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Dear Reno, In order to debunk common misperceptions about the peace movement, and to enlighten those who may be confused about our motives, I have thrown together a FAQ on the subject, http://www.sandbat.batcave.net/antiwarfaq.html May the Great Maker bless PriddyGirl wherever she is, and all the others who have been caught up in this conflict. -Cait Sidhe
Thanks, Cait. I took a quick look at the site. You lay out your opinions very well on the issues of support for our troops, questioning governmental decision making, Saddam's regime, and many other related topics. I'm sure we all appreciate your efforts. -R
Dear Reno: I'd like to address the comments of Mr. Richter, and those thoughts that were so eloquently expanded upon by Kataka and Hollywood. And I'm going to throw in a few side thoughts, as well. First off, I'm sure can safely say that every BBI joins me in praying for PriddyGirl's safe return. To go into a war zone as a non-combatant, without even the potential to defend yourself, takes a very special kind of courage indeed. As to the comments: As an author of several novels myself, I am in complete agreement that fictional characters should, nay must have an opinion, or they would not be interesting characters at all. To suggest otherwise was never my goal in voicing protest at this site's use for a political platform. I feel just as strongly about either side's opinion being expressed here. Captain Kwirk is my nephew, and I think he's made his opinion quite clear. I asked him not to get involved with the debate here, but he felt that he could not let the comments made here go unchallenged. He also missed my point. But then again, he usually does. ;) I must point out my objection to a few things Kataka said: Buckaroo's blanket statement, "The greatest evil is arrogance backed by brute force" is a tame statement? Many religions believe that Satan, in whatever form he takes, is the greatest evil. Lumping the President of the United States in with the likes of Hitler, Hussein & Satan is tame? I'd hate to see what they say about poor Kataka if that was his idea of tame. Also, his contention about the reasons the Senator's speech being posted here are gravely in error. The phrases from Buckaroo "special message": "My good friend" and "His words, as usual, offered clarity and guidance" as well as every time the Senator's speech is mentioned here, it becomes a hyperlink to that speech, clearly indicate both this site's endorsement of the Senator's remarks, and I what I believe is just another incident of a "celebrity touting a cause." Otherwise, why include the full text of the speech? His rants against the Administration's handling of the budget, healthcare and education, to name but a few, have nothing to do with the issue at hand. A more appropriate action would have been to include excerpts from the speech, with the link to the Senator's own page. Of course, it is my belief that the most appropriate course of action would have been to not raise this issue, on this site, at all. There are many, many avenues to voice one's opinions. And while Cait Sidhe can attest that I will be the first one to defend anyone's right of free speech, that does not mean that it has to be done everywhere. Just because you have the right, doesn't make it right. Hollywood's comment that this little corner of the universe is quite active is quite right, but she is wrong about another point. It is a very bad thing. My concern is for the future of the Franchise. This site's constant reiteration that the Senator's reprehensible past has no bearing is a grave miscalculation. As with any information gathered on such a monumental issue as the situation in the Middle East, one should always consider the source. I did not know much about him, until after I read the speech, and did some research. The removal of any reference to his well documented association with the <REFERENCE PRE-DELETED FOR EDITOR'S CONVENIENCE> on the grounds that it could be construed as libel is ludicrous. (I believe this is in reference to the Senator's association with the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1940s, which Byrd continually refers to as "A mistake of my youth." If I am incorrect, I apologize. R.) And now this dubious character has been forever linked to the world of Buckaroo Banzai! Kataka is quite right in pointing out that this was not the best marketing decision. I finally broke down and purchased a DVD player, but have not yet purchased [the docudrama] on DVD, because of what is going on in here. I probably will, but right now, the thought of even watching my VHS of it leaves me with no joy. I put this to you Mr. Richter. I am told that on the DVD, when asked to describe the movie, you responded: "It's a comedy, it's a drama, and it's an entertainment from a slightly left field point of view." (If this information is incorrect, I apologize.) My question then is: How does bringing this debate to this site further the world of Buckaroo Banzai? Yes, I know some things must transcend certain conventionalities, but as stated earlier, there are many places I can go for that sort of thing. I come here to escape from the real world, not have it thrust in my face. That has been taken away from me by all of this. And quite frankly, I do resent that. I have in no way advocated a boycott of this site. If I do not return here, it will be a personal decision. Nor will I rabidly encourage others to follow my example. However, I am now forced, as I'm sure all the others who have written in have done, to reconsider my relationship with Dr. Banzai. There is a time and a place for everything. Now, as much as any time this great nation has faced a crisis, is most definitely the time. This site is most definitely not the place. Discouraged and long winded, Thunder
Dear Thunder; I am heartened that you took the time to share your thoughts, despite any discouragement. My own disappointment lies in the fact that we are still debating the form of this issue and not the substance. I hope this will finally address any remaining questions. The words and opinions of W.D. Richter are his to express or defend. I will not append to them here. As to the issue of Senator Byrd, I can only express my unqualified relief that he is evidently the only "dubious character" linked with the Banzai Institute or anywhere else in any of our lives. The entire text of the Senator's speech, and the links to it as well as to his own web site, are included so that readers can make a more informed decision apart from any "endorsement" this site may or may not intend. Those who are better versed than I in the legal sciences tell me it is nearly as expensive to win a libel suit as it is to loose, so we prefer to choose our words carefully. And finally, as for any consumer decision made based on the expression of opinions and ideals, this chronicler can not help but wonder if reactions here would have been so strong if we had offered full-throated support of this conflict. I know many of you personally; have fought side by side with several, have shared jokes and drinks and hugs with more still. I know that most (Thunder included) are sincere and balanced in their concern that "hot" issues have no place on what many see as a "public" web page honoring a person and values we all share. If we had chosen to stand behind the President, would "sales" have increased, or would we be accused instead of cashing in on feelings of patriotism like some opportunistic car dealership? Far better to be honest with you and ourselves. Thunder says this is not the place for such things. One can only wonder; if not here, then where? Each of us must decide, I suppose, along with the many other important questions of our turbulent times. -R
Dear Reno: In response to Captain Kwirk's letter of 4/4/03, let me note that neither Sherlock Holmes nor Captain America advocated courses of action that would threaten the lives of ordinary citizens trapped in the shadow of evil until that evil could be stopped by no other means. Indeed, Holmes devoted his life to outthinking his enemies and only asked Watson to bring his pistol along when there was no other way out of a particular tight spot. I remain convinced from all that I read that certain influential individuals around our current president are determined to reshape the Middle East in our image and BY FORCE. They had hoped, and assumed, it would be with the help of the world, but failing to achieve that, have acted on their own. It is certainly no secret anymore that these individuals have mandated much of the war planning and day-to-day troop deployments, much to the frustrations of the commanders in the field.
Rest assured, Captain, that irony is not lost on me. And please do not take further offense when I choose to remark upon a particular stylistic tic which you employ and that seems to have invaded all forms of written discourse as of late: the interjection of "well" to signal to the reader that the writer's point is beyond challenge or debate. Does this device not bother any others out there? I think it might be interesting to collect examples of it from the popular press and analyze their impact as rhetorical tools.
In closing, might I inquire of CK if his own points about how both Sherlock Holmes and Captain America engaged the real events of their day constitute approval of Buckaroo's engaging those of HIS day? I would hope so. We might all, then, be able to use the opinions and actions of our fictional heroes as the basis for genuine, spirited dialogue amongst ourselves, not just about the imagined worlds they inhabit. Fiction, the best of it, forces us to confront facts. -W.D. Richter
Dear Mr. Richter: Again, thank you for your insight. -R
Dear Reno: A wise man once sang: Darkness in the morning / Shadows on the land / Certain individuals/ Aren't sticking with the plan / And I'm searching for a heart.
I have thought often of these words as I listen to our president and his supporters urging us into a war of preemption ... an action almost unprecedented in this country's history, and seemingly antithetical to this country's chartered hopes and ideals. And I search my own heart in hopes of defining my personal feelings on this matter in order to share them.
Being the old phart that I am, my moral and ethical beliefs on the subject of war took root (in my long-ago youth) in soil broken and made ready by a hunger for all I could learn of history, and seeded and fertilized by the words and actions of people protesting a clearly unjust war, and their leaders who were bent on pursuing that conflict. I was young and idealistic then.
Age and experience now encourage cynicism (to which I too often succumb). Yet, another fine and patriotic musician once said of the man who wrote the words with which I open this message, "He is an idealist wrapped in cynic's clothing."
So am I.
It behooves and cautions us to remember that Iraq is an artificial country, with its borders and population, and even its name, determined by the pencils and whims of the leaders of victorious Western nations in the aftermath of WWII. It is the bitter legacy of the United States, and many others on both sides of that conflict, to grapple with the consequences of those long-ago decisions. With that in mind, I personally believe this invasion sets another dangerous precedent. How often will we decide upon and find a way to justify "a need for preemptive action" in the future, I wonder? Have we learned nothing from our past?
I do not believe this war was our sole recourse to protect our nation. I do not see why having international inspectors in Iraq, for a hundred years if necessary, was less of a solution than invasion. I do not believe that the nation which we are invading presented "a clear and present danger" to our country; at least not any more so than several others (including some of our current "allies") with more clearly defined ties to that terrible day in September which our president continues to cite as the reason for said invasion. And I deeply regret that dissent for this war is too often equated with not supporting our troops.
That said, let us look closely at the word "dissent." A treasure in the chest of freedom's crown jewels.
Our government is elected, both its leaders and its lesser minions, regardless of how slim a majority appears to have put those elected into office. The current Iraqi government was not elected. The result of dissent in America is change, or stasis, or (in extreme cases) a jail term. The Iraqi people pay much more dearly for differing with their leadership.
Yet human nature urges us all to express our opinions, whatever the consequences. The particular issue of this invasion divides both sides of the conflict. The most quoted statistics separate Americans into almost equal ranks in terms of support for and opposition to our government and its actions. The most documented summaries of actions and beliefs of the Iraqi people as we enter their country show them almost as equally divided. As great a percentage of Iraqis seem to support our invasion as Americans protest and regret it, and as great a percentage of Iraqis fight our invading troops as Americans deem their presence necessary.
But the action has been undertaken, and it at least appears that some good may eventually come of it. That is the best we can hope for now; to find a silver lining in the clouds of war, evidenced by a better life and a peaceful future for the disparate peoples within the artificial borders of Iraq and, more importantly perhaps, for more participation in the future by people of all ethnic and political nations in their governments, spurred by both dissent and support. Lessons hard-learned are often the best-learned.
In any case, this issue is now out of our hands, as individuals. But what we still have control over is how we deal personally with the world immediate to us ... including this forum and the people who visit it.
All of us have opinions. A good thing. All of us as Americans and (presumably or you would not be here) Blue Blaze Irregulars, have the right to express those opinions. Dr. Banzai has shared his opinions with us, and invited us to share our own. What is more democratic than that? What is not democratic, or at least does not serve democracy nor the Institute nor any individual, is to take such a hardened stand behind our own opinions that we reject outright the opinions of others to the point of what amounts to taking our toys and vacating the sandbox. This little corner of the universe has been quiet for long stretches of time. Now it is quite active. This energy born of sharing impassioned opinions and thoughts and beliefs exemplifies what man, and god in his many incarnations as conceived by man, often hold to be among the highest ideals of mankind. Thought. Debate. The language and the very life of civilization.
This, I believe, is *not* a bad thing.
And, in an aside to those who dispute the right of a "fictional" character to opine with the rest of us, I would say first that I do believe fictional characters are not only entitled to have opinions, but are doomed to die a dusty death on a bookshelf, or in an untouched jewel case or videotape box or DVD sleeve, without them. Second, while fictional characters often reflect the beliefs and opinions of their creators (which is natural and to be expected), anyone who has attempted to write fiction will be the first to confirm that characters conceived and brought to life by a writer's mind are often rebellious and independent creatures, frequently given to actions and opinions unimagined and uncontrolled by their creator. ;-)
However they are come by, I believe the opinions of creatures of thought are no less valid, or at least no less deserving of expression, than anyone else's. And they, like the opinions of their creators and the rest of we creatures of "real life," sometimes inform and enhance and give shape to the beliefs of others. Occasionally in contradictory fashion to the lives of their creators.
For example, consider Gene Roddenberry, an ex-military man and ex-cop whose creations believed in peace and personal freedom, at *almost* any price. And now there is Dr. Banzai, a scientist and a musician dedicated to preserving the peace, by fighting when he believes fighting is necessary. And no phasers on stun, either.
Contradictory? You bet. And yet both reflect facets of my constantly evolving worldview.
We each own the responsibility of making our choices based on all we see and hear and think deeply on, and we must live our lives defined by those choices, as well as those of our peers, our authority figures, our friends and our enemies. And we must do our best within the circumstances that shape our lives to share our personal thoughts and hopes and ideals by living them.
Diversity of opinion is a resource, not a liability. Let's not boycott this forum because of dissent within our ranks, but embrace and treasure this place as yet another proof of that freedom which we all, regardless of our opinions on how to achieve or preserve it, value so greatly.
Encouragingly, if somewhat long-windedly, -Hollywood
Dear Hollywood; If I may be allowed a poetical paraphrase as well, perhaps it only requires a little standing in line. As always, thank you. -R
Reno, et all. I find it disturbing that so many of our Blue Blazer Irregulars have criticized and even openly turned on Buckaroo for his rather tame statement. He has made no requests of his fans and followers to take up Senator Byrd's banner, nor has he in any way endorsed Senator Byrd's stance. He has only urged us to read Senator Byrd's statement and think for ourselves. [Buckaroo] speaks to us as a friend, not a celebrity touting a cause. I am no big fan of Robert Byrd. I lived near and worked in West Virginia for many a year, (for a brief time working for the Senator's own brother, Walter,) and often found myself at odds with his policies, but I agree with the tone and urgency of his missive wholeheartedly, though not with all of his supporting statements. The gist that I believe people are missing in the Senator's somewhat acidic statement, is not the issue of war itself, but the Senate and the American peoples' blind acceptance of it. The Senator's comments were made at a time when the Senate, partisan or not, should have been discussing the ramifications of whether or not this war was the best course of action; not necessarily to stop the war, but to further define the reasons for it. The House of our Congress that was established by our Founding Fathers to prevent one person from gaining too much power in this great nation, said nothing. That is what I believe so disturbed the senator. All of his [other] comments are only details to support that main point, and people are getting hung up on those. He begins talking about the silence, and he sums up talking about the silence. Silence is his thesis. I think the knee-jerk reactions brought on by fear, propaganda, and the irresponsible press have clouded that issue, (and consider for a second that I've spent a good amount of my professional life in broadcast news.) The Senator's issue is not one of dissent. He, like Buckaroo and myself have the utmost respect, love, and concern for our armed forces. We want them to do what they have to do and come home to us safely.* I personally feel that they are doing what they can to remove a dictator who has kept his country in a stranglehold of death and fear for far too long. The appalling part is that the Senate seemed to have no real exchange of idea or opinion as to why their sons [and] daughters were being asked to possibly sacrifice their lives to remove weapons that may or may not even be there. There was no conversation as to whether it was the right thing to do for the world, when the world in the form of the United Nations said it wasn't. Just silence. And that is the focus of the dissent. Silence. Not George W. Bush. Buckaroo has cried out against the silence, and has urged you to cry out as well by opening this forum for debate. A bold move, and certainly not the best marketing decision to make with a tentative television and book series in the works, but Buckaroo, unlike so many who have kept in silence for fear of unpopularity, has made a stance. And for that, I applaud him and those who stand with him. Xia Xia Ne, Sifu Banzai! You have reminded me why I will always respect you and your compatriots. -BBI Kataka
PS: BBI PriddyGirl is in the midst of this somewhere. She may now be somewhere near Baghdad, shooting video footage instead of guns. If you're reading this, PriddyGirl, take care of yourself. We are all thinking of you. Buddha bless you.
Dear Kataka; Thanks for sharing your thoughts. -R
Dear Reno, Mr. Richter chose two very intersting examples in his letter - Sherlock Holmes going up against the Axis and Captain America fighting our enemies. Two powerful forces for good battleing the forces of evil. They didn't suggest giving evil more time, allowing it to grow stronger, they did not continually ignore the threat posed by evil, nor did they sit on the sideline, making snide "kindergarten sandbox' references of our leaders, but took a stand against that evil which threatend the very saftey of the world. As a filmaker, I would think that he would appreciate the scope of this. "Sherlock Holmes Gives the Axis Chance After Chance to Behave, and Then Does Nothing as They Take Over The World" would have been a very short film, and a box office disaster. Although I'm sure Super-Station NAZI would play it on every Der Fuhrer's Day! I also wonder if anyone appriciates the irony of his having chosen two of the most recognized symbols of their respective countries, Sherlock Holmes of England and Captain American of, well, you know... The two countries leading the coalition to end the Evil that is Saddam Hussain. -Captain Kwirk
Dear Captain: Thanks again for writing. Both Holmes and America clearly acted in accordance with their respective consciences, as do those who believe it is their duty as citizens to ask questions of their elected officials. -R
Dear Reno: In reference to Crazy Horse's comments of 4/2, it is my understanding that the situation of John Emdall and the Red Lectroids is not as similar to this current action as it is to Operation: Desert Storm. In both cases, previous attacks had been made, threats of new attacks were verbalized and put in motion, our aid was requested by the party being attacked (albeit once with a particle gun aimed at our planetary head), and our actions were sanctioned by the overseeing instrument of civilization (the U.N. in one case, the Nova Police in the other). There is one major difference. Saddam Hussein escaped. John Whorfin did not. -J. Tuttle
Dear John; Don't be so certain of this particular difference between Hussein and Whorfin. See World Watch Wire Technical Notification ref. #CHI0198 for Perfect Tommy's analysis of what can happen when an aircraft is struck by a particle beam while operating a faulty Oscillation Overthruster over New Jersey. -R
Reno; I must admit that I was surprised when I saw that the Institute, by way of Dr. Banzai, chose to speak out on the war in Iraq. I was even more surprised by the stance that was taken. Very surprised. I completely believe in freedom of speech. It is the cornerstone of all our other rights. I even dropped out of a Banzai "list" because this right was often over-ruled. But I think the introduction by Dr. Banzai of the opinion of Senator Byrd could have been handled better. Besides Byrd's questionable ethics background, Dr. Banzai should have taken into account the effect his words would have on his fans, his followers, and the troops that are willing to fight and maybe even die, if need be, for America and freedom. In the past, America (and the world) was threatened by the possible event of a world war (yes, it was made possible by the Red Lectriods). Buckaroo decided that the only way to stop this was by a pre-emptive strike on the Red Lectroid headquarters. He and Team Banzai did it, and saved many lives. Sound familiar? The events of the past and those of the present do not equate for the Banzai Institute. I cannot imagine Rawhide following this party line. But no matter how anyone feels about this war, just please support our troops. As Pink Floyd once sang, "God only knows, it's not what we would choose to do." Crazy Horse
Dear Crazy Horse; While Buckaroo is aware of the controversy regarding Senator Byrd's background, we honestly don't believe it has relevance to this issue. Regarding the morale of our military, we are in total agreement. Dr. B. Banzai, as well as every member of the Institute and all the BBIs, regardless of their political views, has the greatest respect for the real-life heroes of the American and coalition forces who fight to protect our precious freedoms. But one might also say it is respect and support for those freedoms that obligates us to question the necessity of putting them in harm's way under these circumstances. While you, I, or Pink Floyd may not choose this course, our leaders have chosen it for reasons about which people the world over are still unclear. It is B. Banzai's conviction that his "fans and followers" will be led, not by unquestioning loyalty, but by the joy found in infinite diversity of viewpoint. As for Rawhide's opinion, I can only wish he were here now to argue with me. -R
Dear Reno; My feelings are quite strong on this point: fictional characters CAN have points of view. If they didn't, they would be, horrors, one-dimensional. Now, since part of Buckaroo's appeal to the fans is that he's supposed to exist (or we enjoy pretending he exists) in our world, how on Earth can his life not intersect with the momentous events of our time? I think all these agitated folk have been living in a make-believe real world, a sweeter place than it, unfortunately, is. Recall that during WW Two, Sherlock Holmes battled the Axis powers in his movies! Didn't Marvel Comics send Captain America after our real enemies? Why the hell can't Buckaroo take a position in our world? He's not afraid of being unpopular. If he were, he wouldn't be Buckaroo. So there. -W.D. Richter
Dear Mr. Richter: It's always good to hear from the producer-director who brought our lives to cinematic life. And while I certainly appreciate your regular visits to these pages, I don't know how you find the time. Margaret at Pocket Books tells me you've been busy reviewing the pages of Earl Mac Rauch's manuscript even before either she or I see them. (For the record, I am completely delighted with Mr. Rauch's work so far.) As always, thanks for your insight. Reno
Dear Reno; It is my belief that the thought and consideration that Dr. Banzai put into his decision to express his opinions on this site are substantially greater than that which has been put into the entire Iraq situation by our government. The administration's repeated down-putting of one-time allies who don't agree with our position is reminiscent of playground insults, with far greater ramifications. As an American citizen and long-time resident of the United Kingdom, I have lately heard much ranting against France. I agree that we did a great deal for them by eventually coming to their aid in WWII. But without their help, it is highly unlikely that we would have won our own War of Independence. Also, the French are often portrayed as arrogant and contrary, much the same as we are perceived by most of the world. It's possible that our animosity toward France is merely because we are so much alike. J. Tuttle
Dear John; I won't go so far as to agree that the administration didn't consider his actions very seriously. While the President and Cabinet may at times have all the subtle dynamics of a kindergarten sandbox, it has always fallen to the people to be the Hall Monitors in the schoolyard of our nation. And before I strain that metaphor too far, let me quote New Jersey Red who once cooed, "I may change my wine to Californian, but I prefer my kisses still be French." -R
To Reno or anyone involved in the creation of this web page in all seriousness, I am a big fan of the film and was happy to find your page. But, I have to admit that I am a little disturbed. War or no war, you blemish the fun and good name of Buckaroo Banzai and disgrace the film by choosing to use this medium as your personal forum to voice views on a serious subject that affects us all on many levels. Where's the fun in that? And to say that these are the words of the Great BB himself is an insult. My Brother has been in that God forsaken country attempting to liberate oppressed people for two months now and your page basically states that my brother is an instrument of some idiot's wet dream? How dare you insult those selfless men and women who are rallying to defeat an evil dictator. Sound familiar? Sounds like a neat screenplay to a fun movie I saw back in 1984 when I was in junior high. Nice to know that BB supports his country and it's protectors. BB will always be one of my favorite films of all time. I will try not to let your comments ruin it's image in my mind and memory. Bradley Lobue
Dear Bradley; Thank you for writing. None of us involved with the website or the Institute itself, whether or not we agree with all of Senator Byrd's views, have anything but the highest regard for the heroic men and women who defend the United States of America. -R
Dear Reno: In response to Buckaroo's comments, and the Senators speech, I must take exception with just about everything said. The Senator's comments offered neither clarity nor guidance, but were designed to be inflammatory and to confuse the issue. The purpose of the speech was to attack the administration, it had very little to do with the issues at hand. While I am prepared to debate every single remark he made, and will do so if requested, for the sake of brevity, I will only make a couple of points, and dismiss the rest of the Senator's comments as the "senselessly bellicose language" that it is.
Nuclear weapons were never a possibility. Saudi Arabia, so much a vital key to our effort to liberate Iraq, not to mention the stability of the region, has made it clear time and time again that any use of nuclear weapons would end any relations we have with them. The Administration's 'refusal' to remove this option falls under the same category as this Administration's refusal to dismiss the plan to have the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force all throw sheets over their heads, sneak in to Iraq, and make 'boo' noises to scare Saddam & company into behaving. It was just never going to happen. Although, I'm sure the white sheet idea had great appeal to the Senator.
While the Senator was truthful (an accident, I assume) in his assessment that this Administration has failed to capture Osama bin Laden, I would like to point out, so has Senator Byrd. What's that you say, Bob? It's not your job? Oh, OK. But neither is it the Administration's. They set policy. Other agencies act on it. And the agents involved looking for the terrorist would be doing so regardless of who was in power. I do not mean to slight the agents involved, just to point out that it is not a failure on the part of the Administration.
As for Buckaroo's comments: For the man who gave us "No matter where you go, there you are," and "Time is so that everything doesn't happen all at one," his "There is no greater evil than arrogance backed by brute force," is just lame. There are far greater evils in this world. But lets run with that idea. It would seem that George Bush, that great humanitarian, would agree with you. And Tony Blair. And the leaders of other great nations. They have banded together to end the "arrogance backed by brute force" that is the very essence of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Here's a much better quote, I wish I could take credit for it: "All evil needs to succeed is for good to do nothing."
For twelve years, since the end of the first gulf war, the 'good' UN has stood by and did nothing while Saddam rebuilt his empire. Within hours of the beginning of the campaign to liberate Iraq, Saddam used weapons that he claimed he did not have, and that were banned by UN resolution. We have now captured a factory that seems to have been used in the manufacture of chemical weapons. One that the UN inspectors had given the 'all clear' to, it is important to add. Evil has had its sway, and the forces of good have had enough. To protect America, to stabilize the region, to end one avenue for terrorism, and to secure the future safety of the entire planet, the forces of good have marshaled together to battle evil.
And one final point everyone seems to have missed: This was not a conflict initiated by the United States, but rather a resumtion of hostilities, as allowed for by the UN, for Iraq's refusal to abide by the conditions of the cease fire from 1991, just as they've ignored every other UN resolution. - Capt Kwirk
Dear Capt; Thanks for sharing your thoughts. -R
Dear Reno; I think Bush's America is going it alone, shunning decades of carefully nurtured transglobal friendships, cutting critical ties to other nations. This concerns economists as well as generals and diplomats. As I understand it, the theme of cooperation among friends is a major pulse beat in Buckaroo's life. -Rhode Island Red
Dear Red; One might even say Buckaroo's philosophy extends to cooperation among all peoples; friends or otherwise. But then, a key element of cooperation is "co-ing." Without that, it's just another operation. -R
Dear Reno, I've already posted this message up on Arclight's yahoogroup. However, I thought I might post it up here as well, just in case there are BBI who might have missed it, yet would like to do something to aid the war-stricken civlillians of Iraq. Here are some links to that end...
Another good one is: http://www.interaction.org/ This site has a huge list of links to other relief organizations. I'm trying to find out which ones are actually going to be sending volunteers to Iraq. The Red Cross told me that I'd have to intern with them for awhile before they'd send me overseas, but there might be other aid groups who are sending people over right now. Would any of my fellow BBIs be interested in volunteering for the relief/humanitarian aid efforts over there? That's something that I'm strongly considering, and I think it would be great if I could get a group together for something like this. Is anyone else here interested in going to the Land Between the Rivers? Cheers, -Cait Sidhe
Thanks for doing the leg work on this one, Cait. Even those who are unable to go personally may want to contribute in some other way. This looks like a good place to start. -R
Dear Reno; I was re-editing the manuscript for the new Buckaroo Banzai novel and I have some questions. Mrs. Johnson tells me you are out of town and I understand you probably have your hands full with the more important endeavors of life, but you do seem to be reading these emails so can I ask you to give me a call? Thanks. -M.C. http://www.simonsays.com P.S. Did you get our donation for the women's school in Afghanistan?
Dear Margaret; Without giving away exact details, let me just say I can see your money being put to good use from where I am sitting right now. If you're asking for photos of the Arizona Institute headquarters to put in the book, the answer is still no. If you're looking for Mrs. Johnson's recipe for 120-volt curly fries (or anything else) you'll have to wait until we're back in the same time zone. -R P.S. Did you ever get the weather stripping fixed? I swear that last set of blue lines you sent me had frostbite.
Dear Reno; In response to Sharkey's comments, I'd like to remind him of the extraordinary powers congress granted Roosevelt during WWII, and remind everyone that we have been at war since September 11th, 2001. A war unlike any dreamt of before. Sure, we'll make mistakes along the way, but in the end, we will triumph. captkwirk
Dear Reno: While Sharkey raises some interesting points, he fails to address the most significant issue. These are very dangerous times. There is a madman who possesses terrible weapons of mass destruction, and he has a track record of using those weapons against his own people. He also is known to support terrorist attacks against the United States of America, and he has hidden operatives in our very homeland. We have the right - and in fact the obligation - to defend our nation against those who have no regard for human rights or human life. -BBI Ainsley
Thank you both for the thoughtful responses. It is said that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Captkwirk is correct: At critical times in American history the executive branch has sometimes been extended powers outside the normal scope of Constitutional authority. And every time, the executive branch has relinquished those powers after the threat is passed. The rights of the people demand it. -R
Dear Reno; As a longtime supporter (and I hope friend) of Buckaroo Banzai and many others who have posted their opinions here, I feel it is time for me to chime in. Though I see no serious harm in the subject of a very real war being raised here, I am concerned with the direction the conversation has taken. The fact is the topic was put on the table. We should be talking. And I don't mean talking about whether or not we should be talking. The comments of a U.S. Senator have been put forward as a catalyst. The emphasis should not be on the Senator's stand on the war or even on his personal, professional, or political beliefs. I don't get to vote in West Virginia, so that part doesn't interest me. What I did find disturbing was that, according to Byrd, as of February, 2003, the United States Senate had not even granted the subject so much as open debate. And that is precisely what we should be doing. At our homes and workplaces and schools and places of worship and on websites ... we should be talking. Far from being about one maniacal leader of an out-of-control country, this is a fundamental shift in the very doctrine of our country's policies. I am not Bush-bashing. That Congress would hand over a portion of its powers of checks and balances to the Executive Branch is staggering to this graduate of seventh-grade civics. That we are encouraged to report our suspicious neighbors, and are subjected to all but a strip-search in order to fly within our own borders does as much to make me feel secure as it does to stop terrorism. I've probably already exceeded Reno's definition of brevity, so I will close by opening the debate with this observation: I am far more afraid of John Ashcroft than I am of Saddam Hussein. Sharkey
Dear Sharkey- I knew you couldn't keep quiet forever, but I didn't think you would decide to kick start the debate. BBIs Dragon and Thunder have written again to reiterate their very strong concerns about addressing this issue here, and I appreciate their thoughtful counsel. I have often said the Blue Blaze Irregulars are among the most intelligent, literate, and well-informed people the planet Earth has to offer. But I must caution you, Sharkey, not to downplay the danger of "one maniacal leader" - as many of us have learned through bitter experience. -R
Reno: Very quickly - I'd like to respond to buckaroo's comments, but am worried that the 'trimming' of the e-mails may change the context of the message. If the comments of the senator got in unedited, shouldn't we be accorded the same right of free speech? -Captkwirk
Dear Capt: When I've trimmed letters for length, I've done my best to preserve the writers' intent, especially for letters that are critical of me or of the Institute in general. Occasionally, I've decided not to print letters that were repetitive or (in rare cases) even potentially libelous. Nevertheless, I'm sure that there will be those who will disagree with my editorial choices. That's okay. The Internet is an extraordinary resource in the service of free speech, as it accords everyone the opportunity to make his or her voice heard. Even those who do not own a television station or have access to a given website are free to avail themselves of their own pages or chat rooms, where their voices can compete freely in the marketplace of ideas that is the cornerstone of democracy. -R
Dear Reno: I have read the statements here, and Dragon's own post at his site. I agree in principle with the issue Dragon has raised, but only to a point. There are perhaps some real issues that the Institute ought to be able to speak out regarding, but they need to be approached correctly, and this time that hasn't really happened. There are much better ways of handling potentially controversial issues without nearly as much risk of the public (that is, anyone stumbling across the site) deciding that the opinions on the site are consensus ones. I think any problem which threatens as many lives simultaneously as a war is one of the issues that Buckaroo would want to express an opinion on. However, doing it in a way that makes it anything more than his own personal opinion is not appropriate. To the public, [things said here have] a way of becoming the official opinion of Team Banzai at large. A pointer to a "personal" site, blatantly somewhere other than the Institute's servers would have been much more appropriate. Dragon says that we should avoid topics of controversy. I cannot entirely agree. Some issues are just too big. We need to be considering how personal some issues are -- then only take up the truly critical ones, not the interpersonal issues of the day. War is not a personal issue any more than world hunger is. Abortion or one's sexuality, on the other hand, are as personal as issues get. To me, this does much to set them in different categories. Thus, I have much more of a problem with the official site purporting (intentionally or otherwise) to make my opinion known for me. And that's exactly what's happened, as far as the public is concerned. I realize this was not the intention, but it is the effect. -Jet Lightfoot (aka Replay)
Greetings Lightfoot; As always, you make your point quite concisely and your thoughts have much to recommend them. Replay and I have been comrades since she saved my life in a Silly String factory in downtown Tokyo (as I gratefully chronicled in "Say It. Don't Spray It.") so I know she will understand that my words are not meant for her personally, but to address a seeming misunderstanding about the issue at hand. The decision to post Senator Byrd's message came from the highest level of the Banzai Institute. As for discussion of other "hot topics," I personally (yes just me personally) have never been a fan of the school of thought that says if you allow one thing, you must allow another. As far as I am concerned, the appropriateness of each will be decided when it comes up. R
Dear Reno, and all at Banzai Institute: I have been reading and thinking a lot about the state of things. I think the best way to describe it is that we are soul-blind in this society, in a bigger higher-dimensional sense. This country has become not only afraid of expressing differing opinions, [but often so] crystallized in their mindset so that they are unable to stand hearing an idea that differs from their own. If any place still exists that remains fluid in their thinking and open in their souls, it is the Banzai Institute. With careful investigation, you can discover that "God" the "Universe" or whatever you choose to call it is a hologram: we each have a holographic section of "God" within us. We each contain the whole. This is what "love your enemies" means, because your enemies are you, and you are your enemies. I think a "Great Mitosis" is occurring, pulling us apart. Either [to the] side of Light and Truth and Understanding and Soul and Love with Dr. Banzai and others, or [to] the other side with Darkness and Lies and Ignorance and Death and Hate with Hanoi Xan and his minions. But, with this painful pulling apart comes new life. Once called TruthSeeker, but now I feel that I know the Truth better so, now maybe ... TruthSpeaker(?)
Dear TruthSpeaker; The ideas you express are no less true now than they were when the prototypical Cain turned on his brother. Many say the question of who is on the side of "good" and who is "evil" is still a matter of point of view, though in certain cases it seems glaringly clear. The vile nature of men like Hanoi Xan seems to extend beyond the real world into something almost unbelievable or fictional in its magnitude. By the same token, many have assigned a "goodness" to Buckaroo that transcends common sense. If you will accept the word of someone who has bivouacked with the man; someone who has fought and played beside him; someone who has shared a camp dinner of ham hocks and beans cooked by the same hands that can easily traverse the anatomical secrets of the human brain I can vouch for the simple humanity of B. Banzai. His strengths and weaknesses no more or less than any of us. R
Dear Reno, As always, I admire the way the Boss can keep it short and sweet when talking about a charged topic. I'm glad to note that he signs the letter as himself, for himself, rather than signing it as the whole of the Institute or Team Banzai. He is obviously aware that there will be those who disagree and he has, therefore, made sure that his opinion is viewed as his alone. I am always impressed by how carefully he allows all of us to have our own views and not just be tied in to his. Because I see the good Doctor as one of my intellectual peers, understanding his stance on issues helps me in evaluating my own. Whether his stance supports mine or contradicts it, I always have new things to consider after I hear from him. Thank you for making his thoughts so easy to find. And thanks to Buckaroo for doing his usual good job in "showing his work" by posting the Senator's speech so that we could understand a bit of how his opinion was formed. For my part, I would rather read debate on the topic of war than on the Boss's right to free speech. Both are liable to be emotionally charged, but I have faith that, if my fellow Team Banzai members can recall the etiquette and forms of traditional debate and intellectual argument, we can stay friendly and we can all learn a little about our own thoughts and the thoughts of others. Everybody stay cool. The Ice Queen
Reno; Now being a veteran and a Blue Blaze myself, I find this anti-war stance to be a slap in the face. While I understand that Dr. Banzai is a confidant and adviser to the president. The Institute for Strategic Information is actively acquiring information. I do not believe the Institute should actively take part in any war or anti-war stance. I am a true believer in freedom of speech, just not as Institute policy. We are all entitled to our beliefs. I can not believe that Dr. Banzai would or should align himself with Sen. Byrd and his remarks. This is very disappointing. I guess the days of Strike Teams are a thing of the past. Respectfully, BBI Snake/Illinois
Dear Reno; I would like to stand up and address the comments recently made by Dr. Banzai. More than the message, I would like to applaud Dr. Banzai's courage. In today's political climate, dissenters to the official party line are often shouted down, threatened, or boycotted ... which is a direct affront to the very ideals of freedom and liberty that the Banzai Institute stand for. I have never been more proud to be an Irregular. Keep fighting the good fight! Kronos BBI #3721
Three more well-spoken BBIs heard from. Though, for the record, Perfect Tommy wants to make sure everyone understands the Strike Teams are alive and well. Buckaroo says the same is true of free speech at the Banzai Institute. -R
Dear Reno: Just wanted to vouch support for Dr. Banzai and Mrs. Johnson as they espouse a somewhat ... unpopular opinion. Seeing the flak divers hands have caught for speaking out in such a fashion, I think it is imperative that differing (but intelligently proposed) opinions be made public. Furthermore, the point must be made that it is entirely possible to be anti-war and pro-American. Too many people combine the two into a sort of "love it or leave it" jingoism that quite frankly doesn't help anybody. On a happier note, I screened the docu-drama for my girlfriend (for the first time) over the weekend. I think she rather enjoyed it. Also, next time the Cavaliers swing through the Peach State, what're the odds I could land one or some of you in the studio? Team Banzai always makes for great televsion. (shame the network execs don't pick up on that.) -BBI Hardcore
Dear Hardcore; I'll check the calendar, but I seem to remember a one-night-only at the Imperial Fez as part of the Atlanta Pride Festival in June. Let me know how that matches up with your studio time. -R
Dear Reno, I have a comment to make about Dr. Banzai's message. I agree and disagree with some points. But the main problem I have is the use of celebrities' opinions as a God-given word. We may or may not yet be going to war with Saddam. That's not the point. I hope to not see it. As a former sailor during the Persian Gulf conflict, I served with pride. This time it wants to be stopped by the UN. They have given [Saddam] a lot of rope to hang himself. Iraq is not moving fast enough for the U.S. However, every other resolution by the UN recently has been turned down by some country or another. Even Iraq has turned down proposals. In my own personal opinion, the senator's letter should not appear on the web site. Why? Not for questioning; not for pro or anti reasoning; but because I felt he used Dr. Banzai for the senator's own personal gain. I thank you and still support my friend Dr. Banzai even though I disagree with his opinions. Thank you. -BBI Micky Maus
Dear Micky; The thoughts of one of our fine servicemen are always appreciated. With all the talk of "smart bombs" and satellite imaging and Go-Phones, it bears reminding that at the center of it all are brave men and women who live and too often die to keep us safe. Micky, I can say I agree with you that the opinions of celebrities should count no closer to Divine Inspiration than those the rest of us share around our respective water coolers. Each belief should be evaluated on its own merits, as should the person delivering it. As to your second point, Mrs. Johnson brought up exactly that question during the pre-posting discussion, to which Buckaroo merely shrugged and replied, "I don't see any gain for Bob personally. And he is right. It needs to be talked about." And now we are. -R
Dear Reno, I understand that many of my fellow BBIs are unhappy with the fact that you've posted Senator Byrd's comments; they're unhappy about Mrs. Johnson's comments; and they're unhappy about the stand you've taken against "arrogance backed by brute force." I just want to say that I agree with Senator Byrd and the Buckaroo's stand on this issue 100 percent. I don't think an attack rationalized by the ghost of a possible threat and declared over false pretenses is the answer. This kind of war sets a dangerous precedent ... the idea that our country can invade just because our current president might feel the need to do so. Now we're going to attack Iraq because they defied the UN, and if we do so, we're going to defy the UN ourselves! I will never support such a war while I still live. Those who disagree with me have a right to do so, even if I think they're wrong.
They can deny it all they want, but many of the people who I've spoken with who support this war seem to be [anti-Muslim]. Never mind that the Muslims gave us algebra and the beginnings of the medical profession way back in the Middle Ages. Their predecessors, the Sumerians, gave us writing, irrigation, and the wheel. The archeologist in me shudders to think of the precious archeological sites that will be destroyed in the possible war. Never mind that people seem to have totally forgotten that the French helped us win the Revolutionary War, and the fact that they gave us the Statue of Liberty! People over here forget that 50 percent of the people in Iraq are children. I don't know if [anyone could] support this war if they personally had to tell an innocent Iraqi child that because their leader is an evil man, we're going to bomb their country and obliterate their city, possibly killing said child in the process. Yes, I do think Saddam Hussein needs to be removed from power. But the Iraqi people whom he has long oppressed need not suffer with him. Cheers. -Cait Sidhe P.S. Like Natalie of the Dixie Chix, I'm from Texas and I'm embarrassed that Bush is from Texas.
Dear Cait; As always your perspective is unique and insightful. I'm embarrassed to admit the historical and archeological implications had not occurred to me. By the way, your Letter of Completion from the last arctic survival course is still on my desk. Shall I mail it or do you want to pick it up at our "April Sunrise" gig? -R
Dear Reno; I for one am glad to see such messages on the Institute site for several reasons: 1) a force as powerful as war once unleashed transcends politics. 2) The Institute exists (among other things) to stimulate thought and from thought, action. 3) Both messages are "food for thought" and aren't a form of political proselytization by any stretch of the imagination. Thanks also for your responses to posted messages of dissent. Civil discourse is where we will all find our answer. -Tony R.
Dear Tony; There is nothing I can add except to say thanks for participating. -R
Dear Reno- I feel I should tell you that I have blacked out all my Banzai-related websites in protest of the Institute website taking a political stand. I feel very strongly that this is inappropriate on general principles. Do I feel that Team Banzai should have a political stand on issues as a general practice? The answer is NO. I strongly object to the basic premise that the official site would be used as a platform for ANY political opinion, and what this could lead to in the future. I see Team Banzai as consisting of many minds and opinions, people from all around the world. They are united by one person, Buckaroo Banzai. I have always thought the Buckaroo felt that true evil lies behind the scenes of human events. I feel that Buckaroo Banzai's agenda is not political, but rather much deeper than that. The problem with having a leader or a celebrity speak out on a political issue is that far too many will follow blindly, only because someone they admire is speaking, someone they adore is taking a stand. How appropriate is it for the Banzai Institute personnel to push their own political views? I don't think it is appropriate at all. I do not disagree with what's been said here; the statement that we should be informed and involved. I agree that arrogance and brute force are wrong. I do not disagree with the concerns that are reprinted in the webpage, the Senator's statement. My agreeing or disagreeing is not the issue here. I have serious concerns. I have to ask, at what point does it become preaching, does Team Banzai have a stand of Abortion? Legalizing drugs? Homosexuality? Minimum wages? There are so many other hot topics, political agendas. Using the official Institute site as a platform to make a political statement is inappropriate. It sets forth a precedent that Team Banzai is of one mind, one opinion and one agenda.
Dear Dragon- You bring up many valid points and it is certainly your perogative to shut down your sites which are usually so lively, informative, and supportive of our endeavors. At this point I would suggest the best response we can provide is found in Mrs. Johnson's comments >>HERE<<. Now I need to return that call from the Dixie Chix's agent... -R
Dear Reno, Just got word that Xan tried a direct attack on the bunkhouse using a small force of our own country's military. You were right about them infiltrating somewhere high up. Guess that democracy posting scared 'em. Are you all OK? Do you need some help? Still nursing a bullet wound from that last encounter securing the Alaskan pipeline back from Xan's frost commandos, but say the word and I'll saddle up! The Boss said to me the other week "Freedom is a commodity that cannot be given and that every generation must re-earn." -GW
Glad to hear you're recovering, my old friend. But if I can be forgiven the pun, you can chill for awhile. The report of the "direct attack" was the result of a premature alarm sent out by one of the newer interns who panicked when she saw a squad from the 23rd Construction Battalion coming up the driveway. Perfect Tommy thinks we need to review her membership application since she not only missed the memo explaining they'd be stopping by, but also failed to notice the 1,500 cinnamon buns which they agreed to transport to the American base camp in Kuwait. -R
Dear Reno, I was extremely dismayed upon visiting what up to now had been one of my favorite websites. The time and energy you've put into it clearly shows your devotion to this great love of ours, the world of Dr. Buckaroo Banzai. And now I see that you've turned it into a political soapbox. To be perfectly honest, I don't happen to agree with much of your stance. But I'd like to believe that I would be just as distressed if I agreed 100% with your position. It is just inappropriate to the extreme to use this for political purposes. I'd like to believe that Buckaroo would prohibit such use. As you yourself state in a response to an e-mail from Chilandra (3/11/03): "The mixed bag of folks at the Banzai Institute lends itself easily to many differing philosophies and world views..." The 'special' message invalidates this wonderful premise.
Adding in the statements of an actual United States senator creates an aura of credibility to this that should just not be. The divisive nature of this whole tone is actually pretty much opposite what your web site purports the institute to be all about. Look at the effect it's having on Team Banzai alone. BBI Dragon, who has always been a great advocate of your site, responded [on his own site] to your site in a brilliantly nonpolitical nature. As other BBI's have expressed displeasure. The inflammatory nature of this whole situation is not appropriate for this venue. Look at the backlash the musical group Dixie Chix are enjoying from similar comments. Please, I beg of you, as both a fan of Buckaroo Banzai and your web site, remove this offense to the principles of what Buckaroo should stand for. -Respectfully, BBI Thunder
Dear Thunder: First of all, thank you for your thoughtful and well-worded response. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised I hadn't heard from a few more people by now. Not because we encourage irrational argument, but for exactly the reasons you quote above and I will state here again: as an organization that extends to the corners of this planet (and, by all indications, a bit beyond), the Institute is made up of people of varied experiences, outlooks, and beliefs. During any given strategy meeting, Perfect Tommy will inevitably suggest the mobilization of one of our ever vigilant Strike Teams, while our beloved Rawhide could always be counted on to advise more careful consideration... usually by playing quietly on his favorite accoustic while letting the Karakoumiss settle to the back of his brain. We do not pass judgement on each other and we certainly don't dislike one another for having differing opinions. That we should avoid any topic simply because it is inflammatory or divisive is contrary to our core philosophy, as is the notion that we as individuals should blindly follow anybody; be it a world leader, a Hollywood icon, or B. Banzai himself. To the contrary, we believe it is in fact the duty of every citizen to use whatever stage or microphone is available to them to participate in the democratic process. We invite the vitality that comes from the sharing of conflicting ideas and ideals, as you have done here. This is precisely the reason we included the full text of Senator Byrd's speech (as well as a link to Byrd's own website), allowing everyone to make their own decision and give them an additional place to make their opinions known.
When Buckaroo handed me a zip disk with a nearly illegible "FOR THE WEB SITE" scrawled across the label, he wore his usual shy grin, but the steel in his eyes told me this was more than the concert schedule for April. Many of you have sat with Buckaroo Banzai; lending your expertise to planning sessions for dealing with threats both real and hypothetical, what our actions may be and what consequences they may bring about. Let me assure you that discussions of a similar dynamic (if not import) occur before posting anyone's opinion on these pages. This was no exception. Everyone had an opinion. But in the end it was decided that to stop the conversation simply because some disgree would make us guilty of that which we ourselves are fighting against. -R
Hi Reno; Have come to the conclusion that with all of what Dr. Banzai believes and has shared with the world, he really shows everyone the ways of chivalry. As a Knight Errant myself, the world of chivalry has given me a lot of interesting but great insights into the ways of the world. Was wondering if this phrase means anything to any or all of you? "Music guides the universe, the spirit guides our lives, our choices in life guide the music." Thanks! Chilandra
Dear Chilandra: The mixed bag of folks at the Banzai Institute lends itself easily to many differing philosophies and world views. And while you are not the first to compare B. Banzai's beliefs to those of the Knights Errant, I think it speaks volumes that he has pinned your quote to the bunkhouse refrigerator with his favorite Lara Croft magnet. -R
Hi guys; I am woefully inept at getting around my computer. Imagine my surprise as I first try out "GOOGLE.COM" and punch in my all time favortie movie - Buckaroo Banzai - and up comes your site!! An oasis in the desert!!!! I now know that I can actually own my very own copy of the movie and watch it til I puke. I do have a question, though - Does the DVD have any additions or special features? I really don't care if it doesn't but i thought it would be worth asking. yours truly, Dana
Dear Dana: Welcome to the fold! And, YES, I'm delighted to be able to tell you that the Special Edition of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension is available from MGM Home Video through retailers as well as through online outlets. The original plan was to do a bare-bones DVD, but once the good people at MGM Home Video got an inkling of how many fans are out there, they held back in order to do a truly special edition. The heart of the DVD is a beautiful new letterbox transfer of the film and a fabulous Dolby 5.1 remix of the soundtrack. But there's also a whole bunch of supplemental material including interviews, a photo gallery, behind-the-scenes material, a trailer for the proposed Banzai TV series, "Easter eggs," and even the controversial deleted alternate opening scene with Jamie Lee Curtis as Buckaroo's mom! You can watch it over and over, but do pause if you experience any intestinal discomfort.You can always go back later.-R
Dear Reno: It has come to my attention that one of our jet-car model Overthruster prototypes has fallen into the hands of a certain unnamed large computer firm, who are using it, foolishly, as a prop in one of their ads. In the ad, it is referred to as the "business adapter" and appears to have been heavily modified with additional ports and attachments. Due to the instability of the core materials used in this particular prototype (an Einsteinium-based compound), the case is designed specifically to attach to the jet car's fuel rod injectors and NOTHING MORE. I fear that the modifications made by the commercial's propmasters may lead to a possible meltdown if the Overthruster interfaces with any other equipment. I have already made contact with Dr. Banzai and Professor Hikita, as well as the Black Lectroid High Council. Blue Blaze Irregulars, we need your help. If you should have an opportunity to rescue this device from this company (which is a suspected front for Hanoi Xan and his World Crime League), please SEIZE IT and return it to the Banzai Institute for proper disarmament. I wish you all the best of luck. -Ken Hitt
Dear Ken- While Buckaroo appreciates your diligence, there is no need for panic. We're pretty sure that Oscillation Overthruster is the same one we loaned to the Star Trek folks years ago. The 9-volt is long dead by now. -R
Dear Reno: Several years ago, I got an official "Team Banzai" headband at a science fiction convention. Alas, I've long since lost it. A few weeks ago, I invited a few friends over to my place to watch the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama DVD (great disk, by the way), and my friend Cheryl wore her headband. That got me to wishing I still had mine. So, Mr. Reno, my question is: Where can I get another Team Banzai headband? Does the Institute (or the movie studio) sell them? I'd be willing to pay a fair price for that icon of my favorite movie! -BBI Marco Polo
Dear Marco: Those wonderful headbands were produced at the time of the original theatrical release of the docudrama, and I'm sorry to say that they're no longer available from the studio or the institute. My best advice is to check dealers at science fiction conventions or eBay. You may end up paying collectors' prices, but at least it's a way to get what has many of us regard as a cherished memento. Good luck! -R
Dear Reno: I am a great fan of Dr. Banzai's work, music, and art. Having seen the docudrama enough times to quote it regularly, I was wondering one thing. Should a TV series go into production (based on the life of Dr. Banzai) who would Dr. Banzai like to see play him in the series, and who would the rest of the Hong Kong Cavaliers like to see play them as well? - A.J. Glendeenning
Dear A.J.: This is one of those topics that resurfaces at the Institute whenever we get the time to discuss the fringe issues of life. And while everyone has their favorites, Buckaroo is always clear on one issue: that the actors not look like those they portray. In other words, whomever W.D. Richter, Earl Mac Rauch, et al. chooses will look no more like B. Banzai than Peter Weller does. This is something the Boss has always insisted on for reasons of security. (It also precludes Perfect Tommy's assertion that he is the only one truly qualified to play himself.) -R
Dear Reno: First of all, forgive me if this question has already been asked. I would like to know if the Institute is working on what the crop circles mean? I just went to a fascinating, three-day conference on this very intriguing subject and would love to know your input. It has been my experience that things like this never have a single, simple explanation, so I'd like to hear your ideas. I also cannot wait to see any new BB adventures, whatever senses they appeal to (audio/audio-video / sense-around / the dimension of the mind in the dream state / whatever). With Warm Regards, TruthSeeker
Dear Seeker; The phenomena commonly referred to as "crop circles" has captured the imagination of many here at the Banzai Institute, as it has for people the world over. I can tell you that B. Banzai has visited a few of these sites. In only one case was he able to unconditionally pronouce it as a hoax, and this because he found a cell phone belonging to Pinky Caruthers, (also because it had the exact shape of one of Perfect Tommy's autographed guitar picks.) As for future depictions of our adventures, at this time I can only advise everyone to "watch this space" for upcoming announcements. -R
Dear Reno: I have added a question to the Buckaroo Banzai FAQ at http://www.figmentfly.com/bb/q53.html in an attempt to get some of the Japanese symbols found in the Docudrama translated, especially those found on Buckaroo's headband and at the end of the film on the window shades. I don't suppose there is an intern at the Institute with a little time on their hands and knowledge of the Japanese language that could help FAQ out, is there? Here's hoping, -Sean Murphy
Dear Sean; I was about to respond to your request by simply telling you the translation, but Buckaroo suggested I post it as an intellectual challenge to all the Blue Blaze Irregulars. Anyone who has two minutes to rub together should drop by Figment's FAQ site, anyway. I learn something new each and every time! -R
Greetings Doctor Banzai; As the coordinator of scientific programs at the Tunguska 2003 conference, it is a distinct pleasure of mine to invite you and your many colleagues to the 95th anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska Event. With discussion of hypotheses varying from meteroites to alien spacecraft and highlighted by a two-day visit to the Tunguska epicenter it is my thought the scientific and general public would benefit from your insight and thoughts. If there is more you would like to know, information is available on our website http://olkhov.narod.ru/conf03.htm#1. Even people who are not a scientist, but just want to visit the epicenter as a tourist, for example, anyway everyone is welcome. Please contact me. Andrei Ol'khovatov
Hello to you Andrei. You are highly recommended by our old friend, former National Security Advisor Smirnoff who says he has attended the last two Tunguska anniversary events. I must tell you, your invitation has created quite a stir around here and everyone is clamouring to go. As we speak, Mrs. Johnson is rearranging our summer concert schedule and confirming that all our passports are in order. She will be contacting you to make specific arrangements. Thank you for allowing us to participate. -R
Hey Reno, Just noticed a report about Frank Darabont from the 2002 Creative Screenwriting Expo in L.A. So here's my question. What did Frank Darabont have to do with the BB TV show? -Sean
Dear Sean: Let's just say that MGM was sufficiently impressed with the sales of the BB DVD (plus the Pocket Boosk reprint of the novelization) that more than one party has expressed an interest in doing a television version of the good Doctor's adventures. Which one will ultimately make it to the production stage is still anyone's guess, although we expect interest in such projects to become even greater as the new novel approaches publication. -R
Dear Reno; Ain't It Cool News (http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com/display.cgi?id=13838) is running a blurb quoting screenwriter/director Frank Darabont as saying the Banzai television series is dead. Please tell me this isn't so. Love the web site, by the way. -Galveston Gal
Dear Gal; Thank you for your concern, but as Rawhide would be quick to point out, there is no such thing as "dead" in Hollywood. The web site reporter quotes Mr. Darabont as saying the project is not happening due to "corporate needs." In my long association with W.D. Richter and Earl Mac Rauch, I have learned that what the film industry "needs" (or thinks it needs) can change as often as Perfect Tommy's hair color. I myself am confident that certain eyes will be opened when they see the latest and greatest novel/adaptation from Rauch and Pocket Books (and the sales numbers it is sure to generate). Are you and Galveston Guy coming this way for the turkey-day film festival and tai-kwon-do kick-off? We can talk more then. -R
Reno- I just found the Banzai Institute web site and had to convey my great happiness with doing so. I have been a Buckaroo fan since I first saw the movie years ago. I even have a jean jacket with several "Team Banzai" patches. Curiously, I assumed all along that the "88" referred to a piano keyboard and am glad to see that confirmed in the bunkhouse. It is my understanding that recordings of the Hong Kong Cavaliers are hard to come by, but as a musician myself I have to ask if there are any lyrics or sheet music floating around out there. Please let me know how I can become a Blue Blaze Irregular, and if there is a Banzai Institute newsletter or emailing list I would very much like to be included. Thanks again for providing a great source of information on Buckaroo Banzai. Regards, Ian Wilkinson, Lubbock, TX
Dear Ian; It's always great to welcome old-time fans to our new meeting place. Feel free to look around, settle in, make a few bookmarks, even help yourself to a cinnamon roll if there are any left. In the meantime, thanks for giving me the opportunity to remind everyone to drop by the Frequently Asked Questions page. But it seems it's time to add an FAQ about sheet music. If only there was something to add! As far as I know, no one has made copies or transcriptions of Michael Boddicker's compositions available to the general public. Which is more than a bit surprising, considering the number of talented musicians roaming these halls. -R
Reno, There has been a heated discussion among the BBI's about the use of "88" as a symbol for Team Banzai because of it's association and usage with neo-nazis groups. Have there been any discussions at the Institute on this issue and are their any plans to drop this long time symbol of Team Banzai? Respectfully, BBI Dragon
Greetings Dragon; It has been too long since we saw you at the William Tell competition. When I viewed the media coverage of some department stores' concern about the 88 on designer clothes, I knew it was a mattter of time before attention was drawn to our little corner of rock and roll. The fact is that people will find meaning in symbols wherever they care to look. That is the function of symbols. And while this chronicler will never condone the actions or beliefs of anyone self-styling themselves as any kind of "supremacist," it is common knowledge that what is currently known as the swastika was used as a symbol of life and peace in countries throughout history and from every corner of the world. It could even be found on the shoulder patches of the American 45th Division up until World War II. Predating even the Egyptian Ankh, the very word derives from the Sanskrit for "being good."
In a simlar fashion, the number 88 is considered good luck in the Chinese culture. The modern use of Roman numeralization dates back to the Middle Ages in Western Europe. One version of this particular modern myth supposes that 88 represents a double placement of the eighth letter of the alphabet. If a deranged minority chooses hide their intentions, agenda, or even their existence behind a somewhat childish interpretation, it should serve to demonstrate to the rest of us the shame of their convictions, and the awesome power of free speech.
Or perhaps others simply don't share the same love as B. Banzai for the number of keys on the piano. -R
Dear Reno: I've recently heard rumors of your own autobiography, supposedly entitled "Reno on Reno: Tales of Memphis & Beyond", hitting shelves in the near future. There's even talk of Earl Mac Rauch writing the foreword. Is there any truth to this? Seth S.
Dear Seth: I'm not sure how you got wind of this, but yes. I have a lot of notes and even a couple of finished chapters and I've been hoping that Mr. Rauch will be willing to review my work so far. So far, it seems he hasn't been able to find the time. Considering what a superb job he's done adapting my notes for the next Buckaroo Banzai novel (in stores in the near future), I've decided to wait. It'll give me a chance to rewrite the chapter in which I relate how Lady Galveston and I barely escaped being buried alive by Doctor Scarabaeidae's trained dung beetles. -R
Dear Reno, On behalf of the Horticulture and Energy Conversationists Society, I would like to extend Dr. Banzai an invitation to help judge HECS's Watermelon Biathlon, our annual event involving the ancient art of melon breaking and the improvisational usage of melon shrapnel as an alternative power source. Agriculturally inclined and environmentally conscious youngsters from all over the world will be competing for our prestigious Potato Lamp Award, and we at HECS can think of no one better to chair our distinguished panel of judges (including, via satellite, Dr. Papi Papi of Argentina's prominent Veggie Mondo Clinic & Tropical Fruits Pavilion and Master Kobe Pitt of the Seedless Melon Dojo). We do hope Dr. Banzai can find some time in his busy schedule to participate. Sincerely, A. Whitney Decimal, HECS President
Dear Dr. Decimal; I've been asked to extend Dr. Banzai's thanks for the invitation, and apologies for not being able to accept. Unfortunately, he has already promised to judge the Seth Brundle Memorial Venus Flytrap Training and Obstacle Course competition. But he asks you keep him in mind for next time. -R
Reno: Just out of idle curosity who would somebody contact at the Institute if they wanted to arrange an licensing agreement with you and Buckaroo? Thanks, Patrick
Dear Patrick; Until recently, Banzai Insitute licensing was handled through the Los Angeles law firm of Wolfram & Hart. As you may have read in the tabloids, we (along with several other former clients) are currently seeking new representation. If you are referrring to licensing regarding the 1984 docudrama, those things cross my desk via the studio legal department. -R
Hello Reno, I have a question for Buckaroo that hopefully you can answer for me. I finally picked up a copy of Earl Mac's book and enjoyed it thoroughly as I read it cover to cover. But - part of one of BB's quotes really caused me to ponder what he was truly saying, so I'd like to ask y'all what your thoughts are. Here is the part of the quote that caught my attention: "Whereas creativity, like swordsmanship, requires not neutrality or indifference, but to be of no mind whatsoever." Now, being an astute student of more than a dozen different martial arts systems (most notably Chinese) I was very intrigued by this statement. Traditionally in martial arts we are taught to achieve "balance" i.e. to find the center between yin and yang. My new teacher was very serious when he told us this was like a dog chasing its tail...an infinite loop that while creating energy, was missing the point entirely. Rather, he stated that ones goal in life and the martial arts was to achieve a state of neutrality, showing neither yin nor yang, yet being able to use the appropriate energy in whatever situation life would call for. He said neutrality is a force, i.e., the limitless energy of the universe to be drawn in. "Look at the yin yang symbol," he explained. "Where does this symbol reside? On a neutral plane of energy." Thereby this neutrality that he talked about was actually an energy in and of itself. It was the stuff of martial arts legend, the state of being that most people have forgotten and even fewer reach. Getting back to BB's statement, I can only surmise that Buckaroo meant neutrality as a state of mind, not as an energy? For from my training, to channel the force of neutrality one must be of no mind. Would love to chat with the gang about this subject, and my best wishes to everyone! Sincerely, Erick
Dear Erick; It is a rare thing to have a teacher with this level of insight. And (as you have discovered) more rare indeed to find one raised in the western culture who will allow their mind to encompass such concepts. Buckaroo said to let you know he'll be calling you to ask if you're interested in joining him (and perhaps Wang Chi if he is available) on a panel at this year's Winter Combat Training, Zen Symposium, and Flan Bake-Off. Mrs. Johnson wants to know if you are still at the same number. -R
Hey Reno, We're getting some reports from the likes of Barnes & Noble (among others) that there's a new Buckaroo Banzai novel called Quicksilver coming out on October 28th. Is this some kind of elaborate hoax or is there any truth to it? - Riptide BBI #2708
Dear Riptide: I'm sorry to say that Barnes & Noble has jumped the gun a little on this one. Yes, Earl Mac Rauch is hard at work (along with W.D. Richter and Yours Truly) on the next Buckaroo Banzai novel. Yes, Quicksilver was an early working title. But we don't yet know when it will see print. (The latest hangup is, believe it or not, national security concerns from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, of all places. At least Perfect Tommy is no longer asking for approval of all typefaces in which his name appears.) We DO hope to have some real news on the subject in the near future.-R
Reno: There are rumors flying around among the Blue Blazes that you've got either another novel published, or, the Across the Eight Dimension novel is being published back to back (2 in 1) with a Star Trek novel. The title is: Quicksilver, Buckaroo Banzai, with release date is just around the corner too. So, can you shed any light on this? - BBI Dragon
Dear Dragon: See my above response regarding the next Buckaroo Banzai novel. And while we are all fans of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, no, it is not a Star Trek book. -R
Reno: It's Fanatic from over at the Special Services division, I was wondering If there is going to be any new offical merchandise in the near future? What about using Cafepress? I think Gryphon and Megazone will agree that it's time to let their kitten loose from it's burlap prison.Have a nice day.. -Fanatic
Dear Fanatic: Yes, indeed! See above! (And do take it easy on the kitten...) - R
Hi, Reno. Just wondering how to get my hands on some or all of the Cavaliers' recordings. Seems they're scarce up here in the great white north. (Like many others, I'm looking forward to the day when we can read more of Dr. Banzai's adventures or watch the proposed free-form tv show from the institute.) Thanks, Catherine
Dear Catherine: Unfortunately, at the moment, all of our albums seem to be out of print. There's no shortage of interest in rereleasing them, but, as you probably know, recent events have been demanding all of the Boss's attention, leaving far too little time for the joy of music. At least there's still GNP Crescendo Records' cover version of the docudrama's main title theme and march on Neil Norman's Science Fiction's Greatest Hits, Volume IV CD. -R
Holy blimey, Reno, I had no idea someone was looking after the bunkhouse wall again until a chance remark Hollywood happened to pass yesterday afternoon. Good to see it. And a question... I couldn't make it out -- what was it that android called Dr. Banzai to astronaut Taggart last week? Sorry I missed the anniversary bash, I was incommunicado, or incommuniyaddo, more like. Please give my fondest regards to Dr. Banzai, Rawhide, Perfect Tommy, Mrs. Johnson, and, of course, yourownself. And kudos to Pocket Books for its willingness to carry the honor of going forward with your chronicles. Maybe you'll finally settle all those bets about the *real* truth behind that little matter of the platypus, the particle accelerator, and the Duesenberg Model J Convertible, eh? I've got a sawbuck that says Perfect Tommy was behind the whole thing. -Apache
Dear Apache: It's great to hear from you again! Welcome to the newly revamped site. And yes, we are all excited beyond measure at the opportunity to get a few more adventures into the public eye. Pending litigation forbids us from addressing the details of the Duesenberg experiment in the current manuscript. But next time you swing by the Institute, Tommy promises to gives us the real scoop as long as we're buying. And I still want you to autograph my copy of "Reflecting what light we can't absorb." See you soon. -R
Reno, Mrs. Johnson's voice- and e-mail boxes always seem to be full lately, so could you do me a favor and see if she got my request to reserve the lecture hall? I'm hoping that my talk on urban legends - "Nothing Unreal Exists, So Stop Forwarding Me These Things" - will get through to the right people (and I think you know who I'm talking about). -Agent 13
Dear Agent 13- Mrs. Johnson hasn't been avoiding your calls, but she says the RSVP list for your lecture has gotten so big that the lecture hall is not going to suffice. We're hoping for the gymnasium at the New Brunswick YMCA. She'll be contacting you with the details. -R
Greetings, Can't say if it was in response to Matt's missive of the 5th, but BBI Kronos has created some AIM icons and graciously donated them to the World Watch site at http://www.worldwatchonline.com (now at a new host featuring zero, count 'em, *zilch* pop-up ads!). Also...was amazed by Shadow's shirt sighting. Can't believe I missed that one. I remember them selling the long-sleeved logo shirts. Any possibility I could add that picture to the Banzai-bilia page at World Watch? My goal is to have, well, everything BB-related documented there eventually. My hope is that I'll never be able to keep up as new stuff comes out. Later...ArcLight, BBI#621, World Watch OnLine: The UnOfficial Buckaroo Banzai Mailing Lists
Hey there Arclight! Thanks for finding a place for Kronos' AIM icons. And a big tip-o-the-hat to Kronos himself for taking the time. Whether or not you use the AIM program, I recommend taking a look at these fun graphics. For that matter, a long stroll through the World Watch Online site is always fun. And Arclight, Shadow says you're welcome to use the picture. He claims that, if he'd known it would get so much attention, he would have had it worn by the brilliant and lovely BBI Tink. I said he should have at least ironed it first. -R
Reno: Jack Burton? I heard he was dead. -Agent 13
Thirteen: He always seems taller than I expect, too. -R
Dear Reno, Is this the shirt you're looking for? - Sincerely, BBI Shadow
Dear Shadow: That's the one! Now, any idea where my car keys are? -R
Dear Reno, Any chance the Banzai Institute may create AOL Instant Messenger Icons? The AOL people have somehow missed this one. -matt
Dear Matt: I'm sorry to report that there's been absolutely no progress on this front, ever since Scooter started volunteering more of his spare time into the gravity catapult project. Perhaps an enterprising and creative BBI (who doesn't mind releasing the finished product free of charge or legal encumbrances) might want to tackle this one? -R
Reno, Is it me or is the way the Eighth Dimension was presented in the docudrama seem similar to director Sam Raimi's work in Darkman and Spider-Man? In Darkman the visual is used to show Liam Neeson's transformation of character, and if I remember correctly Tobey Maguire's transformation into Spider-Man. Could it just be coincidence that all three used the same stock footage of an electron microscope's images animated? Michael
Dear Michael; Not suprising at all when one considers that all three films used footage from B. Banzai's dashboard-mounted camera as he passed through the formless void. -R
Dear Reno; I'm getting old, I know, but I vaguely recall a t-shirt that was for sale in the late '80s which featured a rather grainy image of Peter Weller as Buckaroo, wailing away on his guitar. I've done some asking around and web searches and I can't seem to find any information on it. Was I imagining things? -Rex Duglar; Space Marshal
Greetings Rex! You were not imagining. The shirt was sold in the children and teen department of many Sears stores and is now a highly prized collectible. The most valuable ones were misprinted in green ink. Keep your eyes peeled. -R
Reno, Any chance of a Jack Burton cameo in the show? I am still waiting for him to team-up with Ash for the next Evil Dead movie. -Michael
Dear Michael: I'm sorry to say it would be difficult to secure permission from Mr. Burton since no one has seen or heard from Jack or the Porkchop Express since the 15th anniversary screening of Big Trouble in Little China at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. Some reports put him at Venice Beach taking surfing lessons from Peter Fonda, but this is unconfirmed. -R
Ni Hao, Reno! A whole lot's been up since my last missive. After nigh on 30 years of bachelorhood, I took the plunge and got married last weekend. Heather Sunshine Irwin, The lovely lady in question, is an audio technician who I met on a video shoot about 2 years ago. She drove me to distraction all day, (I kept blowing my lines, because there was this ravishing creature holding a boom microphone just at the edge of my peripheral vision.) We've been inseparable ever since, and she has weathered the Rangers usual misadventures rather well, (she stays calm under fire, is a good shot herself, and can whip around an audio cable like it's a rope dart! A woman after my own heart! What else could I do but marry her?) On August 24th, we were married at the home of friends. Fellow Cyclone Rangers, Keltic Tommy Shaw and Tomcat Riley were my co-best men, and the good Reverend Bryian Winner (Cyclone Rangers team leader) performed the ceremony. It was beautiful, fun, and the party lasted all night! I sent an invite to the institute, but know you guys couldn't make it with the boss addressing the World Summit in Johannesburg this week. (Good luck on the "80 Miles Per French Fry: Tubers as a Renewable Energy Source" presentation, by the way!) I sent along a few pieces of cake to the Institute, so there's a heads up to be on the lookout for them, as I remember Mrs. Johnson's sweet tooth! Anyway, the wife and I are enjoying our honeymoon, and some downtime before we head back into the trenches. In a couple week classes I'll be starting, my new position at Ohio U - Lancaster, heading up their Electronic Media program and teaching Zen video production and multimedia techniques full time. This could very well be the beginning of a whole new B-Roll Monastery! We'll get up to the institute soon so she can meet everyone. Anyhoo, enough from me. My regards to the team, and my love to Sabine! Take care of yourself, and keep in touch! -BBI Kataka; Cyclone Rangers Communications Specialist and Zen Videographer
Dear Kataka: All our heartiest congratulations. I'm sorry to say the cake arrived before your letter and, in his post-9-11 vigilance, Perfect Tommy submerged the package in convenient sink full of soapy water. Mrs. Johnson ran him from the building with a wooden spoon and has sent you enough cinnamon buns for all the Cyclone Rangers by way of apology. Meanwhile, Pinky is kicking himself for not thinking of you sooner for help on one of his side projects. Don't be too surprised if you get a sketchy fax that looks like some high-amperage speakers strung between redwood trees across the Columbia River. He says it's self-explanatory. -R
Dear Reno: Not long ago I caught a cable broadcast of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension in which the opening was different than I recall, and some scenes also seemed changed. Was I imagining things? Signed; T. Tumbleweed
Dear Tumbling: Your faculties are intact. The version you saw was altered (with the permission of Buckaroo and under the guidance of producer/director W.D. Richter) in order to conform to the vagaries of commercial television. But never fear! The original, uncut widescreen version of the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama is now available on DVD, with lots of new and never-before-seen material including an interview with Richter and Yours Truly, not to mention the film's original opening, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as Buckaroo's mother! -Unabashed Plug Reno
Reno, Why not adapt the true stories of the Institute into a Japanese anime style show for kids and adults? Michael
Dear Michael; It would be a terrific venue for B. Banzai's style of adventure, wouldn't it? Who knows what the future holds? -R
Dear Reno: Never written before, but I'll give it a shot. Is there any progress by Earl Mac Rauch on writing more Buckaroo Banzai (docu-)novels? Theres' a lot of fans, old and new, who would be glad to read more Banzai adventures. Anyway, I enjoyed your fast ska-sax beats on "Gestalt." I hope you don't mind I downloaded a copy from from WinMX. :p -cheeze80s
Greetings Cheeze; The delay in releasing further Banzai adventures has been two-fold. The first and most important was sorting out which stories B. Banzai feels are worth telling. This task was made a bit easier by the recent events in Idaho and the arrival of... well, I'm sure you all read the papers. The second hurdle was settling on a publishing house. We finally decided to favor Pocket Books because they have enjoyed such success with the reissue of the first novelization, and because their editor is charming and makes a great martini. Now all we need to do is settle on a title... Tommy is lobbying for "Perfect Tommy Saves the Planet." Watch this space for more definitive annoucements.
Thanks for the compliment on "Gestalt" but please remember, I do get royalties when the music actually sells... -R
Hey, Reno! Just thought I'd post a link to a Wired article on the Australian team of physicists who think the speed of light may not be constant. For those who haven't heard, the physicists seem to have found evidence from a distant quasar that light may not always travel at the normally accepted speed of light. If this turns out to be true, Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is wrong and we're in for the paradigm shift of a lifetime. Check it out at www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,54394,00.html Even if it turns out that Einstein was wrong, he was still a genius, dammit! -M. Sauer P.S.-The Ramones are the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the history of the universe...
Dear Mike; When Paul Davies called from Sydney a month ago to ask Dr. Banzai's opinion on "a new theory of physics that could turn Einstein on his ear," the intern that answered the phone thought it was a crank call and hung up on him. But when he, Tamara Davis and Charles Lineweaver showed up at our door carrying a file box of charts, data, and Grinspoon CDs ... well, let's just say the place went wild. (Lineweaver can play a mean electric piano, by the way.) In the meantime, the theoretical physists proceed with excited caution. As Carl Sagan often noted, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." The article bears a look-see, even for the casually interested layman. The world, she is a changing. -R
Dear Reno: Another anniversary is upon us. In a year which, for me, has been akin to Queen Elizabeth's "annus horriblus", this day has been a chance to pause for a moment and enjoy a bright memory ... an opportunity to sit quietly for a time and recall with warm feeling a day eighteen years ago. A day when one small episode in Team Banzai's unselfish and unceasing self-assumed guardianship of civilization (as the various members of planet Earth know it) was illuminated upon the silver screen for the public to view, and a rare opportunity for the guardians to be recognized and lauded by the recipients of their conscientious efforts as keepers of the global and galactic peace.
My warmest regards to Dr. Banzai, to Rawhide (who, by gawd, *isn't dead!*) and to the rest of the Cavaliers and Team Banzai, and to the truest of the Blue Blaze Irregulars. And most especially warm wishes and lasting thanks to Masters Richter, Rauch, and Lupovitz, whereever they may be, for their long-ago kindnesses to a lowly minion in the ranks. Be cool, but care.... Hollywood
Dearest Hollywood; It is no exaggeration to say none of us would be at this place if it weren't for you. Not a week goes by when B. Banzai doesn't speak your name, recalling some adventure or kind deed or fond memory. So on a day pivotal in our tiny bit of history, we tip our hats to the woman who simply agreed to answer the mail. Thank you. -Reno Nevada, Archivist and lead saxaphone.
Dear Reno: Happy Anniversary of the great Docudrama to all my friends at the Institute, past and present. I'll be celebrating today in my own special way, picking up some Kentucky Colonel Chicken on Pico and watching the movie while I stuff envelopes... but I'll be thinking about all of you. Be well - Clyde
And wouldn't you know it. I'm stuck in the research library, digging up everything I can on conductive tubors. Enjoy the memories, all. -R
Reno: "Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai" is passing on cable tv here in Brazil for the first time. I saw and i can't believe that someone is so crazy to make a movie like that... who knows if some day people can remake BB with the same actors, of course.... the main crew is alive yet, i think.... João Batista, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Dear João- No matter who are the talented actors who stand in front of the camera, Blue Blaze Strike Team Richter in Hollywood assures me that they will continue to push forward (or in whatever direction it takes) to bring B. Banzai to the screen once more. Be sure to check in here for news and updates. -R
Reno: Since I'm not one of the Blue Blaze Irregulars, I hope that I can get an answer to this query. What relationship is there between Hanoi Xan, head of the World Crime League, and the infamous Hanoi Shan, AKA Fu Manchu from the Doc Savage era? -Brom Bear
Dear Brom- While there has been some speculation as to whether Sax Rohmer, Kenneth Robeson, Walter Gibson and others were influenced by the real life Xan when they wrote their fictional accounts, no definitive scholarly work has ever been published. -R
Hi, kids... A comment regarding Johnny Rhythm's question about the HKC action figures... While I was at the Institute, I had heard that the REAL reason the action figures never got made was because Tommy (taking advantage of his "likeness approval" clause) kept rejecting his doll's prototype and continued making changes. Eventually they gave up. Don't blame 'em. Oh, by the way, I'm getting married next week. Someone please make sure the invites get dispersed properly when they arrive at the Institute. Anyone that can't make it, I'll be coming to "movie night" at the end of the month to see Star Trek II. Hope to see y'all there. And I hope Mrs. J. makes her "special" popcorn...! All the best, Clyde von Drake
Dear Clyde- First of all, congratulations on the happy occasion. I suppose you know Mrs. Johnson took the news rather hard. But the Boss put her to work sweeping out Silo Two, so she's got plenty to keep her occupied. And the rumor of Tommy delaying the toy production was started by Pinky Carruthers when he found the Perfect One enacting an epic battle using only the prototypes of his action figure... in effect fighting with himself. And did you hear that our other Hollywood connections managed to secure a copy of Paramount's new enhanced DVD version of Wrath of Khan? Movie night will be standing room only this time. -R
Reno, After the events in Buckaroo Banzai's movie, was there any further experimentation with the Oscillation Overthruster? With the eighth dimension? I'm sure Buckaroo did not simply give up his research after the events of the movie. Were there any other great discoveries after the course of the movie that were not publicized? -Russianguy
Dear Russianguy: It would be an understatement to say that the events surrounding the first successful experiments with the Oscillation Overthruster caused an uproar, not only with the scientific community, but with heads of state both here and abroad. The Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, and several influential members of the legislature have tried to confiscate and classify (read: bury) the Overthruster and the Jet Car, along with any and all research pertaining thereto in the name of National Security. There have been hellish eternities spent testifying to the United States Congress. I would rather be flayed alive and forced to drink Vanilla Coke by minions of the World Crime League than have to explain the intricacies of moving through matter to yet another committee of elected officials with neither the scientific background nor personal attention span to begin to comprehend the theories of Professor Hikita and Doctor B. Banzai. That said, research has continued; both practical and wildly theoretical. Some think the Overthruster can be used to read minds -- an only slightly far-fetched extension of the Professor's own theory of brain waves as simply another parallel dimension. Others have postulated a large version which can be pivot-mounted on the tops of skyscrapers to de-solidify any incoming rogue aircraft. As we have learned time and again, with everything from atom bombs to tooth whitener, science can not be stopped...only steered. -R
Reno, why are there no Docudrama Action Figures; or for that matter, no posable versions of the actual HKC's? There has to be a collectors' market for them. I mean if Big Trouble in Little China has had figures (which it has and will again soon) one would think that the most popular renaissance scientist/artist/musicians/world-protectors on the planet would too. Thanks for saving the world all those times. BBI #888 Johnny Rhythm
Dear Johnny; As many times as I have requested -- nay, begged -- B. Banzai to approve licensing of posable dolls of the Hong Kong Cavaliers for the action-oriented youngster, his answer is always the same: To provide our enemies with an accurate likeness of our collective visage would be tantamount to painting targets on our backs. This is also the reason that Peter Weller looks no more like the Boss than I do. The argument that countless photographs of our intrepid group have already been taken and put into circulation by fan and paparazzi alike does nothing to dissuade him. But I will keep trying. -R
Dear Reno: I have a question about some of the music used in the Buckaroo Banzai movie. I am an avid guitar player who is interested in learning how to play on guitar a song utilized in the film. The song in question, to help narrow things down, appears twice in the film. The first time is by way of a piano rendition courtesy of Jeff Goldblum during the "computer hacking" scene; the same song is also played over the closing credits. My problem is that since the film is rather obscure, I have had no luck as of yet finding tabulature in any form for this song. I email you with this question because I am not sure that I even know who to turn to for advice. Any help at all would be appreciated. P.S. If it helps expedite a reply, I enjoyed the audio commentary track on the BB DVD between yourself and W.D. Richter. It was ... enlightening. -BB37
Dear BB37: As far as I know, the sheet music and accompaning chords have never been published for public distribution. If you're up to the challenge, the closing title music is available on CD from GNP Crescendo Records by the inimitable Neil Norman on his album "Science Fiction's Greatest Hits, Volume 4." Or if we're lucky, another devoted BBI may have already transcribed the guitar line and will let us know. -R
Hey Reno. I picked up the DVD and it was truly excellent. A variety of quotes from Buckaroo have formed a decent part of my writing journal as sources for inspiration. I have just one question: What WAS the watermelon for?? -Alluns Sakima P.S. Where did New Jersey get the cool outfit?
Dear Alluns; To your first question, W.D. Richter has composed a response to this much-sought-after querie and it can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ) of this web site. As for the second question, I'm afraid I don't know for sure since we all try to stay far away from New Jersey's closet. The favorite guess is Bison Bill's Western Style Thrift Shop and Lawn Mower Repair off I-76 near Holland Township. FYI- they don't take American Express. -R
Dear Reno: I wouldn't imagine Harper & Row has ever distributed widely to Planet 10, but what do you think the odds are that Lord Whorfin, or any inhabitants of Planet 10 for that matter, might have been able to get his hands on a copy of Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49?" If so, does the Institute have any theories about the emulation their culture seemed to adopt? If not, could Pynchon have had some knowledge of the Planet 10 political situation? My sincerest apologies if this question was already addressed while I was in Lincoln Center dealing with the disruptive "It's Okay, We're Superheroes" campaign. Which situation, by the way, is not yet quite under control. I can just picture Tuttle's I-told-you-so smirk. -Stonechild, BBI #1980
Dear Stonechild: According to reports from BBI Viola, the Lincoln Center situation is in its final stages. Sounds from here like it's as simple as paying a library fine. The Pynchon question is not as easily settled. While the comparisons seem uncanny, certainly stranger coincidences have occurred in the annals of the Earth. The Science of Large Numbers dictates, if nothing else. -R. P.S. Never in all my years have I seen Tuttle smirk ... until now.
Dear Reno- So should I buy that new White Stripes record? I love what I've heard, but a friend of mine says the rest of the album is just rehashed 90's grunge rock. Got any opinion of it? -Mike S.
Dear Mike- I have an opinion. B. Banzai has a opinion. Perfect Tommy always has an opinion. None of which should matter in deciding your choice of music. The best thing abouts CDs as compared to life is that if you don't like part of it, you can always skip to the next track. -R
Dear Reno, How delighted I was to discover that the dramatisation of you and your colleagues was now available in the crystal clarity of DVD. Imagine my dismay to find that it was only available on Region 1 (I live in Merrie Olde Englande)! But thanks to the questionable legality of multi-region DVD playback I`ve managed to get my hands on a copy anyway. The film is a little known gem on this side of the Atlantic, but I`m doing my best to spread the word to as many people as I can, and I`m considering contacting MGM to see if they have any plans to release it on Region 2. Here`s hoping! Many thanks for providing me with hours of entertainment... if only I could find a copy of the novel I could be REALLY happy. -Warlock12
Dear Warlock- I'm glad you liked the DVD of the docudrama. You can send your suggestions to MGM via their website: www.MGM.com. And speaking of websites, the Pocket Books reissue of the novelization of "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eight Dimension" is available through www.amazon.co.uk and at Barnes & Nobel's site, www.BN.com, to name the first two that come to mind. Enjoy. -R
Reno: Consider this your personal invitation to the upcoming first (and hopefully first of many) June 11-12th all night Texas Teriyaki Barbecue and Sushi fest organized by myself and a few of the lads to commemorate "you-know-what." After the dinner we are planning a combat pistol shooting competition as well -- hone the skills! Which leads me to the following question: On the new DVD, Pinkie's subtitled facts state that BB carries the 1851 Colt Navy (of which I myself have a pair) so why didn't Richter get the prop right for the docudrama? Or are BB's special cartridge modified versions? In any case you are all invited to attend--but not shoot as we KNOW who the winner will be then! Hope to see you there! -TOISACH
Dear Toisach; Thanks for the gracious invitation. My mouth is already watering at the thought. But unfortunately, B. Banzai will be in our nation's capitol that week testifying before the Senate Agricultural Subcommittee on Legume's and Tubers. We'll also be playing at a bar called the Georgetowne Station the following weekend. Perfect Tommy says he booked the gig to help defer expenses, but I think it was as a favor to the Chief of Staff's daughter. What could possibly go wrong?
As for the choice of firearms used in the film, the blame lies with no one but myself. By the time Erik Nelson and I finished the somewhat exasperating task of finding the correct eyeglasses, the guns fell by the wayside. I don't even recall what we did end up using. -R
Dear Reno- I was coming out of the Mall after ordering the "BB" biography written by by you when I saw a maroon Windstar. I only saw the last three letters on the car's license plate before it sped off...They were "WCL". Could this mean something?? -SRG
Dear SGR- It means you have terrific taste in books. -R
Hi Reno, Just got the DVD, absolutely loved it. The special features helped explain alot of things I never knew before. Anyway, I was telling my boss about it and he mentioned that he'd heard of a Team Banzai being mentioned in relationship with BattleTech and MechWarrior, developing combat Mecha designs for the role-playing games and the video games. Now I know that Honda has developed a bi-pedal robot that is capable of retaining it's balance, so it's only a small jump to larger robots(I hope for use in heavy construction, possably exo-skeletons for orbital construction). Has anyone at the Banzai Institute put any thought into these types of devices for practical applications beyond video game designs? Or is this just a rumor my boss heard? -Knightsrune
Dear Knightsrune- Thanks for the kind words about the DVD. Indeed, a large part or the reason Buckaroo agreed to authorize the rerelease of the docudrama was to clarify some misconceptions or gaps in information which (at the time) we felt had already been covered in great detail by the popular media. I'm glad it appears we have succeeded.
As for the Institute's participation in development of independently mobile robotics, or even mechanically assisted armour or exoskeletons, far be it from this chronicler to infringe on the inventive designs and unbelievable strides being made by so many women and men around the world. But the Banzai Institute is a place of creative freedom. No idea or scientific exploration is dismissed merely because it's impossible. There are always more mountains to drive through. -R
Dear Reno, I enjoy your responses to the many postings at the Bunkhouse. I have a question that i haven't been able to find an answer to, namely, what kind of wristwatch did Dr. Banzai wear in the movie? I've tried many times to view it on the VHS tape but can't quite seem to get a clear look at it the few times it was shown. Is there anyway you can find out? Maybe old records from the movie production or something? Thanks for your time and concern with my question and keep up the great work at the Bunkhouse. Sincerely yours, Kevin
Dear Kevin; Since you bring it up, I am reminded that Pinky Carruthers, upon viewing the docudrama for the first time in the Institute's basement screening room, leaped up and shouted, "Hey! That's my watch!" at which point Production Designer J. Michael Riva was heard to chuckle from the back row. Any more than that will take a bit of research. If I find anything, I'll post it here. -R
Dear guys, Report: Last night I was shopping at a local Wal-Mart for things for my new apartment. In the parking lot was a maroon Ford Windstar with a license plate that read, "XAN." Now I know that while "Xan" is not a common name, there are certainly bound to be unfortunates who are forced to share a moniker with this reprehensible villain. I immediately did a search of the area, but if the Arch Fiend himself was in fact inside the store, I didn't find him, but you can bet that I'll keep an eye out in case there really is more nasty World Crime League business afoot. I'll keep you all posted on what develops. Cheers, ---Cait Sidhe
Dear Cait, Excellent work in the vigilence department. Was there a branch office for World Capital Lending nearby or a World Capital parking sticker in the car window? Did you notice if vertical blinds were on sale? Keep up the good work. -R
Hi Reno, Great website. Many thanks to Scooter. DVD - awesome beyond belief. A big hi to BBIDragon. After months of meditative seclusion, finally it happened! I gave birth to a future BBI. Going out to buy him his very own copy of Earl Mac Rauch's book and will start reading it to him at bedtime shortly. You can never start imparting the wisdom of Buckaroo too early. While it will be a few months until I can go back on active duty, I am keeping an eye on all the activity. -BBI ThePhoenix
Dear Phoenix; Everyone at the Institute sends their congratulations on your new arrival. The sleep deprivation and heightened stress level are excellent preparation for the Machu Picchu survival course next fall. But the Boss says take your time getting back to active status. A healthy Blue Blaze (and a healthy future BBI) are far more valuable when the time is right. -R
Hi Reno, I recently stumbled across a news piece (URL below) regarding the U.S. Army's work to develop an "indestructible sandwich" to replace the current standard issue MREs. Out of curiosity, is this research derived from Perfect Tommy's early works on watermelons. Regards, Rokuban- NEWS ITEM AT: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992151
Dear Rokuban; National Security issues prevent us from talking too much about this, but let's just say some of the folks from the US Army Soldier Systems Center have stopped by for lunch on more than one occasion. -R
Reno, After watching the docu-drama DVD and then reading the book, I noticed a discrepancy. In the book, Rawhide dies from the Lectroid's poison barb, and his funeral is mentioned; however, on the DVD it states that he's in a coma and hope is held out for his recovery. Is this just an error, or perhaps a tactic to mislead enemies of the Institute? Thanks for your answer, Blue Blaze hopeful Neo Challenger
Neo Challenger: Life is a discrepancy, no? It is possible to have a funeral for a friend in a coma because a coma is a form of goodbye and a funeral is a desperate farewell. Everything that leaves us comes back, and Rawhide is no exception, being, though special, hardly unique...the thing about him that Buckaroo most admires. -R
Hey Reno! I've got a crazy idea. What with all the complexities behind getting a Banzai movie/TV series made, have you guys ever considered doing an old-time radio show instead? You know, like The Shadow or War of the Worlds. Each week Banzai could battle the minions of the WCL and maybe even have a guest rock group play. I don't know how practical it would be, but I wonder if you couldn't start small and let word of mouth build... Anyways, does this sound like a sane idea or should I just get back to work on my perpetual motion machine? -Mike
Dear Mike- I bring this idea up every time we get stuck for a topic for the Boss' weekly radio address. And every time, Perfect Tommy suggests I go alphabetize my Emo Phillips collection (the audio equivalent of perpetual motion). But Buckaroo always smiles and doesn't say no. So who knows what the future may bring. -R
Dear Reno; What is the name of the song Buckaroo sings at the piano when he senses Penny Priddy's unhappiness, and who originally sung it? -Jay Wing
Dear Jay; Jimmy Beaumont wrote the almost-haunting tune to "Since I Don't Have You" in 1958 when he was 17. It is said that Joe Rock (21 at the time) wrote the lyrics while waiting at a stoplight and nursing a freshly broken heart. Rock was also manager of the Skyliners, who recorded the song and took it to number 12 on the charts. While demonstrating the reason he rarely plays piano (much less sings ballads) in public, the Boss is in very good company, since the song has been recorded by such legends as the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Johnny Mathis, Art Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand, Ronnie Milsap, Guns 'N Roses, and the Broadway cast of Grease. The song hit the charts again when Don McLean recorded it in 1981, climbing to number 23. -R
Dear Reno, How is everyone? Team Red Branch and I, and some of Camp SJ are still neck-deep in that mess up in Kazakstan. You know the one I mean. I only hope we don't have to get the Nova Police involved. Anyway, this topic came up on the Buckaroo Banzai Yahoogroup list recently, and I thought I'd just go directly to the source for the answer to this question: What is the Banzai Institute's official standing on the human cloning Issue? Thanks! :) -Cait Sidhe
Dear Cait; The wonderful and often confusing thing about the Institute is its varied make-up of minds and personalities. It's rare that we see eye-to-eye on anything, much less have an "official stand" on a particular issue. We may disagree and sometimes even argue, but (much like the Yahoogroup list) always in the interest of open-minded conversation and exploration. On a personal note, it should be noted that Dr. B. Banzai, has, on more than one occasion (both in print and in the Oval Office) expressed his support of our President, including his right to be wrong. -R
Dear Reno: This is Blue Blaze Irregular Billy WhizBang here. Lost my I.D. number due to experiments with mind expansion/ astral travel/ cold Thai food in '98 (full report forthcoming). Could somebody out there send me my information packet again? -Billy P.S. Although my head is still swimming from the experience, I can still recall one or two things from the future(or was it an alternate present? It gets kinda complicated). Tell the Boss: DON'T ORDER THE YELLOWTAIL! THE FATE OF CANADA DEPENDS ON IT!
Dear Billy; You have to be very careful with that stuff, my friend. Especially the cold Thai food. And I'll pass your warning along to B. Banzai. Since his tastes run more toward fugu and natto, I suspect he is safe from rogue yellowtail. -R
Dear Reno: With The death of both the Simpson/Priddy sisters and many death threats for Hanoi Xan, does he still maintain his sense of humor and sanity? studentrichgregg
Dear SRG: Buckaroo, like so many of us these days, has seen personal tragedy that would seemingly tax the endurance of any living soul. But he gets through it the same way we all do: by surrounding himself with loyal companions, by focusing on his daily routine, and by knowing the sun rises and sets every day. R
Reno, How do I join the Blue Blaze Irregulars? What are the membership and enrollment requirements?
To quote the official brochure, "At the moment there are no less than 6,000 active Blue Blaze Irregulars world wide - men, women, and children who attend selected symposia at the Banzai Institute, who submit their bodies periodically to rugged physical training at such places as the desert survival school in Nevada, the mountaineering school in Alaska, and a half-dozen others around the globe; who are required yearly to make certain educational advancements; who are "on call" twenty-four hours a day to help B. Banzai in a pinch, or their neighbors in a natural disaster. Blue Blazes are, when all is said, ordinary and yet extraordinary people." -R
Reno, Could you tell the joker there at the Institute that the alert channel is not for April Fools jokes? The Pirate Queen went to ground and we just found her this evening hiding out in the woods around Quabbin Reservoir. Thanks. Yours, Agent 13
Open Response to Everyone: This was not the only report I received after what the National Security Advisor has taken to calling the "Oh Four Oh One Oh Two Debacle." I enjoy a good practical joke as much as the next person, but scrambling the 816th Airborne over Paw Paw, Michigan is a far cry from slipping limburger in Perfect Tommy's CD holder. Those responsible will be mopping out the hangar deck for quite some time. -R
Dear Reno Nevada: I'm not really sure if this belongs in the Bunkhouse or "The Bed, The Bath, or The Bus," but here goes. A friend of mine recently showed me this website, at www.twinkiesproject.com, which contains detailed reports of several experiments that were performed by researchers on Twinkies snack cakes. I just thought it was something that you guys might find interesting.Cheers! -Cait Sidhe
Dear Cait: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. As you undoubtedly know, the diet of Red Lectroids living on Earth have been observed to have a disproportionately high percentage of Twinkies and other junk foods. While we are not suggesting that the principal investigators of twinkiesproject.com have any connection with Lectroid activity, Dr. B. Banzai has asked that discreet inquiries be made to investigate the possibility that the website might be an unwitting dupe of the dangerous extradimensional intruders. -R
Hey Reno, Where is the wigglin' hula girl in the jet car? Didn't she appear in the video. Are my eyes deceiving me from Lectroid brainwashing, or was she left in the 8th dimension? Thanks amigo, the Preacher
Dear Preacher; It is the policy of the Banzai Insititute for Biomedical Engineering and Strategic Information to neither confirm nor deny information relating to classified matters. -R
Dear Reno: Is it true that the more sleep you get, the longer you'll live? -NS
Dear NS: In a recent study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Dr. Daniel S. Kripke of the University of California at San Diego reports that in a study of 1.1 million people, subjects who got more than 9 hours of sleep per night were 23% more likely to die than people who averaged 7 hours per sleep. Our own Mrs. Johnson (a notorious night owl) was delighted at this news, although she points out that the study doesn't necessarily mean that getting 7 hours is what caused longer life in those people. -R
Hey, Reno: Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that the interview you and W.D. Richter so graciously granted me after recording the DVD commentary will see the light of day in the April, 2002 issue (#82) of Video Watchdog Magazine, in the cover story no less. Of course, the use of Dr. Lizardo/John Whorfin on the cover for an article about Dr. Banzai is a little perplexing but does make for a striking image on the newsstand. To see Dr. Lizardo on the cover of Video Watchdog #82, go to http://www.cinemaweb.com/videowd/coming.html. -Sean Murphy
Way to go, Figment! -R
Dear Reno: THANK YOU for responding to my query about the possible early releases of the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama, and for consulting with Mr. Richter about it. I am certain I must have been at the screening he was talking about; the Copley Plaza is a VERY familiar place to me. I am very glad to know my photographic memory has not failed me in this particular instance, and I do feel lucky to have been there at such a seminal time in the history of the docudrama. Thanks again for settling the friendly debate! BBI Mesagirl
Dear Mesagirl: You're very welcome! I must admit I'm a little envious of you. Those were heady times, indeed. -R
Dear Reno: I have a question which has perplexed me for awhile, concerning the original release date of the documentary film on Buckaroo Banzai & the Cavaliers. If my memory serves me correctly, I first saw the film, in the theatre, during high school. I remember this, because in my yearbook quotes for that year, which was my senior year, I included the quote "Where are we going? Planet 10! When? Real soon!" along with other things which were of significance to me at the time. B.Banzai still is! The year was 1983. I know the official release date for the documentary is 1984; is it possible that there was a limited release in the Boston area sometime in 1983? I remember my friend Steve had a promotional BB kanji headband at the time, which I think he got from the movie company, as he was employed as a projectionist at the time.( He also had a nifty pre-release "Revenge of the Jedi" baseball cap; this was, of course, before the title to THAT film was changed to "Return".) I would appreciate any information you might have about this. It will help settle the matter once and for all in the ongoing friendly debate between myself and my husband. Thanks. Sincerely, BBI Mesagirl
Dear Mesagirl: I asked around and no one at the Institute seemed to remember anything about an early screening in Boston, not even Silver Fox himself. As a last restort, I checked with W.D. Richter, the director of the docudrama. He informs us that "I screened the film for friends in a Boston theater prior to its release, if memory serves (and it often doesn't)." Richter doesn't recall exactly when the screening was held, but notes that it was held at someplace called the Copley Plaza in (of course) the Copley Center in Boston. Catnip tells us that there was also a short trailer for the docudrama that was screened at a number of science fiction conventions prior to the film's release.-R
Dear Reno, What do you say to those who insist, even after the release of the special edition DVD, that the BB docudrama and novel are complete works of fiction? That Dr. Banzai, the Institute, the website, and even you are all figments of Earl Mac Rauch's imagination. As someone who looks to the figures of Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers as personal heroes, I find it distressing when confronted by some pedestrian to whom I can't offer what they will accept as "hard evidence" of the Banzai Institute's existence. Sincerely, Seth S.
Dear Seth; Sometimes I am tempted to blame this continuing misinformation on the minions of the insidious Hanoi Xan. But then I realize that some people need very little proding to believe the impossible or to deny the inescapable. Just ask Neil Armstrong. -R
Dear Reno: My name is Don Bassie and I am webmaster of Made in Canada: The Homepage for Canadian Science Fiction. The purpose of this email is to let you know that the REAL Buckaroo Banzai is alive and well and living in Canada under the name Isaac Szpindel. Isaac "Buckaroo Banzai" Szpindel is an author, screenwriter, film producer, electrical engineer, neurologist, a student of five styles of martial arts, speaks five languages and is an accomplished public speaker. Sincerely, Don Bassie
Dear Don: Thanks for the note and for the link. As amazing as the exploits of Dr. B. Banzai sometimes seem to the uninitated, remarkable individuals like Dr. Szpindel remind us that extraordinary accomplishments are within reach of all who are willing to expend extraordinary efforts. BBI Dragon's web page tells us of Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, another Banzai-like hero who was a noted neurologist, polar explorer, oceanographer, peacemaker, and Nobel laureate. And there's the peripatetic Dr. Richard Feynman, another Nobel Prize winner, whose many accomplishments included quantum electrodynamics, the Manhattan Project, the Rogers Commission for investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, who was a notorious bongo drum player. More on Feynman at http://www.feynmanonline.com -R
Dear Reno, Hello! How is everyone! I'm okay here, except that I've had so much coffee that I may achieve vibrational invisibility any moment now. I just want to say that the DVD is excellent! Besides the fact that the quality of the movie is better than I've ever seen it, the DVD has proven to be a veritable treasure trove on information regarding the World Crime League. I've done extensive research regarding the origins of this group of heinous criminals, particularly their connections with the ancient Ismaili sect known as the Hashishim, more commonly known as the Assassins. I have one question, though...is the fringe group known as the "Scottish Suicide Bagpipe Brigade" more commonly known as the "Clan MacKamikaze" affliliated with the World Crime League in any way? Cheers, and thanks! :) -Cait Sidhe
Dear Cait: That is something the folks at Interpol would like to know as well. -R
Dear Reno: Whatever happened to Perfect Tommy's project linking a Cray with a 1958 Hammond B-3 organ? Did he ever get the foot pedals working? Springfield
Dear Springfield: The foot pedals, while a major hurdle, were not ultimately the problem. All was well until the release of the Apple G-3, ultimately ending the career of the Cray except as a lovely C-shapped bench in the atrium. -R
Dear Reno: Is it true that drinking coffee helps prevent tooth decay? -Kimo B.
Dear Kimo: As unlikely as it may sound, there is some scientific basis for that claim. According to a report by Dr. Gabriella Gazzani of the University of Pavia in Italy, to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, bacteria in test tubes containing coffee were some 40% less likely to attach themselves to tooth material. Dark roasted beans were more effective than unroasted beans. Science marches on. -R
Dear Mr. Nevada: I know that Dr. Banzai has been a strong advocate of the European Union's proposed Galileo satellite navigation system, but I understand that there's still problems. What's the latest? -K Bodewig
Dear K: The good news is that the German government has just announced its support for the project. If successful, Galileo will provide services similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System, and would improve the efficiency and safety of Europe's air, land and maritime transport. -R
Cheers Reno, and thanks for passing along Buck's comments... As I'm sure you're aware, my S-F folks were successful with "Operation Papaya" in Uzbekistan and the Afghani children were amazed at those things dropping from the sky. The enzymes should help metabolize their systems quickly and even though they weren't watermelons, they were a vitamin-rich substitute that young and old were obviously grateful for. I had a Sergeant Major in the Chinook who complained about the mission the entire way, until he got a personal call from Buckaroo on my Go-Phone ... the SGM's eyes got as big as dinner plates! Got a question for ya though - are we mandated to invoke AR360-65 at this level? The Army Reg says embargo the story with the Field Press, but I'm thinking we could use the PR for our new BBI recruiting spot ... your guidance appreciated. -PRIDDYGIRL P.S. Kataka-San! Oh man - contact me via the World Watch Online E-Groups List. I'm on Commo Blackout for the next 2 weeks.
Dear Priddygirl: Glad to hear everything worked out. While I would remind everyone that regulations (especially AR360-65) are usually there for a reason, you are closer to the center of this one than I am. Progress over protocol. -R
Dear Reno, I finished your book and it's very good. I stayed up until almost 6:00 p.m. reading then, right when I had finished reading, it was dinnertime. -Fiona
Wow Fiona! High praise indeed! All I can say is thanks and tell your friends! If there is strong enough response, who knows what the Powers That Be at Pocket Books can be convinced to try... -R
Hey Reno: Can you recommend a good eats shack in Zhangmu? Thanks, BBI #2477, Souped-Up Jitney. P.S. Received a large box with your return address but it had none of the proper codes or clearances. Please advise.
Dear Jitney: B. Banzai always says, when in Zhangmu, go to the Friendship Bridge. The cluster of restaurants serve Nepalese meats, noodles, and beer prepared by local masters -- authentic to the last detail. As for the mysterious box, I'm assuming you put it in the vault until security could be confirmed. Leave it there. I'll give you a call on a secure channel later today to advise. -R
Dear Reno: Blue Blazer Sonar X here, Wanting to know if there's any truth behind the rumor about the U.S. Government soliciting Buckaroo to help in the fight against terrorism. until the end... Sonar X
Dear Sonar; While B. Banzai and all of us here at the Institute stand ready to aid our country in any and all ways possible, at this time that assistance encompasses only those extraordinary powers available to all citizens of the United States of America. -R
Greetings old friend! For quite some time now, on an irregular bases anyway, the Blue Blaze Irregulars have been casually meeting twice a week online to chat. We call them a "GABB" short for Gathering All Blue Blazes. These are informal chats among the ranks of Team Banzai, a chance to get to know your fellow teammates, share thoughts on just about any topic and have fun talking and joking around. All are welcome as long as some basic decorum is observed. For more information and updates as needed, the BBIs can go to: http://www.geocities.com/bbidragon/gophone/bbi_chats.html Thanks Reno, - BBI Dragon
Anything for you Dragon, you know that! I've stopped by these GABB sessions and even The Boss has been rumored to poke his head in from time to time (albeit under an anonymous nickname). Drop by, have a seat, and join in! -R
Dear Reno; I always loved the movie, though I only saw it on TV, which really butchered it, it now seems. Picked up a copy of the book in a used book store and found it quite nice...do you realize that the style is clearly Pulp? Anyway. Picked up the DVD and am quite enjoying it, the extras are great. But since you're going with the whole "this is a docudrama, based off of the truth, etc.," then you really shouldn't have pictures of Peter Weller in the movie then, should you, on the site? Doesn't that contravene the idea of the reality you're trying to convey? Just a question. But all in all, very cool, and great to see you guys back in action. -Todd Erickson
Dear Todd; The use of Peter Weller's image on the website no more interferes with the "reality" of life here at the Banzai Institute than did casting him in the docudrama in the first place. When the time came to make the film, several discussions occurred both here at the Institute and in Hollywood regarding the personal security of B. Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers should their likenesses become even more publicly available than they already are. The decision was made to cast an actor who portrayed the sense of Dr. Banzai more than physically resembling the man himself. The same is true for all the Cavaliers. For example, Clancy Brown, while a terrific actor and possessor of the same quiet gentlemanly nature as Rawhide, is in fact much better looking than the man himself. So you see, using the image of the actors on the web site simply continues the concern for our work and well being, as well as the amusing (if occasionally childish) conceit necessary for a project of this nature. -R
Dear Reno, Why didn't Buckaroo Banzai write the Buckaroo Banzai book? The DVD was great! I'm just starting the book, but it is still really cool! Fiona, Age 11.
Dear Fiona, There are days when I ask myself this very question. But the serious answer is that Doctor B. Banzai has precious little free time. If he isn't performing life-saving surgery or researching ground-breaking technology, he might be consulting with world leaders or delivering the keynote address at one of our country's fine universities. Also, I doubt his modesty would allow him to divulge some of the more important details since they highlight his own amazing skills and nearly unbelievable actions. -R
Dear Reno: I LOVED the new Buckaroo Banzai DVD!! I never saw the movie in the theater, so I've only seen it on TV in the pan-and-scan, chopped-up-to-make-more-room-for-commercials version. I must say that finally seeing it in widescreen letterbox was Fantastic! One question: My favorite "extra" on the disk is the amazing computer-generated Jet Car trailer. I know that the Banzai TV project is caught in "development hell", but could you PLEASE tell me what happened to the Space Shuttle and why Dr. Banzai had to save the astronauts? Please?? -Scott T.
Dear Scott: We all loved the Jet Car trailer, too, but I'm afraid that the circumstances surrounding the Space Shuttle landing sequence are something that NASA is not yet ready to allow us to release. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, we are confident that the appropriate clearances will be in place by the time that particular adventure reaches the public disclosure stage, but until then, please be patient. Oh, and I'm glad you enjoyed the DVD. -R
Reno, It's finally happened. For the Ericsson version of the Banzai Institute's patented Go-Phone, now known world wide as Cellular phone, is the ringtone of the BBI March:
a a b +#c p +#C +d +#c b p +#C p A b +#c +#c +#c +e +d +#c b p +#C p A p +#C b a pp B
Morgan over at alt.fan.buckaroo-banzai, started my journey with his Nokia version of the March:
8a1 8b1 8#c2 8- 4#c2 8- 8d2 8#c2 8b1 4#c2 8- 4a1 8b1 8#c2 8- 8#c2 8- 8#c2 8e2 8d2 8#c2 8b1 4#c2 4a1 4#c2 8b1 8a1 2b1
Have fun all! - BBI Komish
Dear Komish; Like Tang, Velcro, and the ball point pen, who would have thought a simple device created for a specific purpose would lead to such an incredible technological revolution. And now I can play the film's closing title march on my Go-Phone? Could it get any better than this? -R
Sorry Reno, not really intended for you, but I'll keep in touch...
Priddy! Howdaheckareya girl? I lost track of you and I been kinda worried about you, lady! You tell me you're on alert, and you vanish off the face of the earth. You don't call, you don't write. Sorry if I sound like your mom, (It's cold, dear. Have you got a little sweater?) Give me a buzz when you can. I've relocated since last we spoke, but the ol' Go-Phone is still 7211027. Hope the Halloween Honeymoon in Hawaii didn't get postponed when the fodder hit the intake. Take care, and don't break your timecode. -BBI Kataka, Cyclone Rangers
Passing the message along. -R
Hey Reno, good to see you back in action... and congrats on the new "Phoenix Paridigm" I hear you've been working on. ;-P I'm still a member in good standing with the Land Of The Morning Calm team over here (unless that little werewolf incident last year made 'em think twice) where righteousness is our business and business is g~o~o~d. I've already checked in with the BBIs at McMurdo Station and we're all good to go. When and where is the next impossibly fantastic adventure?! -PriddyGirl
Dear PriddyGirl; All reports are that you've been a busy lady since I saw you at the memorial. Buckaroo is still talking about the kind words you gave for your namesake. As for impossibly fantastic adventures, you know as well as I that such things lay just around every corner, over every hill, and under many a tuber. Keep your eyes peeled. R
Hey Reno, I was just checking out the list of this year's Grammy nominees and the HKC have been overlooked again. What gives? Riptide
Riptide, my old friend: As you know very well, the reward of music is in the performance, not in arbitrary prizes, so BB doesn't like to allow the Hong Kong Cavaliers to enter such contests, although Perfect Tommy has been known to submit an application or two on the sly. (Besides, we haven't cut a new album since "Echo Location.") R
P.S. Sharkey's reading over my shoulder and says to tell you Hey!
i Hao, Reno! Sorry I've been out of touch for a while. Things have been complex, and hadn't dropped by the site in an age. Great to see the updated look! Nice job! This version of the virtual Bunkhouse looks a lot better now. Thanks for cleaning up the neighborhood. The Cyclone Rangers recently had a get-together where we sat down and watched the DVD, (EARLY on January 2nd, when our trusty leader, the Rev. Bryian, stood out in front of the video store where his copy was reserved waiting for them to open.) Kudos there! It's great to see such massive support from the public on this. Bodes well for the potential series. Speaking of, tell Mac and Rick that I've got the remaining brothers from the Mystic Brotherhood of the Sacred B-Roll on stand-by. We're just waiting for the word, and we'll be there to crew the "Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries" production. And tell the boss-man that we haven't forgotten the aide the Banzai Institute gave us when the monastery was bombed. We'll make him look GOOD. Take care of yourself and don't be a stranger! My love to Sabine! Xia Xia! BBI Kataka, Cyclone Rangers Communications Engineer
Greetings Kataka. B. Banzai recalls with enthusiasm the adventures you had tracking down the duplicitous cretins who devastated your shrine of techno-worship and brotherly zeal. And Sabine smiled like a cat at the mention of your name. As for a new TV series, all we can do is wait for word to reach the powerful but often slow-moving lords of such things. In the meantime, stay alert, raise your glass, and keep the faith. -Reno
Reno; Q: The Beatles or the Stones? A: Booker T and the MGs. Be cool. -John L.
If you say so, John. -R
Dear Reno: I was watching the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama DVD (great disk, by the way!) and I ran into something weird. I was studying the archive of deleted scenes, and I somehow stumbled across an article about Perfect Tommy's watermelon tests. I explored a little more, and found a video clip with the guy who directed the movie talking even more about the infamous watermelon scene. My question is this -- Was this a mistake? It looks like this stuff should have gone in with the "Buckaroo Banzai Declasssified" documentary. What's happening? -Yvette A.
Dear Yvette: You have discovered what our friends at MGM Home Video call an "Easter egg." That's an undocumented little surprise hidden there for people to discover. With your sharp eyes and inquiring intellect, you should consider joining the Blue Blaze Irregulars. (That's not the only Easter egg on the disk, by the way!) -R
Dear Reno; How's about a job for me and a friend. I am a cook and he's a driver. I am not kidding man, how's about a gig. Your Friend, Miguel
Dear Miguel; We can always use a willing hand around here. Submit your application through the usual channels and we'll give it due consideration. -R
Dear Reno; Yep, I wanna join the Irregulars! Count me in. -Joeman P.S. What happened to Penny now?
Dear Joeman; Consider yourself counted. Welcome to the ranks of the Blue Blaze Irregulars. Keep in mind that this means you may be called upon at a moment's notice to aid B. Banzai or your fellow man. I know you're up for the task.
As for the fate of our beloved Penny, all I can say is what I have already revealed on the commentary track of the DVD. There are detractors who tell me even this was too much. To both groups who feel my information is inadequate, I appologize. Perhaps the entire story can be told at some future time. -R
Dear Reno: In the Eighth Dimension novelization, you set to the task of explaining the "Penny Paradox." I have studied and restudied the diagram on page 201 and I am still unclear. If Penny Priddy revolves around Buckaroo Banzai once every 28 days, yet always faces him while he turns in place, does it make a difference if he himself is revolving around the bus, the New Jersey complex, or Perfect Tommy? Felis Flanagan BBI #33
Greetings Feline One: Knowing you, as I do, I am going to presume that this is your oh-so-clever way of saying you did not understand the explanation and attending diagram. After interrogating B. Banzai, consulting our foremost astronomical and mathemical minds, as well as some of the country's top graphic artists and the editorial staff at Pocket Books (not to mention coin collectors) what you see is what you get. -R
Dear Reno: I thought that Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers were supposed to perform at the Super Bowl in New Orleans today? I watched the whole game but never saw any them. What happened? Did I go to the refrigerator at the wrong moment? - C.K. Holliday
Dear C.K.: Nope, you didn't miss anything. The good doctor and his merry men were called away at the last moment to deal with an urgent tuber crisis that had serious national security implications. Fortunately, Sir Paul immediately volunteered to fill in, for which we are all grateful. -R
Dear Reno; There is a threat to all humanity and in fact the whole universe...located in the desert just outside Palm Springs, CA in nothing short of a hellhole. In my travels I have encountered a vile evil in that town. The Inky Black Void. It has eaten the very soul of this town. Whenever I cross through this place it is as though the very darkness is trying to consume us all...light is swallowed by this void. I have reason to believe that whatever magicks or sciences that once held this evil at bay have now been broken, even now I can feel those icy tendrils seeking us out in fair Los Angeles. Please, it's important that Buckaroo is made aware of this abomination and helps us, if not destroy, at least contain this growing plague of darkness. Any help from the Hong Kong Cavaliers or the Blue Blaze Irregulars would be appreciated. Buckaroo Banzai you're our only hope. Your friend, Miguel
Dear Miguel; Many reputable organizations have also noticed the increase in paranormal activity in the California desert, but at this time there is no evidence linking it to any particular evil in any specific town. Expert theories point instead to a general malevolence pervading the entire area, perhaps from some outside source. When I spoke of your theories to Dr. Wilbur Faithson of the Chance Institute for Paranormal Research he said, "I've been to Palm Springs. Nice people. Nice hotels. Good golf. But the guy is right. Something stinks up there and it's not the lobster bisque." -R
Reno: I own the comic book to the docudrama, but you guys don't have any info about it on your site... what gives? - Peter Fehrs
Dear Peter: Scooter Lindley had originally planned to put scans of the comic book covers on this site, but Perfect Tommy practically came unglued when he learned of this plan. Seems Tommy is less-than-thrilled with the way he's drawn in the book. We all tried to convince him that if anyone should be upset, it should be Lewis Smith, not Tommy, but he just wouldn't listen. Anyway, Scooter tells me he's planning to sneak it in later, when the Perfect One isn't paying attention. -R
Reno of Memphis, I am from that fine city, "the Home of the Blues", Memphis, TN and I would love it if the Boss & the Hong Kong Cavaliers could make it there for the Memphis in May Music Festival. Maybe I could show you guys some of my old haunts and give the River City a taste of "Texas style" rock n roll. I know Dr. Banzai is a blues fan and he would definitely enjoy Beale Street. -Bluesman, BBI #1103
Dear Bluesman: Unfortunately current obligations in Arizona and Idaho prevent us from performing at the May Music this year. But Mrs. Johnson tells me we are on the schedule for next year's event. We may just take you up on the offer of a tour then, if it's still open. -R
Reno, I have a couple of questions regarding the high-impact produce project, specifically the fruit of the Citrullus lanatus vine. If these food items can withstand impact pressures up to 300,000 lbs. per square inch, how are people (especially those potentially weakened by malnutrition) supposed to open them to get at the edible portion? Food for thought. -Rednek of Laramie (not Cody)
There's a zipper on the side. -R
Reno, With all the work that's being done to the website these days, what are the chances of getting the Institute's e-mail server going so we can get "@banzai-institute.com" e-mail addresses? If not for convenience then at least for security purposes (everyone knows the Institute's mainframe is better protected than NORAD.) -Riptide, BBI #2708
Greetings Riptide; Scooter and the other computer geniuses around here tell me it is for exactly the security reasons you mention that we cannot implement this otherwise superlative idea at this time. The concern is that providing such access might result in an incident not unlike the Billy Traverse business. If our Code Warriors manage to solve this problem in the future, we will announce it here first. -R
Dear Mr. Reno: What is your pick for the upcoming Super Bowl? - The Goose
Dear Goose: I'd have to go with the McMurdo Penguins over the Tycho Craters. -R
Greetings: Just read an article that states that Amazon has reported it's *first ever* net profit. What's different about that last quarter than all the other time that Amazon has been in business? Buckaroo! Amazon reports a profit when the novel re-release and DVD release comes out. A coincidence?? I think not! -Later... ArcLight, BBI#621
Dear Arclight: Thanks for sharing the great news about Amazon! The business pundits at CNBC may dispute the causal relationship between BB and Amazon's newfound success, but how can you argue with cold, hard facts?! Especially since the DVD has consistently been in Amazon's top ten! -R
Dear Reno: I see someone else is an avid fan of MASH too... Just scrolling through the postings and found that litle gem! Love the DVD (love it more when I get a player) and the reissue of the book, and eagerly await more published works from the Boss. Sincerely yours, Kevin Marshall (BBI B-side)
Dear B-side: Yes, we're all happy with the way the new projects are going. Other than that, I'm not sure what you mean... -R
Dear Reno: Please send my thanks to Mr. Rauch and Pocket Books for reissuing The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai novel. My copy was literally falling apart becasue I read it so many times. It was reaching the point where I almost didn't dare to touch it. This time I've learned my lesson. I got a copy to read, and an extra copy to save for posterity. Now, with all the good news about the novel and the DVD I don't want to seem like an ingrate, but I have a question. When is the next novel coming out? We all know that the good Doctor has not been idle all these years, and I think it's high time that more of his adventures should be set down on paper. -BBI Sausage
Dear Sausage: I'm afraid that I'm sworn to secrecy regarding any specifics of the next chapter in the saga of Dr. B. Banzai. All I can say is that some rather alarming events in the recent past require public disclosure in greater detail than the popular news media have been inclined to provide, and that the Boss has asked Earl Mac Rauch and I to remedy the situation. -R
Dear Reno: Thanks to Doctor Banzai and everyone at the Institute for expediting the shipment. Please tell Pecos that ten canisters was just about enough. The petroleum-eating microbes sure did the trick. And to put your mind at ease, all our remaining tankers are being retrofitted with double-hulls and state-of-the-art navigation equipment, at the recommendation of our attorneys at Gage-Whitney. Edward Moss, Boatload Drilling, Inc.
Dear Mr. Moss: We're glad to hear the oil spill is under control. Pecos asks that you keep her posted on the breakdown rate of the suspension. But remember, just because it's easier to clean up your mess, doesn't mean you shouldn't be more careful. The numbers of our sea life are finite. As is the planet itself. -R
Dear Reno: Greetings from a BBI in England- After making do with an old videotape (on Betamax, no less) for many years, I am now the proud owner of the new DVD. Yes, I know I'm in the wrong region to watch DVDs from the United States, but you don't think that's going to stop a Blue Blaze Irregular, do you? It does my old heart proud to see what a fine job has been done on it - jolly well done! I only discovered the new Institute site after reading the extras on the DVD. I'd no idea that I'd been missing out. Regards to one and all! -Chris
Dear Chris- I can tell by the tone of your letter that you're an upright, law-abiding citizen and would never, never, ever violate international trade agreements by viewing an illegally imported DVD, or hacking the regional encoding on an otherwise legal DVD player. Right? R
P.S. But thanks for the kind words about the site and the DVD.
Reno: It's great to see such renewed activity on the boards. Please pass my kudos onto Scooter for the improvements to the site. A couple of things: First, during the lecture by W.D. Richter on the DVD, Mr. Richter holds up a rock (reportedly the selfsame rock held by Peter Weller during the dramatized press conference) and claims it is from the Eighth Dimension. Now, my memory for trivial details may be at fault here, but I don't recall that rock coming from the Eighth Dimension at all. I seem to recall Buckaroo using the rock as an example of solid matter, and what he had to pass through in the jetcar. Please correct me if I am wrong. Secondly, I received a postcard recently from John T. He's putting the final polish on his second doctoral thesis and was hoping to discuss a few points with you or Perfect Tommy but he can't get a secure line out of Uzbekistan. If you get a chance, he was hoping you could give him a SAT call from the bus. You have the number. Thanks. Tink says "hi". -Shadow, BBI#615
Dear Shadow: YOUR memory for trivial details? Faulty? Never happen. But in this multi-faceted world (or worlds?) in which we live, many things can be true at once. The morning of the filming of the press conference scene, a package arrived for me at the Hollywood Arms Hotel containing that rock and a note from B. Banzai asking that it be substituted for the prop rock. It wasn't until my afternoon go-phone call to the Institute that Buckaroo told me that Sam had found that rock wedged under the bumper of the jetcar during his post-experiment forensic inspection. Spectrographic analysis determined it had not come from the mountain, but from one of the almost fluidic formations in the Eighth Dimension. I passed this fact along to W.D. Richter and at the end of the day he tried to give the rock back but I saw no reason not to let him keep it. If you ever get a chance to visit his amazing back yard, you'll see he has a thing for stones.
And not to seem abrupt, but the scrambled microwave uplink is not maintained for the purpose of helping Dr. Tuttle with his homework. -R
Dear Reno: I'm on level 97 of Buckaroo Banzai and the Lost Brain of Zhuangzi and I love the game, but I'm stuck. I've found the road to the Fields of Re-Unremembering, and deciphered the song of the Venerable Bede, but now I can't seem to make the leap from the ledge onto the ghost of Trigger. My Zen points are high enough and I've tried to stop trying, but nothing works. Is there something I'm missing? -Dr. Pioter Yaychdee, BBI #4,208
Dear Doctor: You're not missing anything that wasn't also missed by everyone here except Perfect Tommy and the Boss himself (And Scooter, of course. But that hardly counts since he wrote the game). By way of a clue, turn to page 47 of the newly released novelization. Now, in the game, step onto Shiva's Cosmic Dance Floor. Two choices will appear. To make your selection, use the Shadow's All Knowing Eye (which you should still have from the Lamonty Hall). You're on your own from there. By the way, the Institute record for recovering Zhuangzi's brain and returning it to the Gods of Strata is currently held by Wheldon with a time of 47 hours, 33 minutes, 56 seconds; besting Tommy's time by a good 14 minutes. (The Perfect One got hung up in Denial River.) -R
Dear Reno: OK, I know this is bad timing what with the DVD just coming out, but is there any way to get the Boss to convince the members of the Clash to do a reunion show? All I know is that if I ever saw an HKCav/Clash show, I could die one very happy little boy... -MSauer
Dear Mike: I'm all but certain that the Cavalier/Clash rumor started when Perfect Tommy and Joe Strummer took over the living room during a party at Glen Matlock's flat, regalling the other guests with a new wave version of "Little Darlin'." Despite lots of talk (often over drink, less when sober), no official joining of the two bands is in the offing. As for a simple Clash reunion, we can all only hope. -R
Dear Reno: What is the recovery progress of the ill-fated Dr. E. Lizardo? You mention in your re-telling of the actual events (I hesitate to refer to it as a "novelization" since it is the fount from which the film drinks) that the good doctor went mad as a result of his experience(s?!). What is the nature of his psychosis? How does it manifest? Is the general public in any danger from this most tragic of men? (I use the term "tragic" simply to emphasize my compassion for Lizardo, not in the classic sense, for he did not make a free choice to fall from good to evil). Have any memories of the "8th Dimension" or his time with Whorfin resurfaced? Also, I was disappointed to learn of the Rugsuckers non-existence. But then, the things I don't know are often more interesting than the things I do. -Scott
Scott, you haven't changed a bit. I do dig the way you pile on words. But you of all people should know any discussion of Lizardo's prognosis, recovery and/or relapse is strictly between him, his doctors, and the Warden. And those reports of sightings in Idaho are almost completely unfounded. -R
Dear Mr Nevada-Memphis: I'm really thrilled to hear that Earl Mac Rauch's Buckaroo Banzai novel is back in print. Years ago, I loaned my precious copy to a friend, and I never saw it again. So I am really looking forward to getting a copy for myself again. Problem is that I've been checking Book Barn twice a week, and they don't have it. What gives? I'm tired of waiting! -BBI Waterwog
Dear WW: First of all, I think you need to reevaluate your choice of friends. Second, relax! Buckaroo Banzai has already reached bookstores in some major North American cities, but the distribution chain does take a while to reach everywhere. A gentle word in the ear of your bookstore manager might remind him or her that you're anxiously waiting. Of course, if you're really anxious, you might get it a little faster by ordering it online, although as you know, the Boss always encourages his friends to patronize their local small business establishments. (Or you could do like Scooter, who bought a copy from Amazon.com, AND a copy from the Institute bookstand.) -R
Dear Reno: In the DVD subtitles, Pinky makes reference to Jerry Segal who was one of the designers of the jet-car replica for the docudrama as having gone on to work with the Institute on a top-secret project "involving scooters". Is there any relation between this top-secret project and Dean Kamen's Segway (otherwise known as "IT")? - The One True b!X
Dear b!X: I'm not at liberty to share details at this time. Indeed, I'm not sure I understand the gyroscopic sciences well enough to even begin to do so. I also can not confirm nor deny that Mr. Segal and Mr. Kamen have ever met, much less discussed the concepts of applying rocket-thrust technology to a portable transportation device with applications in both the consumer market and the defense industry. But I can tell you, the prototype Segway that Kamen loaned us sure makes it easier to get around Complex 88! -R
Dearest Reno- I must admit how lovely it is to FINALLY see the documentary on DVD. I have moved to Central Florida and am pursuing life at full speed, and am wanting to look up an old friend or two. Loved seeing Silver Fox on the DVD, nice to see he's still kicking at warp speed, and of course hearing Catnip was a pleasure. Can you pass a hello to Silver Fox from Ms. Greenskates, that friend of Atlas'? I have lost touch with Atlas, sadly, but when I find her, we'll watch the documentary together and toast happier times with our supply of fermented mare's Milk. - Ms. Greenskates, Former Leader-Broward Bomadier Squad of the Mid Miami Blue Blaze Irregulars.
Ms. G: There was a time when it seemed like it would be easier to storm Sabbah armed only with a jalapeno than to bring the docudrama to DVD. We are, to say the least, tickled with all the positive response. I've forwarded your message to The Silver One, though as we speak he is the throes of an article for Wild Storm Comics about "Eight-Legged Freaks," so there is no telling when he'll remember to check his mail! -R
Hey Reno: Good to see the website get a facelift, way cool. Love the DVD - made me miss the Institute terribly... especially when I saw the old editing room Rick was sitting in... many memories of that place. Glad all's well... say hello to everyone for me... especially Mrs. J. And on a more personal note... please pass on a big happy howdy to Catnip. All my best, BBI Clyde von Drake
Dear CVD: The mixing room misses you, too Clyde (and Mrs. Johnson wants to know when you'll be back for some cinnamon buns.) But our loss is Hollywood's gain. Did I see your name on The Majestic? For the information of newcomers to our little corner of this docudrama we call "life," Clyde von Drake is an aural artist of the highest caliber! Get a cup of Karakoumiss in him sometime and ask the best way to flush a microphone down the toilet. I'll pass along your howdy as soon as Catnip returns from training for the Iditarod. -R
Dear Reno: Who is this "Britney Spears," and what happened to Bob Marley and Harry Belafonte? - John Peenyakolahdah, Black Lectroid Ambassador to the Third Dimension
Dear John: Far be it from any of us to say that young Britney is not talented. There was a time when she had to choose between a internship with us, and the life of a Mouseketeer. Life presents us all with many forks in the rough, rocky road. But I do know what you mean. My father used to ask me the same thing about Bob Marley as he pined for Glen Miller. -R
Dear Reno: Since you choose to not answer my requests through normal channels, I am posting this here. I know it seems like time has slowed in Manhattan these days, but I assure you we at Pocket Books have not. The Mayor has urged us to move forward with our lives and we are taking him at his word. So will you PLEASE find time to review Mr. Rauch's manuscript? The rerelease of the docudrama novelization has had a tremendous response and we'd like to proceed with the new publications as soon as possible. As always, thank you.
Hey Margaret! I hate seeing your face all fuchsia like that, so ok. Mac's pages are on my desk (well, most of them, anyway) and I'm sure they're fine. That boy can strike a prose almost as well as I. Assuming the planet is not threatened, some scientific breakthrough doesn't shatter our understanding of the universe, or we don't have a gig scheduled, I should have the manuscript in the FedEx pouch Real Soon. By the way, you misspelled re-release. -R
Dear Reno: I'm very happy to see this site running again! I had not given up on it (I checked it every month or so). The changes are great. It looks much better, and loads much faster. So, with the DVD and new-format novel now out in the public, will there be a soundtrack? That would be the ultimate. -BBI Crazy Horse
Dear Crazy Horse: Thanks for the kind words about the revamped site. A publicly and legally available soundtrack for the docudrama has proven one of life's most desired and elusive rewards. As you say, the novelization has been reissued, and the film has been expanded and enhanced onto DVD. All we can do is remember the oft-quoted words of B. Banzai: "The only reason for time is so everything doesn't happen at once." And be patient. (In the meantime, there's Neil Norman's cover of the opening and closing theme on GNP Crescendo Records' Science Fiction Greatest Hits, Volume 4.) -R
Dear Reno: I've been a follower of the Institute since the movie came out. I have a couple of questions... If the Lectroids emit electric brainwashing which is airborne, why didn't the President see John Parker as he truly is when he viewed him on the TV phone on that fateful day so long ago? Also, though you might be the wrong person to ask for obivious (and none of my business) reasons, are there any existing photos of Pecos? I've seen other, unofficial sites which show a picture of Michelle Yeoh and refer to it as Pecos, but this will not do. Anything? Thanks, Scott
Dear Scott: I must say, as complicated as it may sound, your first question is the easier of the two. The actual dispersal mechanism of the Lectroid camouflage is still a bit of a mystery. For reasons of her own, John Emdall was reluctant to provide us with information beyond what Professor Hikita had already divined. The most obvious means is, as you say, airborne (which I go into in great detail in the docudrama novelization which in itself is a layman's summary of the Professor's research published in the Journal of Applied Neurophysiology [Feb., 1985]). However, since the functionality is essentially electronic in nature, it is not inconceivable that the camouflage works over televised signal. The experiments which have been conducted (albeit limited due to the lack of living Lectroid test subjects) seem to indicate this is the case, although it works better using certain models of television compared to others. For example, the camouflage was least effective on more recent Sony televisions, and not at all over the Fox Network. As for my most beloved friend Pecos, leave us say that she is camera shy. -R
Dear Reno: Will The Hong Kong Cavaliers be performing at Austin's SXSW Music Festival this March? I always seem to miss their gigs, and would love to see them play live. -Ken
Dear Ken: Unfortunately, we were not invited back to SXSW again this year, due to the, um, "unfortunate" events in 1998. The good news is, the half-life was only one year. And, for the record, let me say again that it was NOT my fault. Who knew that unsysmmetrical dimethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide would explode quite so violently? (Besides Perfect Tommy, I mean.) -R
Reno: Great to see some activity with the site again. I only hope the day will soon come when Team Banzai can release details of what's been keeping them so busy lately. As I write this, the DVD is number 5 on Amazon's top seller list, with positive reviews cropping up everywhere. Good job, gang. Here's to Team Banzai in the year 2002 and beyond! Later...ArcLight, BBI#621
Hey Arclight! And a grand tip of the hat to you as well. For those who don't know, Arclight was not only an important element in getting the docudrama DVD off the ground, he also coordinates a veritable hive of information, not the least of which is an on-line newsletter and mailing list. One would do well to visit http://www.worldwatchonline.com. -R
Dear Reno: I've been enjoying the new DVD, especially the subtitle track of "Unknown Facts." In there, it's noted that the song you guys are playing in Arties Artery is called "Rocket 88" and was inspired by the Bill Haley song. But I thought Jackie Brenston wrote that tune. Anyway, great DVD. I know it'll go platinum. -Li'l Jordan - BBI #987 1/2
Dear Jordan: I had to go to Pinky Carruthers himself for the answer to this one. The Undisputed Master of Unknown Facts says we are both right and we're both wrong. "Rocket 88" was written by Ike Turner as a syncopated tribute to the 1951 Oldsmobile 88. The Olds Rocket V8 engine was standard on what was probably the fastest American car available at the time. Jackie Brenston was a singer and tenor sax player with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm band. He recorded the vocals when Sam Phillips' recording studio cut the single of "Rocket 88." But for some reason, when Phillips shipped the recording to Chess Records, he listed it as "Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats," which is how it was ultimately released. Brenston was also erroneously given writing credit on the song. But the arrangement that the Hong Kong Cavaliers plays was inspired by the Bill Haley cover of the song, also released in 1951. -R
Dear Reno: I was watching the widescreen DVD with my family, and now my eight-year-old daughter wants a toy OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER "like the man in the sweater has." She also got very excited at the footage of Mr. Jein building the Lectriod spacecraft, thinking that it was a commercially available model. Is there any chance I'll be saved from her wrath come next Christmas? - Marvin Frosta
Dear Marvin: There have been several meetings about the possibility of merchandising miniature replicas of the vehicles seen in the docudrama. Up until now, B. Banzai has been less than satisfied with the quality of the samples produced by any of the bidding companies. That, balanced against concerns of producing too accurate a model of, for example, the Jetcar which might compromise national security by allowing the enemies of freedom to discern some of its design secrets, have delayed actual production of any products.
As for the OVERTHRUSTER, Buckaroo leveled his steel blue eyes on me and said simply, "That is not a toy." -R
Mr. Of Memphis: We have confiscated what we believe to be the last copies of the specified "squish" video through legal and peaceful means and will dispose of same per your instructions. This concludes our contract. You will be billed within 30 days. Please contact us again if we can be of any assistance on future matters. Sincerely: Anthony, Luigi, and Pascal Colodni
Scooter: Please delete this from the Bunkhouse ASAP and make sure these get routed through Mrs. J. in the future. -R
Dear Reno: In the book and the movie you're called Reno Nevada. On the DVD commentary track you call yourself Reno of Memphis. What gives, ya mook? - J. Brosnin BBI #426
Dear Mr. Brosnin: You must keep in mind that, until now, I did not "call myself" anything. One name was given to me by my parents. The other came from B. Banzai himself. To address your question, in my short lifetime, I have seen the world change. I have learned that each man can be something more than he is, if he chooses to be. If you put your heart and soul into it, you can change the world. While I am obviously not from Memphis Tennessee, I chose the name Memphis because I'd like to be from Memphis. -R
Dear Reno: I was stunned to hear the news about Penny. Can you tell us if there will be a public memorial service? - Tink, BBI #719
Dear Tink: Good to hear from you again. Hope you're keeping that Shadow in line. Yes, it's true about Penny. The Boss was somewhat upset when he heard the master tape of the DVD commentary track, after all the trouble we'd taken to keep it from the tabloids, as well as the more cooperative mainstream press. While I might be deserving of a reprimand, I felt it was a secret no longer requiring darkness. Since the intention was to keep her funeral from becoming the media circus we encountered at Peggy's service, and that time is now past and her final resting place is as secure as such places can be, B. Banzai agreed to allow the recording to be released as it is. -R
Reno: Persistent rumors from the future - @1000 years future! - place Dr. Banzai, you, and the rest of the Team Banzai fellowship, on a planet called New Avalon, in a political entity called "The Federated Suns" and teaching at a facility called the New Avalon Institute of Science. Can you shed some light on this sighting? Also, based on the reported curriculum, can you procure some admissions forms? -James Santini
Dear James: As I understand your question, you have access to information from some future timeline in which Institute Fellows are involved in interplanetary research and/or teaching. At this current time and place, there have been no discussions or plans that might lead us down that path. On the other hand, since time is fluid; constantly ebbing and flowing with every flutter of a butterfly's wing, who am I to say whether your information is completely correct or if you should seek a different kind of advice from someone more accomplished in the psychiatric sciences?
On the other hand if you're as avid a fan of Battletech as Buckaroo is, then yes. He was pretty tickled to see that, too. -R
Dear Reno: I was watching the docudrama DVD (great disk, by the way!), and I noticed something strange. When I played the director's commentary track, it was strangely absent from the first few minutes, then it suddenly cut in with Mr. Richter describing the blockhouse at the test site. No "hello," or any introduction. Did I miss something? -BBI Sharkey
Dear Sharkey: Nope, you didn't miss anything. You had selected the "Extended Version" of the docudrama. When you do so, the first four minutes or so are the original version of the film's opening, featuring the never-before-released scene with Jamie Lee Curtis as Buckaroo's mother. This scene has no commentary, so all you hear is the film's soundtrack. After the titles, the DVD switches back to the original version, so at that point, you'll hear the director's comments, if you have that feature selected. To hear W.D. Richter's and my comments from the beginning, be sure to select the "Theatrical Version" of the film. -R
Subject: Re: Next week's tour
From: Mrs. Johnson
Date: December 18, 1998
Reno- Please be more clear. Is this tour a "holiday in Tucson," or AT the Holiday Inn, Tucson?
Subject: Power Shutdown
From: Pinky Caruthers
Date: December 17, 1998
ATTENTION ALL! The primary power grid will be shut down for three minutes this coming Thursday at 4:27 AM. This will include all standard lights, appliances, and wall outlets. Be sure all computer and MIDI data is saved by that time. It will NOT include the air circulation system, the mainframe, or the RH-1 cryogenics. And if I find anyone tapping into these systems to run his blow dryer this time, I may have to rearrange his "perfect" closet!
Subject: Re: First Draft
From: Reno Nevada
Date: December 17, 1998
Rick and Mac: I'm forwarding our notes on the script for the Buckaroo Banzai Series pilot. Outstanding work. The Boss' comments are in blue. Mine are in red. A reminder to run this past the legal eagles at I.P.G. Again, great job!
Subject: Re: Institute Christmas Party
From: Perfect Tommy
Date: December 16, 1998
Reno Nevada wrote:
>>>>>But this only makes sense if you accept Gottshalks' theory of recurring mortality.
>>>>And Gottshalks' theory only makes sense from the bottom of an outhouse.
>>>OK, boys. I think this thread has sunk about as low as it can, don't you?
>>She's right. What's lower than the bottom of an outhouse?
>The multiple levels of hell postulated by Dante Alighieri?
Yeah, but let's be accurate. That wasn't so much "hell" as Purgatory. Didn't you read Huntington's Treatise on Dante; "Inferno Schminferno" (Harvard, 1943)?
Subject: My candy dish!
From: Billy Travers
Date: December 15, 1998
Who ate all the blue M&Ms?
Subject: Re: Magic Box Technology
From: Reno Nevada
Date: December 15, 1998
>If Overthruster mechanics is simply a matter of connecting the dots, shouldn't they be numbered?
This was considered for some time to be the "Occam's Razor" of a functional Overthruster. But in the end, it was deemed too hazardous for the numbers themselves; colliding and blowing each other up in a burst of energy like that.
Subject: Re: Toys for Tikes
From: Buckaroo Banzai
Date: December 10, 1998
Mrs. Johnson wrote:
>Captain Osborne asked me to thank everyone, and let you know the P.F.D. Toys for Tikes drive was a huge success, largely due to the Cavaliers' personal appearances at the collection sites.
The Phoenix BBIs deserve a lot of the credit for organizing everything and keeping the coffee hot. Thanks to all.
Subject: Spring Wedding
Date: December 4, 1998
Just double checking that you guys got our wedding invitation. Haven't received the RSVP yet. JediWoman & I are looking forward to seeing you.
Subject: The Pilot
Date: November 25, 1998
Just wanted to say congratulations on completion of the pilot script for the Banzai series. We're all behind you, Rick and Mac on this exciting new project. It'll be just like old times, right Reno? Can we get a real budget for photocopies this time?
Subject: To all Rocket Scientists
From: Perfect Tommy
Date: November 20, 1998
WANTED: One (1) low-temperature hydrogen intake coupling with counter-clockwise threading and inverted sprockets. Must have original serial number.
Subject: Re: Nighttime sightings
Date: November 15, 1998
O.K. people -- I checked with the Wildlife Service. There are NO wolverines in the Arizona desert. So can we let this DROP?!
Subject: Re: The Pitch
From: Reno Nevada
Date: November 14, 1998
New Jersey wrote:
>>The photos from Middleman are posted on the bulletin board in the Main Hall. Please keep in mind, these are _very_ early concepts.
>It's not that I don't appreciate their hard work, but don't you think the potato guns look too realistic? The actual one was more ... I don't know ... wacky.
Certain concessions must be made to the "creative" people in the film industry. I'll talk to Rick and Mac.
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