Andy Richter Gets Tweaked for DVD

Back in January I wrote about the release of one of my all-time favorite TV shows on DVD. After almost 7 years, Andy Richter Controls the Universe was released on March 24th and thanks to Amazon.com I had my copy on the 25th.

All in all, CBS has done a pretty good job with the transfer of the show to DVD. The box set is formatted for 16:9 televisions and the decisions about where to crop the image for widescreen make it seem like the show was originally shot in HD, which it wasn’t evidently was (my bad). The picture is clear and selected episodes even come with audio commentary from Richter himself. If you’re a fan of the show, don’t miss these as well as the making-of features that are at the end of the third disk.

While it’s indeed awesome to finally have ARCTU on DVD, there are a few upsetting things that Andy fans will immediately notice. The first problem relates to the order of the episodes. While the DVD appears to list the show’s episodes in broadcast order, it would have made much more sense to list them in the order they were produced. It’s never made sense that the show’s 2nd episode (aptly entitled “Second Episode”) was aired 4th, especially since it immediately follows the events in the pilot. New viewers will inevitably be confused.

Perhaps worse are the numerous changes in the show’s soundtrack that have been made. It’s impossible to tell if these edits were done because CBS couldn’t or simply didn’t want to secure the rights for the original music, but either way they’re disappointing. Here are just four examples from two episodes of the changes that have been made.

Some of the changes I can deal with, but others are just bad. The “pseudo Sting” cover when Andy meets Wendy in his office is one of the worst, but the loss of the clip from The Sound of Music in “Grief Counselor” just plain makes me sad. I always got a chuckle out of Andy & Wendy kissing to the cooing sounds of Austria’s heartland and now it’s gone. I imagine this change was made because 20th Century Fox owns The Sound of Music and they didn’t feel like negotiating proper rights. Still, I’m a firm believer in the credo “If you’re going to do something, do it right”.

Overall this is a welcome, and long overdue release of one of the most underrated TV shows ever. If you’re a fan of Andy Richter, this set is definitely worth picking up. The image quality and formatting, as well as the DVD extras help make up for the sub-par treatment the soundtrack received. Check it out!

For the Buckaroo In You

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai is one of those films. You know the ones I mean, you either love them to death or you hate them with the passion of a 1,000 burning suns. Being the child of the 80′s I am, I fall squarely into the former category when it comes to Peter Weller’s hero, Buckaroo.

I first watched this quirky film back at R.I.T. with my good friends David, Anna, Bob & Jiffy, all of whom still share my affinity for Team Banzai and their globetrotting, save-the-day antics. I got on a Buckaroo kick a few weeks back and whipped up a Team Banzai Patch icon that was released over at The Iconfactory as a QuickPix as well as the desktop I’m making available today. If you’re a fan of Buckaroo, then head over to my Goodies page and download Team Banzai for your iPhone, Mac or PC desktop and be the envy of all your buddies. Remember, no matter where you go, there you are!

You’re Addicted to Twitter When…

… you brainstorm a whole list of updates ahead of time then plan your weekly schedule around when and where you’ll tweet them.

… you have to ask the Twitterverse their opinion before seeing a movie, eating out, or buying video games.

… get disappointed whenever you see a bird that isn’t some shade of blue.

… you start adding “tw” to words ie: tweeple, twidiot & twutorial. (by @kpiper)

… after witnessing a crime, instead of calling 911 you fire up Twitter.

… you’re excited that you have more followers than @jesuschrist (by @mantia)

… you think life would be better if you could just have 10 more characters.

… you convince your parents to start using Twitter because it’s so cool and then decide to block them because you realize how uncool it is that your parents are on Twitter.

… you think @cobracommander, @darthvader and @scobleizer are real people.

… you tweet from the bathroom.

… tweeting is more important to you than being Jennifer Aniston’s boyfriend.

… you consider moving so you can be at the top of your local Twitter Grader list.

… you wish people speaking in multi-sentence paragraphs would GET TO THE F*CKING POINT. (by @panache)

… you’re bummed when you don’t see the Fail Whale in days.

… you hit “Command-R” to refresh an AIM chat window (by @panache)

… you ask the Twitterverse for help with a blog post about Twitter.

The Eagle Has Landed

While I was doing research for my sci-fi nightmares post over at The Sci-Fi Cast, I came across a pretty cool die-cast collectable toy that I just had to have. The piece was a 12″ replica of my favorite space ship from Gerry Anderson’s Space: 1999. It had received good reviews on a blog I discovered so I decided to order it. It arrived today and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The toy is heavy, finely detailed and looks exactly like the models from the TV show. I’ve always had a special affinity for the Eagle Transporter since I was a kid and have owned several of them over the years. This just might be the best one to date. What makes it even better was the quality and professionalism of the company I ordered it through – Comet-Miniatures.com based in the UK. After I placed the order, they actually took the extra step to check and confirm it with me before shipping it out. It arrived quickly, and was packed extremely well. It also included a hand-written note along with my receipt which was something I just couldn’t get over. Bravo guys, I’ll be ordering from you again soon!

If you’re a Space: 1999 fan like I am, then head on over to my Flickr page and check out the wonderful pictures of the toy that Talos took for me today at the office. If I had money to blow, I’d order the larger 23″ Signature Edition, but all-in-all this one really is perfect. I’m so happy!

The End of Galactica

I’ve been an avid fan of Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica for over four years, and with good reason. I consider BSG to be one of, if not the best weekly dramatic show on television. I’ve also spent the last year picking apart season 4 with my good friends Dave Caolo and Jen Segrest over at The Sci-Fi Cast. But after watching the first part of the finale last night, I’m starting to have my doubts that the show will end how it has lived. If you’ve watched Daybreak Pt.1 of Battlestar Galactica and are interested to know why I’m worried, then head on over to my post – “Walk with the Prophets, Ronald D. Moore” at The Sci-Fi Cast and check it out.

Perspective

There’s a chart of job losses in the current economic downturn that has been making its way around the internet. While the data the chart shows is pretty scary, like most statistics it represents only a small slice of how we arrived where we are. I’ve been hearing of conservatives who are up-in-arms over Obama’s spending and how the economy is tanking because of his so-called “socialistic programs”, so I decided to add a bit of data to the chart to help gain some useful perspective. Adding the lens of history to the chart, we see (click to enlarge):

The country has been shedding jobs at a historic rate for over a year but during all that time, what did Bush do to stop the bleeding? He cut taxes for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. And when that didn’t stem the tide, he didn’t change course, he instead sought to make those tax cuts permanent. Now those very same tax cut & borrow Republicans have the indignant gaul to berate a President who has been in office less than a single financial quarter? I didn’t hear conservatives throwing “tea-parties” when the Congress was asked to appropriate billions of dollars over and over again for a war of choice in a foreign land. Those funds went down a massive black hole that will never be seen again and yet when Obama asks conservative Americans to do their part and pitch in for the good of ALL of Americans here at home, suddenly they have a problem.

Nate Silver worked out that even with the current state of the stock market and declining retirement accounts, the majority of Americans are willing to give the President 12-18 months before they consider the economy “his”. That means Obama has several months to turn things around, not six weeks as some would like us to believe. A little perspective, every now and then, is a good thing. Try and remember that.

UPDATE: More perspective courtesy of Crooks & Liars who link to a graph of the Dow from all of last year. They note that the stock market lost more than HALF of its value from May of 2008 to November, all under George W. Bush. All this and yet conservatives are convinced that Obama’s newly implemented policies are what’s scaring the pants off investors. I suppose once Obama turns the economy around, that’ll be Bush’s doing too.

Not So ‘Free’ Credit Reports

You know those really catchy commercials for FreeCreditReport.com that you like so much? Turns out the afore mentioned credit reports aren’t really free and the company that owns the site, Experian, is a douche bag. Although every American is entitled by law to at least one free copy of his/her credit report, the site charges users a monthly fee of $14.95 if they don’t cancel their initial request within 7 days. Major bummer pirate dudes!

Turns out that Experian has been sued for deceptive advertising practices every year since 2005 and each time the company has settled out of court for a handsome fee that keeps news headlines mum and TV goers forever whistling tunes about identity theft. I don’t know which is worse – yet another shameless corporation raping the consumer in times of economic hardship or the guilt I’ll feel whenever I start to sing the FreeCreditReport.com song for the bazillionth time.

Sometimes They Eat Their Young

On Monday, conservative Mark Frum wrote the following in his weekly column:

On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of “responsibility,” and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as “losers.” With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence – exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating!

That didn’t sit well with fellow conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin who launched into a 10 minute tirade on his show on Tuesday on how Frum was out of line. Levin used words like “putz”, “a-hole” and “frat boy” to describe Frum. Turns out Frum’s 15 year old son heard the nasty things Levin was broadcasting and attempted to call into the show to take the radio personality to task. Levin wouldn’t let him through cause he was just a kid, but he did later let Frum himself on and the result was a 30 minute slice of Republican hell. If you enjoy listening to two right-wing ideologues ripping each other apart as I do, then this audio clip is for you. You can read Frum’s account of the dust-up on his blog.

I find it utterly hilarious that the GOP and their neocon allies have fallen so far so fast. The entire party is in disarray and with each passing hour they seem to bury their heads even further into the muck. Oh sure they’ll eventually climb back up, probably stronger than they were before to take their rightful place in American politics. But as of this very moment, we can all see them for what they are and what they are not offering – solutions.

They have no vested interests in helping this country get back on its feet, even if it means swallowing just the smallest amount of pride. No, they are only concerned with currying favor with the base and making sure everyone who disagrees with them knows how wrong they are. I’d like to slap some sense into the entire lot, but then the dog and pony show would be over, and where’s the fun in that?

Staying On Rush’s Good Side

Even though I have no intention of apologizing to the him, I realize there may be some local conservative bloggers or politicans that may have said some off-the-cuff things about Rush they regret. Even if they haven’t said anything nasty about the GOP leader yet, they eventually will and might want to get out ahead of the curve. That’s why I’m doing my part to ease their pain by posting this “I’m sorry, Rush” banner graphic courtesy of AmericaBlog to help speed their reconciliation with El Rushbo.

Stick it right at the top of your site so that Rush knows you’re not one of those left-wing, pinko-commie feminazis that are eroding the very fabric of our society. Then log onto Omaha Steaks and order up the 10 pack of 7oz Filet Mignons and have it sent to his house, along with the finest Cubans you can afford. Maybe you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re a blue-balled coward who stands proudly with Limbaugh in hoping the President, and the rest of us living in the United States of America, fails miserably. And that’s really all that matters isn’t it?

Signs of Recovery

Five & 1/2 weeks. That’s how long Barack Obama has been President of the United States. The new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is just starting to ramp up but apparently for some, 5.5 weeks should be more than enough time to completely fix the broken U.S. economy. How do I know that Obama’s strategy that was literally signed into law last week isn’t working? Because the media told me so.

It started with local radio talk show host Brad Krantz who ripped on the President during Tuesday morning’s Brad and Britt show. His open letter to the President derided him for the “timing” of his policies and his inability to fly to Wall Street and personally shake some sense into the traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Next up was the Wall St. Journal who apparently feels that a crisis 8 years in the making can be completely turned around in under 40 days. Then, let’s not forget Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity who are popping out of the media woodwork to predict the utter ruin of Obama and the nation, much to the glee of the ditto-heads from coast to coast.

All the while, the President goes about the business of getting our nation back on the right track and doing it with the support of the majority of the American people. Obama campaigned on this promise to cut taxes for 95% of Americans and last week he made that promise a reality. An overwhelming majority of the country told John McCain to go home and that we really didn’t want more tax cuts for the rich. Now the media, led by people like Limbaugh, and sadly even my man Krantz, seems ready to jump ship even as the first jobs are being created by Obama’s stimulus program. Here’s a hint to nay-sayers: there are a shit-load more jobs about to be created, just watch.

You media mavens said you wanted a President that shot straight with the public. But you were lying. Turns out you just wanted another President like Bush that blew rose-colored smoke up your collective asses. For 8 years Bush lied and obfuscated and you whined and shouted “If only!” at the top of your lungs. But when push came to shove and Obama laid it all out for you like adults, you decide to bail on him. He’s been in office less than a single financial quarter! What you really want is a President that caters to the whims of Wall Street instead of investing in our future with green energy or cheaper health care for all of us. Shame on you!

Well guess what, we don’t want another President like Bush. We elected the man and polls say we’re not ready to give up on him just yet. Not after just 5 & 1/2 weeks, Brad. Not after 35 days, Wall Street. Help is coming, and the signs will be literally everywhere soon enough so do us all a favor, stop taking cues from Jim Cramer, un-wad your panties, take a chill pill and relax. You owe Obama, and the rest of us at least that much.