Friday, April 21, 2006


Were you a Marvel Comics fan in the 80's? Sweet. So was I. Sadly I came in at the tail-end of the original Secret Wars limited series and/or sort of the beginning of Secret Wars II, which was equal parts stunning and goofy.

Mostly, I remember the awesome toys that spawned the whole series to begin with. I used to have a Secret Wars Wolverine, Captain America and Dr. Doom. I have no idea what happened to them.

Are you interested in CosPlay (if you have to ask, don't. You'll be happier)? You are? Well, The League is stunned to find an even greater dork than himself. Prepare for an atomic wedgie when next we meet.

Unless you're Lynda Carter and willing to try on the ol' Wonder Woman outfit again. Then you're my favorite person. But then I think we've crossed some line from CosPlay into some sort of territory that means I have to start shopping at Planet K.

At any rate, Leaguers, I've revealed too much already.

The point of this was:

Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Can these two people find wedded bliss?
I'm asking, because I often question Richard's ability to find his car in a parking lot

This is Richard and Laura. They've been dating since like 1984 or something. Richard apparently realized he wasn't getting out of this one, and now they are getting married just before Halloween.

For those of you going, I am here to mislead you into believing that costumes are required. So, Shannon, we expect you to dust off the Princess Leia costume. I guarantee, if you wear it, you will be the hit of the wedding.

I'm excited about Dick finally tying the knot. Sure, he's found the love of his life and whatnot, but he's also sure to spring for a decent bar.

Honestly, I don't know Laura very well. I think I met her once and she saw me eat a squash and then get drunk. I've left better first-impressions. We don't know why Laura decided Richard was a great catch, nor why she's stuck it out all this time. Maybe she really likes Dick's lengthy explanations of economics (maybe Dick was the right man for TST all along), or she can't get enough of his crazy mad dancing skills. We may never know.

Honestly, I'm hoping Dick breaks down and cries like a baby while giving his vows.

The one thing I know, if this wedding hopes to be anywhere as good as Shannon's, we're going to have to release a dog into the middle of the ceremony. Josh, it's your responsibility to find the dog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 update

Hey, all. If you want to see some seriously geekish behavior, check out my commentary on DC Comics' July solicitations.

Go to now.

Or, for my quick reviews of a few DC Comics from the week of 4-12-06, go here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's X-Men week at Dave's Longbox!

If you never heard of the X-Men until the movies came out, this won't be for you. Or, if you think Gambit is the coolest part of X-Men (a) you suck, and (b) this might not be for you, fake X-Fan.

Few items will make me geek out like 80's era X-Men. Uncanny X-Men was THE comic which made me a comic geek (thanks Uncanny X-Men #210), taught me about hunting for back issues, gave me some colorful ideas about race, class and gender in my formative years and taught me Steanso would probably make a better member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants than the X-Men.

Dizzam. Those were comics. Shaped for, what, more than a decade? by a single writer... Chris Claremont. Damn, now that's how you do a run on a comic, Brian Michael Bendis. You make up new phrases, you give people ridiculous nicknames and you turn the ultimate villain into a good guy.

The best part of X-Men was always the completely bizarre dialogue which Claremont made his trademark. In fact, I had no idea as a kid that most of the cliches of Uncanny X-Men were coined by Claremont himself, exclusive to Claremont, and appeared nowehre else in the entire world in either conversational english or the written word. It took me years to realize I should quit trying to use them in term papers and whatnot as it always ended with me having to explain my sentence structure to my teachers.

Anyway, if you were around for the Chris Claremont run (I'm talking to you now, Reed-o), you have to jump from the hyperlink. Then make sure you review the comments section. It's pure X-Men gold.

Oh, and making Psylocke a Japanese Assassin was, possibly, the most nonsensical moment in comics history. I don't care what Jim Lee felt like drawing.
Coke Blak Taste Test Update!

Yes, Nathan, we DID try adding ice cream to Coke Blak at the League HQ Kitchen Laboratory. We bought a pint of vanilla, put on our goggles and safety equipment and went to work.

At first I thought this was going to be a roaring success, but the taste of the Coke Blak largely overwhelmed the ice cream addition. That said, you can never really go wrong with a scoop of vanilla. Like most floats, the ice cream melted rapidly and the concotion became a sort of frothy, extremely sweet mess. But I do think Coke Blak has found a home as a dessert as I think I'd be more likely to have Coke Blak again as a float than just popping open a bottle and pouring it over ice.

That said, the 4th bottle of Coke Blak remains untouched atop the fridge.

I guess this means The League has opened itself up to possible suggestions for Taste Tests. Please bear in mind, The League is not the weird kid on the playground who will eat pill-bugs for a nickel. If you have a new product you're curious about, consider The League to be a bit like Consumer Reports, but for questionable foods.
Babies, Ahoy!

Hey, ya'll. If you hadn't noticed, if you send me a picture of your kid, I will probably post it.

I guess Cousin Jim and his wife Michelle had thier kid yesterday! Everyone welcome little Walker Bridenstine to the world.

The guy on the right is Jim. Right now he is hoping the baby is less accident prone than he was between the ages of 1 and 15.

Hey, it's Arden Hermann-Wilmarth!

Arden considers the years of therapy it will take to recover from this hair-style

Monday, April 17, 2006

CrackBass gets a blog.

hey, ya'll go check out CrackBass's blog over at Blogo de Wilson. It's sure to be a good read.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Melbotis Mailbag!

Jim D. writes:
Dear Ryan, why don't you write a book? Not a novel, but a collection of personal essays and/or observations, not unlike Chuck Klosterman? Or even something like Sedaris or Eggers? Why not?


Writing is very hard and time consuming, and unless I had a really good idea and a six-figure advance, I find it unlikely I would or could devote the necessary time. I am not sure who this Chuck Klosterman fellow is, but from his name it sounds like he might be an elder in a Lutheran church. Sedaris and Eggers I HAVE read. Unlike Sedaris or Eggers I have not really lived a life full of anecdotes that are print-worthy and/or are in any way relevant to the general public. I think if you reflect upon it, there's no justification for the sort of supply chain needed to get my bright ideas from a helpless tree to people's airport travel bags.

I will say this: if I am ever published, I hope I can hire Samuel L. Jackson to do the book on tape.

For those of you who really think I'm awesome and want to give me money, I can set up a PayPal system for you to start sending me dough.

Okay. Dipping back into the Mellie Noms:

Peabo writes

a) Why does the League obsess about NBA basketball? College B-ball is where it’s at.

Good question, Peabo. I think this is easier to couch in terms of why I don't watch college ball. The quick and dirty answer is that aside from our stint of catching UT games in the late 80's, I never paid much attention to college basketball. Then I ceased paying attention to sports from about 1991-1996. Then I started watching UT Football, some pro-football, the Spurs and a handful of other teams. To me, that was always a lot.

College ball is fun. But as occasionally as I've been able to see teams of any note in college ball (bear in mind, I get a lot of exciting ASU basketball here), versus several nights a week of Suns basketball, plus TNT's coverage... Well, it's a matter of odds who is going to keep my interest.

That, and in the late 80's when we were going to UT Basketball Camp I paid like $25 to have my picture taken with Tom Penders and he was a jerk.

b) The League needs to cover: The madcap hijinks of his suburban neighbors

I don't really know my neighbors. The guy who lives next door is okay. He's like 7 feet tall, but his wife decided we weren't worth talking to when we didn't accept their invitation to go to church. It felt like Texas all over again.

I've never seen one of the families across the street. We DO have flag-guy across the street who looks exactly like Squidward from SpongeBob. He's been dubbed "Flag-Guy" as each holiday he places literally dozens of flags in his yard. I lost count at 75 two 4th of July's ago.

Aside from that, I have no idea who the people are who live around me. Nobody goes outside in AZ.

Hope everyone is having a festive Easter Sunday. I'll be back to post more this evening.

Jamie and I went to the Diamondbacks/ Astros game last night, and it was quite a game if you were an Astros fan. We're impartial, and thus decided to root for our hometown team so as not to draw the ire of our fellow ticket holders.

Baseball is a great spectator sport, and not just because nobody cares if you throw peanut shells all over the place. We had fairly good $10 seats and spent most of the game reclined and taking in the open-air stadium.

It was also Jackie Robinson Night, which was pretty cool. As a kid I had a book on Jackie Robinson that I read over and over (where IS that book?). MLB or the D-Backs had put together a nice video package for the Jumbotron and the D-Bakcs trotted out a former owner of the Kansas City Monarchs (which meant that guy knew Jackie in the Negro Leagues prior to moving to Brooklyn) and a couple of local dignitaries.

And here's a cool thing about an open-air stadium (but has little to do with Jackie Robinson): four F-16's tore over in formation at the end of The Star Spangled Banner. Unfortunately, they flew over at an angle that must have been amazing from the other side of the stadium, but I couldn't see anything but one wing.

C'est la vie.

We left during the seventh inning stretch when we were down 9-0 and had earned 2 hits all game. I know baseball can turn on a dime, but neither our batting nor our pitching staff looked remotely awake last night (as evidenced by the 10-0 final score). And I think we had two or three errors as well. Blech.

I did get a nice D-Backs cap.

The next game we'll go to will be the March 4 game vs. the Chicago Cubs, so I am torn about who to cheer for. Cubs, I guess. Just know this: I've never been to a baseball game where the team I've cheered for has won.

This morning Jamie woke me up and we had our big Easter breakfast of bacon and sweet rolls. This was preceeded, however, by an exchanging of Easter baskets. Mine is pretty fly, emblazoned with the Superman logo.

The Easter Bunny's lesser-known cousin, The Terror Bunny

At some point last night I was visited by the Easter Bunny (who is apparently pals with Jamie). Before I'd even had a cup of coffee I was on an egg-hunt, lurching around the house trying to find both plastic and real eggs. Apparently my egg-finding skills are a bit rusty as Jamie had to use the tried-and-true "Warmer/colder" method to help me find 90% of the little potential stink bombs.

Anyhoo, hope everyone is having a fantastic Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Odds and Ends

So, despite what the cover of Newsweek would have you believe, nobody gives a shit either about Katie Couric moving to CBS news or, possibly, the CBS evening news. (Who the hell is home in time to see the national news?)

Don't believe me? Gallup says:

Only about 1 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to watch the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in the anchor seat, and roughly the same percentage say they are less likely to watch, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. Despite Couric's presumed power to produce high ratings, only 6% of Americans say they will be less likely to watch the Today show when Couric's replacement, Meredith Vieira, steps in. Seven percent say they will be more likely to watch.

Apparently most people don't care who Meredith whats-her-name is, either. I will say my mother has said how happy she is Katie's got herself a new job, but in 31 years I've never seen her watch the evening news, so I doubt we'll see the KareBear start now. I could be wrong. I could be wrong.

SGH has pitched some sort of League-a-Palooza here in Chandler, AZ. Look, I've spent three years in these pages both complaining about this place and trying to escape. Why... WHY would you people want to come here? I guarantee you, two seconds after arriving here you would have a moment of clarity and start looking for a way to change your departure day and time.

1) Today it was 95 degrees. This is as nice as it will be until October 31st.
2) There is nothing to do in Chandler.
3) My comic collection loses it's novelty in about twenty minutes.
4) I'm terrified RHPT may come and discover my entire room dedicated to pictures I've taken of him through his blinds in various states of undress
5) Jamie has a terrible beef-jerky like smell
6) I've secretly been living in Atlanta this entire time

Anyway, you guys are nice to try to come to my aid and amuse me. But let's hold off until the weather is not going to burn out your eye-balls before we entertain any notions of coming to the desert.

Plus, I might be going to ACL Fest, depending on what I can work out. (Radiohead, Jim. Radiohead.)

Uh, what else...?

I watched both episodes of South Park's "Cartoon Wars." Check them out if you have a chance.

I'm trying to figure out where I can get a pair of roller skates. (skates, not "blades"). I've decided that Chandler is completely flat, which means I would NEVER be skating uphill, which means, in a way, Chandler is a perfect roller rink.

Oh, and what's this? My old pal from college, Richard, is getting hitched up to his longtime girlfriend, Laura. Richard isn't really a Leaguer, and, in fact, I haven't heard from Richard in, like, forever. But it sounds like I may be invited to the wedding in late October. I hope Richard is planning on a "Halloween Costume" themed wedding, because I have all kinds of ideas. If Shannon has any info on this, it would be much appreciated.

Anyhoo, it's late and I don't have much for you guys today.

I'll be dipping into the Melbotis Mailbag this weekend. Stop on by!

Oh, and Happy Easter, Leaguers. Whether you're doing the church thing, the secular thing, or taking advantage of the Easter tradition and getting some time off, enjoy.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

In the News:

I don't know what was up today, but here are some interesting bits:

-CNN actual headline: Star wears red shirt, no pants to Walk of Fame ceremony

-Apparently a giant rabbit is prowling the British country-side in a manner eerily similar ot "Curse of the Were-Rabbit"

-Those wacky Iranians have figured out how to make enriched uranium. But Condi will not let this stand. I'm not sure what part of the UN charter say the US gets to tell everybody else what to do, but I also understand why this might make the US a bit nervous.
I'm going to break this down for you not following the news:
1) 1970's, a bunch of Iranians kick out the Shah and go all fundamentalist kooky
2) Crazy Iranians take US citizens hostage
3) League, aged 5, vaguely remembers hostages being freed
4) US and Iran do not get along
5) Ayatollah Khomeni hires the Joker (fresh off killing Jason Todd) to become Iran's ambassador to the UN. Joker given complete diplomatic immunity by lousy UN charter. Superman and Batman team-up and foil the Joker's plot to use his lethal "Joker Gas" on the UN General Assembly. Jim Aparo's pencils rock in this issue.
6) US invades Iraq. Threatens anyone looking funny at US in the region with a "who want's some?" sort of squinty-eyed Eastwoody thing. US does much chest punding and making of "Whoooo"ing sound.
7) Many US citizens buy little ribbon magnets for their cars.
8) Iranians feel threatened.
8) Iranians elect fundamentalist who promises he will "take no guff"
9) Former US hostages say, "hey, wasn't that the a@@hole who held us hostage...?"
10) Iran decides to start either petroleum free energy program or world-ending nuclear program, depending on who you wanna believe
11) US says "The only people who can have nukes are us, Russia, a scad of former USSR countries, India, maybe Pakistan, and like four other countries."
12) Iranians point to small article on back of Denny's menu stating they are a sovereign nation and can pretty much do whatever the hell they want, a la the U.S.
13) IAEA feels uncomfortable as friend caught in the middle
14) Condi makes her "angry face"
15) Saber rattling commences
16) Realizing this may go past 5:00, UN Security Coucil orders out for pizza.

There you go.

-In fake news, a sequel is planned for Snakes on a Plane (in someone's imagination).

-Thousands of Phish fans suddenly headed for Alaska before the laws change

That's my news-in-brief.

Thanks to everyone for a swell birthday! It was a good one and certainly one for the record books.

Steanso has gone wayyyyy out of his way to make sure that I do not forget some key moments from my childhood. Go to AoS. (editor's note: The League is known as "Roundball" at AoS)

We'll be back soon, same bat time, same bat channel.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


You are my Superman!
Love, Mrs. League

I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever.
Hey, it's The League's 31st Birthday.

Happy Birthday to me.

I've tried to make it a little tradition to post the lyrics to a song each year on this day.

Waitin' for a Superman
Flaming Lips

Asked you a question
I didn't need you to reply
Is it gettin' heavy?
But they'll realize
Is it gettin' heavy?
Well I thought it was already as heavy
As can be

Is it overwhelming
To use a crane to crush a fly?
It's a good time for Superman
To lift the sun into the sky

'Cause it's gettin' heavy
Well I thought it was already as heavy
As can be

Tell everybody
Waitin' for Superman
That they should try to hold on
Best they can
He hasn't dropped them
Forgot them
Or anything
It's just too heavy for Superman to lift

Is it gettin' heavy?
Well I thought it was already as heavy as can be.

Tell everybody
Waitin' for Superman
That they should try to hold on
Best they can
He hasn't dropped them
Forgot them
Or anything
It's just too heavy for Superman to lift
The League Taste Tests Coca-Cola Blak
(imagine a little dash over the "a" in Blak)

aka: My Coke has an Identity Crisis

Coca-Cola Corp decided some time ago to start playing mad scientist in their R&D division. From this infusion of R&D dinero we've had some interesting concoctions.

Coke with lemon pledge.
Coke with Lime.
Coke Zero.
Booze ready vanilla coke.

I heard Tina Fey say something about Coke with coffee in it on Saturday Night Live. The League loves him some Coke, but we REALLY loves us some coffee. Parched and tired from my journey to AZRD on Saturday night, I was looking for something refreshing yet full of amphetamines to really get me going.

And, By GOD, they had new Coke BlaK (imagine a little line over the "a" in Blak).

What does The Coca-Cola company have to say for their new product? Well, check it out (and dig the loungy music).

Jamie was skeptical, especially given the debacle which was the Jones Soda Holiday Feast, but, folks, we at League HQ must continue to find ways to assist you, the consumer.

I was a bit a'feared, not having Steanso to back me up, so I invited JLA'er and recent widower Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny to assist me in trying out the new beverage. And, as always, Jeff the Cat.

Jeff wisely tries to separate himself from the fun

What of the bouquet?

Apparently I have cat hair all over my shirt, plus some sort of stain I hadn't noticed. I should have worn my white lab coat.

It smells like Coke with coffee in it. Or possibly coffee with Coke in it. Sweet, but bitter. Like when a rabbit goes evil

For some cockamamie reason Jamie believes ice will somehow dilute the test. Well, being a man of science, The League decides to try both ways.

fizzy, but not threateningly fizzy

I decide it looks okay and smells weird. Like there's coffee in my Coke.

bottoms up! The first taste is always the hardest.

Longing for yesteryear...

Huh. The first sip is seriously weird. Lots of carbonation and a very sweet coffee flavor, like cold coffee with too much sugar in it. Not necessarily a bad thing. When I was five I used to sneak drinks of my mom's coffee when she wasn't looking. It tastes like that. At first.


Wait. What the hell is that? Now it tastes like Coke. Sort of. I think I can still taste coffee, but I'm not sure. How can a liquid have more than one flavor? Clearly the makers of this drink are up to some serious mad science. I have no idea what I'm drinking.

I consult with Elongated Man, and he suggests I try some crushed ice before I make a verdict.

Not just embued with stretchy powers, Ralph is also a top notch detective.

At this point I'm not really clear on whether I should be drinking this stuff for breakfast, with a burger, smoking a cigarette to be hip (although I'm thinking a Kool is the sort of cigarette this soda deserves), or if it should be 4:00 AM, I'm delirious and no longer care what I drink. But a little ice can't hurt.



Is it Coke in my coffee?

Or Coffee in my Coke?

Either way, it's... I dunno.

The League, delighted to try out a soda and not wanting to barf. Sometimes it's the little things, Leaguers.

I can't figure out who thought this would be a big seller. It's coffee and Coke. If you're a fan of sweetened cold folgers and you love Coke, man, I may have a product for you. Otherwise, really, I can't imagine ever buying this stuff again. I'll probably finish the 4-pack it came in, but I expect this stuff will disappear faster than Crystal Pepsi.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Melbotis Mailbag

Well, you guys were supposed to get another taste test this evening, but Blogger is being weird and I can't seem to upload those all-too important photos.

So, a little bit early we're going to do something new. You guys sent in some questions and whatnot as part of the 2006 Melbotis Awards. We're going to re-route those e-mails to this new experiment: Melbotis Mailbag.

If you have questions or comments, send them on in. We'll do what we can to answer your every query.

Let's see here.

CrackBass asks: Why does the League obsess about Burger King and/or Jones Soda?

Well, Burger King fascinates me as it is the #2 or #3 fast food franchise, certainly well behind McDonalds, and yet BK seems to have better items on the menu than McD's. Note how every Leaguer had an opnion on what's worth chowing on at the BK, but I am guessing the reaction to a question about McDonald's would have met with disdain.

Plus, BK has a kick-ass mascot.

Not only is McDonald's food not considered to be as good, McDonalds has never had an entertaining commercial in it's storied history. Their mascot isn't even amusing. It's madness.

My fascination with Jones Soda's Holiday Feast? Well, it's soda supposedly flavored like items which were never meant to be had in soda form. How can you not want to at least see what these dudes were thinking? It's a sort of stupid thing to do, turning brussel sprouts into soda. And we at the League are always curious about the intentionally stupid.

All right... what else..

Nathan says: Why does the League obsess about how un-hip Chandler is? Of course it's un-hip, just like most of America! It can't all be Austin, LA, NYC, etc. I used to dog San Antonio all the time, but now it's home, and there's plenty of things I love and hate about the city.

Randy asks: Why does The League obsess about Austin. Stop living in the past, dude.

I felt these two questions were interrelated as they both tie into my dissatisfaction with my current geographic situation.

Why not Chandler, AZ? Well, there's nothing to do in Chandler. That's not to say there's nothing to do in Phoenix or Arizona. There's just nothing to do in Chandler, and, moreover, nobody to do it with.

I don't think that because Chandler is un-hip like the rest of America is a good reason to roll over and accept boredom as my fate. In fact, I think that's a fairly terrible idea. Why on earth would I compromise my idea of an ideal place to live because other people live to go to Target, buy minivans and play golf? I am not bagging on Phoenix (and I well could, but I don't). I'm bagging on Chandler because it's exactly the kind of suburban nightmare I always swore I would avoid winding up living in. I can't reiterate enough: there is absolutely nothing to do here. And nobody to do it with.

We live a forty five minute drive into town, for those of you keeping score at home. It's about thirty minutes just to get to Tempe.

Look, a big night on the town on Chandler is grabbing dinner (nothing wrong with that) and going to a movie. Again, nothing wrong with that. But after four years that wears a little thin. And doing much of anything else usually has significant dollar signs attached. Yeah, we went to rollerderby this weekend (an hour drive, btw), and are going to a Diamondbacks game this weekend (to see Nathan's Astros). Hopefully we can continue to find things to do outside of Chandler.

Four years in and the only people I know out here are my co-workers, and that's a mixing of business and pleasure which really doesn't work out so well. Especially when you have to be "the boss" again on Monday. And the few other folks we've met out here sort of ended up with kids. Sorry, new parents... you will abandon your childless friends. It's true. I think the childless couples are just creepy to the kids, anyway.

We're not completely blameless in the whole ordeal. Jamie and I tend to keep to ourselves sometimes.

On a different note: One big reason we're ofter seeking a return to the Lone Star state is that we're now far enough away from family that Jamie has a support structure of one (moi). I don't know how many of you have folks in your house who could need hospitalization at the drop of a hat, but after a while, you kind-of/sort-of wish that you were a car ride rather than a plane ride away from folks who would be all too happy to assist.

A LOT of people are always telling us to skip town and go see the desert, etc... And to be truthful, that's a little tough for us to do. At least for me. I always hate being more than an hour from Jamie's hospital unless we have parents or a working knowledge of an area (do you know where your ER is? The average wait times?).

So am I being misty-eyed about Austin? Probably. I did live there for most of my life, so I'm biased. And I'm also probably spoiled. I miss having non-chain restaurants to go to. I miss living four miles from work, working with my friends and having an endless array of opportunities every night of the week, all withing ten miles of the house. There's a pretty good reason Austin has the reputation it has, both good and bad.

Chandler does not have:
Any decent record shops
Barton Springs
Alamo Drafthouse (or any independent cinema)
decent touring bands
decent local bands
coffee houses not crawling with seniors
Bar BQ
decent bars
Spam-o-Rama (and dozens of other nonsensical events)
A great comic shop
Any of my terrific friends or family

I don't particularly feel the "hipster" attachment to Austin (I did move there when I was 10, after all). But I do think the lifestyle there in Austin was something I'd become accustomed to.

It's not about living in the past, team (and thanks for putting it in such a classy way, RHPT). It's about how you want to spend the rest of your life. I'm not ready to throw my hands in the air and decide the rest of my life should be reheated leftovers from Chili's and trips to the mall to buy sneakers. That's just not how we'd prefer to wind up here at The League.

Whoops. That wound up a little heavier than I intended the first Melbotis Mailbag to end up. I'm not really sure I completely answered your questions, but I gave it the old League of Melbotis try.

Feel free to send in questions. We'll see what we can do.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


"Who doesn't like Pirates?" asks Jamie.

Yep. We're a little down about the conclusion of the A&E series "Rollergirls" here at League HQ.

However, thanks to the cleverly placed ad spots during the program and The League's ability to utilize Google, we located our local Rollerderby league to see what all this rollerderby we'd been seeing on TV was really like.

For $10.00 a pop, I figured it was better than spending money on "The Benchwarmers" and absolutely killing my Saturday night. That, and instead of bitching endlessly about how there's nothing to do in Chandler, we up and left Chandler for parts unknown.

So, for $23.00 (I got my tickets online ahead of time with a $1.50 service charge), we ventured forth to check out the April 8th bout of the AZ Rollerderby. The bout was between The Bruisers and the Surly Gurlies. Some debate was had ahead of time as to whether we should cheer for one team over another, followed by which team.

Jamie threw in immediately with the Pirate-themed Surly Gurlies before we'd left the house. I refused to take sides until we got to the match, assuming I'd pick a team before the end of the first half. Probably whomever was losing.

We finally located the much-advertised but never-before-seen Castles and Coasters on our way up the freeway, and also noticed a few other locations which had incorporated "Castle" into their name, not the least of which was "Castle Boutique" which welcomed "Lords and Ladies", leading the League to believe that perhaps the "Castle Boutique" was not a stop-off for kiddies on their way to the fun park.

The sports complex which held the derby also had a curious castle theme, although at least two to three miles away from the amusement park. We arrived half an hour early, said "hello" to some lady on skates in a sort of balloon-like costume, and wandered in to a fairly empty builidng. Live-music was provided by a sort of rock-a-billy/surf rock/punk group called (I think) "Grave Danger". The announcer's audio completely sucked, so I'm still not sure of the name of the band, but I am positive it was not "Great Naked", which is what I THOUGHT he said at first. I have decided that when Steanso and The League finally cut their first album, by GOD, that will be the name.

Upon arriving, I also immediately threw in with the Surly Gurlies. Two factors there. a) PIRATES!!! b) the aptly named "Brickhouse".

The arena was not as seen on Rollergirls. (The TXRD was using one of the spaces at Austin Studios/ aka Robert Mueller airport. Which means that the TXRD's "Thunderdome" may have been paid for by the producers of the show in order to make the program easier to produce.) Instead, AZRD uses an ice rink sans ice. Which basically means a flat, open surface with a taped-off track.

You may notice that NASCAR events are NOT on a flat surface, which keeps cars from flinging off the track at each turn. TXRD also has a concave surface in which to skate, which keeps the players on the track and also makes it plenty exciting as the players smack into the rail, etc.. Jamie pointed out that the pit in the center of the track for TXRD seemed a lot larger than AZRD. Could be. I'm not up to speed on regulation size for rollerderby tracks, but there was enough space left over that I would be uncertain as to why they would not utilize more space for the track if they wanted it.

Anyhoo, prior to the match I was a little concerned about how the players would stay on the track. Answer: the AZRD game appeared to be a bit slower than TXRD, and, yes, players did occasionally go zipping right off the track and into the audience. Which was alternately scary and funny. As I mentioned, it was a hockey rink. Jamie and I were firmly behind the glass, watching from some bar-stools.

Prior to the match, watching a dozen players circling the track to warm up had a pleasing fish-bowl effect. When I am a crazy billionaire super-villain, I shall always have a rollerderby track I can peer out onto from my oversized chair and watch rollerderby girls skating in circles.

Apparently the AZRD is also hitched to the hockey scoreboard in the sports complex. Instead of four fifteen minute quarters, we were treated to three twenty minute periods and two lengthy breaks during which "Grave Danger" would rock out and the many alterna-kids would dash outside for a smoke. We were very confused by the hockey-timing of the game and were getting up to go after the second period, but found it odd so few people were leaving.

The place was probably not sold-out, but it WAS fairly full. And there were a lot of kids. I spent part of teh first period talking to some kid named "Josh" who was probably ten and was clearly now a third wheel since his Scottsdale-y looking Mom had married "Paul". Poor Josh and I were trying to puzzle out the intricacies of the game and his mom kept turning around to tell him to "leave (me) alone". Honestly, Josh was figuring things out better than I was, so I was enjoying talking to him. Although I think he was more interested in the mechanics of the game than girls in pirate and nurse outfits on skates. Ah, youth.

Luckily with the cost of a ticket we received a small program explaining the rules. Which really helped, because the mechanics were slightly different at AZRD than what I'd seen of TXR, and while scoring seemed similar, I lost track of the "Jammer" a lot, and couldn't figure out when each "Jam" was ending.

Our pirate ladies got their asses handed to them, although they did come alive in the 3rd period. They suffered some nasty spills, alot more than the Bruisers, and the poor EMT really earned his dough dashing from girl to girl.

All in all, it was a fun night out. The next match is in May, so I'm hoping Jamie will be up to see the Surly Gurlies take on the Bad News Beaters.

One other thing: There was a fairly professional video crew with a multi-camera system set-up. I don't think it was for Season 2 of Rollergirls, but I am wondering if this isn't going to show on our local cable channels 7 or 9.

Apparently these teams are all over the place. You Leaguers should Google to see if there's a team in your neck of the woods.

Here's a page with an QT of some AZRD action. It, uh, loads automatically, so click at your own peril.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Here are the results of the last League of Melbotis User Poll

Unsurprisingly Powergirl drew in a lot of votes. Thanks Steanso, Reed-o and CrackBass.

Just so you know, Batman's partners tend to get killed and/ or are usually emotional trainwrecks after living in a cave with a zealot for a few years. They also are sometimes recruited by Checkmate (see the upcoming series by Greg Rucka starring OMAC Project's Sasha Bordeaux)

We've got a new poll up. Go nuts.

Okay. I wasn't going to post on this until I understood what was going on a little better. Jim and I have been kicking this around a bit today, and while I shared my concerns over the suit, I confessed that I had very little understanding of what was going on.

Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman with Joe Shuster, has passed. However, his widow and daughter have just secured rights to "Superboy" about 60 years after the character was first conceived and millions made from the idea.

My confusion came from my misunderstanding of Siegel's role at National Comics in the 1940's (taken from having misread Les Daniel's Superman: The Complete History).

Leave it to The Beat to clear things up in a way I can understand. Read here.

I'm a little concerned for the Superman franchise, but I see this as a win-win for for DC and the Siegels if everyone can just play ball nicely. The fact that Siegel was NOT work for hire at the time of his concept of Superboy came to print means that my concern about individual law suits chipping away at DC until it's no longer a viable company is probably not a huge issue. Hopefully the Siegels can come to see their legal adversaries as their publishing friends and wish to maintain the Superman legacy so everyone can make some dough.

That, and as of IC #6, this may all be a moot for a while, anyway.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I should mention that sometime around March 31st 2003 The League of Melbotis leapt forth from my skull and into existence.

Jim D. and I were in the habit of sending each other vast e-mails, and he'd launched his own blog several months prior. It was upon his suggestion that I launched LoM.

The League almost didn't survive it's first week in existence as I got freaked out about having anything online that could be traced back to me.

Back then it was suggested that the blog was to be named "The Unbearable Lightness of Steans". A few other names were tossed about, but I had sort of thought at the time that League of Melbotis suggested a sort of team or community feel, and Melbotis makes a great mascot and avatar for the sort of nonsense we'd be covering.

Things were perhaps a little racier around here at first. And political whatnot was included in the tense weeks leading up to war. There was also a circle of blogs that constantly cross-referenced one another, and usually it was pretty friendly. Of those, Jim D's site is occassionally maintained and Maxwell's site is still in existence, if not as routinely maintained. Molly disappeared into the Japanese wilderness. RHPT finally gave in to his crippling sense of self-doubt regarding his own blog and now haunts my comments section and e-mail box.

Later on Steanso dipped a tow into the blog-o-sphere, and it's been an interesting ride watching him be fruity on his site.

We started with no images, no comments and an orange and green color scheme. I have no idea what I was thinking. Google bought blogger and made a lot of changes that I still haven't figured out how to adapt to my site (Picasa and setting up an RSS feed remain a bit of a mystery).

Leaguers have come, Leaguers have gone. Where is Anne Francis? Madi H.? Brenda? Shoemaker? Molly?

I always assume people got bored or offended. It's so hard to keep track.

Content has changed. I'm consciously avoiding any public printed statements of political convictions these days, though I may slip from time to time. I learned that despite the overarching comic-theme of the League, folks were just as happy when I moved all that on over to I dunno. We are what we are, I guess. I wish Jamie would post more. She's really a good writer and funny. Ah, well.

We've no real recollection as to why we decided to begin to use "The League" as our pseudonym, epsecially when everyone knows our real name. Or why we use the royal "we" as often as possible. Or why we switch randomly back and forth between third and first person. I've heard it makes the site difficult to get used to. C'est la vie.

And the contests? Remember the glorious contests? They died out for a while, but the Mellies brought them back with a vengeance.

I now see The League of Melbotis as:
1) A tiny little space where folks can pop in to kill some time
2) My attempt to get people a little interested in comics
3) A place for folks who like any of the following: robots, space ships, monkeys, pirates or superheroes
4) Probably something else, but I have no idea.

Anyway, we hope it's been enjoyable for you Leaguers who have stuck around. We're not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. I hope you guys find something to amuse you as you drift in.

If you're lurking and not speaking up, howdy and thanks to you, too. Feel free to e-mail me any time. We'd love to hear from you.

If you've been hanging around for a while and I haven't educated you on comics or perhaps even raised your interest, well, then I've completely failed in one aspect of my mission. But I'm going to keep trying.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

sort of...

I'm going to try to wrap this up tonight. Let's see if we can't finish this thing. In order to mix things up, let's mix and match questions 13 and 14. Will we see any discernable pattern here? Most likely, no.

Still, not only does this give me an excuse to wrap things up, but it also gives for an interesting view of all of our Leaguers. Read into it what you will.

Question 13:

I'm no astrologist, but I love the planets. If I could dedicate myself to studying but one planet, it would be


Question 14:

I am most like the following Hanna Barbera cartoon character

Eric Nordtrom:

13) Venus.
14) I would have to say Captain Caveman. Don't know why.

13) Is Venus too corny? Is Planet X too hip?
14) Atom Ant--tiny but uncannily strong . . . and totally willing to have my style nicked by future generations of hipsters.

Or, when I'm feeling a bit less self-indulgent: Curly from the Harlem Globetrotters series. The combination of his moniker, 'Curly,' and his plainly bald head reveal a keen sense of irony. Yea, irony. And I've got a pretty prominent cranium myself.

13) Hello? Mars! That's where men come from, right?
14) Penelope Pitstop -- I am always in one mess after another, but come out (mostly) unscathed each time.

Jim D.:
13) Earth. There's always something interesting there, though perhaps not on my part of it.

If pressed, I'd say Pluto, as there is some fierce debate about whether Pluto is indeed a planet (as it does not appear to meet whatever the formal definition of "planet" is). It seems, though, that since the great majority of the populace considers Pluto to be a planet (from their early schooling and memorization of the planets in our solar system), there are those who say that it must remain classified as a planet (since we have always considered it to be such). Who would have thought that a planet could have an identity crisis?

14) Reed Richards. Clearly, RHPT is Space Ghost and The League is Lex Luthor.

Ryan V.:
13) Earth. Yep. Predictable.
14) Astro from the Jetsons.

13) Seriously….is this a question ? They’re PLANETS. They are giant, uninhabitable, non-life yielding, gas filled/covered rocks. A more interesting question would be name your favorite piece of corn in your stool.
14) Although I always felt Shaggy was a kindred spirit (we both liked dogs and eating), I don’t think I’ve ever said the word zoinks. The kids in the youth group at church used to tell me I reminded them of Johnny Bravo. So I will trust their judgment even though I’ve never seen a Johnny Bravo episode.

13) -Dunno…K-PAX.
14) -Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory. I wear a white coat and like science.

13) Saturn or Jupiter. I read once that if you could find an ocean big enough, Saturn would float, and Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a perpetual storm larger than Earth.
14) X The Eliminator, the version on Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-law.

13) Jupiter (and its moons)
14) I am most like the following Hanna Barbera cartoon character: I do not have an answer, since I think I relate more to Donald Duck than any Hanna-Barbera character. Are there any Donald-like HB characters? (editor's note: Nothing comes to mind. Yakky Doodle?)

Social Bobcat:
13) we're supposed to say Uranus, right?
14) Shaggy - someone said if i had a green t-shirt and bell-bottomed orange pants i could pass for him at Halloween

13) Mars. Just kidding. Uranus.
14) Velma Dinkley. I wear a lot of orange.

13) The planet I like most is Jupiter. So massive, so proto-stellar, so gassy.

And it has that cool whirling eye - a gigantic hurricane, that's so cool.

And saying "hurricane" gives me one more chance to say: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

And remind you that the man who said that is a boob.

14) Hair Bear of course. Despite being locked up in a zoo, I generally find my way into mischief anyways.

13) Dagobah
14) I'm most like Gloop from the Herculoids. No, wait. Maybe I'm more like Gleep....

13) Neptune – looks so cool in the books, all that blue and green. Plus, in the OUR UNIVERSE books from National Geographic, the “possible life forms were pretty cool (although the fire breathing creatures from Mercury were a close second.)
14) I’d love to be one of the Herculoids, but I’m probably more like Snagglepuss

13) Saturn. Big planet, plenty of satellites, and of course those awesome rings.

By the way, don't you mean I'm no astronomer? Otherwise, wouldn't we be dedicating ourselves to the study of one astrological sign?
14) No idea. Haven't watched the Jetsons, Yogi, Tom and Jerry in awhile, and I don't think I'm like any of the Scooby Doo characters. Maybe the League should tell me what HB cartoon character I'm most like.
(editor's note: Muttley)

D. Loyd:
13) Jupiter. Much to learn
14) Top Cat

13) Jupiter, because it is huge!
14) I am Boo-Boo to Ryan's Yogi.

The League:
13) Mars. Because one day I shall live there.
14) I was going to say QuickDraw McGraw, but I think Jamie probably hit the nail on the head. Probably Yogi. Because of the Pic-a-nic baskets and my uneasy relationship with Park Rangers.
Professionally, I may be most like SGC2C's Moltar.


Let's see here. We've got 5 for Jupiter, 2 for Mars, 2 for Venus and 2 for my anus. Well done, Leaguers.

Ah, there's Peabo, once again overwhelmed with the majesty of the universe The Lord has made for him. Peabo's getting the "boo" on this one big time. It's not just the response he gave, it's also that when we were Freshman Peabo was taking a "self-paced" astronomy course and didn't get a score he liked on his exam. In challenging his instructor Peabo informed his instructor he could "write his own" astronomy text. He did not get his grade curved.

Apparently his knowledge of the cosmos is so great he now feels the topic is no longer of interest.

Oh, and Leaguers, quadruple points to Reed-o for picking up my time bomb. An astrologist uses a "horoscope." An astronomer uses a "telescope". I can't believe only Reed-o noticed that. You guys gotta stay on your toes.

No points can be awarded for naming your likeness after a Hanna-Barbera character.

Notes of interest: Nathan DIDN'T compare himself to Shaggy? I... I don't even know how to reconcile that in my mind.

Peabo IS quite a bit like Johnny Bravo.

I have no idea what to make of Jamie being my small, male friend. Yogi has a girlfriend, Cindy. But apparently she thinks my little partner in crime, and, possibly, my whispering conscience.

That said, she's way more like Jan from Space Ghost.

Jim loses points for (a) using a licensed Marvel property once animated by Hanna-Barbera (b) listing me as Luthor. Clearly Jim D. was hopped up on goofballs when putting his list together. (c) Imagining a world which contains Reed Richards, Space Ghost and Luthor. It's madness.

Well, that's it! Hope you enjoyed. I'm taking a break for a day or two, and then I'll write a few final thoughts.