Results tagged “Tokyo Shapiro”

100_4589.JPGTokyo Shapiro. Formerly the jobbers for Clarkins Stores Inc. First slogan? Tokyo Tech At Shapiro Prices. It was the late 70's after all. Of course, bought by the Luskins chain and run into the ground when every electronics chain gave up the ghost to Best Buy and Sun TV. (The latter also giving it up to Best Buy.) I worked there for some of the best times of my young career when it looked like retail sales would be the path I was going to take. Fat chance, but I stayed with it for a few. I knew what the flying erase head did on your camcorder. I knew what Scandium Oxide was on your 35" Mitsubishi big tube TV. Like any plastic bag just blowing down the street which your good friend Bill thinks is saying "BIH!" as it blows... I got lots of debris from here. It brings up my lots of debris here on the web.  Yeah, I let this go a bit, but I'm back. You see, I started another blog for my trips to Florida and my recent trip which was stellar. That got me back into shape, and well, time to start blogging about my junk again. Means something to me, kept it in a box, insignificant to you, but there may be a glimmer of remembrance. We do it all for ME, Rod. Plus, I'm listening to a concert from the Grateful Dead from 1968 on SiriusXM and just jamming up and down the super slab known as the internet.

100_4590.JPGThere's that slogan. Shapiro was a guy known to the owners who was Japanese and was also cheap. Yeah. That's it. That's what they meant. Electronics tech was moving really fast. When I started here, video tapes were still averaging $5. Only recently did they have firms like Universal coming around with 2.99 (on sale for 1.99) VHS tapes. It was still a big deal that big manufacturers had video tapes. Maxell was a get for the Tokyo Shapiro company. I don't remember why. I thought TDK or JVC were the best tapes made, but the Maxells were a little cheaper and they looked good. Hence, my first $5 video tapes were Maxell. It would be another year or two when VCRS dropped into the $200 range that you could get almost any brand for about $3 and it would be a good tape. I judge from my extensive tape collection. Whatever brand was on sale at the time, I bought some. These were the deluxe high grade and well, I never could tell the difference. They all played the same. Boy this Tokyo stuff just keeps coming up in this blog right? Right?

100_4713.JPGHave you SEEN THE LIGHT? This relic, I can say I had before the first Star Wars movie was a toy flash light that really worked as a flashlight and you got "that hand" some good excersize for your formative years. It came with a crank handle and a plastic belt holder and three colored slides that made it red, blue or green. Oh no, there were no fancy batteries to recharge. It was a motor that generated enough power to light up a flashlight bulb. To someone that didn't have a pot to piss in, this was high tech goodness.

100_4714.JPGPretty simple right? It was built like a tank and would likely still work today. Nothing inside to go bad. The case was dropped a few times, so it has a crack in the surface, but should still work. The weakest point was the plastic crank handle, which, with a ton of use that any kid would give this during normal play, first wore where it connected to the crank. Then the handle broke at the point where it met the cranking plastic that fit into the crank. I can only assume the handle is to the wind or down a heating vent somewhere.

100_4613.JPGNevermind the other junk in this photo, just concentrate on these lenses. They would fit over the light in the notch you see in the photo above. Wow. Neat. Cool. We didn't have much when your were poor in the 70's.

100_4614.JPG"When you see the red light... " ROXXXXXXXXXANNNNNNE! You don't have to turn on the RED FLASH BRITE LENS. It's a picture of a single hole punch inside of a dark room. Um, I got nothing else. Big Red.

100_4715.JPGYou know, they actually included a MORSE CODE card with this flash light? That's what the little button on the back was for. Yeah, you were winding your ass off to make light and they gave you a switch to make it go out for a split second. You could do Morse code with this! Alls I remember is I NEVER DID THAT ONCE! It was too hard to push a button on the back of the light while holding and cranking at the same time. Still, FOR KIDS was this light. FOR KIDS.

100_4716.JPGA famous maker toy company name? Nope. Copyright 1975 Janex Corp. AHA. Just when I was going to say I could find NOTHING on the web, there  was a sister product that was a big box that showed through a lens and took VIEWMASTER reels! I'm going to break this Junk Blog code and link HERE.  Why? I don't know. Because I looked for everything, didn't find anything, then found this by looking for the company that made it. A search on EBAY brought up a lot of plastic character clocks and character tooth brushes and yes, even updated Masters Of The Universe self powered flash lights. I suppose the main reason for breaking code was you can see the crank for the Viewmaster thing is exactly the same as what went on the side. Cheap. I wouldn't mind having the viewer though, of course we couldn't afford any reels.

Somebody hear the theme from Welcome Back Kotter playing?


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

It's A Mental Lunch Box , I Must Say

100_4291.JPGHi. How you? It's been a long time. Just a blip in productivity. We're in "Ashyebeeoh" mode, emphasis on B.O.! 8 episodes, now that's a season. That's not content.... Ahhh, don't worry. We're still here and I got a whole mess of crap to bring to you. I'll make time. I'm doing it for the Radiolawn show.  I loves me some web space and the dog that provides it. Now, here's Ed Grimley. 

He was a thing on SCTV. Martin Short's quirky (slightly drain bramaged) character who had a thing for playing triangle, dancing oddly and paprika. I really didn't see him on SCTV. I guess I never liked it. It was a "Kids In The Hall" kind of show. Oddball Canadian comedy   When Doug and Bob were so popular, I guess I watched a bit, but humor like that when I was younger was over my head. It wasn't until the summer of 1986 where David Letterman really opened my head. Of course, there was that one "inbetween" season of Saturday Night Live where they had experienced "name" talents like Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Martin Short. They captured lightning in a bottle. Even though they had an into to their show that was cartoonish like countless beer ads and CARS videos, it still is what I believe the best season.  Well, Ed Grimley had a few sketches during that season, and Pat Sajack would be proud.

100_4293.JPGI carried a lunch box for a year or so. It was made by Coleman I believe, and it was a large metal "Space 1999" lunch box. Eventually, the cheap metal got rusty and was either taken or tossed and I brown bagged or school lunched since. Of course they got smaller and plastic and of course they came with whatever they think they could sell. When it was announced that Ed Grimley  was coming to EnnBeeCee in a Saturday morning cartoon form, I was very much anticipating. It would be a fun show. Thirteen eps on Saturday morning. Most really quirky and funny. I had to go an get the lunch box. I think it was purchased from K-Mart along with 2 for three subs with linoleum lunch meats. 

100_4294.JPGYes girls, that arm and hand are single. So sexy yes? I guess the flash isn't that friendly to arm hair is it? The drinking jug that came with lunch boxes. I think my Space 1999 jug suffered from a lack of cleaning and fell to the mold. This never got the Kool Aid treatment. The Ed Grimley cartoon had a few supporting characters, including a fish and a rat. It was for kids, but was pretty adult. My favorite episode was the one with Martin Short playing a Vaudeville singer/songwriter Irving Cohen. "Dah Dah Dah, Dee Dee Dee and whatever the hell else you want to put in there".

100_4296.JPGI was a huge fan of the "Jewish Deli" sketch where Irving Cohen shot the home town with other "old Jewish performers" as they argued about what was on a Morey Amsterdam sandwich. Every week after my friends and I did our thing on "Evan Ford's Avante Garde Show" on WBWC radio, we would go to Dennys and "perform" the sketch out loud. I worked my way in as Brad Hall's "disgruntled waiter" character from the sketch and we performed it EXACTLY as it appeared with gaffs and all. Audio tapes of the sketch are all we had. I wish I would have taped our performance of it. Ahh, the memories.

100_4300.JPGI found a few extras that I stashed in the lunch box. It's one of those generally worthless baseball cards stashed in a box of corn flakes. We used to buy JUMBO boxes of corn flakes and I'd make an after school "Toilet Bowl" sized bowl of flakes with sugar on top. Believe it or not, it was my favorite snack as I latch keyed myself and waited for Mom to come home from work. I'm not a collector, but this "animated" card must be worth 3.00 or so. Maybe not. I'd give $20 for a collection of 7-11 Slurpee Cup puffy "space" stickers. They used to be a thing, but then "Big Gulp" used to be a HUGE 32oz it's 177 ounces.

100_4299.JPGFinally and totally 80's, these were another thing that was extremely popular in the late 80's early 90's. Everything came in day glo colors As I worked for a number of deceased electronics retailers , I got a lot of debris and promo crap. Harmon Kardon and JBL were one and the same. HK had the absolute best tape decks other than professional stuff. I bought one and many a show was recorded on it. JBL speakers were "meh" in the bass department, but they had the crispest and nicest treble response with their tweeters, but they had some of the best studio monitor speakers. Then there was Japanese stripper "Sony Tape" and her wonderful glasses. I bought about ten packs of Sony chrome tape from my gig at Tokyo Shapiro and they came with a free pair of these glasses. More than likely, I put these away to preserve history. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. My HK tape deck needs to be rebuilt. Boomer's garage can help. Fans, computers, transmitters, LED TVs and Monitors, even old AM only five transistor radios, Boomer makes it right. Just throw him a milk bone :)


100_3900.JPGOn my itty bitty kwitzmas twee, I have a lot of debris of favorite things from my past and present. This one was a on-going treat for me every year. It's a beer coaster turned ornament from Cumberland Brews in Lousiville, KY. I've always liked beer beverage but what I drank for beer beverage could hardly be called BEER. It was more CORN SODA. Yes, but the term "Craft Beer" came along and we had a place to go to get bombed with class!I'd been to one or two micros before, but this was my first "home town" "gotta have it". They announced it was opening somewhere in the "Highlands" area of Louisville , but I drove by it several times and didn't see it. One day I looked up and saw images of hops, and thought, that's it!

It is a real small place, bar of about 12 seats and about 7 tables. The head brewer was brewing a batch of beer right in the front window in a large stainless steel cooker and steam was filling the air. It was that cool of a place. A former ice creamery, so the tile needed to have a kitchen where beer could be brewed was perfect. 4 stainless holding tanks were right there as well and then the refrigerator was at the end, all closed in with glass and there was a Mr. Hankey key chain hanging from a valve. (Christmas poo at a beer joint?)  I met the brewer, the owner and the manager all that day as I drank the best beer I'd had. It wasn't that cheap, but pretty cheap for a micro brew of such taste and quality. I went there at least twice a week. When I moved to Cleveland, I always make a point to go back at least once a year.  The place has changed in that they sell more beer and now brew off site, plus the manager and head brewer are no longer there...but the bison burgers are still the same. Cheers.

100_3908.JPGMr. Fat Hanz is showing off his BALLS! Oh? Only ONE BALL?  It's an Indians baseball team ornament with a fat pudgy MF head with some serious eyebrows. For years I put this junk on my tree and not get anything out of the "root root root for the home team." At least this year, we've got something going on. Do baseball players wear toilet seats? Is that the new safety gear? We're All Devo!

100_3898.JPG...and the most debris of the debris I put on my tree every year... I put this in the back of my tree, but I do put this on the tree. Every year.  You know that symbol. Well, I look at it like, I found all this world of wonder from those punks over at the corporate and their operating system for my computer barely powerful enough to microwave a burrito. It was when the net was getting going, and e-mail was becoming a thing. I got a Internet Service Provider and the software they gave me...they told me to use the Internet Explorer program to download Netscape if I wanted to get my e-mails from their Microsoft servers. Microsoft's own server products, not compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Still, I'd still be using Win95, but time marches on. Gee, that's a PEN-GOO-WIN right next to it. Hmmmmm. Hehehehehehehehe.

100_3896.JPGThe MONEY SHOT (TM)  The full rest of the ornaments for this entry. Of course, there's a PEN-GOO-WIN. It's for my favorite hockey team. Really. It's for my favorite computer operating system. Really. It was a premium strapped to a box of Christmas Lifesavers.  The rest are just duplicates of other key chains you've seen from my button box posts. The "SCION" key chain was a really nice and heavy promo given out at the Cleveland auto show for the new and amazing cars from China. Er...Japan? Yep. Toyota's different trendy brand. It had a good run. Do you know anyone that bought one?  There is also a Yuengling key chain bought at the Tampa former Strohs plant on the only beer plant tour I've been on. Free beers. Clearance crap. Plus, everybody's favorite Japanese stripper, Sony Tape. She wore these to cover up her *Shhhhhhh! Check it!*

100_3902.JPGLast but yes last, is the bumper sticker from my beloved Cumberland Brews. I sort of got the vibe that they liked jam music. They always would be playing anything funky or rasta or noodling. I didn't get any reference in the place until I became a fan of the Grateful Dead. Gee, that bumper sticker is a lyric from the song "Ripple". The poster from the 1995 tour still hangs there. Bears. Jerry. Volkswagen Busses. The owner is a DEAD HEAD. Cumberland Blues is a song by the Grateful Dead. Jerry would love the place. Oh, and RIP Ear X-Tacy. The greatest media store in the 'Ville. Okay. Nuff.  -Ricochet

The Keys To The S**tty

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100_3180r.JPGI'm not totally at fault. I may want to keep things like a emergency brake wrapper or the horn pad from a fondly remembered Chevrolet Monza, but why keep the keys? Don't I realize that as junk, worthless keys to cars that were junked 20 years ago are truly junk. They are not even worth a post on a blog about the reasons why I kept this junk. I even thought I may just keep this one to myself. Take one photo session for the team. Worry about holiday stuff, like making my Christmas list. Tea. Check. Toothbrush refills. Check. Water filter refills. Check. Every Grateful Dead book that came out new this year. Check. Giftcards Giftcards Giftcards. Check. (Jeeze, might as well ask for cash, large bills.)  Oh well, I'll try to make this "moderately neato". (Thanks George Carlin.) They keys with the cheesy yellow plastic ring were for my Monza. Ahh the stories I've told. The lonely key other the other side? Who knows. Somewhere...a lock is needing it's lover... Bah.

100_3182.JPGKeys to a lonely faded sky blue Chevette. Yes, I owned a "vette". A 1979 2 door hatchback. It was my first car, so I give it a pass to still have the keys to it. I got my first ticket in it. I learned that car repairs for someone on a McDonalds salary is a tough thing. I learned that a "crankshaft pulley" was the thing attached to the crankshaft on a car and that it could fall off. I learned that the bolt in the crankshaft could be bored out and a new bolt put in place. I learned that the new bolt put in place could fail easily and cause me to walk 2 miles to the nearest service station. I learned that when the gas monkey who's left after the mechanics leave has a thing for taking hits from a helium tank. I learned not to tow it to the nearest Chevy dealer but to tow it to Avon Lake to the Chevy dealer across from the Ford plant as my former step dad had connections there. Yes, I paid what little I could to get the bolt tapped again. I also learned that the repair would have no warranty and it was likely that it could go at any minute. I also learned the transmission would slip whenever I hit a bump. I also learned that the slider controls for the vents were 1.98 plastic and wore out easy. Then, I learned about electrical problems. How it could be wiring or an alternator, or a distributor or a battery. 70's American cars at their finest? I could have done better, but it was my first. Maybe I will throw these out.

100_3184.JPGYet another crappy car. A 1989 Dodge Omni America. An American car, with America in it's name. USA #1. Actually, the car was at the end of it's life and took a real dive in sales the year I bought mine. Of course, it kinda hurt that the Omni was 70's tech. I bought a Road and Track that talks about it's very much a Volkswagen Rabbit. Hell, they even used Volkswagen engines when they were introduced. By the time I got mine all shiny and new as my first NEW car, the Dodge Shadow was being sold and was newer late 80's tech, with the same damn engine. I do remember after a few weeks driving my NEW 1994 Saturn SL, I climbed in a similar Omni at my dealership and it was like sitting in a tractor. I wondered where I raised and lowered the plow. I liked my Omni. It always ran and never broke down. Except the breaks. Thin as tracing paper. I went through 3 sets of pads and I was on the third set when I went to metal on metal breaking. ScrEEEEEeeEEeeeEEeeeeeeeee.  Calliper locked up. $800 repair. I didn't have $ I bought a new car. See how that stupidity works?

The other keys are the type used to unlock cheap luggage that I don't have anymore. When Tokyo Shapiro was nearing it's end, they sold camera cases that were strays from long sold demo units. I bought a few and ripped out the camcorder insert and used them for various purposes. One of them? Wesley Crusher on Star Trek The Next Generation, carried the exact case I had, only his had the Trek logo. Silly, but for how good and high tech that show was, they used a lot of the cheapest garbage their set designers could get their hands on. A scene in Airplane II had a "blinking and beeping and flashing" device with no purpose that appeared a few times in  ST:TNG. But then, who knew we could carry a tablet that could have all that info and TV's could be thin and we could have massive sex on the U-Haulideck.

100_3183x.jpegKeeping up with the title of this post, yes, when the Saturn finally got cremated by a loaded lumber truck hitting a F-350HD hitting ME, I needed a new car. Actually, I just needed a ride so for a gift, I got my brother's old 1988 Pontiac Grand Am 2 door with stick. He warned me not to drive it too heavy but 6 months later, I killed it. Clutch blew out with little chunks everywhere. I repaired that because I was in Cincinnati at the time. Then one day, the head gasket went. I really limped it to the car dealer. I walked out with the cheapest car they had, again. This time, a 1999 Hyundai Accent 2 door with stick. Say what you will , but Hyundai had turned the corner. They had the best warranty on their cars and were in the process of shedding the Hyundai Excel image of cars that turned to rubbish in under a year. I loved mine. My dealer was actually worse than my car. They couldn't get a replacement tape deck after mine started leaving a "gonk" on the tape cassette when ejected. I went to another dealer who got my tape deck in a week and even fixed the door that was messed up by Hyundai roadside assistance. Too bad that was destroyed a few months later. This is the spare key. It's never been in water, but somehow, it's green. I'm guessing the cover around it is degrading. It wasn't even a lubed key condom. HAHAHA. Junk blog. -Ric

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

Toke A Calc

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100_3185.JPGI shouldn't be keeping a book of matches in my junk box or my button box. What if it ignites? Then I wont have the wonderment of the condom keychain or earplug case or even the cooling headband that the magic junk provides. I should have ripped out the matches and just kept the wrapper. However, this is yellow. Plain wee yellow. That's it. That's all. I should have some reason for keeping a piece of junk. Was this a match book I found when I took a whiz at the first concert I ever attended? (It was the mid 80's Heart. I had a Monza but didn't care about Heart. My friend had money for an extra ticket and no car. Get the picture? I did know and like the 70's Heart. Barracuda and all that rock-n-roll. No this was 80's Heart. The "What About Love" Heart. I really didn't care, but it was a chance for my first rock concert and the now gone Richfield Coliseum.  I wouldn't realize that I saw the bass player from Spirit playing with the band until a few years ago. So maybe that's why I saved this match book.) Nope. Not from there.

100_3187.JPGThe striking surface. That teensy bit of synthetic brown crap that you rub a match on to light your joint while you're watching the fat chick from Heart belt out "What About Love" while paying scale to the other members in the band. Didn't she realize she had the earth shattering dress wearing bass player from late 60's rock and roll pioneers Spirit??? What about his turn as a founding member of Jo Jo Gunne and a scale player in the soft pop outfit Firefall. Here was a guy that played bass with some of the best one hit wonder bands. Mark Andes, picking up a paycheck and a  meal from the well catered dressing room.  He wasn't pushed.  Neither was this book of matches with an unstruck lighting strip.

100_3188.JPG Hey! Wait! It's no pack of matches! Woweeeeeeee. Psyche! Those won't light unless you melted the plastic into drippy little toxic hot bombs like the straps they used to use for bundling newspapers.  It's got an LCD screen. Wait a''s...


A calculator that looks like a pack of matches! Nooo.. Where's the condom? Would it fit where you could insert a battery? Who is the bright MF that thought to make a calculator look like a book of matches! You can touch it and it will solve your simple match problems. Maybe you're trying to quit smoking and you keep this pack of matches to calculate how much you save when you don't buy a carton! Yeah. That was it.  What a great idea. Small and efficient. It even has a memory function. Damn what a help this would be in the super market. I can throw away my plastic mechanical calculator I got it from the back of a 70's comic book when I sold twelve boxes of crappy greeting cards.  How handy. It even comes with genuine metal staples! Wooohooo.

100_3191.JPGClose up Ms. Deville! Actually, this is a strong reminder of when I sold personal electronics at the chain spawned from the closing of the Clarkins discount chain. It was at Tokyo Shapiro. (Tag line: Tokyo Tech at Shapiro Prices. Yes a really un-PC borderline SIEG HEIL 70's business name.) They actually were the better place to buy stuff in the 70's and 80's. The company I would work for after Toke had been in a "bait and switch" scandal that tainted them until the memories of the consumer that wanted more than the Gold Star VCR or Soundesign stereo at Zayre had faded.  As mentioned, I started in "PE SALES", meaning I was a cashier that helped ring the salespeople's sales up and I got to sell personal stereo radios, boom boxes, musical keyboards, video games  and vacuums. The salespeople didn't like it if I'd sold a boombox to someone who also wanted a TV and sold them the TV as well.

We had these little "matchbook calculators" in a plain cardboard box and I believe we sold them for $2-4 bucks. We also had several laying in the debris hiding behind the counter, mostly with dead batteries. The ribbon cable in these usually broke before the battery died, and they were hard press on and get an accurate calc motion going. We were supposed to suggest these as add ons, or the pen's with a watch in them. We never did. I bought one as a memento of my life there. I worked my way up to the salesperson side because I was a whiz when it came to selling $300 boom boxes. (Yes, we had one that was the best sounding boom box I've ever heard. It was a JVC with a sub-woofer built in. Single CD and tape with 5 band EQ.  They came out with other models, but nothing sounded as good. I can't even find them on the 'Bay to show to you.) I helped to close the 4 Tokyo Shapiro stores in Cleveland and here's a memory time line... I have a copy of the local SUN newspapers TV Listings booklet from those weeks when we were packing the trucks by setting the radio boards on their faces for the bent shaft sale they would have when they got to where they were going. That magazine announced a NEW prime time cartoon show was starting on the fledgeling "Fox" network. (That's a NETWORK?) It was spun off from the Tracey Ullman show and employed most of her cast as voices. A little show called "The Simpsons". Electronics stores come and go, but the Simpsons outlived them all. "Eat My Shorts!"

P.S. I looked for said "Simpsons" TV Listings book in my "Trunk Of Sorrows" which is a ton of stuff I've saved for one reason or another. In just two envelopes full, I was transported back as early at the mid 70's and somewhere in the 80's  and even the 90's. I did find this, so why not. Proof of concept :) Now I have an huge trunk to document for you the blog viewer as well as every little shred of printed material from the stupid stuff I wrote for the poorly assembled rah-rah newsletter for the DialAmerica office I worked for to the issues of Baldwin Wallace College's PUD. From a letter I have from a dear friend written on his IBM Computer with 256K that he got a real bargain on to the genuine old style mesh top McDonald's paper crew hats to even phone book ads with logos from Tokyo Shapiro and Gray Drug.  More crap I can wax pathetic upon.  First rock concert ever, and how lame and pathetic it is:

Tik Crop.jpegI miss that big hard to reach barn in the middle of nowhere.... now a nature preserve. Nary a tear from losing Cavs seasons or tab of LSD from the Grateful Dead concert parking lot "Shakedown Streets" remains on the site.  I sang there with my high school choir for two graduations and I really wanted to graduate there... but mine was held in downtown Cleveland.  Ahhhh Memmmorieeeeees. "These Dreams" ain't worth "Nothin' At All" .


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

Futures So Bright

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100_3193.JPGIn the 80's, everybody who didn't have any money wore shades purchased from flea markets. Man, if there is a real piece of junk that can be thrown away, it's this. You can't wear them anymore because the lenses are scratched to oblivion, but I save a few for the reason that there is some memories to these, pitiful as they are.

100_3196.JPGThere's the BLOGGERS friend, Mr. FatHanz. This is the only pair I have in my junk collection that was junk before it became junk. I believe this was a flea market find. Why would I buy these? Did I think they would look good? Did I want to get into the "Mr. Roboto" eyeglasses theme. I only took this angle to show you the huge spring on the side to prove that yes, they are spring retracted. I suppose these would be handy to carry around note cards or play that identify yourself game.

100_3195.JPGSort of look like John Lennon glasses if he fell asleep on a IBM Selectric. I never wore these as they look ridiculous.  "Did you get a free bowl of soup with those eyeglasses?" I guess I kept them to remind myself to think before I buy eye wear.

100_3194.JPGThese I actually have fond memories of. They are probably the longest lived of my sunglasses. For two years I believe, these glasses bought at a sunglasses shop in Ft. Lauderdale showed the world that I was a major DWEEB. However, I was a DWEEB with musical tastes. I thought the sunglasses gave me a real "Kneedeep In The Hoopla Is The SH*T" look. I was a hot rocking corporate Miami Vice sort of , man we wore some crap back in the awful pink and aqua days of the 80's. I think I have a few pictures with me wearing these and even had my first trip to Cedar Point with them. Did you know the safest place to "spark up" at CP back then was on the sky ride? It seemed to be the McDonald's crew consensus, I didn't touch the stuff. That's right. I write this blog. I love the Grateful Dead. *snicker* Moving on.

100_3197.JPGThese I got a little later but they are just as meaningful to my junk collection. The 80's bled into the 90's and they came out with these plastic framed glasses that could have a logo affixed. For a year or two, it seemed everybody had a pair or six of these beauties. Mine were from the feature appearances of a stripper that went by Sony Tape. She could shake shake shake her body and she sold these for only $10 when you spent $50 or more on a private dance. Boy she could get the chub from your hub.

I cannot blog a lie. When I worked at Tokyo Shapiro, we would occasionally get close outs from tape manufacturers. Of course, I got it a little cheaper working for the company. That was my perk. 75 cents off. Wheeeee. Well, we got a TON of these Sony chrome tape packs with a "free" set of cheesy sunglasses. Doing radio shows, I needed a steady supply of tape so I could air check what I was doing to know how crappy I was.   So, I must have bought about 15 of these. There was Orange and Blue, and Yellow.  Had to be neon puke. Once a pair got all scratched up, which was three months or less being the cheapest grade of plastic, I'd wear another set. Doof. Doof. Oh well. I still love me some cheap eye wear, but pretty soon, it'll be to help me read the small print on a burrito wrapper. Contains 72% finely textured beef product. Do not microwave in wrapper. "Enjoy your diarrhoea." (Thanks Red Fang. )

ARF! -Ricochet

Tape Deck Line In

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100_2883.JPGLets go BACK, BACK, BACK into time. Cave men. Cave women. Neanderthal.  Talk about your antiques that aren't worth much anymore. Here's your standard cassette adapter. This is a bit later model, but for a hot 20 years, this was the 8-Track to Tape adapter of it's time. That was the even shorter short lived way to play tape casettes in 8 track tape decks that otherwise would have been Pontiac ashtrays.

In the early 1980's until the late 1990s, tape decks became the norm in cars. Of course, if you has a '79 Chevette or Monza, you could buy a $10 radio from Tokyo Shapiro. Good luck trying to install it in the dash. I mean we used to sell 50 different dash conversion kits for after market stereos.  For a little more (or in some cases a LOT more) money, you could easily? install a Pioneer or Alpine or some other stereo. Never mind the holes you had to cut for the speakers. Ahhh, but slowly and surely compact disc player portables became cheaper and more and more of us had to either convert the tape deck or copy everything to cassette. Fun for awhile, pain in the ass mostly.

100_2884.JPGThis little device helped us all get our compact discs on. Of course, for me, I didn't have a portable CD until they got really cheap and could play MP3's as well. What did I get this for? I had installed a JVC deck in my '89 Dodge Omni America and later my '94 Saturn SL. Both of those were the cheapest cars you could buy and both came with AM/FM stereos that with a kit, were replaced with my JVC. About a year after putting it in my Saturn, the tape deck failed. So, I got one of these so I could use a walkman stereo to play tapes. It worked like a champ. When the Saturn got destroyed, I thought about taking the JVC out, but decided to let it die peacefully. 

100_2887.JPGHere's the business end. I believe the "head" in this was plastic. It touched the heads of your tape deck and transferred the sound through the heads. If it was steel head to steel head, I'd imagine the wear and tear on your tape deck would be horrible. Of course, this still was a lot of wear and tear, the gears for the tape deck would run and run trying to pull the tape through that didn't exist. Maybe you should buy a $400 in dash CD player ya bastard.

I had to replace the wires on this twice. A quick snip of cheap headphones and a little solder, and this thing still works like a champ and still comes in handy. No it doesn't come in handy. You caught me in a lie. I should go now. It was great tech. Really. You can use it now for an MP3 player or cell phone. Hell, they are going to make cars without AM radio soon. Cell phones are taking over the whirled. Enjoy your $100 a month. Mine plays Tetris (C)

Arf! -Ricochet

PS: I like the fact that a BEER company's exclusive technology was used to create this. Schotz Beer. I still wish they made that. It was a great burp beer.