The Belligerent Years
Yard Birds Memories
Posted by RZ
Sep 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm
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I recently made a pilgrimage back to my childhood, a chance to pay respects to a place that was a large part of how my family spent our weekends in the 1970’s and 80’s.

The mascot of the Yard Birds Shopping Center in Chehalis, Washington, aka “ the Yard Bird” had just went through an extensive restoration and the locals put on a “Bird Fest” to celebrate. The original bird was nearing a point where it could have easily fallen apart. Thanks to donations funds and donated labor, the bird was stripped down to its wooden skeleton and lovingly recovered and repainted over the summer. It looked magnificent.

The parking lot was filled with a couple hundred people, including former employees, who came out to reminisce about the old days of Yard Birds under a blanket of summer clouds. The store itself has seen better years. In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s it was where people came from all over Washington and Oregon to shop. A combination of Cabela’s, Wal-Mart, Costco and an Army surplus store all rolled into one 310,000 square foot location.

Here is a partial list of things sold at Yard Birds: c-rations, gas masks, ammo belts, paperbacks, toys, records, tapes, televisions, puppies, decommissioned missile nose cones, auto parts, bed headboard with tape deck/lotion dispenser, tires, exotic birds, fishing poles, guns, rubber boots, groceries, plants, manure, monkeys, western wear and ten cent popcorn.

I used to spend hours digging through cardboard boxes in their closeout section (always cut at slant, for easier perusing) looking for treasures. I would create an entire wardrobe for play including army belt, ammo holder, wooden fishing net floater (doubling as grenades), and a Star Wars storm trooper rifle (missing a few pieces,) for fewer than five dollars.

I spent my Christmas money on Star Wars figures, Starlog, MAD and Cracked magazines. In 1978 Darth Vader made a personal appearance (I was too scared get his autograph and settled for a snapshot from a distance). I bought my very first cassette tape there, (the soundtrack to Xanadu –yeeesh). In the summers, there was a gigantic parking lot sale where I once took, “The Pepsi Challenge” and saw several dozen crates of Shasta soda spontaneously explode in the heat of the summer sun, sending a foamy, sticky wave across hot concrete.

When we had out fill of Yard Birds, then we drove a block to Sun Birds, which was the original site of Yard Birds (that they outgrew in the 60s). We would dip once again into their surplus (and their popcorn) and then head out to the Country Cousin Restaurant or Shakey’s Pizza for dinner. Better days never existed.

The 1980s was the era of the shopping mall and Yard Birds earthy shopping experience began to fall out of fashion as the decade went on. The original owner sold their stores to a corporation that began to cut corners and many shoppers stopped coming to Yard Birds. Two major floods caused cause millions in damage and by 1995 Yard Birds was closed.

The building still exists, housing the Shop’n Kart Grocery and “Washington’s Largest Swap Meet”. Walking through the old store, the memories flooded back, it was now rather decrepit and you aren’t allowed upstairs. The gold and brown tile of the bathrooms is slathered with flat white paint and the linoleum of the floors has buckled after years of neglect. I love walking the old store, but I will always long for the days when it was in its prime.

There is a great documentary called “Skinny and Fatty: The Story of Yard Birds” about the history of the Yard Birds stores. It’s well done, but you really had to be there to truly appreciate it.

Yard Bird Restored

Yard Bird Restored

Yard Bird Restored

Yard Bird Restored

Yard Bird Restored
Dozens of these Yard Birds were placed around the original store. Only a few remain today

Darth Vader Yard Birds
(The Dark Lord of the Sith Arrives, 1978)

Untitled
(Personal memorabilia stash)



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The Belligerent Years Radio Hours: Summer Sizzle
Posted by RZ
Aug 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm
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http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-belligerent-years

(Does anybody know of any good U-stream alternatives?)



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The Belligerent Years Radio Hours : Cheri Birthday Show
Posted by RZ
Apr 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm
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CheriBday

It’s about that time. Come celebrate Cheri’s special birthday in the comfort of the internet.

8pm Friday, here.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-belligerent-years



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The Belligerent Years Radio Hours Present: A Show
Posted by RZ
Mar 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm
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This is a rescheduling of the show from March 1st. Content unknown. 8pm Pacific. Wear black. Tell no one. Eat a light supper.

photo

Listen Here or Click-through and chat (free account required)



Broadcasting live with Ustream

*some people find ustream’s popup ads frustrating. I suggest adding AD Blocker Plus to your Firefox browser to combat this.



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The 40th Birthday Extravaganza
Posted by RZ
Feb 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm
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SORRY GUYS, THIS IS CANCELLED. I’M SUPER SICK AND WOULD BE NO FUN ON THE RADIO. HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND.

This is what I’m going for.
Scan 4

This is how I party.

This is what I’m looking to avoid

Scan 6

Join me here at 8pm Pacific time on Friday March 1st for an evening of internet radio. You can click through and join the attached chatroom and talk to other listeners.*

*some people find ustream’s popup ads frustrating. I suggest adding AD Blocker Plus to your Firefox browser to combat this.



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I’m political
Posted by RZ
Oct 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm
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soon

binder



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What am I up to?
Posted by RZ
Apr 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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I don’t know who visits this page, but if you do, you’d probably think all I do is the occasional Ustream show. That’s not entirely true. I also write for several websites. This is my newest article over at Video Jerks.

http://teenageneighbor.com/videojerks/reviews/mark_wahlbergs_911.html

Check it out. There are other funny things there, not written by me.

Thanks
-RZ



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Bridgetown Ends When the Radio Hours Says it Does
Posted by RZ
Apr 17, 2012 at 10:40 am
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quincy

Friday, April 20th 9pm.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-belligerent-years

Sorry non west coast people (and sleepy west coast folks), we had to move back to the 9pm start time. 8 pm is just a little too early for us to do our best.



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The Belligerent Years Radio Hours — Comic Book Men & Women
Posted by RZ
Mar 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm
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Luke and Heather come over the night before we attend the “Emerald City Comicon” and we talk.

comiconmenpsd copy

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-belligerent-years



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The Belligerent Years Radio Hours “2 Hawt for TV” Commercial
Posted by RZ
Feb 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm
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We got a show this Friday at a new time — 8 pm Pacific. This is the commercial they wouldn’t let us show. Hope to see you there.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-belligerent-years



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