1084 – Sharper Image Catalog
A meader through the pages of the past, good-natured gadgets, and bedtime bonding.
Episode 1084 – Sharper Image Catalog
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Hey everybody, if you’re listening to this, I just wanted to thank you for signing up for a ad-free version of Sleep With Me in Apple Podcasts whether you signed up for the free trial or the annual subscription or you’re getting it month-to-month. Thank you so much for the support. I hope you’re enjoying these ad-free shows. They come out twice a week. It helps keep the podcast going. You could save money by signing up for an annual subscription and you could do all that right in your Apple Podcast settings. So, thanks for being a subscriber here on Apple Podcasts. Again, you just handle all that right through your Apple Podcasts subscriptions, your settings right in your Apple profile, all in your Apple ID info. You can handle that where you handle all of your other Apple subscriptions. So, thanks so much for signing up here on Apple Podcasts. Thanks.
Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…you know, I think I already did this for…I’m like, have I already done this song for a teaser? But when you want to go to sleep and you can’t even fall asleep, something’s got ahold of you and kinda taken over…but Scoots…my voice and my creaky, dulcet tones are a little bit older, so I’ll have your thoughts moving onward towards me. So, meet me at our spot here in the deep, dark night. Really, meet me at our spot. You say Scoots, wasn’t…?
I said yeah, I recorded this in the fall of 2021, but our spot is wherever you are. That’s the nice thing about Sleep With Me. So, yeah, it’s…oh, if you’re confused and you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. If you could pay attention here or when your hand hits that fridge tomorrow, go to sleepwithmepodcast.com/sponsors. These are the ways we’re able to be here for you free twice a week. Thank you, patrons. What do you say we get on with the show?
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep, carries you off to sleep, or is here for you in the deep, dark night, however you choose to use it. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the…we do all that other stuff with a bedtime story and a super-long intro. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest, which I guess even that part’s…Sleep With Me; under construction, slow, meandering construction. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out…I’m gonna do the rest. Sleep With Me; some of the shows become figurative and true at the same time. But alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights…I’m gonna do the rest.
What I’m going to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake or whatever you’re feeling or dealing with while you’re awake, whether that’s thoughts on your mind about the past, the present, or the future. Got those; holy moly…anything emotionally coming up like feelings related to those thoughts or something else or that are just there. Physical sensations, could be changes in time or temperature, routine, travel, someone else is traveling. Whatever it is. There could be so many things that are there in the deep, dark night. Here’s the good news; what you’re dealing with is important and there’s probably someone else listening somewhere on the planet, somewhere across this beautiful, beautiful globe we live on, or…oh, it’s not a globe.
A globe is…but…I was trying to make a nice point in my brain. See? That’s why I make the sleep podcast. Live, internal criticism coming in a beautiful moment. But there probably is someone dealing with what is in my head or your body or your feelings or whatever else you’re going through. They also know how it feels. So, whatever’s keeping you awake, I’m here to take your mind off of that, and the way I’m gonna do it…and that’s really what I’m here to do, is to keep you company and take your mind off of stuff by sending my voice across the deep, dark night. I got this nice, safe place. You can meet me at our spot, like that song says. I smooth it, I pat it, I rub it down, I say safe place, and then I…oh, use lulling, soothing tones, pointless…lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents.
I guess I can be honest with you; this is one of the…this is November when I’m recording this. When you’re hearing it, it’s probably the spring or something. But yeah, it’s just…yeah, I’ve been thinking about the year of Sleep With Me and how people use it and how important it is. So, all that stuff is meant to take your mind off of stuff and keep you company while you drift off, or if you can’t drift off, I’m here to be here…I’m here to be here to keep you company. What all that means is pointless meanders and superfluous tangents, you’re kinda seeing those; natural mistakes, being human, all that is where I get mixed up or I misspeak. Those are parts of the show so that you know it’s okay to be human. So, what are the most important things to know? One is that you are important.
Your sleep…you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a spot…a place where you could rest and get comfortable, turn out the lights, sink in, and drift off. You deserve a bedtime you could at least feel neutral about if not look forward to. I really believe that, one, because I know how it feels on the other…the flip side of it. I know what it like…it’s like to dread bedtime or to feel like oh, well, it’s getting…oh, no. So, I know those feelings really well. So, that’s one thing. The other thing is that if you get the sleep you need, the rest you need, your life is gonna be more manageable, your life is gonna be better, and if you’re out there living your life, the world I live in is a better place to be in. If your life’s more manageable and then eventually you can flourish, that means our world flourishes.
So, that is important to me. So, that’s the reason, one, I make the show. I know how it feels and you’re important, and I’d like to help create a bedtime that you could feel decent about. Now ideally, I’d like to create a bedtime…you really can’t wait to get into bed. That’s what I strive for, but if I get there where you say well, at least I have Scoots to talk some nonsense to me, I’ve achieved all my life…really, my life has meaning. So, there’s that. Now, a couple things to know; this podcast just doesn’t work for everybody, and you may have already noticed that. But if you’re new, you might be skeptical or you might be doubtful and you might have feelings stronger than that. Just see how it goes. For the majority of listeners that I’ve heard from, it takes two or three tries to get used to the show.
Now, if you already loathe it, we have a ton of other sleepy stuff you could check out that’s not related to this podcast; sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou. So, there’s other sleep podcasts and sleep audio out there you could check out, and hopefully that will help you. But yeah, it just doesn’t work for everybody, but for most people they say oh yeah, now I realize the podcast never gets started. It never makes any sense. It’s always making barely any sense. Now I get it. As we say around here, Sleep With Me, always going nowhere…going nowhere slow. Always going somewhere, maybe…I don’t know, or nowhere, or I forgot. Can’t fit…Sleep With Me; can’t fit any of our phrases on a pillow because Scoots keeps going. Always going nowhere. Isn’t that what I say? So, yeah, just give it a few tries.
A couple other things if you’re new or if you’re a regular listener, maybe you like these reminders; this show does not put you to sleep, and right now I’m…you might hear it in my voice. I’m realizing how important it is to remind you of that. This podcast is here to keep you company whether you’re awake or asleep, so…and that’s really what I think works about it, because I know there’s people out there that are listening right now that are dealing with stuff and they can’t sleep, whether it’s something long-term or something short-term, because I’ve dealt with both of those, too. It’s important for me to keep you company and to take your mind off of stuff, and that’s really why most people are able to fall asleep.
I’m gonna be here to keep you company whether you’re listening to me or not, or you’re half-listening or you’re barely listening. So, this podcast doesn’t really put you to sleep. I’m more a friend. Like I said, meet me in our spot. You say Scoots, that song is about something else. I say well, you know, I never get…I’m too busy projecting to listen to the actual lyrics. I gotta make it about me somehow, but…so, I’m here to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-cuz, your bore-sib, and keep you company so that you could fall asleep whenever you want and you don’t even notice. You say, I was barely listening to Scoots ‘cause he was always going nowhere, and then I woke up the next day so rested. Also, this is a podcast you don’t really listen to. I think that kinda goes along with what I’m saying.
You just kinda listen to it. Listening’s optional. You can listen, but you could also just barely listen, or some people turn it down to a mumble. Whatever you’re comfortable with, just see how it goes. That kinda leads into the structure of the show. Now, the show is structured in a very specific way for very specific purposes, but as you become a regular listener, you can adjust how you use your sleep timers and all that kinda stuff for what works for you. But the show is structured in a way…it starts out with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, so that you feel welcome and seen. Usually I try to do something funny or witty or whatever songs I’m thinking about or whatever, try to tie that in so that you say oh, I feel welcome and I know this is a little bit silly, kind, and goofy.
Then there’s support, support for the show via sponsors and patrons, members that pay for the pod…free podcast, and then support for listeners and support for the communities around the show. That enables us to be here for you twice a week for free on any podcast app. There’s over…there should be around 400 episodes for free in our pod…in your podcast app. So, that’s what that’s there for. Some people say why…what? I say well, that’s our goal; twice a week for free. Then there’s the intro. Now, the intro’s not part of the support. The intro supports your bedtime routine, ‘cause some people get very…they have strong feelings about the intro. You could skip it. 2% to 3% of listeners do, if you’re a regular…as you get used to the show, and then a few thousand people listen to story-only episodes on Patreon.
But the intros are a lot of people’s favorite part of the show. It’s different every single time, and the intro organically grew out of listener feedback because…and what I learned about sleep as I was making this show for years and years, is this…the intro introduces new people to the show, but for a regular listener, it eases you into bedtime. It’s a transition between being awake and trying to fall asleep. It’s some middle time that you could use to wind down or get ready for bed or do something else relaxing, or you could be getting in bed getting comfortable, but you don’t have that pressure to fall asleep. That pressure to fall asleep, oof, we don’t want that around here. The intro is a easy…me talking about nothing and getting mixed up and forgetting what I’m gonna talk about, but it has a familiar structure like the show has a familiar structure.
So you say oh, okay, Scoots is gonna try to describe what the podcast is, he’s gonna try to talk about these points to the new listener and for me; he’s talking to me. So, that’s the intro. It goes on and on and on. Then again, there’s support between the intro and the story, again so the podcast can be here for you twice a week. Then there’s the story. Tonight we’ll be talking about an…Sharper Image catalog, so that’ll be sleepy stuff. Unless you’re a collector of cordless phones, not cell phones, then you could still look it up on the internet later. You could still sleep through it.
So, that’s the structure of the show. There’s thank-yous at the end, and that’s why I make the show. I’m really glad you’re here. I really appreciate you checking this podcast out. Give it a few tries if you’re new. I want to be your bore-bae, your bore-sib, your bore-cuz, your bore-bestie, your bore-bud. I’m glad you’re here. I work really hard, I yearn and I strive, and I really hope we can help you fall asleep. Thanks again for coming by, and here’s a couple of ways we’re able to be here for you free twice a week.
Alright everybody, Scoots here and we’re talking tonight about…no, I gotta…I guess I have a little bit of a setup here ‘cause it’s a bit of a white whale for me. So, this one is a bit of a elusive thing. I wasn’t able to actually get the catalog that I was looking for. Now, in…as with the tradition of all library-based stuff, I did message them, or I did…not message them. Sorry; I’m trying to get this thing loaded on a different device than I usually use. But so, okay, so we’re gonna be talking about a catalog here, and it’s a Sharper Image catalog. Now, this is something that has changed drastically, in my opinion, through the history of this company, and I don’t think it’s the original company anymore. So, I guess that also makes it interesting because it’s had some evolutions, like so many things have had.
So, I guess I’ll set it up and then we’ll go through this catalog and then go through why I wanted to talk about it, and then go through the catalog that I did get access to. I’ll put down the device for now so I can focus on being here with you. That’s what’s important, not about these catalogs. We’re really here to just spend some time together, right? So, as a child of the 80s and the 90s, Sharper Image was…the definition in my opinion, I guess, of aspirational wealth that I…participating…and actually, I guess let’s put it in the grey area that it’s neither good nor bad, neither healthy or unhealthy. It’s somewhere in the grey area between all that.
But I will say there was a certain pleasure in participating in this fantasy, and maybe that’s what led to the podcast, of looking at a Sharper Image catalog at someone’s house, because at this time, I think in the cusp of the 80s and the 90s, I don’t even think you…if you were a regular person like me or my family, I don’t even think…at least the perception was you couldn’t even get a Sharper Image catalog yourself. This may have been a catalog…and it’s funny how things come back. Now, catalogs haven’t come back, but the idea of being in a exclusive club you have to pay for to spend money at…so, you’re gonna pay us to get our catalog so you could buy stuff from us. It’s hilarious but it is something that’s a thing, right? It always is. Again, we’re saying this from the grey area of more curiosity and interest.
So, I guess it wasn’t Little Andy, but Little Andy had a couple of touchstones with Sharper Image catalogs. Now, there’s the big one that we’ll talk about in a second here, but I had one friend who I think moved to the area and only became my friend for like, two years of late grammar elementary school. Now, they were not ostena…whatever you call that. They had a Sharper Image catalog. They may have had Sharper Image products as well, but I don’t necessarily remember them being showy with…maybe they had nice cars and stuff, but it’s not like they had a huge house or…I don’t know. Maybe I’m just remembering ‘cause I remember playing with them and stuff like that. But I just don’t remember them having…being showy with their wealth.
But they did have the Sharper Image catalog, and again, yeah, when I would…I only remember really looking at one or two of them, so that was one experience with Sharper Image. Then later in life, I…have another friend who…his house actually had some products from Sharper Image and eve…actually even later in life, I would have someone else that I was in a relationship with that I’m pretty sure…so, I think I covered Sharper Image…I had contact with Sharper Image and Sharper Image people, and I was…I guess I was aspirationally a Sharper Image person, at least in the…on the cusp of the 80s and the 90s. So, Sharper Image…I mean, I guess it all says it in the branding, right? It was a catalog initially based on the Sharper Image, which means kind of like…I guess now you’d say something like a tech bruh, but probably not.
Like, someone sleek that had money to spend. I think right now when I’m recording it…well, I guess you would associate it with…yuppies was the term they used in the 90s, I think. Just when I’m recording this, I’m thinking it’s…I’m recording this in the holiday season even though you won’t hear it then. But it just made my mind jump that there’s the National Lampoon’s Holiday Vacation film, right? In the movie is Julia Louis-Dreyfus and someone else, and they’re playing a yuppie-type couple, young urban professional, but I guess these were young suburban professionals, so again I’m wrong right away. But in their home, when they did show it and their fashion, that would…you’d say okay, that’s a little bit like a Sharper Image style.
Now, I think if you were really to dig deep, it was Sharper Image, and…’cause if you…they sold a lot of audio products, is what I would associate them with. But I think if you were an audiophile, you’d say well, why would you pay that when you could get this? So, oh, but I was talking about my history. So, then again in I guess the 90s, I had a friend whose house had the massager or massage chair. Oh, and another thing they had…they were one of the first companies, again, that I would…saw that had…this is when people listened to music on CDs and you could get a CD player that fit a hundred CDs, like a jukebox. At least to me, the only place you could get that was Sharper Image, but again, that would be wrong.
You probably could have got it at RadioShack or an upscale audio/video place, or even a regular audio/video place. But I wasn’t buying any of this stuff; I was just thirsty. I was saying everything’s…all my problems are gonna go away if I get a…I don’t have a hundred CDs, but if I had a CD player that could play a hundred CDs and I had a hundred CDs to play, all this stuff deep underneath the surface here, it’ll all go away, ‘cause I’ll have a sharper image. I think that might be the frowny side of it, but the other side of it is just as real too, that it’s like oh, wow, that I did feel something tangible looking at the catalogs.
On the cusp of the 80s and the 90s, as you move into the 90s and then into the aughts — which again, I had someone in my life in the aughts around the cusp of the aughts and the 90s — Sharper Image slowly became something more synonymous with some…with airplane magazines and airplane…airport kiosks. So, they went on this journey, I guess what you would call now or looking at it…a loss of identity. In search of customers, they lost their identity. Now, maybe it was never successful and maybe it was only at the first Sharper Image, or it was like well, there’s only so many people with Sharper Image we can get to buy stuff. So, I don’t know. But none of that…I know there’s plenty of articles out there about the history of Sharper Image and tweet…even threaded…treaded wheats…threaded tweets that I saw.
But this isn’t about research. I was actually searching for a very specific catalog, because my first contact that I purely remember and that I know it exists…at first I was like, did this thing even not exist? But it did, and I contacted the…one of the libraries at USC, so shout-out to anybody at USC, ‘cause I know there was some USC listeners, and I don’t know if they have a digitized copy of this catalog, but I know in their James Bond collection, they have this catalog. So, I have requested access to it, and…I don’t know. If anybody’s a librarian or a archivist at USC, let me know, because then maybe we could do something fun and a fun episode about it. So, okay, but…oh, so I’m…I tried to track this down. Weird thing is…I mean, I guess it’s not that weird.
There’s not a lot of PDFs of Sharper Image catalogs on the internet earlier…current. The last ten years; plenty. I’m sure if I would have…I just don’t…I gotta be responsible with how I manage my time, so I did dive in and I could not find any caches of…like, where some places have…be found, because I was not…I was…I said oh, okay, I could do an old Sharper Image catalog. That’s fine, but I wanted to do this specific one that was a movie tie-in to the James Bond Roger Moore James Bond…I think the last Roger Moore James Bond movie that I already did a episode about called A View to a Kitten about how lovely blimp rides can be, particularly with Christopher Walken and Grace Jones, and a visit to the Eiffel Tower and all that. It was one of the Bond movies that…it was the first Bond movie I may have ever seen.
I don’t know, I probably talked about it in that episode. But at the same time, right around when this came out, I was at this kid’s house and he had…his father probably had given him this Sharper Image…after his father had looked at it or whatever. Here’s the thing; you got…if you were subscribed to the Sharper Image catalog, you had a Sharper Image card, because the card appears in the movie and it says James Bond or somebody…was he Singen…? I think he was supposed to be…whatever, a bearer bonds dealer, or I don’t know, whatever his cover is. I forgot his fake name in the movie. Fly fishing; I can remember him doing that. But he…Sharper Image had a tie-in in the movie and then in the catalog, some sort of cooperative marketing. So, there was…this was the first time…for me, this was absolutely mind-blowing.
From a marketing perspective, maybe…I don’t know if there was adults…but it was like wait, I can buy a James Bond device? Well, not exactly. So, I don’t know. It was the closest I felt like to being able to purchase something from the movies or something from the super-spy thingamajig. Now, I don’t know if any of that was true, but I…so, I’ve been unable to obtain that catalog. Even tried to get it on eBay, but again, it’s elusive, but it…I don’t have to worry because the library has it and eventually I put in a request, so hopefully it’s digitized. But I guess I could take a ride down to USC and make my normal stop ‘cause I got to speak there, thanks to one of our listeners, to a couple classes. So anyway, where were we? So, okay, so I found another catalog, so we’ll look through this catalog and we’ll kinda see.
This one’s from 1982, so it’s much earlier. So, my interest is piqued of like…this was pre-Sharper Image…and it’s the holiday catalog from 1982. So, on the cover…is that the cover? Okay, so this one is Sharper…it says Sharper Image 1982 Holiday Catalog. On the cover it has a…some sort of a cordless phone. Not a wireless phone. Some sort of tape player with an equalizer from Panasonic, a Sanyo…oh okay, so this was back when they actually sold brands. I don’t know, so this will be interesting. So, we have also it looks like some sort of portable music device, a BP monitor, a pirate spyglass, headphones, cuff links, and something else that I can’t quite identify. We’ll go to the first page. Wait a second, is this really…? Oh no, yeah. So, this one…in sixty seconds, you could turn your favorite slides into professional photos.
So, you gotta be kidding me. This thing looks more advanced than printers nowadays. You put your slide in, you press a Print button, and it prints out a photo on photo paper. It looks like something…I mean, this thing really looks handy. Vivitar…something slide printer. The picture looks good. Let’s see what we got. $149, too. I was trying to find something like this to digitize my parents’ photos and things. So, that was the first thing, Vivitar…Sharper Image…oh, San Francisco, California, eh? Interesting. Okay, Page 2 is where we get really interesting. So, it starts off in the top-left page with first…oh no, that’s…we got a portable cassette player recorder, reinvented. This is the Panasonic Platinum Plus. Oh wow, listen to some of this copy, ‘cause it really does shine.
He wants to be able to lug it back and forth from the sea cabin to his ski cabin to his city condo. He demands quality sound but portability as well, so that’s exactly what the Sharper Image catalog is right there. It is tech, kinda…this has Dolby noise reduction, it can take metal tapes…eight D cell batteries not included. It has LED measuring…only takes up 18 x 13 x 10. Suggested retail is $349, but you could get it for $299. If you find it for less, we’ll refund the difference. Wow. So, I wonder if that’s something we’ll see. Let’s see…oh, it is built for audiophiles. It’s one where the speakers are kinda removable, so it’s like a boom box with the speakers being removable. I think shipping’s $9.50. It has two con…built-in condenser microphones, so you could actually…oh, you can dub your voiceover music.
LED tuning meter…doesn’t say anything about a equalizer, but it looks like it has some kind of equalizer. Then this one is called the Mura Hi Stepper. Now, this is cool. This thing…I don’t understand why I don’t have this still. So, the…it’s the first personal FM stereo with television sound. Mura Hi Stepper develops…delivers not only huge-sounding FM stereo, but AM and TV as well. Now you can listen to your favorite TV shows anywhere through this ultra-light, 1.6-ounce headset. Never sounded so good. It’s got a Simarium cobalt headset even that rivals the most expensive home system. Three AAA batteries. You can clip it to your belt. No protruding antenna necessary for TV or sound reception. It’s, I mean, only $59.95 and $3.75 shipping. It has two TV bands. It doesn’t say which ones it gets.
Wideband…I don’t know. So, that’s interesting ‘cause you had UF…in the US, we had UHF and VHF. Now this one…times change, but they always stay the same. Now you can control your children’s television viewing. This is the sensor view; allows you to control the programming that comes into your home, protecting them from things they shouldn’t watch. Sensor view can restrict access to all of the TV sets in your home, provide 24-hour programming blocks…blocks any specific show or channel for one day or indefinitely. Works with pay…cable channels, video recorders, or games. Really? I wonder how well it worked. It’s not computerized; it’s some sort of solid state action, I think. It’s tamper-proof even if unplugged and it works with all sets. It can’t hurt or affect reception. Comes with instructions. $199, $4.50 for shipping.
Okay, so that was the first page. Wait a second…turn your TV into an electronic eye. So, this is where you get into the kind of…the sentry video camera uses your own TV set. Mini-cam; it can tell you who’s at the door, how the pool party’s going, or even how the baby is. You can switch from normal channels to check in with the touch of your button. That’s pretty…it’s not like an industrial security system. Fifty feet of cable provided. You’ll be ready. It’s a 1.5-pound, black and white mini-cam and it can…compensates for lighting conditions. It has a adjustable head and you can connect up to three cameras to the optional switcher box. So, it’s $299, $6.50. So, that’s cool. Then portable electronic phone dialer. I think this is the first hackers, what they were doing.
The Port-o-Touch auto-dialer is a three-ounce electronic phone dialer that fits in your hand. You can tell it to dial up to ten sixteen digit…you know, I never knew this until I saw the movie Games of…Playing Chess with Matthew Broderick During the Cold War, that it’s just a pulse…tone pulse signals. Perfect for services such as Sprint, MCI, bank by phone, mobile radio, or paging systems. Even works on rotary-dial phones. Has pyramid-shaped keys that make dialing easy. That’s $89. They’re kind of expensive, but it’s one-touch carrying in your pocket, thanks to Port-o-Touch, a product of California’s famed Silicon Valley. Now, this is the first thing I’ve seen that I would definitely buy. I don’t see a price yet ‘cause it’s still loading the PDF. There was a movie about this and this thing has come and gone in popularity.
I’ve still…something I have not tried. It says float to relax; the most natural way to relieve stress. This one kinda comes with everything. Wow. It has a pump, a filter, a drain, speakers, a heater, and a door. It’s a floatation tank. Float to relax tank is a light-free, sound-free environment that promotes deep, natural relaxation. You can set it up in a hour and float yourself or a friend in the deepest state of relaxation manageable. This was really popular…there was even a movie with…I think William Hurt. It was not a calming movie, though. Closest thing to weightlessness this side of orbit. Remove your clothes, open the sliding door, and step in. A ten-inch solution of Epsom salt and water at 93 degrees…skin temperature makes you float like a cork and always keeps your head up. You’ll be relaxed…sound-baffled air vents.
It’s like being half-awake in bed. I would love this. Colors will be more intense, your vision will be sharper, freshness and intensity. There’s also a under…it’s used by the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s got underwater stereo speakers. Okay, it’s a little bit expensive, but shipping’s only $95. It’s 3,500 bucks. It looks like a giant dog…what are those thing…kennel without the cage part. It’s that kind of shape. It’s red, so at least it looks relaxing. The guy that’s getting into it, he has a lot of ferns. He has a rattan chair. He has a step going into it. He also has a fake parrot and a tiny, tiny towel on. So yeah, float to relax tank; $3,495. $100 shipping. I don’t think you could get that shipped for $100 nowadays. So, that’s something. I mean, there’s your first thing that I say well, if I had…if I could, I would buy that.
I don’t have anywhere to put it and I don’t have 3,500 bucks. But particularly, I don’t have anywhere I could put it, so…okay, I think this was…might have been what was on the cover that I couldn’t identify. It’s…experience the ultimate rowing machine. That’s the Ameritec 610. $349. It’s a rower exerciser. These were popular, but this one doesn’t have a flywheel or anything. It’s just based on pneumatic resistance. But you can row…hydraulic cylinders; I’m sorry. Pneumatic. Foot rest with Velcro straps. So, that’s interesting. A deep…no, desktop clock. I thought it was a deep sea clock. Deep…desktop clock with a racing tradition. VDO is Europe’s oldest and most-respected maker of auto…of instruments. It’s just a…it’s quartz technology. Fancy. That one’s $45. Then we have another portable stereo.
What is…oh whoa, boy; this thing is interesting. What is this? So, this is…we gotta look into this, ‘cause this looks more interesting than just your simple portable radio cassette player that you may have never seen before in your whole life because you couldn’t believe that people had to carry these around. But I’ll tell you what, if you were delivering newspapers in 1982 and you could afford this…so, this is the third-generation personal stereo from Toshiba. Beautiful concert hall sound, yet small and light. The stereo cassette player on the left comes with a two-ounce drop-in AM/FM…oh, so it has a tuner that you can put into the cassette thing. That’s kinda brilliant. It has a drop-in cassette…so, it has a cassette you could add as AFF…to add AFM…FM.
By the time I came around, that was all built-in, but it’s not much bigger than the cassette is, but to them it’s not. There’s Fast Forward and Rewind, two AA batteries, a belt clip, and…let’s see…sleek, light, and versatile. You can enjoy rock-steady cassette stereo or concert-quality AM/FM. Headset folds up to palm-size. Wafer-thin personal FM with unparalleled sound. Is this something else? I guess so. Oh yeah, so this must be…oh yeah, this is Toshiba’s wafer-thin FM stereo tuner. So, this is just for FM reception. It has no other circuits or connections to interfere. Sound is crystal clear. You’ll feel like you’re walking around in a concert hall. Smaller than a deck of cards. So, that’s like a small FM stereo headset, or not…I don’t know if it comes with a headset. The LED pinpoints the best reception…slide rule controls.
Comes with a suede-like protective pouch. So, the cassette AM/FM is $169, $3.50 ship, and the FM stereo only is $80. Next up is a cordless phone. This was something…I don’t think we had one until…maybe I didn’t have one until I was in college and me and my roommate decided what we were bringing, and I was like, I’ll buy a phone. I’ll buy the phone, maybe. I don’t know, but it…so, cordless phones were a thing that…when I was a kid, you had to have a phone with a cord attached to the wall in order to get ahold of people. But some people that you would aspire to be had cordless phones. This one is the phone that’s making America cordless, at new savings. So, this is the…let’s see here. The soft-touch dialing pad.
These two Extendaphones give more quality and features than any other cordless phones in their price range. Crisp FM signal…the Extendaphone 4000 has a 700-foot base-to-remote range. That’s ten acres. Baloney. I don’t believe that. The 4000 also has a separate push-to-talk speakerphone in the base unit, so…for a hands-free speaker, you could…built-into the cordless handset, see the deluxe model on the next page. Most phones for the more…most money. So, you have the long-range Extendaphone; that’s $179. The short-range is $109. Static reduced to a minimum. Permanent built-in batteries, and your holiday gift list finished with a phone call. This is another ad. Oh, this is…you can give everyone on your list with a phone call a Sharper Image gift certificate printed on richly-textured Corsican cover stock.
So, there’s that. So, that’s interesting. So, the cordless phones were I guess a thing…again, 1982. I’m having trouble believing this. Then they sell replicas of something…of historical items, which is interesting. Huh. Then triple-zoom binoculars. I always wanted to get binoculars through Sharper Image, ‘cause they always did a good job of marketing them. So, these are…Tasco’s powerful zoom binoculars make it easy for you to find and track a moving subject; football…whether it’s football…let’s see…while most binoculars zoom, these go from 6x to 18x. They’re built in for active viewing, rubber guards…then there’s one for your tension headaches. This thing looks like something…let’s see. It has EMG electrodes, nine-volt battery…it looks like it has ear…has the intake, bio-feedback headset.
Lets you literally listen to the muscles that cause tension headaches. So, this is interesting, a early bio-feedback or maybe not even early. Designed in Montreal General Hospital. So, it has electrodes, like a headband, but then what looks like ear protectors. $149. This would be something I would definitely try. Get immediate…maybe I would wear that in my float tank. Probably not, ‘cause it’s electric. Okay, then they sell gemstones. I don’t buy many gems, but when I do, I buy my gems through Sharper Image. Own eight beautiful gemstones at below market prices. Garnet, amethyst, rhilodite, peridot or peridot, emerald, aqua-marine, sapphire, and citrine. The strength in colored stones, despite the current recession, reflects supply and demand. They talk about different things.
All eight stones come beautifully boxed with a presentation case and 150 book; Gems by Joel Aram. Eight-stone collector’s set; $7. Also comes with some sort of thing from Sharper Image saying the value of the stones was appraised between $1,200 and $1,400. I don’t know if that is what comes with it, though. It does come with a letter that says Dear Richard…I don’t know. The letter’s not loading, but it’s from the Sharper Image, you know? Then another telephone. This one’s a Muraphone. Long-range, cordless; $190…oh no, sells at $199. They’re selling it for $129. 700-foot range, cordless. Compare our savings to other people’s. You’re not gonna find a match. Plug it into your phone jack and forget about it. Can place and receive calls while it charges. It’ll work in any outlet…you can charge it in any outlet.
FCC-approved. Then they have a portable electric razor. Let’s see…now the close shave wanders far from home. Sanyo’s travel shaver…freedom of cordless engineering. It plugs right into the wall. It has retact…retractable power prongs. Twenty-six edges, pop-up sideburn trimmer…excellent. Oh, a bright…oh yeah, another thing they sell is flashlight-type stuff. These would be the things they would rely on in the future. The bright, rechargeable Sanyo rechargeable flashlight, enhanced by polished reflectors, large and powerful beam…angles 140 degrees. NiCd rechargeable batteries. There you go; that’s a great idea. ABS housing…with the money you save on batteries, it pays for itself. I would agree. I can’t see the price yet. Still loading.
I don’t know what it is with PDFs and…it’s like, when they don’t work on your tablet, they just don’t work. It’s kinda not cool, PDFs. Okay, it looks like that one’s twenty-nine bucks for those flashlights. Shows two of them. Built-in plug, but I think it’s only one. It’s just showing the…$27, $2.50…also a Puma thing for camping. Oh, briefcases; that’s another thing. Professional elect…oh boy, we’re gonna get into that one. Then they have a doorway workout thing, indoor gym…let’s see, thirty different exercises. That’s as many as a Nautilus machine. Clamps on your door frame. It’s probably got a pull-up bar. It looks like it has…I don’t know if it’s based on bands. Can range from five to three hundred pounds. Oh yeah, chrome-plated steel tubing.
Oh, nylon rope, so maybe it’s like one of those…oh yeah, it has probably a body weight type thing. Then…oh, I lost my page. Portable TV; here’s our first portable TV. $299. It’s color…$7.50…your own VT…you could use…you can even use it with your own portable VTR camera and recorder. Oh, so you could…there’s a 83-channel UF…UV…UHF/VHF tuner, 5-inch picture, high-fidelity video monitor for your VTR camera. You could plug in your accessories, your camera, discs, computer games, more into the video monitor jack, bypassing the antenna and tuner. It’s lightweight, goes anywhere. You could use a rechargeable battery or D-cell batteries…not included. Then an electronic briefcase. Unnoticeable on the outside; a high-gain microphone is activated by folding the handle over.
Your own cassette recorder plugs into a modular jack inside. Now you can record memos…this is kinda spy-level stuff. So, this is what people needed back…this is what people were hungry for, kids like me. So, this is the courier electronic briefcase. It’s the only briefcase that has a…oh, also, it has a way to stop people from taking it by giving them a little…say oh boy, that felt like it has a charge to it. Says Samsonite briefcase, invisibly modified, low-profile. Oh also, yeah, it…wow, it could…this thing is protective in every way. High-gain microphone, has an electronic beeper if it’s taken from you that can make it louder, and you’ll never be surprised because it’s sophisticated. It’s…whoa, boy. But when you get to the price, you better be a courier for something, ‘cause it’s $1,200 for a briefcase.
Then they have fancy watches from the Heuer company…tag…I think it’s a Tag Heuer. Let’s see how much those are. Oh, $375. I thought those…I think those watches are a couple thousand bucks, some of them. Then they have a super hetrodyne…heterodyne. Super heterodyne. Who named that thing? Holy cow. Talk about a dude that had to drive fast to compensate. It’s a radar detector and you can get results on five leading subsets. A truck driver’s choice, even. It’s got micro-scan, you could get one that’s a dash mount or under the hood. $199 or $269. It’s like a Geiger counter. Then again, they have other collectible…I saw a lot of clocks and things for cutting cheese, too. 105-channel remote control. Why pay $600 for a remote control when Tosh…Technika can give you the same capability for $189?
If you have cable TV or you want to, you should know that many cable hookups disable the TV’s remote controls, but not Technika. It could give you up to 105 cable channels, too. It’s got a quartz synthesizer…$180. Control panel from your wrist for a citizen…that’s a stainless steel watch or a gold watch; $129, $179. What does it got here? It’s a newest…it’s cockpit-style for the international man. See, again, we say what happened in the 80s that this happened? So, it’s got a calendar, it’s probably got some sort of stopwatch, laps, everything that you would…you say well, I would do it. Then a brass captain’s clock; $175. Solid brass nautical clock. Next up, what do we have here? Super…super het speed trap protection that fits on your visor. Again, this is another radar detector. Oh, here’s one; get your fingerprint in gold.
For somebody that has everything, here’s two things for somebody that has everything, and get your fingerprint in gold. Your touch literally turns to gold with this unique pendant. Your finger or thumbprint impression is duplicated on a 14K plumb gold by fine craftspeople, hand-finished, filed, polished. $139 or…for a fingerprint; $199 for a thumbprint. $2.50 shipping, $3.50 for the more expensive one. Or, how about a seagoing compass on your desk? If you’d rather be sailing than sitting at your desk, this brass yachting compass will console you. Console you…that’s interesting. Is that a pun? It’s accurate, sealed in oil, hand-rubbed…base. It’s got a gimbal ring. It’s $99. Oh, here’s a sound-maker. Okay, here’s another way to measure your BP. That one’s $99. An investment you can wear.
I was gonna wear those gems. This is also…let’s see…sounds that soothe. This is a Marsona sound…primal sounds of nature; surf, rain, rhythmic gushes of a waterfall. These sounds aren’t recorded but synthesized with solid state electronics. Sound conditioners are used in different places, and they can increase sleep. We know that. The Marsona 1200 is an improved design. It’s two surf, rainfall, and a waterfall. $129, $4.50 shipping. Here’s a harpoon for your fireplace. Solid brass bilow poke…blow poke. Makes fire hand…log-handling easy. Looks like a harpoon. It’s forty-five bucks. You got a thin German watch…bio…four quartz, another phone system…now connect single-line accessories to multi-phone systems. So, if you want to use your home…wireless phone at work, this is a multi-line controller.
Go ahead, put them through; I’m on my…that’s $49.99. Oh, this looks cool; it’s a wooden…your child will have a ton of fun and develop new abilities. This is a solid oak construction toy that looks like a wooden crane. Sand…toys indoors…improves hand-eye coordination, 3D perception, attention span, and muscle tone. It’s architect-designed for rough use. Two-lever actions…it’s like a…yeah, one of those things like a scooper. Dig holes…two large levers…here’s another one; Japan’s first personal stereo, now with auto-reverse. It has something interesting on the…this is from Aiwa? A-I-W-A. This was a big brand back then. It’s $225, or you can get mini-speakers for $65. It’s got auto-reverse, you can listen to both sides without turning over the tape, it records…built-in AM/FM tuner or direct connection to another audio component.
Oh yeah, they have…it has a plug-in microphone. I knew I saw something…a three-sided microphone to capture…so, you could have been podcasting back then. Yeah, I record some episodes on my briefcase and then some on a little cube that plugs into my headset, man. Noise reduction…so, three-sided microphone to capture the world around you in stereo. That’s cool. I bought accessories like that that haven’t worked out before. Here’s one; rich purple amethyst at a remarkable price. Unmounted; $135. 14K gold mount; $175. Another cordless speakerphone; $219. High-performance pillows that looks like Porsches, or a BMW 320i or a Porsche 930 Turbo. Soft sculptures…those are $39 each; $2.50. An elegant New Orleans-style park bench…a hundred of it’s…$135 pounds or…brass alone. Intricate scrollwork.
$595 plus $45 shipping. But a cast iron one is only…that doesn’t…oh, I guess it does; it’s $175. I’d just get the cast iron one. What do you need brass for? Instant breathalyzer and a pulse meter, a desktop pulse meter. Home hot tub; make your tub into a…this is what I could use. It’s the latest, most…oh, the latest, most expensive hot tubs and spas use high-pressure whirlpool jets. They also cost like, $2,000. Now you can recreate it in your bathtub with just a hose. It’s a one-horsepower motor, self-contained, sits on the floor by the tub. Don’t worry, it won’t…don’t get it wet, but it’s a flexible hose. It surrounds you with fifty jets…oh wait, so it must have a bed or something…that fits tightly against the perimeter of your tub. Surrounds you with fifty jets.
200 gallons of water over your whole body every minute. It’s used in locker rooms, clinics. Fully relaxing. Completely portable. $349. Another plumb gold bracelet. I don’t know what plumb gold means, but it sounds like it’s a scam. Then another stereo, a quick draw one, from Panasonic. I don’t know what makes it quick draw. Let’s see. I’m having trouble zooming. It’s a new stereo…is the world’s smallest and lightest. Barely larger than the tapes it plays. It doesn’t scrimp on features; anti-rolling, metal tape, two headphone jacks so you can share listening. Some of these things really made sense at the time and they didn’t get…then they cut it out ‘cause they said well, we could save one dollar if we cut out that second headset.
Belt holster, two AA batteries, and you can do it without taking the tape out of your pocket. You can change tapes. What else? We got another rowing machine, the compact rower. A speed listener or sound pacer is a sliding…this is like podcasts; fast talk without chipmunks. It’s $199. Sound pacer plays back spoken-word cassettes at twice the speed and skips over blank spaces between words. Those are the settings you can do on your podcast app now. Don’t do it for Sleep With Me. I also have a jack…sportswear that’s also protective. Let’s see, brass ducks for your hearth. So, duck-topped brass fireplace stuff. It’s a bargain, it says. $95. Let’s see, 18th century Flemish and English households where the duck motif became popular. A poker, tongs, shovel, and broom, all tubular brass. How about this one?
Computer science joins you at the racetrack. Micro-computer technology; the Mattel horse race analyzer. Sifts through important data and predicts the top four horses 90% of the time…51% of the time…interesting. I don’t know where they…you just punch in your daily racing form facts and you’ll see a prediction. Nine-volt battery. Those are early analytics. Day and night stuff for your house, a entertaining cube, a six-inch cube alarm clock, cassette player, and five bands of radio entertainment. That’s interesting. Then another pedal…oh, this is one of those things where you lean forward and back. Indoor bicycling…oh yeah, pedal ten minutes a day with the Flywheel to look and feel better. Let’s see, they have…is that a…?
Computer for…in a worldwide communications network for the price of a computer alone. I think this…which computer is this? The VIC-20. I think that’s a Commodore. VIC-20 telecommunication system; $499. You can also get a six-cassette performance series. It’s the VIC-20 personal computer and also has a phone modem. So, that’d be cool. What else do we got here? Complete personal stereo system. I think this was for podcasters. It looks like it has two microphones and backpack. They got a Sony micro-cassette recorder and a…oh, a deep massager. Those were the things that were always popular. Panabrator 2…the Panabrator 2; $45. 5000 RPMs, purring up to 7000. Oversize handle, heavy-duty housing.
Complete personal…now you can make professional clowning…sounding stereo recordings with sound separation using Tech and Hyde’s stereo microphone. Six feet of cable, or you could use the condenser microphone built in for business meetings. The advanced model hi-fi…frequency response; 40 to 12,000. Tape players…you can use metal tape for higher quality sound. $130 to start your own podcast, I guess. Let’s see, we gotta get to…we gotta finish up, here. Let’s see what other things. A suit of armor. So, this is the kinda thing, yeah, that as a kid…one day I’ll buy that. Six to eight weeks for delivery. Only $55 delivery. $2,400 for the suit of armor. Space-age crossbow…yeah, this is the kinda thing…thank goodness they don’t sell this stuff anymore. Does it come with a sword? I don’t think it does.
A three-piece suit…designs from a royal court. Ornate hilt; I guess it does come with everything. They also have a smoker…a pretty standard smoker. Oh, another thing was…another thing they always had was…what are these things called? Not a microscope. What are these things called? The Celestron C8 refractor telescope. If it was conventional, it’d have to have a eight-foot-long tube, but this one compared to another one, provides four times the light-gathering ability, 700 times the ability of the human eye, which is the most critical figure and factor, which I did ask one of my friends about. It has a motor drive. 1,200 bucks. So yeah, that’s a little bit from this thing. There’s a lot more, but hopefully I’ll track down that James Bond one and we can talk more. But I hope you enjoyed this little journey through a Sharper Image catalog. Goodnight, everybody.
[END OF RECORDING]
(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)
- Richly textured Corsican Cover Stock
- Brass Hearth Ducks
- The Sharper Image
- A View to a Kill
- Matthew Broderick
Notable Talking Points:
- Ambivalent feelings about aspirational wealth
- I don’t buy many gems, but when I do, I buy them through Sharper Image
- New Orleans-style park benches