Tag Archives: pbs

Storage Whores ~ How ‘Sell’-ebrities Devalue Our Treasures

Storage-WarsGentle Readers,
While we enjoy ‘reality tv’s’ foray into the collectibles business, we can’t ignore how they are stealing money from us while we watch them. Reality is now defined by scripted episodes, sort of like professional wrestling only with antiques.
Antiques Roadshow, the premier PBS series on collectibles, presents real opinions by real auction experts who tell real prices on items that any of us may own. We find this to be very interesting and helpful. The once-respectable A&E Network gives us Storage Wars, the once-believable History Channel doles out Pawn Stars (and obviously does not ‘fact check’ stories Rick Harrison tells suckers, er, customers about their soon to be lost valuables) and TruTV, among the most audacious channels, shows Hard Core Pawn.
The premise is the same for all three – somebody makes a mint while somebody else gets screwed. Yes, it sounds like Washington, DC.
Nonetheless, in efforts to lowball the poor stiffs who feed them, items which once held value to us are picked apart, scoffed at, niggled over and usually sold at a huge loss to the poor nitwit who sells it. The other two take place in pawn shops while Storage Wars follows collectors who buy storage bins and sell the priciest items within. If you have watched these shows for a few seasons, you may have noticed that prices are going lower on all the items. Even when figuring out how much an item from storage is worth, a leather jacket will be said to be worth ten dollars. We know damn well they cost more than ten dollars, even used…unless you are very slick and crafty at getting bargains.
On a recent episode (recent to us, anyway) of Pawn Stars, Harrison talked a customer out of a vintage cap gun/holster collection. The seller wanted $250 and ended up taking $65 for the collection of guns and holsters. Last year, we found some old cap gun holsters in out stuff while moving and put them on Ebay, not expecting much. We had three holsters with no guns. One holster had the buckle ripped off and another was missing the gun sheath. We sold them for $350, all together. That was OUR reality!

Do you get the idea?
Our Superman lunchbox with thermos from the sixties used to sell for over $800 to collectors. Thanks to Ebay, the set has fallen to under $500. If anybody finds one on a ‘reality show,’ the reality will be that the price goes down.
Remember…all those idiots on Duck Dynasty grew those beards just for the show!

this is a free blog. as such, expect some typos….
thanks for reading!

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William S. Burroughs and the Mushroom Machine~Tonight on PBS (or not)!!!

     Space Travelers, tonight is the night that the PBS series Independent Lens presents the installment on our beloved mentor and spiritual scout, William S. Burroughs: A Man Within. Scanning through the local listings, we see that the episode will be presented at 10pm on WHYY, the Philadelphia-based PBS channel.

     Unfortunately, we see that in the Lehigh Valley, on WLTV and to the north on WITF, the mushroom machine is in full-work mode, keeping people in the dark and feeding them shit.  They will NOT be airing the episode tonight.

     Why hide a life that shows how decades of heroin addiction did nothing to slow down the juggernaut that was WS Burroughs?  Why hide the fact that this junky put the lid on censorship in the USA, following the lead of Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer, who broke through walls to give us free speech and use of words, as we were promised in the Constitution of the USA?  Why hide a man who shot his wife in the head during a speed and alcohol fueled ‘William Tell Act’ which went bad?

     Why? Because he is a hero to so many and to encourage such behavior would be American, actually.  Dubbed the ‘Godfather of Punk,’ he was cooler at age 70 than any of us, hanging with the punks, letting them draw on his energy, guiding them toward the expression of the word as emotion.  We do not want our kids admiring somebody like this!  It gives the wrong impression about doing your homework and working hard to get smashed by the AmericanDreamMachine, which has become more of a sleight of hand trick than anything.

     Call your local PBS channel and ask them when they will show this episode of Independent Lens. Remind them that they will be asking for donations soon and this will weigh heavily on your decision to give. Tell them anything but make sure they know they did wrong by not airing this great program.

     Otherwise, Comcast viewers in my area of the Greater Philadelphia region can watch on WHYY…and the next time WHYY has a fund-raiser, remember this!

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From The Beat Cookie Jar – William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

     Gentle Readers, a new morsel of the good stuff showed up in the Beat cookie jar today, an advance copy of a PBS Independent Lens series episode, which will air across the USA starting February 22 – William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.

     Even before it arrived, we liked it for the title, which brings to mind one of our most favorite books by Burroughs, The Cat Inside.  It is a work of straight writing, like his novels Junky and Queer, and we prefer his traditional style moreso than his lunatic-fringed works, which are always the target of imitators and penny-ante enthusiasts, a fad which seem to recur every ten years or so since we first ‘discovered’ Beat writing in the 1970s.  We consider ourselves, here at CFYSA, lucky to have read most of the Beats at a tender age.  It allowed many details to be forgotten in the thirty years hence – which makes those same works a joy to rediscover and reread now, in what we assume to be adulthood.

     We have not viewed the new DVD yet, since it still has cookie crumbs clinging to the wrapper.  It will be reviewed in the next issue of Beatdom Issue 9 – The Drugs Issue.  It will appear on your own tv sets in about two or three weeks, however, so we thought it prudent to give you all a heads-up on this marvelous bit of programming.

     With a soundtrack by our hero and Burroughs compatriot, Patti Smith (along with Sonic Youth) and narrated by Naked Lunch star Peter Weller, the film shows previously unreleased footage of The Man, as well as unseen interviews with many others, including Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Anne Waldman, John Waters, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith and Jello Biafra as part of the diverse array.  This is a goldmine for Burroughs fans everywhere!

     PBS has also launched a companion website to promote the film at www.pbs.org/independentlens/burroughs where fans can get more detailed information, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker and explore the links and resources.  Viewers of the site can even share their ideas and opinions on the Talkback section of the site.

     This is a rather short blog but it is only here to point you to the film, which was made by a 25-year-old high school dropout – our favorite type of scholar – Yony Leyser.  Actually, some websites say he dropped out of college, some say film school and others say high school…we just admire him as an Outsider who dropped out to follow his vision.  Shouldn’t everybody?

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