Friday, January 26, 2007

Schrodinger's Bath

Oh, sweet Christmas...

You kind of have to have a mean streak to enjoy this, so this should be perfect for a lot of you.

Automated Cat Bath.

Thanks to Jamie for the link.

Titles are hard

Huh

Apparently, there used to be Love Boat action figures.

I have a new life quest. I will own an Isaac action figure. Oh, yes. I will.


Blogging

So I had dinner with Pat, Jeff and Keora this evening.

1) Polvo's is good, but it's kind of weird that it's still such a huge hipster hang-out. If it's about being seen, who wants to be seen cramming their face with moderately priced enchiladas? La Reyna, half a black down was kind of empty, as was El Mercado, another block down. Sure, those places aren't quite as good (especially after I discovered the Burrito Gigante [translation: Giant Burrito]), but they also has inside seating.

I will never understand this city and it's celebration of seemingly random restaurants. This includes the Olive Garden on S. Lamar.

2) Pat is against blogging. Or at least he thinks it's pretty silly. I can support that. Heck, half the time I have no idea what I'm going to say when I start writing, and suddenly I'm two pages into some inane monologue about how I hung shelves in the garage.

The whole blogging thing is NOT something you can explain to someone, or convince them is a good idea, if they're already pretty much convinced you shouldn't be doing it, anyway. Like scrapbooking. Or brushing your teeth.

Pat sort of kidded about starting his own blog, which, he said he would fill with "all my interests that nobody I know cares about". But when pushed, he eluded the question. All the more mysterious.

He did ask me discuss here either the cover-up of surrounding the death of 60+ birds on Congress Avenue a week or so ago. Now they're saying it was cold weather and parasites, but, I am told, I am to begin to say this is obviously NOT true, and there's something sinister at work.

or else I am supposed to speak in praise of "The Day After Tomorrow".

I forget.

Shoemaker, here's that blog I mentioned: Lady, That's My Skull


Shelves

So I've long had a theory that when I finally finish with the garage, which I've never really unpacked, I would get a job within a week. This has gone from a lingering suspicion to a bit of fatalistic thinking I've decided to take the lead on.

I've delayed and delayed putting the garage together, mostly because the garage is cold. And lonely. And there are spiders.

Yesterday I finally went to Lowe's and bought my melanite shelves, brackets and other assorted doo-dads. Now, an oddity of our garage is that it's exactly big enough to accomodate two cars, but not a lot of space for other stuff, such as lawnmowers. In fact, most of my neighbors have at least one car in the drive-way to accomodate their junk.

The icy weather last week reminded me that if we're hit with ice again, and I DO have to go to work or whatever, I'm going to go out in the rain or ice to get to my car. SO... Luckily our garage is really tall inside (our house sits on an incline). So I'm putting all the shelves up really high.

Not a lot of quick access with stuff sitting that high up, so items finding a home up there include things like Christmas Trees, etc... that we can afford to forget about most of the time.

I am very proud of how handy I've been today. But I also have a long way to go (maybe another two days in the garage) before I'm done.

Then, voila, I should have a job waiting for me next week.

Except that I still haven't finished organizing our books upstairs. That could be a project...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

2004th Post

Hey, Leaguers!

Hope everyone is doing well.

Things are slow on the home front. Jamie's off one of her meds, and it's got her feeling a bit lowly until her body gets used to not having that particular med (withdrawal isn't as much fun as they made it look in "Trainspotting"). So we've mostly been sticking to the house and trying not to think too much about what kind of lousy weather we've been stuck with.

Really, I'm enjoying the rain and cold. After all, PHX has many things, but weather is not one of them. It's mostly the dogs who are making me feel bad. Poor doggies have been stuck inside for days.


Books

I finally finished "In Cold Blood", a book I started some time ago. I know this because I have one of Jamie's business cards which reads "Human Code" as a place holder. I loved the book, but found it relentlessly depressing, so I would put it down for years at a time, and then have to start over. That, and I always read books in bits and spurts, and I started this one again right after we moved here, so... yeah.

Next up is "The March" which I received for Christmas. I also have "The Time Traveller's Wife" which JimD, Steven and Lauren all recommended to me, although Lauren said "It's a little pulpier than I thought it would be." Luckily, The League lives for pulp, so let's hope Lauren's reveal rings true.

Also, I'm reading a metric ton of comics. I just wish the Superman books were back on schedule.


THANK YOU'S

I wanted to say thanks to all Leaguers. I enjoyed writing my 2000th post hoo-hah, but it was quite nice to get so many comments.

Hopefully we'll still be doing this in a few years, and we'll see where we are on posts at that time.


NetFlix

I'm back in.

Leaguer OH e-mailed me to ask my opinion of NetFlix, and it got me thinking about their service.

We'll see what happens this time, but a few things contributed to my decision

1- Talking in movies. There's less distracting talking at my house.
2- At $14.99 a month, rather than $16 for two people to hit the theater, I'm practically making money
3- My post office box is much closer here than in PHX, making the whole movie-by-mail thing less daunting.
4- I am now willing to manage my NetFlix queue to balance the "quality" movies with the very stupid. My first two movies? "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Manos: The Hands of Fate"
5- I no longer have forty movie channels. In Phoenix, we would subscribe to whole packages of movie channels. Couple that with the DVR, and I never really felt like I was at a loss for a movie to watch.
6- I do like movies. I have a degree to prove it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Read Checkmate

Up on Comic Fodder


Coming to Trade Paper Back soon.

Other Pictures

Ah, extra pictures. These are some extra pictures left over from the past several weeks.



The Bros. Steans enjoy some quality time during the Holidays.


Our loverly Christmas lights


Jamie enjoys our Christmas lights.



I pose with Dave the Somewhat Animated Christmas Deer.


Cousin John, his wife Julie, Mandy, Ellie Gamble



Elf Rami



Mandy, Ellie Gamble, Feral Andy



Mel.



Lucy in her lovely Christmas collar.






Ice Day Flashback

Last week we were hit with some ice. Believing the gods were angry with us, The League was terrified. We cowered inside our home, and emerged to take only a few photos.


Mel zips around the front yard, enjoying the ice crunching uder his feet.



Icicles hung from the front of the house. I don't remember ever getting icicles like this before in Austin. The window on the left is the window to the Fortress.




Icilces in the backyard hanging from the porch. I kept one of these. It's in the freezer.




Ahhh... the firepit. The firepit filled with rain. And then the rain froze. And now it's melted, and it's gross, but the yard is all muddy, so I haven't cleaned it out. You can see icicles beneath the firepit.



Ah, the front yard. Yes, the front steps did ice up and become a deathtrap. As did the sidewalks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

2000th Post!!!

Son of a gun. 2000 posts. That's what Blogger is telling me.

I'm not sure if this includes the "draft" posts I never bothered to post nor delete. It also doesn't include the first week of posts Jim D. had to salvage when I committed blogocide early on, then JimD convinced me to have a change of heart. But, according to Blogger, this is big 2000.

Great googildy moogildy.

When I think of the time I've spent working on this blog, I realize I could have obtained a masters degree, written several novels, or dug a tunnel between here and Guadalajara. It's kind of pathetic. Instead, I've spent countless hours navel gazing, performing haphazard self examination and generally wasting everyone's time. I'm glad to see so many of you who've chosen to stick with me every miserable step of the way. After all, I already know what I think, so you keep coming back, I suppose to see what nonse will appear here as part of my permanent record.

League of Melbotis has been instrumental in my ability to locate old friends, make new friends, and keep up friendships in ways I never would have predicted. We've been linked to from USA Today, have made appearances in some odd blogs, and can proudly state that we've become the number one destination for folks looking for pictures of "supergirl + naked" using Google. I am so proud.

We've traced my dissatisfaction with Chandler, Arizona straight through to my final, crucial decision to skip town and return to my beloved Austin in my beloved Texas. I'm not sure that move would have happened as soon as it did, in the way that it did, had I not had LoM as a communication tool between myself and some other parties. Nor do I think my leap would have made as much sense to friends and family had I not chronicled my dissatisfaction with such excrutiating detail.


The assembled Justice League of America looks back on 2000 posts

It's my hope I've been able to somehow pique your interest in the sequential art form known as "comics" with my unending diatribes which I shall qualify as my "enthusiasm" for the subject. Comics were always my bag, but with very few entertainment options and fewer social outlets with my arrival in PHX, comics became a great source of distraction and amusement for me during some pretty tough times over the past few years. It's been my hope that you guys might hit your local comic shop once in a while to see what's available, and maybe find something you can enjoy.

I've spent no small amount of time dwelling upon all things Superman, and will continue to do so. It's my hope that I've dragged you kicking and screaming from seeing Superman as a silly man ina cape to a pop-culture icon and symbol for modern mythology. I also hope I conned you into seeing this summer's "Superman Returns".

Some of this enthusiasm you've shared with me, some less. I've taken my desire to blog upon comics and tried to do something with it. I hope you're either checking out Comic Fodder or breathing a sigh of relief that every third post isn't about the genius of Justice Society of America. Without years of practice here, I sincerely doubt I would have made the decision to throw my hat in the ring and give such an effort a try.

We've dwelt upon all things pet-related. I confess, the blog was much heavier in pet-related posts in the first year. Honestly, the pets sort of have their patterns, and I'm not sure how much of their daily activity to cover which won't start to make me the "crazy dog guy".

In the past few years I've also become much more interested in sports, so I appreciate everyone humoring me as I waxed rhapsodic upon the 2005 Lonhorns, the Phoenix Suns, the lowly Diamondbacks, and my occasional bursts of enthusiasm for various NFL teams. Sports is the great equalizer.

And League of Melbotis has given me my rooftop from which I get to regularly proclaim that I am, indeed, a lucky guy. Not too many people get to meet someone who can be their high-fiving best friend and get to marry them. Nor do I know of anyone else who is married who has a spouse as patient, understanding and as much fun as Jamie (sorry, rest of the world. It's true.). And she's given up a lot of quiet hours while I've sat and click-clacked on a laptop, in order to post as regularly as possible. So thanks, Leaguers, for letting me try to get you to know Jamie, just a little.


It seems like just yesterday I was telling JimD I didn't think I had enough to say to sustain a blog. And I was right, but that hasn't stopped me.

There are no plans for League of Melbotis to disappear anytime soon. I know I occasionally whine about a lack of readership, or that I feel as if I'm whistling into the wind here, but by-and-large, this has been a phenomenal experience for me, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thanks to all of you for making 2000 posts not just possible, but something I wanted to do.

We'll see you at 3000.


The entire Superman Family wishes you a happy 2000th post

Post for Monday Morning

SHAME

Leaguers, only a small fraction of you bothered to wish Reed a happy birthday. I am ashamed of you.

Reed has been a vital part of this blog for many years, and all you had to do was post a birthday message. But, apparently, you're too busy. Apparently, you're too good for Reed. I had no idea this was the sort of snobbish audience the League had grown to cater to.

I shame myself and I shame the good name of The League if I can't get you to post a "Happy Birthday" message to Reed.


SUN

We finally got some sun today. It's been cold and wet since last week sometime, so a little break in the weather was a welcome change. We didn't manage to take as much advantage of the weather as I would have liked, and I didn't make it home until after dark, so I didn't go running, which I'm feeling sort of badly about.

We've got another wintery blast scheduled to come through (cold, but not a freeze), and then we should have sunshine again on Thursday. So, right now, I'm holding out for Thursday.


PLAY-OFFS

We're not even done with the 1st quarter of the NE/IND game as I watch this, but I did see the end of the Bears/Saints game. I suppose I must now make Superbowl plans. No matter what, I suppose I shall cheer for the team that is NOT the Bears, unless I am given a compelling reason why the Bears should curry my favor.

I've been fairly dispassionate about pro-Football this year, and have already snuck over and watched a few NBA games (although I am reminded that the NBA coverage in Austin is abysmal in comparison to what we had in Arizona. My kingdom for an NBA Season Pass on Time Warner Cable).

Peabo was right about one thing in life, and that's about the inherent superiority of College Football over Pro Ball. I cannot get onboard with the anti-NBA plank of his platform, although I understand his argument.

***UPDATE***

Holy SMOKES, man!!! Was that ever a game! Holy cow!!! COLTS are AFC CHAMPS!!! Whoooo!!!!

(sorry, we like Peyton Manning at League HQ and have been waiting for him to have his shot at a ring for a while.)


GHOSTRIDER

I've never been a huge fan of the Ghost Rider comics. I sort of think the idea begins and ends with character design, and you can get more out of an 80's-era Iron Maiden poster than you can out of the average Ghost Rider comic. GR's not actually terribly scary or anything, so I'm not really clear on the point of the guy. I actually think he would be handled better as a DCU Phantom Stranger/Spectre-type character, but that's just me.

Now it's a movie. So far, the most interesting thing in the trailers has been Eva Mendes. And my deep love for paying to see very bad movies.

Who am I kidding? I'm going to see this movie. I sort of wish I could figure out a way to see it with Randy, because I bet Randy is going to love this flick. Somehow the idea of dragging Harms to such quality, low-brow entertainment is equally appealing.


Norbit

Is this movie just about making fun of fat girls? Am I really supposed to pay money to see that?

Eddie Murphy.... You used to be beautiful, man.


John Wayne

So the other day I watched all of "The Sons of Katie Elder", which I had never seen before. Darn good Western, and one could clearly see where they'd lifted some moments for Silverado. I did not know this, but 2005's "Four Brothers" was a sort of homage to "The Sons of Katie Elder". Only, with Marky Mark instead of John Wayne.

Last night, after watching "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", I watched a good chunk of "The Undefeated". I've got "Rio Grande" in my DVR queue. Either I, or TCM or AMC am on a John Wayne kick. Given the amount of John Wayne on TV everyday, I am inclined to think it's me.

Sure, me and Mr. Wayne might not have agreed on too much had we ever met each other, but I love a good John Wayne movie. I think, partially, because I respect Wayne's ability to make any nonsense that comes out of his mouth sound like God's own truth. And he's not above having a good laugh at other people getting slugged in the head in many of his films.

Oddly, I've not seen too many of John Wayne's non-Westerns, such as "The Green Berets", "Donovan's Reef", or "The Flying Leathernecks". Luckily, I have DVR and basic cable, so it's just a matter of time.


Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Make sure you wish Reed a happy birthday.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

DC Reviews for 1.17.2007 are up

Hey all, I've done my Comic Fodder duty and reviews are up for DC Comics released last week.

Please come on by and check it out. Click on some ads, and then take a look at some of my other DC commentary.

And, also, I'd love some comments. It's always nice to get a discussion going.

I could certainly use the support, and, if nothing else, it keeps me from posting lots of comic stuff you're not going to read at LoM.

That is all.

Happy Birthday, Reed!

It's Reed's birthday. So everyone post a happy birthday wish to Reed-o.

Go. Do it now.

The League has been associated with Reed longer than most Leaguers. He was in band with Jason back in middle school, shortly after we moved to Austin. At the time, he was known as "Weed Saw".

Ahhhh... after all these years, that's still gold.

Anyway, Reed and Jason probably don't remember this, but the first time I met Reed, I came home and Jason and Reed were in my room for reasons that I still am not clear on. I think they were going through my comics. At any rate, my privacy had been well invaded.

So it's been two decades I've known the man. He's now an engineer, a drummer, a husband and father. Quite a growth curve for Reed-o. He no longer dwells upon Trek the way he once did. Instead, he's replaced that geekdom with a tremendous mental database of all things Rock 'n Roll. Seriously. It's frightening.

Sure, the days are long since past of hitting comic shops together and going over the happenings in Batman comics, but we still see quite a bit of one another, and Reed is still the same good guy he was when he first invaded my room.

Happy B-Day, Reed. Go eat some cake.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Football PodCast

hey all,

Friend of the League, Sigmund, has begun a fulltime career as a sports journalist. He's focusing on a Football themed podCast called "The Audible", I believe.

You can sign up for Sigmund's podcasts at the Applestore, here.

2 things

Comic reader appears in TV show The League enjoys

The League doesn't watch too many one-hour dramas on TV. But we do hunker down once a week to watch NBC's Friday Night Lights.

If you haven't watched the show, it's based upon the award winning book from circa 1990, and produced by Peter Berg who handled the feature film version from a few years ago. The show is framed by a small-to-medium sized Texas town that lives and breathes for the local high school team.

One of the characters is former quarterback Jason Street, played by actor Scott Porter. Street was injured in the first episode and is now confined to a wheel chair.

Apparently, Porter is a big geek and reads quite a few titles. Read more here.


John Kelso is a moron.

In his column for today he argues that Austin was perfectly safe during the recent ice storm, and that the newscasters had brewed up a conspiracy to keep us off the roads and watching their news stations rather than going to work.

Kelso has lived in this town long enough to know better. People in Austin can't handle the ice. They tend to do things like cause 60 car pile-ups on I-35 (which occured in Dec. 1998), drive off of roads into ditches and each other. And, apparently, the number of emergency calls for the elderly escalates tremendously as some fairly frail people slip and fall on icy patches.

Kelso has made a career out of being a grump, and it's occassionally difficult to tell if he's being serious or not as he stays in character. I think, in this case, he's throwing in with the folks who would like Austinites to cowboy up and just keep on with business as usual when the ice hits. And, yes, some of the reports were flat out dumb. But apparently he missed the part of Amy Hadley's news8 story that he makes fun of that remarked that the trucker he mentions was, in fact, stuck. (It's not the trucks which are the problem here, it's our inability to sand and salt our roads). I guess Kelso missed the footage of trucks jack-knifed all over I-35 on his voyages.

Look, we suck at this ice thing. We're very bad at it. So quit whining and watch some movies or get ahead on your columns, Kelso.

I totally guessed it, and more

I knew from his first appearance the true identity of "Supernova" in DC's 52. Sure, I had a few moments of doubt, and I wasn't sure what details would get us there, but I guessed right.

I apologize to anyone who has now read 52 who I might have intentionally thrown a curve ball as late as last week. If I was right, I wanted to do my "AH HAAAAA!" here. so here it is:

AH HAAAAAA!!!!

If anyone has cracked the code in Didio's column (I assume it's every 52nd letter, but I am not sure I am ready to go to the photocopier and highlighters yet), let me know in an e-mail.

Now I must review my Animal Man collections.

Also, I found it amusing that the Bottle City of Kandor they showed in this issue (that shouldn't give anything away, Leaguers... it's just in a few panels) was based on the Kandor prop DC Direct put out a few years ago, and which The League proudly displays each day at home.

Kandor!


Smallville:

Smallville suckered me in this week with a new episode which shows the earliest formation of the Justice League according to Smallville.

The episode was entitled "Justice" and featured Green Arrow, Flash/Impulse, Aquaman, Cyborg and Clark Kent.

I'm not sure if the episode was great, but it was certainly much better than the lowly levels Smallville had reached when I gave up on the show two or more seasons ago.

Now, the original members of the League did not include Green Arrow or Cyborg. In fact, Cyborg has never been in the JLA. Not to mention their "Flash" is Bart Allen, who has never been in the JLA.

But whatever. it was kind of neat from a novelty standpoint.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

American Idol viewing comes to an end

I guess Rosie O'Donnell beat me to the punch on this one, but, once again, despite telling Jamie "I will not watch this season of American Idol", I have seen three hours of the show already.

It may be the producer's knowledge that America loves to watch people fail, no matter who they are and as long as they quickly disappear from the screen (see: America's Funniest Home Videos). Or, it may be because of the saturation of American Idol into the zeitgeist, that American Idol is now attracting more applicants than ever of all stripes... And, perhaps after six seasons, no matter how grueling the humiliation the judges dish out, contestants are smart enough to just keep their mouths shut.

This season, American Idol's audition episodes seem to be showing nothing but mildly deranged, somewhat mentally challenged and functionally autistic contestants. Apparently it's not enough to just bring in the kids who think they can sing but have delusions of grandeur (which is how Idol reps classify their contestants). It seems that Crazy Mary from a few seasons ago really lit a fire under the producers to let through and broadcast the judges haranguing folks who the producers SHOULD have the common courtesy to excuse from the auditions. Instead, it's sort of the TV equivalent of laughing at the special ed kids in high school. Nice.

Of course, because the show lasts somewhere in the neighborhood of 87 weeks each season, the audience sort of forgets the folks who maybe should never have been paraded in front of the camera. But it's unlikely those folks forget, if they're ever even aware of how they were presented.

If someone put on a show where they pitched itself as: we promise to make fun of the mildly deranged, the somewhat mentally challenged and the functionally autistic, I would not tune in.

That's why I don't watch "Carlos Mencia" and "The Blue Collar Comedy Tour".

Anyway, I'm done. No more Idol.

@#$% them.

The real tragedy of all of this is that longtime readers will know I love it when bad things happen to good people. Somehow this TV show is taking away my love of the schadenfreude. And that's just not fair.


I DVR "Friday Night Lights" on Wednesday nights, so I have but one live-TV option:

It's "Armed and Famous" for me on my Wednesday nights. Go Officer Estrada!

Shut up. That show is awesome. While you were watching your fiftieth contestant butcher a Celine Dion song (as if Celine Dion songs should be encouraged, anyway) and Simon's 1000th eyeroll, I saw LaToya Jackson assist in the delivery of a baby.

That, Leaguers, is TV magic.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Sons of Katie Elder

Texas is a woman, she used to say. A big, wild, beautiful woman.

You raise a kid to where he's got some size, and there's Texas whispering in his ear and smiling, saying, "Come and have some fun."

It's hard enough to raise children, she'd say.

But when you've got to fight Texas, a mother hasn't a chance.

Obama courting the Superman fan vote?



Barack Obama visits Metropolis, Illinois

Obama is wisely doing more than any prior candidate in US History to draw the vote of myself and my fellow Superman fans. Now, if Hilary will just put on a Wonder Woman outfit... Or maybe not.

Obama's locked up the Superman franchise. It's not too late for Republicans to grab Batman or Green Lantern. You hear me Frist? McCain?

Found at The Beat.

PS: The League is planning a spiritual journey to Metropolis, Illinois for the Summer 2008 Superman Festival in honor of The Man of Steel's 70th Birthday. Be there of be square.

Back and comics

We're back.

About two of every three years Austin shuts down for a day or three as old man winter moves into town. The roads ice over, ice accumulates all along the rooftops and in patches on lawns.

The weather folks on basic cable were warning us all about such an occurence as early as last week, and the rain began on Saturday. That didn't stop us from having some folks over to amuse Cassidy. It was Juan D's birthday, and so I made a cake and hung a "Happy Birthday" banner, which I should probably take down at some point. But it's so festive. Matt, Juan, Nicole, Steven and Lauren stopped by. The dogs were pleased.

Sunday we headed out to see "Pan's Labyrinth" with Steven and Lauren at Alamo South. Excellent movie. Not quite what I expected, but somehow still met or exceeded expectations.

And here be spoilers

But I was taken out of the movie in the final moments by a certain parallel to Henson's "Labyrinth". "Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great. You have no power over me." It's nowhere close to a 1:1, but my brain began filling in all sorts of slots. That said, Henson's Labyrinth is a cute family movie with some themes about growing up. This film (note how I didn't say movie) explores far deeper corners of the human heart and certainly comes up with better answers.

End Spoilers

When we left the movie the winter weather had begun in earnest, right down to the four of us realizing "it is very cold!" and quickly parting ways, now capped to the brim with some great nightmare fuel.

Snowed-in

So for two days we've been as snowed-in as Austin gets. The roads are exceedingly dangerous, right up to the point that Jason returned from Mexico last night and is not allowed to come get his dog until the roads thaw out. It doesn't matter. We're happy to have Cassidy here. We're really enjoying her as a little addition to the usual chaos. Plus, she gets some serious points with her little shovel nosed underbite that gives her a constantly quizzical look and makes you forgive her for EVERYTHING.

There's a layer of ice on everything. I've taken a few pictures, and am sort of hoping for the ice to really take hold before the thaw late tomorrow as I'd like some pictures of the yard completely white.

So I've been applying to jobs, reading and writing. Not here, obviously. Over at Comic Fodder. And as I suspected, I'm already hitting bumps along the way as I grow on my learning curve. I posted again within the past 36 hours (this ice bound stuff has me forgetting what day it is), and will post DC solicitation opinions by tomorrow morning.

Comic Blogging

Lessons I already knew but which have been reinforced:
a) people are actually finding this thing. This is not The League and its usual band of folks who skip over the comic reviews (yes you do).
b) cite, cite, cite. No more cutesy throw aways and asides without hyperlinks or listing stories by name or issue numbers. These are comic geeks, and we leave no source unturned. Those walls of comics and graphic novels have to come off the shelf every time.
c) if you are quoted elsewhere (as I was today at The Beat), that doesn't mean that readers of the popular blog are going to actually click that hyperlink and jump over to see what you actually said. However, they will comment.
d) and you can also be curious all day long about what Heidi thought, but she's a working blogger, and little busy for Comic Fodder comment conversations.
e) Picking fights in every column may not be the smartest way to go. After all, I'm not shy about my mad DC love. Writing is easier when you go for the throat every time (or when you blow sunshine every time, I suppose). I need to learn the definition of balance. But I also think that if DC is asking for $3 a comic, they have to meet my expectations as well.

It's a cruel, cruel circle, Leaguers.

That said, I'm enjoying the comic blogging. You guys are phenomenal, and you make this blog worthwhile, but this is just one of those things I'm ready for (I hope). And so it may occassionally get in the way of a detailed account of my trip to the grocery or whatever you come here to read. For that, I apologize.

I confess to having one of those moments this weekend where I realized I have no idea who my readership is, how many folks hit the site daily (I've abandoned SiteMeter as all it told me was how many hits came from folks looking for images of "supergirl + naked". It was a lot.), or who really cares at this point. Yes, I know Mom and Dad care. Thanks, guys!

So, anyway, unintentionally, The League is in a bit of a state of flux. Bear with us.

In the meantime: I've been reading my Enemy Ace Archive Edition, and I am loving it. I love the the airplane-museum-geek level of detail in the descriptions and Von Hammer's running monologue and the clear way Kubert executes the aerial scenes, which could have been very confusing. Honestly, I don't know how he does it, and I'll be looking at that for a long time.

Also, Superman Greatest Stories Ever Told Vol. 2 was good, but reprinted a LOT of stuff I'd previously read elsewhere. Caught up on a few piles of titles I'd let stack up, watched some more "Flash" DVD's and the supplement disc to "Pandora's Box" (there's not enough Louise Brooks stuff out there on DVD).

I need to crack open the books I was given for Christmas. "The March" keeps falling off the coffee table as if to attract attention.

Ah, this rambling is why I hadn't posted.

Hope you are doing well. If in Texas: Stay warm. Stay safe. Stay home.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hiatus!

We're on hiatus. I literally cannot think of anything to write about. So when I can think of something, I shall return.

In the meantime, why don't you try leaving a comment when you come on by, just to say "howdy." We'd certainly appreciate it.

We'll be back soon.

***update***
Please say who you are if you're commenting "anonymously". Unless you really want to keep it a secret. And I can appreciate the shame of visiting LoM, so it's not required.

2 dogs + 3/4 dog = chaos

Oh, Cassidy.

We adore Cassidy. Jason's dog is little and cute and her tail is a perfect 2/3rds of a circle. She clearly leads a happy life at Jason's house as she appears continually gleeful. Really, gleeful, confused and asleep are her three working states.

I stayed up until almost 4:00. This was post-visitation with some folks, when I found myself watching a show about the Spartans of ancient Greece. It was like a well produced short history class, or maybe a sub-section of what you'd get in Greek History in undergrad. Odd timing as I had been discussing my lack of knowledge of Greek history just a few hours prior.

Last night we sort of celebrated the birthday of League-pal Juan Diaz (he is 3?). Juan, Matt Mangum, Nicole, Lauren and Steven were all in attendance. A lovely evening, and we wrapped up mercifully early. I do not think anyone saw Jamie drifting off on her end of the couch.

I was still all pumped up when folks left and so did some internet'ing (Jim D should check his e-mail box, and you can see my recently posted DC Comic reviews for week January 10th at Comic Fodder). And then the Spartans thing on PBS.

So now I have been awake again since 7:45 thanks to the howling call of Cassidy, who is not on my schedule and had to eat and pee.

The feeding schedule is odd with three dogs as one is constantly trying to keep my two dogs out of Cassidy's food, as Cassidy is prone to share and is also a slow eater. And, since Cassidy's arrival, my dogs will not actually do their morning duties until after they've eaten. So you can kick them outside first thing, but they will only stand by the back door, staring at you.

Add in the rain and cold we've got, and it's been doggy chaos about three or four times a day as dogs go in and out in short bursts.

But the dogs seem to like this "pack" thing of having three dogs. It's just not much of a pack with 2 and 3/4's dogs.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Rorbert Anton Wilson merges with The Infinite

I read very little RAW. In fact, Illuminati! still sits unread upon my shelf.

I associate the name more with a time in my life and a culmination of tiny, tiny little events which led to...

It was a different time and, possibly, a different League (if I were to still buy the same things I bought back then). But I'm glad I read some of him, but somehow the day-to-day of these days has overwritten what it was I read, by and large.

I wonder if he'll get those answers now...?

Painfully cute

Mei Lan, the Atlanta Panda


Mei Lan's first steps


Makes her public debut

Lots more Mei Lan

Beckham

Whoo hoo!

David Beckham is headed to the US to join the LA Galaxy. I just watched a softball interview with him on CNN and he is coming. For $250 million. Pretty good for a guy on the downside of his career.

It's honestly a little weird to see a guy like this slumming in US soccer, but he sees it as an opportunity to grow American soccer, and that ain't a bad idea. Further, there are some good players coming to the end of their pro careers who could really add a lot to the MLS (Ronaldo, my fellow weight-fightin' brother, the Dynamo needs you).

As Leaguers might guess, this is a bit of a novelty, and, honestly, The League doesn't know much about soccer. But, as Mary Jo Mitchell has said, Beckham could "bring it to the big stage".

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mission: Judy Morrison

When the League was in high school, he was a fair-to-middlin' student, gaining access to the NHS and all that great stuff. Despite a "C" in Pre-Calc one semester, I was also inducted into the AABBIT society (All A's and B's Because I Try. No, really.)

But we never would have made it through High School Physics if not for our charming lab partner, Judy Morrison.

There are a lot of folks I would like to track down from Klein Oak High School and just see what happened to them. Just to name a few: Travis Breaux. Chris Shaw. Vince. Julie Simmons. Camilla. And Scott Wiser, until I had lunch with him last week. (He's doing great. Thanks for asking. And he has remarkably good hair.)

But for some reason it always comes back to my old lab buddy, Judy.

I think part of that comes from my near-psychotic obsession with trying to entertain people who clearly do not find me remotely amusing. You could juggle three chihuahuas while riding a unicycle and be hard pressed to see Judy crack a smile. To me, that was my license to try all the harder. Who cares about the folks you've already won over? I knew one day I would find a way into Judy's good graces. Alas, our time together was all too brief, and I never did convince Judy I was amazingly great.

Judy was friends with my lady-friend from High School, so I already knew her before Physics I. But it was sitting next to her for a whole year that made me really appreicate Judy's almost misanthropic take on each and every event. I don't know if Judy meant to be funny, so I really hope I was laughing with her.

Also, like our own Denise, Judy worked at the Randall's bakery. Denise really made the little flatcap her own, but Judy never looked very happy to be wearing the hat. Maybe she just didn't like peering over glass pastry displays. We may never know. Denise might provide some insight.

Upon Shannon L-C's request, I took a look for Judy. Turns out the names Judith and Judy Morrison are fairly common when Google is applied. Further, I am sure a fine young lady like Judy Morrison may have married, so she may have taken another name.

So if anyone has any information about what became of Judy Morrison, Klein Oak High, Class of '93, e-mail me. I'd love to know. I know I can win her over this time.

And then we'll hunt down Chris Shaw. That guy borderline despised me.

News Bits

Lily Munster actress, Yvonne De Carlo dies at age 84.

One of my earliest memories is of our house in Canton, Michigan and sitting in front of the TV watching The Munsters. Like most kids, I was a big fan of Hermann and Grandpa Munster, but even then, I always thought Yvonne De Carlo brought a certain grace to the screen as Hermann's consummate straight man.

Also, I adored how Lily Munster was semi-obsessed with how "ugly" her niece Marian, the Donna Reed clone, appeared to be in her eyes.

Yvonne De Carlo also plays a supporting part in "McClintock" as John Wayne's friend and ranch house manager whom Maureen O'Hara believes to be Wayne's mistress.

So long, Lily Munster. You were one of the greatest TV moms of all time.


Jim sends in this bit about an episode of Naked City which just happens to feature a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 displayed at a news kiosk.

Amazing Fantasy #15 is, of course, the first comic to feature The Amazing Spider-Man. It's an eight page, story, I believe, in true Ditko style.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

wrong

I just took this quiz, based mostly on how inaccurate the last person who took it claimed it was (grammar).

Brainy Kid

In high school, you were acing AP classes or hanging out in the computer lab.

You may have been a bit of a geek back then, but now you're a total success!


I was IN AP classes. Acing them? Not so much. Further, I was lucky I knew where the computer lab was. The computer class I did take (Micro Computer Applications) turned out to be a vocational class for teaching the future hourly employees of the world how to use a 10-key. (I might add, I was awesome at 10-key).

I was not the only one duped by the title of the course. All of the non-vocational kids would peer over the top of their CRT's at each other, wondering what we were doing in this class which had a description hinting at some cool stuff. But we all became fairly good at Minesweeper, which is what we were told to do when we finished an assignment.

As per success? Oh, yes. It's hard to blog with all these stacks of money falling on my keyboard.

But... the Brainy Kid? I can tell you there were at least 81 kids brainier than me in my class. And they even got a special luncheon.

No, I think I was, and remain, The Bitter Kid.

your blog for today

Happy Wednesday, Leaguers.


Sometimes you can handle individual people fine, but when you combine them, they're trouble? Such as, a few friends who, individually, are fun to talk to, but when they get paired up, it spells trouble for everyone else? In college, we called these people "Voltron". Individually, they can be handled, but together, no force can stop them.

Tomorrow, Jason takes off for fun in the sun in the Yucatan, so this evening we will be taking in Jason's three-legged pup, young Hop-a-Long Cassidy, for a few days. What chaos awaits? Only time will tell. But I'm putting all of our breakables up on a higher shelf. My dogs are going Voltron for a few days.


The comic blogging thing is fun, even though my readership is currently floating somewhere near zero. I think I had more genuine comments on my re-direct from The Beat than on the actual post, but, hey... I am hoping there will be some growth at some point. This week I will be contacting several folks who own comic blogs and try alerting them to the fun at Comic Fodder. I felt I needed a few posts up to demonstrate I was serious before trying to get some attention.

I spoke with JimD last week regarding expectations for Comic Fodder, and, unlike here at League of Melbotis, I'd like to see readership grow. At some point, LoM turned into a one-way conversation with family and friends, and at the time, I think I jettisoned any notions of expanding the basic premise of what you see here. LoM is what it is, and hopefully you might find reasons to come back once in a while. It's free, after all.

Maintaining two blogs is a bit taxing. I knew that from back when we made an attempt with Nanostalgia last year. In the end, if it doesn't work out with Comic Fodder I can always circle the wagons and bring the comic reviews back here to be ignored.


Life is a still life here at League HQ. Today I have a few errands to run, such as purchasing an anti-Cassidy perimeter. Lucy is literally sprawled across my feet and snoring (which is nice as I don't have slippers or socks on, and my toes had been cold). Jeff is curled into a ball somewhere upstairs and Melbotis is snoozing on his big bed. Jamie is also crashed out in her post-dialysis nap.

My workless schedule has me all crazy.

***update***

I have changed the schedule, not to make myself look better, but because Jason pointed out a certain timeframe which was totally inaccurate and would give my parents a conniption. I look for a job every time I sit down at the computer. I do not block off a full chunk of several every day the way I do on Mondays when perusing the job boards. Instead, I break it up. For those of you who have ever been unemployed, looking for a job is dispiriting. I like to break up that soul-crushing experience throughout the day, so I can feel that pain all day long.

That said, there is always a concentrated period of time when I look for a job in the AM and PM. So, Mom and Dad and Dick and Judy... relax. I'm awake 18 hours a day. I don't spend all that time reading comics.

***end update***


10:00: Wake up
10:05: Make coffee
10:07: Give Lucy allergy pills
10:10: pour cereal into bowl
10:11: turn on TV. Watch Headline News.
10:15: Check e-mail
10:45: Check blog comments
11:00: Look at job postings. Apply to jobs.
11:15: Switch to News8 Austin
12:00: Check other blogs, look at CNN.com, comic websites, etc...
12:45: Wander house.
1:30: lunch.
2:15: Run some errands.
4:30: Try to go running.
5:45: Check e-mail. Check comments.
6:45: Begin coordinating for dinner.
8:00: Check e-mail. Look for a job.
9:00: Try to blog some.
11:00: Look in odd places for a job and watch horrible TV.
3:00: Realize it's 3:00 AM. Go to bed.
10:00: Repeat.

It's not a bad schedule, but you do find yourself watching programs like "I Love New York" and "The (white) Rapper Show" on VH1, and feeling kind of bad about yourself and the state of humanity. On the other hand, there aren't too many TPS reports to wrestle with and it doesn't require a tie.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

YouTube Tuesday

This will not be a regular feature, but, hey... It's Tuesday and I needed a title.

Either Jim or Randy sent this in. I forget. But it's... It's... It's abso-ludicrous. And it reminds me so much of my own high school experience.




Nathan demonstrates that he knows me all too well with this clip. Old Timey Star Wars.



And Jamie found Office Space Superfriends. It's sort of PG-13, but nothing you haven't seen on Superfriends or Office Space.

Monday, January 08, 2007

two things

Congrats to Univ. of Florida. They played an absolutely great game, dominating OSU for the vast majority of the game.

Also, about a week ago Jamie and I were driving past an empty shell of one of the Albertson's grocery stores that had pulled out of Austin. "We should open something in that," Jamie said.
"Okay."
"What could we do with superheroes?"
"Well," I said looking at the decaying grocery. "I have no idea. It's about 20 times larger than a comic shop."
"We could do, like, a superhero place," Jamie said. "Like, we could throw superhero birthday parties and have a super hero restaurant, and sell superhero stuff. Like capes and shields and other superhero gadgets."
"Wow. Well, that sounds pretty good for kids, but..." the idea of running something that complicated sounded like a bit of a nightmare.

But maybe these guys in Brooklyn have done it right. Maxwell, I'm dispatching you to check it out.

Thanks to RHPT for the link.

Nothing to Report

It would be shameful for me to let a Monday pass without much in the way of blogging, I suppose.

Today your League is tired. League HQ pal Heather Wagner is on winter break from the grad program which she is currently enrolled in, and has come back to Austin to touch base with family and friends. Last night Wagner stayed in the guest quarters here at League HQ, and we had a lovely dinner followed by a firepit in the backyard.

Long story short, by the time Jamie and Heather had both retired, it was 1:45 AM, and The League was due to post DC Weekly Reviews at Comic Fodder. Sure, I managed my usual genius, but it was 3:55 AM when at last I crawled into bed. I was up again at 9:15, ran for a good distance this afternoon (I'm starting to love the hills) and am now coming down from whatever energy boost I previously enjoyed.

Normally, I caffeinate until I'm shaking like a chihuahua on a chilly day, but today I am low-key and droopy.

Plus, when I woke up, I thought maybe Pat Robertson's vision of mass deaths in 2007 may have come to fruition.

Yes, the mysterious "gas" fumes in NYC left me a little twitchy, but when the NEXT story on Headline News features dozens of dead birds near the state capitol, we start seeing boogeymen all sorts of places.

So I'm running about town and lovin' a ricin free life.

I still think Gov. Perry snuck out of the Governor's Mansion and poisoned those birds because they pooped on his Geo Metro.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

they start so young...

The League is sad to report young Arden has been seen running with a tough gang of kids lately and may have fallen in with the wrong crowd.


flashing gang signals, Arden sticks it to the man

More details as events warrant

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Spiders on drugs

Mayhaps due to recently seeing "Charlotte's Web", Jamie has recently been a bit fascinated by spiders and their webs.

Apparently, some time ago, scientists from England got some spiders doped up and decided to let them spin their webs. Check it out.

The results in the photos are fascinating. I'm sure someone with more brainpower than me would have something more enlightened to say about all this.

Wanting to see more trippy "spiders on drugs" photos, Jamie did some googling and even found something on YouTube. For some weird science stuff, check this out.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thanks, JimD!

Special thanks to JimD for his assist and for forwarding a link to my Comic Fodder story to The Beat. Much to my surprise, Heidi posted a link to my first CF post.

Jim is wise in the ways of blogging.

ComicFodder: First Post

Can you tell I'm nervous?

here's a link to my first post for ComicFodder

Ah, nothing like a dry, whiny tirade to get the audience rolling in.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dr. Atkins ruined my breakfast

So today Jamie woke me up and said, "The toaster is broken."
This news did not come as a complete surprise. The toaster oven had, reportedly, burst into flames the other day during an english muffin incident.
"Let's go get breakfast," she declared after I'd rolled around in bed for a few more minutes, even trying to get Mel to join my cause of remaining in the comfy, warm bed.
"We have cereal," I said.
"Nah, I want to go out. We can even go get bagels."
I love bagels. Like all the best foods, bagels are round. They have a convenient hole in the middle for better gripping. You cover them in delicious cream cheese. And in Phoenix, we had three good bagel shops within a few minutes of the house, so I ate a lot of bagels.
Not so in Austin.
I am told, the "no carbs" movement led by Dr. Atkins has meant that the suburbanites which once filled bagel shops have given up on the notion of a bagel shop. Somehow this has not stopped them from filling Starbucks to overflowing and eating sugar drenched and fat-injected pastries while chigging down venti mochas (which obviously have no calories in them).
Thus, bagel shops aren't anywhere near as popular or numerous as they once were. In fact, there really aren't any in my part of town.
But, Jamie promised me a bagel.
We headed to Central Market, which, oddly didn't appear to have bagels in their cafe. Lots of other stuff that's crappy for you, but no bagels. Then we headed to Kerbey Lane, knowing bagels were on the menu, even though they were not the most exciting bagels in the world. But, Kerbey Lane being Kerbery Lane, we waited around for fifteen minutes (on a weekday morning), had a table which was then swiped from us, and I made my twice annual "I shall never wat at Kerbey Lane again!" declaration as we got irritated and left.
I never got a bagel. I made some eggs at home.

I've done a Google-search. I can't find any bagel shops anywhere near the 78745. We have Mexican restaurants which serve breakfast coming out our ears, including Casa G's and a Maudie's not too far away. The closest bagel shop, however, is an Einstein Bros. on 12th and Lamar, and one does not go willy-nilly into the Lamar Shopping Zone of Doom without damn good cause. But I love frikkin' Einstein Bros., so maybe on Saturday.

I suppose I could buy bagels at HEB, but the Lender's type bagels you can buy in a bag are doughy and weird and don't even taste like regular bagels. And, they don't come in any varieties other than cinnamon, whole wheat and plain at my grocery.
I haven't tried to pick up their "fresh" bagels at HEB, but rarely are grocery store bagels out of the grocery store bakery all that exciting.

I'm just a man who wants a good bagel, and I don't want to drive to 12th and Lamar to get it. I resent the abandonment of the bagel so that people could move on to the next fad. We had a good thing going with the bagel. People could agree on the bagel. It could be served toasted or cold. It could be plain, or salted, or oniony or with raisins embedded. It could even be pumpernickel.

And, you usually got to drink a hell of a lot of coffee while enjoying your bagel.

I am not even particularly bothered by the knowledge that there is not a bagel shop in the '45 (or the '04). But what bugs me is that the selection at the grocery store is returning to the slim, pre-bagel craze offerings which once shamed the good name of bagels.

Damn you, Dr. Atkins. Damn you straight to hell.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Superman IV: The Quest for Mark Pillow

Can you read my mind? Do you know what it is you do to me?

Ah, Superman IV. I am uncertain as to how Superman falls into my development as a Superman Fan. Well, that's not true. I honestly think my viewing of Superman IV is a crucial portion of that tale.

I was already a huge fan of "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman II". I had seen "Superman III" numerous times, but when "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" was released, it came and went from the theaters before I could peddle my bike to the Showplace VI to catch it. Obviously the release of the film couldn't have had me sitting on pins and needles.

So one Sunday afternoon my Sophomore year at UT (a year which shall live in infamy), I was supposed to be doing homework and running my laundry, and, instead, flipped on the afternoon movie on KBVO. I had never seen "Superman IV", and now seemed like a heck of an opportunity to watch the film. Maybe just a little bit of it. And three hours later, I was slapping my forehead and rolling my eyes in shame.

But I am uncertain if it is a coincidence that my Junior year was when I began to take an interest in Superman and Superman comics (although I wouldn't begin collecting in ernest for years). Could "Superman IV" have drummed up additional Superman interest in my mind?

A quick review of the back-up materials on the Superman Ultimate DVD Collection will tell you that nobody involved with the production of Superman IV was happy with the results, including the actor who played the heavy of the film, Nuclear Man, who had two more roles before returning to Spring, Texas... just a few miles from my parent's house, in fact.

I just finished watching Superman IV, and I am unsure if it's coincidence or not, but I have a raging headache. It's sort of just north of the orbit of my left eye, and feels a bit like I've been struck with a ballpeen hammer. Sure, it could be the weather, or allergies, or a lack of caffeine. I think it's Cannon Film's half-baked treatment of the Superman franchise.

A quick IMDB search will further provide details to tell you that the theatrical release of the film was 90 minutes, but the original cut ran more than 130 minutes. At 90 minutes, the film is choppy and nonsensical, yet I cannot imagine welcoming 40 more minutes of this film into my life.

Sure, the cast is back. Christopher Reeve actually seems pretty chipper to be back in the Superman suit, and gets a little more room to play with Clark in this movie. Whatever happened to Margot Kidder had really started to sink in by the time this installment rolled around, and at age 38 or 39, she comes off like one of my goofier middle-school teachers rather than Lois (keep this in mind when you complain about the current Superman cast being cast so young). Jackie cooper is back as a Grampa-ish Perry White, and Mark McClure is in a lot of wide shots as Jimmy Olsen. I don't know what they paid Hackman to reprise his role as Lex Luthor, but apparently it was enough to make him show up, and that was about it.

Additions include an early, almost non-existent part of a slim Jim Broadbent as a weapons-dealer, John Cryer playing Luthor's ha-ha-stupid nephew, Lenny, and, of course, Mark Pillow as Nuclear Man. A little bit more interesting is that Mariel Hemingway appears as a pre-Cat Grant suitor for Clark Kent (not Superman). And I realized she sort of looks like one of my old bosses if my old boss wore dresses with enormous shoulder pads.

A quick browse of the trivia on Mark Pillow's IMDB entry tells us that there were supposed to be two Nuclear Man's in the film, but the first was cut for time. If the deleted footage of the film tells us anything, it's that it may have also been cut for taste. Now, here's the curious bit: I think that they may have left the first Nuclear Man in the TV-version I watched on that sunny Saturday those many years ago.
A) that movie went on forever, and B) there were a few things which seemed somehow familiar, including plot points. I may be halluncinating all of this, but there is a 134 minute version listed on IMDB, so it's possible that's what I saw.

The plot of the movie is as follows:


-Superman is a friend to all nations. This is illustrated with an opening sequence of Superman saving Godless communist cosmonauts when they are hit by space debris.

-The Daily Planet is sold to character actor Sam Wanamaker and Mariel Hemingway (his daughter). They turn The Daily Planet into a NY Post-style tabloid overnight. Seemingly without Perry White or any of his staff knowing what's going to print.

-Peace talks between the US, and, I assume, a pre-Glasnost USSR breakdown. Or maybe France. It's hard to tell. There's some mention of France. Both sides declare they will be "second to none" in how many nuclear missles they have.

-A young boy in serious need of a good orthodontist and a serious crush on our Man of Steel fails a class assignment by writing a "no nukes" letter to Superman instead of his Congressman.

-Luthor escapes jail with the aid of John Cryer.

-The new tabloid folks force Superman's hand by writing a "Superman tells kid to 'Drop Dead'" story.

-Superman reveals his secret to Lois for absolutely no reason. She says that "she knows", but it's not clear if she's always known or just remembered. They fly around the world at speeds that would surely tear Lois into shreds. I guess the producers were trying to recreate the magic, but it now looks like Superman is flying with someone's mom. He then kisses her and supposedly makes her forget. I have no idea what we were supposed to get out of that sequence but a brief opportunity to hit the can.

-Superman goes to the UN-set (which looks every bit as tacky as the real UN) and tells everyone he will now rid the world of nuclear weapons. He receives a standing "O". The viewer laughs aloud, trying to (a) imagine the UN agreeing to anything, (b) deciding that the right thing to do is let an alien with no oversight and an unknown agenda disarm the Earth.
Now, in the deleted scenes, prior to the UN scene, there's a bit where Superman tells the kid "I'm really not supposed to disarm all of humanity". The kid whines. I seem to also remember this from the TV version. All of that also breaks up some awkward moping that Superman/ Clark does for a while prior to the UN sequence.


-The kid is never seen again. Rightfully. If I were him, and had just had that kind of success with a letter writing campaign in 1987, I probably would have begun writing letters to Amanda Pays.

-Superman "disarms" the entire world. Sort of. I recall seeing statistics for how many nuclear weapons the US and the USSR each had on a graph in Time, circa 1983. I think Superman may have shorted himself by 100,000 weapons on both sides. He throws the nuclear weapons into the sun. Now, this is an interesting bit as nothing is made of either the US or USSR going completely monkey-crap about their nuclear stockpiles being swiped by an alien being. Really, this should have been "The Day the Earth Stood Still". But all of that is pushed aside so we can focus on...

-Luthor's idiotic plot. Luthor schemes to get in bed with some arms manufacturers who will continue to build nuclear weapons. Or something. We learn that Luthor is actually cloning a Nuclear Man from a strand of Superman's hair. But he needs the power of the sun to make his Nuclear Man work. So what he's really doing is conning a seemingly fully complicit nukes dealer into strapping a shoebox full of silly-putty and a doll-dress to a nuclear missle, hoping Superman will intercept it and throw it into the sun. Which he does.
I think (though it's never said out loud) that the idea is that the guy KNOWS what Luthor is doing, and will go along with his Nuclear Man plan to kill Superman, so he can re-arm the world, and Luthor gets a cut.
Dropping California into the ocean for a real estate swindle now seems so quaint.
-One of the guys from Ah-Ha, fresh from Studio 54 party, emerges from the sun.

- Superman fights the nuclear guy. For some reason, the nuclear guy has press-on nails that maybe poison Superman for some reason. Which is never made clear as both Nukie and Supes get their power from El Sol. Radiation?

-Lois comes to Clark's apartment and gives an awkward speech which leads you to believe she knows Clark is Superman. This goes nowhere. I think maybe we were supposed to gleen that this is Lois making peace with the knowledge she has. I don't know. Nobody is bad in the scene, it's just that nothing really comes of it and it's a big ol' matzah ball to leave in the middle of a movie like this.

-Superman uses his last crystal he grabbed early on in the movie and heals himself from the poisoning. Why he waits is never made clear, but he goes from having the chills to looking like the Crypt Keeper in two scenes.

-Supes fights Nuclear Man. the fight necessitates that Superman push the moon out of orbit to block Nuclear Man's line of site to the sun (which Nuclear Man needs to have access to his powers). Curiously, the Earth is not shorn in half by the gravitational disruption, and nobody seems to notice the moon moving out of orbit.

-Mariel Hemingway is taken into space by Nuclear Man at some point. Apparently Mariel Hemingway is immune to absolute zero temperatures, the rigors of a vaccuum, and the rough ride out of the Earth's atmosphere and gravity. She is one tough cookie.

-At some point, Mariel Hemingway, Lois, Clark and Superman partake in an awkward sex-farce style scene in which Clark and Superman keep coming and going from Mariel Hemingway's apartment. It isn't funny, and for some reason, Lois makes a duck in the oven.

-Superman throws Lex back in jail and let's the world re-arm itself

-we learn that a very 20-something looking John Cryer was supposed to be an impressionable teenager when he is placed in "Boys Town". Literally. It's his last scene and leaves a lot of questions.

-there's some talk of a narrowly averted nuclear incident. I don't know what nuclear disaster the news-guy is talking about. I assume it was yet another element cut out of the film, like the first Nuclear Man. I am trying to puzzle what why a war was imminent if nobody had missles, but nothing is coming.

-for some reason, Nuclear Man is very interested in Mariel Hemingway after seeing her on the cover of a British edition of The Planet. We know it is British as "Favorite" is spelled "Favourite" right on the cover. I assume this is how they spell "favorite" in the UK, and not just a type-o. Anyway, there's some explanation of Nuclear Man's interest in Mariel Hemingway on Mark Pillow's IMDB entry. In the context of the movie, it makes no @#$%ing sense, but does lead to a moon-fight and to Superman replacing a moon-flag, looking like a disgruntled suburbanite cleaning up after kids ran through his yard.

-Apropos of nothing, Mariel hemingway learns the value of journalism with integrity. I assume this is part of a subplot which has been cut. At the film's end, Perry White takes an escalator and announces he's taken an enormous loan to buy out Wanamaker. Which is amazing, because they clearly state at the beginning of the film that the Planet hasn't turned a profit in three years. Metropolis' banking system must be a shambles. Also, there's something very "Monster-A-Go-Go" about a character telling us about all sorts of action which took place off-screen, but which we never get to see.

This movie cost $17 million, which is roughly 5% more than just Brando's salary on the first picture, I think. It's written with the best of liberal intentions, what with the strong "no nukes" stance. I understand that it was actually Christopher Reeve who suggested Superman tackle the real-world issue of nuclear disarmament, but I think it's safe to say that he did not anticipate the endless goofiness which would saturate the film.

I don't think any of the ideas in the film are necessarily bad ideas. There is just a layer of abject failure of execution which permeates every frame of the movie. What happens when Superman tries to save all of us from ourselves in one enormous display? That's an interesting question. The movie asks the question, but is derailed by Mark Pillow in a cape before it can give a coherent answer. A walking, super-powered dirty-bomb as an enemy for the man of steel. Did he need to be a clone? Can Mariel Hemingway survive in a vaccuum? Only scientists really know.

And what must Hackman have thought of Cryer's idiotic turn as Lenny Luthor? Surely he asked him to tone it down... We may never know.

All of that said, this movie still makes more sense than Supergirl.

I kind of want to see if I can find Mark Pillow's house, as it can't be more than 10 minutes from my parent's house. Maybe he'd sign my copy of Superman IV. You never know.

ComicsFodder

A while back, Doug's friend Shannon alerted The Doug to the fact that the media review site she works with was looking for a comics blogger. (Did that sentence make any sense? I challenge you to diagram it.)

Anyway, I took a look at the site, saw their tone and format for media review, and was very interested. But I was also moving. I contacted the site manager to see what the expectations might be, and, frankly knew I couldn't swing it. Not with a move on.

So a few weeks ago I was talking to S. Bloom, who is (was? There's an "R" next to his name on their staff list) a contributor at Footballguys.com (oh, man, I need to add that link), and he was talking about really enjoying his work as a sports blogger. So, I thought to myself, "Gee, The League, you blog several times a week. Could you swing that sort of gig? You know, if a comics sort of context?"

And then I did my year-end comics round-up, back-to-back with the Vaughan and Cooke post from a little ways back, got a little encouragment... and, anyway, I started thinking about the FilmFodder site all over again.

So, just prior to Christmas I took a look to see what FilmFodder had been up to in the comics arena. Their coverage was interesting, but had fallen off since Novemeber. I got in touch with the site manager, did a "remember me?" e-mail, and was redirected to the gentleman who is, essentially, the editor for ComicsFodder.

Long-story-long, The League should be joining the ranks of FilmFodder, down in the ComicsFodder subsection.

I am now responsible for Comics content on FilmFodder a few times a week.

What will this mean for LoM?

Probably not a lot. The comic posts that you would see here will probably now just exist as redirects to ComicsFodder. I probably will not rant over on ComicsFodder regarding Superman as I have editorial responsibilities.

I think the deal I've made is more or less to be the DCU blogger. A post or two or three a week, featuring comic reviews. Columns of commentary. That sort of thing. Stuff you see here and ignore on a regular basis.

I'll still be posting a lot of that top-notch, high-quality navel gazing that you're used to. At least the sort of stuff that tends to draw comments.

I will alert all Loyal Leaguers when I have my inaugral post. In the meantime, I have some ducks to get in rows with the editor and site-manager.

Wish me luck.

RHPT, Mysterious M combine DNA. Logical product expected.

Randy knocked up M. They're gonna have a kid.

Well done, RHPT. I look forward to you being disappointed in your infant's inability to set Feedburner into his/her blog.

M, congrats. I do not believe I am alone in hoping that the child inherits your looks, wit and wisdom. And, of course, RHPT's DNA can offer... RHPT's... I am sure Randy has many good qualities that would somehow help. Maybe. Well, best of luck with that side of the helix.

All righty. Let's stay positive.

So... yeah. Kid. For RHPT. Wow. Luckily, M had babyproofed the house years ago for RHPT, and she has to cut his meat for him, so she is probably very prepared to bring a child into the world.

Congrats to the lucky couple.

Monday, January 01, 2007

OU, I am sorry

I really thought you would win. I sincerely did. You played your heart out, especially Mr. Peterson. Dang.

But that proposal... that was pretty sweet. That's a dude who knows how to utilize a moment.

more here

Dreamgirls (aka: Never Again to the Metropolitan 14)

Wow. You know, I remember when they built the Metropolitan 14. It's a gigantic movie theater just South of the Motor Mile on I-35, tucked a ways back from the freeway as the handful of acres between the theater and the parking lot is sort of a run-off/ swampy area. But you can't miss it. The theater is four stories tall, with a gigantic tower poking up from the trees another several yards. The tower is adorned with neon rings humongous silvery statues of nude dudes, like something out of a Joel Shumacher Batman film. Inside there are statues of nude ladies, so there's equal opportunity for abso-ludicrousness.

But, since day 1, The Metropolitan has been bad news. I saw "Unbreakable" there, and was distracted for the duration of the film by a weird, stagnant swampy smell which, I assume, came from the swamp or something foul going on with the pipes. The cavernous theaters give the illusion that nobody can hear you, and thus the knobs of South Austin all flock to the theater (now that Riverside is closed down) and, seemingly, find the movies the BEST place to hold a conversation.

And, so it was with Dreamgirls. I kinda-sorta knew we were in trouble when folks were drifting in to the movie as it began (after 20 minutes of trailers, so, you know, these people were committed). Then were stunned to learn Dreamgirls was a musical, and thusly laughed and laughed whenever anyone broke into song. Which was pretty much continuously. We gave the evil eye, and both Jamie and I shushed (I resorted to the "quiet!" shush). All of this seemed to just egg on the couple who was certainly old enough to know better. So, maybe 45 minutes in, we finally moved.

I doubt our departure from our seats achieved the desired effect of somehow shaming these folks as I heard the guy laugh again two or three more times.

In the interim, a trio of teenagers who had been loudly chatting mid-theater up and left. I have no idea what spurred their departure. I like to think someone tried to shiv them.

And then the capper was when, during the FINAL scene of the movie, a family of morbidly obese folks loudly waddled their way into the row behind us, and began an involved conversation. Our quick "shush" was met with laughter and a quick discussion of how they were upsetting people. Of course, the final scene is not really the time to throw in the towel, but I seriously considered quitting as there was no new information to be gleened.

Unfortunately, most of the things I can usually think to say which probably WOULD make folks hush up are generally fairly offensive and could, potentially, lead to gun-play. The League is not ready to ruin a movie by bleeding out in his Milk Duds, so we do our best to just "shush". Further, the few times I have summoned an usher, the usher really, really DOES NOT want to get involved, and the folks have invariably been quiet as churchmice until the usher departs.

I guess I probably would have been upset if the movie were awful, and, in fact, I probably would have left. But I sort of liked Dreamgirls. Yes, it's a musical, but I will cop to enjoying a good musical now and then. A lot of love went into the movie, and unlike several recent period movies, they actually do the hairstyles and clothes of the era fairly decent justice.

I'm just going to get this out of the way: Beyonce Knowles is freakishly beautiful. When I look at Beyonce in the film, I am unsure of what I am looking at. She consistently appears to be either computer generated or air brushed. I don't want this note to detract from her acting or singing, because both are swell. She's SUPPOSED to be beautiful in the film, and obviously the DP had a good time working with her as a subject. Make of that what you will.

The rest of the cast is very good as well. Eddie Murphy pulls out his long-lost singing talents, and occasionally channels his old James Brown SNL-persona, but never inappropriately. Jamie Foxx plays the most complicated character of the film, but I don't think it's a huge surprise to say he handles both singing and acting just fine, what with he owning awards and all that. Jennifer Hudson plays a surprisingly large part in the film, and aside from a few moments which weren't nailed, her voice easily carries her through the part.

I guess not every single song was my sort of song, and I had expected something a little more of the early-"Supremes", but instead you get a "Behind the Music" career spanning tale of a fictional band, told in the musical format. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you're someone who looks at R&B or rock history as modern myth, and if you dig the songs. But at somewhere just over two-hours, the narrative's arc is only rarely surprising, especially when character arcs echo real-life talent or standard tropes of "makin' it" flicks.

Do I recommend the flick? Man, I don't know. if you're the bonehead who was heartily laughing behind us, then no. It's a musical. Would I buy the soundtrack? I don't know. I liked some of the songs, but as a good musical, the songs are focused on expressing character's thoughts and moving the action forward, just... you know, in a decades-spanning R&B format. So...

It's probably nothing I'm ever going to buy on DVD, I don't think. But, heck, it was a fun movie. I'd send the KareBear and Admiral to go see it.

Our New Year

We had to turn down an invitation or two as we'd been extended an invitation early on for New Year's (nice change of pace after 4 years of solo-New Year's), and headed to The Bloom's.

Sorry to Steven and Lauren. We'll catch up next weekend.

And to Hilary (who I do not believe actually visits this site). We'll catch up ASAP.

Thanks to the Bloom's for inviting us.

Finally was able to get Andy his replacement mit (a lobster claw mit, to go with the Mr. Pinchy theme. It's a long story). Met the famous Rosa. And even Jen Shaw made a rare appearance.

Jason can fill you in on the rest here.


As for today:

We really didn't do much. I eventually woke up, let Lucy out, and fell asleep again on the couch. So Lucy froze outside for an hour. Poor Lucy.

At some point this morning, Jeff got out again. We just hear him crying somewhere, and Jamie headed off to find him. I went to make coffee and saw the poor little fella standing at the backdoor, freezing his tail off.

High-School chum Scott Wiser came by (on his Harley. Damn you, Scott) and we hung out this afternoon. It's been a long time since Scott and I hung out (something like 13 years), but it was great to see the guy again.

Tonight we're off to see "Dream Girls". Because, I confess, I am willing to spend two hours watching women in slinky dresses. And I suppose with Beyone, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx, the music should be a-ok, as well as most of the acting. Still, it shall be no Eragon.
random comments, December 2006

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Adios, 2006

Hokey Smokes.

It's the end of one of the most tumultuous years in League history. Apparently, like a lot of other people, I've decided NOT to do an exhaustive Best of 2006 list. Honestly, this year has been so nuts, and I've been so pre-occupied since mid-June, I don't feel that I'm qualified to talk about movies, music, books or anything else. Life took over this year, and that means that a lot of media-review navel-gazing took a back seat to having a life.

Year in Superman



As a Superman Fan, I think it's definitely been a good year. With a new movie released (and one I enjoyed the heck out of), lots of reprints on the shelf, excellent creators on the core titles, fantastic creators on the ancillary titles, and Superman starring in a major cross-over event, two dedicated action figure lines, a great Silver Age action figure set from DC Direct, some nice DC Direct statues, lots of other new licensed product, tons of great material on DVD (from Kirk Alyn to Brandon Routh)... yeah, 2006 was a good year for The Man of Steel and his fans.

But, mostly, with the release of the Superman film, the usual Chinese Water Torture of journalists trickling out the same "Superman is Irrelevant" op-ed column completely evaporated. If Singer and Co. managed to do anything, it was remind the public of Superman's relevance.


The Move

I will always remember that moment in which I decided it was time to skip town with crystal clarity. I was sitting at my desk on a Friday afternoon, pushing some digital paperwork around for the millionth time, and thinking about how this was the same paperwork I could, potentially, be pushing around until I retired, and a little light went on in my head.

The move was a tremendous pain. As I knew it would be, it was expensive. It was risky. It was frought with complications. It was entirely worth it.

It's funny, because I DO miss friends and co-workers from the old place. I miss aspects of my old job (as The League loves it when a plan comes together). But the words "regret" or "second-thoughts" haven't popped up at all in relation to the move. No matter what issues Jamie and I have dealt with, or are continuing to deal with, it has absolutely been worth it. If anything brought that idea home, it was seeing so many friends at The League 2006 Holiday Spectacular.

I love this town.


Friends, new and old

It's avoiding the obvious not to mention the passing of Jeff Wilson, which, within our family and the circle of friends which Jeff was instrumental in establishing, has overshadowed the year. I don't know what more to say on this than was already said by folks who knew Jeff better than I ever did, and who feel the loss more acutely.

After years of hearing their names, upon arrival we met many new folks through Jason (and through Jeff), including Andy, Rami, the Blooms, JackBart and more. We've caught up with the Shaws and their addition. We've had the unique opportunity to become chummy with Steven and Lauren after years of e-mails and comment section postings. And, of course, we've reconnected with a lot of good folks in Austin.

We'll miss folks in Arizona, including my old office mates (hello OH), and some folks we met through Jamie's office. Hopefully we won't drift away until we're only exchanging Christmas cards.

We've been very lucky to see so much of Doug this year (but have a certain Kristen deficit we need to correct), are glad to be reintegrating Jason and Susan into our Austin-life, and are, of course, very happy that both sets of parents are now just a car-ride away.

I'm going to miss somebody in this, so I'm going to stop while I'm ahead.

Thanks, so much for a good year, everyone.


UT Football

So the 2005 UT Longhorns were sort of, technically, the 2005 team. But they won the Rose Bowl in 2006, so... Anyway, just wanted to bask in that one last time.




So long, 2006

Name Dropping

Ah, there's nothing like tuning in and seeing seeing your name associated with the Wonder Woman Museum on your local 24-hour news network. Thanks, Andy! May the subscribers to Time-Warner Cable in Austin all become loyal fans of the Maid of Might.

This is pretty much it

Okay.

You may have noted some differences in the look of the site. I was more or less forced to update the blog thanks to changes within Blogger. Yes, it seems Blogger may have implemented new features since I first posted, lo, those many years ago. They now have some neat tools, and so I'm trying to integrate some of that.

One of the big things I'm going to try to work with is the "labels" or "topics" dealy. I think this will help me organize the archives in a manner more effective than trying to guess the date of a post. That said, I'm not going to backtrack and link EVERY Superman related post (though I gave it the old college try), comic book review, etc... Or at least I don't think I'm going to do so. Nor does this mean that I'm going to start writing specifically toward categories. I think. I hope.

I hope you like the basics of the new look. If not, sorry. This is the third look for the site, and it's stripped of a lot of the color, etc... which I assume longtime readers should be familiar. I played with a lot of templates and color-schemes, and this is the one I've settled on for the next several months, anyway.

As of now I am also not including links to sites which are not personal sites or comic/comic-related sites.

If you're missing something in particular, let me know.

Oh, I am also putting the monthly poll on hiatus. I'm not really sure how much anybody is really getting out of it.

Sayonara, Saddam

I stayed up watching the news last night as the news networks went into a sort of countdown to Saddam's execution. Since someone finally found him in a hole in the ground, the whole thing has had an air of inevitability to it.

Of course anyone would be pleased to see Saddam face a court in his own country, especially with the endless line of witnesses who could provide testimony. The question now is what legacy Hussein will leave upon the country he must have had some affection for as the nation's leader.

I don't want to talk about this guy. Too much blood and ink have been spilled in his name, and I don't intend to spend anymore time writing about him.