100_4281.JPGA classic piece of junk that would likely net 20-30 bucks if I wanted to part with it. The Fisher-Price Music Box Record Player. You see, there was a time where there was no tiny computer chips that could play small tunes like "London Bridges" and I doubt the yewts of today would even care about it. When they can hear Devo2.0 on their electronic devices that also allow them to keep in touch with the world, the music box worn out it's welcome. They are a thing of nostalgia. But I tell you what, the guys that invented THIS... I'm amazed in it's plastic tech. It was something next to indestructible that took no batteries and brought minutes of rainy day fun...

100_4282.JPGHere was the power. Wind up. It had an On-Off switch which was unusual for most music boxes. But then, most music boxes wouldn't allow you to change the tune like this one could.  I guess I had the music box experience when I was being potty trained. My john had a wind up music box attached, and I think it was "London Bridges". It was white, it was sealed and I guess it was a way to make you feel less intimidated by everyone waiting as you were alone and trying to #2. You could fart along with it. Jolly fart along music for a jolly toidy. Really. It's what we had. Honestly.

100_4283.JPGThe "platters" were two sided, so there were 10 songs to play on this "record player". One was "No. 9" by the Beatles and I think another was "You're Gonna Miss Me" by the 13th Floor Elevators. It was a really progressive music box system. Had great mono sound amplified by a plastic bowl right under the tone arm.  While Mom played her Neil Diamond "Tap Root Manuscript"  and Dad jammed his soundtrack from "Hair", I spun up the single version of "Dark Star" by the Grateful Dead. (They are the biggest reference on this blog after all. )

100_4284.JPGHere's the real money shot. You put the "tone arm" on the record and it plays a tune. The head of the tone arm was actually made of teeth which would spin and ring the corresponding music box chime.  However, the record provided the energy to moves the wheels to ring the chimes. Resulting sound was a music box ditty. See? Brilliant!  Now, in 2017, there are some web sites out there where you can order NEW compositions to play on this "TOY". Wow. You can make anything with a 3-D printer.  Kinda neat to hear "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on a wind up music box.

100_4286.JPGHere is the reason why I have all the records. A storage slot. Wouldn't all great toys be better with a storage slot for accessories? Of course, smash up cars lost doors down heater vents or Mattell Football lost it's battery door when you were on the bus to school. Well, maybe I didn't lose the battery door, but anything is better than that annoying SCREW they put in all the modern toys and games. Leave the screw out, lose the damn door anyway.

100_4287.JPGI said "almost" indestructible about this toy and usually they were. Lots of these got left outside and then rained and then, the thing wouldn't play because rust would develop. Plus the records got used for Frisbees or  serving trays for dumpster dining.  I did my beloved first record player in when I used it to stand on to try to reach candy or something else. My foot went right through the bottom. That sprung the wind up mechanism and made it a piece of junk. I cried, and then I begged and got a new one for Christmas. That's this fine toy. Lasted a really really long time. Of course a scant two years later, I bought a Bakelite 45's unit with AM radio and my first REAL single Paul Simon: Slip Sliding Away. It was cold that winter and we were diving around in a rusty 1967 Ford Fairlaine 500 Wagon and many a lime I had to get out and push that beast to get it up our driveway. I felt that 1.99 single from Clarkins Department Stores summed up everything. The nearer your destination, the more you kept Slip Slidin Away. Many years later I worked for Tokyo Shapiro and my boss said the company was started as the electronics "jobber" for Clarkins. Meaning they controlled all things electronics and Clarkins got a little cut. The good ol days of retailing.

 100_4290.JPG Finally? Worldwide pants. I keep this record player safely wrapped in a pair of old Haggar corduroy pants. Back when mom still bought my wardrobe, she bought me this embarrassing crap.  I hated these other than they were warm in Northeast Ohio winters. Problem with them, as you grew, sometimes you'd do something in school and RIIIIIPPPPPPP!  The seat of your pants would split letting everyone see your semi-tidy whiteys. I had two pairs go this way. One time I was sent home. The second time I put on my gym shorts and wore them the rest of the day. What a good look. We moved after that year. Yes, the most important item, they are made in the USA.  Haggar Kwality. Junk Blog. -Ric

100_4405.JPG"Gonna get there? I don't know. Seems a common, way to go..." (Skitch Grateful Dead, Thanks.)  When I was younger, Unisonic was a brand. Hand held games hadn't become a thing...yet. They were just starting to find ways to make LCD and LED calculators functional, yet entertaining. I guess this would be that. My brother received this as a Christmas gift, only he got the pocket version. I don't remember if the pocket version of this Calcugame had memory, but who cared. This played BLACKJACK. No, not a device usually filled with anything hard and round that evil peeps would clobber innocent peeps with. No, not the licorice candy. No not Jimmy Carl Black, "the Indian of the group" from the Mothers Of Invention. I'll stop there.

100_4406.JPGThis seems like a very functional LED calculator. If you weren't getting a split hand or doubling down on those "face" cards or taking an additional "card" and then staying, hoping the house would be less than you or go over, um, well, that was it. It's not a really good calculator because if you needed more than basic functions, you pounded sand. That's why the portable one was better. You could take it anywhere in your pocket. This one was clunky and took those "C" batteries. If you put those silver Evereadys in it and forgot they were there, forget about playing this again in a year. AciEEEEEEEEEd, AciEEEEEEEEEd. It also doesn't have the best "tactile" feel. More like hammering those "Chiclet" keys on an old TRS-80 Color Computer. So, I'd imagine this being used for the game play and little else.

100_4404.JPGBecause I'd never seen this one in the wild, I bought it instantly when I saw it. A 3.00 purchase. You can't see where the C batteries go, but there is the power port for those cheap adapters you could buy anywhere. Thankfully, cheap universal adapters are going, going, going, but still, there is a ton of junk needing them. You'd use them for 6 months to a year and if you never moved it, you might even get several years from one. However, as a person that had several multi-voltage adapters, especially for tape recorders, the cords usually went bad, or the switches, or sometimes a blade fell off the plug or the adapter just gave up the ghost. It will be nice once we finally live in a 5V world. *End Cheap Universal Adapter Rant*  I do like the shape of this "High Tech" gaming device. It looks like a something that would be on the desk of Captain Archer in the "Star Trek: Enterprise" series.

"Hello ship! This is your captain. You won't believe this, but somehow I've leaped into this acting job"

"Hiya Cap. What the hell are you talking into a Unisonic "Jimmy The Greek" 21 calculator for?"

"Can't you see? I pushed the INSURANCE button and now GUSHY and Dean Stockwell are nowhere to be found!"

"Dean Stockwell? He appeared as a guest star on this very show as a lame attempt to get ratings. You're better off beaming back into that chimp."

"Captain, this is T'Pal. When we do the episode where I have exposed  belly button giving fanboys everywhere fits, I want to leap with you into television history, or porn..."

"No NO. Damn you all! I lost 200 on that bet. I need to move on. Maybe they will bring back the TV series Gung HO!"

"WELLL! Mon CAPTAIN! You're younger and not BALD ASSED! You're FUTURE is playing blah blah blah in New Orleans!"

"It's character actor John De Lancie as the mischievous Q! Take me too my new career! Maybe I'll work with my old friend Jay Thomas!"

*****Captain Archer suddenly beams out and into the body of a guy that used to throw a football at a meatball on the David Letterman show****

"Oh Boy....GET RID OF EM!"

*SCENE*

100_4409.JPGYep. This was a "Jimmy The Greek" endorsed card playing calculator. Say what you will about Mr. "The Greek", he was still someone that Unisonic wanted to endorse their nifty calculator devices. Who knows. I guess that was a bit of a bump in Playboy magazine or wherever they promoted this thing. (Yes, old Playboys were great for a younger me when I had just gotten a Atari 2600 and I could find scores of ads from 1977 or 1978 in my step father's old Playboy collection.) Had I known more, I'd have taken a ton of car ads from those old Playboys as well. Hey, my mom was liberal. She used to let my brother and I run around with the centerfold playing "I got the boobies" from dad's playboys when I was just a shaver. Yah. Jimmy was good in his cameo with Dean and Sammy in Cannonball Run... Couldn't act, but it was still fun.

100_4408.JPGUnisonic. Many a cheap calculator or watch or even a video game system? Every BEST or US Merchandise Or Service Merchandise Or (enter name of your local catalog retailer) had lots of crap from these guys. It says something that this game still plays as I'm sure if the batteries didn't rot in your device, makes a good piece of nostalgia or a conversation piece or a JUNK BLOG post.  Split those JJ's.  You'll likely win many worthless points. -Ric



Inner Coicle (Games Junk #16)

100_4161.JPG*Plays "spy" music when pulling the board to the next level* That's what we saw back when they would advertise board games on television.  Hell, we had them all the time. I remember "Husker Du" which means "do you remember" according to the lyrics of the song. I remember "The Game Of Life" which I bought and had little blue and pink pegs you put in little cars and you procreated and had more pegs. That's what they taught in the 70's. Make money, have a spin, shoot pegs, retire in a cardboard mansion with brothers Milton and Bradley. Ick. I asked my parents for these board games for Christmas. What was wrong with me?

100_4162.JPGOther games. Toss Across. Throw bean bags at a Tic Tac Doe board. We ended up throwing the bean bags at each other. Gnip Gnop. Two player game where you tried to shoot your color balls to the other side of the board through plastic hoops. Ended up using the shell of the game as a ramp for my Matchbox cars. Stay Alive! Move levers until your marble was the last one on the board and you could look up and say "I'm the sole survivor!" I never had that one, but it looked so fun in the commercial and I've had floppy "Gilligan" hats ever since

100_4164.JPGActually, Inner Circle is a pretty easy game to play. It's better with 4 people, but two can play it pretty well. Yet, when I tried playing it again a few months back, it took a bit to understand the rules. It works something like this. You get a certain number of plastic thingys. You start by placing them randomly on the top board. It's a game of memory as well because how many dots under your plastic thingy is how many you can move. If there is an opponent's thingy in the way, you jump over the thingy so if there are only 3 unoccupied spaces, you don't get to move your thingy. You try to get your thingy in one of the glory holes on the board so you can move on to the next cardboard round. Simple right? Bleah. It's no Connect Four.

100_4165.JPGAll thingys on deck. Everybody plays. Like I said, it's more fun when you have 4 players. Real cut throat game play happens when you're all trying to get to those glory holes to move you to the next round of cardboard luxury. I'm trying to make this game sound like it's more involved that it is. You should just fill the bowl that holds the cardboard game boards with chips and watch AIRPLANE! (In Color)

100_4167.JPGOnce all the poles are in the holes, you lift off a ring and continue playing. Of course you could be eliminating one or two of your opponents, If any time you lift a ring and you're the only color left, you win. In all the times I remember playing this, I never had that happen. We made it through each ring and there was a battle for the last ring. Of course, one of these plastic thingys somehow got separated from the game, so standing in, a yellow "Mr Sketch" marker cap. It doesn't quite fit through the glory hole. I named it "Big Jim Slade" and the capitol city of Nebraska is Lincoln! (Skitch! Shadoe Stevens voice over in Kentucky Fried Movie. Thanks. )

100_4169.JPGWe're near the end of the game. "We have no tower sir." "No tower? Why wasn't I told about this?" Denny Crane. Single page, double spaced. I want to go watch said Airplane flicks or Kentucky Fried Movie. Anything would be more entertaining than a battle of the old fashioned, get the family together for game night and play this piece of paper and plastic wonderment. It was a really fun game. Really. Fun.

100_4170.JPGBlue is the survivor. *Dons a floppy Gilligan hat* "I'm the lone survivor!" Clear out the plastic crap and get your cool ranch Doritos out and put in the Naked Gun series and laugh your face off. What more can be said. Nothing. "When they know I'll know and I'll let you know. Okay? Buh bye. Lets have those chippie dippies. Ecker Shane? JUMP! I flew copters in Nam. MmmmHmmmmm." Sorry, voices from long ago. -Ric

100_4224.JPGWhat the hell was it in the 70's and 80's? Why did us consumers buy this crap? Sure, you might convince yourself that when picking up ashes from your 1985 Renault Alliance from your pack and a half a day habit that these things really worked. However, try to pick up that random French fry from Mickey Macs, well boy...you wish this would suck, but you learn it's really really suck.

100_4227.JPGPanasonic built this one. I think I had two or three. I even got one with a round container for Christmas. I had the cheap ass one that you would buy from a car wash for $10. I could count on my hand how many times I paid for a car wash. I guess I thought it would be a good idea to keep the pebbles from my Monza carpet. Of course, when someone tossed a stink bomb into my car while I was buying a CD, it didn't do well with charred foam, but got those ashes! It was a worthless piece of dung. I got one that was "better", but likewise it was dung. I think I got this one dirt cheap from one from NoFeast. It was used, returned, and loosely packaged so I think it was only $3. Yes, glutton for punishment. Hey, I had a very special Dodge Omni to vac out the cheeseburger crumbs from. It was a Panasonic! It had to be good right?

100_4229.JPGI mean, that motor says POWER! You connect to 12V car power. I drive a 96HP Dodge and it's got a lot of power right? RIGHT? Yes, the trouble with all of these is, 12V power. That motor can run all it wants at top speed, it's still not going to pick up that French fry.  Yes, but this one had TOOL!

100_4225.JPG...and it attached to the bottom. It combined all that SUCK power into a smaller SUCKHOLE to that it could SUCK even better. It wasn't big enough to pick up a French fry, but it could suck those ashes from the burn hole put in my seat by the only person I allowed to smoke in my car ONCE and had a cigarette burn to show for it. Peace man. It's just a FU*KIN CAR SEAT IN A CAR THAT WON'T BE PAID OFF FOR 4 MORE YEARS! Have a doughnut. Don't shut off that computer at work, it will erase all the work for the morning news cast. Blah. Blah. Blah.

100_4228.JPGThe alternative was always around. It usually cost 50 cents at those wand wash car washes. That was the majority of my car washes. Pay a buck or two , use a wand to spray that road salt off all parts of your car. Oh, you drive a Monza? HAHAHAHAHA! How about a deluxe wax treatment? HAHAHAHA. Wait, you got RUSTPROOFING on that car? HAHAHAHHA! Oh no, a few years later and buying a PLASTIC car? RAIIIIIIIIIID!

I still use the big vacs at wand washes every now and then, but I really hate them. It did work to suck up all that automotive safety glass from my hatch area when my car was vandalised at a college near you. What fun it was to drive in the winter with a Curtis Mathes cardboard box covering the back window. Thankfully I didn't have the car for much longer and I didn't get pulled over. Sold the damn thing for $50 to be made into a hover shuttle. That's another story for another time.

So, those vacs always smell , not terrible, but like stale food and dirt and whatever the hell else was sucked up. They have BIG hoses with a big well gnarled nozzle. What a pain it was to try and NOT touch your seats with the grease or refuse or something totally disgusting HOSE , but man did it pick up French fries or wrappers or loose change or small pets! They are the most powerful and made your carpet sing. BUT, if you didn't want to spend that kind of cake, you got one of these, and unhappily ever after, but you swore they worked. Really? REALLY?

100_4226.JPG12V. Whew. I learned that borrowing my mom's Dustbuster was much better than a plug in thingy. Then when I moved to my house, the Dirt Devil which sucked up the termites for me in Louisville became the new car vac when I clean my car. Why? Because even though it's the noisiest thing on earth, it still can take a French fry off the floor and make short work of it.  Bah ha ha, I don't waste any fries like that! JUNK BLOG! -Ric

Rolley Coaster Mutt

100_4384.JPG"HI! *pant* *Pant*. Lookit what I GOT! *pant* It's a FAKE FLYING DISC. *pant* *pant* You can THROW IT TO ME if I let YOU, and I will DO THAT because it's FUN. *pant* But I will maybe catch it OR MAYBE I WILL NOT! *pant* *pant. MAYBE I will be all like YOU FETCH IT, I AM TOO BUSY!  I have ANOTHER TOY which I have now but you can THROW IT TO ME if I let you! *pant* Who is FETCHING for WHO? *pant *pant. When is food? Give me food. I want FOOD. Will there be FOOOD soon? *lick* OH NO I DROPPED IT and you THREW IT! GOTTA GO GO CATCH......."

100_4386.JPG

Ugh.  Wait, I thought you were going to focus on what the cheap stuffed toy with a famous rolly coaster park advertisement was thinking and saying? I thought this post was going to be a fun whimsical look in the lives of stuffed dogs! I thought this junk blog was about why an idiot like me has them laying all around his house because they all have some special meaning?  Now you show us what looks to be a famous doggie party hat? What did you used to play PHOTON In this hat? (Yes a callback to an earlier post on this blog.) Get on with it!

100_4387.JPG"HI! *pant* *pant* I've GOT the toy! It's MY toy! Now if you want to THROW my toy, you'll have to TAKE IT FROM ME and you can do that by FOOD. Gimmie FOOD. No, wait *pant* *pant* Why do I have this STRANGE PIECE OF S*IT sitting ON TOP OF ME? *Pant* OH YES! You got it from the DOLLAR STORE where everything smells like PLASTIC FOOD *pant pant* Even the WATER smalls like PLASTIC! *pant* I want WATER! Oh yeah. GIVE ME WATER in this thing on my HEAD! No DONT! I dropped my TOY. I will chase it after I have a a nice DOGGY MARTINI, shaken not stirred you ASSWIPE!"

100_4383.JPGCedar Point. Every Clevelander had Cedar Point to brag about when we had nothing else. The river caught fire in the 70's but come to Cleveland because we have CEDAR POINT. Actually, we had Geauga Lake and Sea World in the summer. Did they keep those big whales in small tanks when it was 1978's Blizzard here in the East? Think of the cruelty! Nah, lets think what any disco era swinger was thinking in 1978.... Got any COKE? Let's go have lots of SEX in the back of my rusty Vega!

Now, you think of Cleveland, it's the RNR Fame thingy, that food guy, oh yeah the 2016 World Champ Cavs And 2016 American League Champ Injuns and 2016 Calder Cup Minor League Hockey winners the MONSTIRZ ...no, most of you think "Rock Hall" and Cedar Point: The Amazement Money Suck.

I started going with a batch of co-workers from McDonalds. They liked the sky ride, gondolas that rode across the park on a steel cable, because it was the only place you could get really really high in private while being really really high. It was a giant carnival when I started going which had just added the most unexciting ride and my first "coaster" .  "Toboggan Run. " It was as advertised. A huge car that took you down a large track through various turns and was thrilling if you were 7 years old. Then we went on a real challenge. "The Corkscrew". That one gave me nerves, but after I flipped upside down and twisted and didn't throw up, I was good. Bring on that burlap sack you sat on while going down that big slide! I saw it on the Banana Splits and I always wanted to do that. Hey, maybe I'll fall flat on my face trying to run up the slide. Now that's a thrill! 

It changed after that. Now they began a "war" to add the latest and greatest rolly coaster dealies and well, because "Americas Roller Coast" or what have you. I went back several times but as I got "serious" about my crappy gigs and then found radio and didn't have time and then moved away and came back...and added a few pounds... lemmie repeat that...no I won't...

A few years back, one of my good friends started telling me about how he was a member of "American Coaster Enthusiasts" and knew a lot of details on who made said coaster, what "cars" said coaster used and in other words, a coaster geek. We went to said POINT and  Busch Gardens in Tampa where I was more interested in the YUENGLING plant just a stones throw away.  So I became a coaster geek by extension was hooked on coasters again. That year, I got a seasons pass to all the parks associated with Cedar Point which meant I could go to Cleveland's GEAUGA LAKE virtually every day because it was on the way to work my third shift gig. Perfect. Seasons Pass, free parking, free rides, a few hours, grab some Subway for dinner, go to work. Thrilling summer. Geauga Lake closed after that year. (BITCH)


100_4388.JPGIn the every changing winds for the "Roller Coast", for many years they had a "challenge park" where after you left the park and were walking to your on site hotel, they could challenge you to part with more of your money on go-karts or a big bungee jump or some other crap. They also had an 80's "Arcade" which was a shadow of it's 80's self. Inside they had a claw machine and it was filled with the above. I professed that I was good at these said machines, especially the ones that aren't "rigged so good." (Yes, every claw machine you see has settings for how much OOMPH is on the claw. You can't pick up a brick with a plastic spork unless KFC has deemed you to get the LYSLAW on the buffet. Then if it's not cemented in with every other less than $5 piece of crap, you'll WIN after you spent $10. YAY!)

However these machines didn't have any tricky stuff, everyone with any aiming skill was a WINNNNEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" I guessed these were last years toys and they needed to get rid of them. I got one right away, my friend got one on his first try. Instinct was to clean the machine out and sell these on FLEA BAY, but these didn't fall out of riders pockets only to get a phone call from the person who bought your "lost"  phone asking for the key to unlock it. (Yes, on another trip, this happened to my friend..)

Oh, and the Snoopy thing on top of the claw machine "memory" is a dog dish. You pour water in it when you're on the hiking trail and then fold it up when your pooch isn't drinking. It was purchased from a dollar store near you, then when I took it out of the bag and realized I'd just spent a dollar on nothing, I thought it looked like a party hat for canines. LEGION!  I got the base! Oh that F-IN Predator scored off of me while I was laying there in leg cramp pain! SCORBOCHECK wins the game during the $10 all you can play from 9 to noon on Sundays. OOOPS! Friday night at 11... Time to go to the Avante Garde show! Lets get into character! Dennys aftershow. "No NO Ya Spatula Head!" JANDEK IS GOD! Morey Amsterdam sandwiches all around. DECADENCE for DESSERT! Hey, lets tip the pregnant waitress ALL YOU HAVE IN YOUR POCKET!  *whew* Well thank you 1987.  

JUNK BLOG! -Ric

Vee Kee Arr Plus Sealed???

100_4192.JPGThis is the junkiest of the junk right here. How could it be junk when it's sealed? It can't be junk. Anybody can use this with their VCRs. Oh. Yeah. They can't. If you're a youngin', you're probably saying "What is that, a universal remote?" "What's a VCR?" "Who tapes anything anymore?" "Will it make taking a s*it fast and easy?" "Is this some sort of vibrator?" "Can't you take a clear picture without the damn flash you idiot?" Ohhh, it has a trendy racing stripe. After all, someone made hundreds of thousands of these, made a lot of money for two years selling "easy" for $40 a pop and then went under and they got buried next to the ET cartridges in a landfill. Video stores everywhere thought they could make a buck on these. Electronics store everywhere did make a buck on these. Newspapers with local TV guides made money on these as the parent company had to pay all of the papers to print their codes. Why again did we have these? Is this what cavemen used to use to program their rock based pterodactyl televisions? Read on.

100_4194.JPGSo, in the late 70's and early 80's, we had Video Cassette Recorders to record events off television or watch movies. They started with big machines that had WIRED remotes. (Yes, there was a time where you had long wires attached to your equipment. Model T stuff here. ) You could record a show, but only if you were there. Cable TV started becoming a thing and VCRS got smaller and some could actually tune cable and then some started to be programmable so you didn't have to be there to record a show. As the 80's went on, VCRS got smaller, tuners got better and eventually programming your VCR became an on screen adventure. Duh. On screen was easy as hell, much better than programming from the top of your VCR because with on screen programming, you actually saw what you were doing from your couch. Of course, VCRS kept getting smaller, and soon if you lost your remote, you were out of luck because displays on the VCRS became a thing of the past. Somewhere in all the advances in the early 90's, if you couldn't make heads or tails of how to program your equipment, your VCR flashed 12:01 and that was that.

Enter the VCR Plus. This little remote was designed to simplify all brands of VCRS into a standard system. There were some odd systems like Panasonic's Infared "scanner" that allowed you to program by running the scanner over bar codes, but that was a pricey option. No, the VCR PLUS was the answer. You didn't need to know how to program your VCR. All you needed was a local listings "code" for the program. You put in the code and left the VCR Plus within range of your VCR and Cable box. It automatically started your VCR and set your cable box to the channel you wanted to record. It really worked. The manufacturer actually got a few VCR makers to add it to their VCRS. I guess it was good for setting your cable box if you didn't have a cable-ready VCR or your cable company didn't allow it.

100_4196.JPGA web search said they had codes published until 2010! I only remember them for a few years. I didn't sell many of these. I never used these. I went through the extra effort to know how to program my VCRS and never had a cable box (or cable) to worry about. Point being, yes, we went through all this trouble . We even had recordable DVD's come on for a few years before TIVO took over and a few years after, on demand television. VCRS were discontinued last year. All your video tapes are going to be worthless in another 10 years. Why not make the biggest selling tape into a pyramid in the desert? I feel silly still using video tapes to record things but I know that pretty soon, I'll have to get a digital box. It's good to know Gemstar was a California Corporation. It required batteries so I don't have that worry about keeping this sealed piece of dung in my collection. Everybody needs sealed dung in their junk collection right? RIGHT? *shakes head*. They actually came out with something even simpler than this. It was a big remote with two dials you set for time on and time off and you left your cable box or VCR set to whatever channel you wanted to record. Were we that simple? Yep.  Junk Blog. -Ric

100_4331.JPGMan does this thing bring back some memories. We never had a lot of money as I was growing up. We were never very stereo orientated. My brother never had a stereo except in his car. I didn't have one until a neighbor was moving and gave me his old Soundesign turntable (with an amp) and receiver/8 track player (also with an amp) and two 5" speakers in a box. I was really thankful. I bought a few 8-tracks from Goodwill across the street and I had a few 45's which I used to play on my brother's portable GE record player. That was it. We never were high fidelity kids. The Soundesign crap I'd been given for free was the closest thing to HI-Fi I'd own. I did get all high tech with a Hitachi boom box (which will be featured in a future junk blog) so I could play back my growing tape collection. That was decent. I also started listening to a lot of 80's radio. Pretty soon I was bringing home LPs from the library to record on my boom box. It was that time that I've coined the phrase "Kneedeep In The Hoopla Is The S*IT" as yes, I enjoyed that Starship album, or the radio told me to enjoy it.

100_4332.JPGAfter a bit of use, the turntable amp gave out and that BSR turntable with Soundesign guts gave up the ghost. The amp in my stereo was also a bit wobbly, and that's when I started looking at all of the "modern" Soundesign "rack systems" that Zayre and other discounters had. They were shiny. Some of them had a lot of blinky lights. I don't think any of them were more than $299 with most in the $100-$200 range. They were the best that Zayre had to offer. I think there was even one that came with a television, and that one was expensive. I got this one for Christmas. It cost $149. It had "high speed" tape dubbing. It had an "aux" input. It had two large speakers which were 6" drivers.  It had an integrated turntable, but was separate from the stereo. I bought a double LP "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" (movie soundtrack) for $1 from Camelot Records and Tapes in Westgate mall. It played records but sounded like it was. A rock stylus immediately wearing on the cheap record. The tape deck dubber wasn't quite as good as my nice Hitachi boombox, but it played tapes better because of bigger speakers. Believe me, we went through all this in the 80's, 90's and Oughts until cell phones and computers made all of this junk obsolete. Of course, there is much better equipment. I'd say that in the 90's, Hi Fi really became better and cheaper. Right then however, Soundesign stereo was the S*IT!

100_4333.JPGActually, the pressed board of the rack matched the speakers and it was a handsome sight. I'd imagine there were many hours spent by minimum wage Zayre employees setting these stereo racks up and busting through the pressed board by over tightening. Soundesign had the fake EQ design down. The shiny EQ was all the rage back in the 80's. Everybody had a separate EQ and some had the bouncing display. Oooooooh. Soundesign made larger EQ's on their stereos, there were some that were even 5 band, but the majority were three band, just looked like more with double sliders. Shiny plastic went a long way back in the day. How did it sound? Well, the whole stereo sounded better than a boom box. That's the best thing I can say. It was HI-FI to me. Dammit. They had so many pretty stereos at Zayre. I gots me a pretty good one. 

100_4336.JPG Look at all that pressed board. It seems they made a ton of stuff out of that formaldehyde laden cheap stuff way back when. I guess they have kind of phased the stuff out now? The DC out was for the turntable. It did have a pre-amp for the turntable. I never saw it work with the better turntable I bought a few years later. The Aux got very little use until... I think I hooked my VCR Up to it a few times, but my VCR was across the room and was a mono unit, so all it did was make the hiss louder. Yes, this did me well for a year or two, until everything changed. My friend Pete purchased a 12" record from Kraftwerk. It was the "Musique Non-Stop" maxi single. We came home to my place and played it. it started with a robotic voice saying "Boing Boom Tschak". I had a thing for comedy records and had a few tapes I'd made from library records of Dr. Demento discs. This "Boing Boom Tschak" was almost novelty to me, but something came alive. I taped it. I played it over and over. In a week, when my friend Marc and I were up in Michigan and I bought "Electric Cafe" and down the rabbit hole I went. 

100_4334.JPG Soon after I had all the Kraftwerk on tape and then I got into DEVO and likewise got all of it and then got deeper. Radio was less and less where I got my music. This used to be be the tape storage area where I kept all of the tapes of my growing store bought tape collection. Then my friend Steve bought the first Sony CD Portable player and man I liked the sound it produced. At the same time, prices were dropping and there was at least 6 appliance-electronics stores operating in my area, all at their throats trying to get our business. Mace electronics was the newest in the area, and when they had a Teac Three Beam 2x Oversampling model for $149 (sans remote), somehow I had the cake to buy it. I went to Camelot in Westgate and purchased Electric Cafe for 18.99 on CD. (Where I got the cake from, I've no idea.) I hooked it up to this stereo and instantly I was really REALLY HIGH FIDELITY. It sounded even better through the Koss headphones I'd purchased from Forest City Home Centers (which also had a appliance and electronics selection back when) and loved every minute of the lack of hiss from the CD player. From there, I only used the tape decks to record tapes from the CD's I'd bought. Of course, I had Foreigner "Records" and Van Halen's "1984" and Beach Boys "Fantastic Summer Best Of" , but I traded them all when my friend Bill started selling CDs and got me hooked on Frank Zappa, Negativland and Nitzer Ebb.

Well, Soundesign made systems in the 90's. They even made some that were re-branded Radio Shack. One had a HUGE upright loading CD player clad in pressed board that was more of a space taker than a good sounding CD player. Still, even the worst CD players sounded better than records or tapes right? They made other portable sound equipment, but none of it was more than a slightly better GPX product. Yeah, I was glad they were around at a time when the sounds started to mean stuff to me. Now, a portable computer tablet through good headphones containing all of my music sounds better than the old Soundesign. My computer speakers sound better. My LAPTOP sounds better...um..with external speakers... Koss...

-Ric

100_4303.JPGLook at that late 80's early 90's junk madame secretary is wearing. Holy crap, there's nothing on that terminal. Yes, it's likely a terminal! MMmmmm IBM clickey keyboards. I still use this one to this day. Just something about the feel of them. They are big and I have hammer fat hands. She's got a scarf with a pin. Must be cold in that office. She's also wearing a Radio Shack DuoFone-129.  It was a staple in Radio Shack catalogs pretty much until they didn't make catalogs any more. Even after, they stuck around until wireless and digital stuff made these little pieces of fun completely obsolete.

100_4304.JPGImagine being a model for DuoFone products. The gal on the front had a brilliant modelling career and was in over 50 corporate videos. The gal on the back? Porn. No, I kid.  It's the guy in the tie who was into porn. Ha. No, I kid. Actually, all the people on some of Radio Shack's products were around for a few years. If I was a kid and mommy was on a box, I'd be proud to have a pic of mom on the back of a product that sat on shelves collecting dust until some poor sucker bought it for a gig at a phone soliciting company near him. Of course, most would throw out the box this thing came in. Most. I kept everything.

100_4307.JPGYes, even the receipt. It's from a location that no longer exists in a mall that was torn down from a company that is barely hanging on. I hung on to the receipt and it didn't fade like the new thermal ones do. Of course, I can buy a scanner to scan them and keep them from fading. WTF! Things were much simpler in the 90's. This was purchased in 1992. I was likely between gigs at many closing appliance stores so I chose to earn some extra cake by returning to the place I'd worked before. Phone soliciting. Yecch.

100_4312x.JPG

Nowadays, they have something called auto diallers. They plug in a computer list and you only talk with someone when they connect with a person. Hence, why you receive many calls a day where there is a two or three second gap from when you pick up and say "F**K YOU" and when the person asks "Is Mrs. P. Oussee there?"  It's totally digital. Once you get to work, you're taking calls, trying to see if some sucker will buy 14 shoddy windows or credit card protection or whatever junk is out there trying to see if there are any peeps still willing to part with money via phone. At least the company I worked for had legitimate products to sell and decent offers to make to customers that had already had the product. Oh yeah, this DuoFone took 4 AA batteries.  Gameboy? No, this won't play Tetris.

100_4309.JPGI got a gig there before I even decided that home electronics sales would be my future. I needed a gig and my brother worked there. He said they were always looking for bodies and if I met a minimum quota, I could pull down a little cash. They started me in a division  that sold subscriptions to Weekly Reader publications. I liked that crap when I was a kid.  I had to sell Sweet Pickles, something that helped children learn their ABCs. A little training and  I was on the phones. We were provided computerized "leads" that they kept in big files. They had NEW leads, that hadn't been called by anyone. They had "day time" and "night time" leads and they had well called leads they kept calling in hopes that just one more potential customer would pick up. We had to hold up old style phones, and they always smelled like Lysol because that's what you used to clean them before pressing your ear to them and spitting into the receiver. My room was filled with about 25 others who all were giving the same pitch. "Little Johnny is ready for the next grade of book crap and mindless mazes and word games and generic characters. Want to subscribe again this year? What? He didn't use it? How about your next youngest. How about a subscription to the next grade pap and promo TV Stars and non offensive pop music stars magazine? No? How about a Playboy subscription for you? " Well, that's jumping to another line.

100_4310.JPGI washed out of that job in a few weeks. I dialled my fingers off and got very little in sales. I guess they wanted to see who would wash out. Actually, the last day I was there, I called someone who started crying as this was a subscription for a child that was deceased. I figured that was a fitting end to a job I never really liked and dragged myself into each day. Hell, I could see if I could get back my weekend biscuit making gig at Mickey Macs. 

This phone device let you use either the handset or the head set. Had a neat LED battery test button. A switch that I don't know what it did, and the volume.  I think they sold one that had the dial pad on it as well and could be used as a complete phone. I wouldn't have had very much money back then, so I used the base of my first credit card to get into deeper debt and spent $50 on this. Why? My brother, as I mentioned, had worked at the solicitor and told me to go to a different "program" where they sold magazine subscriptions to those about to expire or had expired a few months. I went to work for that division and well, life was good for a bit. I actually made some money over what I was getting as an hourly. For a part time gig, I thought it was okay. Um.... Well....

100_4311.JPGI got this headset so I could be hands free. I wouldn't have to breathe in Lysol to remove caked on make up or ounces of cigarette spittle. It also meant I could be free while flipping leads and dialing.  A few things bugged me. When we made a sale, we would need to hold up our arm and snap. That way the supervisor of the shift could write it down. Sort of giving all of us motivation to sell sell sell. Trouble was, some of the supes would be very vocal. I'd be making a sale and they would shout my name and say I was making a sale. Must have been wonderful to the people I was selling too. A few people had nick names and I would hear "Bubbles Be Bangin" and "Dingman Be Doin' It" . No, I'm not making those up. It's why I remembered them in particular. They reminded me of carnival barkers. "Weeeeeee'veeeeee got another Biiiiig WiIIIINNNER" Then "You Get A Car! You Get A Car! You Get A Car" We were lucky if it was a candy bar.

After a while, I got so good at dialing, they would hand me packs of the old leads so I could run through them. While the phone was dialing, I would write short stories or other worthless crap and one of the supes got in my face about it.  At that point I went to the manager of the division and complained, and the manager saw my numbers, and spoke to the super who just looked the other way from then on. By this time, the job was harder to drag myself too and eventually I stopped showing up.  My retail cashier, fast food employee, electronics and appliance sales skills still kept me in wages until I got serious about some kind of radio gig. Yes, I have quite the collection of name tags and hair nets. Mike Meyers. Skitch. Thanks.

-Ric

100_4365.JPGNo, not Spring Break. Not Lincoln advertising. Not what's his face the actor. Almost a song, the real tune is Space Truckin' by some classic rock staple with the new version I like a lot by master Thespian and rock star Crane operator of the starship Bakula. Yes, William Shatner's version of Space Truckin' is almost as good as Spock's version of some Beatles song.  What am I talking about? I don't know what I'm talking about. Just making conversation because I have not much about this piece of junk. We call it "padding for time." In television, it's the director giving the "stretch" signal. Ahh, I got the pictures, why not make a blog entry about it. I could combine it...Hmmmmm...

100_4367.JPGIt's a well worn water bottle filled with those glass chips you use in crafts or putting at the bottom of a fish tank. It's also "clearies" , only smaller marbles, again used for fish tanks. Most likely, the original top to this water bottle was lost and replaced it looks to be with a Dr. Drink bottle cap. I think it actually came from a Save A Lot generic "Dr.". Honest, silly, how do I remember that? Why didn't I clean the damn thing. Maybe it was leak or not. *finger on lips* "B-B-B-B-B-". I don't know when the "clearies" got added. Likely because it made too much noise half filled with "lookin for a blue one."

100_4369.JPGWHYYYYYYYYY ARE YOU SHOWING US THIS CRAP?  Shhhh. Quiet now. I'll splain. Bought car. Car didn't have cup holders. Not every car came with cup holders back in the day. Car had big trough at the back of the transmission tunnel. It wasn't much of a transmission tunnel by that time because it was a front wheel drive superdoopercar. You couldn't set a soda or coffee in the big trough because it would move and make a sewer. So, I bought said glass, filled said water bottle and done and done. Space Marbles. Get it? Marbles I used for space.

Spaced out so that I could set a 20oz Bucks in there and it wouldn't make a coffee and old Rallys French fry soup. Mmmm. Rallys French Fry Soup. Bucks, 3 week old Rally's fry, and years of broken dreams. I should have thrown this away when I finally got a car with a standard cup holder. I figure I had it for three cars, save for the year I had the Hydookie or the 6 months I had the Parmavagen, this went through 15 years. I can't throw that history away. Junk blog. You know, JUNK BLOG. I threw away the Scene magazine with Lebron on the cover that I kept in my trunk for those five years hoping he would bring us the win, but he left and I tossed it. I do throw out some things. These marbles never left my car to bring their glass talents to South Beach. Maybe, Toledo, but never South Beach. You see, because Toledo is the "glass city". Yep.

-Ric

Sun Truck

100_4215.JPGDon't ask me how I came to get this piece of junk. I'm thinking that my Mom lives near said Sunoco gas station and used to get her car repairs all handled here. She had a Pontiac 6000 and a Dodge Dynasty and when it was time to do oil changes or regular maintenance, or change of headlights or batteries, she had it done here.  She must have gotten it for a fill up. We had a Shell on one corner that was a classic 70's Shell with nothing other than a tiny booth filled with cigarettes and a octagonal roof over the pumps. They tore that down and added a trailer sized store. Cheap 40oz beers could be had there. When I moved into the area, there was a Sohio on the other corner, and it too offered service. However Sohio became BP and soon the station was uprooted and a smaller box cigarette kiosk where you could walk in and trip over expensive snacks and a small wall of cheap beer. So, that left Sunoco. Good Old Sunoco, 

100_4216.JPG By the time the 90's came around, service stations were out and self service gas stations with cigarette kiosks, hot dog rollers, cheap beer coolers and fountain drinks with gallon sized cups became all the rage. Yes, there were a few hangers on for the other brands, but pretty much the last "service stations" in the Cleveland area at least, were Sunoco stations. It appears they really tried to capitalize on being one of the last full service providers. You could even have the gas pumped for you. (I believe New Jersey has a law where it must be pumped by a guy...) Our Sunoco had the same above truck. They had an older truck as well done with white and gold paint.  That's all I can remember. It's not like I had fond memories of this joint. I may have gotten a alternator replaced here or a battery put in, but I wasn't a big fan of Sunoco. They had 17 blends of gas ranging from water with a little gas in it to almost jet fuel that cost $7 a gallon. Those were my memories. It was at this station  that I discovered that my '73 Ford Gran Torino  had a small pipe that was leaking fuel like a sieve. I didn't get a whole lot of MPG before with a 351 Cleveland 8 Cylinder chuffing under the hood, but it had worsened. I think I was checking the air filter... No, I preferred to get the 87 grade ova dey at the Shell "Bee Hive" station with the Cigarettes. Lots and lots of Cigarettes.

100_4217.JPG Good old generic Matchbox cars, or Hot Wheels, NOT made in China. I was a fan of Hot Wheels, but it was more a smash up derby. I'll bet this truck wouldn't fit through a super charger.  I never opened it and put it away in a box, only to be unearthed for this junk blog.

So, yes, this was an independently owned last ditch effort to be a service center. You'd see the rack of batteries, and the wall racks of tires and the electronic alignment. Perhaps service centers went away as finally everybody started building cars that held together. I mean, people were still buying Chevy Luminas and Corsicas or Ford Escorts and Tempos Or Dodge Spirits Or hell...ANYTHING Dodge. The "one stop source for most repairs" eventually moved into your dealer once again as only they knew how to reset your "check engine" light.  I'm not sure how many of these joints remain. This one abandoned ship for a private garage elsewhere and then they ripped the tanks out and rebuilt a new Sunoco where you can walk into a beer cave, get "broaster" chicken or even pick up a few cigars from the humidor.  An era was pretty much over, but I still has me the truck. 

100_4218.JPG Well, at least the toy was brought to earth by the Coneheads. They're from FRANCE after all. Gee whiz, I'm thinking of the Frank Zappa song "In France". "If you POOCH a civilian it's a MAJOR EVENT, down in France." That's all I got. It's Sunoco's FREEDOM TRUCK. Wow. I'll stop now. I'm toast. BOP! I can't be stopped! -Ric