Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Saturday Seven: Useless Retro Personal Junk

As American citizens, we grow up enjoying the inconsequential little "luxuries" that no other nation on this planet knows. And by "inconsequential luxuries", I mean useless little personal items that no one really needs but feels compelled to buy while in line at the drug store. I suppose it's the glory of capitalism that anyone can get rich with an idea and a little ambition. Or perhaps as the quote commonly attributed to circus man PT Barnum goes: "There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em". This brings me to the topic for another edition of The Saturday Seven: Useless Retro Personal Junk

#1 The Pet Rock: Invented in 1975 in California, it spread like wildfire to the rest of the country. This was a pet that required no food, no care and still gave its owner a few moments of pleasure.

#2 The Venus Flytrap: Popularized in the 1970's by "Little Shop of Horrors". Our friends at Wikipedia define it as "a carnivorous plant that catches and digests animal prey (mostly insects and arachnids). The trapping structure is formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant's leaves. The plant's name refers to Venus, the Roman goddess of love and plant life." These are so gross to watch.

#3 The Lava Lamp: Invented in the 60's, this useless but decorative lamp has a gentle flow of randomly-shaped blobs of wax suggests the flowing of hot liquid magma volcano lava. Groovy man....
#4 The Magic 8 Ball: Invented in 1946, it is a hollow, plastic ball made to resemble an over sized, black and white 8 ball. The fortunes are given by a white plastic die in the shape of an icosahedron, floating in a blue liquid, with answers to yes-no questions in raised letters on its 20 triangular faces. If you are interested, the standard answers are: Signs point to yes. Yes. Most likely. Without a doubt. Yes - definitely. As I see it, yes. You may rely on it. Outlook good. It is certain. It is decidedly so. Reply hazy, try again. Better not tell you now. Ask again later. Concentrate and ask again. Cannot predict now. My sources say no. Very doubtful. My reply is no. Outlook not so good. Don't count on it.

#5 The Chia Pet: Originated in the early 1980's, the Chia Pet achieved widespread popularity. They became somewhat of a fad in the 1990's but surprisingly resurfaced in the late 90's and early 00's and revived it's fad status. The catch-phrase related to the Chia Pet, sung in the commercial as the plant grows, is "Ch-ch-ch-chia!" (oh go ahead, "sing out Louise", you know you want to)
#6 The Rubiks Cube: Originally invented in 1974 by a dude named Erno Rubik, but it achieved popularity in 1980. In fact over one hundred million cubes were sold in the period from 1980 to 1982. Amazingly, it has over 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different positions, but can usually be solved in just 27 or fewer moves. Zoinks!
And in the tradition of The Saturday Seven, the bonus item, at no extra charge is: The Bean Bag chair. These hideous creations were hugely popular as "mod" furniture during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and gained popularity again in the 1990s, as companies began selling chairs filled with shredded polyurethane foam.
-Rick Rockhill


wd said...

Aww... the Venus Fly Trap I had in elementary school was amazing .. LOL

and the "Magic 8 Ball?" One in an original box seems to be worth quite a bit of Money. (Magic Ball says: Not Likely)

(HUGE bear hug) ...b

curmudgeon said...

Let's see here:
Pet rock? Idiots.
Venus fly trap? Always wanted one, but never got around to getting one.
There is a lava lamp in my game room.
I have an 8-ball on my desk right now.
Hated chia pets.
Same goes for Rubix.
Mrs Curmudgeon asked for a bean bag chair from Santa - and got it.

Care to share a Space Food Stick with me whilst we hoola-hoop?


Ross said...

pet rock, what moron would buy that, go outside and get one, jeez, lol

as for the rubiks cube, i love it, i can do it in 50 seconds, maybe if u learned how to do it, u wouldnt think its junk, humph, :)

u can learn how to do the cube, at

lime said...

hehehehe, my younger daughter has a lava lamp AND a giant beanbag chair my mother made for her in her bedroom

Donna Adams said...

I lived my entire childhood around my 8 balls predictions, wish I had one now raising two teenagers. Donna 47 in Rock Hill SC


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