Amvets/Salvo Danny Thomas (Special I Love Memphis Edition!)

interjecting my goodwill bonanza with a special trip i took the other day with my close personal friend Kerry who runs the I Love Memphis blog for the convention and visitors bureau, along with various and sundry other internet points of interest.

before we hit the stores though we hit another one of my favorite things about memphis - the lunch buffet at pho binh on madison ave, right in the heart of midtown.

5.19 for all the lemongrass tofu, egg rolls and fried chicken you can eat. noms.

oh, and here was my fortune. would it turn out to be true? LET'S FIND OUT!

then it was off to the races, with the requisite enlivening jaunt down elvis presley blvd to the amvets store, one of the brightest jewels in the sparkling crown of awesome that is the memphis thrift store scene.

i wasn't really in the market for much of anything, shopping-wise, so i was pretty much free to wander around with my camera and gawk at shit, which is of course my favorite thing to do in the world, with pants on anyway. take, for example, this GIGANTIC old tower computer, had to be at least 2 1/2 feet tall. the phrase "old clock tower" kept popping into my head when i was looking at this particular arrangement, and it made me think of back to the future and giggle to a degree that is perhaps unbecoming of a gentleman, but whatevs. i think the shit is funny.

my best friend's mom had one of these when i was a little kid, and i always thought it was the coolest thing. odd, to think they're basically useless now that network tv only broadcasts in digital. it makes me want to buy one even more now, just as an art object or some kind of memorial. strange to stop and notice how much the world's changed, just in my lifetime. i've mentioned this elsewhere before, but i mean we had a rotary phone in the house i grew up in. my best friend's phone number ended in zero and i remember thinking it was such a pain in the ass to wait for the thing to go all the way back around after you dialed the zero, and now i can send him a text message from my phone while i browse the internet and listen to podcasts in my car. a kid who's born today is never going to be able to imagine what the world was like even 20 years ago. when phonebooks actually mattered, when there were like thirty channels on the tv and you were just BLOWN AWAY by the variety of things that were available to watch, when the phrase "Be kind, rewind" wasn't just a delightful anachronism or the title of a movie. god, i sound like such a codger.

i'm not a hundred percent positive what this thing is, exactly, or what it's supposed to do, but look!

there are two! his and hers, a matched pair! [nerd]i kind of like them because they look like r2d2 a little bit and he's my favorite droid. what's YOUR favorite droid?[/nerd]

something so poignant about a big pack of off-brand adult diapers ending up at a thrift store. this is by far NOT the first pack of adult diapers i've ever seen in my secondhand journeys, but something about the fact that they're a knockoff of Depends, and the fact that the package is open, and the way there were just kind of sitting there... i don't know. touching. and, gross.

poop is gross.

okay so i was walking home from work the other night and i was about halfway up the block on auburndale when i saw this cat kind of slowly stalking across the street - it's about 11:15 pm - and it looked kind of weird, that it was moving that slow, and when i got closer i could see that it was haranguing this tiny little mouse that was terrified and running for its life, and i used to have a pet mouse when i was a kid (Luis Bonfa was his name. eccentric child, i was.) so that shit was not EVEN going to fly so i yell "HEY!" at this cat and it kind of stops and looks over its shoulder at me but then goes right back to batting at this poor little mouse so i take off at a dead run, stomping my feet and growling at this cat, who sees me coming and (rightly so) bolts back to the other side of the street. i wasn't going to hit it or anything, mind you, just trying to shoo it away. so it eventually gets the picture and takes off, meanwhile this teensy little gray mouse with the BIGGEST eyes you have ever seen in your life is still running full tilt, understandably just as scared of me as it was of the cat, maybe even moreso, so i start following it, kind of trying to herd it along the back side of the midtown pharmacy building into some bushes or something, somewhere where the cat wouldn't just be able to come back and find it as soon as i left, when it occurs to me that i might rather fancy a little pet to take care of and keep me company again, but i wasn't about to grab at it and run the risk of contracting mouse aids or whatever it would give me when it inevitably bit my hand, and all i had to snare it with was a small brown paper bag from work, and i couldn't get close enough to get the bag in front of it, so i had to settle for shepherding (mousherding i guess) it into the bushes of the next building over, and calling it a night. anyway i saw this cage and it made me think of that. my almost rescue mouse.

that's right, you're seeing that correctly. that, me hearties, is a vase cozy. no further comment.

the detail picture of the plaque didn't come out (cameras are hard, durr) but this is a CONTEST RUNNER UP THE CRYSTAL PALACE trophy which my partner in crime for the day informed me is a skating rink on south 3rd street (did i mention she's in the roller derby too? lady problems, woot!), and it occurred to me that i would like to go to that place, as they say. the last time i put on a pair of roller skates i got SEVERELY injured (without even falling down, at that!) but one never really loses one's enthusiasm, once you come down with skate fever. ask anyone.

also saw these MURDEROUS doc martens steel toed boots of death and killing and rrrraaaahhhhh!!!! they were kind of my size but you have to murder people when you put them on and that's just not my style, people. wow, i think i just wrote a steven king novel. "boots that make you kill people." 8000 pages of bullshit later, and you've got yourself a bestseller, baby!

these, on the other hand, are SO my style, but unfortunately not my size. what is it with people and their tiny feet? i mean, come on!

i even glanced at a few books, although i fear the gods will strike me down if i chanced to purchase one and introduced it into the burbling cauldron of nightmares that is my apartment right now. un example:

much love to the extremely talented amie vanderford for that portrait, by the way.

i'm was all set to laugh scornfully at this tape and its proletarian ambitions, and then i suddenly remembered that when i was a little kid i wanted to be a truck driver too. i think i just liked CB radios. and meth.

one of those things... if you need a tape to tell you how to do it, you probably shouldn't do it. for the love of god, who bought this? who MADE it?

requisite picture of piles of moldy 8 track tapes. i kind of tune this stuff out most of the time, partially because i see it at every store i go to, and also because i tried to get into 8 tracks once back in the day because they're everywhere and they're so cheap, and i discovered a problem - the magnetic tape they used back in the day is about one molecule thick and prone to breaking at the slightest provocation, in addition to the fact that they sound like shit. so no 8 tracks for me, thanks. for some reason i noticed them today though. there's some rockin' good stuff in this pile! boston, barry manilow, bette midler... that's what i'm talkin about.

this i was tempted by, though. i like a little piaf every now and again. who doesn't?

perhaps a little schmilsson to go with your piaf?

or maybe you're more of a loggins and messina type. i'm not. in fact i'm probably more of a "murder loggins and messina with a hatchet and burn all their music so i never have to listen to any of it ever again" type. i love that this is a live tape, too. "man, their studio stuff is okay, but the live show's where it's at. they totally jam out "listen to a country song" for like 20 minutes! yeah!"

this picture doesn't do it justice but these are all videotapes of church services. except "the making of star wars," of course. although i suppose that's kind of a religious experience for some people. nerds, that is. big ole nerdy nerd nerds.

this is just creepy, on so many levels.

remember these damn troll things? god, they were everywhere back in the day! keychains, stuck to the windows of people's cars... there was no escape. now, not so much. this one apparently loves the buffalo bills. go figure.

then it was off to the salvation army on danny thomas blvd, another local favorite of mine, even if getting in and out of the parking lot can be kind of a nightmare sometimes.

we found mark and scott, residing comfortably on the shelf in domestic bliss, or whatever the closest equivalent would be for personalized coffee cups. but all is not as it seems, in coffee cup land. suddenly, a knock at the door.

IT'S ANN! "Mark, Scott, I have some news. I'm pregnant. It's yours."

Mark: Gasp!
Scott: You bitch! How could you?
Mark: [faints]
Scott: Wait, is it mine, or his?
Ann: ...both!

DUNT DUN DUNNNN..... Join us next time for the shocking conclusion of PERSONALIZED COFFEE CUP LOVE TRIANGLE THEATER!

i could see the ebay listing as soon as i picked this thing up: L@@K VINTAGE SLAP CHOP VINCE SHLOMI BILLY MAYS ANTIQUE NO RESERVE BID NOW!!!!!!!! I was tempted, not gonna lie.

kerry and i both remarked on how delightfully color coded all the dishes and kitchen ware always are at the salvation army - one of the nice touches you find in the bigger stores in town (goodwills, etc) is that added degree of organization. of course you lose a little bit of the haphazard, "just throw it anywhere" kind of charm that is essential to the thrifting experience, but trust me when i say a little bit of that goes a long way after a while, if that makes any sense.

i mean they even arranged these neat little too-big-to-be-a-shotglass, too-small-to-be-a-cocktail-glass, not-the-right-shape-for-a-cordial-glass glasses in a neat little row! there were 11 of them and they were a buck a piece and that is great.

this was a totally sweet vintage pepsi clock for FOUR BUCKS that admittedly needed a little bit of repair (loose hands, don'tcha know) but was eminently fixable and i seriously considered it, but for the fact that all the walls in my apartment are plaster and i'm too lazy to bother with anchors to hang stuff so it kind of looks like a crazy person lives there and i've become strangely comfortable with that so i don't want to mess up my design scheme. also i don't need a clock.

since i just recently ranted about my freakishly large head in my last post i'll give it a pass here and just say that i had one of these silhouette things done for me when i was a kid too and it was a lot bigger than this. that is all.

black jesus does not want you to be afraid. no problem!

i bet these boots would help you not to be afraid.

and then it was time to try on hats. who could resist?

we probably looked like a couple of idiots standing all the way at the back of the store photographing a shelf full of hats like we were howard carter in tutankhamun's crypt or something, but i mean come on. these were just too perfect.

i could tell kerry really wanted this one, but i told her she looked like balloon boy and i think that put her off it a little bit. my bad, homey.

i picked this little french number up for a special someone

and kerry ended up with this snazzy little leopard skin pillbox thing, which i think suits her to a t.

and that'll just about do it for this special I Love Memphis themed edition of bitter/books. much thanks to kerry for giving me the impetus to get up off my ass again and start going out and writing and stuff, and make sure and check out the I Love Memphis Blog, become a fan on facebook, get your picture taken with the sign, hell, go nuts, get a tattoo or something. have fun with it. i'll talk to you next time, lovelies.

your pal


p.s. this week's post was written by David and edited (sort of) by David, who, upon completing it, had a cup of coffee, walked to the post office, then went to work.


Goodwill Bonanza pt 1/3

i went nuts at 3 goodwills in one day a couple months ago. here are some highlights.

vintage board games always tickle me pink. i find the suggestion that playing the game "operation" requires any real measure of anything that could be described as "skill" rather ludicrous, but i'll let it slide because the box is adorable looking. i wish actual surgery was half this cool, i'd be in the hospital every other fucking week. why can i not shake the nagging certainty that everyone involved in the design and construction of this game was just CONSTANTLY ripped to the tits? was everyone pretty much hammered all the time back in 1965? i'd like to think so. it was a gentler age.

i'm not gonna lie, it's been like three months since i took these pictures, and i really can't remember why i photographed this. it's a whole bunch of plastic flowers, that much is for sure. sure is a whole lotta plastic flowers. moving on.

too broke for jenga? try this crap!

this is so money it should be confiscated by the secret service. i wanted to high five it. it brings all the boys to the yard. chuck norris only wishes. it's my dad.

this first batch of pictures was taken at the goodwill out on austin peay in bartlett - nice place, and like most of the suburban goodwills it's the size of a fucking airplane hangar, high ceilings and all, and i guess in lieu of any real HVAC system they use these industrial size blast fans to keep the air moving around in there during the warmer months (even though it wasn't on when i took this picture). they used to have one almost this size at the goodwill on highland over by the university, which always made me laugh because that store is the size of a walk in closet compared to the behemoths out in the boonies and when they would turn the fan on it would be so loud that everyone working in the front half of the store would have to scream at earsplitting volume just to be able to hear each other, and the women's clothes up by the front would basically be flapping sideways in the wind like flags in a fucking hurricane, small children would just go flying if they meandered in the path of the fan, etc... priceless. anyway.

FOR A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON'S HAT, in case you were curious. i've never wanted to own a top hat so badly in my fucking life. i guess i just want a hat that's important enough to deserve its own box, or case. full disclosure, i have kind of a huge melon head and it's a royal pain in the ass for me to find a decent fitting hat most of the time, so i generally avoid the subject altogether, except in very specific instances, one of which you'll be seeing in a minute.

my most ridiculous hat-related story (not that you asked) concerns a trip to london to visit a friend of mine who was spending a year abroad while we were both in college. for some stupid reason i had fixated on finding a nice bowler hat for myself while i was over there, kind of as a trophy or a souvenir of my journey, and partially just because i wanted a hat like that real bad. anyway after wasting lord only knows how much time that i could have spent in the pubs traipsing around london in an increasingly vain and futile search for this fucking thing, i finally found a hat shop on the high street that carried bowlers in the ludicrously big sizes that i needed, only to find that even the LARGEST ONE THEY HAD IN THE STORE didn't quite cover my gargantuan cranium in the appropriate manner, but they offered to TAKE IT IN THE BACK FOR ME AND STRETCH IT OUT which i was simultaneously appalled and touched by, so i went ahead and did that and even when they brought it back it STILL DIDN'T FIT but i was so embarrassed by that point that i bought it anyway, also because i had like five people with me and i was totally on the spot and it was awful. not to mention that it cost like 200 bucks (i'm not kidding) and every time i wore it (i kept it for years, mostly out of embarrassment) it left a huge red streak across my forehead from where the band would dig into my flesh. it got irretrievably dented one time while i was moving from apartment to various apartment, and i threw it away. i didn't exactly shed tears over that one.

what the hell was i talking about? oh, right. check out evil santa over here. kind of seasonally appropriate now, but bear in mind again that i took these pictures in august. makes it even a little more creepy, i think.

i love when this stuff ends up in thrift stores. there's a story here that i'll never get to know, but i know that it exists regardless and i love that fact. i love that they chose to brand a blood pressure pump with boner pills. i can imagine this thing being used in association with its endorsing product in so many various, sundry, silly ways that i'm smiling to myself right now just at the prospect. i can't explain it, i guess. it's just great.

so here's the hat i mentioned earlier. there was a brief period this past summer when i thought i was going to be moving to the country next year (and probably eating a lot of peaches, yes) to more or less live off the land - long story. anyway i figured my usual togs weren't going to cut it (2 piece suit not really being farm-appropriate clothing, natch) so my wardrobe took a sharp left turn in favor of western shirts and sturdier things like that, including a decent sized straw hat so i wouldn't bake in the sun. laugh all you want (i know i would) but i was really serious about this for a while and it would have made perfect sense to have a hat like this if i was really going to be outside working in the garden on hot wisconsin afternoons. i still wish i was going to be doing that.

i think i look pretty damn good in this fucking hat. farmer dave, over here. i've still got it.

this was odd, although i did a poor job of highlighting the part of the picture you need to look at, which is that blue piece of paper taped to the front of the subwoofer on this multi-dvd changer player home entertainment system thing. it's a print out of the product listing from panasonic's web site - this might be getting into a little bit more of the minutiae of the ins and outs of the internal workings of the goodwill organization than most of you are probably interested in, but when you spend as much time in these stores as i do you can't help but start to wonder what's going on behind the scenes. i'd be lying if i said i'd never considered trying to get a job at one of these places just to see what it looks like from the other side (and also for the sweet discount, if there is one), although i think if i had to listen to that much WRVR i'd probably shoot myself and a couple other people too. anyway i just could not for the life of me parse out if they had done this after this thing had been donated, like to verify its value or justify the price tag they'd put on it, or if it had come that way from wherever it was donated from, or what exactly the whole story was with that. like i said, probably not the most fascinating thing in the world to most folks, but it caught my eye, only because i couldn't quite figure it out, i suppose.

also don't know why i took a picture of this. lots of vcrs and shit! wow!

stuff like this always makes me think of the massive landfills full of old disused computer components that are steadily accumulating in places like China. last i heard they'd taken to just burning the shit, which, yeah, that's a real neat idea. don't know what else to do with all this plastic and metal and circuitry? let's fucking set it on fire! that ALWAYS works out for the best! ah, china. just because you're like the oldest civilization on the planet doesn't mean you DON'T have your head up your ass too.

i wanted this so damn bad, partially to use on the farm (we already have one, though) and partially just because you never see these things. know what it is? it's a drill. it's a hand crank drill, you hold the middle and put a bit in the chuck on the bottom and crank the top and voila! that's how they did it before power tools. i think that is so rugged and badass and even though i'd use an electric drill 100 times out of 100 if i had the choice, i still respect this stuff do damn much. i've probably babbled on at length about this before but i spent my summers as a kid with my folks out in the middle of nowhere in west central WI where we had this land with cabins and stuff and no electricity or plumbing or phones or whatever and it really instilled a kind of "what do you do when the power goes out" mentality in me that persists to this day. like i said, i'm no technophobe and if gadgets or power tools or whatever make my life easier then i say rah rah and hooray to that, but there's always this kind of fallback thing in my head of how to get by without all the trappings and conveniences that most folks (myself included, from time to time) take for granted. don't get me wrong, in no way do i think that those tendencies are any kind of measure of depth or quality of someone's personality, i find nothing more tedious than people who think an interest in "going back to the land" automatically puts you right up there with Thoreau in terms of insight and realness... it's just something about me that makes me really like drills.


further adventures in very confusing things - 5 bamboo tubes, of varying length and thickness, all slightly cracked. they don't appear to have ever had any practical purpose, although the fact that they're all cracked makes me think that someone donated them after they started to crack, which meant they were no longer useful as whatever they were being used as before, which means at some point they DID have a function, which is of course impossible, so therefore i conclude that nothing is everything and existence is meaningless and it's time for a cocktail. "Socrates' Conundrum," they called that one in philosophy class, if memory serves.

oh it was TORTURE trying to figure out whether or not to buy this thing! me and the partner in crime must have stood there for 15 minutes trying to parse out whether or not this was worth jumping on. it's a pot rack, the kind you hang from the ceiling on chains, in case you were wondering, and it was more or less sturdy and more or less intact but in the end we decided to pass and i think we did the right thing, it wasn't quite exactly what we were looking for at the time and things have changed since then anyway so i'm glad we didn't get it, but you know what it's like when you totally sweat something forever and then you see something that's KIND OF exactly what you're looking for but not quite but it's really cheap so you think you should get it anyway just because how often do you ever see these damn things to begin with? yeah, that's what it was like. god, it was awful though, the deliberation! even looking at this picture hurts. gaaaah!

also passed on - badass labeled mason jars. the rubber was a little crusty looking and i realized you can get lighter, cheaper, better containers at your local restaurant supply emporium anyway that don't have labels on them so i passed. these are still pretty pimp though, jars that have the BALLS to tell YOU what to put in THEM! i wish more kitchen ware would stand up for itself like that.

i did get these however. really heavy duty thick lined winter boots are kind of a rarity in this part of the country and even though i'm probably not off to the woods any more i'm still glad i have these because aside from the sweet combat boots i got at beloved value village in houston several years ago i really don't have any "sturdy" footwear, so the next time there's a blizzard (could happen) i'll be all set in the shoe dept. good to know.

yeah, kind of a "camping" theme to this particular outing, in case you hadn't noticed. these could just as easily double as neat little porch or patio chairs, though. cheap, too.

also kind of a "nasty roof runoff rainwater in a bucket" theme to this particular outing, although i suppose that's really more of a recurring theme through many of my journeys to secondhand stores, all across this great nation of ours (including hawaii). whatever. weeds out the weak-willed, more goodies for me.

i'm feeling especially loquacious today for some godforsaken reason so i'm gonna cut it off here and pick up with the next goodwill (pt 2 of 3) when i've got a little more time and wherewithal to do it justice. in the meantime...

this one goes out to the one i love.

take care of yourself kids