21st Mar2013

My (Alternate) Reality

by Will

I’m not always a happy person. Sure, I crack jokes and everything on Twitter, but I guess you could say I’m “faking it until I make it”. Let’s just say it really hits home when a nurse asks you, “Can you remember when you were last happy?” and your answer is “I was probably 12.” Man, this is a downer intro to a post! Anyway, at times, I’ve clung to the idea of alternate realities. Hell, anything’s possible and it’s not like you can disprove the possibility (Ha! Take THAT, condescending Web Atheists!). Maybe there’s a Will out there who’s bouncing off the walls, and people describe him in terms like “effervescent”. If there are other realities out there, just think of the craziness that could be going on. Or let me do the thinking for you!

As our music industry celebrated the release of Justin Timberlake’s single, “Suit & Tie”, this week, in other reality former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter just released “Blazer & Bolo”.

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And apparently he’s a motorboating enthusiast!

Meanwhile, things are getting dicey on the late night talk show scene. After 20 years on the air, UPN has announced that Nick Cannon will be replacing Arsenio Hall as the host of What Up, Moon? Industry experts aren’t sure how to react, as it was only two years ago that Hall reclaimed his show from Damon Wayans, Jr. After touring the country with Skee Lo and Bobcat Goldthwait, Wayans finally landed at NBC, but there are still hard feelings.

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Some third world country is about to get a shitload of Woof shirts airdropped into it

Speaking of Skee Lo, he and his wife, megastar Kelly Rowlands, are expecting their 3rd child. Fans were hoping Kelly would take time off to reunite with Destiny’s Child, but the group has been on hiatus since member Beyonce Knowles was arrested on drug charges back in 2003. She later appeared on the 5th season of Celebrity Rehab, where she proceeded to insult both Rowlands and the DC fans. Needless to say, Kelly won’t be saying Beyonce’s name anytime soon!

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Skee Lo’s “I Wish” is the highest selling record to date

Talks are heating up that Michael Jackson will be taking the judge’s chair vacated by Bobby Brown on The Voice. As everyone knows by now, Brown was recently named the Exec VP of Artist Development for Arista Records, and Jackson is coming off the recent cancellation of his children’s show, Jacko’s World.

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In the book world, bestselling author James Frey is four books into his Little Pieces Saga. He’s been doing the talk show circuit promoting the next installment, A Million Pieces More. Tonight, he’s going to be on Bob Barker’s CNN show and Soledad O’Brien’s show on Playboy Radio. Tomorrow morning, he’ll wake up bright and early to be a guest on Let’s Get It Started With Fergie.

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Even in an alternate reality, douchebags still look like this

In the world of professional sports, NFL commissioner Vincent McMahon has announced that Brock Lesnar’s contract has been renegotiated with the Washington Coloreds. McMahon refused to acknowledge questions concerning the team’s racist moniker. The last time he addressed it was during an interview with Tabitha Soren, where he remarked, “What? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to call them?”

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“The NFL is committed to diversity – unless you’re a minority, bald, and/or have a goatee. Then, you’re clearly a villain.”

In the world of politics, President Clinton just announced, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…in her butt. Lord knows I tried.” This is the 12th sex scandal for the long-seated president. It was just last year that he uttered the similar words, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…in her mouth.” Needless to say, there’s no end in sight for the War on Orifices. Pundits are saying that there should have been some sort of provision for removing Clinton from office, but it seems that no one knows the current whereabouts of the Constitution. At present, most US laws are tweeted from China, while forged copies of the fabled document occasionally show up in pawn shops, according to the Pawn Stars Channel.

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“My fellow Americans, tell me you don’t just wanna bite dat ass.

Continental War V rages on, as Germany just fell to invading forces from Poland. The US has been hesitant to enter the fray, however Germany is our leading source for electronics, so something will need to be decided before the Tivo production season kicks into high gear. This has caused China’s statehood talks to stall. If you’ll remember, the US traded the Puerto Rico Territory to Emperor Hirohito in 1952, thus acquiring the China Territory and gaining a US presence in the East.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic events of May 4th, 1999. It has been 14 years since the state of Hawaii was vaporized by a militant sect of Jedi disciples, in what is now referred to as Operation: Phantom Menace. This led to the widespread persecution of Jedi, with many leaving the fold due to risk of being charged for treason. The “religion” is currently prohibited on American soil.

Photo courtesy of bystander, who decided an Instagram filter should be applied

Photo courtesy of bystander, who decided an Instagram filter should be applied

In the business world, DisMart announced that they’re planning to open a kiosk on the International Space Station. A mere 10 years ago, this would’ve been something out of science fiction. However, after Sir Richard Branson mysteriously disappeared, DisMart submitted a bid for the Virgin Corporation. Pretty soon, Mickey Mouse and Wally the Wallflower will be heading to space!

Well, I think you’ve learned enough about this alternate reality. Perhaps you should count your blessings. I mean, I’ve heard great things about The Diagram 2, but do you really want 14 Skee Lo albums on your mPod? What? Oh, that’s what they’re called here. Ya know, ’cause Microsoft makes them. I’m always drifting off to this world, though, as I have quite the imagination. So, just let me know if you ever want an update on how things are going over there.

04th Mar2013

Thrift Justice – Injustice For All

by Will

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Every now and then, I get requests to point out some of my Thrift Fails. Contrary to how the posts come across, my success rate varies. For instance, a lot of my thrift stores recently did floorplan resets, which I HATE. This happens every 2 years or so, and it just kind of ruins the flow of things. Not only are product quantities at low levels, but it takes awhile for everyone to get used to the new location of certain aisles. As a result, I haven’t really bought anything in about a month from that particular chain. The last time, though, was the fault of management. This is going to come off as “Will’s being a whiny bitch”, but whatever – it’s MY site. Still, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s inconsistency in rules, and this is a prime example of that.

Last Wednesday, I stopped by a thrift store near home, and noticed  they’d gone through the dreaded aisle reset. They had a few “quirky” things, but nothing really awesome. That was, however, until I got to the VHS aisle. Only recently have I even started paying attention to tapes, as everything good is on DVD now, right? Right? Wrong. A lot of stuff has yet to be transferred to DVD, while certain things in the format have skyrocketed in value (like WWF tapes with the old logo). Well, on an endcap of children’s movies, I found this:

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Not actual pic. I stole this from some site.

An unopened, non-special edition boxed set of the Original Star Wars Trilogy from 1992. Just look at how beautiful that box is! The best part, however, was that it was still shrinkwrapped. Whenever I see tapes, I wondered how battered they are from being shoved in and out of old VCRs, but these tapes wouldn’t have that problem. They were virgins! This store sells VHS tapes for 3 for $1, so this was a great score. Or so I thought. When I got to the register, the cashier tried to pull the “there’s no price on this” routine. Let me back up a minute. I’m not sure if this is common for all stores, but this particular chain has a policy where they can’t sell anything that doesn’t have a price listed on it. This is a far cry from the “No Price? Finders keepers” policy of the local Goodwill! Anyway, this “rule” is some bullshit because it’s been broken MANY, MANY times. They look at it, they appraise it (usually at about $2-3 dollars), and we both go on our merry way. Not this time. She called over the Latina manager (this is important, because I’m going to play a race card soon). She turns it around in her hand, and goes “No…I cannot sell. No price.” I proceed to tell her that I got it over at the tapes. Tapes are usually 3/$1, as she knows, so why is this any different? It’s 3 tapes. Then, she looks at it some more, and tries a tactic that I know and hate: trying to side with me in how unfair the rules are. I know this game because I’ve played it. I worked retail, too, hon. She says, “I soory. Be can’t sale without the price. It’s reely a domb rool, but I canno sale.” I told her, Hell, I’d even pay $3 dollars if it was that big of a deal – that’s 9 tapes! Surely, she wouldn’t get in trouble over that. Then, remember that race card I mentioned? Well, I told her “The white manager usually assigns a price.”

There are many different managers at this store. One of them, seemingly the queen of them all, is this mean old white lady. She lords over her staff of Ecuadoreans. While it’s true that she had made some cash register verdicts on prices, she’s sometimes the real hardliner when it comes to the rule. Still, I was banking on exploiting this manager’s fear of her in order to get my way. It’s really kinda sad the person I’ve become since I started this whole racket. Anyway, IT WORKED! She sighed, and told the cashier to ring it up as the 3 tapes for $1. I was in the clear! Long Live The Man! Until this other dude came up out of nowhere. He was also an employee, and manager chick decided to show it to him. They started talking to each other in Spanish, while pointing at different things on the box. Since I was worldly enough to take French in school, I can only assume they said, “This is Star Wars. This shit’s worth something. Fuck this guy. Viva La Rasa!” What? Most of the Spanish I know was learned from WWE wrestlers after the Attitude Era! She comes back over to me and says, “No, I canno sale.” By this point, they had already rung up some of the stuff you’ll see below, and the cashier asked if it would be credit or debit. I stood there a few seconds, and said, “You know what? Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be taking any of this.” And I walked out. See? I told you I was a petulant little bitch.

I can’t win ’em all. I get that. I just feel like they should be consistent – the same with everyone, all the time. I’ve had that rule broken, and I’ve watched them break it for others. It just seems odd to me that something like this is when they’d decide to go by the book. It makes it look a little fishy on their end, if you ask me. It really kinda pissed me off, mainly because I’m an only child and used to getting my way. It’s a shame I never grew out of that. Anyway, I’ve got high blood pressure now, and this isn’t a hill on which to die, so I went home, smoked a cigar, and recorded the first ep of Classick Team-Up.

To close things out, here are some things I’ve seen recently that, while quaint, just weren’t coming home with me.

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The only reason I didn’t buy this was because I already own it. I’m not a hip-hop head, but I LOVE this album. I also love that awesome Bill Sienkiewicz cover. Bobby, Bobby Bobby, Digi, Digi, Digi!

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Never saw this movie, but I love a good vintage, carded figure. Still, I hate dragons and shit.

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The store had a bunch of ALF puzzles. Ya see, 20 years ago, families used to gather around the “boob tube” every Monday. Before watching the riveting adventures of a middle aged newswoman, they tuned into NBC to watch a show about a cat-eating alien with a cornucopia for a nose. This is his story.

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In my mind, the only people who owned LaserDisc players were Patrick Bateman types. Still, I almost bought this just to frame it.

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I almost bought it, but the die was missing. Kinda regret leaving it behind, come to think of it. C’est la vie…

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I’m ashamed by how much I wanted this. I didn’t want to own it, per se. I just wanted to see it. Were they basically bum fights? Did the crackheads know they were being filmed? Were they authentic crackheads, or were schizophrenics unfairly being thrown into the mix? And it was the New York edition! Does this mean there’s a Real Housewives-esque Crackheadz series covering different cities? I had a lot of questions that needed answers. The second time I saw it, I was prepared to buy it. I needed answers! Sadly, the disc had been stolen from the case…probably by a crackhead…gone wild.

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Finally, this is what I left behind in my huff. You may not be able to tell, but this was a Dolly Parton doll from the 70s. Since the aisle reset, I found myself in the middle of the doll aisle, and noticed the selection looked a bit older. When I saw the face on this one, I thought, “That looks like Dolly!” Checked my phone, and I was right. The funny thing about it is her suit was glued on to her, so you couldn’t strip her nekkid like a Barbie. Not sure if that was in her likeness contract, or if that was a modification made by the previous owner. I was set to buy her, but I was thwarted by PriceGate. So, I can only assume Dolly is at home with Juan or Maria. Yup, that’s the note I’m choosing to end on.

21st Sep2012

Thrift Justice – Operation: Time Dig Part 2

by Will

So, has everyone changed their underwear? Are you sure you’re ready to proceed? OK, so we left off with me posting some of the pics from the website promoting the sale. Now let’s get to my experience digging through TIME!

The sale was to start at 10:30, and I planned to be there as the doors opened, but familial issues prevented that. In any case, I broke the landspeed record to Ellicott City, and got there about 15 minutes after everything started. The booth is located on the 3rd floor of Taylor’s Antique Mall, yet I could hear the sound of shuffling plastic as I walked through the door. I couldn’t tell how many people were there, but I knew I’d have competition. I bounded the stairs to find about 10 people already fast at work in the giant tubs filled with everything. From the pics, I had an idea of the items I’d be looking for, but this was clearly no time for a plan. I jumped right in and started digging in a tub that wasn’t being fanboy molested at the time.

Let’s just say that the “parts sale” description was more than accurate. While you could find some figures here and there, this was Heaven for anyone looking to replace lost figure accessories or restore old Joe vehicles. Two tubs were just G.I. Joe vehicle husks, while one tub was vintage Joe figures and weapons. Everything else was a mix of MOTU parts, Marvel Legends stands, orphaned zords, and anything else you can think of. I came prepared with my own plastic bag, as I really wasn’t sure how things were being priced. The ad mentioned that everything would be “priced to sell/no eBay pricing”, so that was certainly promising. Once I saw other folks with bags, I whipped mine out and started filling it. Since I didn’t really know what the pricing would be, I got greedy. I snatched up anything that seemed semi complete, semi collectible, and, most importantly, wasn’t already claimed by someone else.

Now, here’s the part that I’m ashamed to tell you. Ya see, the original title for this saga was “How I Almost Got Super AIDS”. I guess I was so high on the discovery at hand that I lost a bit of self awareness. As I was digging through a particular tub, I noticed that my hand was wet, but I just kept digging. At one point, I pulled my hand out and noticed my finger was covered in blood. It was my blood. Honestly, I was bleeding pretty badly. At some point, while digging through 30 years of detritus, I managed to cut my finger above the cuticle, and it did not want to stop bleeding. Beside the point that I probably just contaminated the batch, I was also losing out on valuable digging time! I didn’t have a tissue or anything, and while I tried the elementary school first aid of “suck it til it stops”, I just ended up with a mouthful of blood. At that point, I remembered an old receipt that I had in my wallet. I wrapped it around the finger, and kept it moving.

The white stuff is where the receipt fused to the nail. Fun!

I struck up conversations with a few fellow diggers, A) to find out how they’d heard about the sale and B) to somewhat distract them. Yeah, I’m a stinker like that. Once I found out we were looking for different things, I actually helped them out when I ran across something on their list. One guy was looking for vintage Joes, while another had seen some Voltron in the pics and had dragged his little boy down to help him look.

I made sure to hit each tub at least twice, simply because my OCD wouldn’t allow me to leave until I was sure I hadn’t missed anything. Over the course of this time, I struck up a conversation with the booth owner, Todd. It turns out  he’d acquired all of this stuff over the years via various yard sales and whatnot. Instead of throwing away incomplete pieces, he’d just throw them in a tub. Eventually, he had several tubs and his wife wanted him to clear the space before he brought in more. He’s a really cool guy. We discussed Toy Hunter/Collection Intervention (turns out he’d seen neither), I told him about ecrater (he’s tired of eBay being a buyer’s market now), and we discussed the current offerings from LEGO. He also revealed some bad news to me: it turns out, while he was unloading the day before, a guy came up to him and bought 4 of the totes before they even made it inside. Remember all the Transformers stuff you saw in the pics from the last post? Yup, that guy bought basically all of the Transformers stuff, and who knows whatever else was in those totes. Even without the Transformers, I still found some cool stuff, that can be broken down into about six categories:

1) Power Rangers Zord Parts

I actually have a post lined up next week that goes into a bit more detail about why I got this stuff, but the long and short of it is that I tend to buy “orphaned” zords. It’s a pet project of mine to reassemble Megazords by acquiring pieces at a time, on the cheap. When it comes to earlier zords, it doesn’t get much more obscure than this. What you’re looking at it is:

-Thunder Power Turbo Transporter (Ninja Storm): It’s basically just a launching semi.
-Most of the Deluxe Centaurus Megazord (Lost Galaxy): this is one of the zords released when they started not even caring to identify the separate component zords. It debuted near the rushed end of Lost Galaxy and existed merely to be blowed up.

-fist from unknown zord

-Yellow Galactabeast (Lost Galaxy)

-Time Force Megazord micro playset (Time Force): I actually hate micro playsets, and I just grabbed this out of greed

-Senturian Synergizer (Turbo): this was the role play weapon for Ranger ally, The Blue Senturian. Yes, it was spelled that way. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he’s dead now.

-Head of the Red Dragon Thunderzord (MMPR season 2): this is one of those parts that was easily lost. You laugh at me now, but watch…

-Astro Megazord Shield (In Space): this is definitely going to come into play in an upcoming post!

-Galaxy Megazord Sword (Lost Galaxy): again, future post

-Firebird Thunderzord leg stand (MMPR season 20: like the Red Dragon head, it’s another easily lost part – especially since it’s removed to form the Thunder Megazord

2) Hasbro

Yeah, I know some of you are disappointed, but this is pretty much all that was left intact! If you were into restorations and picking up accessories, you’d have had a field day. I, on the other hand, just sold off all the G.I. Joe and Transformers stuff that was in my e-store, and I’m in no hurry to start any restorations at the moment. Plus, as far as my own collection, I’m over vintage and focusing mainly on the anniversary stuff. So, here’s what we have:

-OK, I kinda lied about the “not doing restoration” thing. I actually have a box of TF parts, and I recognized this gun when I grabbed it, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who it’s for. Have I ever told you that transformers are not my strong point? The research is the reason it takes me forever to list them on my site. Help me out, Bot fans!

-It looks like a Dollar General Duke, but I’m not convinced that’s what it is. I know it’s the newer body style that I collect, but since I’ve yet to actually see a DG Joe, I’m reserving judgment. What say you, internet?

-Of course you recognize vintage Deep Six! I never had him, but always wanted his immobile ass, so I fixed that. Dreams do come true!

-I honestly don’t care enough about those Transformers to insult you with incorrect info. They’re incomplete anyway. To the parts box!

3) Marvel Bases & Accessories

This pic points out something I’ve always found interesting about thrifting: one day’s finds may not actually “pay off” until down the road. I picked up a 10″ Toy Biz Silver Surfer about 2 months ago, and he’s just been sitting on my site. Besides the fact that the articulation sucks, I feel like he has sat there because I didn’t have his board. I mean, who wants Silver Surfer without his surfboard?! Well, lo and behold, while digging through this completely unrelated tub, I found the board! Not quite sure what I’m going to do with those figure bases yet…

Don’t worry – like we tell today’s youth, it gets better!

4) Playmobil

You can’t tell from the pic, but there’s a veritable shitload of Playmobil here. I have to admit that this stuff I got mainly for my site. When I see Playmobil, I hear cash registers and see dollar signs. Why is that? Well, it’s probably because Playmobil is the official toy of white upper middle-class parents who don’t want their children playing with licensed toys. “No, put down that Spider-Man and play with this shaggy-haired airport worker!” If it didn’t bring back warm memories of Kindergarten, I’d despite Playmobil much like I do anything by Melissa & Doug. Anyways, this stuff don’t come cheap, and these happened to be vintage pieces. One day, I might take better pics of the stuff, but the copyright date on most of the accessories is 1978. Also, I had no clue that Mattel was once the licensed reseller of Playmobil.

The best part of this acquisition, however, is that it allows me to show you the most racist, yet most hilarious Playmobil set I’ve ever seen:

This guy learned the hard way that you do NOT insult the loincloth of the king’s prized monkey!

5) Minicomics & Manuals

I’m a BIG fan of pack-in premiums from old toylines. I’m still collecting Kenner Action Toy Guides, so this stuff was right up my alley. Todd seemed to think these were the best items I’d found, so let’s see if you agree with him.

Yup, vintage Masters of the Universe minicomics. And yes, there are doubles, so I await your tribute.

Precursors to the Action Toy Guides, these are all Star Wars, all the time! Some of them were even woven together instead of stapled. I’m not sure if that’s how they came back then, or if they had been restored. Again, lots of duplicates.

And I couldn’t forget Hasbro, baby! In fact, I even scored a few vintage G.I. Joe blueprints amongst others below!

6) Pop Culturesplosion!

If you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should; williambrucewest), you’ve already seen a version of this picture. I needed a caption for it, so I said something like “My childhood, kicking you in the face!” Of course, the nerd police jumped on me because I have a 200x He-Man and a Sailor Moon in the pic. Haven’t you ever heard of “creative license”?! Anyway, it was really just an excuse to take a pic of everything that was left, yet didn’t really fit into one of the other categories. Yes, you see:

-Rock Lord

-James Bond Jr (who we all knew was one of Bond’s bastard children, even though they claimed he was a “nephew”)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Krang’s walker

M.A.S.K. Raven (that should get me some Underscoopfire traffic!)

-Mego Pocket Heroes Spider-Man (it’s funny to me that most figures in this line look like they’re masturbating. You can tell me it’s unintentional, but this was a company with a hot tub in the center of its headquarters. From the stories, Mego was like something out of Caligula!)

-Sailor Moon

-200x He-Man and Battle Cat

Knight Rider Key Car (put key into spring loaded hole and launch K.I.T.T.)

Justice League lenticular S-shield (I LOVE holograms and lenticular stuff!)

Stompers-esque truck with A-Team logo

A-Team Face figure

Bravestarr Laser-Fire Backpack

-Mr T trading card

Lazer Tag sensor (sadly, seeing this in the pic on the site was the sole reason I decided to check out the sale. Post to come on all that…)

Rambo bazooka and tripod

-General Lee friction car

So, that pretty much wraps it up. I brought home a lot of crap, but I use “crap” endearingly. I was pleased as punch with what I got, as it certainly beat the junk I probably would’ve found at a yard sale. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning, and it’s not every day that you get a chance to go back in time and put your hands on stuff that you’ve either only seen online OR you remember your mom throwing away. Sure, I’ll be out in the streets at yard sales this weekend, but I’m sure I’ll just find the usual Rescue Heroes and broken JAKKS WWE figures. This will probably make me depressed, and make me realize I’m wasting a lot of gas. At those moments, though, I’ll think back to the time dig. There’s more stuff out there, just like this, and it’s waiting to be found. It’s not always on the surface, and sometimes you have to dig for it. I’ll be there, and next time, I’ll wear gloves!

11th Oct2011

Thrift Justice – Strapped For Cash

by Will

I’ve got a great haul from the weekend to share with you, but I’m still writing that up. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some great stuff I’ve picked up recently. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

First up, we’ve got these tabloid-sized specials, know as History of Comics Vols 1 & 2. These were created by fan favorite comic artist Jim Steranko, and they used to be advertised as mail-away items in old comics from the 70s (I guess they were also sold in book stores, but I don’t really know much about the 70s books tore scene). Anyway, from what I’ve ben able to find out, the versions I got are known as Volume 1B and Volume 2B, since they don’t have the title written on the cover. What makes this buy even more special, however, is the fact that my copy of Volume 1 is signed and numbered by renowned Italian filmmaker, Frederico Fellini. You see, he wrote the foreword to the series, as he had been a big fan of Steranko. Now, do I have a certificate of authenticity? No, but I don’t really care. If I need to, I can just take it to Gold & Silver Pawn and have Frankenstein Randy Travis do some handwriting analysis on the signature.

 

I love the Power Rangers. Now that we got that out of the way, I’ve been tracking down old morphers like it’s my job. I’m not even looking for them, but they keep popping up at thrift stores. I stopped buying most PR toys about 15 years ago (which was still too late in the minds of most people), but I used to really be into the Zords and morphers. Hands down, Power Rangers morphers were my favorite role playing toys. These used to retail anywhere from $10-15, but I’ve been finding these for roughly $1 each. Still operational and everything. To top it off, they’re models that came out after I stopped buying, so I’ve been able to restart my collections where I left off. What you see here, from left to right, is the Time Force Morpher, Ninja Storm Wind Morpher, some kinda bootleg Dino Thunder Morpher, and the Overdrive Tracker.

My love of Batman is pretty well-known. I thought I had stumbled upon something awesome with this lunch box, as the date on the decal is 1982. It certainly looked pre-Super Powers, which would place it before 1985. That said, the decal doesn’t jibe with the rest of the package. You see, the latch is incorrect. I stopped getting these lunch boxes in the very early 90s, at which point they were still using a metal latch. The latch on this one is completely plastic, placing it later in the decade. Still, aside from all that Pawn Stars babble you didn’t ask for, it was still a nice find for 99 cents!

This is Max Ray, from the 80s cartoon The Centurions. I’ve been on the lookout for these because, just like Radiohead albums, you never see them at yards sales and thrift stores. This figure was pretty incomplete, as he didn’t come with any of the accessories that fit into the holes situated all over his body. Despite all that, I’m still pretty happy to own this guy, as he always reminded me of Tony Stark.

 

I always told myself that if I ever won the lottery, I’d buy one of those replica wrestling belts that costs $300. I’d wear it to church, court, to the bathroom. Don’t care. Referred to as “The Strap” by the professionals, I’d always have it slung over my shoulder (no one ever wears it as an actual belt!). Well, I’ve yet to win the lottery, so I don’t have one of those belts. I never wanted to pay the $15 for the crappy kids version at retail, but I had no problem paying 99 cents for one! The belt that I chose was the Intercontinental Title, and I did so for a reason. You see, everybody wants to be The Champ. Everyone thinks they’re Triple H, or John Cena or The Rock. I’m honest with myself. If I joined the WWE tomorrow, I’d NEVER get a shot at the WWE Title. I could, however, get the Intercontinental belt. That was the belt you used to get for beating Goldust or The Mountie. That’s more my speed.

I hated leaving these guys behind, as I think I’m probably America’s biggest straight male boyband fan. That said, I didn’t want these at $10 apiece. I’m pretty sure they didn’t cost that much when they were originally offered by Best Buy (they were promo items), and ‘NSYNC merchandise isn’t really on the rise. So, I had to say bye bye bye to them. Yup, I just said that.

 

Thanks for tuning in, and come back on Thursday for a special Thrift Justice surprise!

08th Jul2011

Greatest Haul: Origins

by Will

In Greatest Haul: Prelude, you got a teaser of the spoils. Now, learn the fantastical origin of the treasures you merely glimpsed! I’d cap this off with a “True Believer”, but I don’t want my ass to get sued…

So, as many of my twitter followers can attest, I’ve developed a bit of a thrift store addiction as of late. We have a few really good ones in my area, so I’ve found myself swinging by a couple times a week. That said, like any gateway drug, thrift stores weren’t enough. I soon turned to Craigslist to satisfy my urges. It started out with me buying a couple of Mighty Muggs, and then it just got out of hand. Pretty soon, I found myself scouring the “toys & games” and “collectibles” categories several times a day. Eventually, I made a bigger leap: yard and garage sales.

I’ve been going to estate sales with my mom for the past 15 or so years, but they’re a different animal from yard sales. Estate sales tend to be where the stuff of old/dead folks is sold, so the selection follows accordingly. I got my golf clubs at an estate sale. I got old books at estate sales. You do not, however, tend to find toys at such places. In any case, I had come to look down on yard/garage sales, as estate sales were more “high-end”. A few of my twitter pals, however, have had quite a bit of luck with yard sales lately, and I didn’t want to be left out in the cold.

A few weeks ago I decided to wake up early that Saturday morning and get in on the yard sale action. I’d found a nearby sale that was touting “25 Years of Collectibles”. This was both intriguing and off putting. You see, when people sell what they believe to be “collectibles”, they tend to overcharge. They factor in all the time and money they put into acquiring the item, as well as what they feel it’s worth on the market. The result is typically an asking price that’s both foolish AND too rich for my blood. It was still intriguing, though, as a lot of good crap came out in the last 25 years.

Anyway, the next morning, I woke up earlier than I typically do for work (a part of me is somewhat ashamed of that), and set out on my quest. The ad said the garage door wouldn’t go up until 7, and I was there along with 2 older guys. Within 5 minutes, I knew this hadn’t been worth my time or lost sleep. He was selling loose Toy Biz Marvel figures for $10 each. Not the good Legends stuff, but the crappy Magneto with the magnet in his chest. Or a random VR Trooper. Who’s gonna pay $10 for a loose VR Trooper figure of a present-day soap star? I said my thanks, and went on my way.

Next on the list was a multifamily sale not too far away. I’d seen the listing, and I liked the idea of a multifamily sale, as I could hit several mini sales in one area. Apparently, the sales were along a block, so I could just work my way down the street. Or so I thought. Instead, I ended up spending the bulk of my time at the first house. Before we get to that, though, let’s back up a bit.

After that first “collectibles” sale was a bust, I considered going home. Sitting with my McDonald’s breakfast, I fired up my phone’s browser and decided to see if any new, more promising sales had been listed. At this point, I noticed one that touted “carded action figures”. Well, paint me green and call me Gumby! Plus, it turned out it was part of the multifamily sale that I was already planning to hit! The idea of carded action figures was too great to pass up. Little did I know how great of a find it would be.

So, it turns out that the woman hosting the sale used to work for American Entertainment. If you were collecting comics in the late 90s, then that name will be familiar to you. If you’ve never heard of it, American Entertainment was a mail order comic company that specialized in exclusive covers and products (if you’ve ever shopped at Entertainment Earth, it was a lot like that). If you have a comic from the 90s, there’s probably an AE ad in it. Eventually, they branched out into a few brick and mortar shops, but AE cranked out a TON of Image/Top Cow variants and Buffy exclusives, amongst other things. Now, since I worked at Diamond, I kinda have an idea of the sort of items that cross your desk in that industry. Just as in my situation, she didn’t sell anything while she was with the company, so she just accumulated it without really keeping track of what she had. She decided that she finally needed to clear out space, so she was getting rid of all the swag she’d acquired. And she wasn’t lying about carded figures. Buffy, Starting Lineup, Batman, WWF (yes, before they were forced to “get the F Out”), Toy Biz Marvel figures…and many were just $1-2 each! Most yard sales are just a “One man’s trash…” situation, but she actually had good stuff. It was just too much of it to try to price accordingly and sell, so it was like a collectible fire sale. I was expecting to wake up at any minute. When I call it “The Greatest Haul”, it’s not that I stumbled upon a particular holy grail – it’s that I got a lot of cool stuff for the low, low price! Toys, comics, and cards. So, what did I get? Well, you’ll just have to tune in next time!

04th Jan2010

“The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”

by Will

“The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”

-I’m still getting used to this whole “not having a job” thing. I think the weirdest part is when I wake up at 10:30 and think, “Oh, shit! I’m late”, and I spend a few seconds trying to think of an excuse to call in, and then I remember. I mutter an “Oh, yeah…fuck ’em!”, roll over, and go back to sleep. I could actually get used to this.

-On the country station’s morning show today, the question asked was “What invention did you think we’d have by 2010 that we don’t have yet?” Of course, the majority of callers said “flying cars”. Yes, The Jetsons lied to us, but I’m fine with it. Flying cars would be a logistical nightmare! You’d essentially need a pilot’s license, you probably wouldn’t be able to get a permit at 16, and if you think drunk driving accidents look bad now, well…

Anyway, I have a different answer to that question: based on the amount of science fiction to which I’ve been exposed, I thought we’d have trippier, more kick ass drugs, with a real high tech delivery system.

People who know me might be surprised by me saying that, since I’ve never touched a drug in my life (yeah, I’m *that* guy- the one you’re scared to smoke around ’cause you think I might narc on you). Anyway, I’ve seen shit where microchips placed on skin got people high, drug lords were huffing shit out of gas masks, there were even futuristic opium dens (it was bound to make a comeback, just like absinthe). But do we have any of this? NO! Instead, drugs went surprisingly low-tech. The biggest scourge is made in Cletus’s bathtub, and the shit makes your teeth fall out. SCIENCE FAIL!

-What a great night of televised wrestling! We got a taste of the Monday Night Wars of the late 90s, as TNA Impact was a live broadcast, going up against WWE RAW. Why were they going head to head like this? Well, Hulk Hogan debuted on TNA, with a promise to shake things up. Honestly, it just looks like he and Eric Bischoff are just gonna turn it into a tired retread of WCW. There was a parade of washed up has-beens, which was exciting for the TNA crowd. Then again, the TNA set is so cheesy, it looks like something you do while waiting for the taping of your episode of Double Dare.

WWE, however, held much more meaning for me, and probably most long-term wrestling fans. After 12 years away from the WWE, former great Bret “The Hitman” Hart made his return, looking like some drugged out old shaman woman, wanting closure for the unfortunate way that he left the company. If you’re not familiar with “The Montreal Screw Job”, wiki it, but it’s a PRETTY big deal to old school wrestling fans. This was back in the day before the “Attitude Era” and the transparency of wrestling. There was major bad blood between Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon. Bret and Shawn made amends at the beginning of the show, capped off by the most uncomfortable bro hug you’ve seen since your big brother caught you in that gay bar last Thanksgiving! We were forced to wait until the end of the show for Bret and Vince to finally have their tete a tete. Vince broke character and really had some nice things to say about Bret. He even nominated Bret’s father for induction into the 2010 Hall of Fame class. It appeared that the Pro Wrestling Berlin Wall had finally been torn down. Vince shook Bret’s hand, raised it in victory, and they faced the four sides of the ring. to rousing applause. And just when wrestling fans across America began to wipe that tear from their eye, Vince kicked Bret in the stomach. ‘Cause that’s the kind of bastard Vince is. Look for Bret to show up regularly in the lead up to Wrestlemania. Why? Because that’s just how this stuff works. Damn, I’ve missed wrestling!

16th Jun2008

Apple Bottom Kids & My Problems With Dawson McAllister

by Will

“Good job, Tila. So you can deep throat a pickle. Then again, you probably have 3 mouths, coming from the planet Orbitron or wherever…”

Kinda scatterbrained right now, so no real cohesive thoughts. Just a bunch of random stuff I need to get out:

Dear Management of Union Jacks:
When did you convert your bar into a weekly Bat Mitzvah? I’m not complaining, as I’m kinda going through a Semitic phase right now. I just wish I’d known, as I could’ve brought a gift or something….

– I wonder how The Turtles feel, knowing there’s an entire generation that only knows their seminal hit as “The Golden Grahams Song”.

– I’ve got a friend who’s dabbling in dating sites, and he’s been keeping me abreast of the things he’s encountered. Apparently, there are a lot of fat women on there who state, outright, that they’re not interested in Black guys. Really? But that’s your biggest demographic! That’s like if I had a rice sale, but said “No Asians”…

-Speaking of “fat”, has anyone seen Kimora lately? She’s getting those front neck rolls, like Florida Evans on Good Times.

-Am I the only one who thinks the chick in the Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos commercial looks like a Ferengi?

-I just saw a 7-year-old wearing an Apple Bottoms t-shirt. First of all, how do I know she was 7? She told me – kids in a toy store tend to be quite talkative. Now, first, I was thinking it was pretty fucked up for Nelly to make an Apple Bottoms KiDs! line. Maybe he should’ve been on trial instead of R. Kelly. After some web research, though, I find there is no such clothing line. So, this unfortunate wardrobe choice was the result of some real shitty parenting on someone’s part.

-Speaking of R. Kelly, it’s amazing how many people on the street were transformed into top gun legal analysts as a result of that trial. From the nightclub to the check-cashing/carryout joint, everyone was spouting phrases like “habeus corpus” and “circumstantial evidence”. It was incredible! People who’ve never given a shit about anything judicial in their lives – we’re talking about people who didn’t even go to their own daddies’ trials! I was mega surprised when Jeff took an intense interest in it. Shit, I wouldn’t be surprised if he told me he’d signed up for the LSAT!

-Lately, I’ve come to realize the concept of “stealing a kiss” is nowhere near as cute and romantic as people like to believe. In fact, it’s pretty sad…

The Average American Male has the most depressing ending I’ve read in years. And I think every man should read it.

-I want to kick Dawson McAllister in the balls. If you’re unfamiliar with the man, he runs a pseudo-Christian radio call-in show for teens (HOT 99.5, after midnight, locally). Think of Frasier Crane’s radio show, but instead hosted by his dad – his crotchety, old retired cop of a dad. This guy is SO out of touch with his audience that I have no idea how he’s been doing this since ’91. The shit that comes out of his mouth… One girl called up, and was telling him how much she loved her boyfriend, but she was scared of getting hurt. Dawson replied, “Yeah, there’s no condom for the heart, huh?” Really?!

Then, his million dollar answer to every question is the “wait a year” response. Your dad hates your Black boyfriend? Here’s Dawson’s response: “You see, this is about respect. You love your dad, but you love your boyfriend. I say you go to your dad, and say, ‘Dad, I love and respect you. I’ll wait a year, and not see Tyquan, out of respect for you. However, in a year, I hope you’ll have thought it over, and will feel differently.'” Wanna go to Iraq and fight for your country, yet your parents don’t condone it? Here’s the Dawson response: “You see, this is about respect…” Yup, he tells him to wait a year. That’s when he even has a response. Half the time, he responds, “Man, I don’t know what to tell ya” or “What do you want from me?” How about some advice, asshole! And don’t get me started on his insensitive playlist. It’s the only place where you can hear a 15-year-old cry over her unwanted pregnancy, followed up by “Buttons” by the Pussycat Dolls…

-And now, for the part of the post that probably only Marcus and Jeff will understand: When it comes to relationships, I think I’m ready for my title shot. I’ve jobbed my entire life. I jobbed with Barry Horowitz. I jobbed with Al Snow. I even jobbed with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. I think I’ve paid my dues, though. I deserve my title shot. It’s my time to step into the ring with Triple H. It doesn’t mean I’ll win. Hell, I don’t expect to win, but I’ve earned my shot. I’m not even talking about a title shot at Wrestlemania or even The Royal Rumble. Shit, I’ll take No Way Out or even Backlash. When it’s all said and done, though, I don’t want to be a jobber anymore. I want my title shot, and that’s the bottom line….

And with that, folks, I leave you. Hopefully, the next post will make more sense to the casual visitor!

01st Apr2008

Wrestlemania, The Hills, and Mario Lopez

by Will

“The title sounds so promising until you open it up and Tobey Keith is playing chess with a child abductor.”

After a rousing night of Monday Night Television, several things popped into my head:

Doogie Howser ending on How I Met Your Mother! Just when I think that show can’t possibly get any better…

-Man, the night after Wrestlemania is Jobber City! Who are these people? Did I really just see a tag-team of thugs, named Cryme Tyme, go against a tag-team of rednecks?! Am I really not supposed to catch the subtext there?

-Must. Have.Cena.Nintendo.Throwback.T-shirt!

-Now, I’ve been watching WWE for years, and seeing commercials for Stacker-2 for just as long. If I’m not mistaken, there was even a Stacker-3. But was there ever just a plain, old Stacker?

-I never knew I loved Ric Flair until this weekend. Watching his retirement is like listening to Survivor’s “The Search is Over”. I grew up idolizing Ravishing Rick Rude. Yes, Rick Rude. Say what you will, but it was pimp as hell for him to win a match, go out to the audience, and grab a random woman to bring back into the ring with him. Sometimes, the chick was even there with her husband, but Rick didn’t care. He’d kiss her and she’d faint. Then, he’d do his Ravishing Dance over her passed out body. I can’t say wrestling taught me much about women. After that era, I found myself adoring The Undertaker. Whether he was the undead disciple of Paul Bearer, the American Badass, or all of the above, I was always anticipating The Last Ride. Recently, I’ve found an appreciation for the old school. Dusty Rhodes is probably the most charismatic man in pro wrestling. Screw The Rock; Dusty “wined and dined with kings and queens”. Despite all of that, none of them held a candle to Flair. He’s everything wrestling has been and everything it should be. He’s the last of the greats. You can have your Hulk Hogans and your Bret Harts. Flair was hardcore in an age where you didn’t have to be. He brought it time and again, and he introduced flamboyance to wrestling. I’m not even remotely a wrestler, but I know that my life will never be complete due to the fact that I will never get the chance to get in the ring with him. After all, to be The Man, you’ve to beat The Man. Whooo!

The Hills are alive with Heidi’s brand new boobies! Seriously, did they recast her this season? I knew she’d had some work done, but it’s almost like looking at a new person. Kinda like when Bewitched swtiched the Darrens, and thought nobody would notice.

-Speaking of looks, I’d blame it on jetlag, but LC is looking rough this season! I mean, “single-mother-working-a-double-shift-at-the-diner-while-wearing-cheap-foundation” rough. There were a couple of scenes where I even thought I saw a moustache trying to peek through. Maybe I made up that last part…

– I get what they were trying to do: “Let’s show how suave and sophisticated French men are”, but why the Hell did they track down Flock of Seagulls? I mean, did you see those dudes LC and Whitney were hanging out with? They just looked dirty. Too much of a skeazy vibe, and being French doesn’t make up for that.

-There were some cold-ass scenes on The Hills tonight. Sure, it was the old episode, but the part where Heidi gives a toasts to her parents, clearly omitting Spencer to his face, was harsh. Then again, I can’t remember the last time I saw a scene as uncomfortable as Spencer just ambushing her family in Colorado. I’ll give him points for balls and effort, but it got to a point where you just wanted him to leave.

-I’m convinced Real World Hollywood is going to suck. Why? Because they’re hyping it too much. The best RW drama is the kind that you don’t see coming. However, this is a milestone season, with a showy cast, and they expect big things. Yeah, well, they also expected big things from The Vegas Reunion, and that was a waste of time and film. It seems like Hollywood is trying to assume the mantle of the most-sex-havingest, debaucherous RW in history, but I just don’t see it happening.

-There are some people in this world who are simply untouchable, especially in terms of womanizing. No matter what they do, people continue to love them: Bill Clinton, Usher…Mario Lopez. I’m not sure if a lot of people know this about Mr. A.C. Slater, but the dude is supposedly a whore. I mean, this is the guy who cheated on The Doritos Girl (Ali Landry)! That might not mean anything right now, but travel back in time to 1998. People would’ve given their left nut to have the Doritos Girl (I have it on good authority that this was the case with Lance Armstrong). Mario cheated on her repeatedly, yet still convinced her to marry him. Then, he cheated on her at his bachelor party. And, rumor has it, and this is the most gangsta of all, he cheated during their honeymoon! Yet, everybody still loves Slater…

I leave you with this quandry: Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On”: most inspirational song of our generation, or thinly-veiled argument for women to stay in abusive/unfulfilling relationships?

26th Mar2008

Reality Rundown: Northern Palm Wrestling, High School Reunion, and Real Wedding Crashers

by Will

“My heart’s crippled by the vein that I keep on closing…”

So, lately I’ve noticed a lot of TV shows that just make no sense whatsoever. First up is Northern Palm Wrestling. It debuted on MTV last night, and it’s basically a sketch show by the comedy group Northern Palm Wrestling. According to their “origin story”, they started out as a group of guys who did a lot of backyard wrestling matches back in the day. Over time, that evolved into low-brow, un-P.C. sketch comedy. Now, I’m all about the un-P.C., but I can’t deal with the format of the show. Originally, they were picked up as web segments for MTV.com, but it debuted as an actual show after Human Giant last night. Sure, they were hoping to benefit from the Human Giant lead-in, but these guys are nowhere near that level. I think the main thing going against them is the fact that it really looks like some sort of cable access show. Maybe they’re going for low-quality, a la the “Sensual Seduction” video, but I just couldn’t deal. It was like watching something made by a bunch of high school kids. The uncool high school kids. I turned it off 5 minutes in, which is weird, considering I can usually watch anything.

That’s when I turned to the next show that makes absolutely no sense to me: The Real Wedding Crashers, on Style Network. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I’m a sucker for a good wedding show, so I’m always on board for “I Do Tuesdays”. That said, they’ve recently replaced my fave, I Propose, with The Real Wedding Crashers. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s basically Punk’d: The Wedding Edition. My problem, though, is that it’s always at the request of the bride and groom. So, the basic premise is you’ve got a bride and groom who decide, “we want to make this wedding an event that nobody will forget.” That’s so sad. The fact that their wedded bliss, holy union, and $80-a-plate gathering won’t be memorable enough. Nope, they’ve got to recruit this team of comedians to come and “crash” the wedding by playing elaborate pranks.

First off, it’s clear they just use the name to capitalize on the hit movie, while having nothing to do with that remise. Reality show about guys crashing weddings to get chicks? I’m all about it! This show, however, doesn’t prove to be as exciting. I think it would be funnier if everyone was in on the joke except the bride and groom. I mean, imagine their emotional breakdown as they think their special day is falling down around them. That’d be as hilarious as the episode of Punk’d where Justin Timberlake started crying because he thought his stuff was being repossesed due to tax evasion. If you look at the J.T. timeline, that was the moment he reinvented himself, as he had to do something to come back from looking like a little bitch in front of his primary demographic. Nipplegate at the Super Bowl wasn’t long after that. His little way of saying, “Laugh at my tears now, bitches”. Anyway, I digress…I would also be pissed if it turned out the bride and groom had done this, even though they weren’t paying for the wedding. I mean, what a way to waste someone else’s money! You want a memorable ceremony? Here’s me, sticking you with the bill, ungrateful bitch of a daughter!

The trick of it is that they “crash” the entire timeline, from preparation to ceremony to reception. On last night’s episode, the wedding ceremony was interrupted by skydivers, who land on the golf course site of the wedding, mid-ceremony. Of course, it was the Crasher Team, and they played it off that they thought they were landing for a birthday party gig. It’s a big elaborate thing, though, as much of it is set up days before. One aspect that rubbed me the wrong way was the use of Crasher Cat. Clearly, the “hot chick” of the team, Cat’s mission was to get invited to the wedding so that she would be the “man on the inside”. Well, she arrives at the cake shop, just in time to see the groomsman accidentally destroy all of the cakes (including the one for the ceremony), which was all part of the crash. She starts flirting with him, and gets him to ask her to the wedding. Then, she shows up at the wedding, wearing a wedding dress, which appalls most of the guests, seeing as how she’s taking attention away from the true bride. Once the crash is revealed, everyone’s laughing and applauding, but you can see the disappointment on the groomsman’s face, as he thought he’d really scored a date with a hot chick. Ya got played, bitch! And all she could say to him was, “Did you have fun?” I felt as bad for him as I feel for some of the folks on Hell Date, as you know they were just doing the damn thing, looking for The One. In the meantime, someone thought it would be a good idea to prank ’em with a horrible date. Sure, they’re good sports in the end (usually), but you’ve just got to know that some part of them dies inside, the part that was hoping that the search was finally over, that this could be The One…

I’m totally over Flavor of Love, as my baby, Bunz, was shown the door last week. Making the Band‘s over, resulting in Danity Kane producing a KICK ASS CD, while leaving Day 26 to deliver a disc of 112/Jagged Edge leftovers. Here’s hoping Donnie’s album, when it finally comes out, kicks all their asses. I don’t really care who wins America’s Best Dance Crew now that Kaba Modern’s out. I feel like I jinxed them. Anyway, Status Quo does NOT deserve to still be in that competition. They’ve got a lot of heart, but they’ve been sloppy from day 1. If they were judged by that day’s performance instead of the week before, they’d be out. They always brought it when they were in trouble, but sucked when they were safe. Unless there’s some kind of rigged, cultural bias going on, expect JabbaWockeez to wipe the floor with them tomorrow night.

Another show that I just can’t seem to get into is High School Reunion. I have never seen TVLand hype a show as much as they hyped this thing. However, for a supposed “TVLand Original”, it’s not. You see, High School Reunion actually debuted during the middle of the WB’s existence, and it was controversial because it included a bunch of people who weren’t really in school together. Sure, they played it off as, “watch the shit hit the fan”, but a lof of the people simply went to the same school, but during different years, so there was no pre-existing drama to mine. It lasted about 2 seasons, and faded away, on ly to be reborn on basic cable, just like The Surreal Life (also a WB show). Anyway, the folks this season actually went to high school together, during the same year (class of ’87), and there’s the potential for the fur to fly. Well, not really. The problem is that they’re so…normal. They’re just normal people. Whoop-dee-doo.

Sure, the former “hottest girl in school” has been divorced 4 times. Big deal. The student body president who was destined to be a great success is fat and bitter at his former bully. Big deal. All of the stuff that should’ve been stretched out all season is resolved in one episode. Aforementioned pres confronts bully, bully says the standard, “I’m sorry, man. That was so long ago. I don’t remember you.” Pres is upset because bully clearly hasn’t been harboring as many feelings as he has. He thinks it over for a bit, and goes back to the house for a beer. I don’t know if it’s editing or what, but that resolution shouldn’t have come in a mere 5 minutes. We’re talking 20 yrs of bitterness, quenched by a convenience store trip and a poolside beer. If only international conflicts could be resolved so simply.

There’s also the lesbian who might want to be with a guy. Oooh! That would be hot if she weren’t on the doorstep of 40. Might as well throw in Melissa Ethridge while you’re at it. Plus, her Date Rapist Smile-Wearing potential suitor rubs me the wrong way. The most potential comes from the guy who’s betrayed by the best friend who slept with his ex-wife. And, of course, said former best friend is also in the house. As well as the ex-wife. Now, due to the semantics, I can’t tell if he slept with the chick after the divorce, or if their affair caused the divorce. “Victim” always refers to her as “my ex-wife”, evn when describing things in the past, so I’m at a loss. Sure, there’s a “bro’s before ho’s” deal, but I don’t think he has much to be crying about if they were already divorced. Anyway, bottom line is that the cast is too damn old. Nobody cares. The show would be much better if they went after the Class of ’97. Those 10 years would make a whole Hell of a lot of difference.

Anyway, this point got way longer than I’d planned. Especially considering it’s nothing but a post of dislikes. Come back next time, where I talk about stuff I do like on television right now. Or, maybe I’ll prove that I actually have a life, and tell you a story. We’ll see how I feel…

13th Feb2008

Making The Band 4, Aubrey O’Day, Smackdown, and Paige’s Return to Trading Spaces

by Will

“All I need is the air I breathe, and a place to rest my head.”

Yay, the strike’s over! And I’m sorry to admit that I’ve already forgotten about this TV season. I can’t tell you what’s still on or what got cancelled. All I watch are One Tree Hill and reality shows right now. There were a lot of shitty shows that probably would have been cancelled, had it not been for the strike. So, networks either let them run their course, or snatched them along with everything else. Never did see that Cavemen show. Or Carpoolers. Or Bionic Woman. I’m pretty sure those won’t be coming back. That said, I’ve still got a lot of random stuff on my mind regarding TV. Either try to follow along, or just sit in that dark corner and nod and smile.

– Is it just me, or is Diddy WAY overcompensating this season on Making the Band? Is he trying to respond to the “down low” rumors that have persisted about him over the past few years? It’s like he wants us to think he’s hard and gangsta when we know better. Every other word he says has to be bleeped out; he’s limping in on a can, like he was shot or something. It’s like he’s trying to go back to his “Puff Daddy” persona, back before Biggie died, when he actually had street cred. Back then, he didn’t suffer from “bitchassness”. Plus, people forget, this is the same dude who dated J.Lo and was implicated in a shooting. It’s funny how an MTV show can just make people forget about all that. Who, exactly, is the real Sean Combs?

-Speaking of Making the Band 4, Aubrey O’Day. Mmm….I love her and loathe her at the same time. She’s got those crazy eyes, where you just know she’ll go Fatal Attraction all over you. Poor little solo artist Donnie. He just doesn’t realize how badly she’s going to ruin his life. She has her sites set on him and is going to eat him alive. There’s something about that kind of woman: you know you shouldn’t go near her, but you’d be a fool not to. I swear, though, if she mentions their “platinum album” one more time, I’m going to track her down and punch her in the face. We get it! Y’all had a successful album. It’s a testament, though, that I can’t even name a single Danity Kane song, so clearly they weren’t THAT famous! It’s a common fact that the debut album of any group formed on a reality show usually sells well. It’s that the viewers want to listen to the album that they watched being created. That said, it’s the sophomore album that tanks. That’s why most of O-Town is currently working in car washes scattered across the Orlando region. It would be a crying shame if The Band creates an album that wipes the floor with Danity Kane.

-While I’m on the subject of The Band, Diddy really needs to rename them. Maybe something like 113? Modeci? Thugz to Men? I mean, we know what Diddy’s trying to do, but the problem is that he’s focused too much on image than sound. I look at these boys, and I don’t buy that they’re as hard as Bad Boy would like me to believe. They can have all the neck tattoos and cornrows in the world, and they’re still gonna look like junior deacons at a costume party. These boys look like they just came from prayer meeting! Did y’all see how Q caught the Holy Ghost when they went to church?! First off, that was probably the funniest scenario I’ve ever seen on reality television, but he almost blew his cover when he started testifyin’ in the aisles! Anyway, I’m gonna need a display of their street cred before we go any further. Forget the traditional “I want you to walk to Brooklyn and get me a cheesecake”. This season, Diddy should say something like, “I want one of y’all to get a Danity Kane chick pregnant (bonus points if it’s the married one!), while the rest of y’all go rob Irv Gotti’s house.” You know, something with some flair!

-Anna and I were watching The Salt & Pepa Show last night, and we were trying to figure out how staged it actually is. I mean, it’s too much like a sitcom, in that crazy Pepa comes up with some hairbrained scheme, while “level-headed” Salt talks her down. In the end, however, Salt comes to learn a valuable lesson, as Pepa’s scheme turns out to not be so crazy after all. And they hug. It’s like a black Full House. It’s scary, though, how much Pepa is looking like a drag queen these days. She’ll make these facial expressions that’ll just turn your stomach. You’ve got to feel sorry for Pep, too, as she’s like a kid who never grew up. She just wants shit to be like it was in the old days, back when they were touring with Kid ‘N Play. Meanwhile, Salt has to “mom” everything and she’s just a spoilsport. I will say that it seems like Salt was smarter with her money. She’s got a nice house and investments, and has moved on, while Pep looks like she’s a receptionist at a hair salon. A ghetto hair salon. One of those cash-only places, with a fried fish carryout joint next door.

Flavor of Love 3…what can I say that hasn’t already been said? To be honest, I’ve never watched an entire season of FoL. I just can’t do it. If I want to see that much ghetto, I’ll just go down to Wheaton Plaza. That said, it’s funny to have a season where even Flav isn’t impressed. I’ve got to admit, Shorty did have a Hell of an underbite. He has some busted women in that house this time around, most of whom were chosen on the internet. Way to go America! You can kill a convict, but you can’t be trusted to find a wife for one. Uncle Sam is in Heaven crying with that Indian who’s always crying about litterbugs. And I’ve seen a lot of Flav, from The Surreal Life to present, but I’ve never seen him make as big a deal over touching his face as he’s doing this season. Did he get some work done? Did he have some sort face trauma in jail all those years ago? Anyway, I’m hoping he either chooses Hotlanta or Bunz. Otherwise, he’s just left with those twins. You know, it’s a terrible situation where you see an ugly set of twins, and you’re just left wondering, “What was God thinking? Why 2? I mean, were there parts left over after He made the first one or something?”

-Good money says we won’t even know who Flo-Rida is in 5 years. He’s gonna go to the one-hit wonder old folks home, along with Eamonn and Kevin Lyttle. Sometimes, though, the Phoenix does rise from the ashes. It’s good to see that 12 years after her debut, Robyn is finally getting her due. “Do you know what it takes to love me”? Well, apparently, 12 years. But she’s got a hot club tour right now, plus she’s on the “Sexual Eruption” remix, so that’s a start.

-I just realized the opening piano vamp from Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” would make a pretty decent hip-hop sample. Think of it along the lines of how Destiny’s Child used Stevie Nicks’s “Edge of Seventeen” vamp. I think I might be on to something here…

-I still can’t believe that The CW isn’t renewing Smackdown next season. I mean, no, it doesn’t mesh with their new female-friendly programming initiative, but to just throw out an audience that size is almost unheard of. King Kong once told me that Smackdown is the highest-rated English-speaking show in Spanish households. Before you laugh, just think about that for a minute. That’s a powerful demographic that’s only going to get stronger. Plus, where’s it gonna go? People are saying USA will probably pick it up, which is going to leave basic TV without wrestling once again. It’s gonna be like the “Raw is War” era when there was Raw and Nitro, but nothing Saturday mornings on your local sydicated station. I guess everyone really does have cable now…

-I don’t feel so great about Paige being back on Trading Spaces. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE her and I’d probably drink her bath water. That said, it’s too little, too late. Discovery/TLC made a BAD move firing her all those years ago, but you just can’t pretend the past few seasons didn’t happen. There are too many gimmicks this season: “we’re going to take a divorced couple and have them trade spaces so that the depressed former husband can finally accept that his wife has moved on”. Ouch! It feels so…uncomfortable. Paige has said that it was neither her idea to leave the show, nor was it her idea to come back. She’s been a good sport, plus she probably needs work, but watching it just affirms that you truly can’t go home again.

-OK, I used to have this thing for Kat Von D of LAInk. I mean, she seemed badass and she was a master tattoo artist. Suddenly, though, I’ve found that her fashion sense is just too far gone for my taste. She used to wear low-rise jeans and a vest or halter top; nothing really flashy, but is was still sey. Now, she’ll wear an old ratty t-shirt and some clown pants. It’s like she just doesn’t care about her appearance anymore since she started dating Roy Orbison’s son, “Orbie”. It’s not like she was ever the belle of the ball, but she had style. Now, she just looks dirty and homeless half the time. I’m starting to feel the same way about her that I feel about the Ace of Cakes/Charm City Cakes crew: I don’t want her touching my skin any more than I want them touching my food. Her assistant, Pixie, is adorable. Anyone who gets a piercing to have permanent dimples is awesome in my book. My fear is how that shit’s gonna look in 25 years. Then again, those people never grow old. They just fade away…in a freak concert stampede/motorcycle accident/dinosaur attack.

Well, that about does it for now. Interesting weekend coming up. If I live through it, it’ll surprise me. No, that’s not a cry for help. It is, however, bait for you to come back next week. If I survive…

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