Monday, June 09, 2008

Found weirdness

Back in the 80s I had what many might think was a strange hobby. There was this book called High Weirdness By Mail, put together by Ivan Stang (the SubGenius guy), which promised "high weirdness in your mailbox for only the cost of a 22¢ stamp!" Well, some things required a few dollars to cover the shipping, but I worked my way through the book, sending a buck or two or sometimes just a SASE to all kinds of strange people, organizations, and businesses to see what I would get. I didn't cover every single item in the book, but I did cover a lot of them. One of the things I found listed was a local San Antonio business called Papa Jim's. I sent a couple of bucks and got back this thick catalog. I think the original pages were printed out with an old (but at the time, cutting-edge I'm sure) computer, then they were photocopied and stapled together into a dense sheaf with heavy-duty staples and sheer brute force, I guess.

The Papa Jim's catalog proved to be a treasure-trove of high weirdness. S.A. locals will know Papa Jim's as the oldest, biggest botanica around. I did order a few things from them, mostly some essential oils and incense. Since I had purchased from them, I got on their mailing list and kept receiving catalogs for several years. This 1991 catalog must have been the last one I got. I found it in a box of some of my "black books" this past weekend (I also found my Principia Discordia!).

I doubt that they still put these catalogs together now that just setting up a website is much less labor-intensive, so thanks to G00gl3, here it is: Papa Jim's Botanica. I still use Papa Jim's occasionally to get some of the harder-to-find incense--just try finding bayberry incense at Wal-Mart.

There should still be a box around here somewhere that holds various other weird items. I still haven't found my Love 22 $22 bills.


  1. You may want to know that the book High Weirdness by Mail has been updated. It can be found here on the web:

    High Weirdness By Web

    And there's even a sequel on the web:

    The High Weirdness Project

  2. My mom used to go to Papa Jim's all the time when we were young. I need to stop by, if for nothing else, a photo op.