Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have a new love. It's a beat-up, gloriously oxidized 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser. Just look at that face. Can you blame me?

Oh, the chunky, solid, tank-like design. Even that pseudo-Afrika Korps/ Desert rats Tunisia-cum-Tuscon khaki tan paint makes me swoon. Pure 1971 magic. And thanks to the detailed specification plate welded to the door we know it was assembled in March of 1971 (a temporal moment near and dear to my heart).

Truth be told I don't even drive stick and I have no idea if this thing even runs without spewing blue smoke or blowing a gasket. Probably doesn't even go more than 44 mph.

But you're looking at this all wrong. That rust? It's character. The gasoline smell? Heady perfume. Even the ripped up seats look like they'll last through a nuclear winter. My actual ride, a more current late model Japanese-built auto, probably won't last another 5 years.

And correct me if I'm wrong: This is the perfect thrift scoring vehicle. And all I need is $7500 and change. That's a 15% discount off the sticker -- a bargain

You totally have to wear a Gilligan's Island sailor's bucket hat and cargo shorts to drive this thing -- maybe even goggles. Mmm-aviator shades. With a cooler of Fresca and Mr. Pibb on the floor.

Damn, that door could stop a bullet. A grenade. I have no idea why a steel "X" is fastened on there but I can't believe that up to now I've allowed myself to drive a car without one.

And hey I can learn to drive stick -- it comes with welded-on instructions... And it's not a foofy glove box -- an outmoded euphamism if ever I've heard one. It's a pocket. And couldn't we all use more pockets? Resovled: from this moment on I will refer to the golve box as "the pocket."

How can you look cross-eyed at vehicle with Dualmatic Selective Drive Hubs?

If this 4 Wheel Drive embossed emblem doesn't make you a little randy, well... I can't be the only one into midcentury automotive signage graphic design p0rn, can I?

Doesn't this window crank handle make you long for the days before wimpy power windows? When rolling down your windows while driving on the freeway was a challenge, like you felt like you accomplished something? Like fresh air was the reward for hard work?

So how about that loan? I'm good for it. And you can drive it on the weekends, promise. Otherwise this gem's just going to languish in a thrift store parking lot for months. Don't turn your back on the old girl. Do it for 1971.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Sticking with my latest theme of disturbing thrift store finds I bring you the hideous '"Blabber-Mouth Talking AM-FM Radio." Behold its 80s disquieting splendor.

Only two possible mid-80s venues where this thing was sold. Either Spencers in the mall or that adult book store in old downtown... you know by the bus station... behind Del Taco? Okay, sure, I'm the only one who knows where the adult book store is.

Vaguely (or not so vaguely) sexual, definitely disturbing. Was this for kids? Why does it remind me of Videodrome? Or maybe the Mac Tonight McDonalds guy?

Am I the sickest sort of person on earth (apparently, since only I know where the adult book store is) for envisioning this device being employed inappropriately by a prepubescent youth whenever Kim Carnes, Joan Jett, or Toni Basil came on the radio? (ouch!) And yes, that double entendre was most intended.

Even if it was used "normally" -- ahem -- about how long do you think it would take before a pair of plastic lips and teeth gnashing in robotic sync to talk radio or Kacey Kasem's top 40 became incredibly tedious? Wrong. 4 minutes, 12 seconds. Which is probably how long it takes for the heavy duty C-Cells to run out of juice or for the plastic gears to star screeching horribly.

Too bad the adult bookstore doesn't accept returns. I learned that the hard way, if you know what I mean.

So the colors, packaging, and general vibe all cry petroleum-based sex toy, but "Nasta Blabber" really clinches (or clenches) the deal. "Right of Nasta Ind. Inc"? That has some cult-ish pretensions, no? Did we narrowly avert some sort of mass mind-control conspiracy in 1985 when the Blabber Mouth radio failed to get on the shelves by Christmas. We can only hope.

Ooh, I gotta go now, Deborah Harry is on the radio... (ouch!)