Death. The high cost of living. That’s something I heard from Neil Gaiman once. Actually, it was a title of the comic book, but I’m straying from the original concept of this blog.

I asked a question in the title of this blog. Is it wrong to be happy with someone else’s death? What am I necessarily talking about in this situation? Well, I’m not the richest kid on the block. To be honest, I work a shitty job at Best Buy counting things. You heard me right, I count stuff in the store. It pays very well and I work Monday to Friday in the wee hours until about 2 p.m. everyday, so it gives me enough time to fight the urge to pass out while watching as many movies as I can. It wasn’t always like that, but again I’m straying from the intent of this article.

Not having much money, I learned how to stretch a dollar out. I would buy stuff on clearance. Half off sales. Close out deals. All that fun stuff. This was up until I found out the beauty of The Salvation Army. The graveyard of cool old shit. The other day, as I’ve been enjoying my long needed vacation*, I said to myself, “Let me check out my neighborhood Salvation Army to see if they have any clothing, records, books or trinkets.”

I’m a big lover of trinkets.

But even more so of weird kitschy clothing and books I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. So while I was perusing the shelves of their books, fingering through multiple copies of The DaVinci Code, James Patterson’s usual array of nursery rhyme crapola and self help heaven, I found two books that caught the eye of this here writer.

One was Hollywood and the Great Fan Magazines, a fantastic hardcover from 1970 by Martin Levin. It culls together old fan magazines from the 30’s and 40’s that people made, delving into the lives of the stars of yesteryear. Think of it as a print version of Perez Hilton. But cuter in concept. I loved reading about the love life of Errol Flynn, but it wasn’t the love stories I have heard from others.

The second book was one that I was actually thinking about the other day because one of my co-bloggers here, Adam Campbell, wrote a fantastic blog about The Cocoanuts and the Marx Brothers in general. The book, another hardcover, was 1971’s Why a Duck?, an overview of the Marx Brother’s movies, with pictures from the actual movies. They love telling you that they weren’t publicity shots, but instead are somewhat blurry because it looks as if they took a camera to a movie theater’s screen. But it’s still a fantastic little collection of quips and Groucho Marx’s introduction that makes it worth the $4.99 price tag.

I’ll be perusing the Salvation Army more often to let you fine folks know what dead people’s families didn’t want and left behind for me to buy. If you have any other stories of great finds, let me know. I’d love to know what else dead people haven’t the room for in their coffins.