1980 JC Penny Christmas Catalog – The Year of the Mime Model

I was looking around wishbookweb.com, which I love to do a disturbing amount, and decided to flip through the 1980 JC Penny Christmas Catalog. Here’s what I found.

First of all, it is very obvious this cover was just a photo-op (or painting-op) for Santa because what the hell is he going to do with that big brush smothered in red paint? Give the doll a Joker smile?

Phony Santa



Next, what a welcoming sight. You just don’t see many modeling opportunities for conjoined twins these days (or maybe since they aren’t identical they were voluntarily conjoined – was that a thing in the 80s?):

Rare Models


I would seriously not want to run into these two in a dark alley, or really anywhere. I guess my best approach would be to grab that big bow on the lady with the bun’s shirt – maybe swing her around with it:

1980 JCPenny Christmas page069

1980 JCPenny Christmas page106


I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating – there are not enough photos in catalogs nowadays of kids who hate the product being advertised. I will never get tired of angry child models:

1980 JCPenny Christmas page203

You know what’s disappointing? Ordering your child a playhouse and when it arrives finding out that an important accessory isn’t included:

1980 JCPenny Christmas page391


And last, here’s another relic from early 1980s modeling – the mime-trapped-in-a-box pose.  With a fashionable outfit like this one, surely someone will come along and break her free – maybe the wrench wielding maniac?

1980 JCPenny Christmas page078

Prized Possessions Vol. 2 – Plastic Charm Necklaces

Who remembers those plastic chain-link necklaces from the 1980s? The ones you would get charms for from a vending machine to add to the necklace. If you’re my age and a girl you probably had one. You’d go back to the grocery or drug store, again and again, scratching yourself like a crackhead (probably from the plastic against your skin), holding a quarter, looking for your next fix – a charm in the shape of a frying pan, for example.  Then you’d add the charm to your necklace, more and more until you looked like Mr. T but instead of gold chains it was little plastic tennis rackets and lipstick and baby bottles and records.

The ones I had were sent to outgrown toy heaven by my mom at some point, but that has never deterred me. I just went to eBay and bought me some new ones several years ago.

Every single charm had a little bell on it, which means there would be no sneaking up on anyone when you were wearing them. And they came in every random item little girls loved!

Numbers 1

1. Tennis racket and little shoes 2. lipstick  3. rape whistle  4. PINK baby bottle for future teen moms of girls  5. something called a “record”  6. something called a “typewriter”  7. sunglasses  8. ping pong paddle  9. choo choo train  10. ballerina slipper  11. corn on the cob (of course)  12. a red football  13. a wrench for all the handygirls out there  14. a ball-peen hammer (forget that claw hammer bullshit – those are for boys!)  15. sausage (aww yeah)  16. uh, a half-eaten fish carcass  17.   an adorable turquoise ax for all the little Lizzie Bordens out there.

Numbers 2

1. toothpaste (as Crest tells me now with their commercials, a lady needs her some non-yellow teeth if she wants to attract a husband!)  2. little yellow lion  3. a heart – girls love hearts!  4. a PINK baseball and 5. PINK baseball bat  6. white elephant  7. a translucent aqua bulldog (probably created after unrelenting demand from 1980s kids)  8. football  9. the word “happy,” it’s just important to be reminded how to feel  10. a bathtub (no dirty girls!)  11. a BLUE baby bottle for future teen moms of boys 12. a comb for lice, I’m assuming 13. a horseshoe and….14. the things that little girls love the most in all the world.


A blue googly-eyed lady thing wearing a bra over a shirt with a misshapen left foot. SO RAD!

I think my favorite charm, which I don’t own, is the mutli-colored abacus. One day I’ll get my hands on one, and then I can finally do some math!

Who remembers these or had one?

1979 Sears Wishbook – Silky PJs for your disco key swapping parties.

I was looking around wishbookweb.com, which I love to do a disturbing amount, and decided to flip through the 1979 Sears Wishbook. Here’s some of the things I found:

Orgy Matching PJs
I don’t care how innocent and out-of-the-gutter your mind is, there’s no way you see this picture of two couples in matching-but-different-color silk pajamas and NOT assume they are all going to have sex together.






Bully and Victim

Don’t these two look like the nerdy hero lead of a 1980s movie and his bully? If only both of them knew when they get home from school they put on the same robe, maybe that’d change everything.






Check out this super creepy Santa:

Creepy Santa

Did people seriously wear “Twas the Night Before Christmas” nightcaps even in the late 1970s?



In most of the menswear pictures, the guys all have one of their hands clenched like they’re holding something. My theory is that they’re cyanide pills and that no male models made it out of the photoshoot alive.

Cyanide Pills

Did you think Snuggies were something new? You were so wrong.

They are LITERALLY wearing their ugly-ass comforters. They have snaps that "envelop" you in a horrible 70s comforter blob monster.
They are LITERALLY wearing their ugly-ass comforters. They have snaps that “envelop” you in a horrible 70s comforter blob monster.
Sears casual clothes make you so casual, you will only seem mildly amused that you are being approached by a giant crotch.
Sears casual clothes make you so casual, you will only be mildly amused that you are being approached by a giant crotch.

Hey, kids, what do you think of Winnie the Pooh?!

Hate Winnie the Pooh


Wall Clocks

A Trip to the State Fair, Part One

Ten years ago Tom and I moved to the Atlanta area. For ten years, I’ve missed out on the North Carolina State Fair.

While I realize that since the state fair is comprised of traveling rides and food carts, my state’s state fair is probably not much different from any other state fair. But, I like to pretend it’s special, and, really, since every single thing is in the exact same place every single year – it is kind of unique in that way (meaning that say the South Carolina state fair probably puts the Worlds Smallest Horse in a different same place every year than North Carolina). That’s one thing I love about it – it doesn’t really change, although I would say this year there were less peanut shells all over the ground, just an observation.

After finally making it back to North Carolina, one of the things I was really looking forward to was getting to go to the State Fair again.

We (Tom, my sister, and I) went on a Wednesday afternoon, which meant a light crowd, which is good – less second hand smoke and faster access to fried foods. We arrived hungry, because as we all know, it is important to save as much room as possible for the delicious treats. But, we’re health-conscious folks, so luckily, we found some healthy fare:

This was called a “bucket” of fried veggies, which I find misleading. I would think a bucket would be at least the size of a standard beach sand pail. That’s not so say that we should have or want an entire sand pail of fried foods (lie), but if you’re going to sell a bucket of something fried – by god, it should be a bucket. I’m pretty sure that’s in the constitution.

But we didn’t let this get us down – we persevered – it’s amazing how brave humans can be in the face of inaccurate bucket descriptions. We plowed on! We moved forward! Tom and Mandy shared some sweet potato fries and I had an ear of roasted corn that was dipped in a vat of butter substance. I know, it’s inspiring.

One thing my sister likes to do every year is go and see the professional cakes from the cake decorating competition. As we made our way through the building, we found winning deserts in the non-cake category:

This is just cruel. “Oh, look! These treats were so delicious, they won ribbons and everything! You can’t have any!”

After sighing and fogging up the glass wishing I could taste what at that point was probably stale, brick-hard cookies, I noticed my sister standing in a long line.

I thought, “ooh, maybe they’re passing out samples of winning deliciousness,” so I went over and asked her why she was in line.

She was in line to LOOK at the winning cakes. I wish I had gotten a picture of it. The line was probably 20-25 people long. It was the only line we stood in the whole day. I tweeted about the absurdity of waiting in a long line to simple see a cake, not eat one. I had several responses that pretty much said “why in the hell would you do that?” I don’t know, other than because my sister wanted to stand in line to see cakes, that meant we had to wait for her to see the cakes, so we might as well wait in line, too.

The cakes were alright, I guess. My two favorites were the headless horseman and Alice in Wonderland cakes:

My first thought was, “I want that headless horseman cake served at my funeral.” Immediately after that was, “I want some cake.”

And you know what? The fair doesn’t sell slices of cake! Maybe some cupcakes, but not actual slices of a whole cake. And that, that just really gets to me. As much as I love the fair, there are elements that reflect the crushing disappointment that life can be.

Sometimes a bucket full of fried goods isn’t actually a bucket, and sometimes you have to wait in line for cake and not actually have any cake. But what do you do? You pick up the pieces, and then fry them, sprinkle them with powdered sugar, and you eat that shit. That’s what you do.

Stay tuned for my next installment of “A Trip to the State Fair,” which will pretty much just be more musings about fried foods.

The 1972 Sears Wishbook – Fun Bags should not be marketed to kids.

I was looking around wishbookweb.com, which I love to do a disturbing amount, and decided to flip through the 1972 Sears Wishbook. Here’s some of the things I found:

All I can think of when I see this picture is that she really needs help with her OCD.

Get your footie pajamas with button up polo shirt and pullover hot pink dress right here! If your house catches on fire and you escape to the lawn, the neighbors will wonder how you got dressed so fast!
She laughs! She turns her head! She cries! She kills your whole family! Tender Lovin’ Ax sold separately.
Are they conjoined twins? What the hell is going on here?