Saturday, December 10, 2005


Welcome to Christmas Time at League HQ!!!! It's our annual tour of the same crap you saw last year. Only different! Hey, if you look closely, you can see my Wonder Woman ornament showing some gam in this picture. HOO-AHHH!!!

You can click on any picture for a slightly larger version to REALLY get the detail.

Jamie has decided we're doing Nutcrackers. Lookitem. All the cute little nutcrackers. It's Pirate, Soldier/ Drummer, Weird Uncle Nic, and Drunk Bavarian. Plus 4 little people nutcrackers.


Our Rudolph toys. Huzzah!

Stockings! 6 this year. From left to right:
Jason, Jamie, Ryan, Melbotis, Jeff and Lucy

My ma sent this last year. It's the magic bell from Polar Express.

Our table awaiting Christmas Cards. Oh, look. It's a card from a certain Loyal Leaguer!

The Nativity set. This is an awful picture. Sorry.

Our tree. The new fake tree, all adorned and merry. You can see Jeff walking off frame.

Great Rao! A red star for Christmas?

See if you can see Superman anywhere on my tree.

Any luck yet?

Jamie and Jeffer.

Outside our house.

The yard in the dark.

Judy brought this all the way from Oklahoma. It's the highlight of our yard. So very festive.

Jeff and I wish you a Merry Christmas. And I need to go back to the gym. Jesus, look at that.

Jeff plans a long winter nap.
Richard Pryor RIP

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A trailer for an all new family movie that will teach us about life, laughter and the power of love...

A trailer for the feature film "Shining".

THanks to Nathan for the trailer.
Christmas music for Randy...

Check out Bit Shifter's Christmas songs here.
Phoenix Suns win their 8th in a row against the Golden State Warriors (suck on that, all of California!).

read more here

One of the interesting bits commentators Tom Leander mentioned two games ago (I think it was Tom) was that when we lost Joe Johnson to Atlanta this summer, we picked up some of our finest players for under $10 million combined. That was Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, House, and, I think, Grant. I can't exactly recall. But a big part of the Phoenix Suns current line-up were considered second string scrubs on their previous teams, and with the Suns, this group combined appears to be one of the contenders for this year's play-offs.

Yes, yes... It's only December and I'm being very premature. BUT, we don't have Amare back yet, and Leandro should be coming back soon, too. Not to mention Grant.

By the way, I now publicly apologize for saying, back in November "I'm not sure I think much of this House guy." I take all of that back. Forgive me, Mr. House.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Superman Returns Photos...

Superman and Lois get snuggly. That chest emblem isn't as small as I think people were thinking. It looks pretty good. I think I'll get one.

Maybe it's the season, but he looks like a Christmas tree. I've decided I like the suit. I really like what Alex Ross does with his paintings of the suit best, but this is a pretty darn cool movie version. Still digging the belt.

And here's Lois. You know, Lady Leaguers... as I often tell Jamie, glasses are not a bad thing.
Suns beat Trailblazers 130-85

read more here

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

And as if by magic...

The X-Men 3 trailer is up.

Actually, it looks pretty good. Is that Juggernaut wandering around behind Magneto?

If this doesn't make Randy as giddy as a school girl, what will?

I'm glad to see Jean Grey is around. We finally get Colossus and Shadowcat. But it looks like we also get a funeral. Someone is getting whacked. Ah, well.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Man or Beast?

With Bryan Singer departing the X-Men movie franchise in order to work on Superman Returns, Fox pictures decided to move ahead with X-Men 3 utilizing Brett "I'm an Idiot" Ratner at the helm. If the name sounds familiar, it's because Ratner is the same Brett Ratner who WB fired from Superman as mentioned in last week's post.

In the upcoming film, Cheers and Frasier star Kelsey Grammer is not just the voice of Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy (a.k.a. Beast), but he's also, ACTUALLY Beast. Good call. Paunchy 50-year old dudes always make the best superheroes. Especially superheroes whose primary powerset includes Spider-Man like agility.

Here is The Beast as depicted in X-Men comics:

Here is Kelsey Grammer as Beast:

Here is Kelsey Grammer as Beast:

Oh, sorry... That's Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge in 2004's "A Christmas Carol". Still, you know... If blue mutton chops are all you need to be an X-Man, I need to inform some key folks from Guadalupe Street in Austin that they're laying down on the job as the foremost superheroes of our day.

And here's Grammer displaying his amazing agility which earned him the part of the super-agile Hank McCoy.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Friday I was leading some visitors from Shanghai across campus (Robin, Kevin, and my man Pinocchio). We have a semi-annual art fair outside my office and I had to walk them through the art fair to get to campus.

"Uh..." said Robin.
"Yes?" I said.
"What is that?" He was pointing at someone dressed in a full-body Grinch costume.
"That's the Grinch. He, uh... he tries to steal Christmas."
There was some blinking going on. "He's from a children's story."
"Ohhhhhhh..." and they all ran off to take pictures of the Grinch.
"Uhhhhmmm..." they said as we walked along a little further.
"Does nobody here work on Friday?"
"Uh..." I looked around. Who the heck ARE these people who aren't working on Friday afternoon? Sure, I saw a lot of retirees, but I also saw a lot of people who should have been at work. "I suppose maybe they... I'll be honest... I have no idea."
"What is...?"
"What is this for?"
"It's sort of an art fair. For Christmas."
They sort of stared at me.
"Christmas is a Holiday. It's, uhmm..." I looked at the 3-foot carved wooden rabbit statues for sale and tried to figure out how to tie the kernel corn, crappy street magic show and guy playing steel drums in a tent nearby to the birth of Christ.
"People exchange a lot of presents. It's a family holiday."
"And, you know, the Grinch tries to steal all of that."
Anyway, I sort of miss Kevin, Robin and my man, Pinocchio. They were going to Vegas for the weekend, and all i could do to forewarn them was tell them to preset a spending limit. Hope they had fun.


The Phoenix Suns are looking like they're going to be a lot of fun again this season. It's taken me a bit, but I feel like I know who the current roster is (only to be scrubbed during trades later in the season), and I think Mike D'Antoni has put together a pretty darn good squad.

Consider: Amare and Leandro haven't been able to play and we were still up by as much as 32 points during tonight's contest with the insanely bad Atlanta Hawks (for Atlanta Leaguers, you have my synpathies). Also, Grant is out for a bit. Your Phoenix Suns are as strong off the bench as they were off the bench last season, if not more so.

I was sad for Joe Johnson and the Hawks who seem like they need a great deal of team counseling. Good GOD, man, is that a team in disarray. Joe was one of our starters here last year, and he's still got a place in my heart. Sadly, the $70 million the Hawks offered Joe had a big place in HIS heart, so we lost him.

Anyhoo, Go SUNS.

Further, anyone watch the Big 12 Championship Game?

I'll be honest, The League is a bit of a "glass is half-empty" sort of guy. I dropped Judy off at the airport on Saturday and went shopping for Christmas decorations rather than watching the first half of the game. I just couldn't take it. I just want for UT to get to the Rose Bowl, but if we were going to blow the Big 12 Championship, I couldn't stand to bear witness.

Luckily, not so much a problem. What was the score? 70 to 3?

I don't care if you don't care about sports. 70 TO 3. And that was with NO points in the 4th quarter from UT.


We did go and get some decorations and League HQ is now a Holiday Wonderland! Our tree is lovely and red. We have red glass ornaments, red bead garland and a big red star atop the tree (Jamie is a devout Maoist). Superman, Spidey and the gang have all found spots among the branches, and, heck, Leaguers, it's all pretty festive. And let me tell you, Jamie deserves some festiveness right now.

I think I'll take a few photos and see what ya'll think.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hi Leaguers - Mrs. League here, back from el hospital. Am typing one handed so this will be short - just wanted to thank everyone for their support and good wishes! It's good to be home and I hope this time I can stay home.

Looks like I got out of the GPS business too early:

"Turn left in 500 feet....fool!"
December 1st is World AIDS Day.

Read more here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Good news and Bad News here at The League

Good news first:

Want to have the World's Greatest Superheroes deliver your mail for you?

Well, DC has teamed with the US Postal Service in order to create 20 stamps of 10 of DC's greatest superheroes (that's 2 stamps of 10 separate heroes for those of you unwilling to try the math).

Read up on this bold move by the US Postal Service here.

Now the BAD news:

Leaguers in the Central Texas area may be subjected to the incontinence-inducing tunes of Austin-based rock and roll combination: CRACK.

Crack features not one, but TWO Loyal Leaguers and Nanostalgia contributors: the aptly named CrackBass and the shame of the Family Steans, Cleveland Steanso. Unskilled attorneys by day, incompetent rock gods by night.

CrackBass writes:

crack (featuring special friend Gary Meyer) will be performing its annual spectacle this Friday, December 2, 2005 at Ruta Maya, 3601 South Congress ( crack comes on promptly at 9:00, off at 9:45, so arrive accordingly. Real bands to follow, so stick around!

Doug sent this along...

It seems to be a music video for a song about Superman.

Normally songs about Superman kind of wear me out (Jimmy Olsen's Blues, whatever that song is by Three Doors Down). In fact, aside from "I am Superman" performed by (but not originally by) REM, I try to ignore most Superman pop and rock songs.

But I kind of dig this. Just make sure you put on your headphones or watch this at home as it gets kind of loud.

Superman short film.
Normally I don't point to The Onion or The Onion AV Club as I assume you all know that The Onion is required reading for all Loyal Leaguers.

But this struck me as particularly funny. Follow the link. And make sure you go on thru to the MetLife website in question.

Poor ol' Charlie Brown.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I am happy to report that Jamie has returned home.

I am also happy to report that Judy gifted me this evening with a giant inflatable snow globe for the front yard. That thing is just HUMMING, man. It's pretty darn awesome.

What's even more awesome is that we don't have any other decorations up yet, so there's just the giant snowglobe in the front yard.

Jamie is very tired, but she's in really good spirits. Hopefully she'll continue to feel well. Right now she's going through some post-surgery stuff with surgical sites being sore, but aside from that, I think she's doing okay. Just sort of pokey and slow moving.

Also, I received two new CDs in the mail this week, completely unsolicited.

Ace of Base
Digital Underground's "Sex Packets"

Truly, the season of giving is upon us.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Holy Smokes! It's Corley...

I was pals in college with a fellow named Mike Corley. I knew Mike through Justin, a guy I'd been pals with since at least middle school. Justin and I had bonded over X-Men comics and Batman as kids. And we pretty much picked up from the same place in college when I found him living three doors down in my dorm.

Mike shared our interest in caped crusaders, and went the RTF route with us, really specializing in radio and audio, from what I recall. He'd really wanted to be a voice actor and work in radio, ads and cartoons, I think.

At UT, Mike was famous among his friends for his Halloween costumes and his willingness to appear in our films in pretty much any role we would ask. Need an alien in spandex? DONE. Weird fire breathing tuxedo'd freak? DONE. A murderous funeral home operator? DONE and DONE.

Outside of that, we spent a lot of time working on goofy short films, seeing movies, occasionally going to a show, and generally doing anything but our homework.

Then one day Mike met some girl from Oklahoma over the internet. This was in the days, so we decided it was all crazy and the world was, in fact, coming to an end. Justin and I went to the Boars's Head saloon on 6th (down near Katz's) got very drunk, discussed the situation, decided it was out of our hands, and promptly forgot about the whole business.

Shortly after that, Michael fled Austin to marry the girl in Oklahoma. And that was that.

Until today!

Justin sent me an update on Michael from the Information Superhighway. There has been a confirmed Corley sighting. And he's doing about what I'd expect in the wilds of Oklahoma.

God bless Michael Corley.
Superman Returns isn't due to theaters for several months, but now is as good a time as any to try to hint at why I've been excited about the upcoming movie.

Jeff Shoemaker and Steven G. Harms both forwarded this article to me today:

A complete history of the pre-production for a new Superman movie up until Bryan Singer is signed.
(read only if you have an hour to kill... I only was able to browse the article)

For whatever reason, some folks have sort of had it in for the traditional version of Superman, and a lot of movie business people have tried to make money off the franchise without ever bothering to see what made it interesting in the first place. I'm not 100% assured of the accuracy of this article, but enough of what's in it has been documented online and in the press that the bulk of what is said has some basis in fact. I do think the writer is probably a little hard on the parties involved (except Jon Peters, who is a well-documented moron).

Yes, there are going to be places to nitpick the upcoming "Superman Returns", but if you knew what almost happened... dear GOD, what almost happened to The Man of Steel... well, you'd be pretty calm about minor changes to the red in Superman's cape or an "S-shaped" belt-buckle. Or even Kevin Spacey as Luthor, as one Loyal Leaguer has made it his mission to decry. I knew probably 65% of what was in the linked article, and sort of extrapolated another 5 - 10%.

Superman is relatively straightforward, but with a truckload of details that enhance and color who the character is for the folks who read the comics, watch the various TV shows, view the older movies and generally are actual fans of the character. From the article you can see the laughable quotes about "exploring Superman's dark, murderous side," and shiver in the knowledge that these guys almost got a movie made that would have been the final nail in the coffin of The Man of Steel. These people can't see the point of Superman at all, or have lost the part of themselves that thinks maybe a superhero can be about bringing some light in from the shadows. These moneymen would return Superman to big screen as a character who can see no greater use for his power than a person with a gun.

I'm a firm believer that there are no bad characters or ideas, there's just bad execution of those ideas. I even think some of the proposed ideas for Superman sound like a neat movie, but they aren't Superman. I would probably go see some of the movies described, as long as they were called "CosmoSoldier" or "Captain Amazing" or something. But the desire to constantly change Superman to meet the latest success story from Hollywood? As if the black trenchcoats in Matrix were really the source of that film's success?

In the end, I don't know if Superman is what needs to change as each new generation gains control of the franchise, or if the threats that Superman faces are what needs to change. Perhaps it's really Luthor and Co that must remain fluid from generation to generation?

The movie movie may be a bomb. It may end up being a wretched piece of filmic garbage that I am later ashamed of supporting. For now, I feel the movie wound up in good hands. The pieces of dialog in the trailer let me know, as a Superman fan, that Singer is staying the course, and that the movie will be driven by a desire to let Superman be Superman.

Anyway, if you have time to kill, I recommend reading the article.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

League Post-Thanksgiving Wrap-Up


So Tuesday night when I called home to see how Jamie was doing and to let her know I was en route, she had "the tone" in her voice. 'The Tone" is my catch-all indicator that something is wrong with Jamie. It's better than suddenly hearing vomiting or finding her passed out on the floor, but it's still not a lot of fun.

Anyhoo, in order to receive her pherisis and dialysis treatments, Jamie has a fistula/ shunt (whatever you want to call it) that is a vein they've sort of beefed up for easy access. Back around Halloween, Jamie had a blood clot in the fistula and she'd had surgery to clear that out.

Well, whether it was tied to the surgery or something else, Jamie had an infection on her arm.

Tuesday night we went to the ER to see about getting the red patch looked at, but with a hundred screaming children between us and a doctor, we decided to hold off until morning when Jamie was set for dialysis. Wednesday, the dialysis center sent her back to the ER where she was seen, given antibiotics and admitted.

Jamie's folks came into town Wednesday, as did Doug and Kristin. Wednesday night, while Doug, Kristin, Judy and I enjoyed a lovely pasta dinner, Jamie and her dad hung back to get Jamie's ever-growing boil lanced. She also received some anti-biotics.

Thursday was mostly observation.

Friday Jamie was supposed to go home, but her surgeon showed up, saw the infection was worse than previously believed, and Jamie was scheduled for a surgery for Friday night. The surgery didn't go quite as planned, and they had to do a few extra things, but Jamie came out of it just fine, short a vein in her leg.

Luckily, lots of family around meant that Jamie has had a constant stream of family running around trying to make sure she's okay.

Everybody but Judy has now departed, and tomorrow Jamie is scheduled for a few things. I think she'll be coming home mid-week, which I am really excited about. We just bought a new Christmas tree (yes, fake, darn it!), and we need to find new decorations and a star for the top.

So what was I thankful for this year?

  1. Jamie was able to fight off another potentially dangerous illness
  2. Family, both here and across the country
  3. Modern medicine
  4. Doctors, nurses and techs of an excellent caliber at CRH
  5. UT's ability to win, even when they're playing like they ate too much turkey
  6. The Phoenix Suns, for being an excellent distraction while Jamie is in surgery

Hope everyone had a better Turkey Day than us.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, Leaguers!

We hope you can come up with some good reasons to be thankful this year. I know we at League HQ are thankful for all the great folks who pop up here at League of Melbotis (even if you won't take the time to post to tell us what YOU are thankful for).

Have a festive and restive Turkey Day.

And, you know, it's okay to do the Holiday any way you please. Just make sure you share the day with someone special.

Superman and Lois forego Turkey for a light dinner and getting sloshed on Strawberry Hill.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The League Asks: What Are You Thankful For?

Hey, Leaguers! Turkey Day is coming this week. Here's a quick link to the history of Thanksgiving here in the good 'ol US of A.

read on, Turkey!

We're thankful for quite a bit this year. But what are you thankful for?

Heck, you're probably reading this at your computer at work. So keep avoiding the tasks of the day and take a few more minutes and post to the comments what, exactly, you're thankful for in 2005.

In the meantime, it's the Cover to JSA #54, for which I am very thankful.

The Gross Story

Normally I love Manu. He's a great player, and he's on the Spurs, which gets him extra points. But Saturday night Ginobili took one of his famously unnecessary flops, landing squarely on the ankle of Suns player Leandro Barbosa.

Leandro was Steve Nash's back-up last season, and he was good, but not amazing. This season, Leandro has really matured, and he's been doing a lot ot carry the team. Until, of course, Manu plopped down on his own butt once again, rolling back and hitting Leandro, thus taking Leandro out of the game and out of play for the next two-to-three weeks.

And so I say: Screw you, Ginobili!

I gotta stick with my Suns. Why you gotta be flopping on my guys like that?


Want to hear a gross story?

My air conditioning in my car recently died. Could be worse. It's now fairly temnperate in the Valley of the Sun, but driving around all day with the windows down doesn't do much for your hair. So, I put on my Phoenix Suns cap around 2:00 on Saturday, finally taking it off at 9:00 when I decided it was time for a hop in the tub. I don't take baths often, but last night seemed like a good time to soak, so I put in some bubbles and hopped in the water.

I ran the hot water, poured some into a cup and rinsed my hair, and was enjoying the bubbles, when I started in with the shampoo. And then I noticed a clump of something in my hair. I scrubbed a bit and it came out in a single mass. I looked down into my hand, and there in my hand were the curled remains of a big, ol' desert spider.

I screamed like a little girl and tossed the body of the spider into the bubbles, which was probably not very smart. Anyhoo, Jamie lept to my rescue and suggested I drain the tub, which I did.

I washed my hair three times and tried not to think too hard about the poor spider suffocating to death between my head and the hat.

The hat, sadly, wound up in the trash as I would never be able to look at it the same way again.

The most curious part if the whole situation was that we went out and picked up some dinner around 7:30, and while we were out, my feet inexplicably began to itch. I'm not sure there's a connection, but... I dunno. I'm not dead, but I didn't gain amazing spider powers, so I'm calling the whole thing a wash.

I can tell you this: I'm going to be checking my hats a lot more before putting them on. Especially with all the prehistoric freaky bugs living in this town.
Toys That Should Not Be: Alarming Superman Returns Edition


Here is the first licensed product from the upcoming Superman Returns

The League will NOT be getting this particular item.

The Ken Doll Superman

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Home for the Holidays?

Well, Mrs. League is home once again.

Last Sunday Jamie went into the hospital with some weird breathing problems. We've had some interesting medical issues here at League HQ over the years, but breathing hadn't yet made the list.

At first I thought Jamie had some sort of upper-respiratory infection, but it went from "a little trouble breathing" to "horrendous wheezing and gasping" pretty quickly. Luckily, when we hit that point we were already in the ER. (And just a quick reiteration, the real world ER is nowhere as romantic or exciting as the one on TV. Mostly you repeat your medical history ten times to ten different people and they look at you sort of blankly. Also, answering lots of insurance questions).

Mad props go out to the doctor who prescribed the upper-throat breathing treatment, because that really, really helped.

Anyhoo, Jamie was moved upstairs into the hospital around 7:00pm, and from there, Jamie's usual doctors got to work. Her blood levels were all out of whack and they needed to keep an eye on her.

Jamie's mom flew in (again) and helped out this week, sleeping in the weird pleather chairs they provide for visitors.

The bottom line is that Jamie is going to go on dialysis (again) and will get on the list for kidney transplant (again). So while we may have taken a step backward from the pheresis treatments Jamie was getting, she's gonna get on the list for a new kidney.

Jamie came home Friday, and we've been trying to just enjoy a little peace and quiet. While the hospital is as nice as they can make it, it's still the hospital, and I think Jamie is happy not to be hanging out with an IV in her arm and electrodes stuck all over her body.

If you have a kidney you aren't currently using, or one which you think you could spare, please put it in an envelope and send to

Jamie's Kidney Bank
1234 Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ

We'll be having Jamie's side of the family in this week for Turkey Day, so expect posts to remain infrequent until after the holiday. Lots of prep to do and not a lot of time to do it in.

Anyway, that's the scoop. Hope it explains why things have been so quiet on this end.

Friday, November 18, 2005


click here to check it out

It's all on the Superman Returns website.

Or else check out the link from the Superman Homepage

Up, up and away...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The League goes political

Recently the President of the United States has been partaking in a "counter-offensive" as both press and politicians have been raising questions about the reasoning and evidence produced to draw the US into the ongoing war in Iraq. President Bush has stated that those questioning the war at this point are "deeply irresponsible".

I would point you toward this evening's installment of "The Adventures of Steanso", in which former Marine Lee Thweatt reflects upon the situation.

Go here to read.
That creeping silence you've been hearing at The League has been a lot of unfortunate distraction.

We've got a lot of unfun stuff going on, but I'll let Jamie fill you in when she's home again.

Anyhoo, here's the good news: the teaser trailer for Superman Returns will air tomorrow night during Smallville.

I guarantee that it will knock your socks off. So go set your DVRs and TiVOs, Leaguers! It's SUPERMAN!!! (and we here at The League are quite fond of The Man of Steel...)

Anyway, look for it. it'll also be showing in some theaters with Harry Potter this weekend.

Up, up and away!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Suns off to a rocking 2-3 start!


Well, they've got 3 new guys on their starting line, Amare is out, and Steve is falling apart.


Luckily, this Bell guy is really good and Diaw seems to be working out. We're not getting killed out there, but, still... it's a 2-3 start.

Gotta stick with my boys. I know they'll turn it around.
Thanks, Moms

Word to our mothers.

The League and Mrs. League have been having a hard time of late, and due to some unforeseen difficulties, we were in need of some extra help around League HQ.

Special thanks to Judy and the KareBear for coming out to the miserable desert for a week each and offering a helping hand.

The League especially enjoyed the visits as The League got away without cooking for two weeks and only occasionally doing dishes.

Hooray for Moms!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Aquaman to get own TV series...
Sweet mother of crap! Has the whole world gone mad?

Look, THE LEAGUE LIKES AQUAMAN! Do not let it be said otherwise.

Based on the strength of the "Aquaman" episode of Smallville the WB is working on a Smallville spin-off for the King of the Seven Seas.

Aquadork is getting his own show.

The League has a theory. Here it is (hold on to your hats):

Good looking people in swimsuits sell ad-space.

Aquaman's comics do not even begin to lend themselves to being a good idea for TV. They mostly take place underwater and involve a complex monarchy system, losses of limbs and dead babies. And a sidekick named "Garth".

My guess is nobody but about a handful of comic nerds knows or cares about Aquaman's story, and we can expect for all of that to be scrapped for a beachside resort which constantly faces crooks and criminals of the supernatural variety.

Yes, Aquaman is being turned into Baywatch Nights. (And, yes, at the height of X-Files' popularity, Baywatch Nights became a show about supernatural menaces).

Oh, Leaguers...

The League supposes we will watch the pilot as we are often wrong, and we are always curious to see how mainstream supoerhero properties will be mangled in the wrong hands.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Famous DJ not only Rocks San Antonio's Face Off, Also Rates Game

Nathan C. writes in:

Game? What the heck...?

I don't even think I had any game at all while at TU. This is going to sound really nerdy, but while I was in school, I had little to no interest in a relationship. Therefore, I went on few dates. Make that almost NO dates. I had a girlfriend for a few months during my sophomore year, and decided I'd rather be playing music with the Stray Toasters and inventing new cocktails with Frank in my spare time than dating. It was only after I graduated that I took any interest in such things.

So, Game during college? I'd rate it a 2.3. I am pretty clueless, and so I didn't really know if someone was interested in me or not unless they hit me over the head. And then there was the time a good lady friend flat out told me, "Look, we can't take it any farther than friends," and that was that.


Come on, Leaguers! Write in with your tale of college-era dating woe!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

With Aplogies to Doug...
from whom I am stealing a great idea.

We're not to Christmas yet, but I need to do some shopping soon. I don't want to shop in the middle of mark up season.

The big question this year is: What to get Jason?

Or, as I shall put it into song by pictograph...





Monday, November 07, 2005

Yesterday the doors of The League's past were flung wide open, and who should come popping out?


It's been years since The League heard from Denise, but we were pleased as punch to hear from our old college and high school buddy. If not for Denise's excellent driving skills one fateful night in 1993, I would never have been in San Antonio and never met the future Mrs. League. For that contribution, we're all eternally grateful. Mad props to Denise for her part in crafting The League's future.

Denise also took me to see L7 in high school. There was an all day music fest at UofH, and one of the opening acts was early 90's Canadian rapper "Snow". Remember Snow? I do.

Folks at the show noticed Snow was lip synching and called him on it. I'm not sure how it happened, but it ended with Snow being pulled into the crowd and security needing to rescue him.

Sometimes I really miss Houston audiences. I ask you, where else are they going to beat you up for lip synching?

Anyway, Denise is apparently now kicking it old skool in Pearland, Texas with her husband where she's a pharmacist. I shall soon be hitting her up for my oxycontin.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The next Spidey movie is supposed to feature 2 villains instead of just 1. We'll see how that works in practice.

The Batman movies did this for the last three installments, and Batman Begins did it as well. Prior to batman Begins I thought this was a fairly dumb idea as it burned through the characters twice as quickly without really providing much more than a lot of one-upmanship in the scenery chewing department (see Batman Forever... or, rather, don't...).

At any rate, looks like occasionally popular actor Thomas Hayden Church will be playing Spidey mainstay, The Sandman. he was signed a long time ago, but it was never made public which character he would take on.

Well, please see below:

Comic Sandman

Movie Sandman

Who is the other villain? Surprise, surprise... the rumor mill is saying "Venom" as played by Topher Grace.

No. Really.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


In response to my post on ASU's Palm Walk, Peabo writes:


Is there really that much bare-midriff walking around the ASU campus ? Was it like that when we were at UT ? I can't remember. I do know that everytime I go to a UT game I look around and think "Were there this many good looking girls when I was here ?"
Either way, it makes me think how incredibly sad my dating years were while at UT. And let's be honest, I was a pretty good looking guy. Which leads me to poor was my game when I was on campus ?
On a scale of 1 to 10 I would have rated my college game as follows:

- Freshman year: 5 (I would rate it lower, but I refuse to believe I was ever below a 5. You either have to be unattractive, overweight, or have a personality of Tom Arnold to go below 5. And I'm talking 1980's Tom Arnold, not the more calm, sedated, non-cocaine using version we see today.

-Sophomore year: 5.5 (It picked up a little, but I still dressed like a gym rat to class, and the girlfriend dumping me totally ruined the confidence I had going and had me in the dark staring out the window listening to Air Supply and such. I was totally pussified for like a 9 month period. I'm sorry for the use of the word pussified, but seriously, there was no better descriptor.)

- Junior year: 7.5 I saw dramatic imporvement and dated so pretty good looking girls. Something had changed. I'll give credit to the fact that for the first time I really began drinking alcohol on a social level.

Senior year: 8.0 I maxed out my potential at this time in my life. My maturity level was only going to let me go so hi. And my appearance probably would not let me get much higher.

So, League, rate your college game. In fact, this would be a fun exercise for all your readers. And since a lot of them are aquaintence you can call b.s. on them if the imbellish or start making crap up.

The League thinks this is a fine idea! Rate your high school or college dating game!

Don't post to comments, though. E-mail me your reponses.

The League will kick this off describing his college game and using the 10.0 scale.

Freshman Year: Bitter towards women in general after getting shamefully dumped at the end of high school, and then having nothing but bad dating experiences before arriving at college, The League ranks a solid "4".

At age 18, The League sort of decided bathing was for suckers, wore the same hat every day for a year (a "Tire Station" baseball hat), shaved only sporadically, and mostly stunk of coffee and other people's cigarettes. Usually cranky due to too much caffeine and not enough sleep, The League went on a lot of first dates, but not a lot of second dates.

I mostly remember the girls I DID want to go out with (ie. Jamie) would not go out with me, and the girls I didn't like were the ones who would go out with me again.

Sophomore Year: I was slightly smarter sophomore year, and since I had a bathroom in my apartment, I was more likely to bathe on a regular basis. However, as there was not a barbershop in walking distance of my apartment, I was constantly in need of a haircut.

The truth is, I had started dating a girl over the summer I'd met in summer school back home, and I didn't think a lot about "my game". I give myself a "5" for the year.

Junior Year: I was full of idiot confidence beginning my first film production classes, but it had nothing at all to do with meeting girls. I started the year still dating the same girl from Sophomore year, but that was sort of on the skids before school even began.

This was the year I sort of went crazy. I was determined to look the part of a professional and was getting regular haircuts, shaving daily, eating well and spent each morning pressing my shirts before going to class.

I was completely uninterested in dating, and that meant my existing relationship melted down early on in the year. But, as they say, these things tend to fall in your lap when you aren't looking.

Shortly after my other relationship fizzled, I went to see David Bowie with Jamie, and we started dating after that. By dating, I mean, we never actually dated. She just sort of hung her hat and never left.

My game for that year? A "2.3".

Senior Year Numero Uno: Jamie was well planted in my life at this point. I was still in film school and double-majoring in history.

I was smoking cigars a lot and still pressing my shirts. We had a "Phat Beach" poster in my kitchen, and infrequently cleaned.

A solid "2.2".

Senior year Numero Dos: Could not be less impressive. Jamie had sort of lived with me all summer, and I was carrying 18 hours and working. Any hint of "professionalism" I used to try to keep up went out the window.

Also, living in an efficiency by myself, I decided bathing was optional once again. Was smoking a lot of cigarettes and drinking about two pots of coffee a night. I wasn't ever sleeping. Yeah, I got a lot of work done, but I also firmly believed 5 hours of sleep a night was A LOT of sleep.

Game "1.3"

Okay, Leaguers! Time to play! Send in your game...

Friday, November 04, 2005

The League heaps love on Congress

I normally don't take up space here with political mumbo-jumbo. But I want to take a moment to point out that I am really pleased with a recent move by the kids on The Hill.

Check this out.

Don't ask me why, but this issue really, really bothered me. So I'm glad to see it bothered Congress, too.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Why should you watch Smallville tonight?

Because there's a terrific pair you don't want to miss.

Wait, that's not right.

Here's the pair!

Tom Wopat joins John Schneider for tonight's episode of Smallville.

And, yes, the writers have put Lois into a scene where she has to be a stripper for a day.


It seems not all that long ago the show was about a young Superman...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hey all

There is a post today! It's just not here.

Go to to find it.

Also, according to, I am now uglier than I was a few months ago when I posted my photo. Back then I was a 7. Now I am a 6. How sad. As winter comes, you would think a chubby man would look warmer and more desirable to the ladies.

Oh, and check this out. is a site like where you can rate the ladies of campus I work on. Apparently it's entirely legal to take photos of these girls as they're in public, and even more legal to rate them. SWEET.

According to the usual rules of engagement, the girls are supposed to retaliate with a site where guys get rated from, say, the Union. Hasn't happened.
Babies + Costumes = Content Gold

The League has been swamped lately with a bunch of stuff we'll not go into here. We more or less missed Halloween hanging out at Desert Banner Medical Center as the doctors tried to figure out what to do with Jamie.

My opinion (sell her to the gypsies) was roundly ignored. She had a short surgery on Saturday to fix her, well.. it's complicated. Anyway, she may have more surgery again in the future, but we'll cross that bridge when we ge to it, I guess.

Suffice it to say, Halloween was a bust, and we spent our 10 year anniversary eating Chik-Fil-A off the roll away table in her hospital room.

Football was a hoot this weekend. UT came back from an idiotic defecit to win by an idiotic margin. If I was in Stillwater, i'd be feeling a little bummed about the whole thing.

Fortunately, not everyone had a boring and antiseptic smelling Halloween.

And that's why babies are content gold here at The League.

Arden rocks the house as an elephant

Reed dresses Meredith in proud Vikings purple and gold. He's starting the indoctrination now.
Meredith wouldn't be smiling like that if she knew how the Vikings were doing! Ha ha!

Well, at least he's not dressing her as a Cardinals fan.

And Meredith and Jen among the pumpkins.

Tonight kicked off the official NBA season.

Spurs looked awful and STILL won by a significant margin. Suns looked good, but lost to the evil Dallas Mavs. And I hate Mark Cuban. Won't somebody please kick that moron in the crotch?

The TNT team gained a mime-quiet Reggie Miller, retaining the punch drunk Charles Barkley, affable Kenny Smith and that boring guy, Ernie. Hopefully Reggie will stpe up and talk, because they need as many leashes as possible on Charles. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Sir Charles, but, like the Sunday morning Fox Football show, you need three guys to sort of corral Terry.

Anyway, the season begins! Huzzah for our Suns and Spurs.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The League's Halloween Costume selections throughout the years!

In lieu of a Halloween contest (which not one of you entered. Judy, I'm looking at you!), a comprehensive look at what I recall dressing up as each year as far back as I can remember.

Pre-school: Clown, I think. I think this was the year it was hot and flooded, but my mom had made a clown costume. So I was a sweaty clown.

Kindergarten: Han Solo. Wore black pants, white shirt, black vest my mother had made. Carried a back toy gun which was not the official licensed Han Solo blaster. I also recall my mother had, in a panic, bought me a plastic Spider-Man costume as she was afraid she wouldn't finish the vest.

1st Grade: Chewbacca. Plastic costume out of a box. I was delighted to be Chewbacca because, unlike being a dude in a white shirt and church pants, nobody asked what I was.

2nd Grade: Hand-sewn ET costume. Thereby hangs a tale for another day, but thank God for my grandmother overcoming her painful arthritis and translating pages and pages of instructions from English to Finnish so she could make me this outfit. I still have it, btw. It's an amazing costume. My grandma was awesome.

3rd Grade: Was going to be "Dracula Jr." until it was pointed out my costume of a hand-made t-shirt reading "Dracula Jr." was, in fact, moronic, even with brylcreme in my hair. Instead, I Carried my sword and shield from the RenFest and wore my plastic spaceman helmet. I was a "space knight".

4th Grade: Tried to go traditional with a white sheet. I was a ghost. I also painted my face white. I remember sweating a lot.

5th grade: No recollection. I went out with this kid, Matt. He was a ninja and carried real throwing stars and I was convinced we'd get arrested.

6th grade: Tore up Dad's old shirt, covered it in fake blood, was an accident victim.

7th grade: same. I do recall we got into a fight with some older kids. I had knownt his might happen and put cans of soup in my "candy bag". I walloped one of the kids in the knee and took him down. Dad got pissed that I tore up another shirt. I remember that one very clearly.

8th grade: black and white face paint. Went to a haunted house somewhere.

9th grade: Nothing. I was doing homework for Mrs. Fort's English class.

10th grade: No costume. Dispersed candy. We'd just moved to Houston and I didn't know anybody.

11th grade: Pimp. Kind of. I wore a bowler and carried a cane and wore a long coat. I went to Jill's house with Mari Johnson who was dressed as a purple fairy.

12th grade: I was Alex from Clockwork Orange for the Drama Club party. Halloween night I was pretty much myself, I think. Sort of a spooky thing in 1992. Went and saw Dracula at the theater across the street from Willowbrook Mall.

Prior to Halloween I went and worked at the American Heart Association's haunted house in Downtown Houston down by Spaghetti Warehouse (this is a nice are now. It wasn't then.). It was a very expensive and cool haunted house. I worked in the "eletrocution room" where I wore a hockey mask and was repeatedly "electrocuted" all night.

Then Frank, the electrocutioner, and myself decided that we needed some drama in our scenario, so we added a fake fight. Unfortunately, as part of our fight, Frank and I slammed into a wall. And then went through the wall. I don't remember how we ended our little scene, but I do recall the very awkward minute as I stood and stared at Frank sort of just lying there on the other side and we were both sort of laughing and sort of horrified.

Well, that's 60 year old dry-wall for you, I guess. I hope we impressed the drunk Houstonians who paid $10 to get in.

Freshman in college: I was SUPPOSED to be a cyborg. But then I had a paper due and didn't go out until midnight. Went to a haunted house on 6th street.

The next day I found out a guy from my floor had used the stuff I was going to use to be a cyborg and applied the pieces with rubber cement, which had basically chemically burned his skin off. A near-miss, to be sure.

Sophomore year: Gangster. A very drunk 1930's era gangster. I went out with three other guys all in "gangster" clothes. It was actually kind of cool. Excpet some dude kept asking us if we'd seen "Big Eddie". He was just drunk enough to believe he was high-larious. He was wrong.

Junior year: recycled gangster, and Jamie was a nun.

Senior year Numero Uno: I had an exam in Roman History: The Republic. Studied my butt off and only got a "B"

Senior year Numero Dos: I'm ashamed to say I think I recycled the gangster costume again. Jamie was a flapper.

1998: I was a zombie! It was a great costume! My make-up rocked. Little kids who saw me thought I was a prop and I made someone cry. Jamie was Catwoman, and she was adorable.

1999: Mad scientist. Jamie had located a white lab coat for me.

However, the prize for that year was Steanso's innovative "The Blair Witch", which comprised of a pair of deely-bobbers. I think Jamie might have been a bee.

2000: I have no recollection. i recall I got home late from work and Jamie was handing out candy, and I had to run and get more. I guess I didn't have a costume. I think Jamie was a bee.

2001: Mad scientist. Mostly I remember we had no trick or treaters because everyone thought there would be anthrax in the candy. Jamie was a cat.

2002: Nothing. Dispersed candy.

2003: Nothing. I wore my Superman T-Shirt under my shirt while i handed out candy

2004: Green Lantern. I wanted to be John Stewart, but I'm a white guy, so I guess I was Hal Jordan. Handed out candy. Jamie was a bee.

2005: I'm looking for a "King" mask from Burger King. If that doesn't pan out, I'll just be Weird Neighbor #12.

All links courtesy the Retrocrush Costume archive.

Friday, October 28, 2005

this makes me think of Shoemaker...

At-At Halloween Costume

The 28th of October is the semi-official dating anniversary of The League and Mrs. League.

Even after 10 years, I can still find new reasons to find her amazing. Every day is a new one, and every day I'm luckier than the one before for having her stick with me. She's the wonder of my life and she makes me a better person.

Happy anniversary, Jamie.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hey, well, sorry there's no posting here.

I welcome you to hop over to the new site Nanostalgia. I posted an insane rant. You're welcome to read it.

Now, Steanso, Jim D., and Crackbass are contributors, so ya'll pop over and check it out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I keep forgeting to mention that my cantankerous brother, known here as Steanso, done got himself a fancy job with Travis County.

He's now working for The Man.

To get an idea of what his current adventures look like, we turn to the world of comics.

Thank you, Ms. Parks.

Rosa Parks dead at the age of 92.

Read here.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday Night Super Post:

1) Superman Homepage has posted images from Game Informer. These images are from the upcoming "Superman Returns" video game.

I'm not sure how spoilerish the images are as many, many video games tied to comic-based movies add in characters from the comics who don't appear in the movie. So is the villain depicted in this article in the flick? I have no idea. It would be really stunning if he were.

2) Not a damn one of you has submitted an entry to The League's Halloween Contest.

Look, you guys ASKED for a Halloween Contest. I delivered. Now make with the entries or this site turns into a Nancy Kulp fan-site.

3) This has been the Wide World of Sports Weekend. We started Friday night with the Suns battling the Sonics in pre-season play. Suns look good, even with Stoudemire on the injured list for the foreseeable future.

Woke up, ate breakfast, ran errands and watched the UT game on PPV. Go horns!

I'm not really sure why they're ranked 2nd at this point as they're undefeated and their margins of victory have been so decisive.

Then watched Game 1 of the World Series.

Today, more football and now Game 2.

4) Got my "Adventures of Superman" DVDs in. Good stuff, man. Good stuff. I really, really like the George Reeves/ kid-friendly take on Superman.

5) We made a stack of Halloween cookies. Jamie has an excellent recipe for cookies including orange zested into the cookie batter.


Jim D. and The League are re-launching It's going to be a collabortaive media review site. Some Loyal Leaguers and beyond shall be included in the roster of reviewers.

I welcome each of you to pop over to review our Manifesto.

Book mark it now:

Friday, October 21, 2005



Did tonight's episode of Smallville suck.

I don't often pop up to denounce anything Superman, but tonight's episode was unforgivably awful.

That said, I want to be clear that in the first thirty seconds of the show, Lois presented us with two fabulous reasons to continue watching that I hadn't noticed previously.

There are three terrific boobs in this picture. Can you pick the one which ruined the episode?

Yeah... this was the Aquaman episode of Smallville.


Look, I am going to go out on a comic fan limb and admit that I read Aquaman. There's something appealing about an irritable sea-King I find interesting, but I always thought Marvel's Namor was... well, sort of dippy.

Just not The League's cup o' tea

Oddly, in the past five years, it's become a staple of comedy to make fun of Aquaman, and I'm not really sure where that came from. It's not that Aquaman doesn't have some room to poke fun, but have you looked at the useless line-up of the Superfriends? Samurai? The Wonder Twins? Robin the Boy Hostage?

Anyhoo, last season on Smallville Clark met the future Flash, so this season he had to meet somebody else. I guess it was going to be least confusing if he met the Crown Prince of Atlantis. In, you know, Kansas... Kansas, with its towering green mountains and shimmering fjord-like lakes. Yes, Smallville is filmed in lush, mountainous Vancouver. Thus creating the effect of what I like to call Canadasas, the magical Kansas where Clark Kent grew up.

Re-writes were necessary to make Aquaman fit into the world of Smallville, and we learn that "AC" (Arthur Curry for those of you wondering if Aquaman has a real name) is a surfer dude from Miami. Sure, in the comics he's from somewhere under-populated and with actual light-houses like New Brunswick, Canada... but, oh, hell, it's Smallville.. he's a guy from Miami who is written to speak with the irritating lingo of Southern California, repeatedly referring to everyone as "Brah". As in "Ready to go, bro'?"

We learn young Arthur has travelled via water passage all the way from Miami to Canadasas in order to stop the scheming Lex Luthor from testing a new sonic weapon intended for use by the Navy. Why? The weapon kills not just submarines... it kills fish.

And fish, we all know, are Aquaman's finny friends. It isn't covered in the scope of this show, but I assume Aquaman can still talk to fish, and this is why he's upset.

Truthfully, it's sort of tough to tell how Aquaman is feeling at any given time. I hate to be the one to say it, but Aquaman isn't much of an actor. He's not much of an actor to the point where one wonders what the hell the casting agents were thinking beyond the fact that the actor physically looks built enough to be a swimmer. The "surfer dude" take on Aquaman (appearing her for the first time, I assure you), has the same ring of surfer dudes written by the 40-year olds writing "Saved by the Bell". It's awful and unwelcome, and apparently was a huge problem for the actor playing Aquaman.

I looked up actor Alan Ritchson on IMDB. Apparently, this is it. Aside from appearing on American Idol during auditions, Aquaman here hasn't ever been in front of the camera before. And if that wasn't painfully obvious to the poor folks working on the episode, they should all get two demerits.

In his two scenes with Lex Luthor actor Michael Rosenbaum, one can almost feel Rosenbaum flailing, trying to get something out of Aquaman other than hammy posturing and stilted line delivery. Actor Tom Welling is serviceable as Clark Kent, but, let's be honest, he's not exactly John Malkovich. So the scenes with Clark and AC have a sort of dead-weight/ marking time feel one doesn't particularly take a shine to in hour-long TV.

But what's an Aquaman to do? He ends his scene by declaring billionaire corporate tycoon Lex Luthor is "a tool", and storms out of Lex's office.

So very, very phoned in by all parties.

If the powers-that-be at DC decided that Aquaman needed some screen-time, they really couldn't have botched the job any worse. From confusing priorities for Aquaman to a pointless romantic subplot between Aquaman and Lois, to casting a guy who wouldn't have made it as an extra into a high-school play, what could have been an interesting episode turned into so much chum.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I had to work late, so I missed the game.

Congrats to the Houston Astros for finally, finally, finally making it into the World Series.

The Lastros/ Disastros have had a long and goofy history of never making it past a League Championship series.

Now, The League knows little to nothing about baseball, but we're still happy for what we consider to be our hometown team. After having endured the cheesiness of the D-Backs for the past three years, we're happy to see the hard-luck heroes of the Houston Astros finally going on to greater glory.

And congrats to the Astros fans out there among you Loyal Leaguers. I know some of you are long time fans, while some of you (like the tiniest of the Cone Family) have only been following the Astros for a while.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Disclaimer for Jamie's parents: LOOK AWAY

I don't usually take time out to read my junk mail, but something about this one caught my eye.

This is the junk mail, verbatim:

Are you feeling shy over your inability to get much more than a semi-hard-on in the sack??
Do you feel depressed because of your ED problem???
Now here's the perfect solution for you --- wiagra.
It is truly a "Wonder Drug of the 90s."
You'll get the best erection you can remember in many years for is 14.99 $.The cheapest pack of wiagra.

1) What is this "wiagra"?
2) It's been several years since the 90's.
3) They couldn't even take the time to correct their type-o's.

Truly the work of a disheartened spammer. They're not even trying any more. So dispirited and sad. What happened to the halcyon days of spamming where I had to actually read my e-mail to determine if it was spam or real mail?

We've really lost something, man. The age of innocence has finally passed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lucy has her Super-Initiation

We bought this costume some time ago for Mel. Unfortunately, Mel is somewhat stout of nature, and the costume didn't really fit.

Well, the super-costume fit Lucy, but in the ten minutes she wore the costume, she managed to more or less tear it to shreds. And thus her Krypto the Superdog costume-wearing days come to an end.

Ya'll enjoy the photo.
WATCHMEN on Time's 100-Best Novels List

No, really. Check it out.

read the Newsarama post here.

I want to start chanting the Maxwell chant...

One of us...
One of us...

Whenever I think of Watchmen, I think of Shoemaker. I think of how he and my copy of Watchmen had a pitiless and antagonistic relationship that ended in the destruction of a perfectly good copy of Watchmen. I also think about how much I would love to try to be Night-Owl for Halloween, but I don't think anybody would get it. Nor would Jamie dress as the Silk Spectre.

I am proud to say I own an entire run of the issues and a copy of the trade. I confess, I also will be receiving the DC Absolute Edition of Watchmen in fairly short order. Oversized pages, re-colored, hard-bound, extra materials from Moore and Gibbons.

What can you say about Moore? The man is a mad-genius. His run on Promethea managed to totally freak me out. His "Supreme" stories were the best Superman stories in years (and they weren't even Superman comics). V for Vendetta still makes my head ring.

It must be interesting to not yet be 60 and know "this is the one they'll remember me for". Still, one can hope that Watchmen can be a gateway to the rest of Moore's work for a generation of readers.

Hey, everybuddy!

The Adventures of Superman arrives on DVD today!

I won't be getting my copy in the mail for a few days, but I thought I'd make an announcement, knowing full-well, nobody but The League will be excited about this release.

WB has really stepped up and put together a nice package for ol' Supes. Not only is all of Season 1 of the series included (that's 26 episodes to you and me), but they also included the Superman movie, "Superman and the Mole Men".

I've only seen a handful of episodes of the Superman series, and it is some really silly fun. George Reeves cuts a great Superman and Clark Kent, Noel Neill is a foxy Lois Lane, and the Daily Planet gang is the slackest, most standing-aroundest bunch of journalists to ever put out a paper on a daily basis.

Crooks might as well be twirling their mustaches, and the plots are the sort of rare imagination one usually only finds in low-budget programming.

Anyway, at least check out the Mini-Site.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

On the topic of: Infrequency of Posts

Dear Loyal Leaguers,

You may have noticed that my posts are not posted daily, or five times a week as I usually attempt to maintain. Nor are the number of posts matching the sheer volume of posts of the salad days of The League when one could expect a new post about twice a day.

We've had a rough few months here at League HQ. If you're a regular reader of this site, or you know Jamie and myself, you probably know that to which I refer.

I'll continue to try my best for regular updates. I'm not slacking off for the sake of slacking off. Nor is The League abandoning the blog because The League finally discovered girls. The League is just a little worn down right now, and may not feel that his free moments are best spent pondering the imponderables of the comic book world.

It's this fear of disappointing my readership when I know I don't have time to maintain The League that has made me threaten blogicide in the past few months. Well, all you Loyal Leaguers seemed to want to stick it out, so I want to try, too. But I would be remiss if I didn't attempt to manage expectations.

Look for upodates regularly, but don't feel I'm trying a side-door exit just because I haven't posted in a day or three.

We hope you'll stick with us. These things tend to come in waves and cycles, and when things return to steady-state, I assume we'll be off and running once again. Unless I discover girls.

Up, up and away,

The League

Thursday, October 13, 2005

So, mid-day today Apple changed the mode in which people will watch TV forever and ever.

Did you see that?

I mean, I'm impressed with the new iMac v. 40,000 or whatever. Great! No, really, it's very, very cool. I love it, just as I loved the last ten iMacs that I don't own. If there's no echo in their built-in video conferencing systems, I'm already a fan of the bonus features.

Unfortunately, Jobs upstaged his new iMAc about two minutes later with the reveal of the Video iPod.

Is the Video iPod something none of us saw coming? No. It was an obvious next step, and Wall Street believed that to be so much the case that they actually DOWNGRADED Apple stock after the announcement of the cool new Apple releases. (Wall Street also downgraded Apple stock earlier this year amongst speculation that Apple had already saturated the market with iPods, which, given unit sales, they had not, but were slightly cooling. Wall Street was apparently having a fit of amnesia and forgetting Apple's ability to top themselves/ plan for obsolescence/ get their Kool-Aid drinkers in line to spend money on whatever the hell Apple puts out there with every single update. IE: Now is a good time to buy Apple Stock [League stock tips are for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered valid or reasonable under any circumstances])

Up until recently, I wasn't a fan of the Apple Computer Corp.

My irritation with Apple has long stemmed not from any hardware or software issues (well, if you go back to 1997, it probably does), but from the cool-kid on the block mentality that's driven Apple's marketing, market presence and, honestly, their price-point. Up until Apple, I never saw a company actually sulk in the corner and complain that it was a misunderstood artist.

What baffled me was that Macs, while having the user interface of the everyman, have always been priced as the home computer of the wealthy. Not to mention the price of Apple-ready or aesthetically pleasing accessories. And the aforementioned drive to make whatever you just bought obsolete.

Example: I just bought my iPod about a month, month and a half ago. Now, for a few bucks extra, I could have the Video iPod. Had I bought the Mini at the time, I would have missed the announcement of the Nano by two days. Literally, two days.

Granted, I would have returned my Mini, but you get the idea.

So why am I a fan of Apple today? And why do I think Wall Street missed the point?

TV show episodes for $1.99.

Songs for $0.99

The newest Mac, cooler version? $1699. And this is one really nice Mac we're discussing.

Yes, the Video iPod can play back your $1.99 episodes of Lost. Super. I could care less. My phone can show me a shimmying Shakira any time I like, and that, to me, is VALUE. I don't watch video on a 320x240 window for long periods of time and I doubt I ever will.

What The League is enthusiastic about is the adoption of video into iTunes.

Apple has convinced Disney television that ad revenue isn't the be-all and end-all of funding programming. Steve Jobs and Co. have somehow gotten through to the Disney Corporation that they can sell programming directly to the consumer without having to buy a full season DVD set. So long shelf-loads of DVD's. Hello very large hard-drive.

And hello profit for Apple. Who is making money every time I download a video? Apple. If I want to locate a video and play it in a nice QT format, I know who's getting $1 of my $1.99. How Wall Street missed the implications of this sea-change is mind-boggling. Nobody else is set up to be THE place to get your online the video the way iTunes is. Well, maybe Microsoft, but just to stick it to The Man, I'm going with Video iTunes.

Has the technology been around for four years? Sure. The price point they've decided upon is the real break through. $1.99? I pay that for gum every two or three days. It's now officially 1/4 of the price of a movie ticket and I OWN it.

In two years I'll be able to download episodes of Smallville at 44 minutes a pop without having to watch a single commercial. (Perhaps the show will be cheaper with an ad for the new Le Baron on front, should I choose not to pay premium price). I will be able to download virtually any movie I like from Apple for a low cost (I'm guessing the cost of a movie ticket) and own it.

But the programming changes and changes to viewership habits?

1) Programs which have a rabid but small fanbase might continue to thrive at a premium cost to the cult audience. (I am still angry over the cancellation of Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Firefly fans could have kept the show going for another season or two.)

2) Networks will become a useless commodity. Viewers will pick whichever show they wish to watch from a production company's web-service or a location like iTunes. (I suspect there will be some consolidation of, say, shows along a theme).

3) Changes in formatting for non-narrative programs. The line between computer and information gathering/ instruction breaks down. And the format of the programming breaks down with it.

I could foresee a FoodNetwork location to download cooking shows that you can actually watch and match step for step as actual instruction.

Headline News could be nothing but a streaming medium or a downloadable segment of sections, skipping sports or weather if you don't care about those topics.

4) The Octavio option: My co-worker has long bitched about the fact that he has to buy cable "packages". The League doesn't watch the NASCAR channel, but I am paying for it out of my cable bill. Okay, so if I can pay for an episode at $1.99, can I pay $20 for a season pass? Or $75 for all the programming that network has to offer?

Or do I pay a monthly subscription rate to download X number of hours of programming?

You tell me, Michael Eisner.

I know I'm paying somewhere around $12/ a month for HBO now.

5) I don't have to worry about TV shows remaining beholden to the wildly arbitrary FCC standards simply because the material travels over airwaves. Once you're not using the broadcast spectrum, those rules no longer apply. Like HBO, adult TV can reflect adult life without constantly worrying about Pollyannas of all ages stumbling upon your show and becoming emotionally scarred.

6) Rated versions. So you DON'T want nudity in your TV (in which case, we have nothing to talk about)? Or you think "dammit" should be overlayed with "jeepers" at every opportunity? Production companies have an option of offering a "clean" version. I can do this with the latest offering from OutKast on iTunes. Why can't I do this with my TV shows?

7) Shows and networks will no longer worry about whole megacorps pulling sponsorship for a misstep, as advertisers will no longer dictate taste.

8) Television programs will no longer necessarily be written to have a break every 10 minutes so you can see another batch of ads. Who knows what the format would look like?

9) Live events like football. They lose their punch once you know the score. It's why I've never watched a single game which I've taped. Live events will need to be handled traditionally, I suspect, and will give advertisers some of the older model to play with.

10) Give me the same ability to move my DVDs to my iTunes that I did with hundreds of my CDs, and I will be your monkey boy for all time.

I worry about DVD format going obsolete. I worry about it all the time. I literally gave away hundreds of dollars of VHS tapes three years ago and spent hundreds picking up DVD replacements. Tell me I can copy my movies to iTunes, and I will never, ever look back. Tell me that $20 investment from last year in my director's cut DVD of "From Justin to Kelly" can stay with me until I die, following me from computer to computer, and I will tattoo whatever DRM clause you want me to onto my forehead.

Just don't tell me I have to start over completely when Toshiba figures out how to store movies on some solid-state block of crystal.

11) How will advertisers survive? I don't care. If this is bad news for them, tough. They feared TiVo, but they hadn't really seen anything like this yet.

Will more shows wind-up like "American Idol" where product tie-in's are a huge part of the programming (ie: the Coca-Cola Lounge)? No doubt. But that's a decision producers can make and set price-points accordingly.

Has all of this been around before? Yes! For years!

But so was downloadable music, and look at the raging success of iTunes. Apple does something RIGHT with the market for music. Maybe it's the exceedingly simple interface. Maybe it's the Apple name brand equating quality. Maybe it's the punchy commercials for the iPod (now being co-opted and lame-ified by the commercials of the kids dancing with their phones). I don't know. But I do know I trust them to deliver and to lead the pack for the next several years.

THis is going to take a while. $1.99 is still not cheap enough. The monthly cable bill is a fraction of what it would cost for me to download every hour of programming I currently watch at $1.99, and even at $1.99, I'm not sure how many new new shows I would try. I suppose pilots of shows would be free out of necessity. And that's a huge gamble for any network.

There's a huge audience who won't want the model to change, and so that'll go on for a generation or more, I guess. So advertisers can continue to subsidize programming.

But given the abject failure of cable television to really "break the mold" when it comes to programming, Im curious to see what happens. Cable has meant the proliferation fo what already existed rather than a mass movement to original programming. Julia Child and the Frugal GOurmet pre-date cable, let-alone FOod Network. NFL football was an early staple of TV, now it has ESPN, the NFL network and a million variations of pay-per view and deals with Direct TV.

Yes, this is all BS we covered in week 10 of RTF 101 when we discussed the impending world of digital convergence, but that was 11 years ago. I've been waiting so long, I'd sort of thought that it was some sort of blue-skying that Madison Avenue had somehow curb-stomped into submission.

I now open the floor for debate.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh, Leaguers

Quick notes time:

1) See the 2005 Halloween Contest below.

2) Jim and Reed never sent back responses to my incredibly insightful interview questions.

3) The Smurf's throw in with the anti-war movement. Click here for more.

Thanks to RHPT for the link

4) Dr. Doom's Top 10 Euphemisms for sex (funny only to us nerds...) Click here.

5) Apparently a disaster has hit Pakistan and India which is making Katrina and Rita look like a day at the park. Keep giving to the Red Cross, people.

6) Speaking of Rita, Jim D. is back in Beaumont, but it's been quiet on his end since his return. Sounds like the press has done a typically half-assed job of covering what's going on in East Texas in favor of the Katrina story. Apparently Beaumont and the surrounding areas are not "okay".

7) In more East Texas news: Is the East Texas Bigfoot okay in the wake of Hurricane Rita?

find out more here

8) Folks in Austin will want to attend an upcoming show at the Hideout Theater on Congress. Sample the comedy stylings of Hurricane Katrina refugee, Tami Q. Nelson (formerly of Spring, formerly of Austin, and now formerly of New Orleans) as she re-teams with her New Orleans based comedy troupe in the relative safety of Central Texas.

Check out the show

9) And because he's cool, here's Mr. Terrific

2005 League of Melbotis Official Spooktacular Halloween Contest:


I felt bad about not having any ideas for a Halloween Contest, so here we go:

We all watch monster movies and horror movies. We all have a favorite monster or horror character or two.

a) if you could be any antagonist from any monster, horror or spooky movie, who (or what) would you wish to be?

b) what sort of havoc would you wish to wreak?

c) why?

d) what would you do better than that fraud in the original film?

e) what would you find challenging?

f) how would you prevent the protagonist from defeating you?

g) how long do you think you could wreak your particular brand of havoc before it got dull?

h) which other spooky, horror character or monster would you take to task for not living up to the monster credo?

Send all responses to Melbotis's e-mail address over there on the upper left


Monday, October 10, 2005


Yes, the Yuletide is upon us! It's the merriest time of the year.

Today I was talking to my boss, and over his shoulder I noticed the City of Tempe employees stringing the palm trees around my office with Christmas lights. 'Tis the Season!

On the way home I popped into the grocery, and in the floral section were several "Santa" bears tucked in between the Halloween bouquets. Later, Jamie and I went off to Walgreens, and it's a wonderfully merry/ spooky mix of Halloween and Christmas paraphernelia scattered about the store.

And, Jamie shouted out MARK IT!!!! at 7:40pm on October 10th when we saw our very first Christmas commercial. Yeah, sure, they were pitching taking a cruise for Christmas, but it was the first commercial of the year including Christmas decorations and fake snow and wrapping paper.

Wow, are we close to Halloween. Normally by now I'd have forced Jamie through a Frankenstein movie marathon and be walking around the house with a Dracula cape. But this year, not so much.

I can't think up a good Halloween contest, so we're not having one at The League. No hard feelings, I just can't think of anything.

It may also be that there's almost no transition from summer to the other season we have here, which isn't really fall, because it's more or less the same season until it gets hot again in May. The good news is that the heat actually broke, and the other season began today. The closest thing we have to a fall blew in and temperatures dropped below 90 for the first time in months.

The dogs are going nuts, not sure what to do with themselves when being outside for five minutes doesn't suck the life out of them. We took Lucy to the park for the first time today, and she had a blast. We walked on the leash and then let her run for a while. She's quite a runner, that little ball of energy. Mel was, as always, delighted to stretch his legs and go for a trot.

Anyhoo, we also got into the Halloween spirit by going to see "Curse of the Were-Rabbit", which, if you haven't seen it, it's pretty darn good.

So hopefully I'll be getting more into the Halloween spirit here shortly. We've got the decorations up at home, so Karloff, Lugosi and Chaney are all looking down upon me from atop the entertainment center, instructing me to crack open my monster movie collections for another year of Halloween mayhem.

It's sure to be SPOOKTACULAR.