way you got yourself out of that situation earlier. We
like people who think on their feet here. Where are you
from, son?"

"Texas, sir." the boy replied.

"Well, why did you leave Texas?" the manager asked. The boy said "Sir, there's nothing but whores and football players down there."

"Really?" said the manager. "My wife is from Texas.

"No kidding ?" replied the boy. "Who'd she play for?"
You never saw that bespectacled bore, Reno, bringing the house down like this...

You know, kind of puts Dean's "YEEEAAAAAAGGHHHH!!!!" into perspective.

Really, this could give me enough ammo to last until next Thursday. Instead, I open the forum.

But I can't close without this... And I mean it, with all sincerity...

Let the Mighty Eagle of your talent soar, Mr. Ashcroft. Let it soar.

thanks to Denby for the link...

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

2 good bits of news courtesy of the Superman Homepage.

1) Looks like Cartoon Network has confirmed production on a "Krypto the Superdog" TV show. The show doesn't follow the comics too well, but who cares..? KRYPTO IS GETTING HIS OWN SHOW!!!!

Krypto is essentially the Kryptonian equivalent of Laika the Cosmonaut Dog. In the 1950's Superman Comics, Superman's Dad supposedly sent Krypto in a test rocket to earth, but the rocket was knocked off course by a rock or something. Anyway, Krypto DID eventually make it to Earth, and became one of the five or six most powerful beings on earth.

Krypto wasn't around in the comics for years and years, but he returned around 2001 with a squeaky clean new origin story, devoid of animal experimentation. Hurray for Krypto getting a show, no matter how short-lived or silly.

(***note: I haven't seen ANY concept art for this show. Hopefully we'll see some soon. The pic on the Superman page is old Krypto art from the 50's.***)

2) JAKKS Pacific is going to produce several TV games based on DC Comics properties. I have two of the Jakks games now (who needs a PS2?). Essentially, the Jakks TV games consist of a joystick with all the games built into the handle. You just plug into the RCA plugs on your TV, switch to the right input on your TV, and you're in business (provided you have 4 AA batteries).

There are going to be Superman, Batman, and Justice League games. Should be fun (and wayyy cheaper than buying a PS2, memory card and a game).

One would hope the Attorney General wouldn't have to reassure us of things like this...
The WB's Superstar USA.

Upon watching this show once again, I can only say it is absolutely dastardly and cruel, and yet I cannot look away. It debases and humiliates. It embodies all which is loathsome about both television and our culture of quick fame and entitlement.

I am ashamed to watch, but it never enters my mind to change the channel.

Vitamin C: You are like the horrible mean girls from high school who I thought were awesome but would never date me.

Tone Loc: While your star has fallen, you still bring in an incredible amount to the table for one who is so clearly stoned.

Other guy: I have no idea who you are, but if there is any justice, you will be a millionaire who burns out in a mountain of strippers and blow, never knowing what horrors you gleefully wreaked upon a public you always despised.

Thank you, WB. Like that dude in Krull retrieving the glaive from the lava... you have reached into the blazing pits of hell and pulled out something totally scary and awesome. You have handily bested The Surreal Life, Bachelorettes in Alaska and Who Wants to be a Playmate?

Yes, WB's Superstar USA, I salute you. Your abject misanthropy is an inspiration to us all.

Monday, June 07, 2004

There, but for the grace of God...
Thanks to Randy for this link

Story of man driving armored bulldozer around town
Okay. Squawkbox has been successfully implemented.

A few ground rules:

1) Keep it clean. Let's keep some of the choicer profanity off the comments box. Unless it's really funny. Then you may drop whichever bomb you like.
2) I take no responsibility for anything anybody else says.
3) Make sure to identify yourself.
4) All responses in the form of haiku will receive generous praise.
5) Jamie may use this forum. Please ignore all which she says. She's on a lot of medication, but she still has occasional "episodes". Just ignore whatever she says.
6) Freedom of speech goes both ways. If you post something with a little political vitriol, be prepared for someone else to step up to slap you back. I provide the Squawkbox, but I do not monitor, edit or censor the opinions and blatherings of anyone. Freedom of speech and all that.
7) Lefties and Righties... everybody play nice. "Because you're an imbecile" is not a good debating point. Try to write in that nice 5-paragraph persuasive paper style they taught you in high school. At least make sure you have a point and evidence to back yourself up.
8) Type-o's are fine.
9) "Hoo-AHHHH!" is a legitimate response.
10) Everybody try to have fun. The League is a journal, sure... but it's also intended to be fun most of the time. I haven't posted a squawkbox up to this point as I have been deathly afraid of this site ever turning into some sort of place where people get all crabby with each other.
11) letters are STILL my preferred mode of communication for lengthy discussion, but that may change if you Loyal Leaguers use the comments section well.
Squawkbox, ahoy...

As per a few requests, I have attempted to add comments to The League.

You will see some noise as I do some testing.
Today marked the 60th anniversary of my Grandfather's participation in the Allied invasion of occupied Normandy. My grandfather (Marvin J. Ross) was part of the 82nd Airborne, and was a paratrooper, jumping into France on that infamous day.

It appears that a grandson from my Grandfather's first marriage, Sgt 1st.Class William Marcus Tucker of the 101st Airborne, participated in the reenactment today.

A big thank you to them both for their courage and dedication.
We were supposed to be going to Austin this weekend, but it didn't pan out. Lots of things came up, and Jamie's been not feeling great on and off for a few weeks, so it just wasn't a good time to go. We had some other family business which I am still wrestling with, and I still haven't resolved it all.

The biggest problem with big issues is that, very often, you don't see them coming. Or you ignore the warning signs until it's too late. I'm desperately guilty of ignoring the warning signs in both my professional and personal life, and so things tend to smack upside the head a lot harder than they should.

Which is why I need a pair of minute Japanese fairies.

The Godzilla films from Toho feature a pair of parakeet sized magical girls referred to, as best I can tell or remember, as "The Cosmos". It helps to understand that Godzilla is not, in the Japanese films, a stupid animal. Godzilla is sort of a living angry god who only stomps Japan when it's time for the arrogant humans to learn an important lesson about, say, recycling. Godzilla's not exactly benign, but he wouldn't show up if the humans didn't keep screwing up. After all, Godzilla also protects Japan from a series of invaders (like FRANKENSTEIN! and SPACEGODZILLA!). Of course, some monsters are even MORE nice than Godzilla, such as Mothra.

Anyway, the Cosmos show up just before things go sour, to forewarn of Godzilla's impending rampage. These cute little elves can also sing to soothe Godzilla and keep him from using his atomic breath to level the Starbucks.

And given their usefulness (and the likelihood I would listen to the tiny little munchkins more closely than an evil corporate tycoon), I conclude that I need the Cosmos to help me avert personal and professional disaster. Anyone spotting two minute Japanese women dressing alike and showing a penchant for singing, please forward them to The League. (Molly, your help here is greatly appreciated).

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

For some reason if you Google for "Melbotis" today, this site comes up...

What, exactly, are they insinuating that The League needs?

I suspect the linkage is due to my earlier posts about the host of an Alzare infomercial.
Yesterday my brother e-mailed me to snap me back from my reverie and remind me that, even now, Austin is hitting the high-90's and 80% humidity. Even this did not dissuade me from my illusions. After all, it is supposed to be 111 degrees here in Chandler by Friday. When we cross the 110 threshold for two days in a row, I am often heard to declare loudly that I wish I were dead.

Before I ever blog in the morning, I try to make it a practice to see what my little blogging loop of Dedman, Randy and Molly are up to. I was surprised my posting pinged off anyone at all, let alone would it cause others to blog in response.

Dedman blogged on it here (drawing Garrison Keillor comparisons that I can only take as a compliment, I guess). And also twice here, where he brings up a hilarious quote concerning nostalgia, and points over to where Molly shares my sentiment regarding Austin summers.

1) I'm not sure about the actual chronology of O'Henry's stay in Austin vis a vis the introduction of the Moon Towers, but at one point Austin was illuminated by a series of "Moon Towers", meant to keep the streets lit in an era after the gas lamp. These towers (seen most famously in Dazed and Confused) gave off a blue/ purple glow. Which might account for the Violet Crown. Or he might have just been drunk. At any rate, several of the towers remain standing and unused. You can still spot them around town.

2) I did not just spend 4 years of college in Austin. I moved to Austin when I was in 4th grade, and moved the summer after 9th. I returned in 1993 for college, spent 5 glorious years getting kicked around UT. I then lived and worked there until May 31st, 2002. In the end, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-15 years I lived in Austin, which is far longer than I've lived anywhere else. I graduated, got educated and got my first real job in Austin. I even got married down on Live Oak (just South of Mary). My brother and many of my friends still live and work there. So, kids, to me, Austin is homebase.

Was it a time of limited responsibility and all that while I was waiting for life to begin? Tough to say. I never really had any plans for moving on past that stage. After all, it was pretty pleasant.

3) How can you not miss those disgusting rats of the sky, the grackles? They're unbearably loud, they poo everywhere and, for some reason, they're considered endangered. Which means UT employs someone to go around with a shotgun filled with blanks so they can scare off the birds in the evening hours (which, as we all know from the condition of the pavement around UT, must have made the groundskeeper responsible feel a bit like Sisyphus). Grackels are as omnipresent as musicians and sound engineers in Austin, and baffle the mind with their shameless aggressiveness... I had a grackle try to share my fries once at Mad Dogs and Beans.

But here's the deal: As I no longer live in Austin and have moved to the desert, I have noticed that NOTHING GOOD LIVES IN THE DESERT. All of those squirrels and birds you see everyday when you look out your window? I've got none of that. Occasionally birds perch on the fence or in a tree, but you're never going to see an opossum hanging from your tree here. You're never going to see a squirrel jumping from your fence to your garage. You will see a lizard or spider occasionally skitter by, but that's about it. Disney didn't fib in their old nature films when they discussed how the desert is abundant with life, you just need to look for it... but a lot of the life is poisonous or creepy. So I try not to turn over rocks out here unless I have to.

I'll be curious to follow the talkback threads over on and on Osakatomebaby. The former Austinites are coming out of the woodwork.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

It's hard to get wistful about the greater Chandler area, but I know one day, that may change.

But summer is newly arrived like a ferocious housecat. You want to love it, but, let's face it... it's kind of mean. And it smells bad.

Austin summers are great. There's so much to do that it can actually be paralyzing. The Paramount has the classic movies showing with the shorts beforehand. The snow-cone stand is open on South Lamar. Barton Springs is open and taunting you (sure I'm refreshing, but you KNOW you can't stay in for more than 30 minutes, sissy...). People are out Bar-B-Qing, the 4th of July offers fireworks and live music. Baby A's is never that far away for a drink. Or really any place on Barton Springs.

Hot as hell, but it's a good place to be for a few months.

Of course, we used to have a squirrel infested back yard where I could toss some tennis balls for Mel while I was grilling out. The back stoop was ideal for sitting and watching grackels while enjoying a beer or two. And we had the front porch where you could sit and watch the neighbors go by while Mel threatened them from behind the chainlink fence. We had a horseshoe set we put in the front yard, and we'd chuck them around a bit, occasionally playing with the neighbor kids until they decided to become thugs when they hit middle-school.

Occasionally, I even mowed the yard. Good neighbor Ry, Jason would call me, as I was out there whacking away at weeds. Don't ge tme started on the sticky grass and burrs in the yard.

We had good neighbors. Todd the mysterious Catholic guy on our right. And the ever-changing cast on our left. The ever changing cast (starring Henry and Carol) invited us over for Bar B Q and their son's 13th birthday party. I mean, how cool is that? And we had flamingos in the yard, and the pinwheel sunflowers and the weird silver ball Jamie always hated. Our landlord was this great lady who LOVED Jamie. She even dropped our rent when Jamie asked nicely.

Sure, we had no hot water, and the AC barely pumped out from the window units, and the house occasionally threatened to burst into flames, but it was a fun place to live when we didn't fear for our lives.

And it got SO HOT in the summertime that we would just lie on the bed in front of the AC unit, wishing it were winter.

But, man, I loved that house.

In the summertime, folks would swing by, and you'd sit in the house for a while, but there was ALWAYS something else to go do, you know? We didn't go to swimming holes too much anymore by the time I left (that one sunburn in '98 really turned me off of swimming too much), but it was a possibility. And we could always walk to David's Food Store and get some soda and gum.

Summertime, man. Hurray for summer.

Monday, May 31, 2004

The weekend passed without incident, for the most part.

I saw Shrek 2. The movie definitely was a crowd pleaser and had parts I liked, but it still isn't in my "Holy cow, I NEED THIS ON DVD" list. I will say, I was a tremendous fan of Puss in Boots. Especially during the "Knights" sequence. Jamie even picked up on a Garfield reference which went right over my head (which is weird, because she kind of hates Garfield).

But even better, I saw the Justice League Series Finale. Now THAT'S what Justice League is all about, Leaguers. Hoo-AHHH!!!!

And don't read too much into it, but it also cemented my preference for John Stewart GL as my favorite part of that show. No no no... he has not supplanted Superman as best of the best... They've just given John Stewart a lot of room to grom on Justice League, space that I don't think he gets enough in the comics.

At the end of the show, CN showed a preview for this Fall's new series, Justice League Unlimited. Supergirl. Green Arrow. Captain Atom. The Question. Holy Hannah! I hope that the actual Atom (Ray Palmer) was just too small to see in the pan-shot they did. He's a favorite second-stringer here at League HQ.

Am busily re-arranging the comic-book room/ office. I'm trying to maximize space in there, and I think I figured out a fairly decent solution for the time being. The moving of furniture also means I can plan to build shelving, which allows me to use power tools. And that's always a high light. I really want to do something different with this shelf, so we'll see how it goes.

Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day, and I hope every got to see the footage of the new WWII Memorial in DC. It looks amazing, and I hope to make it up there to see it soon. I also have an aunt and uncle in DC whom I haven't seen in two years, so I'm probably due, anyway.

Hope all is well with you Loyal Leaguers.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Apparently my ex-roommate, Kevin Bankston (pictured here looking quite chipper), is now the kind of person who CNN goes to for quotes.

Apparently Kevin has been on CNN before (a rumor I can neither confirm nor deny) as a pundit for his position as some sort of Electronic Rights advocacy. I am unsure of whether or not he's actually representing this guy who is on trial, but this article actually asks Kevin for his opinion on huge matters of import.

Which is funny, because I lived with the guy for a year, and the biggest question I could dream up for him was "So do you want to go to Jack-In-the-Box or not?" Sure, we batted around issues of personal liberty, justice, our collective freedoms as Americans, but who knew?

Hurray for Kevin! He is not only a really good guy (and one of the most irritatingly intelligent people I ever met), but he is also a bit of an encyclopedia of pop-culture from Robert Anton Wilson to Galactus.

Kevin's one fatal flaw? He thinks Superman is a bozo.
Kudos goes out to San Antonio DJ and Loyal Leaguer, Nathan Cone.

nathan's radio station recently obtained a copy of an album which had somehow escaped by telescopic gaze.

It's The Metropolis Symphony, a collection of tunes based upon your friend and mine, Superman (the Ace of Action!)!

I will, no doubt, be suckered into adding this to my collection.

"One thing I learned when I WAS IN THE NAVY", Kerry droaned on, "was that when you're headed for the shoals, you need to move the rudder." presumably so you don't hit the shoals. Or something like that. I don't remember exactly what he said, but it wasn't very inspiring. Nothing this guy does is inspiring (at least not as inspiring as Al and Tipper breaking all their own PMRC rules right there at the convention. Whoo-hoo! That was HOT!!!!).

With The League's official choice for President now sadly off the campaign trail, we have begun to seek a new candidate (or perhaps a new ticket as we dream starrily over a veep with all the charisma of Dan Quayle or Walter Mondale)...

And I think I found my man. If I watched more Fox Network, he'd have been staring me in the face all along. But it's so painfully obvious. The League now officially endorses the candidacy of Dennis Haysbert solely on the strength of his Allstate commercials.

Yes, Dennis Haysbert, of whom I know so little (as I've never actually seen 24) has guided me through many trials already. Did you see me bar-B-Qing too close to the house? Or accidentally turning my fried turkey into a bonfire? No. You didn't. Why? Because for some reason, I am willing to listen to Dennis Haysbert in a way that I simply cannot listen to the two mooks currently running for position of Leader of the Free World.

Shouldn't I be able to listen, rapt, to a 30 second sound bite without worrying about the President saying "Uhhhh....." for the entire length. I want somebody who isn't just some Skull and Bones dud Yaley. I want some guy who is going to make me want to leap into the belly of the beast with his oration. And who is that man? He's Dennis Haysbert and his Allstate ads.

I am told Mr. Haysbert is a good president on this 24 show. So, hell. If he's over 35 and a US citizen, let's vote the man in.

Dennis Haysbert in 2004!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Super Chopper!!!

Check out these pics of a motorcycle which just won awards at Daytona Beach Bike Week.

Full view

Seat Detail

rear wheel and other detail

Super Shield Handle bar detail

these links are from

Finished watching Colonial House (which still kicks the pants off of Survivor any day), and enjoyed it. It wasn't as good as Frontier House, but it was still top notch. I need to go back and watch some earlier episodes I recorded but didn't watch yet. I don't know what happened to at least two cast members as they disappeared during episodes I recorded while Jamie was in the hospital.

I also watched the final performance of American Idol yesterday. I didn't watch the show much this season, but I can say that I thought that the winner (Fantasia?) had one of the strongest performances I'd seen since Tamyra Gray was unjustly voted off Season 1. (Kelly "Pie-Faced Geek" Clarkson? Please.) Anyway, who knows if she'll actually become a legitimate recording artist on her own (I am slowly counting down Clay Aiken's 15 minutes... and the memory of Ruben Studdard already seems so dim...), but it'd be cool if she did.

Got the new stereo. Hurray. It has many buttons and features I do not understand, which is making it difficult for me to equalize the stereo's output. And I don't like sitting in an idle car sucking in Carbon Monoxide while I adjust the stereo settings until the stereo sounds at least as good as stereos which do not provide any options.

Mel is fat and happy, although he dropped a P-Bomb on the carpet Tuesday night. Bad dog. Poor Jamie gets home much earlier than me, so she always has to clean up after him when he seeks revenge for being neglected.

Terrified of my wrath when I found out what that smell was as I entered the house, Mel once again cowered in the bathtub. I guess that's his "safe place".

Superman 205 by Azzarello and Lee was released yesterday. I now know this is going to be a sllloooowww series. But that's okay. Action Comics is moving almost too fast for my taste, and Adventures of Superman is at a more traditional Superman pace. There's got to be room for many styles, I think.

My guess is that most comic readers who seek non-stop violence in comics are going to either not pick up on (or roundly dismiss as being too heavy handed) the sort of nuanced writing Azzarello is shooting for. Very little fighting here, but the story is saying something unique about Superman's place in the world that DC just doesn't usually touch on, although it often skirts around the issue. Really, not since the amazing Paul Dini/ Alex Ross oversized holiday graphic novel "Peace on Earth", has it been so clear how Superman can be used as both character and metaphor to demonstrate how any person of power struggles on a daily basis as they impose their will upon others.

Due to the story, Superman is definitely being portrayed as an alien, and as we learn more about the circumstances of the story, we see why he is losing touch with his humanity (or perhaps becoming all the closer to it as he experiences abject failure...). There are some legitimate theoretical issues tossed around about how Superman must view himself, others and the world as a whole that are usually glossed over in most 22 page Superman comics.

I will be curious to see how this storyline progresses. I know other Superman fans who want nothing but action, action, action (he came out of Action Comics, after all) will find the story preachy and too boring. But they're not keeping their eyes on the long-term possibilities for the series, and I, for one, am enjoying seeing how this unfolds.
Thanks to Jim for this link.

PC Boombox.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Just when I thought Face/Off was a kind of silly movie with a bizarre premise, some doctors in Kentucky are trying to make the Woo feature a grim, grim reality.

One wonders, with cloning technology ever increasing and now the ability to transplant your face, a world full of walking Darkman sequels can't be far behind.

Here's the article from

***Special thanks to Randy for pointing out I never added the link***

Tom is back from Poland!
Something goofy happened yesterday at The League. Something went weird with and it resulted in a lack of access to this URL with a www prefix. Anyway, they fixed it and all should be right with the world.

Last night Jamie went to the gym with me, albeit in a largely observational capacity. On the way home, she was quiet for a minute, and then she said: I think you're using your machine backwards.
"Backwards?," I replied.
"Everyone else is going the other direction."
By this she means that I may well be back-pedaling on the elliptical machine which I spent, last night, 35 minutes on. Which was a few miles.
"What do you mean?"
"You know how you're going around in little ellipses? Everyone else's machine is going the other way."
THis made me pause. "Sometimes my knees lock up on the thing. Like my leg is popping backward."
"I'm just saying," she shrugged.
So it may be that I am BACKPEDALING for up to 45 minutes at a time. Which is kind of awesome when you think about it. It means if I went to the track, I'd be huffing it backward around the track, or walking backward down block after block. And while the idea appeals to me, I probably should be running forward since the elliptical machine is my machine of choice.

In other news: Get the warranty.

Yesterday I went to Best Buy to get a new stereo to replace my old stereo which had gone kablooey and tried to eat my copy of the Walkmen's "Bows + Arrows".

It turns out that the prices on car stereos have dropped through the floor in the two years between purchase and total chaos of the Jensen. The high dollar item for cars is now an in-dash DVD player with Liquid Crystal Display (which slides out). As ludicrous (and, if I may say, DANGEROUS) as this sounds, it is, in fact, what Best Buy is now pushing. I assume the CD players are some sort of loss-leader for speakers, installation, etc... at this point.

The bottom line is that (for NOTHING) I got a really nice Panasonic (the second most expensive model I saw) and it was STILL $20 cheaper than the crapular Jensen I bought two years ago. It doesn't get installed until tonight, but I was so giddy while I was checking out that I think I spooked the girl at the register. I guess they're more used to angry people in the returns department.

Today I am truly an Even Steven. But since I trust nothing, I also bought the 4-year Warranty on this new stereo, just in case.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

And this shall put Reed into a tailspin from which he may not recover...

But will all 500 of their albums, bootlegs, official concert albums and recordings of them sleeping, snoring, washing their cars, etc... be enough for the Phish legions?

No. No, it will not.
From the FBI:

"Behind the clown nose, however, this man appears to have been supporting an industry that trades in the exploitation of children."

Further negating my desire to go to the circus, and reinforcing every desire I ever had to punch clowns in the head, this article appeared on this afternoon.

Next we're going to find out the elephants are running a meth lab out of their trailer. Or the human cannonball is going to get lodged in the barrel to diastrous results. I just can't bear it.
I was recording Colonial House on the DVR last night and something went horribly wrong.

The DVR didn't stop recording. it just kept going and going and going.

THis morning it was recording Body Electric, a workout show I used to watch when I only had three channels and just wasn't up for the morning news while eating my Grape Nuts. Body ELectric was followed immediately by The Boobah Zone. Having seen the Boobah Zone before, this viewing confirmed one thing: THe purpose of Boobah Zone is to get kids interested in the wonders of psychedelics at an early age.

If you thought Tinki Winki and Co. were kind of trippy, these guys are like Cheech and Chong to the Boobah Zone's Timothy Leary. Holy frijoles, my friends. This is one show to melt your gourd.

Nonetheless, I could NOT stop the Boobah Zone from recording. I couldn't call up the menu to stop it from recording. And pressing stop didn't work. "Hey," said Jamie. "The menu said the thing is almost out of space."

Which meant the DVR had been recording since 8:00pm last night.

I eventually just pulled the plug on the thing, and it seemed to right itself after a reboot. Sadly, there was no sign of the recorded 11 hours of PBS. And if there's one thing I know from college, PBS shows some really interesting junk at about 3:00am. I once watched a whole documentary about Cicadas and an episode of Reading Rainbow in the wee, wee hours.

Sadly, I lost my recorded Colonial House, but that was okay. I ended up watching most of it, anyway, while it recorded.

On another electronics note: My car stereo went on the fritz once again two weeks ago. My warranty still in effect, the Best Buy guy called me yesterday and told me the cost of repairs was greater than a new setereo, so he invited me in to select a new stereo.

It appears all stereos for cars are now XM ready and are cheaper than when I bought one a CD player just two years ago. I am lookign forward to getting a car stereo, because with my commute, I've had to develop a second personality to entertain me while I'm on the road.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Oh, yeah...

Looks like a civilian space port is being considered in California.
I am tired today.

I had to get up early to go get blood taken at the lab near the hospital so they can measure both the purines in my blood and to measure my cholesterol. Last time I had my cholesterol checked, I didn't know I wasn't supposed to eat before the test. Consequently, my blood indicated I was fine on two of my cholesterols and on my third, I was pretty much a goner. This may yet be the case, but you never know. In my defense, since that test I've been eating less Crisco straight out of the tub.

No doubt, I will report a Lipitor prescription in the near future.

I also found out on Friday (yes, even with Jamie in the hospital I went to my own doctor's appointment) that I have been taking my medication incorrectly and have been taking painkillers for the past several months believeing they were a necessary anti-inflammatory. Which they kind of are, but it's a "take as needed" kind of medication, not "twice a day with the other pill," as I believed (and how the bottle read).

As Denby would put it, I've essentially been "hopped up on goofballs." But not really.

I did wake up feeling achey this morning and was trying to figure out what that was all about, and near as I can figure, all my neurons and what not are properly firing again and telling me about every little ache I have for the first time since August. That went away within an hour, but now I just feel tired. Which is probably more to do with my exciting weekend. I also need better coffee.

I need to get a PMA (positive mental attitude) or today is going to stink.
I kind of want to go to the circus when it arrives in town in a few weeks, but I'm torn. I am aware that some circuses do not treat their animals terribly well, but Ringling Bros. goes way out of their way to make it clear that their animals are not trained through abuse, etc...

I have no idea if either side is actually correct. I assume the truth is somewhere in between, and Ringling Bros. isn't exactly some tent set up in Wal-Mart parking lot. They have a serious reputation to maintain.

But another strike against the circus is that I kind of don't like clowns. There's always that. I mean, I HATE mimes, but I just kind of dislike clowns. I think the mean clowns in Dumbo must have had a profound effect upon me as a child or something.

And then you read something like this, and all those death-defying stunts don't seem so death defying.

But I haven't been to the circus since I was in 7th grade, and I don't count Cirque du Soliel as a real circus. Until i see an elephant wearing a pink hat, it just ain't a circus. And let's face it, thanks to our entertainment-saturated society, the circus is a disappearing art form here in the US. I'd liek to go and see the circus again just to get a good idea of what it's all about again.

What to do... what to do...

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I am happy to say Jamie is home from the hospital and feeling fairly well. We had a little scare there. She was supposed to go in for a minor sort of thing (in our medical universe) and ended up spending the weekend fighting a nasty infection which she had prior to arriving but had gone under the radar. The initial prognosis was not a good one, but after a few tests we got all squared away and were able to get Jamie treated with some antibiotics and whatnot.

Anyway, we're home now and only slightly worse for wear. Thanks to those who sent e-mails and positive vibes.

Upon our arrival home, we got to watch our DVR'd copy of Smallville's Season Finale. Hurray! That ruled. I think they just introduced the Phantom Zone. If you don't know what that is, well, it's a sort kind of on a phantom plane... that, uh... well, it's a good place to put dudes like Zod when they get out of hand.

Make sure your TiVo's etc... are ready. Next week is the finale of Justice League on Cartoon Network before it is relaunched as Justice League Unlimited. Look for it around 7:00 next Saturday evening. Given my hip lifestyle, no doubt I'll be home to watch it.