Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Dante's Inferno04/14/01: Today's Word is "Disappointment"

Before I get too deep into this week's column, let me first apologize for my lengthy absence. Not that there hasn't been anything going on in my life -- quite the contrary, in fact. Since last we met ('Lobo Means Wolf' back on 2/5), the ol' home life has been in a state of, how do you say, upheavel.

And for the first time, I wasn't the one that instigated the upheavel! Woo-hoo!

End result, it's a month-and-a-half later, I'm working out of not-quite-as-palatial new digs, but I've got a smile on my face and things are starting to look up. So, how's about you?

Anyway, personal recap aside, the theme for today's column is "disappointment." You know, nobody could throw that word around like my father. In those days when your success and self-worth was measured by a report card, I'd have gladly taken an ass-whipping over being told that I had "disappointed" my parents. No man, smack me upside the head, go down to the hall closet and get out "The Belt," send me to my room without dinner for a week... anything other than The D Word! Aigh!!!!

Instead, he'd give me that look, toss that word out there like a nuclear bomb, and let the chips fall where they may. It was never a pretty scene, but it did inspire my ass to get better grades. Jesus, anything but that. Anything.

Well, I've been disappointed a lot these past few days. Disappointed that my own dear sister continues to treat me like I'm 13. Disappointed that my mother doesn't feel I'm capable of selecting the right shovel to dig a tree out of the garden. (We won't even get into the fact that I'm moving the same tree I planted LAST year.)

But all of this pales in comparison to how I feel about the local pro hockey franchise and a boyhood stomping ground.

Manderville battles Haskey in the Stanley Cup playoffs (AP)The Flyers -- and 99% of the other NHL teams -- entered the real season last week for the (seemingly) nine month run at the Stanley Cup. Now, I know most sports fans that don't follow hockey can't understand what there is to get so worked up about, but these friggin' Canadians have a passion for this thing that is heretofore unseen in pro sports. Plus, you get to keep the Cup for a day if your team wins it. That's cool. (Check out some of the Cup's unique history.)

While I wasn't so much of a hometown fan that I thought the Fly Guys had a realistic shot at tossing the Cup in their pool or taking it to dinner with the governor, I figured they'd at least get past the Buffalo Sabres, their opening round opponent. Two home-ice losses and some pansy-assed play later, and I'm beginning to question the merits of that decision.

While I know that regular-season domination means nothing, it disappoints me that the Sabres have had little trouble finding the sieve-like opening between goalie Roman Checkmanek's pads, and that the Flyers have given little support in front of their first-year netminder. Granted, having the walking wounded like John LeClair (hey, maybe turning that offer down wasn't the best idea in the world Johnny!), Simon Gagne, and Damon Langkow return to the lineup a little creaky isn't doing them any good. And they certainly miss the big, imposing presence of Keith Primeau. But maybe it's time for Clarke to put aside his stubborn pride and get something for The Big Baby.

Maybe I'll be writing next week's column full of pride that the orange and black have turned the tide on our neighbors to the north and are ready to put 'em away in six as I originally predicted. But something tells me that beating The Dominator in four of the next five (with three potential meetings in Buffalo) is a task this team may not be ready for.

The Pennsauken Mart -- home to personalized bra fittings!Hockey notes aside, we also learned this week that The Pennsauken Mart -- one of our fave stomping grounds for the last few decades -- is rumored to be on its last legs. The Mart (as we've always referred to it) is a unique indoor flea market of sorts that has undergone several transformations through the years. When we first started going there in the early 1980s, it was still living off its reputation as the home of Crazy Eddie's Beef and Beer, where you could get a roast beef sandwich, cold pitcher of beer, and a pole dance from Tiny Tim's ex-wife all in one sitting. (Honest to God!)

But there was more than flesh under the Mart's tin roof. We ventured past the blacked-over window of Eddie's (later just Pennsauken Beef & Beer, still filled with ceiling-to-bar poles but, alas, no dancers) and found that the Mart was an ocean of cheap merchandise just waiting for us to wade through its skanky, fetid waters.

Suzi Quatro's Greatest HitsSoon, my LP collection was growing to back-breaking proportions thanks to The Frontier Trading Post, where a catch like 'Suzi Quatro's Greatest Hits' was a couple bucks away. The Liquor Mart may have housed ice-cold 40's, but a fine selection of mix-and-match imports that gave our swinging pads the cachet of a downtown hotspot were also available. And, of course, there was that store in the middle. I never knew its name and still don't. But I know that they offer "Personalized Bra Fittings" in hard-to-find sizes, and a recent trip confirmed that cheesy, flammable lingerie in cup sizes up to H & I apparently never goes out of style.

In recent years the Mart has been a shadow of its former self. Sure, you still get to see patrons of questionable ethnicity, and nothing gives my self-worth a shot in the arm more than a 300-lb woman wearing leopard-skin tights (and I do mean tights), topped off by a shirt that proclaims her station in life as a "Classy Lady." In puffy, gold lamé lettering. But the merchandsie has changed, giving way to more dollar stores than you can shake a "meat stick" at, and the areas where you have to hold your breath for fear of taking in some of the rancid, what's-that-meat-under-the-hot-light air into your lungs have become the rule not the exception.

Or -- as someone suggested when I complained about my most recent venture through the Mart's sticky, greasy doors -- has the transformation really been the other way around? Has the Mart simply evolved as it should have, and I'm the one that's changed? Am I no longer able to appreciate the finer things in life, like chrome and glass furniture, knock-off toys from China, and Playstation 2 games so cheap that they've obviously "fallen off" the backof a truck somewhere in Camden?

This is a question and a topic yours truly can't possibly tackle in one week's column. More soul-searching lies ahead. Hopefully, I can give the topic more thought if JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS really sucks ass.

Hey, don't forget to check out soberbrothers.com for toys, games, and other unrelated merchandise as well as our current auctions going on over at eBay!

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