21st Dec2011

Thrift Justice – What You Leave Behind

by Will

It’s funny when people find out about my whole thrifting obsession. One of the first questions I get is “Where do you keep all of the stuff?” Well, it’s spread across the state of Maryland in various strongholds. Or am I lying? The point I wanted to make today is that, contrary to popular belief, I don’t buy every quirky little thing that I come across. In fact, there are a lot of items that I’m simply thrilled to see, and don’t really need to go through the trouble of lugging them home. There have been many items that caught my eye for various reasons, but I had to leave them where they were. I thought I’d share a few of those with you today.

If this isn’t your first time here, then you already know that I have an unhealthy affinity for boybands. It is what it is. That said, it was a lot worse when I was in high school. I bought more YM and Teen People than any heterosexual male should ever purchase. I couldn’t help it, though – every issue seemed to focus on some boyband du jour, and I LOVED the embarrassing stories letter columns. Those chicks were TOTALLY MORTIFIED!

Anyway, I just found the cover to this to be hilarious. 98 Degrees were in a weird place, as they actually came out prior to the boyband explosion, and then had to change their image to fit with the times. Just look at the nerdlinger in the middle. I STILL don’t know how he got in that group. Was he just a really old Make-A-Wish patient or something?

Once upon a time, Haim Saban gave birth to a really gifted child, known as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Since Haim had a success on his hands, and he LOVED money, he decided to give birth to another child. This second child would take advantage of the world’s new fascination with the concept of “virtual reality”. He created VR Troopers, in which a bro, his black friend, and the chick who won’t let him bang, all have the ability to enter a VR world, where they fight a white businessman who hasn’t yet learned that the real fun is in foreclosures. Oh, and there’s also a talking dog. Anyway, Saban’s second child was seen as the retard of the dynasty, and we done away with after 2 seasons. What you’re seeing is a GIANT figure of main character Ryan Steele in his VR form. This thing is a good 15 inches, at least. It was made by Kenner, so it boasts minimal articulation. There was a part of me that felt it would make a quirky mantle piece, but I just didn’t want such a totem of failure messing up my chi. So, I had to leave Ryan behind.

OK, now this one is a real kicker. I was in an antique mall, and stumbled upon this little piece of history. You’re not going to be able to read the text, so let me spell it out for you. On the left is a letter written to James Earl Ray, who you might know from history class as Martin Luther King’s convicted assassin. I put the word “convicted” in there, as an article featured in the New Times magazine on the right implied that King’s death was part of a vast conspiracy. If you want to know more about that, there’s always Google and Wikipedia. No, the interesting part is on the left. It was a letter sent to Ray while he was in prision. The author of the letter was giving Ray his support, saying that the article had provided enough evidence that the case should be reopened. At the bottom of this letter, Ray actually wrote a reply, with prisoner number, signature, and all. It’s also funny that he writes “Ray” the same way it was written on the movie poster for the Ray Charles biopic. Now, THAT would be a conspiracy!

Before he became an internet meme and Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris was just a dude with a beard who starred in borderline shitty movies. He also had a actually shitty 80s cartoon, called Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos. Ya know, considering how many shows kept replacing “C” with “K” in their titles, it’s no wonder our generation can barely read. Hell, one of your friends might be reading this aloud to you as we speak! But I digress…The 80s were an odd time, what with deregulation and all, where you could have a 5-episode miniseries that’s rerun throughout an entire season and also spawns a toy line. FIVE EPISODES! But that’s exactly what happened here.

I got one of the figures when they first came out. Still have him. You can’t imagine the torture I inflicted on that thing. The one toy that I always wanted, however, was his car (or would that be “kar”?). Actually, its proper name is the “Karate Corvette.” I honestly can’t believe they didn’t go with “Korvette”; who was steering this ship?! Oddly enough, I’ve been having dreams about this toy lately. Don’t ask why – I couldn’t tell you myself. The dreams must have been an omen, however, that the Karate Corvette would soon enter my life. Ever since I started doing these thrift runs, I had a mental list of toys that I expected to see, and this car was always on it. Last week, my search was over, as it was right before my eyes. This car is 80s badassery cranked up to 11. Not only is it a Corvette, which was THE pussydrencher automobile of the decade, but it had fucking ninja blades that popped out of the sides and hood! It’s like a 4-wheeled assault on homeless guys who try to wash your windows at red lights! I always wanted this car, but this one wasn’t in the best shape, plus it’s almost the size of a Barbie Corvette. No, I would have to leave it behind. After all, Chuck can’t drive it in the World of Warcraft, anyway.

Back when I was 12, and before I learned that they showed boobs during Masterpiece Theatre, Ghostwriter was the coolest thing on PBS. Basically, it’s about a bunch of New York tweens who solve mysteries through the power of literacy. They were aided by Ghostwriter, who appeared like a karaoke ball and would rearrange available letters to send them messages. Sure, it sounds pretty dumb now, but it was pretty engrossing, especially when most story arcs were 4-5 episodes long – somewhat unheard of in children’s programming. None of those kids went anywhere, except for Spanish Kid #2 who ended up as Token Gay Guy on The Real World: Philadelphia. Nope, no room for this in my lair. Plus, I’m still kinda pissed off that they never got around to telling Ghostwriter’s origin!

Blue Collar Ninja! How awesome is that?! It’s like something out of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. I’m STILL kicking myself for leaving him behind. He would’ve looked GREAT on a shelf, but I was put off by his bootleg nature. He looked like the kind of thing that would just fall apart once I got him out of the bag. Blue collar ninja! He pays bills, drives a truck, and SILENTLY KILLS PEOPLE!

So, on that note, I think I’ll wrap this up. This is most likely the last Thrift Justice post of 2011, so I thank you all for joining me for the ride. Be sure to come back in 2012, when I’ll be another year older, yet hopefully just as funny. Until next time, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars!