7/13/2008 - Thrift Town, Winchester Rd

okay kids, we're back in the saddle again, taking a short detour from the summer of summer project (for the sake of my sanity) to an old favorite of ours here at bitter books, LLC - thrift town on winchester rd.

see here, the spousal unit, looking...well, looking fairly perturbed, actually. this is how she shows excitement, i promise. i show it by projectile vomiting, but i didn't think that would make for much of a picture. incidentally that's also how i show sadness, regret, ennui, and confusion.

i've extolled the virtues of thrift town at length before, but if you happened to miss our first pass, allow me to reiterate: this place rocks. big, roomy, fairly clean, with rack after rack of great clothes, tons of fun books, appliances, furniture, and it's all fairly cheap, with salvation army-style color tag sales and a 99 cent sale every monday, although i'm not ENTIRELY sure what sells for 99 cents, but it's definitely worth a trip down to find out. i've yet to have a bad trip here, and i always end up leaving with tons of stuff that i had no idea i was going to find. i don't know if it's the "best" store in town, i'm not sure there's any way you can just pick one, but it's definitely right near the top of the pile. the big, dirty, musty, disorganized pile.

i didn't look at a TON of electronics this trip, but i did spot this gem - a rechargeable battery pack from the original game boy c. 1991 or thereabouts, really only notable for the fact that the rechargeable battery from the original game boy is actually bigger than the entire system is now. heavier, too. oh well, it still beat having to spend $100 a month on AA batteries.

further proof that you never know what to expect on a trip to a real quality store, they happened to have an ENORMOUS collection of just hands down, the ugliest lamps i have ever seen in my life. there's always one or two sitting at the back of some shelf somewhere, in pretty much every secondhand store i've ever been to in my life, but this was just everywhere you turned. it was like they were closing in on me

is this really just a jar full of potpourri (my favorite jeopardy category, btw) with a cord stuck into it, or am i straight trippin? i've been saying it for years, people - just because you CAN turn anything into a lamp, doesn't mean you necessarily SHOULD.

i wasn't quite sure about this one, sometimes it's a fine line between painfully ugly and hideously brilliant

know what i mean

i'm sorry, by the way, if you like these lamps - not sorry if i've offended you, just sorry for you in a general sense, for having such godawful taste.

this one actually looks better in the picture than it did in real life - that doesn't happen very often

this looks like some gnome vomit

moving on...there were a buttload of excellent children's books, including this basic color/animal association thing that had a pull out card on every page - sort of a nice twist on the pop-up book concept.

children's books are not really something that i focus on all that much usually, considering it's not really a HUGE chunk of my theoretical business model - it probably won't surprise any regular readers to find out that i'm not so much of a fan of kid's books, or of kids in general. all the "start your own book store for fun and profit!" manuals i've read talk about setting aside a "KIDZ KORNER" or whatever with bright, primary-colored shelves and little chairs and interactive fun little learning things for the little weasels to play with, and try as i might i just cannot mentally picture that happening in my store, for a lot of reasons. partially it's because most kid's books suck so prodigiously. i may have mentioned this before, considering it's been such a long standing peeve of mine, but i'll trot it out again here just in case i haven't -

so often i find myself looking at children's books as an excuse for authors to be lazy. i think the prevailing mindset is that "hey, it's just for kids, how hard can it be?" and that leads to a lot of half-baked ideas, half-finished illustrations, and lazily thrown together excuses for stories when if anything, "kid lit" should be better crafted, more thought out and more carefully constructed than the stuff we sell to adults. i realize that's kind of unrealistic and if anything, the general dearth of quality material for kids should make the standout pieces stand out even more, but it just gets tiring wading through the ocean of pandering stories and ugly illustrations. the classics (dr. seuss, shel silverstein and the like) will always stand as unimpeachable to me and always find a space on my shelves, but i'm probably never going to go out of my way to make sure and provide all the endless variations on "mr. tiddly winkle goes to happy town" that are slowly choking the children's publishing industry to death.

okay, rant over. all that being said, there were a number of eye-catching kid's books at thrift town on this visit, like i mentioned earlier, which was a nice surprise. i've often wondered to myself why my body needs sleep as well. i guess i probably should have taken the time to page through this slim volume and learn a little. oh well

what always stands out to me when i think back on the books i had as a kid are the really terrifying illustrations - good kid's books seem to tread a really fine line between captivating and hallucinatory when it comes to the illustrations, particularly on the covers. this variation on the tortoise and the hare is simultaneously a master class in perspective, a great evocation of the dramatic hook of the time-tested kid's story, and also one of the most frightening things i've ever fucking seen in my life. i hope it goes without saying that i would give this to a kid in a heartbeat, and although they'd probably piss themselves a little at first, i think they'd love it.

case in point. anyone who just shivered a little when they saw this picture knows what i mean.

okay. i finally had enough of glossing over the vhs tapes and cds on this trip. i've been just as guilty as anyone else of neglecting these little treasure troves, but friends, did you know that for less than it costs to feed sally struthers for a day, you too could be the proud sponsor of one of these forgotten little classics, like, for example, this hilarious piece of movie megacheese?

ask yourself, really, what ARE you afraid of? i could not answer this challenge and so i had to buy it. as one of my longtime readers was kind enough to remind me of the other day, this is a perfect example of:




vcrs are cheap and plentiful. stuff like this will probably never make it to dvd and if it did would you really pay ten bucks for it? it's hilarious and it stars "skippy" from family ties and i want everyone to watch it and write me a two page report, single spaced, one inch margins.

same goes here, and while cds are not necessarily such an outmoded medium as vhs, they're certainly headed there. i was pretty shocked to find this, still in the original plastic wrap with that shiny little dog-bone shaped seal thing on it that was always such a pain in the ass to take off...remember that? and while it's not the president and rakim's finest effort it's still a stone classic and i was proud to pop this in my stereo and blast it all the way back home.

okay, last one, and then i'll stop beating this idea into the ground, i promise...but jesus i mean look at this. maybe the best spaghetti western of all time and it's a dollar. these tapes and cds need love too, people. take one home today...you'll be glad you did.

i finally had enough of whining about how poor i am and broke down and actually bought some books. i'm american too and occasionally i just need to buy something in a store to validate my own existence, and so i bought these.

and these

and these. some highlights include:
-a really nice hardback edition of jonathan strange and mr. norrell, one of the better "fantasy" books to come out in the past few years, which i would highly recommend everyone read before they fuck it up with a movie
-introducing the freud wars, by stephen wilson and someone named oscar zarate which has got to be the second coolest last name ever
-the whiskies of scotland (this is basically porn for people like me)
-errol flynn: the untold story, by charles higham - kind of infamous biography in which it's alleged that everyone's favorite swashbuckling black and white movie hero was a "bisexual fascist sympathizer who spied for the nazis before and during world war two" - awesome!

it was really nice to get down and get literary for a little while, considering it's been at least a month or so since i even bought a book i think - i could get into some of my other selections but god dammit i just can't wait any longer here it IS -


i did not buy the rotato. i felt that would have spoiled it, somehow. what i mean to say is, the rotato is still there. if you want it.


i did, however, buy the "incredible ice cream machine" and i have to say, for a chintzy looking plastic ice cream cone that you put in the freezer, it is pretty incredible. you actually get a decent quantity of pretty good tasting ice cream with just a little bit of work. this is definitely joining our arsenal of "fun stuff we can make at home and not pay through the nose for at the grocery store." we've kind of gotten into a nice little sunday ritual of making a couple loaves of bread with that bread maker (we only use it for the dough) we got at the amvets on elvis presley boulevard, a jar of peanut butter (peanuts in a cuisinart - what could be simpler?) and a gallon of this really intense fruit and vegetable juice using our high-octane juicer...check this shit out:

that'll put hair on your eyeballs. anyway now i guess we can add tasty home made ice cream to that list. who ever knew relentless, soul-crushing poverty could be so much fun?

okay well that's about it for this week - sorry it took me such a long time to finish this but i've been IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION all week and it's been tough to find the time or attention to spare. what, you didn't think these little witticisms just cranked themselves out, did you? this is hard work, people! just kidding, it's still pretty fun, and seeing as i still don't have much of what you'd call a "social life" to distract me it remains the main focus of my time in memphis, currently. that being said this weekend might get thrown off a little, for various reasons, but rest assured citizens, your vigilant thrift patrol will be back in action before you know it, digging around in piles of other people's discarded undergarments so you don't have to.




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