The Mystery of Scented Mountain

      In the opening of the 21st century, we have seen many amazing advancements in electronics and convenience. We now have the iPod, the Nintendo DS, digital cable, XM radio, affordable wireless internet, and cell phones that do everything except wipe your ass.; we are living in the Golden Age of Technology. But if the 00s are a peak for electronics then the 80s were a similar high for commercialism. Everything was for sale in the 80s. EVERYTHING. Name virtually any kid-friendly show or movie from the 1980s and I fucking guarantee you it had its own fully licensed beach towel and tin lunchbox. If the show in question was a cartoon, you can be sure there were stickers, trading cards, toys and activity books too. Even Punky Brewster had her own goddam doll (Punky Power™ not included). You can still find most of this crap being bought and sold on eBay, but most of these products were viable even before highly pretentious self-proclaimed hipsters began scouring the net for retro-kitsch. The 1980s middle class proved to be more than willing to buy their kids bizarre shit like My Buddy and Boglins. In the case of Cabbage Patch Kids, parents readily trampled each other to death to procure them. Of course, dolls and stickers aren't exactly groundbreaking products; they sold well long before the 80s. However, consider the Wacky Wall Walker, a cheap sticky spider toy that *sometimes* climbed down walls that it was hurled at: one Ken Hakuta made tens of millions of dollars producing them. And let us not forget Power Wheels, the ridiculously expensive motorized cars that every goddam kid wanted. You might assume that America's parents were collectively smart enough to realize that spending several hundred dollars for a toy that children quickly outgrow is a stupid investment. Unfortunately, they weren't. It's like I said: people would buy anything in the 80s, whether it was switchblade combs or falsely advertised real estate in the Everglades. In that same spirit, personalized books made their debut.

      Personalized books were the type of thing that only could have existed in the 80s. During the Vietnam era and the subsequent recession, spending money on something as frivolous as personalized book was not a luxury that most parents would be willing to afford their children. Today, technology has advanced to such a point where the personalized book is obsolete. In a world where websites and video games address us by name, a half-assed book with someone's name Mad Libbed in is hardly impressive. Besides, anyone can print their own book with a half-decent color printer. Binding it is actually fairly easy, but places like Kinko's can do a shitty spiral binding for you too. But in the 80s, not many people had computers, let alone printers. If your family did have a printer, it was probably attached to a crappy Apple II and had a dpi that made Atari graphics look like the goddam Sistine Chapel. Please keep that in mind when assessing the mediocre artwork and hackneyed story that you'll encounter in the following pages; there was a time when producing a second-rate book took a large amount of effort and initiative. The personalized book that I'll be reviewing is called The Mystery of Scented Mountain and it was bought for my younger brother sometime between December 1984 and December 1985. I had at least two personalized books of my own, but one of them is MIA and the other one is nowhere near as fun as this one. Prepare yourself, if you can, for one of the dumbest stories you'll ever read.