Biff Rambles On About … Patton on the Ritz, Duck Duck Gausse, Listening to the World, and Using Proper Projection

Biff Hiking #4

It was another awesome day in Biffville (population:  drowsy).

For one thing, the weather was absolutely amazing here in Dallas.  The sun was out in full force.  The sky was clear as a bell and was that uniquely pretty blue that is present this time of year.  The temperature was about 50 (10 C).   The trees are starting to change color.  The full brunt of autumn was in the air.

And what does one do when the weather is so perfect?


One goes and hits a few estate sales!

Of course, this is not really estate sale season, and so the pickin’s were pretty slim.

slim-pickens-2Slim Pickens

So what does one buy at an estate sale when the pickin’s are slim?

Well, books are always a favorite of mine.  However, they are an addiction for me and so I try to avoid them.  This is mostly because I no long have any room left in my bookcases to store new books.  However, I was unable to resist purchasing these two gems.

Mark Twain Book 002   Comic Mark Twain Reader


                           The Patton Papers 001Patton Papers

Neither of those is very exciting, but they were hard to resist at a buck apiece.

But this next item really excited me.

Realistic Bulk Tape Eraser 001Realistic® Magnetic Bulk Tape Eraser

These things are surprisingly hard to find.  I have been looking for one of these forever.

Why would I need one, you ask?

Well, because I have a few hundred old floppy disks in my attic that I’d like to erase before throwing them in the trash.  And since I no longer have a disk drive to read them and see what’s on them, a bulk eraser is the way to go.  I can also use this to erase old cassette tapes, old 8-track tapes, old reel-to-reel tapes, and to degausse old CRT displays.

Plus, it is really fun to generate very strong magnetic fields for no particular reason.


This next item had me quite excited.  It is a Bell & Howell MW.SW1-7 handheld transistor “world band” radio.  It covers the FM band, the Medium Wave bands, and Shortwave bands.  Theoretically, one can listen to radio stations from all over the world on this thing.


I bought it for a whopping $2.50 and couldn’t wait to get home to put fresh batteries in it and give it a try.  The FM band came in loud and clear, of course.  I was able to tune in a few stations on the MW and SW bands, but I couldn’t tell where they were coming from.  They might have just been coming from Fort Worth for all I could tell.  I’ll give it a try again tomorrow when I have more time to devote to it.


But the best find of the day was a Bell & Howell Super-8mm movie projector!   I have been on the lookout for a good quality Super-8 projector for many years.  I have found them here and there at garage sales and flea markets, but they are usually in terrible condition, missing parts, etc.  This one was pristine!  It even had the user’s guide with it.  And I got it for the incredibly low price of $20.

B&H Movie Projector

Now all I have to do is find some 8mm movies to show on it to see if it works.  I shall now be scouring garage sales, flea markets, antique stores, etc. for some movies.

The best part about being able to watch movies on an 8mm projector is that they harbor a wonderful secret.

When I was a child in elementary school we would occasionally get to watch a movie if

(a) we were well behaved and the teacher wanted to reward us, or

(b) we had to watch a movie about health or hygiene.

And if we were quiet and well-behaved during the movie, the teacher would reward us further by playing the movie backwards!  We would roll on the floor with tears streaming from our eyes!  Almost any movie can be made hilarious by showing it backwards.  That is what I plan to do with this little gem.

However, hygiene films can be a little disturbing when played backwards.


Well, those were my finds today.

You can tell it was a slow news day because I just wrote an entire blog post about my estate sale finds.

Hopefully things will become more exciting for me in the coming weeks.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!






    • Thanks, Nick! I appreciate the vote of confidence. My big goal for my blog is that no one ever catches on to the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing. 😀

      Keep up the great writing! I’ll visit your awesome blog often.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting you telling us about the different things you’ve brought together. Guess you could call it your “estate of a union” address.

    Actually, I was thinking I would also be in the market for a very overpriced projector bulb. I’ve been volunteered to do a slideshow some of my old underwater pics for our dive club banquet, and I thought the bulb on my projector had long since died. Much to my surprise, when I broke it out yesterday it still worked! (But it won’t go backwards.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha! Estate of the union. I like that. I may use it in a future blog, if you don’t mind. Of course, I’ll have to go estate sail-ing again before I can do that.

      I’m glad your slide projector bulb is still good. There’s not telling how expensive those things are! I actually saw a slide projector at the same place I bought the 8mm projector, but I decided against it. It’s bad enough having an 8mm projector with no 8mm movies to show on it, but I thought having a slide projector with no slides to show on it was just decadent.

      You should post some of your underwater pics. Or re-post them if you posted them long ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂 Glad you liked the joke, I thought it was a bit of a reach. Feel free to twist it any way you’d like.
        I’ve posted a few u/w pics here and there. Here’s a post from a couple years ago that has a set, where I challenge the reader to guess which pictures were taken in warm water and which in cold water.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow! Those are awesome! Definitely coffee-table book quality. Thanks for pointing me towards them.

          I have no idea which were warm water or cold water. I try to avoid being in both. 🙂 But no matter what, I always seem to end up in hot water.


  2. We had one of those 8mm projectors and a movie camera when I was a kid. I took all the old movies and spliced all the good parts together, then had them put on dvds. Most of the adults of that time are now gone, and it’s nice to see them as they were when younger. The dvds also give my kids the opportunity to see relatives they never met.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is loads of fun!

      But it’s kind of like going to Vegas. Don’t take any more cash with you than you’re willing to part with. And drive something with a small trunk and no discernible back seat. That keeps the insanity in check.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Estate & yard sales are so interesting. I love going, but haven’t been i awhile. I really don’t need any more stuff, but so hard to not buy.
    I do like listening to my shortwave radios and police radio from time to time. And, we still have our super 8 movie camera and projector. Someday I should get it out and watch our home movies. Once I found a bunch of super 8 reels of old B & W horror movies! Those are fun to watch.
    Have a great fall day there…we’re maybe getting snow later tonight or early morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Barbara! Yes, I know what you mean. I only go sporadically (maybe 8 times a year), but it is very hard to resist buying things. Everything is so inexpensive!

      That’s so great that you still have your 8mm projector and home movies! It would be so much fun to watch videos from that era. I wish we’d have a 8mm camera back then. You should definitely pull them out and have a movie night!

      And I hope we get that snow they’re promising us! I know it won’t stick, even if it snows, but it’s fun to dream.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Biff

    I am happy to hear that your cooler weather is upon you after your tales (surely not true) of high summer temps. The heat death of the universe seems a long way off.

    Books, too, are my bane. Before long, I have a trunkload, and they aren’t easy to shlep around, not that we have moved these past 5 years or so. An addiction for me too, Biff, and I don’t really make a dent of reading them either.

    Bell & Howell MW.SW1-7 handheld transistor “world band” radio. Exciting indeed. I have also had an addiction to radios since childhood. Built my own radios, had a Realistic shortwave that gave me so much joy. My favourite were those odd areas with guys just reciting numbers. WTH? Imagine trying to convey the fascination of that and hearing faraway broadcasts to the younger set. My best friend’s dad was a ham radio guy, antenna all over the yard, and hung up on the trees with a bow and arrow or us kids, great memories. Calling CQ.

    That super 8 was awesome, well done, Biff! I’m jealous. Not too bad and it is out of season, you say?

    Lots going on here, but little time to blog about it. I always have time for cartoons though! Just buying our daughter a pre-owned 2017 CRV is one highlight. Good thing I hate having money!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Wilt! Always great to log on and see one of your great comments.

      I know what you mean about the books. I wish they didn’t have the power over me that they do. I would actually like to get rid of about 80% of my collection of about 1000 antiquarian books, but it is damn near impossible to part with any of them. It is just a weakness in my personality.

      That’s great that you had such great experiences with early radio. It definitely helps to have a mentor. I learned just enough about radio to be dangerous at it. I went on to study electrical engineering, but it was all digital and microprocessors and stuff like that. Very little analog (including radio), which I really regret.

      I’m excited about my 8mm projector! I discovered today that it does not have a bulb in it. Bummer! I was shocked … SHOCKED! to find out that bulbs cost anywhere from about $75 to over $100 apiece! Luckily, I found some hacks on YouTube which I will definitely be trying. So if I suddenly stop posting it was because I was electrocuted. Wish me luck!

      I’m glad you’re posting your cartoons! They always give me a much-needed laugh. Hopefully someday I’ll be browsing around the Humor section at Barnes & Noble and see your book of cartoons!

      And good luck with the offspring’s automobile. I know what that’s like! As you say … who needs money?


  5. Um… I have a question. If you don’t have anything to read the floppy disks how will you know that the eraser worked?
    I know, look at me, writer and peddler of absolute nonsense being all logical and stuff…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point! You’re right; I won’t know for sure. But I plan to degausse the bejeebers out of them. The stuff that’s on them probably wasn’t that interesting or useful anyway. I’ve just become overly cautious in my old age. Plus it’s so cool pushing a button, hearing an electrical humming noise, and knowing that I’m surrounded in a warm blanket of electromagnetic fields. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am quite impressed with your diverse interested when hitting the estate sale circuit. I have practically been banned from such behavior as my house is full to the brim from my many years attending ‘antique’ auctions. Some of those antiques were made three weeks ago, but it would still be great fun to go if I hadn’t been banned from those, too. Before you go feeling all sorry for me because someONE is keeping me from some fun, it’s not a someone, but a someTHING. My house just cannot hold anymore. I’ve been offloading stuff right and left. It’s a good thing you don’t live up here because I’d share my bounty and then either someONE or someTHING might thwart you, as well!


    • Ha ha! I appreciate your willingness to share your bounty with me, Linda. But you’re right. I would probably be the victim of a homicide shortly thereafter. My house, too, is filled to the rafters with all sorts of “treasures”. I have been trying to off-load it as quickly as I can, but some things are just so hard to part with. But fortunately I think I’m making headway.

      But there is just something so alluring about estate sales! Talk about siren calls! As you can see from my blog post, I am a sucker for antique technology. I guess it’s because we could never afford things like that when I was growing up and so now I’m overcompensating for it. That, and old technology just fascinates me.

      Liked by 2 people

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