…City Thrift?

Wait, where am I?

Last I remembered, I was in the middle of doing laundry and running my fairly tedious Sunday errands, and then I seem to remember something about Kimchi and sewage and the Jean Claude Van Damme movie “Cyborg” and some convoluted card game and next thing I know here I am at City Thrift, way the hell out on Summer Ave, camera in hand, ready to make a go of it? Well, I can think of worse things to do during a blackout. Let’s see what I found.

Looks like business as usual at City Thrift, nice to see they’re still holding it down, apparently I found it extra fascinating today because there are about 8 billion pictures here. Let’s see if I can pare it down a bit

Nice to see Jamie Lee Curtis doing something that doesn’t make me immediately think of pooping or yogurt. Those god damn Activia ads are going to haunt my psyche for decades, apparently. Although I did love the way they prominently displayed the word “HALLOWEEN” in bright lettering next to her face. I know enough design professionals to know that that was assuredly not unintentional. So, to recap, on the list of associations that I get when I look at this image, you have:

1. pooping
2. yogurt
3. running away from being stabbed
4. screaming
5. i guess maybe testicular feminization or something like that. let’s call that a distant 5th
6. she was good in a fish called wanda.

This cracked me up in a way that I can’t exactly put my finger on. I guess I imagined some discerning (presumably rottweiler-owning) consumer standing there deliberating over which edition of this particular book to buy, thinking to themselves, “Well, do I want ‘rottweilers’ or ‘ROTTWEILERS’?” Who could choose? I don’t even own one and I was hornswoggled. Is the larger print version more intense, somehow? Will it bite you? Thankfully these questions remained unanswered.

For the moment.

“Rottweiler” is a really hard word to type correctly btw

This… lord, I don’t even know where to begin. So Al Hirt is the guy who was lucky enough to get famous recording the version of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” that they used as the theme song for “The Green Hornet” tv show back in the 60s, which 3 of you will remember was redone as a poor excuse for a film last year or the year before or who gives a shit. Anyway, so that’s this guy. Now let’s examine this album cover. What exactly about this fat hack and his geeked out picture would actually make anyone want to pay money for this album? It looks like “Sugar Lips (He’s The King)” is leaning over to let out a particularly uncomfortable fart which, granted, would be super impressive if he were concurrently ripping off a blazing trumpet solo, but I can find NO documentation ANYWHERE that that was EVER a part of his stage act, and as such am forced to conclude that all this picture is meant to imply is that Mr. Hirt is SO INTO his OWN TRUMPET PLAYING that he’s forced to stand up on one leg like an overweight, besuited flamingo and strain whichever one of his poor dress shoes was forced to bear that otherworldly burden to the near-breaking point, just in service of a picture that would inform anyone who was unfortunate enough to glance at his album cover exactly how much of an asshole he really was. Perhaps I’ve overthought it a bit.

You see an album cover like that last abomination and you just want to give up, and then you see an album cover like this and you just want to run into the bathroom and rub it all over your private places (don’t worry, I didn’t. It was locked). Look at all the buttons and switches and levers and keys and dials and just general whatnots on this thing. It has foot pedals and I guarantee you it weighs as much as my pickup truck. “Mighty Wurlitzer,” indeed.

It’s weird for me, having been pretty immersed in pop culture my whole life, to come across something like this, that’s ostensibly been around almost my entire lifetime, directed by the guy who did the Pink Panther movies, starring the guy from Cheers and the guy from well, I guess just being Howie Mandel at this point, and referencing a Laurel and Hardy movie in the title, and yet I swear I have no recollection of this film ever existing. The back of the box description almost made me wish I had a functioning VCR still though. An excerpt:

“While making a movie at a race track, lady-crazed actor, con-artist, and all around bungler Spence Holden stumbles on two goofball thugs doping a race horse. Always ready and raring to cash in on a golden opportunity, Spence phones best buddy and rollerskating carhop Dennis Powell for some quick loot. When the two hoods discover Spence’s plan, the chase is on, taking all four guys on a madcap comedy romp that includes hightailing it from the cops… the mob… and the gangster husband of one hot-to-trot wife!”

Is it bad that I would totally watch that?

Dating myself here, but does anyone else remember when the “Jennifer Aniston Haircut” was like a thing? Is this it? Is this nonexistent pile of unremarkable nothing what all the god damn fuss was about? Is it just me or does it seem like we were all like gassed by some second rate villain from the old Batman tv series for most of the 90s? I mean… Dishwalla? Really?

On that note, I found this eminently adorable, and I strongly feel that as the progression of technology moves exponentially faster, the timeframe for us to be able to look back on supposedly “contemporary” forms of entertainment that factor in supposedly “cutting edge” technology and find them laughably quaint will become exponentially shorter. Case in point: the movie “Hackers” now looks as ridiculous as “Lawnmower Man” or “Tron.” There was even a quote about the justifiably forgotten Sandra Bullock vehicle “The Net” on the back of the box.

Give me “War Games” with Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy (and yeah I guess Dabney Coleman too) any day. I also love the fact that the quoted review on the cover calls this the best “cyber film” of the year. Because yeah, that’s a real genre. Just keep using that term, guy. It’ll catch on. No, really.

Ok so every thrift store has a buttload of harlequin romance novels, that’s a given, but how many have…

A DING DANG SOLDIER’S MANUAL! YESSSSSSS. Note: the obliterated binding, replaced with what I can only imagine is military grade duct tape. I’m not allowed to buy books any more but I definitely carried this around with me and paged through it the whole time I was shopping, and then returned it to a respectful place on the shelf when I was finished. Ten hut. This was the first page I opened to:

and this was the next:

and this was the back cover:

we just went from “wash your skin” to “these are the component parts of an assault rifle” to “USE THIS VERY BOOK ITSELF AS A TOOL.” I ask you. I earnestly ask you, what other physical, bound, paper printed object is going to provide you with that kind of depth of information, breadth of scope, and variety of usability? I’ve squashed a cockroach or two with a Gideon Bible in my day, but it definitely finishes a distant second behind this particular publication in pretty much every criteria. I salute you, book. At ease.

Ah, nothing like a good old fashioned mystery object to invigorate the brain. Tuning fork? Naah, wrong shape, size, and composition. What’s with the threaded tips? Something was supposed to screw onto this thing? Good lord, what? It doesn’t look sturdy enough to support attachments of any considerable size or heft, so maybe they were sort of ambiguous… things… you were kind of supposed to wave around? With a handle? I have no fucking idea. I rather liked that shade of red though. So it’s a Red Thing with Threaded Tips Possibly for Waving. BOOM. Mystery solved. I am the secondhand Sherlock Holmes of Making Shit Up.

Shoutout to Ladyboss, my dear friend and business partner who collects these ridiculous things, I would have bought this for you but I wasn’t exactly in my right mind, at least I thought to take a picture, that’s something, right? Try to not get bitten by any dogs while you read this

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Tejano music, not in the sense that I would want to listen to it all day (or really for any longer than it would take you to have lunch at your average Mexican restaurant) but it amuses me so much just as a point of cultural weirdness, let me see if I can sum this up briefly. From the wiki:

“Central to the evolution of early Tejano music was the blend of traditional forms such as the Corrido and Mariachi, and Continental European styles, such as Polka, introduced by German and Czech settlers in the late 19th century. In particular, the accordion was adopted by Tejano folk musicians at the turn of the 20th century, and it became a popular instrument for amateur musicians in Texas and Northern Mexico. Small bands known as orquestas, featuring amateur musicians, became a staple at community dances.”

See also: Norteño. I’m not going to bore you (further) by splitting hairs between the two genres but the key word to take from that excerpt is “Polka.” Try to imagine Mariachi Polka. That’s more or less what a lot of Tejano and Norteño sounds like. Now try to imagine it BLASTING out of a beat up Cutlass Supreme with custom rims and HUGE subwoofers that rattle the entire car and physically bounce it off the ground while threatening to blow the damn doors off and probably waking up everyone in a two mile radius. That was my introduction to living in Texas. And people wonder why I miss it.

Also hilarious, and on the subject of “Travel Mugs” – this picture doesn’t do it justice but I swear this thing had to be a solid gallon. It made the last cup look like a fucking thimble. These things amuse me so much – at my first restaurant job there was one dishwasher who would bring in a travel mug this size and fill it up to the brim with Pepsi and demolish the whole thing, and probably refill it and do it all again at least once more during his shift. That’s always what I think of when I see these god damn things. He also used to eat ketchup straight out of the packet for lunch. Interesting job.

Forgive me for “talking shop” for a minute but I saw several of these things scattered throughout the store, most of them not actually placed on the top shelf of whatever particular unit they were actually attached to, and I suppose it’s some kind of a liability thing or something, but let me break it down for you: I’m six feet tall, and the tallest shelf they had in this store was about eye level on me. And this cautionary sign was placed in front of what you can clearly see are wicker baskets, notorious for their light weight and relative flexibility. Is there any scenario you can imagine wherein someone sustains an injury so heinous that the presence (or lack thereof) of a disclaimer on the shelf becomes somehow relevant? When it comes to the framed paintings behind glass, or if they were bowling balls somehow inexplicably displayed on a high teetering shelf I would perhaps understand, but these are BASKETS. WICKER BASKETS. Is there a person out there to whom they are a potential threat? Is there a potential victim of decapitation by wicker basket alive in the world at this moment? If so, what is their phone number, because we probably have a lot to talk about

Moral of this picture: whenever three clones of “Thing” from the Addams Family pop out of a vat of boiling urine and try to steal his gigantic holographic Africa pendant, Malcolm X gets so angry he almost becomes violently ill.

But not quite.

Clock around the Cock

I LOVE crap like this. This ancient VCR/TV receiver combo was bigger than my phone, computer, and television all combined, looked like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, and probably weighed more than I do (I didn’t try to pick it up. Sorry). I could say some more “funny” things about it but I don’t know, I mean, just look at it. Isn’t it great? Yeah.

This is two entries in a row I’ve brought this up but I love pugs. Pugs not drugs. And here’s the answer to the age old question “What’s cuter than a pug?” well I guess a freaking STUFFED ONE IS

Even its hysterectomy scar is adorable

Apparently Dr. Seuss wants you to know that this grill is unsafe. For a mouse. And in a house. Nor here or there. Or anywhere.


“Careful! Wheel broken!
Hazard, will fall,
May just tip over,
And splatter you all!

With doozles and boozles,
And binkle-fink-dankles,
This thing will collapse,
And break all your ankles!”

Oh thank god a cooler for my cheese

Joking aside (yeah right) this is hands down the most impressive lineup of walkers I’ve ever seen in a thrift store or anywhere else for that matter, period. But, one qualm. Referencing my earlier comment about the “ASK FOR HELP FROM THE TOP SHELF MURGA BURGA” signs… why the fuck are they on the top shelf? The people who may actually NEED these things (and even the people who may need to get them FOR them, presumably) are going to have a WAY harder time getting their hands on them when you’ve got them suspended five feet off the floor, which sort of defeats the purpose of using a walker in the first place! And also where are the “ASK FOR ASSISTANCE” signs here? Doesn’t this seem like the most relevant and useful place in the entire fucking store for them to be? Gah!

Speaking of “Gah,” here’s a little glimpse into the lens through which I view something like this gross but relatively innocuous framed caricature-type visual atrocity. Here’s my thought process:

“Wow, that’s ugly. Even for a caricature, that’s bad. I wonder if they had that done at some sort of street fair or something. Wow, it’s framed. Wow, it’s framed really well. My god, imagine what it must have cost to have that professionally framed relative to the cost of having some hack street artist bang it out on some sweaty August afternoon. Who would spend that kind of money? Well, a kid, or rather their parents, and along the way someone must have become so invested in the picture or the moment or something like that that they spent all this money to have it framed and preserved… and then at some point it lost its luster and probably got stashed in a basement or garage for months or maybe even years until it was time to clean out all the junk and send it to the secondhand store, and now it’s here, priced at 9.75, completely forgotten by everyone who ever laid hands or eyes on it, from the artist who made it to the person who framed it to the parents who paid for it to its subject itself, and now it’s here in front of me. And I’m taking a picture of it. And the picture and this act of preservation provides it, this useless disposable object, with a depth and value and meaning and significance that it was somehow lacking before, and the lights reflecting off its glass surface as I take the photo show the depth of the space it inhabits and hopefully show the depth of its history and highlight the fact that even though it’s basically garbage on whatever level, maybe it still has some kind of intrinsic value and/or worth. Or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.”

And that all happened in my head in the span of about a second and a half. That’s in no way an attempt to brag, I know we all think that fast, it’s just nice to spell it out every once in a while, as a reminder. This is how I look at everything. This is the way in which I am ill.

ANYWAY. Attention all thrift store owners and basically just everyone everywhere: stop selling used underwear. Unless you are a hot lady (or dude) or even a gross lady (or dude) making money selling them to perverts on the internet, secondhand underwear has NO place on the common market. It’s just… no. There is no rationale, no amount of washing, no price you can set that will make me think this is a reasonable idea. Bras MAYBE. MAYBE, but even that’s a stretch, and but the underthings? For the lower half? Are we just expected to pretend like we don’t all KNOW what goes on down there, for men AND for ladies? I’m no prude (I hope that’s evident by now) but for queen and country can we please just band together and collectively say “NO” as a people? Would YOU want to put that on?

Things start to get a little hazy here. I guess this is Baby Business Casual? I know they’re interviewing them younger and younger but boy is that a stretch

And then next thing I knew I was looking at Pepto-Bismol colored prom dresses. Or bridesmaid dresses. Or just a dress. How the hell am I supposed to know?

I was stumbling to the door when I saw this sign about beads




I bought a string and left.

I’d call that a success.



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One Response to …City Thrift?

  1. Peter says:

    lol! Yes, Hackers the movie. That was the first time I truly realized that participating in a digital world with simply 1’s and 0’s ACTUALLY meant that you could literally fly in space through some world that has TONS of visuals. It’s pretty awesome. I went there once.

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