Friday, November 10, 2017


I need to get this off my chest.

 Florida has always seemed to be a fucked up place to me starting the moment we pulled up to our house at 5640 SW 37th street. As for as I remember, my grandfather promised my dad this "big 3 bedroom house with a huge yard in a nice neighborhood". My dad took the bait and we moved from California to Florida in the spring of 1969. When we found the location of the neighborhood and pulled up to the house, we found ruins that was a house. The doors, window frames, plumbing, and fixtures were all removed. Great! We traveled across country just to be homeless. Great! Swell! Good one!! Squatters moved in and destroyed the place when they were asked to leave. 

While we were looking for a place to live, one of our neighbors who were snowbirds let us stay in their house until they came back in the fall, then we stayed at our grandfather's house until ours was finished. His house was just rebuilt after it mysteriously caught on fire. After staying in that stinky smoky smelling house for a month, we were ready to move into the house in Hollywood.

That August I started the first grade at Watkins Elementary and felt nervous since I'm from California where things are so different and we had our own lingo and now I'm in this strange new place where certain people talked funny. You would talk to one of those weird kids that has a crewcut and the first thing that came out of his mouth was "you're a faggot 'cause you talk weird" then you got in a fight. One of the other kids referred to the crewcut kids as "rednecks" since they would look for trouble and didn't get along with anyone other than their own kind. I made quite a few friends in first grade including one that I regret.

There was one kid in the class named Dennis who seemed OK, he asked me "if I wanted to come over to his house and play" so naive me said "sure" so I went to Dennis' house to play and watch TV since ours was a ancient POS that didn't have UHF so I thought we could play Hot Wheels and watch channel 23, nope! What happened next was a life changing experience.

Soon as I went to Dennis' house (in the row homes on 56th ave.) he took me into the den in the back of the house, then his druggy looking brothers and sister came in and locked the door. Then his sister took off my pants and fondled me, then they started doing strange things to me. After that the brothers were taking turns on me while Dennis yelled "fatso, fatso" from the corner of the room. when it all ended I was told "if you tell one word of this to anybody, we will kill you. We know where you live". I went home terrified, I'm surprised I didn't get attacked by the DeVoronicas or the pack of dogs they kept in their yard while I walked past their house. All of us had to deal with their bullshit when you passed their house with getting attacked by their dogs, or have them all run out at once and attack you.
There I see my dad watering the lawn, glass of Cutty Sark in one hand and hose in the other looking shitfaced, I told my dad "I got beat up by a gang of teenagers" being afraid to tell what really happened, or him beating me for what happened. His answer still resonates in my mind to this day "IF YOU BEAT THEM UP, I'LL BUY YOU A GALLON OF ICE CREAM" while stumbling across the yard watering the patches of dirt expecting grass to emerge forth. Anybody else's father would be out for blood, not mine. Your kid just got sodomised by a bunch of stoners and is scared shitless of being killed, and to boot is scared of telling you what happened and you could truly give two shits about it. Keep drinking buddy, you have plenty of brain cells to burn up.

I begged for my mom to walk me home from school since I was scared, and when she did, Dennis' siblings were all standing by the telephone pole on the sidewalk looking sheepish like "did he tell them or not". This went on for a week or so. She would come by and they would stand there looking nervous, then they stopped coming by. For years I used to see them standing by the pole. Then sometime in the spring, Dennis and his family moved.

We had lots of transients in our neighborhood, either because of the law or the taxman, people would come and go in matters of months. There were some winners who lived next door to us, some for six months to evade the taxman, or someone who's out on bail and skipped town. On the next street down, we had a group of bikers who moved away quietly because their pit bull attacked and maimed our mail lady, and they came in from another area where they also got in trouble.

For weeks I wouldn't wipe myself in fear of being attacked again which drove my brother crazy. In the process I drove the guidance counselor at Watkins nuts to where she was saying "here he is again" so I quit bothering her. I begged my parents to move back to California which I was told "to shut up". Some nights I would cry because I wanted to tell someone what happened but was too scared and ashamed to, all I would hear is "he's just starving for attention". After that I learned to suck it in and put it in the back of my mind.

After that...
My grades started slipping since I had trouble concentrating, I have a fear of crowds, creeps  and rednecks, generally feeling awkward around people, developed a strange sense of humor and like to keep to myself, play records and read books in my room where I feel safe. I can put on a good front with all the jokes and jovial front, inside this 54 year old man is a 7 year boy who's still confused and crying.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bear not happy.

I've been at my job for close to nine years.
It was fun until there was a restructuring last Summer that turned the entire company upside down. The big CEO in corporate fired almost everybody under her including our store's branch manager. He was replaced by a lady who was fired by Wawa and the place turned into chaos within weeks. It came out that one manager was kicked out of one branch for sexual harassment came to our store since our branch manager was his friend, and did the same thing at our store. He later made his girlfriend (a girl at wares breakdown) our backroom supervisor after having sex in the parking lot (he was caught by the girl at the donation door), she reported it to no response from our branch manager who was his friend. Lots of bullying from the young teenage workers who used to slam wooden pallets and full plastic totes on the floors that hurt my ear (I have nerve damage in my right ear), then the one manager used to get in on the fun grabbing the heaviest pallet and slamming it on the floor at full force just to make me jump out of my skin. People were walking out (we lost four people in one week), managers were turning into bullies which lead to more people walking out, it looked like they were going after the older workers. Women who were hangers were being replaced on a weekly basis after quitting. Managers were making their friends managers which led to more anarchy in the workplace. Here I am with 13 years years of managerial experience running a record store in North Miami Beach Florida who kept getting passed over while some 20 year old manager makes his girlfriend a manager, or a person in corporate pushes a friend, or family member with no experience in management. Then I got demoted when the big "DPI" program Goodwill paid $40,000 for was ditched which lead to more anarchy. The young managers put me and two other (over 40) people at the door and brought 3 young inexperienced girls to price wares. What lead to me quitting is one day, me and my co-workers were emptying bags of clothes into large cardboard boxes on top of wooden pallets (they call them "gaylords") with everyone including management coming out helping, plus they're loading a donation center truck on the premises as well. This was at peak donation season. A donor came up and asked for "a donation receipt" so I went to get it for him. The one young inexperienced manager decided to jump up and down screaming, in-front of everybody including donors humiliating me. This kid was yelling and waving her arms putting a show on her friends reading me the riot act because "I ignored her" while we have a loud truck twelve feet away with it's engine running. I pleaded my case "I didn't hear you because I'm 20' away from you with a loud truck next to me sorry, I went to get the man his donation slip", then she went off. In front of donors, co-workers, and managers decided to tear me a new one screaming at me like a spoiled teenager while everyone looked on,  "GIMMIE MY SLIP!!!" That's when I had enough and joined the rest of the people who had enough of the madness, I took off my work vest and laid it on the wood pallets and quit. It would work better if Goodwill hired managers who were experienced and knew how to talk to people, not to hire inexperienced kids. If that kid kept to herself, I would still be there. There's only so much punishment you can take before you hit the breaking point.  


Thursday, May 22, 2014


10th anniversary.

Once I used to play in a noise band called Windburned Drunk, we recorded a album.
It's a doozie.

We got back together and are making more noise. I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


For Hoffman forum, Who/Sinatra collectables


Monday, May 14, 2012


375 Elvis 8-track tapes

This is what 375 Elvis 8-tracks looks like,
the top of the big box. This collection that Elvis recorded for RCA plus up to 1987 when 8-tracks were laid to rest.

Here it is, enjoy.

This is the bottom of the big box

Here's some close up's

Here's some morebootlegs, tributes and impersonators.

Who could forget those crappy Pickwick carts.
Foreign issues and extras

Uber-rare RCA Record Club carts
check out the Boxcar issue of "Having Fun With Elvis On Stage".

Box sets

Who could forget Candlelite Music

Some more (extras) ....

Elvis 8-track flyer

Friday, May 11, 2012


Welcome to my cave

Hi There,

Welcome to my cellar. Don't trip over that pile of vintage vinyl over there. It's all over the place.

My Name is Michael Arlt, my friends refer to me as "Bear", I've been collecting records since I was seven years old. My first LP is a copy of "The Monkees Greatest Hits" on Colgems that I still have. Not the same one but a copy I bought two years later when me and my siblings wore the original out. On that pile you will notice a original LOC "Elvis Christmas Album", King Creole, and a original 78 album for "Going My Way" which has sentimental value to me. That's only the tip of the iceberg.


375 Elvis 8-track tapes - the preamble

To start off why I started collecting Elvis 8-tracks...

Back in the mid-80's my friend Liz was bringing me back Mr. T stuff from the flea market for a laugh since I like cheesy things. I have all sorts of Mr. T things like a Halloween costume, 3 different board games, puzzles, comic books, pencil cases, lunch boxes and the list goes on. I still have 2 huge U-Haul boxes of Mr. T stuff in the garage.
In the early 90's it all but dried up.

Me and Liz were talking about things that are cheezy and she surprised me with a velvet Elvis painting and a blanket. That Elvis blanket is killer, it's a 50's picture on a light blue backround with pink trim. A few weeks later, she brought me another velvet Elvis painting. A few days later she brought me a Elvis 8-track, (the most common of all Elvis tapes) "Elvis Twin-Pack" the sold on TV album with a jumpsuited Elvis on a blue backround on the front.
I thought to myself...THATS IT!

Beatles music sounds better on record
Martin Denny sounds better on reel to reel
Pink Floyd's music sounds better in quad
George Winston sounds better in digital
Elvis sounds the best on 8-track tape
he was made for that format, the post 1971 albums sound best.

I popped that tape in my old Panasonic player and basked in it's rechanneled stereo warmth and thought to myself "that's it" and a new quest has begun to find each of Elvis's albums on 8-track tape.

The post 1971 albums have a certain magic to them which is hard to explain. If you crank up the volume, turn off the lights and pop in the tape of "Raised On Rock" or the "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" album, you can picture Elvis and the TCB band right in your room. That image on the velvet Elvis painting comes to life flinging his cape singing Three Corn Patches, it's magical.

Me and a girlfriend were doing a A/B test between a mint 3S pressing of "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee" and the 8-track tape.
The 8-track won hands down.

On the LP, Elvis was there along with the surface noise from the cheap vinyl RCA was using at the time, expecially after he died when RCA's pressing plants were going full tilt churning out Elvis product. I wondered if the workers at the pressing plant were throwing things like old army men, broken Tupperware containers, plastic fake flowers and Bic pens into the vinyl pellets to stretch them out (I wondered why those albums looked so streaky). On the 8-track he's in the room lifelike, you could her him breathe it's so magical. His versions of "The Last Farewell" and "Danny Boy" will move you to tears.

The movie soundtracks are beyond breathtaking.
A/B something like a original copy of "Girl Happy" with a 8-track, the 8-track has the magic. There's a certain aura in the air when you play the tape that you can feel which the LP doesn't have.

Again, the 8-track was invented for Elvis  



My eight track collection part 1

Hi to you all

Sorry I've been away from the lair, things have been crazy here.
Today I'm showing my ginormus collection of 8-track tapes. Get ready for a nostalgic hernia.

This is one box of goodies, half off these I had since high school in the 70's.

Back in the day, Record Land in the Hollywood Fasion Center had the best selection of cut-outs, Russell and Pablo used to turn me on to all the good ones. Gris Gris on 8-track, I still wish I had my original of Trout Mask Replica.

I used to have a bunch more but I wound up donating them to Ranch Hope in New Jersey. Most of it was country stuff I got in trades, I think a couple of missing ones got in there by mistake, my Nick Drake tape is missing. In that pile are some post-1982 RCA and CRC carts. They made them up to 1988 when the major labels stopped at 1982.
I found those at a thrift in Stanton, those Partridge Family carts are unplayed in mint boxes. Those two Savoy tapes are too cool.

Clarence "Blowfly" Reid used to come into the store I ran and autographed his tape, he signed it as Blowfly but I wanted it signed as Clarence Reid so that's why he drew a dong on it. I scored the Beatles tape at the Thunderbird, I have the correct box for it. I forgot where I found the two James Brown tapes. That GRT Turtles tape has "Let The Cold Winds Blow" on it which was on the first album, a bonus.

Four Tracks anyone :)
The Exciting Wilson Picket - Frank Sinatra: I Remember Tommy

The Ventures In Space - Frank Sinatra: Strangers In The Night

I'm a big Sinatra fan and have a nice collection of his tapes, most I had from the day....

Here's a rarity, the Longines "The Works" boxset with bonus tape and book.

I collect "Trucker" LP's from the 60's for the cheesy artwork, this is the only 8-track I have. There is nothing cheesier than a trucker tape.

More stuff to come, this is 60% of it.


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