Saturday, November 18, 2006

Interactivity: A List of Movies

I am feeling lazy, and rather than going on hiatus as planned, I am looking through my DVD's for inspiration.

Here is a partial list of movies I own that I can always kick back and enjoy, presented in as random an order as I can muster. How many have you seen?

The Right Stuff
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lawrence of Arabia
Superman: The Movie
Superman II
Superman and the Mole Men
Glengarry Glen Ross
The Haunting
The Killing
The Killers
War of the Worlds
The Asphalt Jungle
West Side Story
This Gun for Hire
Singin' In the Rain
Bride of Frankenstein
Mars Attacks
Phantom of the Opera
Cool Hand Luke
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Miller's Crossing
Ed Wood
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Once Upon a Time in the West (God bless you, Claudia Cardinale)
Once Upon a Time in America
Godfather 1 & 2
Batman Returns
For a Fist Full of Dollars
Batman Begins
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Spider-Man 1 & 2
Fight Club
Kiss of Death (original)
The Iron Giant
Iron Monkey
White Heat
Lord of the Rings
The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann version)
Fist of Legend
The Dark Crystal
Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
True Stories
The Big Sleep
It's a Wonderful Life
The Maltese Falcon
Terminator 1 & 2
Young Frankenstein
The Sound of Music
The Day the Earth Stood Still
King Kong (original version)
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Singin' In the Rain
The Quiet Man
Raising Arizona
Fritz Lang's Metropolis
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera

That's probably plenty.

Next time: Movies I have never seen, but probably should

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sorry about the lack of post from last night

I got to answering e-mails I had been negligent in responding to, got sleepy and went to bed.

I have nothing to really post about. Life is good. Weather is great. No job.

Here's some small items:

-Jason recommended a mechanic to me: Lopez Automotive, just off Manchaca and 71. They were shockingly honest and inexpensive. I now hold a grudge against my garage in Phoenix, whom I never really trusted and who never let me walk out the door for less than three bills. But they were also the only garage in spitting distance.

-I hi-jacked Cassidy this afternoon and took her to my house. Her mission: wear out Lucy so she won't spend another night dropping her ball on my foot. Mission was a failure. Lucy has been typically relentless.

-Re: Manchaca pronunciation. I give up. You win. It's Man-tsalk-ah, not Man-shack. Sure, it's been pronounced Man-Shack my whole life, and from what I understand, it's of Czech origin and even "Man-shack" is a butchering of the real pronunciation. But who am I to question the curious pronunciations of Austin streets? Koenig is not supposed to be pronounced "Kay-nig" (it's German and is supposed to be Coh-nig. Sort of), Guadalupe is NOT supposed to be pronounced "Gwahd-uh-loop", and Burnet is not supposed to be pronounced "Burn it". And I-35 is not supposed to be called "The @#$%ing freeway". But there it is. I shall begin calling Congress "Kone-Grease" and see how long it is until that's what they're calling it on News 8.

-Can we get double-jeopardy? Just this once? OJ's new book: If I Did It.

No, @#$%ing seriously.

-Thanksgiving is almost here (gobble gobble). I am excited, but a little weirded out that it's almost here. We're staying here and cooking at home. In addition to the usual suspects, I think Mangum and Juan are coming for dinner. It's gonna be nice. I need to assign Jason to a task. Perhaps wine duty? Usually that's The Admiral's thing. What to assign...?

-I bought my first Christmas present today. That's one person off the list. I do not know what to get Jamie. She was supposed to get a camera, but then her dad gave her his old one, which is better than anything I could currently afford, so I'm sort of out of luck.

Jamie is notoriously difficult to shop for, and unlike when I give other people things and they toss them in the closet and I forget what I got them a week later, I KNOW when Jamie isn't using something or isn't enjoying something. She's polite as all heck about it, but it's probably more disappointing for me when I get her something that never sees the light of day again.

-The new Crest Pro-Health cinammon flavor is awesome. It's like brushing your teeth with Trident gum.

-Also, there's a new Cinammon/Salty Chex Mix. The League says: Delicious.

-PS3 is coming out Friday morning. I saw people camped out at three different stores today. If those people don't know they're advertising the PS3 on Sony's behalf, they should all be told and sent home in shame. The League owned a PS2 for about nine months, then resold it. No gamer are we. I sincerely wish the gamers out there (who wrongfully stole the name "gamers" from the Dungeons & Dragons players) good luck in your purchase. We'll see you next August when you resurface.

-I am once again hooked on Ghost Hunters after the results show from the Stanley Hotel and the Irish Attack Ghost. Now, I'm much more interested in trying to figure out a rational explanation for "evidence" which isn't simply a trick of the eye, but voices, etc...

-For some reason this week there's been a flurry of communication with folks in AZ. Okie, Juli, Maria, Eric P. and even Al have been e-mailing and calling. It is nice to be missed, I think.

-"My Name is Earl" isn't very good this season. Apparently I went to high school with the guy who plays "Crab Man", but I don't recall him. The latest episode was clunky and teh animation wasn't funny enough to warrant its existence. The funniest thing in the episode was a throw-away joke involving umbrellas, a pool and the opening credits of "Friends".

-Tomorrow I venture to Austin Books for a back-issue sale. God help me.

-After the comic shop I have to start organizing all the post-move garbage in my garage and getting it ready for pick-up on Monday. Wheeeeee...

-I'm finally caught up on the Batman titles which I'd fallen behind on. I'm loving Dini's run on "Detective Comics". In "Legends of the Dark Knight", Bruce Jones managed to stretch out a two issue story into a six-issue waste of Ariel Olivetti's considerable talents on art. I hear Legends is not long for the world. That's okay if this is what they're doing with it. But they're just replacing it with "Batman: Confidential", another ongoing series looking at "untold tales from the Dark Knight Detective's formidable career". I tell you, what other medium but comics would you find people reading stories with an absolute certainty that nothing of consequence would happen to the lead character?

-I think I'm finally digging the new "Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis" series. It's just like RHPT underwater. Only different.

-Can anyone recommend any new music? I haven't picked up any CD's in a while. I've given up buying music through iTunes until I get a new computer and I'm going back to disks.

-Erica is getting married. Get your suit pressed and buy some new panty hose. Let's hope there's an open bar.

-That's it. Hope all is well.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Something other than public health

Okay, I feel a little bad that all I posted about tonight was a brief rant on the importance of getting a flu shot.

Today was mostly uneventful. We wound up the day by going to The Shady Grove to have dinner with Pat, Jeff and Keora. I still like Shady Grove. It wasn't even completely over-packed. We're making a bit of an effort to keep up with folks and not just let it go at a single dinner to welcome ourselves back.

I've been trying to make it through a stack of comics which somehow accumulated both before and after we left Phoenix. Somehow I'm two issues behind on things like "Uncle Scrooge" (which I enjoy, so blow it out your ear) and four issues behind on "Outsiders".

All of this is reminding me that maybe I should cut back on single issues and move over to collected editions on books like Outsiders and Aquaman.

I also finally got my office in a semi-working condition and have had a little bit of time to draw. I'm no great artist, but it's something I like to do. I am terribly embarassed of the quality of my work, which shows no signs of maturity and has the rendering quality of a drunk elephant with a paintbrush.

The comic artists I admire number in the dozens, and I feel my work is nowhere near the quality of what they are putting out. So, I just do it to relax and enjoy myself.

I don't know if most folks assume you're fishing for compliments if they catch so much as a glimpse of your work, but I get more than a little uncomfortable when they insist you throw away your salaried job and insurance coverage to, I guess, sell your work at local art fairs or something. It's nice to think people like my stuff, but, c'mon... My rendering of anatomy, if accurate, would represent a land of grotesque monstrosities.

The other night Jason, Mandy and I were at Jason's (where he has hung a photocopy or two of some stuff I did a few years ago) and Jason walked out of the room. Mandy said something nice about a picture I had done, and I said thanks and braced myself for the usual hyperbolic compliments. Instead, she said, "So it's something you can do just for yourself but you can share."

I was completely unprepared for someone to actually say what I always try to get around to saying. I think I flubbed something about it not really being in my professional interest, but what I really wanted to do was grab her by the shoulders and say "YES! Why can't everyone just let it go at that!"

God bless you, Mandy Wilson.

I think I shall now go upstairs and doodle.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Get your @#$%ing flu shot.

Today The League and Jamie headed down to the Toney Burger Center and got "free" flu shots. I don't know what the story was, but they were doing some sort of time trial or something. If they wanted to get good numbers, they got 'em. We were in and out of the place in under five minutes. I even thought I would wind up on Channel 42 5:00 news (who was there collecting footage), but I didn't. Which is good, because I winced like a weiner when I got my shot. And I don't need all of Austin seeing me discouraging people from getting a little needle in their arm.

I've gotten flu shots on and off throughout my life, especially once Jamie started insisting. But a few years ago I got macho, and had been suffering from flu-like symptoms when I got shots, so I decided to take my chances.

Well, here's the deal: If you go to work sick, you will make people (like The League) sick against their will. Stay home. Do not be a plague carrier.

For healthy people: Assume all people with young kids are probably carrying horrible germs. That's awful, I know. But little kids are germ factories.

Also: Some people are immune-compromised and really shouldn't be exposed at all. So if you go to work, you can expose someone like me, who has to go home and carry your germs with him to his immune-compromised wife.

So, Jamie aside, last year I finally got the @#$%ing flu. Bad. Not "put me in the hospital" bad, but "why can't I stop with the stomach cramping and horrible sweating?" bad.

I've wished I were dead maybe four times in my life. One I chalk up to vodka and college, one to gin and college, one to being stuck in the most boring conversation in the history of Christmas parties, and, lastly, when I was kneeling in front of the toilet at 2:30 AM.

Here's the deal: On the scale of possible flu's, that was a light one.

Leaguers, you need to get your flu shot so we don't get La Grippe.

Read here.

and here

No, seriously. The flu pandemic of 1918 was some seriously bad hoodoo. It KILLED 675,000 people. And this is without airplanes jetting people all over the world and a proliferation of CiCi's Pizzas filled with germy, germy kids.

The League loves life. I do not want to die because you thought you probably would not get the flu.

And even if you're a completely self-absorbed jerk, do you really want to spend several days in dire straights which you could otherwise avoid with a quick shot?

this site may help

and from the CDC

Monday, November 13, 2006


You have asked for my e-mail. Here is the trouble... You did not send me your e-mail address. If you look in the left hand menu bar, there are instructions for how to e-mail The League of Melbotis. We will then follow up.

Oh, and I hear congrats of some sort are in order.

So today we went to see "Borat".

It's not often you spend a good deal of time watching a movie wondering how they completed the film without winding up in jail. Really, only the Jackass movies spring immediately to mind when you apply that sort of criteria. And, like Jackass, while viewing Borat, you will spend a good deal of your time wondering how anyone could lack the filter most of us walk around with that prevents us from (a) making others miserable, and (b) doing things that the average human would most likely not do for love or money.

Many people will see Borat and they will laugh. My parents would not be among those people. Well, you never know what the Karebear is going to dig, but I'm willing to bet that Borat comes and goes as a cultural phenomenon and she will never know. All for the best, probably.

Honestly, I wasn't nuts about the film's insistence on using a framing device and a storyline. I think Borat is relatively self-explanatory, and the interstitial scenes of Borat and his producer too often took the wind out of the movie.

I know Borat has been sued by some of the folks who appeared in the movie, and late-1990's internet phenomenon, Mahir, is apparently attempting to sue the filmmakers for stealing his persona. If this were possible, I think Randy might have a lucrative case on his hands.

A few weeks back I was at a wedding. I mentioned that Josh had gone into battle with an elk. Here is my evidence:

Josh is ready for action. The other guy, Frank, was trampled and lost his despoit from Al's Formal Wear.

Doubt The League at your peril.
veterans' day addendum

Jamie pointed out that her dad, Dr. Dick McBride, was in the Army for several years. I cannot believe that his service escaped me in my Veterans' Day post, especially as Judy and Dick practically live next door to Ft. Sill, the army base from which he was discharged. And that, of course, is where Jamie was over the weekend.

A thousand apologies to my father-in-law, with whom I would be honored to share a fox hole.

What an orthodontist would be doing in a fox hole, I have no idea...
The Weekend and Daredevil

Wow. You're probably reading this at work. I wish I had a job.

The weekend disappeared into a colossal loss. I wish I could say it had been more productive.

Last night Mangum (Matt, not Dusty) came by to watch UT beat KSU. Boy, did that not turn out well. Well, the Mangum coming by part worked like a charm. The "UT is going to beat the tar out of these 6-4 hosers" part didn't pan out quite how I'd hoped.

Still, it's always nice to catch up with Mangum.

Today, Jason woke me after 10:00. We went and got breakfast at Maudie's, and then returned to my house to digest Maudie's. This took more than an hour. We kept trying to think of something to do, but I didn't want to go spend money, and Jason was planning to head to a movie tonight, so that was out. Eventually we both acknowledged having chores/errands and parted ways.

I ran an errand or two, played with teh dogs in the yard and enjoyed the lovely Austin Fall day, did some cleaning up, and then went to get Jamie from the airport.

Returned home, and watched the Bears defeat (to my surprise) the NY Giants. That's about it.

Leaguers, you know I love my DC Comics, but that doesn't mean I don't read the Marvelous competition. And one comic that I am addicted to like old people try to mainline "The Price is Right" is Daredevil. Sure, the Affleck/Garner inflicted movie set back the franchise 20 years, and the subsequent "Elektra" movie was a dud, but the comics have had a few good runs that rival any storyline from X-Men or Batman you want to pull out of your hat. No, really.

Daredevil basically follows the adventures of Matt Murdock: blind attorney by day, super-hero with radar sense and ninja-like training protecting the streets of NYC's Hell's Kitchen by night.

I highly recommend the Frank Miller-era stories (which were the basis for the Daredevil movie and which spawned Elektra) which truly redefined the urban vigilante and made a lot of long-time comic fans finally take ntoice of the character. You can find these currently as Daredevil Visionaries 1-3, and Daredevil: Born Again.

Miller established the device which makes Daredevil work: Completely destroy Matt Murdock. Kill his friends. Make his girfriend betray him, etc... have the biggest crime boss in NYC go after him in his civilian identity... and when all hope is lost, let him start fighting back.

In the late 1990's, Marvel relaunched Daredevil under the unfortunate pen of movie-maker Kevin Smith, who put together a barely plausible storyline... But at least Smith got the title up and running again.

Brian Michael Bendis took the title over shortly therafter, and delivered several years worth of stories, all under one continuous storyline as Daredevil's secret identity is compromised.

The storyline was a bold call, and Bendis' treatment of the idea was well thought-out, and believable as could be expected in a book with superheroes. Many comic readers and Daredevil fans took umbrage when Daredevil would fail to actually don tights for several issues at a time, but I think those readers were missing the point of what Bendis was doing with the greatest superhero "what if?" storyline in recent memory.

While the end of Bendis's run was phenomenal, the truth is that as long as the comic continues to go to print, it's not entirely clear HOW they will ever wrap up the storyline. And that's got me hooked.

Of late, crime-comic scribe Ed Brubaker has been given the reins, and brought Gotham Central artist Michael Lark with him to the comic. I've just finished reading their first collection, "Daredevil: The Devil Inside and Out", and while the story is definitely Brubaker and Lark's, the continuity of Bendis's excellent stories seems to have given Brubaker some excellent territory to mine. In fact, I wonder if Brubaker isn't willing to take the brakes off even a little more than Bendis.

Great stuff.

If you're looking for something to start picking up in collected format, I highly recommend. Heck, I'll even try to point you to an online service or comic shop to help you out, if you'd like.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

RE: The UT/ KSU game


Saturday, November 11, 2006


The League of Melbotis wishes to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our servicemen and women. Your service and courage are an inspiration.

Both The Admiral and my Grandfather, Marvin Ross, are proud veterans, and so a special thanks to you. Also, to Larry Lee (if he's still popping in to The League) for his years of service.

I like to think Veterans Day is an opportunity for shmoes like me to get to publicly acknowledge the good others do on our behalf and for our benefit. I'm not a "magnetic ribbon on the car" kind of guy, but that doesn't mean guys like me can't honor and respect the folks who DID put on a uniform for the U.S.

Veterans, The League of Melbotis salutes you.
Jamie has gone to Lawton for the weekend.

It's been years since she left me to my own devices for a trip not involving doctors. I do not know what she is doing in Lawton. I am hoping it involves a great deal of fun.

I dropped Jamie at the airport and, immediately, I realized I had no idea what to do with myself. It's been, really, since May of 2002 that I have been faced with nothing to do in a town full of people I can actually call.

But first I headed for Austin Books. One must always seize the chance to wander the vast aisles of Austin Books when one gets the chance to do so with no one in tow (who will inevitably get bored of seeing you pore through bagged and boarded back-issues of "Superman's Girlfriend: Lois Lane"), or without anyone worrying about when you will return for supper, etc... It was just me and those endless longboxes of lovely, lovely comics.

I bought only one new comic, picking up a handful of back issues (I got a good deal on Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen #133 in decent condition) and Will Eisner's "Life on Another Planet".

The one new comic was "Apocalypse Nerd" #4. One day, remind me and I'll write about this series. In the meantime, this is a comic every knob like me who makes a living working in front of a monitor should pick up.

I admit, I go into giddy comic-fan sensory overload everytime I walk in the door of Austin Books. I enjoy my usual weekly trip to my local comic shop, but as well-run as I find my LCS, the shop simply doesn't treat the history of comics with the same reverence, it doesn't treat the artists like artists to be studied, it doesn't look at the medium as an artform in quite the same way.

Back-issues at my LCS are not preserved pieces of pop-culture, they're old stock which needs to be taken off the shelf, like potato chips or twinkies. It's not that my LCS manager doesn't have an understanding of these things, or that he doesn't have an appreciation for comics. I think he's actually a very good manager. But he can't afford to take the chance on stocking the items he might want to put on the shelf as his audience is far more interested in what's new, what just came out, what's the latest...? The story behind the comics doesn't hold a candle to the story contained within the comic. And that's kind of too bad.

I like a somewhat scholarly approach to the medium. I like knowing I can walk in and pick up a book of interviews with the early creators of JLA comics, or a Wally Wood retrospective, or a Terry and the Pirates Compendium as readily as I can pick up this month's issue of "Super Teen-Aged Misfit Vigilantes". I'm glad someone just got Pekar's latest in paperback.

But I'm also glad they're across town. Otherwise, we'd be dead broke.

Jamie reads my comics, but she doesn't collect them. I have bought Jamie her first back-issue. It is hers. It is not mine, and I will not put it in my long-boxes. I want her to have it so she has one, shiny, pretty comic which she can say "that is mine".

I thought I'd spend this evening alone with the pets, but I didn't. I bugged some folks, but was having trouble finding someone to amuse me when Jason called. Thus, Jason, Mandy, Ellie and I wound up on S. Congress at Southside Flying Pizza, then at Jason's for a quick beer. Mel and Lucy came with me to the Hop-a-Long Lounge where they romped in the breezy weather with Cassidy.

It is now windy and cold out. I wonder if Fall is finally fallen.

Tomorrow I think I will try to summon folks to my house to watch the UT game and have a drink or two.

Friday, November 10, 2006

We are having an all-faiths and creeds Holiday party. Be there. Here's some details to help you get the shin-dig on your Holiday schedule.

Tomorrow Jamie heads off for Lawton, OK. She's going to spend some time with her folks without The League tagging along and shooting his mouth off for hours at a time.

I am, of course, excited about Jamie's visit to her parents, but it's always dicey leaving Jamie to talk to her folks without being in attendance. Nothing bad, per se, ever happens. BUT, I know that in five months Jamie will say something like "My parents are coming down Saturday for that monster truck pull you're signed up to drive the Forester in."
I will say "What?"
And she will say "The monster truck pull you agreed to be in. Remember?" And then she will roll her eyes.
I will not remember any of this, so I will say "When did I say I would drive the Subaru in a monster truck pull?"
And she will say, after sighing loudly, "When I went to my folks' house, and I came home and said 'my folks want to come down for the monster truck rally in March', and then you said you'd drive."
"Maybe I meant I would drive to the tractor pull," I will say, still not really remembering this conversation.
"Well, you said 'I will drive', and now you're signed up to drive in that rally.".
To which I will say "I said that?"
And she will assure me we had a conversation of which I recall no detail, but from which I think I misunderstood the questions, but, nonetheless, am now in motion to drive my V4 in a monster truck rally.
But I do not argue. Mostly because I heard my folks having this same conversation through my entire childhood, with my Dad constantly trying to recall committing to a multitude of activities. He always went, but...
These days, The Admiral no longer asks questions and just sort of goes along for the ride to an endless string of events that he cannot remember agreeing to attend.

It's just better if I am there to know what I am agreeing to.

The other day Jamie and I were walking through the aisles of Target when we came upon the 2006 Jones Soda Holiday Collection. You may recall the 2005 Jones Soda Holiday Challenge. I'm not sure that things didn't go according to plan, but I can say that it didn't make Christmas any better.

I paused in the aisle, read what the flavors were in the this year's offering. I think it's worth noting that Jones Soda has, this year, included both "peas" and "antacid" in the flavor mix.

But I'll never taste them.

At first, I was a little like "Ha! That was great fun last year! We should do it again!"
But then Jamie reminded me of the grueling pain I'd felt in my gut, and the multiple times I wasn't sure if I would boot or not in the sink.

Apparently I also left myself a little message, to prevent exactly this sort of thing from happening again.

From the post:

After reviewing the Taste Test post, Jamie asked if I would do this over again knowing what I know now.

I want to say "Of course!", but I'm gonna be honest with you... I wouldn't voluntarily drink any of these things again. Did I learn anything? No. My sense of smell forewarned me, my sense of taste confirmed it. My lizard brain knew enough not to drink this piss, and I went ahead and did it anyway. Sometimes you should really go with your gut.

So, no Jones Soda taste test for me this year.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Spidey 3


Hey, Leaguers. We've been living out of town for a while. Some folks might say, too long. But we're back, and happy to have returned to the city that wore a violet crown.

After much pondering, we've decided that nothing says "we're glad to be back" like opening your doors to your friends and providing a veggie tray. And what better time of the year to show a little hospitality than during the Holiday Season?

So, without further ado, we invite you to The League of Melbotis 2006 Holiday Spectacular!

What: a lovely holiday party
Where: League HQ in S. Austin
When: December 9th. Doors open at 7:00 PM.

There will be a tree, lights, elves, a five-round cage match, and all the things you want out of an old-fashioned Holiday get together. And, I think if you ask, Jamie will play you a few Holiday tunes on her piano. Feel free to sing along, Steanso.

We hope you can come (yes... YOU), so mark your calendar now. Also, if you have ideas, would like to provide a service for the party, or just generally want to be a busy-body, e-mail us to let us know what you have in mind.

We will provide cookies, treats, a bit of food and some spirits for the occasion, but feel free to partake in the merriment by sharing in bringing some hooch of your own to be split several ways among attendees.

So, Leaguers, get the Yule Log out of storage, fire up the cocoa and find your tackiest Christmas sweater, because we're ready to help you blow off some steam as you head toward the 25th.

And remember, living outside of town is no excuse for not showing up.

This evening Jamie and I headed down to the Bob Bullock Museum's IMAX theater for the final showing of Superman Returns, in IMAX 3D. I was a bit surprised to see the handful of people who also showed up, including one little Superman in his red cape (which, of course, warms The League's heart). It may have been my fourth time to see the movie, but it was Jason, Jackbart and Reed's first time, so I had tried numerous times to explain to Steanso (who loves his action movies) that this was not so much an action movie, and would not contain a lot of fighting.

Anyway, it was great to see the movie again.

But I also realize that I may be reading the movie a little differently than some of my fellow movie-goers. I like to think I'm fairly familiar with Superman, so maybe I'm reading too much into the movie, but I also think I'm allowed to stand by my reading of the movie.

ESPECIALLY within the comics, Superman's powers and vulnerability to Kryptonite do not always follow some strict, mathematical guideline. It's one thing to say "Superman can lift tremendous amounts of weight". However, it's noteworthy that in his first appearances, Superman was lifting cars, but by the early 1960's was re-shaping planets from a sphere to a cubical shape to accomodate Bizarro (him do opposite of all earthly things...). Similarly, Superman's weakness to Kryptonite often takes him down for the count immediately, while other times it merely weakens him. It depends.

I think what you have to know is that for many Superman fans, you don't put metrics on Superman. Superman is not about what you cannot do, he's about what you can do. His powers, abilities and weaknesses ebb and flow with the story, changing to fit the story or to demonstrate that he's Super enough to overcome his weaknesses to rush to the rescue of the person/s he's fighting to protect (see Superman travelling through time in "Superman: The Movie" in order to save Lois).

Just as Batman is a human who performs the impossible in the name of justice, so Superman is more than an arsenal of powers. He's a tall tale, a myth and an icon, both as a character and as a superhero. The point should not be: he can't do that. The point should be: He is Superman, and he can do what it takes to save the day, even if its the impossible. Especially if its the impossible, even for him.

SPOILER LADEN COMMENTARY: "Superman Returns" is not about Superman battling Lex Luthor. It is about Superman combatting the knowledge that he is utterly alone in the Universe. After discovering his home planet is, indeed, wiped from memory. His isolation is heightened by his feelings of abandonment by Lois when he discovers she has built a family in his absence. It is the discovery that he has a son (see the seaplane sequence) and the confirmation that Jason is his son (see the Lois Hospital sequence) that provide him with the means to continue the never-ending battle, even as Luthor perverts and twists the one small token he has of his home world against both he and the world he's trying to protect.

I read "Superman Returns" as a movie about a guy who discovers he is not alone in many ways (note the word "alienation" appears in the Scrabble game at the beginning), and does the impossible so that he can be there for both the ones we know he cares for and the ones he's learning to care for. If Superman suddenly lifts a huge rock of Kryptonite at the end of the movie, you can't say "well, he can't do that", you have to say "why can he do it? what's different now?" And if you aren't sure as to the beats in the story, check out the movie on DVD (coming in late November).

After four viewings, I still like the movie. It's not perfect, but I think its a movie that I've picked new clues from with each viewing, and will continue to enjoy with more viewings.

Aside from the movie, not much going on today. I'm still hip deep in long boxes as I prepare to put the comics in their future storage locale in my office closet. For good or bad, in doing my organizing, I uncovered about a long-box full of unorganized comics I'd quickly packed before leaving Phoenix.

Jamie is going to the comic shop with me now on a weekly basis, which is great fun, but I am waiting to see if she discovers some comics she wants to read all on her own. We don't need to spend the extra money, but I am curious to see what titles she gravitates towards. So far, Wonder Woman, some Teen Titans, she seems to pick up some 52, but I think Ultimate Spider-Man is still one of her favorites. Should I introduce her to Firestorm? Some other "kid on the learning curve" book like Blue Beetle? I'm not sure. I don't read enough Marvel to make comment, and I don't get to spend enough time at Austin Bookms to direct her toward any indie comics.

Anyway, hope you all are doing well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Geez. Well, if you'd asked me if I would have predicted Tuesday's results, I would have had no idea...

I'm going to bed soon. The Senate is in question, but the Dems are more or less thinking they have the House.

You know... so what...?

It doesn't matter now if someone is wearing a donkey pin or an elephant tie (or, in Lieberman's case... who really knows?). There's a country going on here. It's easy to take pot shots, but the Dems have as of yet to put forth a decent budget plan or say what they might actually do with Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in this "war on terror". Or to show they don't have a few Abrahamoffs and Mark Foleys hiding in their wings.

Two years. Then we all re-evaluate.

Perhaps our Robot Overlords will have risen from their subterranean kingdom by then.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I just finished voting. Due to a clerical error, Jamie was re-registered to vote at our prior Austin address. Go figure.

She's gone up there.

I'm still giddy at taking part in the democratic process.

The League is no fan of the sort of music which usually populates the Country Music Awards. We are, however, terrific fans of schadenfreude.

See Faith Hill's reaction to Carrie Underwood winning Female Vocalist of the year.

I don't usually post twice in a 24-hour-cycle anymore, but I thought you guys at work might enjoy this.

Monday, November 06, 2006

An abbreviated post this evening.

I have long-delayed/ neglected things to attend to, such as bagging and boarding comics, putting comics in boxes, transporting all boxes upstairs to newly completed office.

Tomorrow is mid-term election day. If you're registered, go vote.

One may wonder what apocalyptic vision Diddy experienced which presaged the launch of the "Vote or Die" campaign. Ah, well.

Despite the fact that I find all four of the nimrods running for governor in the State of Texas to show no signs of actual leadership, I, too, shall be going to cast my vote for the earthling I find the least offensive.

I have never been an 11th-Hour undecided voter. I've always believed you had to be sort of goofy not to have a firm idea as to whom you would vote for pretty early on, but I guess that makes me sort of goofy. I made my decision earlier today, so I am going to vote on that and on some bond issues. Some guy named "Fred Head" is running in a nearby election. I almost jumped out of my car and stole his sign off the side of the freeway.

I'm voting now while I await the steely might of our coming Robot Overlords, who shall remove the democratic process as they make all decisions for us with their infallible binary logic.

Oh, how nice. Lucy just came in here, said hello, yawned, then went back to bed.

Due to the incompetencies of the very NON Six Sigma State of Arizona system and my insurance carrier, Jamie had to delay her sleep study. She is sleeping soundly somewhere upsatirs rather than in a room in North Austin with wires attached to her head.

In the future I shall blog upon:

Infinite Crisis: Still Smashing the Walls of the DCU
Jones Holiday Soda: Why 2006 will not see a redux
LEAGUE HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR 2006: We're Thinking December 9th. Mark your calendars.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I think I've given you Leaguers plenty of stuff to chew on over the weekend, so I hope that you've once again stuffed yourself to the gills, fattening yourself on my infotainment as you've sucked my spirit dry once again.

Here's an item: I don't know if you're watching Tina Fey's new NBC show, 30 Rock, but last week's episode featured a bit about Six Sigma. Yes, there is a GI Joe toy line called "Sigma Six", but Six Sigma is not quite what was depicted in the show, which would lead you to believe its about a boss being a busy body. Just wanted to clear that up.

According to the iSixSigma website:

Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process -- from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.

Its more of a statistical anaylsis process intended to find sources of inefficiencies in manufacturing that's been spun out as a philosophy on how to run a business, in general.

Also, I think Fey's "no comment" on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" in her Onion AV Club interview is sort of telling.

Also found at The Onion, funny because its true...

This weekend we were lucky enough to have Unky B and Tia Linda come in from Virginia. They headed into Houston first where Linda got to hit an international quilting conference/show. I'm not into quilts, per se, but The League thinks we can identify with her school-girl giddiness regarding the quilts. While not in the same arena of trash/disposable art as comics, quilting is an artform of depth and complexity, and (like comics) the folks who are into it are probably also aware that their interest may be a bit nichey. So, this was sort of like Comic-Con International for Tia Linda. If The League were to go to Comic-Con International, Leaguers, you would most certainly see a display of unbridled school-girl-like giddiness.

Saturday Unky B and Tia Linda arrived here with my folks about 1:00pm. KareBear had picked up a brisket at a church fundraiser, so we got some good meat and some sides and got to basically sit around and chat for a few hours.

Saturday night we met up with some family friends going way back, and had a probably very expensive dinner. I got a few score updates throughout the evening, but mostly missed the UT game. We got in a little more face-time with the out-of-towners at the All Steans end of the table.

I saw the last 60 seconds of the A&M/OU game, but was in bed and out like a light by 11:20 thanks to a combination of: staying up too late getting the house prepared for a visit, coming down from an all-day caffeine overload, and a few glasses of wine.

This morning we got up, had some Cheerios and awaited the family's arrival. We visited, had lunch and then Unky B and Tia Linda went back to Houston. C'est la vie. The good news is that we got to see them this fall, despite the fact our holiday plans are not converging.

We TRIED to find a movie this afternoon, but Borat was predictably sold-out, I couldn't muster the energy for Flushed Away, and didn't feel like much better about Running With Scissors. So we didn't do much of anything this afternoon, which was okay.

Having had The Admiral foot the bill for three meals this weekend, we took our spare money and hit Romeo's for dinner, which was uncrowded and pleasant enough to sit outside.

Watched the taped VH1 movie "Totally Awesome", which was not totally awesome and made me sort of yearn for "Not Another Teen Movie".

That's pretty much it.

I thought Jason had a pretty good insight over the weekend when he pointed out (while watching CNN) that America has sort of slowly embraced Saddam as a loveable loser. Nobody seems to much care anymore about his crimes against humanity, etc... He's just the dude in the sport coat and beard on trial every day.

I don't think anybody is going to miss Hussein, but his mustachioed face of malevolence has sort of been displaced in the American mind for a while now by the spectre of faceless terrorists and our desire to sort of forget the reasons behind going into Iraq.

The League and Steanso were spit-balling and sort of wondering what was going to happen if Hussein were to be acquitted. I mean, just as a sort of intellectual exercise. What would the world have looked like this morning if the court had failed to convict Saddam..?

...and what can you say about our friend, Haggard? Quite a bit, I assume, but I don't have the energy.

Superman Pizza?

Tomorrow Jamie will be partaking in a sleep study to try to overcome her migraines. Apparently migranines can be affected by things like sleep apnea, so she's heading out tomorrow night after dinner to get hooked up to all sort of interesting devices that will, I assume, measure her theta waves. Hopefully, it will not end up like this.

Then she is off next weekend for sunny Lawton, Oklahoma. This means The League will be flying solo (translation: going to Austin Books and looking for New Gods back-issues). Book yourself now for League solo-adventures. It's like I was popular enough to get my own mini-series.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I am probably forgetting something. I keep forgetting to do things. Things like posting funny, funny links sent in by Leaguers. Responding to e-mails from Jill. Reporting to my parole officer. Things like that.

Yesterday was interesting, sort of. I had breakfast with a sort-of former co-worker at the Austin Java on Barton Springs. She wanted to meet at 8:30, which meant I had to get up at the crack of seven. Mid-Day was trying to clean things up for this weekend's impending familial visit. We've got Unky B and Tia Linda coming in from the DC area for a day or so. I am not really sure as to our agenda.

I was supposed to have an interview in the afternoon, and so I drove all the way up to the Arboretum area for a 4;30 interview (which was supposed to take place in a hotel lobby) hung out for half an hour, couldn't find the guys, and then went home in Austin 5:00 traffic on MoPac. Good times.

Ah, well. C'est la vie.

The flip side of all this was that I got to Jason's bands' show at the Ben White Florist (you play Ben White Florist, and you're, like, a week away from getting signed). Mono E sounded good. Actually, they sounded much, much better than I recall them sounding prior to my departure, which was probably due to the fact that they played songs (both covers and originals, including, I was told, a tune penned by Jason) rather than exploring the outer limits of the musical universe in an hour-and-a-half jam-odyssey.

I do not like bar bands. I do not like jam bands. I am sorry. Call it a weakness or a musical blindspot. But these guys are all quality musicians, so it was great to hear them showing their chops and having fun.

However, the show was outside, and despite the fire log (which almost turned Mandy's purse into a fireball) it was pretty nippy out. Reed's family was in attendance, including Jen, Meredith, Sharon and Heather, Mandy came and brought Susan, and the usual Mono E friends and family were all there.

We hit Hill's Cafe for dinner, and just as we received our salads, an extremely tardy Steven Harms and lauren made an appearance. The tenacious SGH had used his detective skills to track us from the florist (thanks, Reed!) to the restaurant. So, yeah..! A surprise visit from SGH and Lauren is always welcome.

Anyhoo, all is well. And, in case you missed my note about this below... Nathan C. is gonna have another kid.

Leaguers, first and foremost, Turner Classic Movies will be representing the original 1948 Superman Movie Serial starring Kirk Alyn.

You've seen Kirk, but do not know it. Kirk played Lois Lane's father in the Richard Donner film "Superman: The Movie" during the Smallville/train-race sequence. Noel Neill played, what else?, Lois' mother.

here's some data on the TCM Superman showings.

Thanks to Nathan C. for that tidbit.


When I do not know what to post, or I know I will be away, you are there for me... at least until people starting suing you for copyright violation.

So, let's let your legal folly be this weekend's content, shall we?

Presented here are a handful of short videos re-mixing Justice League and Justice League Unlimited footage. The craft that went into the show is unbelievable, especially in this era of low-rent cartoons designed to make mid-career Hanna Barbera cartoons look like full-blown Disney productions.

If you ever questioned the animation, action, character and storylines for Justice League, mayhaps some of these videos will change your mind.

Keep in mind: Justice League Unlimited Season 1 is out NOW on DVD.

A somewhat long tribute to Justice League:

Where have all the good men gone?

In her satin tights...

...and I feel fine (this one is not great, but at least it doesn't feature some really bad nu-metal, which is enough to make it stand out from 80% of the fan videos)

...and going classic on you...

...and this one is spoiler laden if you have never seen the finale episode of Justice League Unlimited

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Nathan C. has included The League of Melbotis in an e-mail blast announcing that he and Renata are going to have another kid in May. This means Samantha will now have a younger sibling whom she can torment for the next sixteen years or so.

Well done, Nathan. I don't see any of the other male-Leaguers ensuring their DNA is passed along in quite the same enthusiastic manner as you and the Mrs., what with them all maxing out at 1 kid.

I wish you a strong child. Like freakish, Bam-Bam Rubble or Superbaby strong. Picking-up-the-Ford-truck-off-the-jack strong.

Congratulations on the successful recombination of your DNA with Mrs. C's. Soon your kind will cover the earth in their millions.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Well, another month has come and gone. And that means (a) its time to review the results of a poll, and (b) its time for Randy to harass me about not having up a new poll less than 12 hours into the new month.

Thanks, Randy. You do know there's no prize for reminding me about the polls, right?

Anyway, let's take a look at the poll question and results:

Halloween is coming up. What should I give the kiddies who come to my door on the night of the 31st?

-a penny: 10% / 2 votes

-popcorn balls: 0% / 0 votes

-a bowl of cereal: 5% / 1 vote

-a good talking to about what trick 'o treating was like when I was a kid: 5% / 1 vote

-coupons clipped from the Sunday paper: 0% / 0 votes

-a jury summons: 15% / 3 votes

-a shot of Windex, right in the eye: 15% / 3 votes

-a scathing critique of their choice of costume: 15% / 3 votes

-Jamie's old shoes: 0% / 0 votes

-extra candy if Mommy is good looking: 35% / 7 votes

20 votes total

It appears that a large plurality agrees that when Mommy is a cutie, it is time to start bribing the kids. Sadly, I was only in charge of comic book distribution. Jamie handled the candy hand-outs, so no extra candy was dispersed.

Some kids certainly deserved a scathing critique of their LACK of costume, and I think we had two or three of this year's Power Ranger get-up before I identified what I was looking at. With a pleated cape and intricate design, it looked a bit more like a refugee from the reject pile of the Lil' Liberace collection.

Also, one of our Supermans was wearing vampire teeth.

I asked around, and apparently I am not licensed by Travis County and may not select kiddies for a Jury pool. Too bad, because those kids seemed qualified to handle the intricacies of our judicial system. Especially the little boy from down the street who was dressed as a turtle, and, despite the fact he was holding his Dad's hand, kept pointing at me and shouting "Daddy!"

That kid can't prove anything until he subpoenas me for a DNA sample.

The Windex in the eye? You get one shot at that, and then the police come. I really wanted a far more relaxing Halloween than what that was going to afford me.

I don't actually keep pennies. Pennies are for pitching. Especially from the window of the car when you drive past old people on their scooters. So no pennies were handed out. And Jamie is too stingy to share her Boo-Berry, so we kept that to ourselves.

Anyhoo, good poll. See you again next month.
random comments: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


My Halloween was nice, thanks.

I did not forget it was Halloween today, but for some reason it was an hour later, well after leaving the post office, that I realized why the one guy was wearing a pink, spaghetti strap top under an off-the-shoulder gray sweat shirt. At least, I am using Halloween to reconcile the fact that outfit with anything I know about post-Flashdance fashion.

Later, I saw a gentleman in full 70's-era Elvis regalia (complete with wig) at Matthews and Manchaca rocking out with his acoustic guitar. Again, its Austin, so you sort of have to hope that he was doing something for Halloween.

We had a veritable boat-load of trick-or-treaters swing by League HQ this evening. Seriously. We ran out of candy and the tiny little comics I handed out. And this was after I laughed at Jamie for buying some additional candy "just in case" at HEB this afternoon.

The comics were a Marvel Comics teaser do-hickey and a Donald Duck comic. Each trick-o-treater got one of each, so I did my little part to improve the general welfare of America's youth.

Costumes varied from ninja to some sort of death mask to princess to flying, furry dragon. We had a few Batmans and two Supermans, some Ninja Turtles, a handful of Spider-Mans and a Hulk. All in all, costumes were pretty good.

A lot of folks didn't mention to their kids that costumes are important, and that it's not all about coming to someone's house, shoving a wrinkly Target bag in their face and saying "gimme". yes, yes... costumes can be expensive and not everyone can afford four $50 costumes for their kids, but, c'mon... the lack of costume, to me, displays a startling lack of imagination in today's youth. Where's the "crazy spoon head" costumes? Where's the paperplate Batman symbol and towel? You'd think Mom and Dad would, if Junior can't bother to tear his eyes off the playstation for five minutes, try to dream SOMETHING up so their kid doesn't walk around in costumeless shame...

We also got some Moms trick-o-treating. I think I counted a minimum of two or three moms who not only had a costume of their own, but who were getting their own candy. The teenagers were actually a lot more polite about their candy-grabbing here than in Phoenix, where they all but tried to tell you "You suck" even as you handed them a "fun sized" Snickers.

A lot of the neighbors participated in candy distribution, and I think a lot of cars were coming in from outside of our neighborhood to bring in little trick-o-treaters.

Was it spooky? Not so much. But that's okay. The spooky stuff is good for the older kids, and I was very happy to note that no kids were dissuaded from coming up the stairs to our porch just because of Jim DeadMan. Also, lots of neighbors told us how much they liked the big spider. So, you know, that's staying up 'til March.

My two jack-o-lanterns were not my finest effort. By the time I got around to carving pumpkins today, it was much later in the afternoon than I'd meant to get started, and I was trying to beat the clock.

But, dizzam... my Kilowog Green Lantern costume was wicked cool. Lots of folks were quite excited to see a Green Lantern handing out the treats.

In other news...

Bob Barker has announced his plans to retire.


The League loves "The Price is Right". Bob is exactly the kind of host The league imagines he could be, given his own program. Or at least the kind we would want to be. Smooth, friendly, and using your powers for the greater good (don't forget to spay or neuter your pets!). Plus, I want an army of anonymous spokesmodels known as "The League's Lovelies". (Only "The League's Lovelies" would only be spokesmodels by day... by night they would be an elite, international anti-terrorism super squad, specifically chartered to fight the forced of the mad dictator "The Serpent's Hand" and his army of soldiers, known as "The Snake's Fingers".)

I actually had posted a few days ago about how I wanted to take over "The Price is Right" some day, but found it distracted from whatever the hell I was posting on that night and took the paragraph or two down after a short while.

Short of my personal apirations, its worth mentioning Barkers insanely long television career, going back something like 50 years. 50 YEARS. And he is on his game each and every day. Man. As much as I think I can put in a decent day's work... you gotta admire that.

Other stuff:

-I was going to post on the whole Kerry's flubbed joke/"furious"-delighted GOP/irritated Dems thing... but the whole thing is so stupid, and the whole brouhaha leads me to believe that everyone involved thinks that I, as a voter, am a complete idiot.

I am now fully prepared to just roll over when we're invaded by our Canadian liberators.

-We are now something like 52 days from Christmas. 20+ days from Thanksgiving.

-I need a job.

-For some reason, though it took me almost a week to pack to my office in PHX, I thought I could unpack in two or three hours. I have a lot of stuff.

-Jason and his band (not called Jason and His Band) are playing First Thursdays on South Congress early Thursday. I plan to at least stop by. You should, too. He says:

Also, apparently The Mono E will be playing a First Thursday gig at Ben White Florist, a flower shop which is actually located at 3200 South Congress Avenue, just south of Amy's Ice Cream, and on the same side of the street (not on Ben white). We're supposed to be playing from 5:30 p.m. until around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m., I believe, and we'll probably be playing below our usual volume level, so if you've been looking for an opportunity to bring your grandma to see The Mono E, this might be your best shot. The gig is part of the monthly South Congress First Thursday event (although the venue is outside of the Soco area which typically hosts a lot of the First thursday events), so we'll probably be pretty family friendly. Mostly.

Monday, October 30, 2006


I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.

suggestions for further reading:

Jamie has declared that she is now a proud comic geek. Or something like that.

At any rate, she's now taking full advantage of the League of Melbotis Library of Popular Comic-Book Fiction at the League of Melbotis Hall of Justice.

En route to Houston, Jamie stated:

I want to read Infinite Crisis. Can you make me a list of what I need to read in order to understand Infinite Crisis?

I COULD have given her the Countdown to Infinite Crisis list and wandered off, but, Leaguers, not often am I put to the test in such a manner. My biggest complaint regarding Infinite Crisis was that, short of the DC Fanboy with a steady drip of DCU pumping into their arm, I was uncertain who could enjoy the Major Crossover Event.

Rather than field a heck of a lot of questions later, I attempted to compile a list of DC collections which Jamie should read that she might fully embrace the impact of Infinite Crisis. Further, I notated my perceived levels of importance to enjoying Infinite Comic Dorkiness.

If you care to think of it one way, the DCU is one long, continuous tale with a million little subsections. What I've tried to do is cut to the meat of what could be considered the driving forces behind the DCU.

I post this in order for the comic-knowledgable to point out errors, argue the value of certain items and present omissions.

It seems a shame to keep the list to us, here at League HQ when it could benefit Loyal Leaguers... NAY! all mankind!

so... without further ado... The League proudly presents:

Jamie's DCU Reading

This list is meant to be read in order. Please note the key beneath the first section, indicating levels of importance to the overall story arc.

1) Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Vol. 1 p. 5-56*, 164-188*, 138-163 (b)
2) JLA: The Greatest Stories Ever Told Vol. 1 p. 4 -6 (b), 59-76 (a)
3) Crisis on Infinite Earths*
4) History of the DC Universe*
5) Legends (b)
6) New Teen Titans: Who is Donna Troy? (c)
7) Zero Hour (b)
8) Final Night (c)
9) JLA: Tower of Babel - Vol. 7 (a)
10) Identity Crisis (a)
11) Teen Titans/ Outsiders: The Death and Return of Donna Troy (c)
12) Prelude to Infinite Crisis*
13) Power Girl p. 3 - 78 (b), 79 - end (a)
14) JLA: Crisis of Conscience - Vol. 18*
15) The OMAC Project*
16) Superman: Sacrifice*
17) Wonder Woman: Mission's End (b)
18) Villains United*
19) Rann-Thanagar War (a)
20) Day of Vengeance (b)
21) Infinite Crisis* (please note: Infinite Crisis includes story sections which are enhanced by numbers 22 and 23... I will be updating Jamie's list when my copy of Infinite Crisis arrives so that she may break up her reading accordingly)
22) Superman: Infinite Crisis*
23) Infinite Crisis Companion*

* - required
a - heavily referenced during Infinite Crisis or a key moment in DC history
b - would enrich reading of IC for backstory
c - tangentially related, but in DCU narrative arc toward Infinite Crisis

Reference Material:

DC Comics: A Celebration of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes
The DC Comics Encyclopedia
Crisis on infinite Earths: The Compendium
Superman Chronicles #1
Batman Chronicles #1
Superman Vs. Lex Luthor
Man of Steel Vol. #1
Batman: Year One
Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals
Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn
JLA: Year One
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Adam Strange: Planet Heist
Death/ Return of Superman Trilogy

For the previous SFFR, click here.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


you will need to have read the previous post in order to truly value the magnitude of this exciting list of facts and anecdotes

1) Mel rode with us to Houston. Saturday, while we went to S. Houston, Mel remained with The Admiral and Karebear. I now have a strict "where I go, Mel goes" policy. Lucy is believed to have spent the duration under Steanso's watchful eye. We are under the impression that it was a mostly peaceful weekend for Jason, Cassidy and Lucy. Jeff the Cat remained house-bound, and, we believe, hiding in the tub.

2) Shannon and Josh are old friends from my days at KOHS. Shannon and I once played a married couple in a dinner theater production of "Rumors". I was hilariously unfunny. Jamie and Shannon were roommates in college at Trinity U. Which they attended with Richard. Richard was also childhood friends with the Aaron, my neighbor in college during my freshman year at Univ of Texas. I met Richard in the Jester Center Elevator where his companion recognized me from a party at Trinity.

3) I cannot find the name of the band that played Richard's wedding. They were very good. When getting married in Houston, I suggest all Leaguers should book them. Also, they were game and attempted to play Kanye West's "Golddigger" for the remaining audience, even as The Houstonian was trying to shut things down. Sadly, not a soul in the room knew the words to this Top 40 hit.

4) Once, in 1993, Josh performed a drum solo so amazing, people cried blood-tears.

5) In no way am I for or against Crystal Gale. We had been out with Mark the night before and asked "what's on tomorrow for which we can get free tickets?"

6) Josh can lift a Hyundai clear over his head

7) I do not hate Spring, TX. Returning to my former home is a bit like seeing the family cat is losing fur and occasionally hacking up hairballs on the sofa, but it's occured so gradually, nobody seems to notice.

8) I am very, very good at "the robot", but I will not perform it by request or by way of spousal or peer pressure. The right combination of events must occur to warrant a performance. This combination can include: weddings, strobe lights, downtime at the office, or any number of other factors which it would be foolish of me to share.

I can also perform "the worm", but have not done so since the "large, flat cardboard incident" of 1997.

9) At the wedding, Josh fought an elk.

10) My father owns nothing of value aside from his car. He is not a flashy, money obsessed capitalist pirate. The bejewled orb which rests in his right eye-socket in place of the eye he lost at sea is purely ornamental and of limited monetary value. It is also cursed. It does, however, allow him to see ghosts upon the high seas. Those seeking to shanghai my father's car should think twice before attempting such a venture as the eye also grants him the power to see the aura of guilt upon the brow of the actual perpetrator.

There and Back Again

Friday we loaded up the car and headed for Houston. This trip was centered around the nuptials of Richard W. and his finance, Laura T., both of Houston, Texas.

We got into Spring fairly early, were horrified by the unnecessary construction and "growth" out near my old haunts, and generally irritated with the increase in traffic and addition of stoplights. Spring is/was an aesthetically pleasing little hamlet with lots of tall, skinny pines and leafy oaks, but that's being rapidly replaced with 3/4 empty strip-malls and the derelict shells of abandoned failed fast-food restaurants.

On the flip side of this, Spring residents can enjoy the fruits of their neighbors' controlled zoning in the Woodlands which up and built a pre-planned Bedford Falls-type downtown area sometime in the past four years. Well, not exactly Bedford Falls as it IS The Woodlands and folks like The League couldn't actually afford much in the way of shopping in the little city-center. BUT... I guess I find it interesting (and encouraging) that there is still an interest in a deeply embedded suburban area as The Woodlands to have a nostaligic town square. Even one that feels a bit like a Disney attraction with overpriced shopping. It was a little charming to wander around their pre-fab town and see so many people NOT dashing in and out of cars, but sharing space and not elbowing one another to get the first table at Applebee's.

Saturday we hung out a bit with The Admiral and Karebear (always a pleasure), and then The Admiral loaned me the use of his totally sweet ride (a BMW M6 Coupe) for our drive down to Shannon and Josh's pad just South of town. I can say this now, because evrythings fine... but there is a bit of difference between hitting the gas and changing lanes in a BMW M6 than in a V4 Subaru Forester, and it took me a spot of time to adjust.

Shannon and Josh have a really nice Kennedy-era house in which they are held hostage by several cats, not the least of which is the astounding Annie. We dressed (Jamie looked absolutely stunning. Your humble narrator, not so much...), then headed down to the Houstonian for the wedding.

People, if I have one bit of advice for you, it is as follows: Nobody cares what you have to say to one another during the wedding ceremony. Keep it short. Richard and Laura managed to have a lovely, brief ceremony in which we all got the idea, saw the lovely dresses, hit all the major points of a wedding, and then were released to the open bar for pre-dinner cocktails. I don't often cry at weddings, but so grateful was The League for the brisk pacing, that I was moved to tears of joy.

The wedding was outside, near dusk, which in Houston in October could well have meant rain. Instead, we got clear skies, low humidity and mid-70's for temperatures. I was stunned.

Also, Shannon read a poem that I pretended to understand.

Inside we had a lovely sitdown dinner which was also served in a timely fashion and was actually very good. I sat with Jamie, of course, and beside a high-school/college/post-college chum, Mark L. Mark works for, I think, Ticketmaster in some capacity which I completely don't understand. But he was responsible for obtaining tickets for Richard and I one fine evening about ten years ago when we saw Crystal Gale with the Houston Symphony. No, really. And George and Barbara Bush sat about four rows in front of us. It was an evening so strange that Richard and I tried to drink it out of our memories before midnight. Obviously, the plan failed.

I am not always a fan of bands at weddings. They are very loud and often very bad. The band Richard and Laura hired was about seven people and really good. I say really good, mostly because they knew a lot of early Michael Jackson. And, Leaguers, your humble League and Mrs. League certainly cut a rug. Especially to the 80's-era Michael Jackson tunes. Sure, sure... Josh and I took center stage for our dance during "Proud Mary", and I did a mean, mean robot... But Jamie danced enough that this evening her knees no longer bend. They are "owie".

But, mostly, she looked extremely cute in her outfit.

Today we returned to Spring, picked up Mel from my folk's house, picked up Lucy from Jason's house and returned home. I think I am lightly sunburned from the drive home.

Congratulations to Richard and Laura W.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Superman Returns is to get a sequel. And hopefully a title which is not "Superman Returns 2".

Here's an article which I was directed to courtesy of Superman Homepage.

The article states:

We’ve been told that Superman will have the battle of his life in the sequel and audiences can expect one of the ultimate baddies in the D.C. universe to come to Metropolis to pick a fight with the Man of Steel.

There are a number of villains who would be a good fit for an all-out action movie:


I think a Doomsday or Bizarro scenario is probably most likely with Luthor wrapped up in the movie. But Metallo... Ah, heck. I don't know. Just glad I'm getting more Superman on the big screen.

Of course I'd love to see Darkseid, but he brings a whole lot more baggage than I think the movie can handle.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

11 years, Skipping Town, Good-bye Spider-Man?

I have promised Jamie I will go to bed in 15 minutes. I suspect that even when I told her this, I knew it to be a lie.

We are headed out for Houston tomorrow. A quick trip. We're off to see Richard W. of our merry, hazy days of higher education join in holy matrimony with a girl I've met twice. Once, while I was eating squash.

We are at that age now, when even the Richard W.s of the world are making honest women of their long-suffering girlfriends, the Peabo's have stumbled into fatherhood and some of us realize that Sunday marks the 11th year of togetherness with our significant other. 11 years. Can you dig it? The only other folks who I can think of topping this in my age bracket are: Jen & Reedo and Shannon & Josh.

11 years means:
a) I have no advice to give anybody in the dating pool. Especially when one considers my dating record prior to Jamie. So, you know, don't bring me your dating stories of woe. I will give you the jaded/clear-eyed instructions of a long-burdened grouch who thinks you're over-thinking things.
b) I have had a reliable source for knowledge as to the location of my keys for more than a decade
c) likewise, my shoes
d) having someone on hand who can now account for more than 1/3rd of my life.
e) being stunned that we still don't seem to run out of topics of conversation
f) having to admit that maybe the dog is not your best friend and that maybe the lady you wake up with is probably your best pal (which does nothing to diminish your love, respect and admiration for the dog)
g) not worrying when your significant other takes "your" car

One of the curious items about returning to Austin is the reconnection with folks and realizing how long you have known them.

JAL stopped by the Sunday cookout, and I introduced him as "a guy I played soccer with in 4th grade". Patricio stopped by, and I explained "I met Pat in the dorms in '93. 13 years ago."
Other Leaguers include Nathan, who I met longer ago than '93. I believe '91 (I need to schedule the Nathans up to Austin for a visit...). Reedo I met as far back as '86 or '87. Mangum, I'd hazard to say I met in '95, but whom I got to know in '96 when he criticized not my choice of bands, but the fact that I wasn't listening to HIS favorite Talking heads album when he stopped by. The criticism goes on to this day.

Today Jamie I had lunch with a former co-worker we have in common, Les B. Les B. worked with me at UT, and, later, with Jamie at Human Code. I have known Les since '97. That's 9 years. Les is doing well, cut off a goodly chunk of his hair, runs a recording studio behind TFB on SoCo, and is still very much Les.

The League is getting old.

We are getting old, all of us. Time to start picking those items on your list you really DO want to do before merging with the infinite.

Mine involves having my own game show. Preferably inheriting "The Price is Right" when Barker retires.

Today I was unpacking previously untouched crates full of my "collectibles" and had a brief moment of clarity. I appear to have collected a lot of Spider-Man action figures at some point. I do not remember intentionally collecting Spider-Man toys. I like Spider-Man. He's neat. But I don't necessarily want a room full of Spider-Man toys. I think.

What I do not want is: to keep boxes of stuff in this house which I never look at. I do not want to sit, Gollum-like on the boxes, feeling that I MUST keep the toys. What does one do when one hits the end of the road with a portion of his/her collection? When one says "Gee, my tastes in this stuff have somehow become even more compulsively nichey, and somehow, I think I can live without the Green Goblins all over the place"? Especially knowing that those Green Goblins cost money... But having to admit that maybe that one IS really cool...

The correct answer is: Sell it on eBay, I think. There's a "Will Sell Your Stuff on eBay" shop not to far from my house. I think it will be devoid of foxy Catherine Keener-like shopkeeps, but I am considering bringing the a portion of the collection down there before I get a job. Jamie likes it when I sell my stuff and I have money. But then she wants to spend the money on luxury items like food and electricity.

Is it truly growing up to be able to say goodbye to your Electro action figure? One could make a case.

But that one probably also didn't just hand Superman wallpaper border in their office.

I'm not sure what to call it. Let's call it "Ned".

I am now late for bed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Suggestions for Further Reading: Take 2

I haven't posted on comics of late, which I feel to be a bit negligent. Sure, sure... you guys seem to be getting along just fine without my helpful reading hints, but this is the site of a comic reader and fan.

Of course you want to share the things you enjoy, but when you're aware that you're involved in a niche hobby or reading genre, you don't want to bug people with your low-level compulsive behavior. So, it's doubly pleasing when I get e-mail or a phone call about a Loyal Leaguer having just bought a few back issues of this or that comic at a flea market or at the store.

So, with all that in mind, I am re-embarking on reviews and recommendations with another stab at SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

Keep in mind, there's a comments section and recommendations are a two-way street. See something you like? Write it up and send it in. Loyal Leaguers will get an immediate post. Folks I don't know I'llt ry to fit in as time and space permit.

On with the show...

If you're a fan of the 1970's/1980's era Superman movies, you probably should be checking out the new run on Action Comics (starting with this week's Action Comics #844). Geoff Johns is currently DC's hottest writer and he's teamed up with his former boss, Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner to write several issues. After Infinite Crisis, the Superman universe is starting to look a lot more like the one from the movies (right down to those little crystals), which is actually working pretty well. The first issue of this new run was great, and Johns is showing a great knack for Superman writing.

Is it any good? Yeah! I enjoyed the heck out of this issue. Between John's understanding of the character, as well as his innate feeling of how readers wish to see Superman portrayed but rarely catch a glimpse... plus, the enormous mystery of the whole thing... This is a great place to start picking up a Superman comic.

Superman sidenote: The 14-disk Superman series is now available for Pre-Order. This includes Superman Returns and the previously unreleased Richard Donner cut of Superman II.

They've had a very nice ad for a single disc edition of the Donner cut in DC Comics the past two weeks featuring a letter from Donner. Very nicely done.

This weekend, Steven G. Harms disappeared for a while at the cookout and apparently read my copy of Frank Miller's "300" whilst sitting on my stairs and trying to digest a burger.

If you've not yet read Frank Miller's 300, I highly recommend this Graphic Novel. Inspired by a true story of 300 Spartans fending off an invading force built of thousands drawn from a vast Persian Empire, Miller spins his yarn in epic fashion. The story is gripping, but mostly this is Miller at the top of his form, working in perfect fusion with constant collaborator (and, I believe, wife) Lynn Varley.

Hollywood has, of course, decided to turn 300 into a movie. Unlike the average Alan Moore adaptation, the producers have decided that they will treat this film like Miller's last adapted work, Sin City. They're taking the imagery right from the source.

See the trailer at

Will The League see this movie? Yes, and we will feel like an utter Mr. Sissy Pants while watching the flick.

Jamie is currently wading through my George Perez "Wonder Woman" collections.

Look, The League really digs Wonder Woman, and The League really digs George Perez. We can only pitch high quality art and well-developed characters featured in crazy, mythology fueled action stories so many ways. So, now we're using Jamie's interest in the Perez-era Wonder Woman to fuel YOUR interest in George Perez Wonder Woman. Sadly, I think the two first volumes of the George Perez run are out of print, but still available at places like

That's all for this edition. I'll keep it light for my first time back out.

Next time: 52

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday Goings On

We had dinner this evening with a former elementary/middle school/ high school classmate of mine, Hilary, and her husband. I'd had coffee with Hilary shortly after arriving in town, and we finally found a day when we could meet up and grab some chow.

Hilary and Stuart are musicians and play a lot locally and around the state.

You can see their band's website here.

It's funny. I don't think I've been in contact with Hilary much more than a few sporadic e-mails since May of 1993 or so, but it's fun seeing her. And also, it's nice that her husband seems like a genuinely good guy (but what dark secret does he hold..?). I imagine she will get looped in to the Friends of The League, whether she likes it or not.

Aside from that, today we brought the dogs in to the vet (so far everyone has a clean bill of health, but Mel's lab work is being processed). Lucy has fought ear inections her entire life, but I think I have newfound faith in our newfound vet to get the fun in Lucy's ear canal under control.
Here's the big news: Melbotis is down to a svelte 94 pounds. He is even lighter than he was when we first showed up to join our family. He's been eating less and exercising. Mel weighed 117 at his last weigh-in, so we're all very proud of the work Mel has done to become a tinier dog. There's a moral in there, somewhere.

The only sad part is that I can no longer tell people "My dog is over 100 pounds".

I also got some shelving material which I want to hang, but I need a "stud finder". I am 98% positive The Admiral or Dr. McB got me a very expensive electronic stud finder circa 2002, but I can't find it in my boxes in the garage. The problem is this: If I DON'T have one (that 2%), I need an electronic stud finder. If I have one, then I need to find it. If I have one, I COULD go buy a cheap, old-fashioned magnetic stud finder, but those don't usually work terribly well.

What to do? I certainly don't want to drop $45 on an electronic stud finder if I own one.

Oh, and I took a large poster in to get it framed.

a) Michael's doesn't carry glass big enough to handle the job, and won't frame anything that large with glass, anyway. I had to go buy my own plexiglass.

b)I bought the plexiglass at a local shop and dropped it off yesterday

c)Today I was in the neighborhood of Michael's and popped in to see how they were coming along. We need to "drymount" the poster to foam core (if you don't, eventually teh poster will sag in the frame).
Now I learn Michael's doesn't carry foamcore large enough to match my poster. They were planning to seam two pieces together, leaving a crease in the picture. Apparently, some Michael's employees would rather jack up your poster than get the right materials.
Luckily, the girl working there took me aside and said "do not let this happen". Unluckily, she just moved here from Detroit and doesn't know were to get foam core. Luckily, I do.

d)I made one call to a local establishment with whom I had once done business, and I now have to go buy my own foam core.
I am grateful for the Detroit girl at Michaels who thinks they run their own shop like a monkey show

e) Nonetheless, I'm irritated that I am STILL paying Michael's ANYTHING for this job. I shall have a long conversation with the framing manager before all is said and done if I do not get a significant refund.
Holiday Doings

Not much to report.

Two things though.

a) we welcome anyone who would like some light entertainment on Halloween to stop by League HQ. We'll be distributing comics and candy to little kids, and we'll probably put some candy, soda and beer out for big kids. Try to let us know ahead of time if you're coming.

b) I know this is going to seem crazy early, but I sort of want to plant my flag now, so we're not doing this at the last moment...

We're thinking of having The League of Melbotis Holiday Spectacular on December 9th or 10th. If we go for December 9th, I am concerned we'll run up against work parties and the like. If we have it the 10th, it's a Sunday, so we'd probably have a mid-afternoon open house type-deal, which would culminate in the Steven Harms written/directed/performed two-act, one man show: "I'm the Christ Child! Get Me Out of this Manger!" (If you haven't seen Steven's previous work "40 Years? Holy Moses, Get a Map!", I highly suggest you come by for this sure-to-an-annual-treat's debut)

The League's Holiday Spectacular is scheduled to be an all-faith's inclusive affair, so whether you're looking for some Christmas Cuh-razy Fun, Kwanzaa Kookiness, Atheistic Apathy, or just a real mitzvah, hopefully, December 9th or 10th, League HQ will be the place to be (we cannot guarantee we will go out of our way to recognize those worshipping Molok, God of Fire).

Jamie is also hoping to have the party early in December, as, in her own words "If we have it then, maybe people won't already be sick of Christmas."

Perish the thought.

So, what do you think? The 9th?

Your feedback now could be the deciding factor.

Also, we may not do this at all.

I am happy to report I don't think I've seen a single Christmas ad yet. I'd have to dig back through the archives, but it seems like in previous years the ads hit as early as September, depending on what folks were selling (Holiday cruises for the family, etc...). This year, nada. Of course, once Nov. 1 hits, all bets are off, but this year, there seems to be some restraint.

That said, the Christmas stuff is already on the shelves at Lowe's, Target and Walgreens. Tis the Season.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ahoy, Leaguers.

This weekend was okay. Saturday was fairly quiet as we tidied and I fought off a world-class headache all day. I think that my caffeine consumption is somehow triggering these headaches, but I can't tell if I'm taking in too much or too little coffee.

Jason came over for dinner and we tried out "Culver's" down on William Cannon. Culver's is the sort of place you can go to once in a blue moon, not because its expensive, but because your arteries can only handle so much grease before hardening like little shoots of concrete. So, you know, maybe we'll go back at some point, but if my doctor has anything to say about it, nothing too soon.

We then came back to the house and watched a good portion of "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" which I am ashamed to admit I'd never seen before. You know, that Russ Meyer guy... he knows what he likes. You have to admire his very clear vision. I think.

So TODAY we woke up, tidied up the place and fired up the grill. Several Loyal Leaguers and Friends of the League were in attendance, including Steanso, Harms, JAL, several members of my old office, and, in a special cameo, Patricio. It was our first real shot at doing any entertaining in the new HQ, and I have to say, I think the layout here is very good for entertaining. Open. Almost enough seating, and the distinct possibility of breaking off into separate seating areas, should folks NOT want to hear geeky dissections of technology and tech strategy.

All in all, a marvelous day.

I do believe that we shall now entertain the idea of a League Holiday Spectacular. Expect an announcement shortly.

Thanks to all who showed up. You made us feel very at home here back in The City of the Violet Crown.

And if you didn't show up (La La), well, gee... that's okay, too. We can always fire up the grill some other time.

Steven and JAL managed to wear out the dogs. They were both asleep by 8:30 tonight. An extra special thank-you is extended your direction.