Wednesday, October 31, 2012


In the news recently: Feelings.

No, not the Morris Albert song. The president's. Somebody hurt them, if you're to believe Bill Clinton.

The former president stood in for the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at a fundraiser recently, and he related something Obama said to him, the Weekly Standard reports:
"I saw the reports of Governor Romney's latest ad saying that the president had allowed Jeep to move to China," said Clinton. "And so this morning, before he left Florida and went back to Washington, he said, 'You know, of all the things Governor Romney has said that probably hurts my feelings the most.'"
Of course, what Romney said was true: Jeep is going to start making vehicles in China. They aren't moving jobs to China, they're adding jobs in China, and not adding those jobs in the U.S. Which means fewer Jeeps exported to China. Which means fewer Jeeps made in the U.S. Which means ... fewer jobs in the U.S.?

Anyway, the point is that Romney hurt Obama's feelings. I wonder how Obama is going to feel in a week.

Cartoon of the day

[Source: Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily]

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Job training

Sunday night, the president flew to Florida for a Monday campaign appearance. Then, he flew back to Washington and Bill Clinton took his place at the campaign event.

The question that some asked was why would Obama make the trip to Florida in the first place. Well, lost in the story is the fact that he did appear at a campaign office:
Yesterday, as he delivered pizzas to campaign workers in Orlando, Florida, Obama said he realized that the storm would impede his ability to make the final push for a second term in person.
See? He delivered pizzas.

That skill could come in real handy come January 21st.

Cartoon of the day

[Source: Michael Ramirez/]

Monday, October 29, 2012

You pick the losers

Photo: C-SPAN
"...You don’t just the pick the winners and losers – you pick the losers." -- Mitt Romney to Barack Obama, October 3, 2012

Photo: NBC/The Tonight Show
"I've spent a lot of time in Detroit ... so in this particular World Series, I might be a little partial." -- Barack Obama to Jay Leno, October 24, 2012

Photo: Fox Sports/MLB
San Francisco completes sweep of Detroit, October 28, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Top of the charts

Bush, Bush bo Bush, banana fanna fo Bush
Fee fi mo Bush, Bush!

Come on everybody!
I say now let's play a game
I betcha I can make a blame out of anybody's name.
The first four years, I treat it like it was not there
But a lot of silly reasons and excuses will appear
And then I say "No I wasn't to blame," and banana fanna blame a foe
And then I say that name and I make it very plain
And a fee fy on a foe
And then I say the name again and now you know my game
And there isn't any name that I can't blame

Clinton, Clinton bo Clinton, banana fanna fo Clinton
Fee fi mo Clinton, Clinton!

But if the first two years are ever brought up,
I drop my voice and say the name like
Bush, he killed the economy,
Clinton, she let the Ambassador die,
Osama, I killed him with my bare hands.
The media ignores anything that is contrary.

Everybody do Bush!

Bush, Bush, bo Bush, banana fanna fo Bush
Fee fi mo Bush, Bush!

Pretty good, let's do the rich!

Rich, rich, bo rich, banana fanna fo rich
Fee fi mo rich, rich!

Very good, let's do Wall Street!

Wall Street, Wall Street, bo Wall Street, banana fanna fo Wall Street
Fee fi mo Wall Street, Wall Street!

A little trick with YouTube!

YouTube, YouTube, bo YouTube, banana fanna fo YouTube
Fee fi mo YouTube, YouTube!

The blame game...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hey "blue states" -- hurry up and pass the NPVIC before November 6!

Remember all the talk about the NPVIC? You know, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact?

Sure you do. A bunch of dumbass states have signed on to this thing.

Here's what it does: in the states that sign on, whoever wins the popular vote nationally, wins all the electoral votes in the participating states, regardless of how that state voted.

The idea is to make the Electoral College meaningless.

Why are they doing this? They're still all pissed off over the 2000 election. Gore seems to have won the popular vote, although Bush won the majority of electoral votes. And they've had their panties in a wad ever since.

The Compact has been signed on by eight states and DC. Here's a list of those states and their electoral votes:
  • California (55)
  • Hawaii (4)
  • Illinois (20)
  • Maryland (10)
  • Massachusetts (11)
  • New Jersey (14)
  • Vermont (3)
  • Washington (12)
  • District of Columbia (3)
What do you notice about those states? Yep. That's right. They're all "blue states."

Oh, and the bill is currently pending in New York (29) and Pennsylvania (20).

Now, here's where it gets kinda interesting.

According to the latest Gallup poll, Romney is leading by 7 points nationally. According to the Real Clear Politics average, Romney is leading by a point. Either way, Romney wins the popular vote.

Now, according to the Real Clear Politics electoral map, currently Romney has the lead in electoral votes (excluding toss-ups), and, under the current system, leads 206-201.

If toss-ups stay where they are, Obama has enough electoral votes to win the election under the current system, 294-244.

But -- and here's the fun part -- if the states that are part of the Compact were to go ahead and follow it now, Romney wins in a landslide, 376-162:

Oh, and if the two states where the bill is pending were to play along anyway, Romney wins by a larger margin, 425-113.

Told you that was the fun part.

There's a lesson to be learned from this: liberals don't think things through.

They joined in on this idea after the 2000 election because they can't imagine that their silly candidate could actually lose the election. They didn't like the rules under which Bush won, so they want to change the rules.

But, they didn't see this coming.

Oh, and there are lots of other problems with the NPVIC, not the least of which is that many states don't even count absentee ballots if there aren't enough to change the outcome within the state. For instance, Gore's popular vote lead in 2000 would shrink if the absentees in New York state had been counted. They weren't, since there weren't enough to sway the election in the state. And, since many absentees were military, they'd have swung for Bush.

Remember that whole mess in 2000 where those idiot Florida counties were trying to figure out what a hole in a piece of paper looked like? Remember Minnesota in 2008 stretching into Summer 2009? Look for that all over.

But, Democrats, and liberals in particular, don't think about stuff like that. It complicates their neat little imaginary lives.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

MST3K wrapup

Nearly a year ago, I decided to watch all of the episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I was a fan of the show after I first saw an episode back in the 1990s. There were many episodes I hadn't seen, but once I saw it, I watched it when I could.

I never reworked my life around the show. Never said "Oh, I got to get home to watch MST3K," or any of the silly stuff some people do about TV shows. But, I watched it when I could.

Most of the shows I watched had Mike as the host. Since I came in late to the party, I didn't see as many of the Joel episodes, and many were not part of the regular rerun schedule, particularly Season One.

After many episodes came available via Netflix, I watched those. Some were new to me, others were old favorites. I also purchased DVD collections, and had some VHS episodes. Plus, I found out about places that offered unreleased episodes. One of my favorites was, although I got some content from other sources. I also had some friends who had copies of episodes, and, after doing a little digging, discovered that I had access to all the episodes. Well, all except the first three. Or four.

Okay, some review would be in order.

MST3K began as a local program on TV station KTMA in Minneapolis. Then, after a year, it went national on The Comedy Channel. Two years later, The Comedy Channel became Comedy Central, and MST3K continued for another five years there. Then, after being canceled, it was revived by The Sci-Fi Channel for three more seasons, before being canceled. Reruns aired for another 4½ years.

Recordings exist for all of these episodes, except the first three episodes on KTMA and the pilot/demo episode. I have official releases of every episode, and fan copies of every available unreleased episode. And, I watched them all. In order.

Though I was more familiar with Mike when I started, I quickly gained an appreciation of Joel. Seeing the 18 available KTMA episodes, I saw how the show developed and progressed over the course of that first local channel season. By the end of that season, they had everything clicking.

I liked the Dr. Erhardt character as well the development of the Tom Servo character that Josh (J. Elvis) Weinstein did. When Frank Conniff's character, later called TV's Frank, replaced Dr. Erhardt, I gained a greater appreciation of the character, seeing how the character developed. I liked TV's Frank before, and liked him even more afterwards.

Though, by the time the show went off the air, I had seen more Pearl Forrester than Clayton Forrester episodes, seeing the development of Dr. Clayton Deborah Susan Forrester was a joy. Trace Beaulieu's development of Crow (later, "Art" Crow T. Robot) was a treat.

Seeing the Observer and Ape Planet episodes I had missed during the run of the show was also a joy. Kinda put the characters in a slightly different light.

The transition of Joel to Mike was also well-done. The show never skipped a beat. That's not a slap at Joel by any means. It's a credit to the crew Joel and company assembled around the show.

After seeing all the episodes, I have a sense of completeness. It was a great TV show, and it survived the replacement of every major character that was on the first episode.

These changes, by the way, generated some controversy among the fans at the time. Most of the focus was on the hosts, but here's a list of the changes in characters over the course of the show.

Host: Joel vs Mike.

Villain: Dr. Forrester vs Pearl Forrester.

Sidekick: Dr. Erhardt vs TV's Frank vs Pearl Forrester vs Professor Bobo and Observer.

Servo: Josh Weinstein vs Kevin Murphy.

Crow: Trace Beaulieu vs Bill Corbett.

Gypsy: Josh Weinstein vs Jim Mallon vs Patrick Brantseg.

Cambot: Bot running a camera, Gypsy-like bot/camera, snake-like camera, floating camera.

The only one I feel strongly about is Cambot. I prefer the floating camera version. I kinda prefer Dr. Forrester to Pearl, and kinda prefer Frank as the sidekick, but for the rest, I truly don't have a preference.

They did a great job of assembling cast and crew, and kept the writing top-notch throughout the entire run of the show.

I'm glad I did this.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MST3K: Assignment Venezuela and Other Shorts

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Video: Assignment Venezuela and Other Shorts

First released: Spring 2001
Availability: Rhino VHS (out of print), Amazon (Volume 7/out of print), Rhino DVD (Volume 7/out of print)

After Mystery Science Theater 3000 went off the air, many videos were released. All of them were repackages of episodes or parts of episodes. For instance, there were five videos of Host Segments. There were three collections of songs or music-related skits. Then, there were the shorts.

The shorts were collections of the short films that were shown in episodes where movies weren't as long as others and didn't fill the whole two hours. Several episodes that hadn't been released on video, and wouldn't for at least some time, had their accompanying shorts included in one of the four volumes of shorts.

Of course, there were a couple of documentaries that were released. The MST Scrapbook contained clips from the KTMA season that hadn't been seen since those episodes aired, plus rare commercials, the sales tape, and some behind-the-scenes video clips. The Last Dance - Raw was a documentary of the filming of the last episode. None of that, though, was actually new content of riffed videos.

Then, this video was released.

It was made as part of a planned CD-ROM, but those plans fell through, and the two videos made wouldn't see the light of day. Then, one day, one of them did.

Assignment: Venezuela was a 24-minute video made by Exxon, before it was called Exxon, for employees heading to their offices in Venezuela. This was, of course, before that country seized those properties, so everything was rainbows and unicorns. Or arco iris y unicornios. Or something.

The other video, Mylar, What’s It To You?, has never been seen. It's considered lost. There's no evidence that it's in a safe stored away anywhere, like there is word of all the KTMA episodes. It seems that Mylar, What’s It To You? is truly lost. However, Assignment: Venezuela exists, although it's not a polished copy and includes time-stamps on the video.

This videotape includes two other shorts that are in episodes that haven't been released:
These are all three fun shorts, and they're only available in this collection. Well, kinda.

While this shorts collection was never released on DVD, the individual shorts were included as bonus features with the out-of-print Volume 7 collection.

The VHS release is one of the seven Best Brains VHS tapes I don't own. Four are episodes, and the other three are this one, Mr. B's Lost Shorts??!! and Play MST For Me 3, although I do have the DVDs.

For those that want a complete collection of MST3K, this one is a must-have.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

MST3K: Shorts Volume 3

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Video: Shorts Volume 3

First released: 30 January 2001
Availability: Rhino VHS (solo/out of print), Amazon ("The Essentials 3-disk")

Though I've completed my initial project task of watching all of the MST3K episodes, I'm finishing up with the video collections that were released while the show was on the air.

There were five collections of shorts that were released during the run. This is the fourth. Naturally, it's Shorts Volume 3.

Okay, there is an explanation for that. Not sure it's a good one, but it's ... an explanation.

After Shorts Volume 1 and Shorts Volume 2 were released, the next shorts collection was named after one of the shorts. In fact, it's possibly the most famous of all the shorts shown on MST3K: Mr. B Natural. And, the collection? Mr. B's Lost Shorts??!!

So, what to call the fourth collection of shorts? Why, Volume 3, of course!

Okay, that doesn't make sense. But, MST3K isn't the only one to do something like this. For example, the movie Rambo III? It was the second movie named "Rambo" and properly should have been First Blood 3.

Then, there's the iPhone 5. It's actually the 6th iPhone: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5. See?

So, MST3K isn't the only one to number stuff funny. So, the fourth collection of shorts is Shorts Volume 3. Deal with it.

The shorts on this volume were:
This collection included a short that had been previously released on another shorts collection. Design for Dreaming was also on Mr. B's Lost Shorts??!!, which had been released less than a year earlier.

Why? I dunno. They never cleared any of this through me.

Anyway, this collection is hard to find. It was released on VHS by Rhino back in 2001, and as hard as that is to find, the DVD is even more difficult to find.

You see, the only way to get Volume 3 was to order it with a special edition of The Essentials, the collection that included Episode 321: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Episode 424 - Manos: The Hands of Fate. The regular edition (I have that) contained just the two episodes. The special 3-disk edition (I have that, too) contained the episodes plus Shorts Volume 3. And, that was the only way to get it on DVD.

Three of the shorts are in episodes that have subsequently been released. Episode 603: The Dead Talk Back was released in Volume 8 in 2005. Episode 514: Teen-Age Strangler was released as part of Volume 10 and Volume 10.2 in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Finally, Episode 701/701T: Night of the Blood Beast was released as part of Volume 16 late in 2009.

Of course, fan copies of the episodes will include the shorts. If you can't find this collection, that may be the way to go. These are good ones.

Monday, October 15, 2012

MST3K: Play MST for Me 3

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Video: Play MST For Me 3

First released: VHS, Best Brains 2000
Availability: Best Brains VHS (out of print), Best Brains DVD (Play MSTie For Me Triple Decker)

This isn't an episode of MST3K. I actually finished those, covering the last episode the other day. But, during the run of the show, they released some videos.

This is one of those videos.

It came out in late 2000, over a year after the last new episode aired, but with over three years of reruns still to go before the show finally left the air. Or left the cable. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

Like Play MST For Me and Play MST for Me 2, this is a collection of songs from the Host Segments. Or, at least, mostly songs. A few aren't straight up musical numbers. But, there's music involved in some way.

But, before I cover them, let me explain a little more about this video.

It's really hard to find. Extremely difficult.

It's one of those VHS tapes that was released by Best Brains, and sold to MST3K Information Club members.

Now, I wasn't a member. But, I did obtain a second-hand copy of the videotape, helping me have a nearly-complete library of MST3K releases. I have all the DVDs from Shout, Rhino, and Best Brains, and I have all the VHS tapes from Rhino, and most of the VHS tapes from Best Brains.

As of this writing, I'm only missing the four Best Brains-released episodes, two of the five Shorts releases, and this tape.

That's right. I'm reviewing a videotape I don't own. But, I own the content. You see, this collection was also released on DVD, and I own that. So, I do own this collection, just not in both formats.

The first of the three Play MST for Me collections covered songs from the first three seasons, while the second covered songs from the next three seasons. This one covers songs from the last three seasons. There were no songs in Season Seven.
This is the most complete collection of songs from the covered three-year period. In fact, they only omitted one musical selection during the run. In Episode 1006: Boggy Creek II: and the Legend Continues... Observer sings about a mysterious creature that turns out to be Bobo.

The collection itself didn't seem to receive the care and consideration that the first two did. Whether that was because of a greatly reduced staff -- MST3K was no longer in production, after all -- or if there was an attitude of "get it out there quick and make a buck while there's bucks to be made" I don't know.

The other releases had song titles and episodes listed on each selection. On this one, that wasn't the case. I did make an edit for my own purposes that contains those (see the screen shots).

Despite the hurried approach that seems to have been taken, it's still a pretty good collection of musical numbers.

One thing they never did, but perhaps could still do: take the songs omitted from all three collections and release a fourth collection.

They won't. At least, I don't think they will. But, if they did, I'd buy it. I'm just that kinda guy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

MST3K: Mr. B's Lost Shorts??!!

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Video: Mr. B's Lost Shorts??!!

First released: Spring 2000
Availability: Rhino VHS (solo/out of print), Amazon (Volume 6/out of print), Rhino (Volume 6/out of print)

After MST3K aired its last new episode, the show continued in re-runs for over four years. The franchise continued releasing videotapes, and, beginning in 2002, DVDs.

Most of the videotapes released were single episodes, but some were collections of shorts.

The short films were shown in episodes that contained movies that didn't fill up an entire episode. A total of 54 episodes contained shorts, with five of those containing two shorts.

During Season Nine, the first collection of shorts was released on tape. Not long after the last new episode aired, the second collection was released on videotape. Early the next year, they'd release volume three.

Or so you'd think.

No, they didn't call it Volume 3. Instead, they named it after one of the most popular shorts, the one starring Mr. B Natural.

Mr. B's Lost Shorts??!! contained six short films:
Four of these would eventually show up as part of the full episode releases, beginning in 2007.

The Volume 12 set contained Episode 419: The Rebel Set. 2009's Volume 15 had Episode 616: Racket Girls, while 2010 saw the release of Volume 19 and Episode 423: Bride of the Monster. In early 2012, Volume 23 was released with Episode 210: King Dinosaur.

Fans are still awaiting the release of Episode 319: War of the Colossal Beast, but that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon. And, it's a shame, because the short, Mr. B Natural, is a fan favorite.

This is another situation where, unless you have a fan copy of the episodes, some of the classic shorts are lost to you. And that's a shame.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

MST3K: The Last Dance - Raw

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Video: The Last Dance - Raw

First released: Holiday 1999

When the MST3K crew was filming Episode 1013: Diabolik, Jim Mallon took his video camera and recorded much of the proceedings. After the series wrapped, the Best Brains crew took the video and put together a documentary.

After I watched the last episode, I watched the documentary, which was released under the name The Last Dance - Raw.

It's exactly what it claims to be: a documentary of the filming of the last episode. Nothing more, nothing less.

I did find it interesting. We got to see them putting Bobo makeup on Kevin Murphy, which included him painting his teeth. No, really. Kevin Murphy paints his teeth. Betcha never saw that before. I know I never had. But if it has ever been on my list of things to see, I could mark it off. It wasn't, but I'm covered anyway.
Kevin becomes Bobo.Repairing Servo.
There were scenes of Murphy doing repairs on a Servo puppet. Seems the head was needing replacing, and there's footage of him doing that. The hardest part, it seemed was threading the string that controlled the mouth. I never really thought about that, but silly stuff like that is what it took to keep the show running.

The general format of the videotape was to show a Host Segment, then the making of the Host Segment. I found it interesting to see the finished product, then what it took to make the product. All the false starts, the rehearsals, the plotting and planning of the shots and the effects ... it all finally comes together to create a scene.
Running puppets on the SoL.Running puppets in the theater.
We also got to see some shots of M&tB in the theater, side by side with the finished product. That short bit could be what has kept this videotape from being released on DVD. You see, it contained scenes from the movie Diabolik, and since that movie has never been released, that probably means this video won't be released. Well, not until the movie is cleared for the episode to be released.

This video is hard to find. It was released on VHS a bit after the last new episode aired. It was one of the Best Brains videos, not a Rhino wide release. And, like I mentioned, it's never been made available on DVD, or any electronic format.

It's pretty much for fans, serious fans, of the show.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MST3K: Shorts Volume 2

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Video: Shorts Volume 2

First released: 5 October 1999
Availability: Rhino VHS (solo/out of print), Rhino VHS (Walking Tall 3-Pack/out of print), Amazon DVD (Volume 3/out of print), Rhino DVD (Volume 3/out of print)

Yes, I'm done with all the MST3K episodes, and should, by all rights, put an end to this. But, along the way, I included video releases that happened during the run of the show. This fits that category.

Sort of.

While the last new episode aired in 1999, the show continued on in reruns through January of 2004. So, I'll finish up with new video releases that came out during the run.

Don't worry, there aren't that many. But, the ones there are, they're pretty good.

Most of the post-new episode releases were collections of shorts. As I mentioned when we covered Shorts Volume 1, the shorts releases consisted of the short films that were in episodes that hadn't been released.

The fact that a short from an episode was released on a shorts collection was also an indicator that the episode wasn't going to be released soon. Whether or not that was true, it sure seems that way.

Volume 2 contained some good shorts:
Of the six episodes that contained the shorts, three have since been released.

The first episode to be released was Episode 613: The Sinister Urge, which was included in Volume 9, which was released in 2006, nearly seven years after Shorts Volume 2. Then Episode 503: Swamp Diamonds was released in Volume 10 and Volume 10.2 were released in late 2006 and early 2008, respectively. Episode 608: Code Name: Diamond Head finally was released as part of Volume 23 in March 2012.

If you don't have the unreleased episodes, the "fan copies" of the shows, then the only way to see these shorts is by getting Shorts Volume 2. It's kinda hard to find, though.