Ted Parsnips

  1. From Sheila Kuehl to Sheila Chic!

    DOES there exist anyone less politically aware yet who enjoys election season more than me?

    Well, of course – why, we’re a nation of uninformed voters! – but I do enjoy the flyers I get. At least when they’re not clogging my p.o. box to the extent that the good stuff – i.e., postcards, letters and provocative photos in various states of undress from (and of) you, my readers – ends up getting mangled and folded and bent.

    Why, here’s one now:

    [--A flyer, that is, not a nude photograph of one of you folks you've graciously submitted by US Mail, hang the decency laws! No, those go on my other site - TedParsnipsAfterDark ]

    Anyway: Why, here’s one now:


    For those equally politically clueless, and/or not living in Southern California, Sheila Kuehl is a politician who spent fourteen years in the California State Legislature – eight years in the senate and six years in the assembly – before being termed out. She’s currently running for LA County Supervisor.

    However, like me, you remember her as Zelda Gilroy from the, ahem, classic series “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” which you saw when it aired on Nick at Nite between 1990 and 1993 – and despite really hoping to appreciate the show, never being able to get into it.

    …We all tried liking it – didn’t we? The fact that some aspect of the show always comes up in trivia games – the Thinker statue, pre-Gilligan Bob Denver as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs, the kids on “Scooby-Doo” being modeled on the cast – means there really was something magical there at CBS, from 1959 to 1963, right? Well, maybe not so much.

    Anyway, that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here because of this:


    Maybe we need some closeups. Yes, I’m thinking a few closeups – that’ll do, right?


    Whether you’re busy authoring yet another law producing innovations in education or just out for a midday stroll, you’ll look smart n’ stylish in this navy blue number with mandarin collar and deep breast pockets for tucking in sunscreen or a notebook where you’ll jot down ideas about safeguarding our drinking water. Buttons that go on for days let you customize your look from serious to sassy. 


    Button, button, who’s got the button? You do, with plenty to spare in this fabulous yellow top, equally apropos for tirelessly working to reduce congestion in the 101 corridor, legislating to prohibit gender and disability based job discrimination, or heading out for a fun & fancy-free night on the town. You’ll turn heads with deep, pleated breast pockets – both fun & functional! – offset by a daring mandarin collar.


    This dream in light blue is just the thing for a casual jaunt to the seashore, or even a day at the office looking up important briefs as managing attorney of the California Women’s Law Center. Mandarin collar celebrates exotic fashions from afar while playful breast pockets evoke a youthful whimsy. And oh those buttons!

    Oh, settle down, Kuehl supporters – judging by the number of flyers she’s been sending out (two different ones came today – and there’ve been about half a dozen others before that), she’s already won her election.

    And she’s certainly got my vote – I respect the fact that she’s extremely practical and doesn’t have a lot of time to waste shopping for different outfits. Sheila Kuehl finds something she likes, and orders the same thing in multiple colors.

    It’s like me and those thongs I keep buying. I just wish they actually came in my size.

    Posted by on October 21, 2014, 3:53 AM.

  2. NBC News Now Reporting The Future!

    The headline and lede from a news story posted at 2 pm on Sunday:


    Now, I’m hopeful that these four dozen people are all healthy and Ebola-free, and will continue to be so tomorrow, but if the “three-week watch period” ends on Monday, shouldn’t this article start with “Four dozen people who had contact with the original Ebola patient in Dallas will complete a three-week watch period on Monday presuming they continue to show no signs of having contracted the virus”…?

    Or maybe just wait until tomorrow when they’re all given clean bills of health to file the story?

    But perhaps I’m wrong.  Maybe the  NBC News Department now employ seers & fortune tellers – and the ubiquitous little reporters’ notepads, digital recorders and little press cards stuck in the hat bands of fedoras have been replaced with crystal balls, ouija boards and gypsy head scarves.

    Yes, yes, I know it’s nit-picky, but frankly, if it’s not bad journalism it’s at least solppy writign.

    Posted by on October 19, 2014, 2:39 PM.

  3. Also Posted At My Gym!


    Okay, okay, fine – I got it – I’m not allowed to eat here any more…or my membership will be revocted.

    But I can still warm up my Fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli in the steam room, right? I tell ya – set it on the upper tier of benches in the back next to those two guys who always sit next to each other, go work out and 45 minutes later, you’ve got perfectly-cooked pasta, every time!

    [And here I do that, what would you call it?, Italian Chef Kissing Motion, I guess.] Mmwuh!

    Posted by on October 9, 2014, 6:13 AM.

  4. Is That A Chicken In Your Pants…?

    …Or do you just need them taken in a bit?


    Well, it’s a two-sided sign. I’m sure they got it right on the other side!


    Whoops! Nevermind.

    All kidding aside, this place does great work. All the local baseba teams bring their uniforms here to get cleaned.

    Posted by on October 8, 2014, 1:18 AM.

  5. ¡¿What’s Bueno?! – Halloween 2014 Edition!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    COVERING Halloween goodies from the 99¢ Only Store has become as much an October tradition here at the Parsnips household as sitting in the bushes on Halloween night itself with the  porch lights off; and whether I’m at the dollar store focusing my camera or in the privet aiming my garden hose, someone’s bound to call me a creep and notify the police. I don’t quite know where I was going with that, so let’s just get started!


    Haunted House Napkins!
    I like ‘em. Neat vintage looking artwork, but since it’s intentional, they’re barred from the next installment of “Delightfully Anachronistic Package Design,” which, yes, horror of horrors, will eventually rear its head again. And a pack of 20 is just 99¢ only. Even if you’re not having a party, you’ll want them around for handing out your delicious homemade, unwrapped treats to little ghosts & goblins which parents will immediately throw out.

    Incidentally, as you’ll see, that stylized haunted house napkin design is also the logo for all of the Halloween stuff at 99¢ Only this season.


    Skull Napkins!
    They’ve also got these Día de los Whosis skull napkins that are pretty snazzy, or, as they say in the particular culture that celebrates that cheap Halloween knockoff holiday (I believe it’s the Norwegians), “muy snazzio.” 

    By the way, you’ll find a number of items in the 99¢ Only Store’s Halloween aisle which are not 99¢ only; instead ranging in price from $1.29 to $2.99. However, I refuse to recognize 99¢ Only store items above their trademark 99¢ only price point regardless of how bueno they seem to be. So you’re on your own for any of that; rest assured, everything denoted as bueno here is 99¢ only.


    Cat Glasses!
    Here’s some fun eyewear that challenges hipster girls to discard their retro 60s-or-earlier cat glasses for actual cat glasses; i.e., glasses made from real cats, or, if not that, made from plastic in China. (But it’s China, so there’s a good chance maybe at some point a stray cat fell into the vat of molten plastic in which case I’m vindicated for at least part of the previous sentence.) And just what happens when a hipster girl tosses aside her old cat glasses and puts on these new cat glasses? I believe she immediately incinerates in an intense and fiery flash of blinding white-hot irony.

    Eh…is there a new word for “hipster”…? I feel like an old man here, all, what?, six of you quietly mocking me for using “hipster” like it was 2006 or something. But let’s face it, those cat glasses-wearing types still exist, so unless you have a better name for them and their bearded male counterparts, we’ll stick with “hipsters.” But we’ll try not to use it so much, hmm?


    Though they consist of a plastic “wooden stick” and a bunch of plastic “straw” which is attached by a “cable tie” (also, yes, made of plastic!), I have to say, they look pretty good. They resemble a real witch’s broom, albeit a short one. (Still, they’re almost a full yard long!) And that tree branch handle is gnarled and crooked – a nice touch. Pretty good deal for a buck, if you ask me. And most importantly, such an accessory encourages and reinforces traditional Halloween costumes, which is something this country has, sadly, strayed away from in recent years, thank you liberal media!


    Spider Webs!
    These came in a one-web-per bag regular size and a multiple web-per-bag mini-size (seen above). Anyone who’s been to Casa Parsnips knows such decor would be wasted here – you wouldn’t be able to see ‘em for all the real cobwebs covering every corner and the arachnids that are constantly climbing walls and/or dropping down from above. Still, these phony ones seem pretty neat. Looking at them up close (i.e., in person, not in the photo), one could see that these webs are actually machine-knit or weaved – that is, it’s not just wads of diaphanous cottony floss you just tear into thin wisps and string anywhere – presumably these things can be stretched out and give the appearance of actual spider webs. Presumably.



    Gross Candy!
    Well, these certainly aren’t my idea of What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store, but I bet stupid kids just love ‘em. Unfortunately, it’s also proof that year after year, the relentless zombie pop culture apocalypse continues to shuffle and shamble and literally drag on, with no end in sight. The 4.25 ounce brain candy is particularly disgusting, and looks potentially messy as well. Not shown: Candy blood bag, with sugary red corn syrup standing in for blood – that you just suck out of a tube. Look, ordinarily, I’m a big supporter of corn syrup – but as a nourishing ingredient in other fine foods – never on its own! You might as well be doing shots of pancake syrup like I do at IHOP with their deliciously artificially butter pecan flavor. Perhaps the lesson here is not to judge.


    Spider Web Felt Doily!
    As with last year’s spider web bowls, these otherwise great items would have been much better had they been manufactured in white. Of course, even if they were white, I’d probably complain that “Oh, sure, the web is white, but so are the spiders! Are we to believe these are, what, some sort of albino cave spiders? Bah!” Though in that case, I’d advise you to take a great big Marks-A-Lot pen and just enblacken the spiders yourself. However, it’s a moot point because these felt webs are available only in orange, black and green. They’re still arguably bueno because they’re just the special decorative touch to put under your plastic skull pitcher. Speaking of which…!


    Plastic Skull Pitcher!
    Available in clear and in smoke. Looks like it holds about two quarts. You can’t go wrong for 99¢ Only! Fill it with margaritas and drink until you no longer care that the decorative felt web it’s sitting on would look better in white. With black spiders.

    Skull Shot Glasses!
    The photo’s from last year, but they still have ‘em. I even bought a set, because – four skull shotglasses for 99¢ only – I’d’ve been a fool not to pick these up. They’re plastic, yes, with a frosted sheen to them, and like the pitchers, come in clear-ish and smoke-ish.


    Solar-Powered Haunted House!
    These little sun-powered toys are all the rage at the dollar stores these days – the most ubiquitous ones are (non-Halloween) flowers, but I’ve also seen really cool (non-Halloween) sharks (below).


    Each of these moving toys has a little solar panel that makes some element of the figure rock back and forth. Whoopee. In the case of the little (4″ tall) haunted house, the two pie-eyed Pac-Man-ghost-like spectres pop up and down and the attic shakes.

    Like you, I am charmed by the lopsided, angular, asymmetrical cartoony look of the house. And so I bought one. All of these little solar-powered dealies come with a two-sided adhesive disk so you could mount them to, say, the dashboard of your car, but as that particular area of the Parsnipsmobile is covered in bean-and-cheese-encrusted Del Taco wrappers, Mexican head-shaking dogs and Virgin Mary statues (all ironic, except for the Del Taco garbage), there’s no room. I’m afraid the Haunted House stays here at home. And speaking of irony – isn’t it ironic that the only way to get this dark and dreary haunted house to work is through the power of a sunny day? Don’tcha think?


    Color-Changing Skull!
    Believe it or not, that’s the same skull photographed three times due to an elaborate multiple exposure process achieved by me standing really still with the camera over an interminable 40 seconds or so while the skull cycled through a rainbow of colors, and then there was the whole Photoshopping-them-together process, and by Photoshopping, I mean, of course free online photo editor-ing. According to its label, this 3-1/4″ tall plastic skull is technically called COLOR CHANGING LED LIGHT, and it’s pretty neat, although I wish I had gotten a shot where it’s glowing green as well. 99¢ only and the batteries are already included? You’d have to have a thick skull not to buy one of these!


    Regulars visitors to this blog (ha!) will remember that I prophetically announced two years ago that these pull-over nylon masks would be the Halloween staple of the future! …Annnd it turns out I was wrong. They’d pretty much disappeared after 2012. But I did find one lone leftover Unlicensed Frankenstein(‘s Monster) Mask in a Simi Valley 99¢ Only store a few weeks ago, and just as you would have done, I quickly snatched it up. (Unlike you, I actually paid for it, though).

    No, these great masks, which I still think are awesome, sadly never took off. Instead, they’ve got these knit, pull-over ski mask-type things this year:


    …which I would really like to say are bueno, but at $1.49 each, they’re over 99¢ only, so I cannot legally or morally or ethically recommend them. However, I must say I am looking forward to the first news story I see where some criminal robs a bank wearing one of these since they’re pretty much tailor-made for such an activity.

    …And my attorney tells me I am not suggesting in any way, shape or form you should do anything illegal, whether wearing one of these or not. He goes on to say that I look forward to this winter when extreme and law-abiding young people will be wearing them snowboarding or whatever it is law-abiding and extreme young people do in the snow these days, and he’s right, I do look forward to that. And he further doubts an actual professional tailor had anything to do with manufacturing these.

    Speaking of hoods…


    Ninja Hoods
    These are great. There are other ninja items, too for 99¢ Only, but these hoods are particularly cool. I mean, a ninja hood for just 99¢ only – even I’m on board and ninjas are not on my list of pre-approved traditional scary Halloween costumes – witch, ghost, vampire, Frankenstein(‘s Monster), hobo. (Yes, hobos can be scary – just ask late 19th century teenage runaway Jimmy ‘Pretty Punk’ Burrows, author of the disturbing 1893 narrative, “Long Winter In The Chicago Rail-Yard Hobo Jungle or: Anything To Keep Warm!”)


    While we’re on the subject of headware, check out this fine selection of molded hats, all for just 99¢ a piece!

    And here’s a surprise: No Heisenberg porkpie hat knockoff. True, 2013 would have been the year to have unlicensed “Breaking Bad” costume elements, but one expects the dollar store to be about a year behind the times; and such a hat would still have been a big seller this year, labeled “Cancer-Ridden Drug Kingpin Hat” or “Say My Name Hat” or “I Am The One Who Knocks (For Candy) Hat.”

    The other hats are mostly unapproved (by me), unscary, non-traditional costume hats, except for the colorful cowboy hats, which look like they might be worn by strippers. And if you don’t think strippers can be scary, ho ho, brother, you ain’t been to that gentlemen’s club up on Canoga Avenue on a non-holiday weekday morning when they’ve got their C-team working the pole!


    Comically Long Mustache
    Every Halloween aisle needs to have at least one item to get oversensitive folks’ panties in a knot. I’d like to think that for the 99¢ Only store, it could be this comically long mustache  – or as I like to call it, this “comically wrong” mustache. (And if you see me in person, ask me to pronounce that for you, to get the full effect.) Yes, yes, I know: “oversensitive” nothing – some people just have an allergic reaction to synthetic hair, that’s all. Actually, to be fair, it wouldn’t be the actual mustache that would probably set off the Easily Offended, it’s the card it’s packaged on. Of course, I think it’s a riot, so please don’t ask me to sign your internet petition.

    I saved my favorite What’s Bueno item for last.  It’s these…


    Small Glass Skull Bottles
    Just under 4″ tall, these bottles are available in clear and black. I avoid any glass items that are painted – the color eventually chips off – so I recommend you go with the clear, as I did, and then fill with a dark liquid. If we could go back in time some eighty-five or ninety years, or so, I’d introduce you to young Master “Teddy” Parsnips, little lonesome nerdling who spent much of his free time in the woods surrounding his fabulous New England estate, Wintersnips, digging up discarded bottles from 19th century garbage dumps. (True, mostly!) Anyway, I, uh–  …that is, he would tell you he especially enjoyed finding old ink wells and poison bottles, both of which he noticed were particularly decorative.


    It’s with that nostalgic thought in mind that I bought a quantity of India ink from the blogging supply store, filled up the little skull container with same and actually composed this entire post by hand, as our forebloggers did centuries ago. I’ll probably have a devil of a time getting all the words off the screen once I publish this, and AppleCare tells me I’m not covered for indelible ink and palladium silver pen nib scratches, but I think you’ll agree it was worth it.

    So there you have it – my picks for What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store for this Halloween season. Your local 99¢ Only store has tons more Halloween items – some bueno, some not, some goofy and fun, and some scary.

    …But, while we’re at it, speaking of ‘scary’…?


    Halloween Fright Tape
    Other variations include “Infection Zone,” “Do Not Enter!” [with biohazard symbol] and  “Danger!” [with skull & crossbones]. Given recent news stories of alarming emergency room “missteps” in Dallas, nurses nationwide saying they’re underprepared, and the CDC’s recent stellar track record, let’s hope these things remain mere Halloween novelties in the weeks ahead.

    Parsnips, you say, How dare you instigate fear-mongering, encourage unrest, suggest panic in the streets!


    If I wanted paranoia, chaos, panicked masses (if all, what?, six of you readers constitute a mass), if I wanted to monger me up some good old-fashioned monger-flavored fear, I’d have made a much bigger deal about the 99¢ Only store unleashing this on an unwitting public!


    Now is the time to start panicking, folks!

    Oh, and, yes, of course I bought some! Just call me Patient Zero in the coming Canned Chicken Bologna Plague. Either that or I’ve discovered some sort of marvelous cure-all – a mechanically-separated chicken elixir of life! – which is frankly what I suspect.  Do try it fried!

    Posted by on October 6, 2014, 5:39 PM.

  6. Posted At My Gym!


    I wonder what gave me away – the olive at the bottom of my “water bottle” on Tuesday? Last Thursday’s festive paper umbrella perched atop my Core Power protein shake-arita? Or maybe it was yesterday when I stumbled into the Razz M’Jazz spin class and vomited all over spinstructor Rogelio’s 60-mph front wheel, effectively spraying the entire class with Grey Goose and Vanilla Creme Muscle Milk. And corn dog chunks.

    Regardless, I guess it’s back to alcohol-loading in the parking lot before I begin my workout, like you X90P people.

    Posted by on September 26, 2014, 6:17 PM.

  7. Take The Confusion Out Of Your Wedding Planning!

    Seen in the door of a bridal boutique down the street:


    “Hello, Dorie…? I know it’s three a.m. on a Sunday…no, I don’t need a wedding dress. I just can’t sleep until you explain that sign to me.”

    Posted by on September 17, 2014, 11:58 PM.

  8. Magoo 2014! Episode One! Hogan’s Helper!

    IT’S been far too long since I’ve debuted a new “regular” feature that I’ve subsequently given up on after one or two entries here at Ted Parsnips Dot Com. What’s been so frustrating is that some of them actually had merit and could have potentially become a thing here on the ol’ blog, but I haven’t the time!  You don’t know what I’m up against!

    It’s with that thought in mind, I hereby debut a new one, and it’s the worst one ever!


    Establishing shot: Exterior of Walmart, or some sort of funny “take” on Walmart’s name, and it’s drawn all stylized an’ stuff; you know, like in the old UPA cartoons. (Not those 1970s DePatie-Freleng monstrosities, right guys?)

    And then we cut to a shot of this:


    Magoo: By George, Hogan’s Heroes on Blu-Ray! Ah, memories. ‘I zee nothing!’ Ha ha! That bumbling Sergeant Schultz, bless his soul. [turning angry] What?! Seasons 1, 2 and 3? Why, the show didn’t even hit its stride until the fourth season! Imagine, putting out a box set of only the first three seasons! It’s ‘entire series’ or nothing! They won’t be getting any of my hard-earned money! Not one red cent!  [wheeling cart - wait, wait: wheeling squeaky cart - into DVD section] Now, Cholly, let’s find something for dinner.

    Cholly: Okay, Missah Magloo!

    [Note: I realize Cholly didn't come along until the TV show, but in an effort to be ethnic-inclusive for modern audiences, I felt it important to include him.]

    Posted by on September 16, 2014, 11:32 PM.

  9. To Ted It May Concern! September 10 Edition!

    Letters to Ted!

    SHEESH, it’s been ages since I did one of those Ted’s Mailbag dealies, isn’t it?

    Or posted anything, really, of substance up here other than screen-grabs from whatever I’m currently watching on Netflix, which – with the closed captioning on and still images taken out of context – are a quick way to instant hilarity, or at least reasonably quick content. What’s more I didn’t even have to bother coming up with the idea myself, instead saving even more time by stealing the concept from the blog of a pal.

    [My blogging mentor, or blogntor, Sylvia Haynes-Darden, in her Learning Barn continuing education class, “What’s This New Thing Called Blogging I Keep Hearing About?,” and also her other class, “Convincing Learning Barn to Continue Including Severely Outdated Courses In Their Catalog That After 15 Years You Can Teach In Your Sleep” (I had a two-for-one Groupon that was going to expire; why not take both?) says the first rule of blogging is “Make friends with other bloggers and then ruthlessly mine their blogs for premises you can adapt for whatever the hell it is you write about, but tell them it’s an homage so they don’t get pissed.”]

    My my my, we do go off on tangents, don’t we? Anyway, back to today’s post, Letters From Pals or whatever we’re calling it.  So here comes the mailman now – oh, pardon me – gender-neutral man – and it looks like…yes! It looks like he’s got a letter for me!

    Dear Ted,

    What the hell’s going on with the 99¢ Only store? I used to be able count on their refrigerated section being chock full of frozen waffles and frozen pretzels – and now the freezer section is all but bare! How the hell am I supposed to stick to the Frozen Pretzel & Waffle Diet Plan that’s sweeping social media with neither of the staples at hand? Look, if anyone has the interest or huge swaths of free time to look into this, it’s you. Find me an answer and this half-finished coarse pretzel salt packet and near-empty bottle of cheap Pampa “maple-flavored” corn syrup from Argentina is yours!


    A Pal in Hollywood

    P.S. What do you think about the boxes of Goldfish macaroni and cheese they’ve been selling? My God, man, I can’t get enough of ‘em! Manna from heaven by way of Pepperidge Farm if you ask me! Yum!

    You know, the good thing about having, what?, six readers is that you can drop all kinds of inside jokes into your posts and at least 16.66666 percent of your audience will appreciate ‘em.

    I admit I hadn’t heard about this depleted frozen food inventory dilemma, so I headed over to 99¢ Only, Reseda Division, and by Godfrey, the man’s right!

    While the freezer section wasn’t completely empty, it was missing a number of items said pal mentioned, namely frozen pretzels & frozen waffles.

    I was determined to get to the bottom of this and if this meant asking the checker about it as I was paying for my groceries – and in doing so, interacting with another human being – well, so be it. Except I forgot about it by the time I was up at the registers, fixated as I was on a rare candy aisle find – a Reese’s Big Cup 2-pack that I wanted to get out to the car and cram down my gullet before it melted all over the faux naugahyde interior – so we’ll never know.

    However, I will say this: Both the waffles and pretzels were not likely closeout items, so they’ll probably be back. How’s that for a definitive answer? Now I believe you owe me some syrup & salt…?

    *  *  *  *  *

    Oh yes – as to the Goldfish Macaroni & Cheese, which the art department will please illustrate below with some sort of photograph so we’re all on the same page here…?


    There we are! Sank-you!

    As to the Goldfish Mac & Cheese, as I was saying, I’m cautiously labeling this one

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    due to sheer, overwhelming value. You’ll understand in a moment, gang. (Provided you read this idiocy to the end.)

    As you can see above, a few months ago, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mac & Cheese was available at the 99¢ Only store for the low, low price of 3 boxes for 99¢ only. Not a great deal for mac & cheese, but not bad, either.

    I tried some – “some” being equivalent to six or eight boxes over a two-week period. (I really wanted to get a taste for the stuff before committing my thoughts to the [web]page, you understand – I owe it to the good folks at the 99¢ Only store, you, my loyal, what, six, readers, the wholesalers I buy my commas from, and most of all, to the memory of Pepperidge Farm spokesyokel Parker Fennelly.)


    Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mac & Cheese wasn’t bad…but, well, let’s say that the Kraft people shouldn’t be losing any sleep over this. The “mac” or macaroni pasta is flat, dense and goldfish-shaped giving it a particularly al lewis, or “to the tooth,” texture. What I’m saying was it was exceedingly doughy for macaroni – hell, they could have more accurately named the product Goldfish Dumplings & Cheese. But – again – three for a buck so, eh, why not?

    Then a few weeks later the 99¢ Only store upped the ante: You give them 99¢ only, they’ll give you four boxes. And then a week later it was up to five boxes for a buck! Clearly they were telling us, an eager mac & cheese buying public, “Look, friends, this stuff’s good – damned good! – and we want you to know it!”

    Good lord, what other possible reason could they have for continuing to lower the price?!


    Now, according to the Pepperidge Farm website, Goldfish Mac & Cheese is available in four flavors. Unfortunately, 99¢ Only had but two: Cheesy Pizza and Nacho Cheese. Your more traditional “Cheddar” variety was nowhere to be found. Neither was the “Butter Parmesan” flavor which, if you’re like me, and of course you are, you know sounds a lot better than reconstituted cheese powder could possibly ever hope to be, but you are nevertheless intrigued and, given the chance, would have gambled twenty bucks on a hundred boxes just in case.

    Despite the nacho cheese variety tasting, in the words of a pal, “atrocious,” and the cheesy pizza, “like vomit,” (or maybe I’ve got them backwards, but you get the idea), I didn’t think they were that terrible. Oh, sure, the cheese sauce was a little thin (A trick I came up with to counteract that, which I didn’t steal from another fellow blogger: eschew the milk altogether and just dump in more dollar store margarine, or as he calls it, “butter.” Ha! I stole the trick from him all right, but the guy doesn’t hardly blog anymore, so it doesn’t count), but once you dump a can of tuna in there and a handful of jalapeño slices (or maybe I’ve got them backwards – a can of jalapeño slices, a handful of tuna, who knows, but you get the idea), you can hardly tell.

    Besides, it’s hard to complain when you go back to the 99¢ Only store a few days later and you see this:


    This is getting serious. Six boxes of mac & cheese for a buck! Another pal – oh, I’ve got plenty of ‘em – (and this one a real killjoy) – pointed out that for less than a dollar you could buy a pound of dry macaroni and make a decent homemade mac & cheese instead of buying this stuff 5.5 ounces at a time and then hoping for some sort of miracle when you combine it with its accompanying envelope of dehydrated whey, xanthan gum and maltodextrin, and a few handfuls of dollar store margarine.

    To that I say, “Feh!,” because, sure, you’ve got your macaroni, but where’s the cheese, man? Where’s the cheese? If you think you’re going to get a decent macaroni-&-cheese cheese for anything close to a buck, well, brother, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Or if it’s not a bridge you’re looking for, I’ve got a few dozen boxes of recently expired fish-shaped macaroni & cheese. It’s not bad, but it’s an acquired taste.

    Step right up! One crisp dollar bill will get you not one but two boxes – because if you think I’m taking a loss on this crap, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

    *  *  *  *  *

    Update! While the 99¢ Only locations I go to have finally depleted their expiring inventory – or possibly buried them in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico – a pal tells me that the 99¢ Only store near him was recently offering an unprecedented TEN boxes for a dollar which amount to – pardon while I get out my calculator – which amounts to approximately one shiny Roosevelt dime per box (if my figures are correct).

    Of course I called him a filthy liar, but as he’s also the same pal who sent in the original letter whose unbelievable tale of disappearing waffles and pretzels turned out to be largely accurate, we’ll take him at his word. So head to the 99¢ Only store in Hollywood, pull nine boxes off the shelf, bring them to the counter, hand the checker a dollar and tell her to put them in one of those 10¢ paper bags they’re making us pay for in LA now; and once home, dump everything in a boiling cauldron – bag, boxes, receipt – the whole schmear, and for the outlaying of exactly one lousy buck, you’ve got dinner and everything you need for a night of papier-mâché arts & crafts with the kids.

    Posted by on September 10, 2014, 5:26 PM.

  10. Tonight on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents!”

    Thelma Ritter comes back from the salon with a surprise!





    This being “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” he of course ends up murdering her and, in the requisite twist, running away with the sexy interior designer who suggested new window treatments for their apartment so the carpet matched the drapes.

    Posted by on August 25, 2014, 2:15 AM.

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