Tandy Leather, the survivor

Remember when I commented on the demise of RadioShack – former Tandy Corporation? I left out an important detail. Tandy Corporation was once parent company of Tandy Leather, which they spun off at some point and is still around today.

They have vastly fewer stores, but they’re still going and take mail and online orders.

The important cool part about all this: they were the one survivor of the Tandy empire!!

Their stores also offer classes on leatherwork.

So, for your viewing pleasure, feel free to compare the visual design and copy writing style to that of an old Radio Shack catalog.

This one’s from 1986 and I still have it for the moment to identify some of the tools my late uncle left behind. The Craftool stuff is just amazingly built. Does any of this even still exist or did cheap Chinese junk blow it out of the market? Who knows. All I know is the remaining Tandy store in Broward is the only place I’ve been able to find grommets that aren’t paper thin and self destruct when you try to set them. 🙂

Already we see that font...
I remember he had this... but elaborately stained, tooled, and laced like crazy.
I have a love/hate relationship with that ruby blade after it got my fingers hidden deep in a disheveled box of tools...
Anyone else get the mental picture of this being laid out at a scout meeting?
Not anymore, but they still have a bunch nationwide.

Interestingly, the mail order worked via the stores – you’d send the order to your nearby store.

Weird development theories, or, “I don’t know how you can eat those things”!

Nice going, you put Ted to sleep!

In 1994, Williams Electronic Games built Red and Ted’s Roadshow, a widebody pinball machine featuring the likeness, voice, and music of country singer Carlene Carter.

Already, if you are familiar with playing modern pinball machines, you’re probably already wondering where country music fits in with pinball.

Most games have original score, some of my favorites being by Chris Granner. Most seem to kind of fall under electronic rock or, in the case of FishTales, a fun energetic bluegrass.

A couple of notable exceptions were High Speed 2: The Getaway, where ZZ Top’s “LA Grange” was licensed for the game and became the soundtrack, and Twilight Zone, where Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” was licensed. In both cases, synth arrangements of the song were created to run in the game’s Yamaha synthesizer based sound board.

But then…. This weird thing happened.

Williams had the DCS system ready for market, which has also been used in some of their video games and even their slot machines. This system, instead of synthesizing sounds on the fly and using a CVSD sampler for some voices, used compressed audio recordings. Rumor has it that the Sony ATRAC codec was used.

So for this poor, unfortunate game, someone decided that Carlene’s song “Every Little Thing” had to go in there…. And…. It’s just ghastly awful and doesn’t fit in a pinball game. She’s got a great voice but that song is a NOPE!! I’m not going to bother looking it up but it’s likely on YouTube.

So, faced with the fact that they had to shoehorn this song into the game somewhere, the designers created original score for normal gameplay…. and shoved Every Little Thing into the multiball modes.

I guess it makes sense. Much like Tommy in The Who’s classic… once multiball kicks in, you don’t hear no buzzers and bells, don’t see no lights a flashing… There’s a certain kind of tunnel vision the senses take on while trying to juggle all those silver spheres and take control of them to make the more valuable jackpot shots. This being a Pat Lawlor game, the jackpot shots are tricky but valuable! (No, it’s definitely not one of these games where about a dozen flashing red arrow lights start at the beginning of multiball, where you can just aimlessly flail at balls and everyone around you just hears a voice shouting “Jackpot!” every two seconds.)

Still though… Very very strange. I’d love to know just what happened there at Williams and why that particular song was chosen. (Record company payola was still a very big thing at the time, so maybe…)

Flush flush flush

Entercom Media
Same Shit, Different Toilet


After Entercom just decided to wipe the decades old Magic 102.7 and its long time personalities right off the dial, I’m now officially downgrading them to “just as bad as Clear Channel/iHeartMedia” for their wanton destruction of the community involvement and creative programming of radio.

It’s all about lowering costs and numbers, right? That’s why we only play the top six songs on the charts, because that means people will listen! Gee I wonder why the only major sponsor we can get is a little tattoo parlor?*

This is of course referring to Shark 104.3 which claims to be “alternative” but is really just top six pop with an occasional alternative track wedged in there in a jarring mismatch between them playing “Budapest”, “Latch”, and “Safe And Sound” four times an hour.

* one where they have been proud to have done tongue surface piercings for some of their clients. Come on man I’m a radio engineer and even I know that shit don’t work.
Yes, as the station’s engineer one does wind up being the one who gets asked “does this poorly placed thing that I’m not taking care of properly as it heals look infected?”… It just happens

Damn Florida, you scary.


These are the leftovers of a snail kite’s dinner, shells of the Apple Snail.

But wait…. Apple snails aren’t this big.

Turns out this is a Brazilian apple snail brought over by the aquarium trade, which has colonized the Everglades in great numbers and created the usual problems of vegetation destruction and excessive poop.

Note the quarter for scale.

The snail kites are happy, though, one of the odd cases of an invasive species helping out a threatened native.

Yeah because that makes any sense


I’m not even going to try to contemplate this too deeply. The photograph has been on my phone for weeks, haunting my efforts to go find something else I shot more recently.

Who even does this and why did I take a piece?! Why?! What.

What lurks on Channel X?

Brb going back to the 1980s….

Simulated walnut grain finish.


This is an early model cable converter — it simply let you watch cable channels on a non cable ready TV set. I have many childhood memories of watching shows through one. The top of the box always got so warm, and ours had the piano key selector on a long cable. The control, from memory, is nothing but a big resistor divider that sets the voltage presented to a varactor diode in the tuner, with a couple of logic lines going back from that selector on the left to switch the tuner between three bands. As this was all highly inexact, the fine tuning roller on the right was usually in need of a twist. Set it just right while the right two or more buttons were pressed down at once and sometimes you could juuuust watch the scrambled channels, in weird green picture with horizontal warping around a green and white color bar…!! Shhhhh don’t tell anyone….

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