April 22, 2000

Easter time, and does anyone know why they use the cheapest, waxiest, chocolate in those hollow bunnies? My guess is they melt down all the chocolate left over from Valentines Day and resell it.

This holiday has put a damper on yard sales that were a fourth of the usual amount since people in This Norman Rockwell town are getting their Sunday best ready and have no time to clean out the barn and peddle their goods.

Today at an estate sale in one of those 8-track cases that hold 12 tapes (11 of them that I wouldnít touch with a 6 foot pinch roller) I found one of those 1970ís various artist compilations that I have such a love/hate relationship with. The tape in question is called "The Look of Love" put out by that corporate giant label Crane Norris Marketing Inc. It features the usual easy listening soft rock suspects- Dionne Warrick, George Benson, Roberta Flack and then gets weird and juxtaposes The Theme From Rocky.

I can never figure tapes like this out (K-tel is the king of these slip-ups, but at least most of their titles are generic). It conjures up a scene from some bad romantic comedy where the guy uncorks the champagne and dims the lights and puts on this make out tape playing A Man and A Woman. And is about to score when suddenly the brass section and the lyric  Gonna Fly Now  blasts over the 8 track and destroys the mood. That song is about as romantic as a gym sock.

No wonder we never see anything from Crane Norris Marketing Inc. anymore.


April 26,2000

Once you become a well-seasoned Estate Sale habitue you start to develop a modus operendi and learn the rules. A word of caution though, be careful what you buy. Someday a house full of strangers maybe scrutinizing it and YOU. Iíve already taken this in to account and since Iíve decided not to breed years ago, an estate sale maybe my final legacy once I cash in my chips. I donít mind. I think when they zip up my cadaver in the body bag theyíll be a big smile on my face because Iíll know scores of people will be soon rummaging through my stuff saying "My God, who was this guy? There must be over a thousand eight track tapes here." Not a bad punch line to a charmed life, donítcha think?

Back to the rant, this one is called "Estate Shopper Profiles" weíve all been there now lets take a biased look at them.

  1. The Antique Dealer/Ebayer These people are always the first in line and live by the platitude "If the sale starts at 9 and you get there at 9 you're too late. Theyíre sort of passionate about sales and I hope to see a fist fight between a few of them one-day. I bought a cheaper Howard Miller like clock and one of them glared at me while I was in line to pay. It was sweet

  2. Cars Filled with Old Ladies Every week there is an old lady car (You know those mid 70ís 10 mile to the gallon boats with names like Comet, or Oldsmobile.) filled with gangs of women in there 80+. Itís kind of sad in a way, these people have probably less than 10 years of life on this mud ball and still go after the most quaint knickknacks and useless trinkets. And once theyíre gone the cycle continues with more old ladies hitting their estate sales. More 8-track philosophy-The endless loop.

  3. Men Guys donít get into estate sales that much, they usually get dragged there and wait in the car listening to the big game on the radio. But when they do they always make a beeline to check out the tools. They get so fetishy some times. How one gets excited over socket tools is beyond me but Iíve seen it happen quite a bit.

  4. Kids Children just get in the way and make loud noises at these sales, they should stay home.

  5. Women They generally go for the Walmart Better Homes and Garden aesthetic. Being in a one horse town where half the vehicles are pickup trucks with those round NRA stickers on the back window seems to bring out the June Cleaver in a lot of wives here. Conservative people with tastes that champion the status quo. Why, even Radio Shack still sells sensing foil here. Takes you back donít it?
  6. Trash Culture Vultures Thatís me, When I moved here from Honolulu, (Pop 800,000) anything remotely interesting at a thrift was gone in sixty seconds. Here I can hit a sale half and hour before it closes and find the most hideous purple velvet swag lamp semi-consistently. Iím happy all the hipsters are in Seattle where they belong.

April 29, 2000

Today I got a rotating vinyl 8 track tape holder chock full of (Arrgh) country music. Iíve read in a lot webpages about how we should preserve every tape but Iím sorry I canít listen to this thar hillbilly music. One day I hope to make a link about "Non-conventional uses of 8-track tapes" to deal with these unwanted tapes.  I have a friend whoís getting married soon and Iíd like to convince him to use gutted out country music tapes as envelopes for his invites. Iíve already decided my next X-mas tree will be 8 track themed. Wouldnít the raw taped make great tinsel? Itís never too early to plan ahead.

The big community garage sale today was in subdivision called Dryke Rd. I got weird vibes from this place since every house participating in the sale had a big red balloon tied to itís mail box (I guess it was better than a yellow ribbon.). And 80% of the houses had one of those irritating toy yappy dogs patrolling the yard (I assumed only old women and gay men owned dogs like these.) With all the look-a-like houses, white picket fences and manicured lawns in this place I felt like I was on the set of The Prisoner. Finally, I broke down and asked about the mini canines and some happy codger told me that only dogs under 30 pounds were allowed in Drykes Rd. I found it strange that in an area of the country where militia groups are brazen enough to have their own billboards advertising their organizations that no one has championed the right to possess large dogs here. This might be my calling.

Other stuff I got: 2 Gig cat prints, Peter Max like wallpaper and a David Soul LP

            8-track still life


May 3, 2000

Today a score at Goodwill yielded not one but three James Bond soundtracks (From Russia With Love, Moonraker, On Her Majesties Secret Service) and the previous owner was kind enough to leave the splice in the middle on all the tapes for easy preemptive repair. Yippie.

Remember years ago when people used to argue who was the best James Bond, Sean Connery or Roger Moore? And how now itís such a non-issue? Sean Connery is, duh, or was he? Well I proudly admit to being on the Roger Moore side of the fence. Why? He just had more character to me. Sure Sean Connery l kicked more ass, had his way with the women and looked good in a tux- but so what.

Roger Moore did these too but he had a sense of humor and just like John Belushi could steal a scene with the raising of an eyebrow. Remember when he dressed up like a clown in Octopussy to disarm the nuke? One-dimensional Sean Bond would have never disgraced himself in such a getup, bomb or no bomb. And werenít his run-ins with the late Q are classic?("That's not funny 007!") Moore easily had the best chemistry with Q.

Sadly, the newer Bonds have given up on defining their own Bondís "signature, nuance and panache" and seem to do nothing but ape Sean Connery. It sort of works playing it that way but I can see these actors going down in history as being merely dismissed as Connery shadows while Roger Moore will always be Roger Moore.

The real question should be who was the worse Bond, Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby?

May 5, 2000

Last week I joined the Ebay team, I suppose it was inevitable. When youíve basically lived your life in thrift shops from the cradle to the grave and anything remotely interesting is for sale under $3.00 you grab it. This has been my philosophy forever and looking at all the objects Iíve gotten over the years makes the house on Sanford and Son look like it was decorated by Martha Steward compared to this overly congested hovel.

Or you may blame it on my friends here whose incomes are exclusively from Ebay. Some drunken evenings I feel completely left out while they go on about Ebay war stories-stuff like buying a $.79 Hard Rock Cafť glass and getting $30.00 for it. Also, this destitute area is nothing but a Peninsula of minimum wage shop clerks. Poverty has never been an option for me. Albeit, Iíve always believed the old saying that you can live like a millionaire if you live below your means.

Now the big question "8-tracks on Ebay" Fear not trackers. You wonít see many (if any) from me. 8 track tapes on Ebay seem to be completely polarized. Either they go for absorbent amounts (the rare ones) or hardly anything at all (Boston $1.99)

I enjoy listening to the "rare" tapes (Duran Duran, Clash, Dexyís Midnight Runners) and have no desire to part with them. So unless I find duplicates (not very likely) youíll probably only see junk from my basement collection. I almost feel for the tracker who buys exclusively online. Thereís on greater joy than finding that desired Madonna 8-track for $.50 in a yard sale.

Joining the Dark Side

May 6, 2000

I had to write this because I think I have ESP. Today at Goodwill I found a Madonna 8-track, how's that for clairvoyance? And like I mentioned in the previous entry I now have 2 so I'm throwing it on line instead of adding it to the  Citizen Kane scale collection of 8 tracks in the basement. Some guy was scrutinizing me as I was flipping through the cartridges at the store and told me that we're probably the only people in this state that still listen to 8-tracks. I agreed, then he got sad about how his tapes keep breaking and I told him that you can fix them and his face lit up. Then he asked for my business card so I could teach him repair techniques (I've never had a business card in my life). So instead I told him to go to the 8 Track Heaven site and look up repair links. He was surprised that such a place existed and told me "Elvis is in 8 Track Heaven".  And I always thought he was in Graceland? 

May 10, 2000

It has been a week since I became E-Bayed and I have to say my feelings to it are bittersweet. On the plus side itís nice to be your own boss and call the shots. Itís a strange feeling putting up items that youíve owned and cherish for years and have them go for decent amounts. It almost validates you taste (You are what you buy).

And for the first time in I donít know how long I have something that resembles disposable income (donít worry Iíll never leave the thrifts). Eden Abehz said something about money to the effect "Itís not so much to have money for what you want, itís keeping away things you donít want". Iíve lived by this and am happy to say Iíve never been in debt (un-American as it may sound).

Strange being on the vending end of capitalism. Money is happiness in the abstract and what you buy is happiness in the concrete. I feel like Iíve taken a step sideways. And since I throw an occasional tape on-line Iím not going to print my Ebay handle on this web page since then it would turn it into a self-serving advertisement.

Sorry to sound so serious and throw in all the pseudo philosophical BS. Gosh I'm no fun any more.  Next entry will be about 8 tracks, promise.


May 14, 2000

Yesterday this town had its 105th annual Irrigation Festival (hot damn, this is written in lowercase if my sarcasm isnít evident) and because the main road was blocked off for the parade yard sales were a fraction of the usual amount (Notice I said "yard sales" instead of "garage sales". It just sounds more upscale, like when Blockbuster sells "previously owned videos" as opposed to "used "ones).

I also had to travel the back dirt roads to hit the few sales in the area. Nothing great but I hit one house that was selling nothing but videotapes of those saccharinely cute (but satanic) Olsen twins. The strange thing was they had like 10 copies of every movie they were in, you know, like Switching Goals. Iím sure weíll be hearing a lot from these girls as they grow older and I bet the word "crack" will be in the same sentence.

So I asked if they had any 8-tracks and the woman came out with a shoebox full with mostly easy listening X-mas music (P.U.). But what surprised me more was I found 2 that are actually listenable (In May at that).

The first is Phil Spectorís Christmas Album with 1960ís "girl" groups. The other is a bootleg of The Beach Boyís X-mas album. Forget the music, this is the most amateurish cut and paste Hallmark card cover art Iíve ever seen. I just might have to send it to 8-Track Minds bootleg page

Doesn't this just Scream Beach Boys??

March, or Shall we Continue sir?

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