Results tagged “Frank Zappa”

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 external speakers... Koss...


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

Christmas Junk #14 POOH! (You dealt it....)

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100_3910.JPGMr. Fat Hanz is holding a 2003 addition to the junk on my Christmas tree. Is it one of those fancy micro mini porn books you find next to the tacky little pamphlets in yo daddy's bottom drawer? I could only wish it was a Frank Zappa induced item. No, it's a blue balloon held by a certain cartoon character that I didn't find much enjoyment in my childhood because the evil Dipsney company only wheeled him out on their Sunday show and only every now and then.

100_3911.JPGIt's him. The little bear who will remain nameless. I do remember singing the theme song when I was a kid and added "P.U." Hahahahahahah. See, he's POOH and that sounds like he's named after the fudge that comes from your tuckus.  HAHAHAHA. It was what we did when we were kids.  We built tree forts out of remainder items found in the trash from someone's kitchen remodel. We rode the tires off our bikes or burned holes in our big wheels so they still rolled but went "fwop fwop fwop" where the plastic had worn out. I wish I had more to say on this one, but I'd rather discuss Eyore, the constantly depressed donkey. That was a more appealing character to me. Of course, there is Tigger. Frankly, Bugs Bunny was my comedy cartoon when growing up...that and the pig who was the army sergeant on the second season of the Laverne and Shirley cartoon. You know, where they got imitators to do the voices? "Geee SHOIL..." 

100_3912.JPGSo, this is a festive Christmas ornament? The cartoon logic of the text in this is, well... He is a "stuffed" bear, so he must not have any weight. The mini figurine is nice, so I always have this on my tree open so you can see it. A man built this! It's a decoration! The best thing about this? You can't really tell those are bees going after him in the picture so it appears the bear is having a bit of digestive trouble and he's shatting about the place. No, wait, he was POOH-Ing! HAHAHA! Eh...  MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Junk Blog. -Ric

100_4136.JPGWho wasn't a reader of MAD magazine? If you were a kid , you probably read comics books or Mad or both. If you were a fanatic about Mad, you collected all the issues and you got paperbacks from your favorite "Maddest Artist". I have all the Al Jaffee and Don Martin "Mad books" as well as the Spy Vs. Spy series and lots of non-Mad paperbacks featuring my favorite artist, Mr. Jaffee. I even designed a "Aztec" mad paperback holder in our clay making class. I got a C- for it because the project was supposed to be make something "Aztec", but it was a snake around a container that held 6 paperbacks and "MAD" carved into it. This is some of the "Mad" debris that I collected and saved in a place where I know I'll find it. The issue of Mad was given to me as a birthday present by Mom or somebody that didn't know I would buy the latest Mad when it was hot off the presses. Mad also released "stickers" that I likely have some place,  but I'll be damned if I know where they are. I don't think I collected them all, because they came out after I was pretty much done as a Mad reader.

100_4138.JPGHere was a story on the publisher of Mad, Mr. Jerry Garcia. I hear he played guitar in some band...oh... *BAD JOKE HERE* it's William Gaines. Hey, guys with beards you know? Who can tell them apart? Let's see, they both worked for the brothers Warner. Check. They both travelled. Check. They both warped the minds of many youth. Check. You found the material they produce more interesting when stoned. Check. Maybe? This was taken from my local news paper back when Cleveland had TWO daily newspapers. Quite a change from the half a newspaper we have now. It's another piece of debris I saved.

100_4137.JPGIt's neat that I also save this little clip. Wanting more money, plans were set for a Mad magazine movie. It's funny that the writer of the "Mad" movie is in a cult movie called "Fatso" with Dom DeLouise. On my radio show, we do an imitation of two fat food show hosts which is an imitation of something done by Don & Mike which itself is a parody of Fatso. It's not a good movie, but when Don and Mike did imitations of the fat guys, that was funny. So, the movie was called "Up The Academy". It was a cheap college movie as those were popular in the early 80's. Yes, Alfred E Newman was in it as a statue in front of the college. That was the only, vague reference to Mad Magazine there was. They also put full page ads in the back of Mad. I wanted to see it, but I don't think anybody saw it. It was such a bad movie that even Bill Gaines denied it was even somewhat tied to Mad. When all was said and done, the usual gang of idiots had nothing to do with the movie and it faded into bad movie history.

100_4140.JPGRight turn Clyde. *BAP* When I see old newspaper clippings, I like to check out some of the things on the BACK of the clippings, and well, here was an ad for a horrible horror movie called "Parasite" and NONE of the theaters that showed  it are in business anymore. "Mentor Mall" is the only one that's sort of around, it moved to a building on the mall property. "Enter The Ninja" was at a few drive in movies. Hahahahaha. You mean you used to go to a movie while sitting in your car? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Many of these were classic movie houses but look to "cinema treasures" if you're interested in seeing what they were. I'm moving along now...

100_4139.JPG NO! WAIT! Look at THIS! Enamel "Cooking Pots" were advertised for $4.44 and $5.55.  You get 6 more quarts for another buck? Suck a deal. (Yes, I know...) Real reason to put this in, it's ZAYRE! It was a discount outlet that is fondly remembered and one of the first stores to go "24 Hours Until Christmas". I had a car, I was awake at 2 am, and I'd go look at the Soundesign stereos and Gold Star VCR's.  It's nice to know you can still find Zayre stores by the downward arching roof at the front of the store. Lots of places, didn't disguise the roof. Plus, TJ Maxx, Office Max and BJs Wholesale Clubs are all the offshoot companies of the old Zayre. Some of the stores are in the old Zayre stores. We have a TJ Maxx and Office Max inside a Zayre/Grocery Store combo and you can still see a bit. I could wax historic about retail  history, but that is for another here's what the topic refers too....

100_4141.JPGYay! More Mad crap designed to get your money with very little involvement from the artists and writers over at the magazine I collected. Parker Brothers licensed every damn thing they could and put out these games for the kiddies who were fans of whatever crap was on the game. Sure, there was game play involved, but for the most part, cheap buck made by all. Any family game night begin with "Let's play the Mad Magazine game or the Garfield game?"

100_4124.JPGIt had pretty good cover art by Mad contributor Jack Davis. Jack was big in advertising and did thousands of drawings besides the free lance stuff he made for mad. Taking a look at the guy in the crowd with the raised hand and tooth missing or the little girl with two teeth is pretty much signature Jack Davis art. Seems exciting right?

100_4127.JPGHere's the MAD creativity. "Let's not make a game where you need to win by having the most money, let's make it the first person to LOSE all their cash." BRILLIANT! It's ANTI-MONOPOLY! Yet, it sort of looks like Monopoly. Ahh, but it has art from Mad contributors. Is it art created for this game so that we have a totally new experience? Keep reading and ignore "Rule #7"

100_4131.JPGThey called the cards "Card Cards".  Get it?  You travel along the board in a square but you do get two "Sorry" style bonus spaces to fill up the center of the board with more fabulous black and white artwork from "the usual gang of Ijits" Oh yeah, they fake colored the "card cards" in the black and white artwork. It is the Mad Magazine game. It's Mad, only in game form. Brilliant.

100_4133.JPGHere is another view of more art. What's that color picture of Alfred E. Neuman doing on here? I suppose Mad did have color covers and that's usually where ol' Alfred appeared. Actually, you could make this game board into a handy rain shield if it's raining. It's pretty big, this board. Look! At the top! Even a Mad Marginal comic! Sergio Aragones drew those little comics in the margins of the magazine. I think of my 100 issues I own, from #200 to #300, I may have read 5 of those mini cartoons. I loved his regular features, but no love for the teeny toons.

100_4135.JPGClear as mud instructions. Under it, articles saved, advertisements for long gone movie theaters, retail outlets, and bubble gum card wrappers as well as Mad promo junk.  Actually, playing this with a group of stoned zombies would be kind of fun, except there is movement involved. Remember, Ignore Rule #7. Even in this game, cheating is a no-no.

100_4134.JPGThat's right. The card cards made you do stuff to lose your money. "Help I'm A Rock!" (Frank Zappa was pushed.)  Ahh yes, even the cards had artwork from the magazine. Right. Very little of this game featured art created for this game. It was all reprints which more than likely, the artists got paid the standard "reprint" amount for. Sure it was somewhat of a "parody" of an actual "Fun" "Classic" game and it was nice to see some Don Martin artwork but there was little to no Al Jaffee artwork in this game and since he was my favorite artist... I'm sure this got a little bit of play when I was a kid, but mostly it was looked upon by a mindless Mad fan that wanted to show what a fan of Mad I was. It's still a nice keeper for those bits of newspaper history. Remember, this junk blog can only be played on Friday.


Button Panel #2

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100_3489.JPGYes kids, that is Oprah right smack dab in the center of this, just underneath the pic of Morton Downey Jr. after he said he's been "attacked" Nazis and they painted a swastika backwards on his head. These two buttons have no relation to one another, other than they were created at the radio station when we had access to a button maker and a lot of magazines. I don't even remember what kind of buttons the radio station was making to give away. 

As for Oprah, this was the late 80's. Daytime TV talk shows were taking over the TV. I don't think she was that popular, yet, but she had the reputation for the weight so I couldn't fit her head on a button. See? 80's humor. As for Morton Downey JR., I was a fan of his for a hot minute while he had that talk show with the big spittoon filled with cigarette butts. I even bought his book "Mort Mort Mort" for no apparent reason. After he was off he tried what is thought to be a publicity stunt that even got mentioned in a song by The Impotent Sea Snakes (or GWAR or Insane Clown Posse...I don't know, it's all blending together.) So, now that we got those two pieces of KAHMEDY out of the way, lets get to the rest...

100_3491.JPGCavs! Yay! Of course, when I got this button, likely from the AM station I worked for, we were not the greatest team in the world. In fact, have we ever been? No sausage. Trivisonno.  The big BOSE button I got from working at Nofeast Appliance. It was always an option to even wear name tags, so hell no, we wouldn't wear big advertising crap buttons. We would take them home, not wear them.  Next to it is a novelty button. I used to buy buttons every year for the people I worked with. Back when they had a "Just Buttons" store with thousands of wacky buttons to choose from. Future dead store at a dead mall that would be a future lifestyle center. 80's fun.  Then, jr. high school fun. No button maker here kids. I covered this in a previous post, but here was another handmade button I made when I was a team member of a jr. high school "academic challenge" sort of contest. We did totally suck as I didn't know nuffin. "What is the state of Arkansas called?" "Philadelphia?" Public schools. We just want you out of here. Then, if you wanted to get beat the hell up, you would be DUMBASS enough to wear the freshman button in your high school. Could be worse. Could wear your McDonalds work uniform on Halloween and say that you work at Burger King. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

100_3490.JPGSpeaking of McDonalds, we were part of the great BURGER BALLOT of 1988. See, that was an election year, and those whiz ad peeps over at my on-again, off-again part time gig decided that it was the Big Mac Or The Quarter Pounder that needed the decision.  La la la. I preferred the fish. Then, another radio station button making party button. It was part of the lore that our friend Trevor would portray on the air "The Lightning God" Der Blitzengott. He was the supreme leader over all living things and since he created currency, he had it to burn. Then comes a button I would wear on work aprons. This is Builders Square. YES. I might have been asked once at my tenure there, "I'd like to have this water heater installed by you guys..." SERVICE DESK!

100_3492.JPGGarfinkle The Cat! Yep. In the 80's, a big splash was made whenever a popular weekday comics character would be added to a newspaper's lineup. We were still a "two newspaper" town. We had The Cleveland Press and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. My step father preferred the Press so that's what we got, and when they added a rising star "Garfield The Cat", it was a major news to a drip like me that was getting a taste of early MTV and seeing boobs on the scrambled "Prevue" channel.  I had posters, sheets, pencil toppers, and books. Garfinkle books.  I thought I could save my allowance by taking every Garfield strip out of the newspaper and making my own book with them. I guess after two years, I did something else with my time and money, I MOVED ON. Whatever became of Lymon? I think Nermal was still around...

Then a little later for another hot minute I was a big fan of Ren and Stimpy. Again, I was cable free so I had to rely on my friend Bill to once again be my Ren and Stimpy dealer. "Psssst, hey fat TV salesman, want to see something funny?" I watched the first two seasons over and over but when they fired John K. (the creator of the show) , it went to all fart jokes and ceased being adult and funny.  Come on! Frank Zappa as the POPE? Powdered Toast Man gets a chill and burns the Constitution to warm his ass?   That was comedy :)  Plus, there's my badge when I played the part of a cross walk guard when I was really young. I was pretty good at it too and I shouted "Walk It!" a lot. Only three injuries during my tenure...BOP! Now THAT'S COMEDY!

100_3494.JPGFinally, what every blog owner asks his/herself.  There was the Cosi Toldeo button that I missed as well. I got it when they opened and then dropped a $300 minidisc 50 feet to the floor while doing a bit for WIOT. You see, I was up on the balanced bike on a high wire and well... Plus, it isn't easy being weird. Once again, ask yourself.........


Button Panel #1

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100_3485.JPGWelcome to the near end of my button box junk posts. This is the panel of buttons I put together to make it easier to finish doing these button box junk posts. I have too many to tell stories about on an individual basis. It's just stupid stuff anyway. Again I had to use black dots of pain to cover up the guilty. On that button at the bottom, it was an "in memoriam" pin. I don't remember who the person was or why I came into possession of it. I could have left it out this picture, but I don't think so good. So, "black dots of pain" is that button. Dupe buttons are all over like "Dawg Gone". Not worth repeating.  Otherwise, here goes. 

100_3487.JPG A lot of these pins and in the following pin posts were created when a bunch of us were sitting around our college radio station WBWC with a pile of magazines and a button maker. If I get another Appliance Store button, I'll sic the black dots on them. The monkey was just one of those created at the radio station. The 70's equipment and microphone was a upgrade from the 50's radio crap we used to use. Hell, we thought it was bonus that we had a , what did they call them, a "compact disc" player? I think we got it when record labels started sending CD Singles to promote.  WCSB was another one of the radio stations I provided "content" for with our "Under The Shelf" show. 

You should know the story of Maximum Compact. Get it? Those are the dots and dashes that make up a digital signal. Bwa ha ha ha. Speaking of Nofeast, towards the end of my Parma store and the end of the company's tenure in Cleveland, we had a fly by night extended warranty company that sold coverages for your big screen about $200 less than other warranties at the time. They paid us pretty well too. Trouble was , they went under and guess who was left holding the debt? Lesson learned. We then had GE Financial backing our warranty. They cost more, but GE wasn't going anywhere right? As a company, we were, but not GE Warranty!  You know the handmade badge. It's for an obscure band called "Spudlok". Who would name their radio show "Under The Shelf" and their band "Spudlok"? Hmmmmmm.

100_3488.JPGNow, don't be shocked by the Nazi propaganda up on top. That's a button for the band "The Residents" and I believe that's a likeness of TV's Bill Shatner. I was a minor fan of The Residents, and we called them the "Kings Of The Avante Garde" over on the WBWC hosted by Evan Ford. My friend Bill was all in and knew every nook and cranny about the band that's most famous for appearing as four giant eyeballs. I just couldn't get too much of a groove for these guys. The button is from "Third Reich and Roll" which I wish I could say was a good album, but too odd for my tastes. Therefore I listened to Negativland! "Negativland Is Stupid" with the little Monopoly house was a symbol from their "Big 10-8 Place" album.  I really became a fan when they released "Escape From Noise" album. I covered the boys and their inspirations on me in this post: -- The mice button was from  a McPromo for some Dipsney feature that I don't know and don't remember. Maybe it was Cinderelly? Never saw it. "We're you anywhere near Chernobyl comrade?" "I don't remember." (Letterman, summer of '86.)

100_3486.JPGNow we're almost cooking with gas. I think we're cooking with Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagermeister. I made it into the liquor preferred by Bill Clinton. I think I got this button when I got throw uppity from drinking the stuff. I also have a steel stamped ashtray that says Whirlpool from the same night.  What did I do? What did I say? Did I really puke in the buckets used to hold up our radio station's tent? Did we really stop at a quick wash place to rinse the buckets out? 

There's a Zappa button. I like Zappa. I actually had a ton of Zappa and came close to having everything. Then, no job, no future, no rent money, hmmm, these Zappa discs over here gotta be worth something... Then of course, the famous Miami Vice pair of cops, Crockett and Geordi La Forge. Never mind they were a few centuries apart. Then, a self made Kraftwerk "Electric Cafe" pin. Being as this was the first CD I ever bought, it has become the most listened too CD that I own. Why not have a cheap B&W pin created with a xerox and Scotch tape? The Amelia Earhart button was from a previous post. More crap from Curtis Mathes. Well, it's cut off here, but it seems Dolly Parton needs a breast reduction and Nitzer Ebb is on a 10K run. ....and scene.  Button Panel #1, roll away,  adieu. 


It's why it's called the BUTTON BOX

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100_3138.JPGI guess I'm pretty much half way through the interesting stuff in my Button Box, I thought I would actually show some BUTTONS before I actually go to the final Button Extravaganza junk blog. My BB(TM) has always been a junk pile with special junk, a little too small or nice enough to keep with other like junk. I've waxed poetic about NOFEAST APPIANNCE, and well, this was going out in the trash as I helped close my branch. I had to take them. They are history to retail grunts everywhere.

100_3139.JPGThese were from an advertising campaign that ran for a month or two. The commercial featured a bull in a field and the announcer said  Northeast was the store with the lowest everyday prices. That was NO BULL. Now of course, you could always "dicker on the sticker". When the product was a "Nail" tThe lowest priced whatever in the category where there was no dicker to the sticker), we'd still get folks that  tried. They would say "You Make Lower" or "What My Price" or "Name's Stash, I'll take two." Some smart- as*ed sales guys would take the tag off the product and drop it to the floor and say, "now it's lower".  We had to wear these while the advertising was on the air.  I think we got a gross and were supposed to give them out. I got the rest of them.  Now you see what this blog is all about. Junk.  I'm the Fred Sanford of Angus. I'm the Lamont Sanford of "YOU BIG DUMMY! " I'm the Grady of...aww forget it.

100_3140.JPG"Cheap Thrills at the back of my car" FZ from the album "Reuben and the Jets." (It was FZ's take on 50's greaser music, and even fooled some of the deejays that thought it was a throwback band.) Toke was the joint I closed before I closed Northeast. I don't remember an advertising campaign behind this one. In fact, there was a pretty good pile of them in a nook and/or cranny. I took a lot of them. We really couldn't give them out as they had a long pin that stuck out from the side and did not have a latch. Cheap thrill indeed.

100_3141.JPGHere's a piece of real retail BULL! I was working as a cashier at home improvement store "Handy Andy". (They were the big box home improvement store that was the area leader before the final fight played out to Lowes and Home Depot.) This particular tour as a cashier was I remember, a sad affair. I stood at the counter all day and waited. Unless my manager said to clean the front or help in some department, I stood all day. The count room was a hell. I tried to be perfect. Telecheck machines ringing away. Skus that didn't match. Credit cards declined. I did this kind of "turn off your mind" job several times for several companies before and after I put three electronics chains out of business. All those years wasted just stumbling around. Adam Carolla was pushed. I had an apron and on it, I wore this. I think the "month long sale" was actually any time we were open. Had to keep the button. I think I may have the apron someplace.

100_3144.JPGNothing to see here. I got it from 3WE while I worked there and we made fun of the fact that the competition was running the Cleveland Browns games with no commercials. They went to weather and news reports at half time. Dog Gone was a slogan for the "Modell Sux and "Taglia-BOO"  crowd. (Cleveland Browns left Cleveland for Baltimore for those junk blog readers that may not know. We've been pissed ever since. )


Yet more buttons! There's a couple of repeats here, so we'll delete those and get to the rest. This was "Collection #2". Duplicate buttons. See? Junk. I keep lots of it. I'm drowning in it.

100_3406.JPGSpeedee! I started my working career at a McDonalds near you. Believe it or not, it was more a "clubhouse" than a job. We had a African American store manager who was really funny and gave a damn. He had to deal with the then "upper middle class white bread" suburbanite kiddies that we all were. He tolerated our shenanigans and to this day, one of the managers I remember the most fondly.  I wanted to work at Mickey Macs and become a manager and go to "Hamburger U". I think this button came later in my tour. I must have quit and been re-hired at the same Mickey Macs several times. I still would go to work there. Yeah, now they don't make everything (I mean EVERYTHING, including MEAT) fresh to order. No, it sits in trays. It's "microwaved fresh" to kill off all the "odd bacteria". When I worked there for the microwave stint, the weird "blue liquid" inside the steamers that kept the meat warm was ..well... CENSORED. (Can't tell what it was as it was a secret according to the hazardous materials manual.) I digress. They had a nostalgic run and we had these buttons. Don't mean nothing to us kitchen grubs or drive thru schmucks. (More on Mickey Macs in another post. I have name tags to go through.)

100_3415.JPGHere's a button I'm a little baffled as to where it came from. I assume it was from yet another home improvement center that no longer exists. I think it's from my tour at Builder's Square as a cashier. I do remember that taking a Discover card was different from Visa/MC. It required a longer 300 baud modem powered approval process and a bit of a wait to take it. We had to wear these on our SMOCKS. I actually had a Discover card for a short time. I forget why I cut it the hell up. It may have had something to do with their bitchy collections people. I ran it to it's limit while working in Toledo and didn't have the funds to pay it off. I was a "scumbag", I know.  However Discover had the bulldogs of collections. Worse than the others. Bye bye worthless card.

100_3417.JPGThis is one I remember fondly. Maximum Compact! It's been mentioned before on this Junk Blog that my friend Bill was a genuine store owner. He had the first "CD Exclusive" store in the Cleveland area. His store had two "listening booths" where you could hear before you bought. CD's were pretty new and he was the ultimate knowledge in music. I gotta say some of my favorite bands/artists were introduced to me through Bill's knowledge and he became my "dealer". "Hey, here's a sampler cassette of Frank Zappa. I'll get what you like from it..." "Hey, here's the newest CD release from a band called Negativland. It's called "Escape From Noise". "Hey, they are releasing TRAFFIC on CD!"  "Hey, Todd Rundgren has..."  "It's really XTC, but they play authentic 60's music as The Dukes Of Stratosphere"  "This is Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age album..."  I thought it was so cool that I had a friend that opened a store! I even worked there for a few months until I realized that I had no musical skill and couldn't tell anybody about anything. However, our friendship didn't suffer. It should have, but to Bill's credit, he didn't resent the employee that stiffed him by not showing up on a few shifts. (Friends should never work for friends for a paycheck.)  Great logo eh? Digital bits.

100_3414.JPGYeah, I know. I should have blocked out this button but I couldn't. There was a flea market that I've mentioned on this Junk blog before. I bought this as my first "wacky" button from a vender that sold a whole lot of wacky buttons. This might be considered the first addition to my button box. Wow. This is when I was driving a Monza and working at the above McDonalds and didn't have a pot to piss in. Ahhh, but the message was important enough to me to fork over a 2 dollar bill for such a positive and yet sarcastic message. Doesn't he look a little like Speedee? I wonder if that's why I bought this? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Arf! -Ric

100_3088.JPGI've got quite a few of these. They are easy ways to promote your brand. Foam koozies. Your logo here. 100 Minimum and $75 set up fee. I used a few until they eventually got torn up, but there are ones I save in my junk collection. Radio station? Check. Radio station I worked at? Bonus points. Put crap in the koozie for storage. Perfect.

100_3089.JPGHere's the crap. It's not like this stuff needs the scary protection provided by sooper 'IOT koozie, but it's in there. Hell, a thousand years from now, this koozie will likely still be filled with this crap. Crap like this doesn't break down in landfills. Maybe I should call this blog "The CRAP Blog." Nahhh, some of this crap does have a valued use. Who wants to be known as a guy that has a house full of crap? I guess a house full of junk isn't that much better. What's in a name. It's all worthless.

100_3091.JPGI have a thing for key chains. I have used the same damn key chains for over 30 years. A Sears home services key chain, a "Great Northern Plaza's" mall key chain and a brown leather "belt hook" key chain. That's it. I haven't used anything else, but I sure have a lot of replacements if I need them. My button box is full of them for lack of anywhere else to put them.

Here is a typical "better than the worst" beer key chain. Miller Lite is about as poo poo as it gets as a beer, but it's better than Bud or Coors light beers. I like bottle opener beer key chains. Which is why the 94.5 WXKR key chain is a good one as well. My former radio "host" at WIOT works for 94.5 and that was a freebie he gave me back in the days when they still had freebies to give. The other is a key chain with a red LED light provided by one of our "partners" (repair providers) while I worked at the Louisville warranty company. I carried one for a couple of years but it fell apart. Here's it's clone, and it's clean. (Name removed.)

100_3092.JPGHere's something I bought from a flea market. A ZAPPA patch. It's meant to be sewn onto my jeans jacket along with a Depeche Mode and New Order and KMFDM and Yo Yo Ma and Metallica and Led Zeppelin and DEVO patch. *burp* For a while, I loved Zappa's music. The first CD I bought was "Thing Fish" which the Zappa expert I bought it from told me it was considered by Zappa fans to be his worst. It recycled everything and didn't have a guitar solo! However, I thought it was funny. I like humor. I was in the process of owning every Zappa disc but then, I had rent to pay, so I sold most of the collection. He's like the Grateful Dead. You either need to collect them all or pass on everything except the hits. I really don't listen to his stuff anymore, but I'm new to the Grateful give me time. I used to listen to Kraftwerk or Devo every day as well. Of course it helps when Sirius/XM has a 24/7 channel devoted to your band and they play your concerts  which you were damn smart enough to record pretty much all of... so that there is always something different to hear. I digress.

100_3093.JPGWhen I worked for the Louisville warranty company, I had the chance to go up in a balloon. We had sponsorship in a Louisville area balloon rally and all I got was this lousy pin. Float in a hot air balloon strapped to a basket with flammable materials lit in a controlled fashion? AHHHHH!  Pins are popular in Louisville. Ask anyone that has a worthless collection of pins for the Kentucky Derby festival. They are good for 10% off of a hot dog at festival vendors. They also give you preferred seating in the "thunder pots", or portable toilets brought in for the "Thunder Over Louisville" festival two weeks before the Kentucky Derby. Ahh, the near South. "Hop on the snodder and go to the CiCi's."

Then, my Tokyo Shapiro name tag. Nothing to see here. At least they didn't make us wear smocks or ties or jackets or condoms.

100_3094.JPGFinally, no cash value. There was a lasertag called "Photon." It was the first and arguably the best lasertag ever. You got dressed in a heavy battery suit and wore a surgical hat so you wouldn't get head lice when you put on the heavy helmet. Then you went into a built out, lots of lights and plastic and aircraft carpet field and played lasertag with a pounding soundtrack that would make Tangerine Dream jealous.  You'd be all sweaty from running for 6 1/2 minutes and then they would spray Lysol in your helmet. You'd eat red jump rope licorice and drink water from the fountain and play Empire City 1941 in the arcade. Fun, eh? Ahhh, but the company went under and they left their arenas as furnished shells and the one in Louisville became "Laser Blaze." Less of a laser tag system, more fluorescent paint and rock and roll soundtrack. It was still to us that played Photon, the closet thing to Photon. It wasn't. I remember when our company held a year end even there and one team was guilty of cheating in order to win. Couldn't have done that with Photon. Well, unless you were Predator. He knew all the tricks. That MF. Scoring on me when I fell down in pain from a leg cramp. Standing there. Scoring on an injured warrior. What a dick.

ARF! -Ric

Break For Emergencies

100_3156.JPGHey! I thought I'd open my Button Box (R) blog with a lively post about good ol' radio, novelty keychains, and proof to the world that I was there. Wayyyyyy back when, I had washed out of LIVE college radio and currently was living the life of a retail underpaid shrub. My desire to create funny stuff for radio was strong and I sunk $5000 in a radio school. They could teach me to do radio right? RIGHT? They also GAR-UN-TEED I'd have a paid job when I graduated. Wow. Someone would pay me to broadcast? I was all in.

The school was half assed. We went from 40+ to a class of 15 by the time the eight month, three nights a week ended. I had some pretty good training from respected disc jockeys around Cleveland. "More Music" Ken Morgan was my primary instructor and he taught me one thing and one thing only that helped me further my career. How to splice tape.

Yes, it was an art. Simple, neat, and efficient. It's how countless hours of every kind of recorded media was edited. You took a coffee pot grease pencil, put marks on the tape where you would like to cut out the "F" word. Then using a razor blade and a special angled splice block , you cut the tape. Then you used a sticky tape to "spice" the two sections of tape together. If you were good at it, you had a perfect edit. Prior to this instruction, I couldn't do it correctly. Funny thing about this process, as digital editors were making tape obsolete and schools started training on computers, mooks like us that new how to cut tape could get minimum wage board op gigs at the 500 watt light bulb AM. Computer editing wouldn't be cheap for another 10 years and most radio stations when you were starting had equipment from the 50's.

100_3157.JPGI do credit the school for getting me in the door at WNCX, Cleveland. It's "Cleveland's Classic Rock" and it was pretty much the dregs of Cleveland radio in the mornings until they brought in a deejay from New York named Howard Stern. My "mistake" was asking for an "internship" where I could run downtown Cleveland three days a week to pile up commercial tapes for the music director that ran the show. Plus, I could go get breakfast for him. I could walk into the pee smelling lobby of McDonalds and bring back eats and set up the commercials for the next hour.

I wanted more than anything to be a morning show deejay and the internship lording over the commercials was my foot in the door to the wonders of syndication. My "mistake" soon became, and I mean SOON, the best gig I've ever worked for no money. Before WNCX, I was a college deejay still doing radio the old way. Howard changed everything. Howard did something that taught me that to be funny on the radio. Be yourself and be honest.

When Howard became #1 in Cleveland, I was working my first job down the hall as a PAID radio board op and I was still interning mornings because I'd be damned if I'd give up such a fun morning. I was rewarded with being a flunkie at the "funeral" that Howard held in Cleveland. I picked up such luminaries from the airport as "Gange" and "two guys from the band America" and "a hatin hat" parody guy. (You figure it out.) I had to clean the cheeseburger wrappers and Taco Bell bags from my Saturn SL. Imagine me picking up rock stars in my un-air conditioned stick Saturn SL. I did it, and I was thrilled to do it. Nobody ever said there was a budget for radio. It went into the show.

Gange.JPGFor what it's worth, I saved the signs. I went to the event, had a fairly good time despite the wires getting cut and crossed signals  leaving me off the Howard Stern bus. Oh well. The pre show took place inside the above place. A strip club. Yep. It was Howard Stern. I was inches away from a ton of mammories and that was just Robin Quivers. There were plenty of other mammories to see not feel. I met Baba Booey and Joey Buttafuco and got the notes and pens for Jackie the joke man. I got some passes. I got a keychain. Above shows the key chain. Simple logo on the front, blank on the back. And a suprise inside!

100_3159.JPGA festive balloon! That's right! It's a keychain with a festive balloon! How thoughtful was the management to provide thousands of the keychains so the people that came for Howard Stern's victory party could blow them up and bounce them around. Wheeeeeeeee! Party time fun. 

100_3161.JPGHmmm. I've never  seen a balloon with such a large nozzle to fill with air. Hmmm what a really odd thing. It's looks like it's packed in it's own baloon jelly. What's more, why would they have an expiration date on a balloon? Is that so once it's filled up, you'll know how long until it breaks? Oh, maybe it's a "freshness" date. Like beer. A "born on" date. What a festive yellow color....

Hey... wait a minute...

That's a "balloon" all right...but it's not intended for festive Howard Stern parties nor to be filled with's what John Lennon wanted to put Yoko Ono inside when jamming on stage in New York with Frank Zappa...

100_3158.JPGA  SCUMBAG!!!!!!!