20 Years of Arrested Development

Twenty years ago, I was finishing up the final weeks of my sophomore year in high school. I had a stupid hair cut and I loved hip-hop music. At this time a new album hit the scene -- Arrested Development's 3 Years, 5 Months, & 2 Days in the Life of. Released twenty years ago today.

Tennessee was the first single and I got my grubby mitts on the cassette as soon as I possibly could. I played that thing as much as possible -- most notably on my Walkman on a spring trip to Six Flags St. Louis.

That summer I turned sixteen and along with the right to share a car with my older brother, I also got my first CD player. Taking some birthday cash to the local record store (aka, Wal-Mart), I picked up my first three CDs -- Black Sabbath's Paranoid ($5), The Monkees' Pool It ($5), and the relatively new 3 Years... from Arrested Development. I'm proud to say that two of these three still remain in my CD collection. Unfortunately, the Monkees CD was sacrificed to a game of "let's scratch the crap out of this CD on the wall and see if it'll still play."

It takes a lot in a musical artist for me to keep up with them for more than a short while. Arrested Development, I've stayed with for twenty years. While my music collection has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades, the number of Arrested Development CDs found within has multiplied as well. There they are sandwiched between the gospel goodness of Carolyn Arends and the ear-splitting madness of Atari Teenage Riot.

Even the handful of VHS tapes that I still have around is well stocked with Arrested Development.

Heading into my senior year in high school, I wound up with (what I considered to be) a pretty cool Arrested Development shirt. That's me sporting my sweet shirt in the picture below taken from my senior yearbook. I think we were taking part in some sort of a taste test in Consumer Education class. Yeah, cool hair. I know.

Surprisingly, this shirt lasted almost twenty years before being turned into art in my basement just a few months ago.

I realize that Arrested Development is considered by many to be a one-hit-wonder, but good music is not about popularity. In fact, I'd venture to say that the more popular music becomes, the worse it is.

Arrested Development appeals to me on a spiritual level (really) coming from the genre often described as "life music." It's fun and positive hip-hop from a time before that style turned into the garbage that sells today.

With a CD I ordered once, I also received a poster signed by Speech -- signed in a unique way that I think of often.

But let me tell you how much I really loved Arrested Development.

On a Saturday night back in the fall of 1992, my friends and I were on our way home from a long evening of playing basketball when we were involved in a pretty nasty single-car accident on a rural highway.

All four of us were able to make our way up through the trees and to the nearest house to call our parents. As we waited for their arrival, we were clearly shaken, but I remember the television being on and Arrested Development performing on Saturday Night Live.

Here's the kicker. All these years later, a friend who was in the car that night tells me that the TV was on at my request.

Seriously. I had just been in a car accident. One friend had a broken ankle. We all had a good amount of black eyes, bumps, and bruises. But I wasn't about to miss Arrested Development on SNL.

I can't decide if that's ridiculous or awesome.

So anyway...here's to 20 years.

Stay thirsty, folks. Stay thirsty.

A Fool Pitying Stamp

Good things come to those who wait. Today was a perfect example.

After looking for the Mr. T stamp from my youth for almost three years now, I found it. Today's mail put it in my hands and ready to stamp on things all over my house.


My wife's going to love this.

Taunted By an 8-Year-Old Me

Have you ever been taunted by your past-self? I can now say that I have.

Around 1984 or 1985, McDonalds gave away some pretty boring, non-transforming Transformers. Come to find out many years later, these were only available on a very limited basis in the St. Louis area. Being in the St. Louis area as a kid, I actually had one of these -- the red Cliffjumper.

[Image courtesy of ToyArchive.com]
My understanding is that these are pretty hard to come by today as they were only available to a small market of kids. Well, I am 99% positive that this figure is still around somewhere but after trying to find it for the past few years, I've not had any luck. Still, I'm sure I've seen it at some point in my adult life so I'm not giving up just yet; although, I'm running out of places to look and boxes of junk to dig through.

I had all but forgotten about my search for this figure until tonight as I was rummaging through a box of old books. For some reason, I felt the need to open the cover of a Woody Woodpecker book and there it was in the lower right-hand corner...staring me in the face...taunting me almost thirty years later...

...the (poorly drawn) outline of the Cliffjumper figure!

Apparently I had traced around this figure (inside a Woody Woodpecker book for some reason) to taunt myself three decades in the future.

My search is back on now. Full force.

Changing the subject completely, updates have been sparse here on FASTE recently as my family grew by one last week. Obviously I'm overjoyed to now be the father of three beautiful children, but I'm also very glad that my (very pregnant) wife and I were able to take in a house concert by Eric Brace and Peter Cooper just a few days before the baby came (I assure you the beer on the table in front of us is mine...not my wife's).

Here's a clip of the guys in action that night...

Okay now, Cliffjumper. Here I come.

Fist Pumpin' the Dukes!

This week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers are asked:
What media announcement had you throwing fist pumps and doing roundhouse kicks in the air? Did the final result live up to your dreams?
I can think of two times in particular that I have actually fist pumped in the literal sense. One was back in 1999 during Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Knicks were down three to the Pacers with just over ten seconds left in the game when Larry Johnson tossed up somewhat of a prayer of a shot from beyond the arc. The shot went down and LJ was fouled on the play, hit the ensuing free throw, and the Knicks won the game.

I admit, when his three fell, I leaped from my seat and threw my fists in the air putting one right into a moving ceiling fan. No harm done...to me or the fan. More than I can say for the Pacers.

The other time was just about a year ago. Watching Monday Night Raw (yes, I watch wrestling when I have the chance), viewers anticipated the announcement of the guest host for upcoming Wrestlemania XXVII. The lights went down...and then...

Yes. I pumped my fist when the Rock returned. And yes, the hair on my arms still stands up every time I watch this clip.

But figurative fist pumping after some sort of media announcement? While I certainly fist pumped when I heard that The War at Home and According to Jim had been cancelled, these celebrations paled in comparison to when I caught news of plans for a big-screen Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Let me be clear. I hate going to the movie theater. Hate. With a capital P and that stands for “pool.” Between people who can’t shut up and watch the movie and/or feel the need to use their cell phones in any capacity once the lights go down and the ridiculously high prices, I couldn’t care less if I ever set foot in a movie theater again in my life.

That being said, there have been a few exceptions to that rule. Being the music-snob that my wife tells me I am, I did go see Walk the Line in the theater. Then just a few years ago, we took our oldest daughter to her first movie at the theater and saw Tangled. But other than that, the only other movie that has gotten me to the theater in the past decade was the Dukes of Hazzard.

Much like many kids from our generation, my brother and I grew up idolizing the Duke boys. We were proud of our belt buckles. We crashed up our Matchbox cars. We never thought twice about using the word “ain’t.” So imagine my excitement when twenty years after the original show aired its last episode I heard that Bo and Luke were coming to the big screen!

The day the movie opened, I was in line for the first showing just after noon. I got my Dr. Pepper and my box of Mike and Ikes and had my pick of the seats as there were only about ten other people brave enough to admit that they too were excited about this movie.

I knew there was no way for Hollywood to duplicate the original Duke boys – Coy and Vance taught us that – so I went into this movie with a very open mind and the lowest of expectations. Of course, this movie was never expected to win any awards nor has it become one of my all-time favorites...but was I disappointed? Not at all. I was as happy as a june bug in a pie eatin' contest...or something like that.

Bo and Luke were a little more slapstick in the movie than I would have preferred, but considering the film was based on a television show where a car jumps over a silo, that was easy to accept. Sean William Scott and Johnny Knoxville were fine choices for Bo and Luke and no question Jessica Simpson easily fit the role of a modern-day Daisy. Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse and Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg were just gravy on the taters.

When it came time for the Karate Kid to be redone, I stayed home and waited for the DVD. Same with the A-Team movie. I was excited for both (A-Team movie was awesome. Karate Kid remake, not so much), but not enough to hit the theater. That was excitment only the Dukes could muster up.

Now cuff 'em and stuff 'em.

As always, head over to Cool and Collected for a full list of this week's League participants.