Ted Parsnips

  1. Allow Me To Recommend A Marvelous Local Business!

    LIKE YOU, I’m pretty impressionable when it comes to advertising.

    For instance — that new commercial with the unlikely animal pairs worked exactly as the genius ad-men behind it had planned:

    I found myself immediately running out to the exotic pet black market down the street and buying an Australian crocodile and one of those red-assed monkeys — hoping to create some adorable magic of my own.

    (Didn’t end well for Mr. Bananas, but I did manage to save most of his butt — I’m having it made into one of those horseshoe-shaped neck pillows you take on planes.)

    monkeybutt

    Anyway: Also like you, I may be pretty impressionable, but I’m not stupid. You and me, we weren’t born yesterday, were we? Nope.

    So recently, when I was in the parking lot of a local thrift store — thinking about sending flowers to a friend or loved one or grieving parents of a red-assed monkey, as many of us so often do when we find ourselves in the parking lot of local thrift stores — I saw this…

    bling

    …and I was of course intrigued. Maybe even a little impressed. And curious.

    But not yet won over.

    Because while such a magnificent and elaborate car window display certainly implies a particular level of professionalism and an advertising budget quite possibly over the $5 mark (depending on where they bought those rhinestones), I’ve been fooled by car-florists with clever names and flashy signs before.

    Then I wandered to the other side of the vehicle where I saw this:

    bling2

    Ah-haaa…! They somehow managed to scoop up both .net and .com! Not an easy task, I reckon, for such a popular domain name!

    These people are on the ball! That’s what I’m looking for in a florist.

    They’ve got all my flower business now, and, if I may be a bit presumptuous, I dare say yours, too!

    Posted by on March 5, 2015, 10:45 AM.

  2. Mixed Messages In The Liquor Aisle!

    abstynent

    Strange name for a vodka? Perhaps.

    But maybe it’s so-named intentionally — you know, to help fun-loving, dyed-in-the-wool drunkards skirt inquiries about staying sober without resorting to lying.

    “Parsnips you pathetic lush — you been laying off the Smirnoff?”
    “Huh? Whuh? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah – Abstynent!”
    “Good for you! Keep it up!”
    “Awright then!”

    Posted by on , 12:35 AM.

  3. ¿What’s Bueno? hair donut.

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    Here’s something I’ve been seeing at the 99¢ Only store for a while, and I’ve decided to share it with you.

    It’s hair donut — the donut for the hair.

    hairdonut1

    What makes hair donut bueno?

    It’s bueno just by virtue of not being the kind of hair donut that has you pulling long brown strands out of your cruller (and your teeth) and threatening to call the health department on the little pastry shop on the corner for lapses in hairnet protocol.

    What’s more, for those of you who’ve fantasized about the forbidden love between man and Muppet — the love that dare not speak its name…

    hairdonut2

    …well, for just 99¢ only, you can cross another item off your bucket list.

    Posted by on March 3, 2015, 11:41 PM.

  4. You See It Too, Right…?

    AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, I have a tendency to see similarities between celebrities that no one else does. Maybe I just have a keener eye for these things; maybe it’s chronic macular degeneration and early-onset glaucoma coupled with the cucumbers I had for dinner. Who can really say?

    For instance, I think we all remember the time when I was convinced that Bob Odenkirk was a dead-ringer for the guy who played the Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz.” That is, we’d all remember that time if I bothered to post my findings here. But no, I chose not to, shamed as I was after I mentioned it to a few friends who decided I was “smoking crack.”

    (I no longer think Odenkirk looks like Ray Bolger, but I was watching the third episode of “Better Call Saul” a few weeks ago and there’s a scene when he’s in his car and he looks exactly like Kevin Costner for a few moments. And for the record, thanks to random testing, I’m still clean.)

    Anyway: My latest issue of Entertainment Weekly came in the mail the other day, and this is the cover, featuring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard from the hit new Fox show “Empire”:

    EW1353

    Now, I’m not too familiar with Taraji’s body of work, but something about her and that vamp-like pose seemed very familiar…

    Then it struck me:

    lilherm

    She looks just like Lily Munster!

    You see it, don’t you?

    I mean, just give her a widow’s peak and a skunk stripe and she’s Lily!

    Now maybe that’s not the perfect “Munsters” still to make my case, but if you think I’m going through seventy episodes to get a screen grab of Lily in a pose identical to the EW cover, you’ve got another think coming, bub.

    And take heart, Taraji, if you’re reading this: Looking like the Munster matriarch is not a bad thing at all; Lily was indeed quite attractive. (However, Terrence Howard bears little resemblance to Herman, eh, thankfully for him.)

    “So now,” you, what, six readers ask, “what exactly do we do with this information?”

    Good question. Here’s my thought: I think this is where we all get on board and do one of those internet petitions where we try to get her to play Lily Munster in something. Why not? Seems like a worthy cause.

    …Really, just — just  anything to rid the foul taste still in our collective mouths from that god-awful “Mockingbird Lane” pilot from 2012, right?

    Posted by on March 2, 2015, 3:56 AM.

  5. Ya Gotta Collect Something!

    thriftleftbanner

    It’s always interesting to me, and now you, when I find items in thrift stores that were obviously part of a collection…and then were donated all at once.

    footcollection

    Here we see not a big collection, but evidently a collection nonetheless.

    I consider myself fairly well-versed in the realm of tacky souvenirs, but the ceramic “I Got A Kick Out Of…” bottom-of-a-foot is a new one on me.  Thimbles, egg timers, oversized novelty pencils, salt & pepper shakers, mugs, shot glasses — I’ve seen them all as tourist trinkets.

    These things? Nope; never noticed ‘em before.

    And yet, as we can see above, they exist.

    Too small for a spoon rest, not deep enough for use as an ashtray, they were maybe 3″ to 3-1/2″ long, so I don’t know if they served a purpose other than to gather dust as a knick knack.

    Why would someone decide on collecting these? Aside from the Guadalajara one, there’s very little in the way of variety — the others were probably cranked out by the same manufacturer (and “Recuerdo De Guadalajara” was likely made by some other company creating a mold from one).

    Were they just “cute” to the buyer, and purchased all by him or her?

    Or did he or she just buy one, and then — egads! — a visitor noticed it on a shelf in the den and later gave another as a gift after going on a trip…? And then someone else saw the then two of them…and gave one more and thus, the collection grew, quickly and exponentially metastasizing into something increasingly horrific with each well-meaning friend’s return from vacation…until finally, there were — dear God above! — seven of them?!

    And then what prompted someone to suddenly get rid of them?

    Seems unlikely you’re going to collect these, actively or passively, and suddenly experience a moment of clarity where you see them for the hideous things they are, and so out they go.

    Nope. Someone died. That’s my guess.

    Grandpa finally kicked the bucket and Grandma, perhaps feeling a little guilty (or perhaps not), quickly rid her home of them, the only lingering reminders of the concession she’d made to his foot fetish after she said no to letting him sniff her navy blue canvas slip-ons with the little red anchor on the top.

    Posted by on March 1, 2015, 9:08 AM.

  6. Today In Gourmet Cat Food!

    cusoontuna

    If the name of this flavor of cat food means what I think it does, you might want to move the litter box a little closer to Fluffy’s feeding station.

    Posted by on February 28, 2015, 3:25 AM.

  7. It Came From The Free Online Photo Editor!

    IF THERE’S ONE THING I’VE LEARNED over my past thirty-eight years of blogging here on the internet it’s that a good portion of my, what, six readers enjoy reading stuff about thrift stores, if I’m correctly deciphering the all-but-impossible-to-interpret Google Analytics information I obsessively check each night at 12:01 a.m. with a tumbler full of high quality Chilean brandy.

    piscocapel

    Regardless, seems the thrift store posts get a lot of hits (followed closely by posts about fried bologna sandwiches, so expect to see a lot more of those in the future). Problem is, I don’t see a really good Overpriced Goodwill Item of the Week every single day. Or every single week for that matter.

    However, sometimes I just happen across something that’s, well, that’s just kind of neat.

    It’s with that in mind that I, with great fanfare, roll out yet another “regular” (ha!) feature, soon to be forgotten by the both of us…

    thriftleftbanner

    That’s pretty self-explanatory, right? Saw something unusual; took a picture of it; didn’t buy it. There you go. Wonderful

    Oh, and look who’s here! It’s our first noteworthy thrift store item!

    steno1

    Steno Booster!

    Dictation Speed and Accuracy Training Course! For every type of shorthand!

    “Practice at home today [for] …a better paying job tomorrow!” reads the sleeve.

    steno2

    Miss Jones! Take a letter! ‘Dear Miss Jones, Maybe if you didn’t wear the same outfit two days in a row, you wouldn’t have been passed up for that promotion to the executive steno pool. Hygiene is important in this organization. Very truly yours, etc. etc. P.S. Take a shower.’ Type that up and give yourself a copy, then head down to Rexall on the corner and for God’s sake, woman, buy a bottle of Stopette.

    So there we go! That wasn’t too painful, was it? Well, sometimes these new regular features are a little rocky at the beginning. Remember that first fried bologna sandwich post? Yeah — and look how far we’ve come since then.

    Posted by on February 25, 2015, 10:29 PM.

  8. That Fried Chicken Bologna Sandwich Post You’ve Been Asking For!

    bolofry1

    Previously on Ted:

    At the end of the 99¢ Only Halloween Hullaboo thing back in October, I mentioned how I came across these delightful cans of chicken bologna.  Sure, they had me at “chicken bologna,” but in a can…?  I think we’re all astonished I purchased only one.

    *  *  *  *  *

    Now, months later, I showed said can to a pal who was (inexplicably) disgusted, but did advise me that “You gotta fry that [expletive deleted] up, son! Frrrrrah it up!”

    Looking online, I saw to no surprise whatsoever that there’s at least one chef who is trying to promote fried bologna as a trendy food, which would have immediately dissuaded me (and by extension, you) from having anything whatsoever to do with it, but by this point I was already 99¢-only deep into this fried bologna folly of mine (or frolognly, as I call it) and there was no turning back.

    I wisely ignored his recipe, which involved artisanal this and local-sourced that, and God forbid, gluten-free something-or-other, probably!, and just winged it and created my own unique take on the classic fried bologna sandwich.

    By the way, have you noticed lately that every single recipe you see online is “a [something] take on the classic [whatever]”…?

    No?

    Well, now that I’ve mentioned it, you’ll be seeing it everywhere.

    Anyway! Here’s how we made our version — that is, mine (and now yours):

    bolofry2

    First, I opened the can. I needed to insert the thin edge of a knife twixt can edge and lid to actually pry it off, which was accompanied by a subtle but delightful sucking noise, even after the can opener did its job.

    bolofry3

    I wasn’t sure what to expect , but, eh, this is what I found. I’ll let the photo above describe it; otherwise I’d inadvisably write something completely inaccurate involving the foreman at the chicken bologna cannery hocking up a little extra personal something into each can…that would cause my attorney to suffer a sudden apoplectic fit. Instead, imagine how the infinitely more talented James Lileks might describe such an image.

    I’m usually something of a happy-go-lucky type, but I’ll admit this cylindrical wad of lunch meat — key to the success of our fried bologna sandwich — has me a bit worried, especially given that divot of congealed fat.

    You, however — fretful, nervous type that you are, you’ve been concerned from the first time you read “chicken bologna in a can.” I can’t imagine why.

    bolofry4b

    And this black spot I think has us all a little anxious. The can itself was free from visible dents, dings or punctures, and this — this looks like spoilage.

    So then, throw the entire thing out? And piss away 99¢ only?!  Naaah!

    bolofry5

    A simple bolognopsy takes care of things; we’ll send that sample off to the lab [read: “trash can”] and get on with our lives.

    bolofry6

    But not if Mr. Whiskers has anything to say about it, and brother, does he ever! “Mrow! Mrow! Hiss! Spit! Mew! Yowl!” etc., etc.  Apparently once cracked open, the can filled the room with a scent not unlike one of the delicious varieties of Friskies Buffet, at least to the unsophisticated palate.

    Sheddap, I tells him, and continue.

    bolofry7

    Here I’ve flipped the wad of bologna, or bolognawad over, and cut off about a 1/4″ slice.  Next, we—

    bolofry6

    —”Mrow! Mew! Hiss! Spit! Hiss! Mrrow! Yoooooowl!”  Okay, this evidently isn’t going to stop until I take bolognive action. At this point, though I was unable to get a shot of it, the little fella actually got up on his hind legs to beg, and he never does that!

    Trust me, friends, it’s adorable, and thus must be rewarded — and maybe then he’ll shut the hell up!

    So we dice up about a teaspoon of the stuff:

    bolofry8

    Put it into a bowl and present it to his majesty.

    bolofry9

    Mmm-mm, that’s good bologna!  Good bologna!

    bolofry10

    And then two minutes later, he’s finally done, and what the hell – did he even eat any of it? That’s almost the same amount I gave him. Anyway, let’s get back on track here.

    bolofry11

    Next, we take this delicious telera, or Mexican food-bread roll, which I bought from Jons (a local supermercado), slice it open and…

    bolofry12

    …using rich, delicious Challenge Dairy Maid Spread (the challenge is finding the dairy in the list of ingredients), generously butter the inside of the roll.  Oh, excuse me, generously butter the inside of the telera. Oh, oh, excuse me – generously 48% Vegetable Oil Spread the inside of the telera.

    Also, here my attorney would like to note that it’s not that challenging find dairy in the list of ingredients (but they are at the end).

    Next you pop them into your frying pan, butter side down, and kind of toast ‘em up, reeeal nice-like.

    bolofry13

    Meanwhile, having already sliced up the bologna you’re going to use, you’ll want to bag up the rest and put it in the refrigerator – you know, so you can enjoy it later. Or at least so Forensics has a starting point after your corpse is discovered sometime next week.

    toastedtelera

    Now don’t let your roll burn! No one wants a telera en fuego. Once properly toasted, you can return it to the cutting board where you sliced your bologna. Don’t worry about keeping a kosher kitchen — when cooking food like this, cross-contamination is the least of your worries.

    fryinbologna

    With your frying pan good and hot, go ahead and put your one and two-thirds chicken bologna slices in there. (You would have had two whole slices, but you snipped off that gross black part, and then the cat was being a pain in the ass so you gave him some, remember?)

    onionslice

    Now: Quick, cut yourself up a slice of onion to put on your fried bologna sandwich. Look, your chances of kissing anyone any time soon already went out the window when you decided to cook up a fried chicken-bologna-from-a-can sandwich, so might as well cut that onion good and thick.

    provolone

    Onto the most expensive part of the sandwich: The cheese. It’s the only thing that cost more than a buck. I chose Borden Natural Provolone (with added smoke flavor); for a more authentic Fried Bologna sandwich, simply use government cheese.

    cheeseatop

    You’re going to want the bologna slices to get kind of slightly browned on both sides, so flip ‘em over now and again. And then, when they’ve got a nice color to ‘em, you go ahead and put your cheese slices on ‘em.

    Now, see what I did with the 2/3 bologna slice? I folded and scored its cheese slice so it’d fit. It’s this lightning-quick ability to immediately adapt to any cooking emergency thrown my way that would serve me well on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Chopped,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” or any other of those awful cooking shows if I knew how to make anything aside from a fried bologna sandwich, and I’m learning as I go with this thing as it is!

    smokealarm

    Now let the cheese melt on your bologna slices a bit. When the smoke alarm in the hallway goes off, they’re about done.

    Using a spatula, de-pan [cooking term] your bologna slices and slide same onto the bottom of your toasted telera roll, drop that fat slice of onion onto it, and give your sandwich a south-of-the-border flavorita by garnishing with some jalapeño slices, and you’re just about done.

    halfsam

    All that’s left to do is drop the top half of the roll on, and then cut that sucker in half for no reason other than to display its delicious melted cheese.

    voila

    Well, and to make it easier to share with the cat.

    bolofry6

    For a copy of the Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe, send $4.00 and a self-addressed stamped envelope to Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe, Box 658152, Dept. FBSR, Los Angeles 7, Calif., Attention: Fried Bologna Recipe Fulfillment Office. Please write “Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe” on the lower left corner of your envelope and include the words “Fried” “Bologna” “Sandwich” and “Recipe,” in that order, printed by hand on a 3×5 card. Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe offer good while Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe supplies last.

    Posted by on February 23, 2015, 1:26 PM.

  9. A Candle In The Thrift!

    ONE of the things that’s great about this whole new modern digital age, especially for someone like me who’s — surprise! — just a floor-to-ceiling stack of old newspapers or two short of being clinically diagnosed as a hoarder, is that these days, with my trusty EBC, or expensive blogging camera, I can go into a thrift store, see something neat (as you kids today say) and capture it on film, and by “on film” I of course mean digitally, sans film, all without having to waste money buying the damn thing that ultimately I would have no use for.

    Case in point? This candle I just saw a week or two ago:

    finko1

    I mean, look at this thing — it’s great, right? Here’s how much of a freak I am — I did a double-take when I saw it, because I was excited to find what I thought at first was an honest-to-goodness vintage old tin can!

    “What a hypocrite!” you shriek. “You’re really no different than the people on Flickr that you make fun of!

    Yes, well. You got me there.

    Anyway! I soon realized it’s not an empty spaghetti can from the 60s, but rather…

    finko2

    …a candle made to look like a can of spaghetti, sure, as the label says.

    Like you, when I see things like this — can or candle — I wonder to myself, and sometimes aloud (if a stranger’s nearby and I’m looking to make someone uncomfortable), “Where did this once mundane, now magnificent item reside for the past half-century? In an attic? A garage, a basement? In the bedroom of a beloved child who died tragically at an early age, and then Mom & Dad kept the room intact, as a shrine, maybe, for the rest of their days, until they, too, shuffled off this mortal coil, and some unsentimental realtor boxed up everything in the place and delivered it to a thrift store? How is it that something as commonplace as an empty spaghetti can or, yes, a bit less commonplace as a spaghetti candle avoid the trash bin for so long? Why is it here now, in front of me?”

    And speaking of the two items — Which would have been the better find: An actual empty can that decades earlier once held Franco-American spaghetti? Or this sort of Mad Magazine / Wacky Packages take on Franco-American spaghetti that’s not empty, and still has much of its original candle inside?

    I’ll leave that up to my, what?, six readers, as that is something only you can decide. If you’re done shrieking at me, I mean.

    “Does it smell like spaghetti when you light the candle?” you ask with a bit more restraint, using your indoor voice, and your question’s a valid one. Yet we may never know, since I left it there, unboughten. I did sniff it, though, and I couldn’t really detect any scent. But someone probably knows — it was gone when I went back to this particular thrift, less than a week later.

    How close to the original label was it? Pretty damn close, as you can see:

    francofinko

    On the right we have my candle — and by “my candle,” I mean a candle that is mine in spirit only: I do not actually own it but merely photographed it, and I refer to it as such because it’s the same candle I was talking about before; it is “mine” in that regard — but on the left,  we have an actual vintage empty Franco-American spaghetti can I found online that is not mine but belongs to a fellow who purchased it full of nails at a yard sale a couple of years ago.

    The question remains: Did he at first glance think he’d happened upon a Finko-American spaghetti candle and only upon closer inspection realize it was in fact an actual old empty can — empty, that is, of spaghetti but full in rich, nourishing nails?

    And if so, was he disappointed?

    We may never know.

    Next time:  I hypothesize at length about the unlikely set of circumstances that, in late 2014, placed two half-filled books of 1960s S&H Green Stamps on the ground in the middle an alleyway a block from my house and directly in my path…

    greenstamps

    …and whether it’d been better to have found these books or the 50-year old merchandise that such stamps could have been redeemed for. (Presuming said merchandise would have been in as surprisingly good shape as these alley-books.)

    That, or maybe I’ll just pound out something quick about crap I bought at the dollar store. Either way, it’s sure to be compelling.

    Posted by on February 19, 2015, 11:01 PM.

  10. ¿What’s Bueno? Rième Pink Grapefruit Sparkling Limonade!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    Today’s “What’s Bueno” selection comes to the 99¢ Only store by way of France, a country famed for its gustatory delights — from frogs legs, or l’egs de frogge, to cheeses as pungent and unwashed as the very people who enjoy them. 

    And what we’ve got here is a beverage with which they wash down their frogs and cheese, or fraagzencheis, as they say in nearby Germany (probably).

    It’s Rième brand All Natural Pink Grapefruit Sparkling Limonade.

    rieme

    No, that’s not a typo – it’s actually spelled “limonade.” That’s just how they do things in France. My, what an impression you’ll make on the host or hostess of a party you’ve been invited to when you show up with a classy gift like this – sturdy glass, quality paper label, old-fashioned stopper.

    “Oh, don’t open it up for us,” you’ll tell them. “You save it for a special occasion.” Yeah, a special occasion far in the future when you’re not around and they’ve forgotten who gave it to them, because this stuff is all about the packaging. The so-called “limonade” inside isn’t bad, it’s just very mild. I say there’s very little tang to the taste, not much zip to the [Note to self: come up with a z-word before I post this]. 

    “So why ‘Bueno’, Ted?” you ask. “How can you in good conscience recommend this to us, your trusting readers?”

    Go to Crate & Barrel and see what they charge you for similar empty bottles and you’ll see I’ve steered you right as always. And don’t you dare ever doubt me again.

    Posted by on February 18, 2015, 9:51 AM.

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