Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Just asking, cuz I have hugs to burn. And because I have the warm fuzzies for readers of this blog, I thought I'd give y'all first dibs. Any takers?

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Are you receiving this transmission? Sorry for the recent static, but normal programming was interrupted by trips, and books, and paying the bills. This interference was only a test.

But return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, for some audio video fun, and no further commercial interruptions...

The thrifts can be a pretty confusing place when it comes to audio and video electronics. Usually they're piled in a jumble in a dark corner.

Oh sure, you can spot a fantastic 40s cathedral radio from a mile a way. (for the audiophiles, no, I don't think it worked -- there were plenty of spiders in the back too!)

But in terms of confusion, what with so many eras, this old school (grade school -- that is) turntable was labeled "CD Player -As Is" on the tag. Can't get that Slow-Jams CD to play? Well I think you're doing it wrong.

Now I can dig this solid state, transistorized, AM-FM radio receiver...

But I can't quite wrap my head around the AIR, W B, or PBH channels. And what the funk is squelch anyway? Do we want more squelch or less? It looks like they set it to medium squelch, that seems safe, I guess.

Too many technical choices for you? Then what about a leather-bound Silvertone 600 Transistor? If you think wood makes electronics classy, then you'll love horsehide.

Okay, I know I said no commercial interruptions, but A) I'm an f-ing liar and B) How could I not hit pause on the DVR, click a picture, and post this delightful picture for you. For some drug that stops you from pissing too much. Not for the discomfort, mind you, but so you don't have to deal with the bald, chubby pervert rubbing urine, excrement and other bodily no-nos onto his scalp. Thank god they have a drug for that. I can't wait to turn 50-something and worry so damn much about pissing around strangers.

Back to audio delights. From pee-pee perverts to Uncle Don's Play-land. Maybe I'll stick with the pee guy.

Given that watching gold is so freakin' boring and playing golf is often marked by sun-strokes and mosquitos' bites, I'm just wondering if this LP is trying to put you to sleep or keep you out of a golf-induced coma. If the latter, Larry Clinton better be playing something a little more up-tempo than what I bet a musician named Larry Clinton would play.

Who wouldn't want to turn their Hi-Fi into a "psychoacoustic device"? You had me at "better than booze and safer than pot." Was pot really that dangerous back in the day? "Hey, down in front! Hey naked lady, we're trying to watch our family slide show!"

Here's a fun one for your next record party. Do-you-want-to-play-a-game? Okay, get out on the floor and let's perceive if y'all have motor rhythm. I dunno, they look pretty stiff to me, especially the green people. Somebody get these kids some pot!

You know, I have attained a few honors in my day, bookmark award winner, honor society in 7th and 8th grade, member in good standing of both the G.I. Joe and the Back to the Future fan clubs. But I've never reached the pinnacle of skeezer pleezer. Maybe I should walk around with my shirt off more. Being an 80s black teenage rapper probably would help as well.

This picture I call Twilight of the Gods on Vinyl on Vinyl, Salvation Army 3:43 PM. Got a better caption?

Now the audio enclave doesn't have a monopoly on dazed and confused. Let's saunter on over into the video department.

Learn typing from a Viking DVD? For the kiddies? Is that the bone-crushing, village-torching, rape-everything-that-moves, let's-call-the-land-of-ice-Greenland-and-the-fairly-hospitable-place-Iceland-just-to-hide-from-the-Vikings kind, or the lovable-Hagar-the-Horrible kind? Just wondering.

Oh what treasures the thrifts stores yield. No only does one get three (3!) color episodes from Clint Howard's early TV career (swoon!), but what better video lesson could you order up for your kids than one that proves that grizzly bears make great pets for eight-year-olds?

So what do Fritz Weaver, Slim Pickens, Bart Starr, shrimp fishermen, old alligators, and the Green Bay Packers all have in common? They were all apparently whores for 60s primetime TV dreck. Sorry to shock all the Slim Pickens and Fritz Weaver fans out there. I think the cheese heads already knew where they were coming from.

(In a side note: you see tits briefly in Captain Ron. It's true. Parents be warned. Things I Learned as a Video Store Clerk #433)

Now, one thing you see a lot of is personal video tapes from the 80s. I usually try to snag them because for around a dollar you can get a cheap thrill by scanning for retro-commercials and other past memories. Things I have learned: George Plimpton was once the spokesman for Intellivision, William Shatner the shill for the Vic 20, and there were competing alcoholism detox companies that ran ads during ABC's Monday Night Movie (Dr No!) in Christmas of '82 here in sunny Kal-ee-fornia.

I collect content, but I bet there are those that go for the low-rent aesthetics of the VHS sleeves from this period. Take this prime example. Hmm, Goldstars are good, very good. STDs are bad, very bad. (When exactly did STD enter the lexicon for "crotch bugs"?) Early 80s packaging is so quaint.

Speaking of diseased private parts, RAKS sounds like a horrible and contagious rash. (Runaway Acne on your K--- Syndrome?) .

Billy: Hey, dad, it burns when I pee.
Dad: Young man, you have an acute case of genital RAKS.
Billy: Gee, Pop, does this mean I won't be able to play in Saturday's baseball game?
Dad: Not to worry, son, just rub some Techroma (R) with E195 (TM) on the affected area and It'll be fine.
Billy: Swell!
Dad: Oh, just lay off it for a few days and the swelling will go down.

This concludes this episode of Awkward & Hackneyed Fifties Theater.

Not that Quasar sounds much better than RAKS. Sounds like a 70s put-down: "Don't touch my disco record, you quasar!"

I know, I know it's supposed to sound spacey-space age. In fact, a quasar is, according to

one of over a thousand known extragalactic objects, starlike in appearance and having spectra with characteristically large redshifts, that are thought to be the most distant and most luminous objects in the universe

Right. So Goldstar was taken already, huh? Hey, didn't Quasar make microwaves too? Maybe it was wristwatches.

So one also sees a lot of torturous exercise videos. You know, the Buns of Steel, Necks of Wood, Brains of Cement type. Usually a perky smiling leotarded dominatrix super vixen. Who will gleefully drive your ass into the floor with deep-knee-bends while bad 80s synth music sets the right ambiance. That's why those videos are now in thrift stores and not on your TV shelf. (Although a little Denise Austin every now and again was never a bad thing. Hubba-hubba.)

But in Sit and Be Fit I think I've found a workout I can actually stick to...

Yep, looks like my kind of exercise regimen. Except for all that crazy arm waving. A fella's libel to work up a sweat doing that! Watch out, grandpa, you're going to knock over that rhododendron!

So we've already established that I buy home-taped retro TV (the MPAA would call that piracy, I believe). But it's also hard for me to pass up bad sci-fi, especially the post-apocalyptic type. Especially, especially if the "future" is already our past. Escape 2000 indeed.

Now being reared on video stores (does anyone still go to a "video store"? Does anyone still watch "videos"? Oh, how the world has spun and left me here.) Anyhoo, having suckled on the teat of half-inch VHS, I early on knew that the promises held out by the box art on the cover of a sci-fi, action, and horror VHS tapes were seldom delivered once popped into the top-loader.

Dude, I can't wait till the ninja kick-boxes the giant devil snake and the undead Nazi army, just like it was on the box!

I really want to believe that Escape 2000 delivers the goods. I mean c'mon you've got Steve "Charlie Manson" Railsback. It's on the Embassy Home Entertainment label (Zapped! anyone?).

There's apparently a fantastic chase sequence with a shirtless Railsback (is he a skeezer pleezer?) a laser shooting F-15-ish future jet fighter (nice job drawing that one), an evil black helicopter (gotta have one of those), is that an evil tractor in the background? Ooh, a dark fascist pyramid, not to mention the post-apocalyptic zombies (or are they just scared of the helicopters and the dark pyramid and the bulldozer?). I can already hear the bad synth music. 99 cent rental be damned! Year 2000 (by way of 1984) here I come!

Now usually the veil of disbelief isn't pierced until the video is at home and spinning on the VCR heads. But with Escape 2000 you can't even get past the paragraph on the back of the box...

You see, the mother f-er isn't even set in 2000! No, the geniuses at Embassy Home Entertainment, synopsis writing division, chose 1995 for their rent me tonight blurb for Escape 2000. Wah? Who gives a shite about 1995? That's not an apocalyptic future. That's O.J. on trial, Oklahoma City Bombing, and bad Bryan Adams torch songs. Bad, but not the apocalypse. Colossal 80s VHS fail, guys.

Ah, well, you can always make your own entertainment. Skulls, food on the TV and rock and roll! I bet this garage band rocked. Or sucked. I can't decide.

Or, you could get even more back to the roots. Anybody see the Twilight Zone about the haunted piano? Isn't this it?

By the way: why do thrift store pianos always say DON'T TOUCH ? Are they worried about drowning out the sound of all the crying babies and the Jesus Loves Me-Muzak on infinite loop? Maybe I'm the type of jerk they wrote the sign for but I always touch the piano. Always.

And so should you, apparently. That is if you want to be a skeezer pleezer, and I know you do.

This now concludes this broadcast day.