Christmas Junk #12 That's Singing???

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100_3802.JPGCarolling carolling now we go, wrapped in a zip tie on a flat bed covered in glitter and beige pillow-y crap. My song book will be written in the proper Queen's English in dog speak so I can understand it. Woof! Woof! Bark. Pawprint. I'm wearing a scarf too! Perfect to clean any vomit from being pulled on this wood deal. Ain't I the cutest piece of crap you every saw?

100_3804.JPGTruth be told, and why shouldn't I share the truth? Hey, let me tell a lie! I was ***of legal age***  years old and found this in my back yard and when I picked it up, I found a doorway to another dimension where all the people were pets and the pets were people but there was a mix of both like in Bojack Horseman. I quickly befriended a golden retriever named "Mr. Joint" and he showed me the reefer way through reefer land and I met his friends "Stoney Stone Cat" and "Mr. Owl." The first thing I asked Mr. Owl was how many licks would it take to get to the Cannabis in my marijuana pop? He took it from me, and gave a few licks while saying  "One, TwoWHOOOOOOOOO, Three" Then he chomped the whole thing in his mouth and handed me the empty stick and smugly said "Three!"  Stoney Stone Cat then attacked and ate him. He smiled while wiping the blood from his muzzle and said "I'm still a cat...couldn't help it." 

100_3803.JPGI know, stupid right? I should know my audience for this junk blog better than that. We tend to have all ages and stoners and animal lovers and peeps who may remember obscure references to an all time classic commercial. What the hell is with this decoration and why do you care? Well, it is a cute little piece of crap right? So cute, this is one of the decorations that I keep out all year. Who wouldn't want some extra figurines broken from some Christmas figurine set? Let me splain what's doin' ova dey...

100_3806.JPGLong ago, I visited a friend near Christmas time, and we went to Bowling Green, Ohio to see another of Ohio's many dying small town malls and go to Finders records. We walked the "downtown" part of Bowling Green and decided to go into a crap store. (You know, one that had a bunch of crap in the window, including seasonal crap like this!) Lots of the crap in this store was high priced figurines and other crap and I believe Beanie Babies were still a hot collectors turd. I worked my way to the back of the store for "clearance" crap. On the table, they had two of these adorable pieces of crap and they were pretty cheap compared to all the other crap, so I bought them both. I knew Boomer would like crap like this. I don't think my friend bought any crap at the crap store. He likes rodentia and sensimilla, not canids. You figure it out. 

100_3805.JPGI even looked this up on the web to see what kind of crap it was. It was tough because I didn't know what Christmas village set of crap this came from. I found it, but don't ask because I don't remember. However, they went to good homes. The zip ties on this are so I can hang it on my Christmas tree. There really isn't anywhere to put it up on the tree without. The "tow" rope with a "bone" just wouldn't do it. Yeah, I'm a softy when it comes to orphan crap like this and it sits year round on the shelf above my computer monitor next to the ALCO cans of pop. You know? Blizz Cola? Dr. Duck? Squirz orange, grape and lemon lime sodas?  Yes, I know they were likely Shasta re-branded for ALCO discount stores. All gone now. Maybe those should go on the tree as well. Hmmmmmmmmm.

-Ric

100_3873.JPGI pretty much took pics of ALL of my various Christmas junk. So, here are a few without much of a story just to show three sets of pictures. Hey, why not have a stocking for your pet?  Do I have a pet? No. Do I want a pet? Not really. Do I want to have a paw print stocking that I got from a dollar store to put out and not fill with anything, but have it be a barky Christmas? That's MONEY.

100_3874.JPGI just included this picture because it's actually hanging up. Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, but there was a f-ing paw pad stocking hung from the cheap video/audio shelving units with very little care. Hopes that St. Nick soon will do that voodoo that he do and fill my stocking with CA$H...or a squeak toy and some milk bones.

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Aha! Maybe I got the stocking for this decoration! My tree has a few themes. Broke ass. Crappy retail work. Low end beer. Free key chains... and DOGS! I was in my Super K-Mart for Christmas a few years back and I found this hanging from a chip clip. (Hanging device to fill every inch of available space in a store.)  Wow. It was big and they had a few so I had to have one. It was only once a year I went to Super K-Mart for last minute Christmas ideas, and I'd always end up with something. It was a Super K-Mart that was one of the very first stores around Cleveland to be 24/7. Zayre had long since gone under and even so, they were only 24/7 at Christmas. When I was younger, I even made fun of this K-Mart as the suburb it was near was of a "certain ethnic" nature. (Skitch. Big Chuck and Lil' John.) They moved the whole shee-bang to a bigger store and was really popular until a few years ago when they started shrivelling away. This had to be the last time I was inside the joint. I don't like going to any "going out of business, nothing held back" sales. There are no deals to be had until 90% off dented cans of TREET or demo mini refrigerators used in the sporting goods department to hold fishing worms. I think this makes a great decoration rather than using it for what it was meant for...

100_3949.JPGYeah. A pot scrubber. Could you scrub your pots with this pup? Rub his nose in your burnt eggs? Maybe if you had the pots advertised by the old chick from Poltergeist that thinks good eating is dumping uncooked crap in a pan, layering it with gravy and shoving it in the oven. I know, I'm being harsh. You know with separate S&H you can get a second pan free? To quote Adam Carolla... "SsssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhOCKING."

100_3867.JPGMr. Fat Hanz is showing another piece of Christmas debris I've collected. It's way too big for a tree decoration. It's meant for your door. We did sled a bit when we were younger, down the minor grade hill of my elementary school. My brother even had a sled, but most of the time, we took cardboard boxes and smeared them with candles and that was supposed to work great. It didn't. We built some great snow forts and when my brother didn't crash the top in after we did all the work, you'd most likely find dog crap in it the next day. We didn't have something for a door for our snow forts. This sled would be a wonderful addition to a snow fort door, which we didn't have.

100_3868.JPGGet the wax! It helps the sleigh. Nah, we'll put a wire on it and we'll put it on our door. Yes, this was a gift given to me that I pull out every year, hang on the front door on the inside and always have to dodge when I get my mail. Reminders of the wonderful Christmas season.  I could hang it from my toilet! Festive Christmas toilet! I'm sure peeps decorate their toilets all the time! Thinking about Santa while dooting another yule log?  Hmmmmm.

-Ric

100_3821.JPGWelcome in to the Christmas Junk Series. I'll try to get a few more posts up before Christmas. Hey, everyputz needs a vacation. I don't even have my tree up yet. So, I'll just take the longest series of pictures I have in my collection and do it as a happy holidays greet post. Yes, you must be laughing now. I don't have a train set. I don't have a "collectable village". Yet, I HAD to buy this. It was $5! It was a bargain. It was advertising the second coming of Woolworths stores minus the eatin' counters. It's for "indoor use only." If you put it outside, it will grow thousands of times the size and peeps will start coming in and asking if you have cheap toilet paper or fake Listerine for $3.

100_3825.JPG ....and that's all she wrote. You see, I used to love Woolworths but never shopped there. I would go there from time to time for something nobody else would have. Need a plastic laundry drying rack? They would have it. Need a cut out of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Movie Soundtrack? They would have it. Wanted one of them photo booth strips taken? They'd have it. Wanted a 10oz glass of Coke with those pebble ice and a burger and fries all for about $3? They would have it.  They all closed and the world was thinner for 5 and 10 stores. Dollar Stores started to creep in, but when I moved to Louisville, I found what would become a store I could swear in. Er... By...

100_3827.JPGGotta love foam. It's so permanent. My Saturn had foam pieces parts as does every modern car on the road. In fact, my Saturn's engine was cast with a foam base! I remember seeing the slight grooves in the block that looks like foam was there. Neat. The caution tag is a bit of a worry. This has an electric lamp in it, but I can't use it as a night light? Only a max of 90 days? Um, why? Is this DG store going to self destruct leaving a pile of cheap batteries and generic pop? You mean this won't disintegrate into Xtra detergent and 5$ sweat pants? Moving on.

100_3830.JPGReally? Really? You're kidding. You mean these were such hot $5 items that I might have wandered into some other dollar store, maybe one that sells pottery pets with from China with human naughty bits attached? I'd walk in and ask the minimum wage employee: "Do you have any official Vintage Dollar General Store light up small city decorations?" They'd likely say "Yes! Yes we do! Just got a shipment in yesterday. 1500 of those little worthless things and we're selling then for $3.00 each, 14 for $6. Can I put you down for 7? Buy 13 get 26 free!"  I'd reply "...but do they have a CERTIFICATE of AUTHENTICITY? I may want to put this outside for 6 months and I need to be assured it's a genuine DOLGENCORP!" "No sir, these are BLEMS and have a full set of human naughty bits on the side of the building." "Sorry, it's not what I want, I will take the 1.00 bag of frozen simulated meatballs and some $1 packs of Eclipse gum."

100_3831.JPGAll jokes aside, I love shopping at DOLllarGENeralCORPoration stores. If you have no other store close by other than drug stores or even said dollar store, you can count on Dollar General. Cheapest prices on staples that we all need and want. You may find something a few cents cheaper at a Wally store, but the hassle.. Laundry detergent, mouthwash, over the counter drugs, paper products, bath products, cheap groceries, even certain clothing, electronics or kitchen stuff... Of course, they have crap like this as well. It was cheap. It's kinda nice. It's a Christmas tradition. Please.

100_3832.JPGSee? It's AUTHENTIC! No human bits hanging out of a window. I mean, were there Chinese workers paid 15 cents an hour to breathe in the paint to spread on the bad pretzel shaped windows at the top? Have you passed a nail place in a mall lately? Did the employees that made this little trinket say the hell with it and migrated to America only to paint mini American flags on fingernails? We're the land of opportunity all right. Yeah, I'm being too hard on the makers of this fine Christmas heirloom. "Son, I will leave you my Authentic DOLGENCORP store in my will. You can cherish it for many years to come." "Dad, I'm getting married to George, your best friend." "This is a HEIRLOOM, I better not hear the corner of it  ending up where it shouldn't!"

100_3833.JPG"But DAD! You plug it in! It has to vibrate!" "Son, I think I should tell you, you're part wolf!  I've been able to suppress it but when you're playing basketball you're going to turn into a man beast and everybody in the gym will cheer." "Dad? You been drinking?" "Yes son, I'm in the bag right now. That's why I so much love when it's time to light up this AUTHENTIC heirloom, and then I'll go and buy a $5 non stick frying pan and some cheap batteries." "So, you're okay with me and George?" "Whatever makes you happy son. You can even wear Mom's dress." "SquEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" *scene*

100_3835.JPGThe MONEY SHOT! It lights up. When the lights are low and the tree is lit, I have this little gem sitting under the tree next to the Big Lots cap and under the Augustiner aluminium beer bottle. I don't think anybody has said anything about it. It's not a conversation piece. I get more comments on the beer cans hanging or the retail debris. F-It. It was my $5 investment that will last forever as long as it's less than 90 days.

100_3838.JPG"Good night John Boy."

"Good night President Quayle."

DOLGENCORP JUNK BLOG.

-Ric

Where The "No! T Foot" Saga Continued

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100_4398.JPGI love me some thrift shops. I didn't buy this for this junk blog, but I bought this for personal reasons. Make no mistake, it is junk. But, to a kid that grew up making tapes on this damn thing, when I found one in near perfect condition, I had to buy it. "No! T Foot" was actually recorded on my first GE tape recorder which was this very machine without the silver speaker screen or the built in microphone. I had my tape recorder at a friend/babysitters house and being a kid, I had to record myself letting a hot and beefy "wind" fly. So, because it had a wired microphone, I positioned myself on the fabric covered recliner in such a way to "Dutch oven" the microphone and let my gas come out. Keep in mind, I was paying attention to the exclusive fidelity of my ass flaps as it resonated a small but powerful "Ferrrrrrt".  I was that age. I just created a masterpiece of audio wizardry.

I didn't realize, that back in the days when parents spanked their kids when they did something stupid, my friend had done something to offend his mom. Therefore his mom responded with a good swift open handed spank to his rear. He let out a horrified "NO!" then you heard the SMACK. When I played back the tape, I was thinking that I had a $1000 pinpoint highly efficient condenser microphone because it caught the "punishment" at the exact time I "punished" the microphone. Thus, I created the code "No! T Foot". It sounded like someone shouting NO then you hear a sharp smack which sounds like "TCCCH" and then my wind was "Frrrt" , which said fast, sounds like FOOT.  Only on the junk blog will you get a two paragraph explanation of something so insignificant yet, very lasting...to me.

100_4402.JPG This is essentially identical to my first GE from the back. The microphone wire had given way and didn't work well despite splices and speaker wire replacements. Plus, I used it so much, the play button had worn through the plastic "stop" and would not stay down. I had to do surgery on it and jam a marker in the place where the play button was to get it to play. I had moved to a different city and had new friends and one of them had this unit that he really didn't use. I think I paid him $5 for it, which was a TON of money to me, but it was easier to record tapes with the microphone on the unit itself. 

100_4399.JPGI mean everything was the same. You still had to manually release the Kracken and the space that said "IC" covered up where the microphone is on this unit. I learned all about "Auto Level" using this tape recorder. There would be no more "No! T Foot" with this one. I'd have to sit on the machine, ahhhh but I was a feather weight back in the day. You see, when you were recording a silent area and then had a loud noise, the ALC (auto level control) would freak out and boost the volume of what it was trying to record, then it would "jump an audio cliff" when the noise started again. Lots of my tapes made on this have all sorts of split second distortions caused by this. Of course, this was a cheap tape recorder, and it didn't have any way to either turn off the ALC or manually control it. I couldn't complain, the play button WORKED and wouldn't double as a highlighter.

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FEED ME CERTRONS FROM ZAYRE OR SIM/RAINBOWS FROM K-MART!!!!!

We used to go to a Zayre in Elyria and that's where I got the orange Certron C60s (30 minutes a side) in the three packs for about a dollar. Again, when I was really young, that was a TON of money, but I had to have them. When they ran a silly deal on them like buy one get one free, I begged mom for the buck so that I could feed the monster and make noise into my stupid tape machine. I did parodies of SNL's Weekend Update having Jane Curtain and Dan Aykroyd at the news desk and my own "Dan Killy" as the on the street reporter. I taped off of a GE B&W TV many tapes of the "Hoolihan and Big Chuck" (Later Big Chuck and Little John) show.  When I moved near the lake, I was near the first K-Mart I ever went too and they had "SIM" tapes that were cheaper than "Rainbow" tapes, but I got them both so I could record parodies of G98's G-Team In The Morning Show and theme songs from TV shows like Delta House (Animal House in short lived TV format.) I'd seen these devices that actually recorded television programs where you could watch the program over and over on your TV rather than just listening to the static created by recording it from the speaker.... It was the early 80's. They were refrigerator sized boxes that cost a million dollars. Ahh, but I could revisit the audio of  "a very special episode of M*A*S*H" all I wanted in Certron fidelity. 

100_4401.JPG Yep. It was the same. I had an electric adapter for these GE recorders twice, but the wires would always go bad within a year. I remember when I got this GE, I asked for the really expensive NICAD batteries and charger for this so I wouldn't burn through another set of silver Eveready general purpose batteries. I got I think they were "Dynacharge" batteries, and well, they were lumps of coal by the time I couldn't use them anymore. They got used up for sure. Plus, I then asked for an AM/FM tape recorder that you could plug in! No more of those batteries. No more adapters! My Mom took me to the K-Mart but they didn't have the one that I wanted in stock, so I got the McDonald Instruments tape recorder with the fancy power meter. If you've been reading this blog, you know I have only the power meter to show for that POS.  http://ricochet.boomerthedog.net/blog/junk/2015/07/macdonald-industries-finest.html  I'd completely forgotten about this tape recorder until I found it in the thrift store. Now I gotta edit  that  previous post. Damn. More work. I need a beer. Junk Blog. -Ric

The Generals Are Awake

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100_4361.JPGWhy the hell did I buy this? Aren't clock radios a dime a dozen? What kind of a junk blog are you handing us with your fancy shmantzy "stereo" and your fancy dancey "headphone jack"  and your "grade AAA" fancy cream cheese and your frozen Lenders onion bagels and you're tuning in the FM on your dying Sirius radio. Well, this was it. I saw it for many years in Best and U.S. Merchandise catalogs. Imagine, super deluxe STEREO in your CLOCK RADIO!

It just didn't compute in the 80's. Why the hell would I want a stereo radio just to wake my ass up in the morning? A: It was fancy shmantzy!  All silver with fake wood grain top and BLUE NUMBERS! No cheap ass clock radio had the BLUE NUMBERS! I wanted one. Sorta. Eh. I was happy with a cheap Timex or the free GE clock radio I got for opening a checking account. (Still in use!)

100_4362.JPGI wouldn't think of listening to this through the headphone jack. For that we had the extra option of a portable stereo tape player. "Battery Backup" was another neat plus. If for some reason the power failed, it meant, like your VCR, it would flash 12:00 and you'd miss getting up for your opening shift at Mickey D's so you could make the weekend biscuits. Not that it mattered. You've quit 5 times and that was just last week!

You were smarter than that. You could set the VCR timer. You had too in order to tape David Letterman's summer of '86.  "Get into The Fountain!" "Dave don't make me come over there and HURT YOU." "Once around the course and back to the lodge for some cocoa." "Do you have a plate in your head? I Have a whole set of china!" "Caravan with a drum solo!" "Lady Liberty Cheeze Curls"  (and many more.....)

2 wake times was also a great option. If you didn't like mashing the "Snooze" bar, you'd shut off "A" and wait for the G-Team In The Morning to wake you with "B". Holy SH*T! It was the 80's and this was STEREO! It could wake you to "We Built This City" and you'd hear Grace Slicks knockers banging against the microphone or "M-E-T-H-O-D-O-F-L-O-V-E" being crooned by the dude with the moustache that all late 80's Howard Stern producers had. No sir. It was all MONO for me.

100_4363.JPGHa! Those wackos over at the Philippines GE design studio didn't know how to spell "Snooze". There's NO GSNOOZ like GOOD GSNOOZ with GARY GNU. (Skitch! Great Space Coaster. Thanks.) Silver trim. Ever present fake wood grain finish over the finest plastic pieces parts. Plus, real time setting! Lets see, you don't have to fast forward all the way around the clock if you didn't stop quick enough at the actual time! A product that was easy to use? GE! Imagination At Work! Separate switches for every function!

Ever try to set a Casio watch with Telememo and analog hands as well as digital readout? You get 4 buttons and one is the "barely able to" light. You might as well have two watches for every six months.  I'm guessing GE must have thought: "Hell, we have the room on top of this concert STEREO clock radio, why not make it setting it EASY! After all, We Bring Good Sh*t to life!"  Also for lesser/faint stations you had the option to use MONO to listen to your hot rockin "Bernie Bernie! Oh Bay Bee! Superbowl!"

100_4364.JPGA brightness switch! A man BUILT THIS. It's a STEREO CLOCK RADIO. Hey, tuner for your fancy stereo on the fritz? Headphone OUT baby! Battery door WITHOUT THE F-IN SCREW! Wow. They should have charged a thousand bucks for this little gem. I just couldn't justify the extra money for something that would be tethered to a wall outlet and only used to wake me with Mr. Leonard griping how his lime green Pinto threw a rod when he was on the way to another radio station to do another ding ding wacky morning zoo.

100_4360.JPGNow to brass tacks. GE clock radios have a reputation for being bullet proof. About the only thing that ever failed on one of my GE's was the knob that set it to "On" or "Off" Or "Wake"  stripped after years of use, and I didn't even let that stop me from using it with a unmatched knob from an older radio. The other thing that was so good about these is the tuners they used were top notch. Almost any 80's and early 90's non-digital tuned GE AM/FM product could bring in FM loud and clear and distant AM pretty decent. The fact that this was stereo sealed the deal as a thrift shop purchase, and shortly thereafter I bought a second backup. I use this in my living room to play my Sirius radio broadcast through. Crystal clear, and decent fidelity for a clock radio. Sorta looks like a BOSE Waveradio don't it? F-Them. Mine cost two bucks. Junk? There's no input for an IPOD. Hmmmmm.

ARF! -Ric

GE Help Radio

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100_4201.JPGIn a world where you didn't have more super computing power than all those big mainframes in your very own pocket pool, we made contact with others using the nearby pay phone, phone booth, call box or a CB radio. It was like internet relay chat on the air but you only kept up with whomever was travelling your way, or, whomever had a CB radio in their house. There was a CB channel that was always monitored by PD that you sort of left clear. Other than that, you chatted and kept yourself awake when you were tired of listening to that 8-Track of Foreigner.

100_4203.JPGNow, I bought this unit for my mother for Christmas. She wanted to feel safe, so this rattled around in her trunk for a few years. After awhile, she got a new vehicle so there was no more worry about breaking down. Plus, she didn't travel freeways, just city streets to go to work. Therefore, it was gifted to me. I was going back and fourth from Toledo and Cleveland while I finished my two weeks at my previous radio gig and that's why mom gave it to me. I had other CBs, but they were a hassle to set up and take down. Plus, at that point, all the fun of talking to others was gone. I was into listening to other radio stations and playing music.

100_4202.JPGIt was as easy at 1,2,3. You plugged it in to the cigarette lighter. You had the whole CB held in your hand and you placed the antenna on the top of your car. It was a folding type, and wasn't even a real CB antenna, so it's range was a bit less, but in an emergency, it did the job. You can cell it was the 80's because of the car the damsel in distress was driving.  I believe they had larger types of this radio, but this was a smaller unit with a digital tuning. It was exciting. It was high tech. It had that 80's style "Digital" buzzword writing. 

100_4204.JPG Breaker 1-9 bitches! I'm the CB Savage! Wall to wall and treetop tall. That is all. Bye Bye. Mr. Fat Hanz shows what the handset was like. Compared to a full sized or even a compact CB, having an all in one wonder was pretty good. Simplicity was the name. If this could have doubled as a Am/Fm radio,  and a flash light, that would have made this all the better. The only thing this didn't have compared to the hand held CBs that Radio Shrek sold was the antenna, but it was a simple cable away.

100_4205.JPGThat is all. The antenna plugged in like a VCR cable and the power adapter was inside the radio while you has a simple cable to plug in to the 12v. No batteries here. No fun here. Emergency radio. CB. Rocking and rolling on full automatic. They were sold in all the Best and U.S. Merchandise and Service Merchandise catalogs. GE really had a business up until the 90's. They kept a big electronics factory humming along in Singapore, were pretty inexpensive and very durable. When I think of all the cheaper versions of the stuff they offered... Who knew that there is a lot of GE stuff that still works now compared to GPX tape recorders and CROWN CB radios. Okay, I'll now come down from my soapbox.

100_4206.JPGI used it a few times until I really needed it for an emergency and... I used this when I car pooled with a friend to my first convention. (20th anniversary, Today.) Then, I used it again a few times for travelling to and from conventions in Memphis. The antenna was not really meant for use while the car was moving so it usually flipped down in the wind, but it stayed on the top of the car like a magnetic champ. Trouble was, with the antenna down, it drastically reduced the range it got, but it worked . Then, I got a used Pontiac Grand Am from my brother when my Saturn was destroyed. It worked, but I probably shouldn't have driven it back and fourth to Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Memphis from Louisville. I was driving home from Pittsburgh when the transmission gave out. I dug this baby out and got on the help channel and tried for a good hour to get someone, anyone to help. No dice. So, I started walking down the freeway to the next exit. A police officer stopped and picked me up, called me a tow truck and stayed  while I was picked up. When I said that I tried to reach the PD on Channel 9, he said they don't even monitor that channel any more. Cell phones were cheap enough and plentiful enough by that time, that the CB went away. For a few years before that, we had the FRS radios to talk car to car, but that was a short three years, and by 2002, if you needed someone somewhere in a convention hotel, you called them on the cell phone. This went into a box when my mom got me a prepaid cell phone. (It plays TETRIS! Can this Help CB play TETRIS? You could use it as a brick in the wall...) This GE still works.  Of course it still works. GE...we bring good trash to life!

100_4208.JPG...and here is the bonus content. GE products in the older days always has a sheet where you could send in your money for the neat little accessories. It was direct mail crap at it's finest. The antenna adaptor was so you could place a potable antenna on this or hook it up to a better antenna.  You could actually buy better antennas for this as well or a replacement antenna when the one that came with the radio blew off the top of your car. (Yes, this did happen once against a strong wind and some 18 wheeler traffic, but it was on a short leash with a closed window so no real damage.) You could get fuses, car adapters, even a 12V power supply if you wanted to use this at home. Plus, if indeed you wanted to go all portable cell phone on this, you could spend the big bucks and purchase a battery pack to run this mess. I would have liked to have one of those. Hahahahahahahah. It would be more junk. Only good thing about NiCads over lithium is when they died for good, they were door stops, they didn't eat themselves and pose a fire risk. Holy hell. NiCads sucked, but listen to me. Get off my lawn!

-Ric

Alt Studio

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100_4347.JPGMan. If mixing boards could talk. "Hey mate, do you know you have the F-IN BEATLES in there?" ""This could be the best Rock And Roll I've ever mixed from a band made of LED" "OHMIGOSH Just spike me with 220, this Hendrix Guy...""Roll me another "J" for this song "Truckin"" "I'm GAGA over this LADY" "I'm really DOWN for this SYSTEM" Okay, I'll stop. This board is more like... "Why are you wearing that spaghetti pot on your head?" "Why would I want Breakfast at Uncle Louies?" "OH! You're EM1 and He's EM2 so you're BOTH OF 'EM...hahaha.." "Olson NWS, who? Lubin? Get out of my store!" "Awwww Ricochet, not another Radiolawn show..."

Gemini's finest. A basic "Disco Mixer", that was my main mixing board for years and years. Way back when I got an actual "band" called "Unedible Two", I started recording by having a tape recorder and plugging the outputs of musical devices directly into the recorder. Okay if you wanted to record it directly, bad if you then wanted to add vocals while you were recording said musical devices. The audible "click" as you plugged in the microphones to your dual input jacks just didn't make it a "good" recording. Enter this mixer. $100 from your local Olson NWS store next to Leathers Deli in the Fairview Park Shopping Center. See Walt for photos.

Who knows why these were carried. Gemini was at the time making "pro" stuff that ranged from okay to "check those speakers before they leave to make sure they work." I got this mixer and was off to the recording races. A Sanyo tape deck, Gemini condenser microphones, tons of adapters and connectors, and we were a band.  Plus, I recorded my solo stuff "Singin Inside A Bucket" was the aforementioned song where I used my mom's big spaghetti pot over my head as an unusual way to alter my voice. Want to hear it? Nahhhh. It's in the vault.  It was used as an alt-board when I had my real chance at obscurity "Spudlok", but my band mate had a better consumer board that had separate stereo selectors for two of his channels, which was high tech to me. 

Later this board became the workhorse to recording my "Radiolawn" show. At least 150 shows were banged out on this board. I do remember when Boomer and I tried to run a pirate station at a convention we were at how BAD this board was. Take a FM transmitter and run it through the cheese cloth that is this board and you have more HUMMMMMM than Pigpen's harmonica. (Okay Dead Heads, I'm sorry for that one.)

In bad need of some rewiring and maybe some shielding, I got a new board that had all the fancy bells and whistles and this was relegated to my turntable pre-amp. That was until I went alt-Windows and my studio went "HOOWEE". You see, the new computer didn't play too well with what I was used too, and that meant it became very tough to record in that state. Causing me to go old school and set up an old style "Alt Studio".

100_4348.JPGGee, that was two computers ago. Look at the size of that BOX! A man BUILT THIS, it's Winners EXPEE.  It's a NON USB WHEEL MOUSE! GASP! Do you know how much that antique is WORTH? You mean that computer only has THREE USB Ports and they are ALL ON THE BACK OF THE MACHINE? Where is the rock you got this from under? Didn't they bury these in the desert like Atari E.T. Cartridges? Wait! Under that BOX! Hiding in PLAIN SIGHT! Is that a cheap scanner so obscure that ALT WINNERS never heard of a DRIVER? It hooks in with what? A Serial Port???? You talkin' CHEERIOS Here?  PS2 all the way on that keyboard and mouse. Way to score quality!

Well, the picture doesn't say all of that, but I had to go back a few generations of computer and set it up in the basement to make my "Alt Studio". Why? Because IT WORKED! I remember getting this computer from Boomer because it was faster and could show video like the early You Toobs. I watched the live internet only broadcasts from Hurricane Katrina on this computer. More important, when I turned it on, set up to record, I recorded and the show came out like I wanted. No "that's not what I wanted" or "why won't this work?" or "why is it doing that" or 'work...damn you..just WORK..."


100_4349.JPGYes, while people floated on the boxes of "Spap Ooop" from the flooded A&P down Bourbon street, I watched it all unfold with this computer from the comfort of my Yuengling fuelled central nervous system using "Alt -" Samsung's finest 17" viewing device. It was only my second monitor, first being a Packard Bell 12" "orphan"  monitor. ("Orphan" because it was broken away from an entire system so it didn't have an official model number.  I found out later from an FCC registry site that it was made by our good friends at TATUNG.) Ahhh, the memories of how Yuengling used to come in 22oz "Bomber" bottles and how you could peel off the clear plastic labels and put them on other things. This one lasted the longest. "Samtron" brand was Samsung's attempt to make cheaper stuff to sell to suckers like me. Isn't that what Samsung was about anyway back when?  My monitor never blew up....

100_4346.JPGSo there it was save for the portable CD player I hooked into the alt board to play the Radiolawn intro/outro and other junk like background music. Yes, I know, I was using a system capable of multi tracking but that takes TIME. I always try to do my shows as live as they possibly can be with a minimal amount of post production. What? Am I going to save that really good belch or me freaking out "work you piece of S*IT! WORK!" for future generations to realize I was a lazy ass buffoon with a microphone that smelled like a Yuengling? Yeah. Of course I used my beer boxes to help me set this mess up. I even recorded three episodes down here before Boomer game me a really small desktop computer with Winners XP on it. I was able to have an alt computer in my studio again so I didn't have to drag mikes and equipment down to my basement and endure seconds of extra processing time while the computer was "saving data".  Wahhhhhhhh! You could use the exercise.

Oh yeah, Christmas is coming... So good you didn't pack away those Christmas lights. You can just pick them up off the floor and hang them back where they were outside in just a few weeks. Dumb-ass. -Ric

Maze Money Box Game Thingy

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100_4209.JPGMost of what I post here has been long discontinued by long gone manufacturers and the technology is outdated by anything. Yeah, some of the games are still made by a company with more mergers than a Pittsburgh on ramp. (I hate the on-ramps there, you merge into traffic from a stop. Back when the freeway was built, cars barely hit 60. ) Here is something that was I guess intended as something you could give to younger ones with a 1 Million Dollar bill inside. Dig that 80's box design. Looks like a Casio radio from the 80's. Maybe it's Studio Line from Lorea'l. Fixing gel. Strong hold. BEHOLD! Maybe it's a late 80's Target remodel package with all the wavy neon. You can do what you want to do...IN LIVING COLOR. Okay, I'm out.

100_4212.JPGThere. The instructions. I forget what I got inside this. I do believe it was for my birthday so likely from my mom and likely it contained a twenty. Back when I got that, $20 was a windfall. Dimes worth of gas up my ass. I likely spent it on a microphone, or some of them Mister Doughnut doughnut holes  I kept in the back of my little brown nugget. You had to roll the ball through the maze and roll over to the finish line and when you pressed down on the release, you were pushing the ball down and it released the Kracken. Snap, Crackel, Pop. Made In the USA. I wonder if you bought one of these on the 'Zon today, if it would still be made...nahhhhh. Thin.

100_4213.JPGNot much of a maze game. I'd imagine any kid with any kind of patience would put this under their feet and crush this, grab the cash, and go back to playing their IPodoodle. Gotta catch them all. I believe this had two levels to give you some sort of challenge. Those small games from Tomy, those pocket games, I think provided more challenge and I certainly played them a thousand times more. I had one where you caught the ball at the bottom like a small pachinko machine.  I think at one point I actually had a Tomy Pachinko pocket game. Wind up. Neeeeeeeet. The crap we had for entertainment when we were Atarians. :)

100_4214.JPG Wow. I knew this entry was going to be short, really short. There just isn't much exciting to speak of. I kept it because I couldn't throw anything out that means so much to me. I couldn't throw anything out that maybe I could re-gift. I couldn't throw anything away that 30 years later (or so) I'd be featuring on my junk blog. Look into the plastic. It helped me see the FUTCHUM! I see BILZ! I leearened awl me spilling from Billz. Okay. Junk Blog.

-Ric

They're Gonna Put Me In The Movies

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100_4089.JPGNew! From Japan! It's a camera! Snappy Snappy! It has a Pure Digital logo at the bottom. I kept the plastic wrapped around it as the "case".  It was "NEW". It was an idea to make CVS drug stores LOTS of money. It's a VIDEO CAMERA, and it was the forerunner of the early to mid 00's "blog cam" craze. They way it came into the world, this one was a step below the 640x480 that became the standard of web cams at the time. However, it was not for me, at least when it came out.

100_4094.JPGThis was the "key" to any shmoe like me taking a great movie. No controls. On/Off. Check. It made that wonderful "Boop Boop Beep" sound when it was on and a delightful "Be De Boop" when it got shut off. Big red "record" button that you pressed to start and stop your masterpiece. Then, a playback button to run the videos and a delete button that asked if you were sure you wanted to delete the video of you playing with yourself. Did I say that? No, it's not Mr. Fat Hanz that was involved in that scandalous footage. He's the left hand not the right hand... Did I say that AGAIN? What the hell, is this an URKEL bit? 

100_4091.JPGIt was a brilliant introduction to taking digital movies. Why? Boomer The Dog that's why. I wouldn't have owned this device if it weren't from my friend that finds a way to hack anything electronic. Especially when if you don't know the tricks of the trade, you'll pay dough to see your "movies" on anything but the small screen of this little mighty.

100_4090.JPGHere was the story as I recall. I guess the PURE camera technology came out in Japan and China and CVS figured out a way to make a buck by "exclusively" offering this camera to America through it's stores. Yes, Rite Aid joined later and then even later in upgraded form, then these were released as FLIP cameras, which was Pure's brand name for these. It cost $20 to "rent" this camera. They sold it retail with a fresh set of batteries. They put a special connector with a special "key" to take the batteries out of it. This "rental" then gave you 20 glorious minutes of video. Pure's tech actually took pretty decent videos. Really good light handling and better audio than a lot of other cameras had a few years later when generics and other brands flooded the "chip recording" "blog camera" market. Of course, you could only see the latest video you've taken, so you'd better be sure. There was no feature to keep the first video you've taken but skip the third. So, when you filled it up or ran the batteries out, you took it back to a participating CVS to get your videos "developed". They used a special interface to get the videos off the camera and put them on a CD rom. Of course, that cost money as well. I think it was $13. That meant about $35 total for 20 minutes of video masterpieces. Oh yeah, if you wanted to do it again, you had to "rent" another camera for $20 and start all over again. Wow. Did they think they would make money doing this?  The quality of the video/audio was pretty much better than any camera at it's time, so I'd assume that they did make money. Technology moves fast though...

100_4092.JPG...and there were plenty of people that thought that CVS's racket was silly, and decided to do something about it. It was a "consumer" product and sold to "consumers". Shortly after these came out, the tech heads started seeing what they could do to make these work without returning it. So, after a few months. my friend Boomer picked up one of these cams, downloaded the camera's created "software" (to make it free) and built a cable from an old printer cable, and was able to download all the videos to his computer. So, he had a video camera for $20. CVS didn't make you sign anything or put a deposit on said camera, so if you paid $20 and decided never to turn it in, well, what was stopping you from reusing it if you knew how. When he showed me what the camera could do, I went and followed his lead. He made me a cable, I installed the software and  I was officially a "camera hacker".  Got my moneys worth from this cam. Took tons of videos. Got plenty of really good looking stills from this as well. All less than 640X480.

100_4088.JPGPure technology would come out with some pretty snazzy cameras, and then they were swallowed by Cisco and went away a few years later. Cell phones were becoming the norm and they could do video and pictures and pretty much killed the low cost camera market. They've improved so much in a scant few years. Still, the audio and video these produced and the fact that they are small. self contained magic workers, makes me want to use one to this day. Not this type, the cable and the software went to XP only. However, Boomer is also a fan, and we've got a few of the Pure 640x480 cameras with the USB dongle or even the removable SD chip from those nuts over at FleaBay.  I remember when Boomer and I would walk around with these CVS cameras and people would think they were STILL cameras. They would sit still waiting for the flash until we said they were video cams. Then the market got flooded. Recently I bought one of the "clones" that took okay video but really low grade audio. I really don't take video any more. I blog about my junk. Nothing to see here. Move along. Wait! Ask Boomer how many of these particular cameras he bought from Rite Aid and CVS... I'll have to fire up the software on my old 400mhz Compaq laptop and....awww forget it. Junk Blog.

-Ric

Yahtzee Rock (Games Junk Series #14)

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100_4155.JPGYahtzee! Surely a family fun game designed to be played for hours of family fun. Yacht Rock. 70's Light Rock. Air Supply. Christopher Cross. America. Both are easily as interesting as the other. I wish I could say there was something special about owning this game, but really, there wasn't anything. Well, it was easy to play. When I could get friends or my brother or mom to play, it was easy to play. It came with dice that made a neat dice sound when rolling in the included plastic drink ware. Did I mention it was easy to play? I forget what the chips were for because we never used them. That would make it a bit tougher to play. I liked that it was so easy to play. 

100_4156.JPG It was a E.S. Lowe game when this copy was purchased around 1981. "An Exciting Game Of Skill And Chance". Really? There was skill involved? I guess there was a little bit. When you rolled a set of dice and you got no doubles, no strings of numbers, sometimes you would need to take lower points and hope your next roll would be better. Trouble was, if you got 5 of those "1" s and you had the "1"s filled and you had your other options on the card filled, you were stuck with NOTHING. So, I suppose there was your skill. Otherwise, it was all a game of chance. I guess you could have "skill" at playing a game of craps, but it's all a game of chance. Does that make this family game fun for the ENTIRE family?  Three year olds would want to eat the dice. Rover would eat the dice and pee on the cards. Great Grandpa would use the cup for a spittoon and scratch himself while leaving something in his drawers. That's what I call family entertainment.

100_4160.JPGMr Fat Hanz and Mr. Blurry Picture thought you should see the business end of this game. With a golf pencil, you would fill in your score on the front and then place all the totals on the back of the card. See my siding? (Michael Moore, Skitch! Thanks.) You attempted to make what you could, possibly get bonuses and get a higher score to win a game. You could go up to 6 "games" on the card and then grand total and pull out a win. Holy crap! Why play this when H&I is running the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where Q becomes human and makes a funny about Riker being much funnier without the beard! Not since the two or three eps when B.J. Hunnicut grew the cheesy moustache on MASH (that I'm sure all officers in the army were allowed to have in the 50's) has a joke about facial hair been so funny. Whew. I went a long way for that one. I need a beer beverage. I'll hold up my Yahtzee cup. I wonder if the plastic is PTFE free? If it's Bud, it may enhance the flavor.

100_4159.JPGNeeeeet. The pencil in this box must be vintage 1980s. It has an eraser topper on it that looks like it must have been end of school surplus doing duty as a Yahtzee card eraser so you can use these score cards over and over. Of course, we could have gotten one of those lamination deals and gone with those dry erase markers and reused the same cards forever, but that would be asking too much. That would also say there was a lot of HOT YAHTZEE ACTION taking place in my house when I was a kid. I do like the instruction book with the logo looking like it was written in Disneyworld. Not even the most obscure Disney character would be caught dead playing this. They smoked and drank but I wonder about that Goofy... I bet he could croon as well as Gomer Pyle in real life.

100_4157.JPGThat's it. That's all. Oh yeah, we bought this pad of additional score cards in case we ever ran out. Discount Drug Mart saves you the run around. 1.69. F.U.  See, the retail price was 2.09 but the discounted drug store value price was 1.69. Suck A Deal! Value Priced! What the hell is that red thing in the corner of this picture? Coffee bean? Fruit snack? Leftover found game piece from some long forgotten game that I remade into one of my games? I promise, there are only a few more of these game entries to do before the finale. Hey, the Mr.T Air Freshener was a SWEET (if sweaty) pay-off for enduring my button box posts a few months ago right? The last one will be as STAR STUDDED as that Mr. T Junk Blog post. I have a bug game coming up and a plastic marker game , then the finale... Until then, "I've been through the desert on a horse with no name..."

-Ric