Music To Grow Plants (E.S.C., 1970)


The full title of this release is "Music To Grow Plants, Presented By Dr. George Milstein."  It's from 1970, and is actually a very rare LP.  It originally included a flyer and a packet of seeds.  I actually found mine in a remote Game Exchange for $1.99, believe it or not.

Each side is one long, unlabeled, uncredited track.  Besides just being completely wacky, this record is popular because the music is the smarmiest, most upbeat "elevator music" you've ever heard.  It gives me late-60's British vibes, and must subconsciously remind me of some shows or movies.  I haven't quite put my finger on it yet.

There is one further point to mention.  In between each song (and also during), there is a shrill, high-pitched electronic tone.  I figured this had something to do with the concept, and sure enough, the back of the jacket tells us this:

So, since plants don't have ears, I suppose the theory is that different vibrations can have effects on them.  I wonder if this theory continued to be studied, or was considered a...botanical outlier (use that phrase in a sentence today at work, and earn extra points!).  We know this sort of theory has merit, because of two reasons:  first, they used to play horrible pop music incessantly to break prisoners of war, and secondly, they do that to me every time I go into a retail store or Five Below.

This tone will pop up and become obvious at various times in this recording, and it dawned on me this morning that it could probably be removed using Audacity (which is a free program), which has a great capability for removing unwanted levels of sounds, and works well for rumble or hiss when cleaning up recordings.  

Or, hey! You may even want to try playing this record repeatedly as intended, and see if your own houseplants respond.  All our bread molded, so I had to stop.

LINK: Music To Grow Plants


DYNAMITE Magazine: "All In The Family - Monster Style" (Vol. 3, No. 1, July 1979)


Remember school book orders? Are those still a thing? We had Scholastic book orders, and they were a blast.  While at home, I had a subscription to ELECTRIC COMPANY magazine, through the book orders, we could get cool magazines like HOT DOG or DYNAMITE, and as a result, we were well-informed in the department of Cool Things.  

And speaking of DYNAMITE, which Scholastic published themselves, here is an article from the July 1979 issue, about the interesting subject of monster lineage! I suppose the title of "All In The Family" was still on people's minds at that time; in fact, the popular sitcom actually ended that year, and the title is used here to introduce the article.  

One thing people don't understand about the late 1970's was, it was a time when a kids' magazine could allude to DRACULA'S DAUGHTER...FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER...and, hope you are sitting down, even DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE (wait, really?) without even blinking. Thereby piquing the curiosity of many a small mind...including my small mind (insert laugh here).

Unfortunately, when the article comes to the subject of SON OF GODZILLA, it sort of just uses it as a joke, which was too bad, but typical of the dearth of decent Godzilla information from that time period in America.

I really like the illustration of the Fly child, with Fly doll (with Mouse pants, even).

There were further bonuses in this issue:  a large poster of hidden pictures, and a cardstock Monster Family Portrait!

You can sort of see this in the scan, but the idea was that you would punch out the faces of each monster in the portrait, and then stick photos of your friends and family behind it, where their faces would show through.  Pretty cute...but, can we talk about the extreme scale problem here? Nevermind that Minya looks like the alligator from Pogo. All hail the late 1970s!


The Rock-afire Explosion - GEE, OUR 1st ALBUM! (1982) & bonus singles


We have talked about Showbiz Pizza Place more than once, but it was several years and hundreds of posts ago now.  In the past, we've even shared a couple of songs, but it's time to do a masterpost, because last weekend I actually ran across a super nice copy of their one and only LP.

GEE, OUR 1st ALBUM was primarily for sale at the counter of the restaurants, beginning in 1982.  I have even seen reports of a child receiving it as their birthday record (when you had your birthday party at Showbiz Pizza, you were given a record, but it was usually one of the 45rpm birthday singles).  And that was basically the only way to get it.

Most everyone has seen THE ROCK-AFIRE EXPLOSION documentary from 2009 by this point (if not, it's now free on YouTube), but one of the amazing things about the animatronic show that was the backbone of the restaurant is that it was backed by lots of genuine talent.  Not simply random voice artists, but people that actually played together, but also are/were incredible singers.  And it comes through on this LP.  Sure, it does occasionally veer into children's album territory, but I'm willing to bet that you will find yourself entertained, and even impressed.
Speaking of the track list, you get Elvis, The Doors, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, The Chipmunks, Billy Joel, The Righteous Brothers, The Beatles, and even a couple of curve ball surprises.  Again, I was shocked at how well this record was taken care of.  It needed very little done to it, and I hope it takes you right back to the wonderful hours spent in that darkened arcade that smelled like pizza.

But wait, there's more!  As bonus tracks, here are two of the 45's that were released.  For the "Happy Birthday Medley," my very own original copy is presented here, given to me at my very own Showbiz Pizza birthday party all those years ago (thanks, Mom & Dad!).  

But wait, there's still one further bonus! Have you ever wondered what the talent behind the Rock-afire Explosion looked like? On YouTube, I found a super-rare example of them performing together, from a 1983 telethon.  It's amazing and lucky for us that it was preserved. Enjoy!


The Good News Is, The Scammers Are Getting Dumber

I still have a Yahoo email address (hey, that's not funny), and a couple of weeks ago, their whole system must've gotten knackered, because there's been a flood of wonky spam, the likes of which I've never seen before in all these years.  Now, I'm deleting dozens and dozens each day.  Which is rather counter-productive.

Most of us know that the purpose of scam emails is to trick you into doing one of two things: clicking on something, or in lesser cases, calling a phone number.  Now that I'm seeing a lot of it at once, it's amazing how many of the reprobates that make these things simply can't spell.  How many times have you seen things like this?

Another thing that we know is that most of these creeps don't have a command of the English language, and I began to think that they think that we spam lots of vowels when we want to make a point or emphasize something, like a 9-year old girl on social media.  The truth is probably that they think it calls attention to their garbage email, and makes it stand out.  In reality, it's a visual cue for "rubbish, please ignore," and usually causes [reputable, not Yahoo's apparently] spam filters to actually kick out email with such titles.  And then you have complete gobbledegook like the last example, which isn't even trying to make any sense.

It's not surprising that the same old standbys are still going around: the fake UPS/FedEx package notification, the fake Apple App Store receipt, the fake Amazon bill, and the fake CVS prescription, not to mention the myriad fake gift cards/gift certificates that fake stores are trying to fake-give away. I was surprised to see that a very old standby from the 1990's is still a thing:
The old "click the target" (if moving) or "break one of the eggs/packages/etc" ...older than dirt.

However, all of this is merely preamble, because I'm about to show you the stupidest spam email that I've ever seen.  This is so bad, it wouldn't fool my grandmother, and she's dead.  Go ahead and read over it, and then we will break it down together:

First of all, this was obviously made in Microsoft Paint.  Secondly, it was embedded in the email as a JPEG.  Right off the bat, we are on very, very shaky ground, before we even dive in.  And then we start reading...

"Dear customer" (no proper punctuation...also, Target knows who I am, because I have one of those 5% off cards.  We are "like this" [crosses fingers].)

Then, a second salutation:  "Greetings     from     Target" (once again, no punctuation; also, spacebar spamming)

The first paragraph is missing lots of punctuation, is missing capitalization where it should be, has it where it shouldn't be, but the icing on the cake is when they tell me the whole thing is on hold because of my Amazon account. Wait, is Target the Amazon Police now? I had no idea! Branching out, I guess...like that time K-Mart came and mowed my lawn.  Yes, that sounds logical.  We shouldn't overlook the price of $641 which is included here, which is meant to instantly raise the blood pressure of the reader and represent a dangerously unspendable amount, obviously concocted by a psychological mastermind.

"...so we can deliver your product on time as we promised you..[note: two periods.]" Hey, they promised! A sense of urgency and entitlement has been heightened and encouraged within me! I am roused to immediate action...nah, not really.

They of course ask for a phone call, and then "go the extra mile" to say that my "number [is] registered to your payment method." So...if I call...they will automatically know it's me? Nevermind that I would've paid for this purchase WITH THE TARGET CARD I mentioned above.  Next, the phone number, naturally (expressed weirdly and with a "+" that in this country, denotes an overseas call), but what is even more baffling are the next lines, showing the item to be a drone (or possibly a User Guide for a drone?), the amount again, payment made via "checking" (uh-huh), and then a spoof name and address with no zip code.  Clearly, the item and address are meant to raise our ire, just as the amount was:  Hey, I didn't charge that much! Hey, I didn't order a drone!! Hey, I'm not Mr. Thomas of "Sanjose" that has no zip code!!!

And then, as supervillain school teaches you, you have to drive home your point with a concluding statement, and the writer of our email chooses to do it.....like this.

At this point, if you still need any further proof of the validity of this email, then you are beyond any help. 

It is sad that lots of people fall prey to fake emails, especially the elderly (that said, there are some great people on YouTube that have devoted their lives to taking down scammers--these people are real-life super-heroes and I recommend you seek out their videos), but this one fooled absolutely no one.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pick up a few things at Costcooo.

UPDATE:  Now, a few weeks later, I received another fake Target email, saying I'd won a "reward" and needed to "crack" one of three Christmas ornaments.  In late February.  Brilliant, fake email senders.  Just brilliant.  Also, the return address had nothing to do with Target at all, and was the usual string of nonsense:  "gasconhorsemanship@gmail." You just have to laugh.


New Godzilla VHS boxed set discovered!


After chronicling over 177 different American VHS releases of Godzilla and his friends, a boxed set I'd never seen before turned up on Ebay, and I jumped on it with gusto.  It is from 1998 and calls itself the "Special Edition Collector's Set" (remember how everything after 1997 was suddenly a "Special Edition"?), but really the most "special" thing about it is the box, as both tapes were available elsewhere.  But, hey, I live for this stuff, and since I do, check out the entire list of every VHS tape featuring Godzilla (and friends) released in the U.S.A during the age of videotape.  At the bottom of the page, you can download a PDF that presents all of the info in book form.  In fact, I have finally gotten it updated to include new discoveries like this one. The project has gotten so big, it's split into two PDFs: one for VHS, and one for everything else (8mm/Super 8, Laserdisc, CED, and more on the way)!