Vee Kee Arr Plus Sealed???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Sun Truck

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

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

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

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

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

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 :)


Cootie Cootie Cootie (Games Junk #15)

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100_4410.JPGIt's from Schaper. This one found in a thrift store is 90% complete. It was cheap, so I bought it for the kitsch of it. I never owned this game, but when I went to my cousins house, we'd play this from time to time until they had lost all the parts or they were sucked up in the vacuum. You'd be surprised how many games that kids get lose parts to the vac or dropped down heating vents. I lost two pair of good headphones to the evil vac. Countless army guys, Lite Brite pegs, misc game pieces as well as 16 cents were found in the vents when my furnace was replaced. Dig that funky 60's writing in the name "Cootie".

100_4411.JPGI like that the box had a little strap on it so you could carry your cooties all over the place. Of course, I don't think I wanted too. Girls would all say that "I have COOTIES" and all I could say is "Yes, Wanna play this really moronic game that has been played by more that 40 million children in two generations?" They would laugh and go play dolly while I'd proceed to light the Cooties on fire and watch them melt as all boys did. Fire was cool.

100_4414.JPGHere was another slogan on the box. Lots of slogans on this box. "The Cootie Company" was a nifty game company as well. It was Schaper. She-OP. I like that game company name. It's almost as catchy as one of my favorite grocery store chains. SHEEEEEOP and SAVE! You see when you go there, you SHOP and then...strangely SAVE! Hahahahahahahaha.

100_4412.JPGHere's why I couldn't love the Cootie. "Two Or More Players". Really, I wouldn't have anybody to play this with or if I did, it would be a bore fest after one game and I'd quickly see how these Cooties held up to bombings with Legos or some other worthless time killer. In fact, I think the only game I may have had listed on the back of this was "Don't Break The Ice" bought from a thrift shop when I was a few years older. I used to race Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars across the ice breaking cubes until the cars fell through or the "bridge" caved in. That was fun. I used to tape books together to make bridges across my room. Heh. See what we did before there was EVERYTHING else?

100_4417.JPGThe funny thing was, I never remember this part of the game. I guess you rolled the dice and found piece that you could make your little plastic bug with. I guess.  We never had this when I was playing at my cousins place. You placed the pieces parts in this board and pulled them out when you were putting together your Cootie. They might have done away with this board because it encourages the little ones to pull legs and wings of captured insects. ICK. I wouldn't even get close to a bug. We had the biting flies and all I ever did was swat them to their deaths or watched them fry on those cheap blue electric lamps we put up. You can check in, but you'll never... *ZZZZAP*

100_4418.JPGHere they are, all assembled. One is sans eyes. Like I said, this isn't a complete set, but I can't trace down the original owner of this game. If I could, I could tear up their furnace to find the parts. Likely I'd just end up with 16 cents. Aren't they cute little plastic bugs? Do you use plastic bug spray to get rid of them? CB-38. Preferred by 4 out of 5 frenzied Northeast employees that don't bathe despite their B.O.

100_4419.JPGHey. These are complete. There was enough parts for three out of four. They almost look like they are alive. It's another chance to have more fun than I ever did playing with this plastic crap as a kid. Can I think of a story where these things do battle and beat themselves silly and all the parts will fall down the vents and remain in the heating pipes until the heater gets replaced? Well...

100_4420.JPG"I am QUEEN PINK BUG. I may LOOK like every adult toy available at shops near the airport, but I'm no VIBRATOR. I am BUG! I will scatter when the lights come on and outrun any attempt to squash me underfoot. I'm QUEEN PINKBUG! Two SNAPS up with a CIRCLE! Give me some FRUITY DRINKS! Show me to the BATHS! I'm QUEEN PINKBUG!"

100_4421.JPG"Well I'm KING REDBUG! I'm not used as much as your color when making ADULT TOYS but I am associated with FIRE and EVIL. That makes me the RULER of the Cootie Bugs. I am the RULER"

"Um, Hey guys, I don't have any eyes, but I am GREEN and that means I'm a sick little BITCH. So, I'm the ruler of the Cooties. You can call me John Erreiah."

100_4422.JPG"Hey you crazy bugs. A Boo Boo baby. I'm the Blue Cootie baby. I got the BLUES. Call me K. Blooey. I'm not in this fight right. I'm just going to smoke dope over there and listen to some obscure jazz on Blue Note bay-bee. Here, I'm even laying down to show submission. You guys need to chill out man. Make peace not war man..."

100_4423.JPG"Eaaaaaagh Eaaaagh I'm no GREEN COOTIE with no yellow eyes like DATA would have had if this was a episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or the bad last I am a ROBOT! ROBOT BUG! DATA BUG! Microsoft BUG! Green screen of DEATH! Like in FUTUREWORLD. They made noises like EAAAAAGH when their faces were removed revealing that they were robots. We'd get played a whole bunch of times on Cleveland's Big Chuck and Lil John making an impression on the author of this blog. Our prequel WESTWORLD would be a made into a TV show in 2016. We're ROBOZ, not like in the TV show RIPTIDE with master actors Perry King and Joe Penny. NO, we're put here to make all COOTIES conform to the COOTIE COLLECTIVE! You will be ASSIMILATED."

100_4424.JPG"AH HA HA! You are now part of the COLLECTIVE. Even you QUEEN PINK BUG. Now I SHAT on your PINK BODY. Um...well, that would be kind of gross since you look like an adult toy. It would imply that you either have a poo fetish or you were used to enter a place that is normally an exit. Ick. We don't have any of that nonsense in the COOTIE COLLECTIVE. We are all of one purpose. We will DOMINATE all of COOTIE world. We will fly into a vent and lose our wings and be called NOT TERMITES by a NODDING HEADED LADY!  Er..what's that noise? It's getting louder and LOUDER. OH NO! IS THERE ANY ESCAPE FROM NOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"



100_4425.JPGWell, I didn't blur out the address on this one because it's long gone. I sucked all the Cooties up in my Dirt Devil in the last post. I tossed them in the trash long ago so there will be no more threats from any Cootie. Funny that toy manufacturers use to have replacement plastic parts available with a mail away coupon. Of course you could get "X-Ray" glasses and "Sea Monkeys" and "Space Rocks" from the back of comic books for cheap, so why not offer replacement plastic parts to your precious Cootie game for only a 50 cent investment to a likely $2.98 game. Heh. You could get HEAD or TAIL or even TOUNGE for 50 cents back in the day. Heh heh heh. Mr. Smutty mind. Just ask for "Catalog No. 200 B".


Bug Vac (They're Not Termites!)

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100_4320.JPGOnce upon a time, I lived in Toledo. I had a cracker box of a basement apartment with a mini fridge with an even smaller freezer space. Full frozen pizza? Nope. Defrost every three months? Yep. It had no rooms but did have a rather large closet area that I made into a computer room across from the bathroom.  It was my first place living alone. I think I had a vac for the carpet, but I don't remember actually using anything. I'd had room mates previous and always would use their floor cleaning tools. Maybe I just never dropped any crumbs or I used packing tape to pick up whatever. I certainly didn't have the power house next to this satanic filth sucker. Heh. Listen to that title. What about Scum Heathen? Lucifer's Crud Catcher?  Meh.

100_4321.JPGWhen I was trying to get another job after getting Clear Channel-ed, I had a friend say that I could get a "decent paying" gig working as a temp for insurance. Louisville had just had their floods which meant thousands of claims and this was one of the biggest insurers in the country. I didn't have much in the way of cash and I knew we could split a place, so I relocated to Louisville. We had a joint within a week. He had a vacuum. Once again, I didn't need one. He had a 80's Hoover upright that was loud but we didn't use it that much. Soon, part of working as a temp, you eventually were reassigned to another temp gig. Things began to change and the jobs began to suck. My friend decided to move on for a better gig in Illinois and I was alone again. He left the vac. I still had a vac. Then, the bugs came. DUN DUN DUN! 

100_4323.JPG My room in the apartment was directly facing a row of trees. They didn't look to be the best of trees but I didn't think too much. The bathroom had a cheap drop ceiling of what look like florescent light diffusers that are used in any office. The ceiling would shift when you closed the bathroom door or any door in the apartment. The vent fan routed to the outside but you couldn't see it unless you moved the ceiling tiles. Once day, coming home, I found several insects, some with wings , a few in the ceiling but some had dropped down to the bathtub and most to all were dead. It wasn't enough to cause me worry because after a few more the next day, there were none. I didn't think anything about it. A year later, I came home and ARRRRRRRRGGGGG! *slam* HOLY S*IT!!!! *goes to the apartment offices*

"I came home just now and there is a TON of little black bugs in my bathroom!"

"They're NOT Termites!"

"I don't know what they are, there is a ton in my apartment."

"We have an exterminator coming to spray tomorrow."

Thanks for telling me exactly what they were. Termites. They were infested in the dying tree/dead tree next to my apartment. I of course looked on the web, found out what they were and what they did which explained why a ton of them had died when they hit the bathtub, and more still had lost their wings or didn't fly. So, I went to Wally and spent my money on the cheapest vac I could get with attachments so I could vac up all the bugs and got some disinfectant so I could clean everything. The Dirt Devil did the trick. It had every attachment. Credit Card gulped the debt and superdoopervac sucked away all the carnage and got my floors clean.

100_4322.JPGIt is a pretty decent vac, and all very clean. Going from using an old Hoover to a DD with a bag that traps almost all of the dust in the bag, I liked it. One thing it was not however was whisper quiet. It was LOUDER than the old Hoover. I didn't care because I could use the tools to clean dust off the top of my 20" television or suck the dust from my cooling fan on my 100Mhz computer. It had nice attachments. The cord retainer was decent. It still works, but the hinge on the hose attachment went bad, other than that... NOISE! Is there any escape?

100_4324.JPGHere is the massive larvae from a left over Termite. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Just kidding. Here is where the action is collected. A hard shell covers the bag. I now have this in my basement and clean my car with it, where outside, the noise it makes isn't so bad. I used this my whole time I was apartment bound here in Cleveland and then used it until asking for a new one for Christmas. I got a canister, lightweight with a motor that still makes a lot of noise but not nearly as much. It's got filters and a reusable dirt cup but I use it all the time for general cleaning. A few years back, I got the shop vac for deep cleaning and dirtier heavy duty jobs such as the basement and other areas where I need to suction.  I wish I could be more wistful on this device, but it was cheap, it lasted, and man did it pick up them bugs. That is all.



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100_4219.JPGWhat the hell is this? "Converts 120 VAC to 12VDC". Micronta? Red Led?  Sure I know. A man built this! It's a power supply!  Where'd it come from? What was it used for? Do I have any other stupid questions before I give up the answer? I'll provide you a question. How come all the cheap meatballs available frozen always taste like dookie and only the better ones cost a ton of money? Oh yeah, because there's MEAT in REAL MEATBALLS. What the hell is in those cheap meatballs? Do you make a meatball from "mechanically separated chicken, pork and beef"? Mom used to make them from ground beef and garlic. No bread crumbs, no egg. Hunts sauce. She must have used an egg bath to hold them together, but no stuffing at all. Even when we were so poor that my brother was stealing the last piece of American cheese from the bread in my lunch, mom made un-stuffed meatballs. . Maybe I just need to cook real food rather than using the microwave to resurrect Bologna balls from the depths of the freezer. 


In a nice steel box. With a real appliance switch. Paint job in that crinkled paint that was used on tools and heavy equipment. So, back when I was heavy into Citizen's Band radio, I used my radios in my car and that was that. 12V was cigarette lighter stuff. The only way to use something that was set up for 12V in the house, was to get a converter if it didn't have one built in. Most CBs didn't. Oh sure, there were base stations and other radio equipment but they were way beyond my pay grade back then.  Even this was costly. I think it was sold for $35, which when you were earning "triple gold" 25 hours a week 3.45 an hour (after 6 months) , it was a bit of an expense. I spent it so that I could talk on the CB to a nearby friend when he wasn't allowed to talk on the phone. He bought the very first portable Sony CD player and kept a quiet library of CD's but his parents would hear none of it. He had some strict parents. He must have a lead lined bedroom to be talking to me on the CB, or his parents thought he was praying... to a guy named Trapper and to the truckers on Ch. 19 from the nearby freeway.

100_4223.JPG That was my CB name. Trapper. It was also my Photon name. I guess I'd taken a liking to the name Trapper. Did I trap anything? Nope. Did I keep anything? Lots of stuff on this junk blog. Did I work in morning radio for years on a adult contemporary station in Cleveland? No. Was I from MASH? That's where I got the name. Did I ever get really good at Photon? Nope. Was I ever the top player at Photon? Nope. (Oh yeah, Photon was the first laser tag game and it was played on a sound stage similar to the catacombs of Star Trek: The Next Generation except in base grey rather than 80's pink and aqua.)  I forget what my friend's CB name was. You needed a fake "handle" if you were on the radio. Now, my friend Boomer would have something to say about this message on the bottom. "No user serviceable parts...blah blah blah" A lot of the CB peeps that had base stations at home usually did HAM radio and if you were a HAM likely you knew your way around the soldiering iron. Boomer BUILDS this stuff.

He recently replaced the blown caps on a cheap digital TV converter that I bought from a thrift store for four bucks because it had the remote. (How worthless are those boxes if they don't have the remote to operate them.) He also built his AM carrier current radio station. (Legal. Uses the wires that bring power to your home to broadcast for a few blocks.) His home TV was upgraded to 32" LCD after he picked one up from the trash and fixed the power supply. Okay, enough about repairs. I learned how to soldier when I worked cookie cutter repairs on CRT monitors for a few months. I still can't tell an OHM rating on a resistor. I guess I'm a user as well.

100_4222.JPGThis was cheap tech, but it was damn good tech. It still works. As it did, as it does. It still has the plastic wrap that protected the back side from scratching. Better yet, it was a bunch of electronics MADE IN THE USA! Made in 1984. Made in the good 'ol USA! I would have thought sure it was made in Taiwan by then.  The only thing bad about this is you had to buy two jacks for the power outlet. I think later they were screws. When you wired up some speaker cable to output these jacks, hooked them to the wires of your CB, it sang! It powered two years of CB use until I lost interest and well, haven't used it since. So really, I don't know if this still works, but with the components it was made from, likely, it still works like a charm. It's outdated as hell now. With discrete chips doing all the work of these massive components nowadays, anything that's meant for 12V use only works on regular power for as low as $2. I have several that convert my Sirius and radio transmitters to home use for nothing in the size a little bigger than a 5V power adapter. Technology moves on. Junk Blog never sleeps.



Everybody's Got One In Their Basement

100_4350.JPGSelf: "Self? I think I need to get a treadmill."

Inner Self: "You just need to diet fat ass. Stop drinking beer beverage. "

Self: "Give up BEER? No No Devo!"

Inner Self: "Well then, why not exercise more than sitting your doompas in front of a monitor."

Self: "I could... It's winter so walking isn't the best unless I join the mall walkers club at a participating dead mall..."

Inner Self: "Gosh, you are a fat blubber whale of a fatbody Private Pyle."

Self: "I know! I'll get a treadmill. I know I'll use it more than 20 times until setting it in the corner of the basement to collect dust. "

Inner Self: "In 10 years or so, it will make a great junk blog post. Go fourth and mortgage that 24 pack!"

100_4356.JPGA man built this! It's a treadmill! I went to the local SEARS (yes, Sears, because Dicks Sporting Goods was $2746 more and Wally had an even cheaper treadmill that seemed like it would be adequate, but not, at least, lasting.)  So, my brother and I went and picked up this sucker and I set it up in a portion of my apartment and I was off to the races. *stumble* *fall* *crashes into a mirror* *breaks a shelf* *hurts foot* *hurts wrist* Maybe I should have been wearing a bicycle helmet while I was striding to no place on this fine machine.  You see, I had lost a LOT of weight, and the key to it was diet, exercise, and giving up beer beverage. I was dry for a hundred days or so and walked about 2 miles. Every day. But, with every diet, there comes the slow pace of gaining everything back. I wasn't horrible, but I'd gained 20 back and it was nearing winter, so what a solution. Join a gym or bring the gym home.  It was a compact unit and I would wheel it out in front of my TV and walk three miles a day.

100_4352.JPGWeslo brand. Cadence 70e. Big deal. At least it does look like it got some use. It did get the use. Through the winter I attempted to use this every day for that at least one mile, but usually two or three. I didn't run on this, because, well, why run? Walking is low impact and I usually do it every day. It's usually when I go to stores or malls. I park in the very back spot away from ijits that open their car doors without a care and dent my doors. Everybody does it.  Who cares. Cars are cheap now. Let the doors fly! *grumble* You know, I had a cheap Chundai vehicle that I traded in a few years ago. I was so proud that the doors and the body of the car had NO DENTS AT ALL...except one from somebody where I worked, right after I'd bought the car, and well, they were not patient enough to open their door slowly. Unfortunately, I parked out of reach of the security cams. If the alt parking lot wasn't being paved...

100_4351.JPGSo it was a extra clean car that I was proud of. I traded it in. Two days later I went back in my new Hyduki and I saw that someone had dented the door with a big pock while my car was awaiting the old loan to clear. A few days later, I went back and my car was on the used car lot and both dents were GONE! It appears they have advanced body work so that they digitally match the color of the paint and with space age fillers, made it look like it never happened. Only the previous owner could have seen where the repairs were made. I wonder if they will last... My previous hoopty a Nissan Sentra was pre dinged when I got it and after a few years at my job, it was like a Chinese checkers board it had so many dents. Ahhh, but when you have a car you care about, the 500 steps into a building is nothing. However someone ALWAYS parks next to me. At least they should be as careful as me. Sure. Superspot is what I call them. If there is a median with a tree, look for me, walking in 100 degree heat.

100_4357.JPGI remember what my brother said when we picked this up. "It's going to end up as a plant stand like thousands of others." I was out to prove him wrong. Like I said, it was six months or so of intense use, but little loss. Why? I loved me some beer beverage. Look at the underside of this majestic workhorse. It's a two AA battery affair. Yes, I'm sure this is the ruin of many of these machines. You put the batteries in it, use it for a bit, then let it collect dust while your batteries expire and ruin the whole thing. Yes, I took mine out. I moved to a house rather than an apartment and thought I'd be using this every day in my basement work out room. *spits Pabst everywhere* I will say that at least I took the batteries out. OH GOOD FOR YOU!

100_4353.JPG...and there it sits. I tried using it again as my pounds started slowly accruing like an Atari 2600 game of Pac Man. I wrenched my jaw and went "bing bing bing" and munched the square power pill while the ghosts really blinked and blinked and blinked.. I did have to adjust the belt a bit to make sure it works and got some real exercise in, but, well, I could sell this but this piece of junk would mean failure. I did give up the beer beverage for one month last year but um...the Cavaliers were in the excuse..but the truth, I lost 10 pounds on the no beer diet. I've kept it off. Wanna lose more? No beer for you. I placed this shirt over the treadmill to cover it up and well, this post may just energize me again to go and start walking and give up that which keeps "Leon is getting LAAARRRGER" (Skitch. Airplane. Thanks.)  -Ric

P.S. You know, one could say my annoying (Skitch. Thanks.) is nothing more than a baffling part of the "junk blog mythos." (Way too much credit.) No, it really does have a twisted meaning. Want to hear it? Here it go.

I was well schooled in David Letterman's 1986 season of Late Night. Comedian Carol Leifer did a bit with Dave at his desk and said a joke to which Paul Shaffer played a "BOMP" to "punch" it. That made Carole look over at Paul Shaffer and say "Skitch.... Thanks...." David Letterman got a huge laugh out of that. I had no idea what it was, but I thought it was a funny way to reference when someone else helps punch your joke to make it funnier. Turns out, she was referencing Skitch Henderson who was Jack Paar's Tonight Show band leader and was at the beginning of Carson's  career on the show. Hence, why David laughed so hard at something baffling to my pre-internet mind. That is all.