14th May2013

Thrift Justice: YSE – Trials & Tribble-ations

by Will


Can I just take a minute to saw how much I love that real life is gradually evolving into my vision for Thrift Justice: The Series? I mean, I’m not a bounty hunter (yet), but Special Forces has become a full fledged sidekick, just as I envisioned. Anyway, last weekend’s haul wasn’t huge, but it’s about quality and not quantity!

2013-05-11 14.15.32

It was supposed to rain Saturday, so I made a point to look for sales that labeled themselves as “rain or shine”. Luckily, the clouds held it together long enough for us to hit a few choice sales first thing that morning. I’ve always tried not to be an “early bird”, as a lot of sellers hate that. So, when I arrive early to a sale, I just hang out in my car, looking like a sketchy black guy in a white neighborhood. It’s all very hilarious to the people living on that street. Anyway, we did this on Saturday, and missed out big time, as another guy pulled up who didn’t care about being an early bird. At first, I thought he lived there, seeing as how he bounded the steps with ease and familiarity. Then, I saw him walk to his car with a stack of books in his hands about a foot and a half high. I’m not exaggerating. SF and I were trying to figure out if they were graphic novels. I decided it was time to hit the sale, and we jumped out of my car and up the steps. It turns out those were all LEGO manuals, to accompany the $100 of LEGO he had just purchased. And there had to have been a good 70 lbs! Do you know what that would get on the secondary market?!! Feeling deflated, I managed to get the figures you see above. She had a bunch of Marvel Universe figures, but wanted $1 each, and I just felt that was too much. I’m sorry, but I like $0.50 for my used 4″ figures. Thing and Iron Monger were $1 each, which was fair. IM is broken, as his slam action no longer works, but he’s still a good looking figure. Plus, I got a bag of Transformers Robot Heroes for $5.


2013-05-11 14.19.41

Here’s a closer look at the Robot Heroes. I haven’t counted them yet, but there are well over 25 of them. A lot of them also have the kid’s initials written on their foot – ya know, to distinguish them at play dates. This was an OK haul, but I wanted those friggin’ tubs of LEGO!!! 🙁


2013-05-11 14.14.11

While I was looking at the Marvel figures, a woman from down the street ran up, and saleblocked her neighbor by telling us that she was also having a sale, and that we needed to come by and look. Well, who am I to pass up a forward older woman? Once we got to the sale, I noticed it was mainly National Geographic memorabilia. Then, I noticed a few Star Trek trinkets. Once the other seller at the house (don’t know if they were sisters, partners, what) asked, “Am I gonna have to get out my Star Trek stuff?” I said, “Yeah, I think you are!” She went into the house, and brought out several boxes of carded Star Trek figures from the Playmates era. As nice as the figures were, she mentioned something that caught my interest: she had gone to Toy Fair in ’97, and had received the Playmates catalog, as well as 3 shooter glasses. THAT was what I wanted. After all, my love of toy industry catalogs has already been documented. I’d promise to showcase what’s inside, but I’ve made that promise in the past, and I never make good on it. One day? One day. Anyway, the TNG hardcover is really just a notebook, but I kinda liked it, so grabbed it, too. Finally, I got the “Trials & Tribble-ations” Captain Sisko figure. I already have all the T&T figures, but I didn’t have any carded. I’m trying to bolster my carded figure collection, and I figure I should probably “keep it in the community” by buying the black guy. So, I got all of this for $20, which I don’t think was too bad. I’ll probably sell off the shooters and make some of it back.


2013-05-11 14.20.52

At one of the last houses, I got this sealed Mad Men Season 3 for $2!!! Sealed. Needless to say, it’s listed on Amazon as we speak. Finally, at the last house we hit, they were selling a lot of World War II DVDs and whatnot. Again, I have an affinity for sealed DVDs, as well as things from the BBC. In case you weren’t aware, BBC DVDs cost an arm & a leg, just like TV season sets of HBO shows. Regardless, I don’t know any war buffs, so I walked away from the $3 price tag. As SF & I were walking to the car, something told me to check the going prices on Amazon. $65?! Needless to say, I turned right around, and gladly handed over $3. At this point, the clouds let loose their fury, and we decided to spend the rest of the morning in thrift stores.

Luckily, Special Forces and I don’t like the same things. I’m the toy guy, while he’s the video game guy. Since we don’t “cross the streams”, we make a good pair. Anyway, here’s what he got:


At the sale where I got the Mad Men set, SF got all of this for $8. He thought the tag said $18, but I swore that it was $8. After asking the woman of the house, it was confirmed at $8. While the system was nice, I think SF was more intrigued by the “mystery” game you see above Warioland 4. Remind me to ask him what that turned out to be (or just tell us in the comments, SF!).


Since video game pickings are sometimes slim at yard sales, SF typically does better at the after-sale thrift store rounds that we make. He got this at thrift store #3 (yup, we roll that hard) because it’s apparently a rare color. It seems the clear/clear purple are common, but this fuschia is a bit more rare. I guess those games were packaged with it.


Finally, he grabbed this 3-disc Final Fantasy (can’t tell if it’s 6 or 7) for about $2. He tells me this is the first edition, and not the Greatest Hits version, making it more sought after. He’s the game guy, so I bow to his expertise.

So, there ya have it – another one for the books…and the net. Later this week, I think I’ll treat y’all to a traditional edition of Thrift Justice. Stay tuned!

06th May2013

Monday Musings: Underestimating Batman’s Sheer Brutality

by Will

batman lurking in shadow

Confused by the title? That’s really just me using a bunch of words to say “Batman’s a badass.” More appropriately, he’s a dangerous badass. In recent years, especially due to his many cartoons and animated appearances, two things have become prevalent about Batman: he doesn’t use guns AND he doesn’t kill. That’s all well and good, but this had led somewhat to what you might call “the Pussification of the Bat”. People seem to forget that there are fates worse than death, and Batman has dealt out this kind of justice time and time again. After all, why else would criminals be afraid of him? Anyway, this is just my way of saying that Chris Sims isn’t the only one devoting more thought that necessary to the legacy of Batman.


One thing that leads folks to forget about Batman’s brutality is his public persona. I’ve said it time and time again, but Batman doesn’t really work as a public character. It’s not in his best interest to be in a group like the Justice League because it not only requires him to go out in daylight, but it also makes him look like a hero. Yes, Batman works alongside the GCPD, but he shouldn’t be seen as a “hero” – at least not the same way that Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman are seen. If your primary goal is to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, you’re not going to accomplish much when you’re publicly known as Superman’s friend. Sure, criminals might be afraid of his powerful friends in that case, but they wouldn’t necessarily be afraid of him. That’s why I feel Batman works better when he’s considered an urban legend.

batman66 outside

The comics go back and forth on this, but his most effective “mode” is when the majority of Gotham see Batman as the boogeyman. He’s not necessarily “real”, and he’s seen more as a story told to frighten. He doesn’t operate in the daylight as his 60s predecessor did, and the only ones to actually see him are frightened victims and criminals caught in the act. Sure, he fights Arkham villains, but most of his time is spent dealing with street level thugs and henchmen. He never really inflicts much damage on a Penguin or Joker, but he does all sorts of terrible things to their henchmen. This is why “The Bat” is only discussed in frightened whispers amongst that set. He may not kill, but he leaves them with more than memories. The cartoons depict a Batman who ends things with one punch, but that’s not true of the Urban Legend Defender of Gotham. The “real” Batman operates from the shadows. He tends to leave thugs unable to walk, in traction, or worse – usually dependent upon the severity of the crime. Just look at this example:

Batman Thug

And that’s just Comic Batman. Don’t even get me started on the movies. Cinematic Batman hasn’t even clung to the “doesn’t use guns” thing, so surely some of those thugs died – if not, they wish they were dead! Let’s go back to the very first Tim Burton movie. When Batman is fighting his way up the belltower, thugs are being knocked off and thrown down the shaft. This isn’t Spider-Man, where he quickly webs up a safety net, so they’re stuck until the police arrive. The Joker Thug body count was at least at 3 by the end of that movie.

Taken from http://batmancity.over-blog.com/article-batman-the-movie-series-2-145-leap-from-the-belltower-topps-usa-1989-58578862.html

Taken from http://batmancity.over-blog.com/article-batman-the-movie-series-2-145-leap-from-the-belltower-topps-usa-1989-58578862.html

And before that, he blew up the whole chemical plant – you know, the one that surely had a night crew in it, even if they weren’t all thugs.


Taken from chickslovethecar.com

Speaking of the Batmobile, it had guns, and there’s no confirmation they were rubber bullets. Yes, Batman gets in his car and shoots the fuck out of people! NOW do you understand why criminals are scared of him?


Taken from the ComicsAlliance Batman ’89 review where they were bewildered by the same thing

In Batman Begins, he made no real attempt to save Ra’s Al Ghul, AT ALL.

"Use of of your 'many talents' to save you from THIS, asshole!"

“Use one of your ‘many talents’ to save you from THIS, asshole!”

Finally, if you doubt Batman’s brutality, play Arkham Asylum or Arkham City for just five minutes. I worked at TRU when the first AA demo came out, and I almost needed a towel while playing that thing! The bones crunching beneath your fists, the noises being made. Bottom line: Batman ain’t playing around!

batman-arkham-city_ thugs

So, what have we learned today? Well, first off, they say Batman won’t kill you, but that’s only true if no one’s filming it. Also, even if he lets you live, he will Fuck. Your. Shit. Up. And something tells me the DC Universe doesn’t have Obamacare yet…

22nd Mar2013

West Week Ever – 3/22/13

by Will

One of these people had the West Week Ever. Which one? Read on to find out!


I have a hard time with people who blame video game violence on today’s social ills. This was made even clearer to me last weekend. Why? I watched Death Wish IV and Death Wish V. First off, can I say that I fucking LOVE Charles Bronson? Something about a 55 year old man wrecking shit is so much more refreshing than Action Star du Jour. Anyway, I witnessed a guy killed by a grenade launcher, a guy killed by exploding remote controlled soccer ball, a guy fall into a pulp grinder and more. People saw this stuff and didn’t go on killing sprees (well, except Bernie Goetz). Movies today aren’t half as violent as they were 25 years ago. I’m not sure if the MPAA has simply become a bunch of pussies, or if ticket takers have become more lax in letting in minors. All I know is that the same restrictions supposedly exist for video games and movies. It’s time to blame society’s ills on factors other than the entertainment sector.

Being the boyband fiend that I am, this was probably my favorite video of the week. I loved the Hell out of JC Chasez and, from a musical standpoint, he was the most talented member of *NSYNC. Justin’s more famous because he was more charismatic, but he wasn’t the best soloist. Anyway, this is JC singing “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers to USC’s Tri Delt chapter. Here’s what sticks out to me, though: a college freshman would have been born in 1995. *NSYNC’s debut album came out when they were TWO YEARS OLD. They were 6 when *NSYNC’s last album came out. Outside of America’s Best Dance Crew, JC hasn’t really been relevant to this generation. This is almost like if Daryl Hall had come to sing at Cornell while I was there. Do these girls even know who he is, other than “hot guy singing that weird hippie song”? Anyway, I feel so old…

Speaking of Justin vs. JC, this Billboard article is an EXCELLENT exploration of how and why Justin pulled ahead in their pop solo competition.

I had a great time last night, joining @timdogg98‘s Comic Book Chronicles Live. So far, it’s a weekly-ish Google Hangout sponsored by The Kliqnation, and it’s a great comic book discussion with a “barbershop” feel. I’ve been lurking in the rafters for most of the episodes, but I was tagged in last night. If you’re a comic fan, definitely check it out!

Sponsor Update –


This may come as a surprise to some, but WilliamBruceWest.com is sponsored by Will’s World of Wonder. Recently, my corporate overlords have decided they should have more of a voice on the site, so here’s some new stuff that’s been listed in the store:


There are none. Really, why would I buy up a case of something you could buy cheaper at a big box store? That wastes both our time. Go buy that shit at Target!

New Arrivals:

Young Justice Invasion 6″ Batman

This is the RARE 6″ Young Justice Invasion Batman figure. These never hit wide retail release in North America, and they are pretty hard to find.

Figure is MIB, and includes diorama and accessories. (Limited Supply!)


LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes Catwoman Catcycle City Chase

Everyone’s favorite heroes have joined forces with everyone’s favorite building toy!


Iron Man Marvel Legends Classic Iron Man

To coincide with the upcoming release of Iron Man 3, this Marvel Legends subset fits perfectly with the rest of your Marvel Legends collection. Includes alternate helmet, as well as BAF piece for Iron Monger.

Power Rangers Samurai Mega Mode Rangers Lot

Now that stores are filled with Megaforce product, it’s not as easy to find these guys anymore. If you want to celebrate the season that brought Power Rangers to Nick, here’s your chance!

Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe Edition HC

By Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, this monumental storyline depicts Barbara Gordon’s final confrontation with The Joker as Batgirl.
This anniversary edition hardcover features all new coloring, and the short story “An Innocent Guy”.

Our Vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stock has been replenished! Show your whippersnappers where it all began by buying them something from this assortment!

This Week’s Posts

Thrift Justice – Power Rankings

My (Alternate) Reality

Before we handle wrap things up, I need to address something. So, yesterday I prefaced a post with a description of my depression. Much of that was hyperbole, as a framing device. Mainly. I’ve had anxiety for a LOOONNNGG time, but I have experienced happiness since the age of 12. I just threw out an age there (although that IS what I told that nurse). Why did I say 12? Well, I feel like that’s when the anxiety train started. Changes start happening. Next thing you know, you’ve got to do well on the PSAT, ’cause it’s an indicator of SAT success. Then, you have to do well on the SAT, ’cause you need it to get into a good college. Then, you need to get into a good college so you’ll get a good job. Then, you have to successfully graduate from said good college. Then, you graduate and there are no jobs. Then you work retail, while waiting on people who can’t understand why you don’t have a better job. Then you feel like a failure because you wasted that degree and tuition. Then, you get dead-end jobs that still aren’t really backing up why you went to school. I finally have a job that I love, but it wasn’t an easy process. For me, at least. Lots of people have it WAY worse, but I don’t deal well with stress. So, that, conceptually, is how I came up with that age. Still, that hurt people who know “real life” Will.

I’ve never really delved into this, but it’s my site, so I can do what I want. Over on facebook, my pal Chad was wondering if anyone had written about their success with online dating. He met his girlfriend that way, and wondered if I or Vincent had ever written about our experience. Maybe it would take the “geek taboo” off things. If you don’t know, I met my wife on Match.com. It’s funny because I wasn’t looking for anything. I had gotten out of a 3-ish year relationship with a trust fund baby who had no real life aspirations. Yet she dumped me. Go figure. Anyway, a friend of mine signed up for Match, and a bunch of us signed up too so that we could vet his choices. If there’s one thing I love it’s judging people, and this gave me a front row seat. In the meantime, I just liked the attention. I was probably a good 40 lbs lighter, and I woke up to emails from random women telling me they liked my smile. I didn’t even have to do anything. It was AWESOME.


I didn’t communicate with anyone I found on there ’cause I’d have to PAY. Ain’t nobody got time for that! One day, however, I got an email from a girl that said something I liked. I don’t remember what it was, and I don’t feel like going through my email to figure it out. Whatever it was, it caught my attention. And like that, I actually paid and we emailed back and forth. She was a reader, and to paraphrase Chris Rock, she “spoke so well.” Since I wasn’t yet the net whore that I’ve become, I didn’t really think you could have any meaningful association with someone digitally. Now, I’ll tell you that some of my good friends are folks I’ve never met, but things were different in the Wild West days of 2008. So, I was fine just keeping it online. It was like having a pen pal, and I really didn’t know how to make the transition from web to reality, anyway. I’d never asked anyone for their number, and I wasn’t some cool pimp daddy “gettin’ da digits”. All my attention from females came from singing, whether I was doing a musical or a cappella stuff. So we had a great time emailing, but that was enough for me. And then I just stopped. I don’t really know why. Maybe I thought it was weird, or I just didn’t know how to be cool over email anymore.

Life went on. She ended up dating some other dude from Match (man, it must be awesome to be a woman. Free dinners for simply possessing a vagina). I probably went back to bitching about the death of Captain America and blogging about how that Big Bang Theory show would never last. Other stuff happened, like I had a death in the family, and I was just all over the place. Three months passed, and she emailed me out of the blue. She wondered why our emails had just stopped, seeing as how we seemed to have a real connection. Since I’m a doof, she ended up having to ask me out. This was a Monday. The date was set for Wednesday. That Tuesday, we finally talked on the phone…for 3 hours. When I got home from Wednesday’s date, I called my friend Keith, and I said “I’m gonna marry that girl.” Our next date was that Saturday, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her everyday since then. Shit’s crazy, son! Most of the time, I would just be excited to get off work, so I could go play Rock Band with her. Apparently, while she wasn’t being wined and dined by Match dudes, she had worked her way to Expert on most of the songs. And I was happy. For the first time, in a very long time, I was happy. And I’m happy now. In 2 weeks, we’ll have been married 6 months, and October’s our 5 year anniversary. So, I lied. I’m very happy. Oh, and internet dating works! Try it! Take it from your buddy, Will!


So, one person’s mugshot count is up to a half dozen, while another is going through some odd, drag transformation. One person twerked it like a unicorn, while the other reeeallly has bad luck with keeping the women in his life alive. But only one of them had the West Week Ever.


He killed a dude by shooting a fucking grenade at him. ‘Nuff said.

22nd Feb2013

West Week Ever – 2/22/13

by Will


Today in Black History, Aunt Jemima discovered Uncle Ben’s affair with Mrs. Butterworth, thus splitting Black America’s first power couple.Benmima

Last weekend I had the pleasure of finally meeting Twitter pal LamarRevenger! Lindsay and I were doing a belated Valentine’s Day of wineries and antique shops in Hershey, PA, which put us in Lamar’s back yard. We met up at Crossroads Antique Mall, and had a great time exploring the place. I love meeting you online folks, and Lamar put me at 3. Who’ll be #4?! Only time will tell!

2013-02-16 16.24.14

It was announced this week that game developer Harmonix will stop releasing new music for Rock Band by April (The Robot’s Pajamas has a nice writeup about it). I haven’t touched my Rock Band games in a good 2 years, but this announcement still saddens me. You see, Rock Band was very important when I first started dating my wife. Her roommate had the game, so she spent a lot of her free time getting up to expert in most of the songs. When we met, I’d never played the game, so the formative days of our relationship consisted of her schooling me in interactive classic rock. There was a band featured in the game called Bang Camaro; I claim to be a music aficionado, but I still can’t tell you one of their songs. Anyway, we thought it was the dumbest, yet funniest name, so we dubbed ourselves “Sex Corvette” in the game. Whenever I needed to practice on my own, I had my own side project that I called “Fornication Wagon”. It’s been years since Sex Corvette and Fornication Wagon went out on the road. With this announcement, I think it might be time to get the bands back together. Ya know, for old times sake.

Speaking of music, last week, Shezcrafti and I discovered our shared love of Ace of Base. No, I’m not talking about “All That She Wants” or “The Sign”. Get out of here with that Top 40 shit! I’m talking DEEP cuts Ace of Base, from the albums that most Americans ignored. Sure, everyone owned The Sign (Happy Nation, for you international folks) but their second album, The Bridge, was one of THE BEST POP ALBUMS of the 90s. I’m not even lying. I’m pretty sure I wrote a tumblog about it awhile back, but “Ravine” is one of the most beautiful ballads of the past 20 years. It’s even more impactful when you learn it was written in the wake of a knife attack from a stalker. It turns out we both own all the AoB albums, including the recent one with the new girls. All this time, I thought I was alone, but I was wrong. I’m so, so glad I was wrong!


People seem to be losing their shit over news that Michael Bay cast Megan Fox in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I say “so what?” Think of today’s “starlets”: Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega? You’d hate all of them, and it ain’t like Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence is gonna ruin her career with this on her resume. I mean, it’s not like this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. People have hated Bay since he took on the Transformers franchise. The same people who are saying “I’m fucking done with this Turtles movie now!” are the same who were supposedly done when it was announced he was helming it. At what point do you just walk away and stop caring? To complain now, is akin to going “Oh man, Hitler’s killing blacks now?!” Yeah, I invoked the dreaded internet use of Hitler. Anyway, no one ever said this was a movie for old school fans. One thing I’ve never really gotten about TMNT fandom is that the 80s kids think it’s theirs. That’s somewhat true, but there’s also the 2003 run, as well as the new Nick run. Turtles belong to several generations now, and this could just be its introduction to a newer generation. As much as people hate Bay, a lot of folks were paying money to see those “Bayformers” movies, so I guess this movie is for them. It’s not for you. I’m amazed at people’s inability to just say “You know, I don’t think this is for me” and walk away. It took me a while to learn that, but it’s much less stressful!

I hate to be some hipster/old fogey, but I’m tired of the media’s ability to scare us about some shit, and then just move on to the next thing. We’re never told whether or not these things have been cured/stopped/defeated. It’s just on to the next crisis. Here’s a list of things I’ve been instructed to fear in my lifetime:


Acid Rain

Old Men With Candy

Carbon Monoxide

Mad Cow Disease

Bird Flu


Super Gonorrhea

To my knowledge, none of these problems have been “solved”, but ain’t nobody talking about them anymore! Did the Super Gonorrhea take out the candy-bearing child molesters? I NEED ANSWERS!

This has been a bittersweet week online. It started great, with me and Lamar meeting up. Then, once I got home, all the crazies came out. I found myself leaving a bunch of toy centric facebook groups because of one bad apple. I’m not sure if you’re all “in the know”, but there are shit tons of toy groups on facebook for trading and buying toys. The problem, however, is that the same people are in ALL of these groups. I talked about it a bit more in-depth in this post. Basically, some one gets accused of screwing over someone, gets kicked out, and then forms his own group. Well, I joined these things to drum up attention for Will’s World of Wonder, but those people are either trying to lowball you or get something for free. Over time, I came to realize it wasn’t worth the hustle over there, but I stayed on in case some good deal came up. The other day, I posted an item I was selling, and specifically said “PM offers”. Some guy decided to start asking questions on the actual post. “How much did you pay for it? Is it the same scale as Soundwave?” At first, I indulged him, but he finally signed off with “OK, just checking”. So, after wasting a bit of my time, I told him “That was a lot of questions for ‘just checking’.” He proceeds to tell me not to get “butthurt about a $20 toy” and that “there are more important things in life to worry about.” I replied that I wasn’t “butthurt”, but didn’t appreciate him using me as his Google research stand-in, ON MY THREAD. Then, he and some other guys start making a side deal, again, ON MY THREAD. Any group with a halfway decent admin would’ve stopped that (trust me, facebook toy group admins are like the goddamned Gestapo. It’s like they were all the last kids picked for sports or some shit), but no one stepped in. When I called him on it, again, he tells me to “stop getting butthurt”. I told him he was being an asshole, and his condescension wasn’t needed. Eventually, like I pointed out above, I realized “ya know, this isn’t for me.” I muttered a “fuck this noise”, and quit the group. I pride myself on not being a “quitter”, but sometimes you just need to realize when something isn’t worth your time and effort. Work smarter and not harder. The decent people I met in those groups are already facebook or twitter friends, so I didn’t lose them. I just cut off the folks who were, apparently, leaving me “butthurt”. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I’m such a jerk – last week, I forgot to include the link for my guest spot on the Cereal Killas episode of The Cold Slither Podcast. You’re all smart, savvy folks, so I’m sure you found it. If not, you can listen to it here.

Also, the Black Dynamite ep of the Traumatic Cinematic Show has gone live, and you can listen to me and the guys here.

This Week’s Post

Thrift Justice: The One With All The Books

Before I wrap things up this week, I wanted to point out UnderScoopFire’s State of the Site/Show Address podcast that went up this week. I love these kinds of posts, as I love to know what’s going on in the minds of the folks I admire. Plus, they serve as a good time to take stock of my own stuff. I’m really happy where I am in regards to podcasts. I always kinda wanted to be a “professional guest”, and I’ve had the honor of being invited on some great shows, having fun discussions with new folks. I never thought I’d get to this point so quickly, but I’m having a lot of fun. As for non-audio stuff, though, I’m still not where I want to be. There are folks out there who can get 10 comments on a post without even posting a link to social media. That is the definition of a “destination site”, and I think that’s where we’d all like to be. I’ve been doing this TEN YEARS. There are more blogrolls I could be in. There are more of your friends who could know about me. I’m harassing Twitter timelines with my links, and I still don’t know if it makes a difference. Hell, maybe folks have learned how to say “Yeah, that’s just not for me”. Who knows? Anyway, it just gives me something to think about. See ya next week!


07th Feb2013

LOEB Presents: Collectibles of Tomorrow

by Will


I haven’t done such a great job keeping up with my League of Extraordinary Bloggers “dues”. I guess I didn’t really have an opinion on recent topics (I HATE pirates!). When Brian came up with this week’s topic, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw something together. Plainly put, Brian asked us what we thought would be considered “collectibles” in the years to come. From the posts I’ve read, most people had some thought out, logical answers to the question. I’m going to take another route. Toys and video games are fun, but I’m always more intrigued by the things that catch on when they have no right to be sought after as collectibles. After all, a lot of what we consume is sold to us on the premise that it’s unique or “worth” something. I’m more impressed by the phenomena that catch us by surprise. Pokemon? That wasn’t a surprise because collectability is built into its business model. I was, however, surprised by Pogs. For anyone not around in the mid 90s, Pogs were collectable, circular cardboard discs, and the game was played by flinging heavier discs called “slammers” at the main discs. It’s essentially a Biblical stoning, with cardboard discs standing in for people. The game is thought to have originated in Hawaii at the beginning of the 20th century, and the original discs were those little caps that cover milk and juice (ya know, under the plastic top). This was essentially a game for poor kids and savages! I kid, I kid…At some point in the 90s, some marketing executive said, “You know what would be totally rad? If we put cool pics on these little milkcaps, and sell ’em like baseball cards! That’s a market that’s NEVER gonna die! Tubular!” Thus, the Pog Boom began. They were kids meal premiums, there were porn pogs, and you could make your own. Meanwhile, slammers were made from anything from plastic to friggin’ iron (confession: I once spent about $20 on a slammer. What? It had a hologram on it and weighed 3 lbs!). So, where am I going with this? I think the next collectible is right under our noses, possibly on top of our dinner: Pizza Box Tents.


Pic courtesy of pizzahh.com

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of pizza box tents. That’s why I’m here – to educate you. You’ve seen them before, but probably never knew their name. Most people call them “the little pizza table” or something like that. After all, they make pretty good tables for when your G.I. Joes are having a cookout. Well, if you have seen them, then you realize what they’re for: keeping the box lid from being crushed down into the cheese and toppings of the pizza. It’s like rudimentary scaffolding. Still, it serves a purpose (just like the original milk caps), but also has a lot of “real estate” for marketing. Just look at the tops of those things. It’s basically a smooth surface, just begging to be adorned by Power Rangers and Spongebob Squarepants!


Artist’s Dramatization. These are paid pizza protectors.


In order to give these things a “purpose”, I guess there’ll need to be a play component. Here’s how the game works: It’s mainly a stacking game. Ultimately, you’re trying to build the tallest tower. In the place of a slammer, you would use the cheaper version of the box tent, without the flat surface, as support beams.


These were the box tents who were picked last for sports. Guess they have the last laugh!

OK, so we’re still working out the rules. It’s not like anyone’s actually gonna play the game. Hell, the only reason people played Pogs was that broadband internet wasn’t widespread at the time. The hobby will be built on the back of merchandising. To further the whole pizza theme, there will be carrying cases shaped like tubes of pizza dough. Oh, and did I mention what these little things would be called? ZABLES! Let it sink it. Sounds kinda space age, but it’s got two syllables and rolls off the tongue. “Hi, do you all carry Zables?” will be the most asked question during the Christmas season of 2017!

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s pretty farfetched, Will!” Well, plastic’s getting more expensive and toys are getting smaller. One of the smartest moves a toy company could make would be to restrict itself to a 2″ product that already exists in another industry. They wouldn’t even have to foot manufacturing costs! Hell, I’m about to create a Kickstarter to do this damn thing myself! I don’t suppose you wanna go into business with me, do ya? OK, well, I’ll leave this prospectus here, and just think it over, will ya?

Before I go, I want to leave you with this Pog-centric exchange that occurred a year ago. That’s right – I sit on ideas THAT long! Anyway, last February, I saw this on Craigslist:

POGS (reston)

Date: 2012-02-02, 11:26PM EST
Reply to:  [Errors when replying to ads?]


i’ve got a gallon ziploc filled about half way with pogs, slammers, a pog board, pretty much everything you need to get started. at least one tube maybe two for storage or travel. i will take just about any offer, ever since the accident i haven’t been able to pog anymore…. this isn’t code for drugs or anything…it’s really pogs… from the 90’s…POOOOGS.. i don’t want them…

  • Location: reston
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interest

I think I was hopped up on cold medicine or something (I was pretty sick 1st quarter 2012. I remember it like it was a year ago), so I just had to reply to him with the following:


I saw your ad on craigslist, and, I hope you won’t take this the wrong way, but I MUST know your story. As a former POGger myself, I spent countless hours playing the game back in the day. It’s just that you mentioned an accident, and then promised that the ad wasn’t a cover for selling drugs. Naturally, my mind began to wander. What accident precludes one from the joy of POGs? Did you ever experience a classified ad for POGs that WAS a front for drugs? Like I said, SO many questions. In any case, thanks for your time. I don’t mean to offend or anything. I just feel like you’ve probably got a pretty interesting story to tell, and I just had to ask.
Will West


He actually replied with this:
comical sales pitch…i now feel guilty about the real injured, drug dealing, ex-poggers…oh the huge manitee!
A month later, I saw this:

POGS – $1000000 (nova)

Date: 2012-03-03, 11:12AM EST
Reply to: xxxxxxxx@sale.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]


i’ve got a gallon ziploc filled about half way with pogs, slammers, a pog board, pretty much everything you need to get started. at least one tube, maybe two, for storage or travel. i will take just about any offer. ever since the accident i haven’t been able to pog anymore…. this isn’t code for drugs or anything…it’s really pogs… from the 90’s…POOOOGS.. i don’t want them…1,000,000.00 or whatever… fresh megamillions tickets… i will accept just about anything…except pogs

  • Location: nova
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


I don’t know if he ever got rid of those Pogs. I just know I’ll never forget what we had.

For a look at other LOEB Collectibles, check out Cool And Collected & Fortune & Glory (Days)

13th Dec2012

Thrift Justice – We’ll Never Know What Might’ve Been

by Will

So, if you were here yesterday, you know the drill. If not, WHERE WERE YOU?! We’re looking at stuff I found at the thrift store that, while conversation pieces, weren’t worthy of being brought back to Casa Oeste (That’s “West” in Spanish. I think). Let’s jump in!

It’s the Double Dragon Cruiser! When Billy and Jimmy Lee aren’t busy fighting Shadow Master, they tool around town in this monstrosity. Cue Xzibit: “Yo dawg, I heard you like dragons!”

You know why you never see Mexico in post apocalyptic movies? BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL DRIVING AROUND IN SHIT LIKE THIS!!! Nobody’s going to Mexico when the streets are filled with fucking Datsuns painted metallic red, with afterburners and gatling guns! And there’s no way that tint is street legal.

To the Clapmobile! I think this is a bootleg toy of the limo from Beverly Hills Teens. Ya know, a limo with a pool in the back. Sounds awesome, unless you’re the driver. I’ve seen Elimidate. I know what happens when you introduce a pool or hot tub to drunk people. I hope he’s got some rubber gloves.

One modified Walkman spelled the downfall of 2 white men. No, this isn’t a Dateline special. This was Home Alone 2 – ya know, the one before Home Alone: The Adventures in Child Protective Services. I always wanted one of these, mainly because I planned to use it as a Walkman, and then I’d be able to use it for spy shit, should the need arise. Alas, I think I decided I’d rather have G.I. Joe stuff that year, so no Talkboy. I was really tempted to get this, but then I wondered if I’d be able to find a blank cassette tape. And then I wondered if it would provide more than 30 minutes of fun. Then I weighed the resale potential. Then I left it on the shelf.

This is the kind of car you used to find in the grocery store. Usually, I’d classify this as “Toys For Poor Kids”, but that’s not the case. Ya see, this was a special designation: “Toys, Just Because”. Nobody ever really wanted these things, but grocery store toy selection was poor in the 80s. It was either this, a rubber ball, some play money, or those shitty handcuffs. At least with this, you could maybe fit a M.A.S.K. guy in it. It wasn’t really about payoff – you only asked for this to see if you could get it. Depending on how nice your mom was feeling that day, you had a good shot. A child’s first taste of power comes when he/she seemingly manipulates a parental unit into buying them something that they don’t even want. Wow, I got deep there, huh?

So, there ya have it. I had one more pic, but WordPress just didn’t wanna load it, so this is the end of the road. Hope you enjoyed it, tell your friends, and come back tomorrow for West Week Ever!

12th Dec2012

Thrift Justice – All Filler, No Thriller

by Will

How’s that for an attention-grabbing headline, huh? Well, just like all kids can’t be honor students (I noticed your naked bumper), not all posts can be winners. Bottom line is that I’ve got a lot of pics I need to offload, and a lack of creativity at the moment. Also, my last two hauls are gonna BLOW YOUR MOTHERFUCKING MINDS when I finally get around to posting about them. Anyway, in my travels, I see a lot of stuff that I have to leave behind. It’s hard, but I just can’t provide a home to everything. I’m already violating several fire codes. So, sit back and see what might’ve been (also press play on your Little Texas CD if you have one). Oh, and the new logo is courtesy of Brian over at Cool and Collected!

First up, we’ve got this knockoff that appears to have been created using the mold from the Kenner Batman Returns Laser Bat. The hinges are even in the same place, however this is painted gold, and they slapped a bird face on the front. Apparently, it is piloted by a robot swimming in gold up to its neck. Seriously, only the head was popping up.

How fitting that the last time I wrote one of these posts, I used a 98 Degrees lyric for the title, and here they are! My favorite part is that there’s a card specifically for the teacher. Back in my day, she got “I Choo Choo Choose You” just like the rest of the kids. I wonder if it was somehow more adult than the rest of the cards. Well, good for her. Ms. Robbins works hard and deserves the fantasy of some guy on guy on guy on girl lovin’!

This is a bit of a cheat, as I found this in Toys “R” Us. Most people couldn’t understand the Best Lock Stargate license, but I think THIS is the most baffling knockoff toy of the year. Even though I’m not a gamer, I immediately recognized the name of Resident Evil‘s Chris Redfield. Now, I KNOW TRU didn’t pay for the RE license, so I think they’re hoping that the poor (economically, not circumstantially) kids who buy the True Heroes line are too poor to have ever seen Resident Evil. On the flip side, the RE fans fortunate enough to have played the game have never noticed this aisle before.

I knew Aircraft Fighter back when he was known as the Thunder Megazord. Of course, he was bigger then. He has looked better. I see he’s fallen on hard times. He’s clearly renting, as none of the pictures in his place have him in them. I hope he gets his shit together one day.

Here’s a cultural lesson for ya: in the UK, a MILF is known as a “yummy mummy” (Thanks, LamarRevenger!). How cute is that? Hardly seems worthy of a full book, what being a three step process:

1. Be hot

2. Have baby

3. Maintain hotness

Where’s my book deal?!

What becomes of the broookenhearted?!

I leave you with this pic. This motherfucker right here. It’s like if Dolemite was a rabid Smurfs fan. I don’t even know where to begin. You see my sleeve because I really had to sneak this pic. I have no doubt he had a knife in his Stacy Adams.

Ya know what? That, like knowing, was only half the battle. And half the pics I need to blow through. So, check in tomorrow when I’ll have another post! Happy Hanukkah!

25th Nov2012

West Week Ever – Black Friday Recap Edition

by Will

Hey, better late than never, right?

-Black Friday was good this year, as we were foolish enough to brave Walmart and Gamestop after Thanksgiving dinner. Wemanaged to procure a TV we wanted from Walmart, and we went crazy on XBox games. I haven’t even hooked the thing up, yet I got about 6 games in 24 hours. At the moment, we’re the (somewhat) proud owners of Arkham City (GOTY Edition), Dreamworks Super Star Kartz, The Sims 3, Assassin’s Creed, Lego Batman 2, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Meanwhile, this is what we witnessed at Walmart:

I thought unstable molecules only existed in comics, but those leggings are defying all known physics. I’ve never seen a polyfiber work so hard. And she had the gall to go out in public like that!


-This is gonna come off as “racist” to some, so brace yourselves. Anyway, I think the shopper I hate MOST is Old Chinese Guy With Hands Behind His Back. Yeah, you’ve seen him. He’s usually wearing a cardigan, and he moves along at a snail’s pace, closely inspecting everything he encounters. He has no regard for those around him, as time holds no meaning in his world.

-I think the true testament of a boyband’s worth is how they handle ballads. I mean, really anyone can dance around to autotuned beats, but it’s the slow harmony that separates the boyz from the men. With that in mind, “Little Things” by One Direction proves that they’re nothing but shit. They are NOT the real deal. It sounds like someone listened to Howard Jones’s “No One Is To Blame”, but took out all the interesting parts. This saddens me, as I really thought this would be the boyband comeback. It was basically 10 years in the making, but this isn’t it. One Direction and The Wanted just aren’t strong enough to recreate the BSB/’NSYNC rivalry. Meanwhile, Big Time Rush is in the 98 Degrees slot: they were around first, but had to catch the boyband wave once others stepped up to the plate. Still, they haven’t really broken out as anything other than as a modern-day, poor excuse for The Monkees (mainly because of the TV show).

-What the Hell happened to OneRepublic? A group should grow with each release, but they become more and more a group that I despise. I think it’s because Ryan Tedder likes to rip off his own songs (Google the Halo vs Already Gone debacle). Their recent song, “Feel Again”, sounds like he listened to Florence + the Machine and said “Yeah, I can do that.” They already sucked on “Good Life”, which  became more unbearable once tourism bureaus and cruise lines started using it in ads. If you trace OneRepublic’s career from their debut with “Apologize” to what they’re doing now, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. They could’ve carved an interesting niche, but now it seems like they want to rest in the depressing cavern between Train and Coldplay.

This Week’s Posts:

Took An Arrow To The Knee

Let’s Talk About AvX, Baby

Don’t forget to check Will’s World of Wonder and this week’s eBay auctions!

17th Oct2012

Loot Crate – It’s a Box Full O’ Stuff!

by Will

No, that’s not their actual slogan, but it could be. Before we get there, let’s take a walk back in time, shall we? Back in the day, every quarter or so, Toys “R” Us used to give out something called an “R” Treat box. They used to make a big deal about it by putting it in the circular, and even included a coupon to make it seem like you couldn’t get the box without it (you totally could). When you’re a kid, you like free shit. It’s written in the Kidstitution. Since I’ve gotten older, I realize these things were really geared towards moms, but you’re dumb when you’re a kid. Usually, the “R” Treat Box was the size of an off-brand kids meal box, and was usually filled with samples. You’d get a small box of Grape Nuts, maybe some stickers, maybe some cookies, and some coupons. Sounds kinda boring now, but I used to lose my shit to get one of those free boxes of mom-centered samples! Like most things in life, it was all about the journey and NOT the destination. So, when I first stumbled upon the idea of Loot Crate over on Top Hat Sasquatch, I was flooded with memories of the “R” Treat box. Like most things when you grow up, I had to pay for the experience. Was it worth the price? Well, let’s see.

First off, is it wrong that I wanted the box to look like an actual crate? I wanted to experience the feeling of a pirate as he was about to open a chest of newfound loot. When I opened the box, the first thing I saw was this clever postcard. If I were an actual journalist, I’d tell you what that postcard was actually promoting. Anyway, I was greeted with another card, from Loot Crate, explaining that September’s theme was “8-Bit”. This was kinda cool, but I’ve never been the most hardcore gamer, so it didn’t excite me like it probably should have.

So, here’s everything I saw once I unpacked the box. Here were my initial thoughts on things

– Loot Crate sticker: who doesn’t love a sticker?

-Radium Energy Powder: I like that it’s in a vial, but I’ll never eat it because it’s blue. I’m still scarred from the Blue Raspberry craze from the 90s. Apparently, it’s caffeinated. So, it’s basically powder that gives you energy. I’m fairly certain that neither the FDA nor the DEA know about this.

-Pixel sunglasses: I wear glasses, so I’ll never get to use these. Plus, I ended up with hot pink. I say that in the same voice as Adam from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, when he said “I’m a frog.”

-Party Mustache: OH MY GOD! I HATE THIS HIPSTER GARBAGE!!!! ARRGHHH!! You don’t get it – I live not too far from Baltimore, where the whole hipster, ironic mustache thing has risen to new heights. It’s probably the 2nd worst thing about that city (next to Ray Lewis killing people). Then, I calmed down and realized that this was actually meant to stand in as Mario’s mustache. It does a poor job, but I give them credit for the effort.

Legend of Zelda Mints: nice presentation, but they’re the kind of thing you leave on a desk. If these were in your pocket, you’d walk around sounding like you’re smuggling maracas into the country.

-20-sided die: this was interesting, almost like an afterthought. I mean, the topic was “8-Bit”, yet this is decidedly analog and tabletop. Plus, there’s no real need for it. If they’d thrown in a starter RPG game or something, I’d get it, but this is just kinda like “Ya never know when you might need a 20-sided die. Just go with it.”

-Pikachu button: great if you like buttons and/or work at TGI Fridays. Pretty straight forward. Not too large. Basically the size of the promo buttons DC Comics gives out at conventions.

Super Mario Bros Power Up Energy Drink: Yeah, there’s no way I’m drinking this. I avoid all energy drinks because I have a premonition of my heart exploding. Hell, I avoid exercise for the exact same reason. I had 2 cans of Four Loko (the good stuff, with the caffeine) in my fridge for over a year without touching it. I’m a scaredy cat who’s afraid of anything with “energy” on it. I will, however, eat McDonalds three times a day. God bless America!

So, down to brass tacks: was it worth it? Well, I didn’t sound too kind above, but I didn’t hate anything. At the end of the day, I like getting mail. Always have. If they really try to shut down the post office, I might actually finally march for something. I will say that it’s kinda odd that I’m paying for it. It’s like paying for an escort – yeah, it’s great you’re getting banged and all, but it’d mean so much more if you hadn’t given someone your credit card information beforehand.

Loot Crate offers 3 types of subscriptions – one month for $13.37, three months for $55.11, or six months for $105.99 (all include $6/month for shipping and handling). I didn’t feel like one month would be long enough to get the full experience, but I couldn’t justify a six month subscription, sight unseen. So, I settled on the three month deal. My October crate should be shipping at the end of the week, so look for a follow up soon. At the moment, I’ll say that your mileage may vary, but for now I don’t think it was a bad decision. I’ve wasted more money on less, and I still love the anticipation aspect of it. Maybe the contents of October’s crate will be closer to my interests.

For another opinion on the Loot Crate, check here:


For more background on the “R” Treat Box, check here:


18th Sep2012

Thrift Justice – Operation: Time Dig Part 1

by Will

It was a typical Friday night, as I was combing Craigslist to plan out my yard sale route for the next morning. That’s when I found an ad about a “Toy Parts Sale” at an antique mall that I’ve visited in the past. If you’re in the Maryland area, you should visit Taylor’s Antique Mall in Ellicott City, especially this particular booth called Classic Plastic Toy Store. Anyway, the ad mentioned that there would be parts for a plethora of toylines, but that’s what was confusing: were they talking about weapons, accessories or limbs? Luckily, there was a link that led me to a website with more information. Apparently, the guy had a trailer filled with stuff! On that site, it didn’t emphasize the parts aspect, and focused on the lines that would be represented. Here’s what it said:

6″ by 12′ trailer full of:

He-Man, Gi Joe, Battle Beasts, Transformers, Power Rangers, Legos, Playmobil, Thundercats, MASK, Star Wars, Mad Balls, MUSCLE Men Hot Wheels, Mego, slot cars, Voltron, Marx, Buddy L, Slot Cars , Friction Toys ,Wind Up Toys , My little Pony, Smurfs, Micronauts, Battlestar Galactica, weebles , Fisher Price little people , playschool, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , Superheroes , Star Trek  DUNGEONS & DRAGONS , SUPER POWERS, Silverhawks , ZOIDS: ,INDIANA JONES, GHOSTBUSTERS , STOMPER’s , A-Team , Barbie Dolls, Battle Beasts, Beetlejuice Toys , California Raisins , Colecovision , Atari , Dukes of Hazard , Dune , Garbage Pail Kids, Intelevision, Lunch Boxes, Mr. T Action Figures, Sectaurs, Sega Genesis, Shogun Warriors, Silver Hawks, Starcom, stretch armstrong, WWF Wrestlers, 


Get me a towel, boys, ’cause I’m done. Everything you could ever want is listed in that word cloud. Let me tell ya, as nice as that read, it got better. THERE WERE PICTURES!!!! I didn’t have the patience to take pics when I got there, so these are all from the site, enticing me to make the journey. In case you couldn’t tell, this post is gonna be a 2-parter! (all pictures courtesy of classicplastictoystore.com)

This is how everything looked before the carnage

If you couldn’t tell by the pics, this wasn’t a sale for rookies. You’re not just gonna pick something off a folding table and ask “how much?” No, you were going to have to DIG. Not everyone gets down like that. Outside of myself, @PuppetDevall and his wife are the only ones I know of who enjoy a good treasure dig. This one’s for you, Devalls! This was no ordinary dig. No, this was a dig through time. A TIME DIG! So, how did I fare? Check back Thursday for all the dirty details.