Things You Never Knew Existed
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Friday, November 17, 2017
Thanksgiving is a top holiday in my book. Not just for the food (yum!) and football (all day! Yay!), but it's also a time to think about the Things that make us happy. The Things that make us rich - despite the red ink on our bank statements. (Okay, maybe that's just me.) You know, all the Things we're thankful for...

My memory being what it much nonexistent, I usually make a list of the Things I'm thankful for. I'm happy (and grateful) to say it's a pretty long list, so I'll just give you the top 3:

Family: I have a big family. A very Big Family. I'd like to say it's all "Leave it to Beaver" perfect, but that would be a Big Fat Lie. We're waaaaaaay too normal for that. We have disagreements. We fight over silly Things that don't matter. All of us - even the youngest kids - are LOUDLY opinionated. (SO not our fault. I blame genetics). But it doesn't matter. When the holidays roll around, we put all that aside and become one Big Happy Family - sorta kinda like TV families - but with practical jokes, pranks, and fart noises at the holiday table.

Health: Not just mine, which is (knock wood) pretty good. I'm mostly grateful for the good health of my friends and my family. Especially my parents. I'm happy that they're still with us to take places of honor at the Thanksgiving table. Mom still makes her top secret stuffing recipe (it tastes exactly the same as it did when I was a kid - how does she DO that every single time?!). And Dad still makes his "gobble-gobble" and a few...errrrrr... let's just say "less delicate" noises while he's carving the turkey. Hey, tradition is important.

Things: Not material Things, either. What I'm grateful for is being able to work here at Things You Never Knew Existed. I get to play with all kinds of cool toys. I get to meet our awesome customers through this blog, our social network, and sometimes on the phone. I'm so lucky to spend my days doing Things I love.

Oh...wait...there's another Big Thing that makes me super grateful: in our family, pranks, tricks, and fun with flatulence never take a holiday - no matter how serious we're supposed to be.

Happy Thanksgiving. See you on Black Friday,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, November 10, 2017
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, man, practice.

From the time I can remember until I "grew up" (ha! as if!), I was sure I would be a famous rockstar. I was gonna crank my amp to, like, 11, man. I'd be the guitarist that kids love and parents hate. Like, it was totally my destiny, man.

I'd ride in a super sweet tour bus with my name in big letters and a flaming flying V guitar painted on the side. I'd go from city to city filling arenas to the rafters. Hordes of screaming SuperFans would follow me everywhere.

Best of all the world's greatest guitar players would copy my brilliant guitar licks without giving credit where it was due. But I wouldn't sue - that's not my Thing. No, instead I'd give away my massive talent and accept the flattery of imitation with my totally superior grace. (Okay, and a giant dose of smug satisfaction. Hey, I'm only human.)

What I didn't know then that would later shape my destiny is this: playing guitar is HARD, man.

Especially if you don't practice. Which I didn't.

I was always too distracted by the next new, cool Thing at Dad's company. I could never settle down and get serious about...well...anyThing except farting, gadgetyfunny, and pranky Things.

Don't cry for poor moi...I also said I wanted to be a teacher, an astronaut, a stand-up comic, a fireman, a writer (Hey! That one sort of worked out!), a stuntman, and, get it.

Anyway, Dad's business was the only Thing that I really worked at. Some people say I have "talent" for it. Just between you and me, what I really have is tons and tons of "practice, man, practice".

Since I didn't (don't, won't) practice guitar, my rockstar dreams are not to be. That's okay by me. These days I'm happy playing air guitar - and the radio. But, man, I'd still like to have that tour bus...

Play on, my friends. I'll see you next week.

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, November 3, 2017
This Sunday most of us will be compelled to 'Fall Back' by setting our clocks back one hour. Did I mention how much I despise the time change? I think I did...once or twice or a hundred times. But, hey, I'm not here to complain. (This week.)

I'm here to say, "Grab hold of your 'extra' hour on Sunday and don't let go!" Think about it: we've been OWED that hour since we were so inhumanely forced to Spring Forward. (But who's bitter? Not me.)

Soooo...moving right along...there's some good news from the belly of this beastly madness: we're getting our hour back on Sunday.

Now that's someThing to celebrate, don't you think? I'm guessing that's why some brainiac blogger came up with a new holiday ‐ Zero Tasking Day - on the day we Fall Back. Grab your so‐called 'extra' hour (along with the rest of the day!) and use it for whatever you want.

        Nap? Great!
        Two naps? Greater!
        Three naps (aka sleeping all day)? SpecTACular!

Not a good napper? Yeah, me either. But that doesn't mean you have to miss out on your Slothful Sunday. You could read a book. Listen to music. Watch TV. Or just sit there staring into space ‐ as long as you don't do One Single Thing.

What am I doing? #MovieDay! It's gonna be all movies. All. The. Time.

I can't even be bothered to search for someThing to stream online. I just laid in a stock of DVDs. I've got my comedies: the Stooges and wild man Jeff Dunham. I've got classic horror flicks from Vincent Price to Bella Lugosi. I've got a Wide World of Weird and Wonderful Things to watch, including a collection of bizarre Things that happened right here in America and a new video about visionary Nikola Tesla, which I've been dying to watch but I couldn't find the time. (Oh, the irony, right?) I even got pre‐bagged popcorn because even microwaving is a task, isn't it? And Zero Tasking means 0 ‐ as in not even one, right?

Pretty sure I'm getting the hang of Zero Tasking Day already. And if Things go as planned, I think I'm gonna like this new holiday. A lot.

See you next week,
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 27, 2017
Okay, I'm about to throw my twice-yearly fit.

We have to turn our clocks back next weekend (at 2:00 am local time on Sunday, November 5 to be exact).

I heard the news this morning while sucking down coffee and trying to wake up.

I wanted to throw myself to the ground, kicking and screaming and crying until my face turned blue. But they say I'm too old for that.

(I don't know who They are, but apparently They get to be the boss of me because I didn't throw my tantrum.)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: the dreaded time change.

I hate-hate-hate it. But you probably know that. Pretty sure I complain about it on this blog every year. Sometimes twice a year. At least once for sure.

Here's the Thing about the time swing: it takes us (no, it's not just me!) about two weeks to adjust. During that two weeks our body clocks spin out of control.

We're up all night. And sleeping at, on, or under our desks (if we can get away with it) by day.

Which makes us (me) cranky.

Personally, I'd stick to Daylight Savings Time and just leave Things be. But it's not just me. There's a whole Facebook community dedicated to time change refuseniks.

Even better, 21 states tried to #locktheclock this year. Most of the bills failed, but not for lack of trying. Seems even some state legislators get cranky about the time change.

Hate the change? Join the #locktheclock movement. If we all work together, maybe we can Stop the Madness - next year.

See you next week.
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 20, 2017
Here's someThing that will shock you (not!): I was into science when I was in school.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Call me "geek" call me a "nerd".

See if I care.

Because I know Things.

Important Things.

Science-y Things.

I never wanted to be a scientist. I just wanted to know about Things. I wanted (no, I NEEDED) to figure out how Things work. And the best way to figure out the inner workings of Things?

Take them apart, of course!

Along with learning how Thing work, I learned that taking Things apart is a pretty good way to get yourself grounded. Especially when you get caught red-handed in front of a pile of parts that used to be the toaster. Or the vacuum. Or Dad's electric shaver.

So I don't take Things apart anymore. After being grounded (like a million times!) I learned my lesson.

Don't get me wrong: I'm still super curious about all Things science-y. But these days I stick to putting Things together and - surprise-surprise - I still learn Things! So far, I've learned how a jet engine works. How a glider flies. All about combustion engines.

Not that I don't love taking Things apart still - I do. Especially since I can't get grounded anymore. But it's a lot more fun to put Things together. Mainly because when you're done, they actually work!

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 13, 2017
Remember when you had to be at home to get a telephone call? When the phone was actually hard wired? Just in case you don't, see the telephone at left. Yup. That's what Things used to be like. To take a call, you had to be tethered to a wall!*

It was a Dark Age.

But (WHEW!) that's all over now. Six out of seven people on the planet have cell phones or smartphones. In fact, more people have cell phones than toilets!

But we don’t just spend trillions of minutes talking. That would be, like, so lame.

No, here in this Bright Age of Tech, we do everyThing with our phones. We send send over eight trillion text messages a year. That's the number eight with 12 zeroes after it. And we spend 720,000,000,000 minutes a day on social media platforms. Talk time barely measures compared to the other Things we do on our phones in the New Age.

What ever did we do back in the Dark Age? We missed unimportant calls. We couldn't LOL or LIKE or SHARE someThing without actually (shudder) seeing someone in person.! The absolute horror of it all!

Sarcasm aside, I admit that my cellphone and I are joined at the hip. (Almost literally since I carry it on my belt.) I need it to keep in touch with the business while I'm camping with my dog. To get the scoop on the Next Big Thing no matter where I am. To watch Epic Fail videos on YouTube while I’m waiting in some line for someThing I probably don’t want to do.

But I also admit there are days when I want to accidentally-on-purpose leave the Thing at home. I envision being like Bear Grylls, fighting my way through the unforgiving wilds of the Tech World without my gadgets.

And then I remember: I love gadgets! Gadgets are my Thing!

Besides, I’m no Bear of any kind. After about an hour, they’d find me crawling through the city streets, phone in hand, begging for just a little bit of a charge…and maybe some extra data.

See you next week,

*Full Disclosure: I still have a hard wired phone - I use it to call my cell phone when I can't find it.
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 6, 2017
A couple of years ago, Knightscope gleefully announced its new "crimefighting robot", the K5. It's not an Artificial Intelligence robot (soooooooo obvious - we get to that part later), but K5 can "see, feel, hear, and smell".

The bright idea was to have the robot patrol malls, office buildings, etc., collecting information to predict the likelihood of an impending crime. (Uh, yeah, right.) It then shares the info with the human security force that it will soon replace works with.

You ever owned one of those vacuum 'bots? They get lost under the couch, get stuck in corners, or just fritz out and sit there like a super expensive doorstop. If you've seen one of these "intelligent" devices in inaction, you can guess where I'm headed...

This is one of those Things that always goes just about like so:

          Step One: Have Bright Idea
          Step Two: Implement Bright Idea
          Step Three: Suffer Epic Fail
          Step Four: Endure Endless Internet Ridicule.

Sooooooooo this particular Bright Idea, K5, was "on patrol" in an office building in D.C. when it fell down some stairs, landed in a fountain, and "drowned".

You can also guess what happened next: the Web went stark raving mad with glee over the Fallen 'Bot's Epic Fail.

One Twitter user who (like me) clearly expected (and deserved) to be living the George Jetson lifestyle by the 21st century said: "We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots."  Another tweeted: "Have you thought about getting a lifeguard robot to keep the security robots from drowning?" Dozens (I suspect security personnel) implied that the K5 couldn't 'stand' its menial existence anymore so it drowned itself on purpose.

If K5 and my vagrant vacuum 'bot are predictions of the future, we might never get our flying cars. But on the bright side: it'll be a long, long, LONG time before the robot army rises to destroy us all. So...that's someThing, right?

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink

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