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.”
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.]
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Blogging I Keep Hearing About?,” and also her other class, “Convincing Learning Barn to Continue Including Severely Outdated Courses In Their Catalog That After 15 Years You Can Teach In Your Sleep” (I had a two-for-one Groupon that was going to expire; why not take both?)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!
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
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.
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.
It’s no surprise that “Entertainment Weekly” would put a thoughtful image of Robin Williams on their cover for their August 22/29 double issue to honor him following his death on August 11.
No surprise, either, that inside there’s a six-page tribute to him celebrating his TV and movie career.
But the bold editorial choice comes on the last page, on EW’s frivolous weekly feature of sarcasm and touchy-feeliness, “The Bullseye.” Depending on the subjects’ locations, they’re handled one of two ways: with either a bitchy bit of snark or a HuffPo-quality cutesy group-hug cuddle-puddle kiss-ass blurb.
“Here’s a look at the pop culture news that was right on target this week – and the events that missed the mark,” reads the Bullseye’s subheading.
Well, I’m sure that wherever Robin Williams is, he’s pleased to know that his suicide from severe depression didn’t “miss the mark” and is being celebrated as being “right on target.”
Finally! An ad that speaks to the advertising world’s most coveted demographic: Men who are looking to refinance their homes and who stylishly wear their wristwatch on their penis, though evidently a bit too snugly.
Now here’s something you don’t see every day.
Recently, over at the extremely dog-friendly Woodland Hills 99¢ Only store, I happened upon a magnificent and unusual example of What’s Bueno At The 99¢ Only Store – an item which is sort of a throwback, in a couple of ways, to the 99¢ Only Store’s glory days – when it was much less of a discount food store and much more of a closeout store; and where heaven only knows what sort of bizarre treasures you’d find!
There – for 99¢ Only – you can purchase a set of not one, not two, but twenty-four transit fare tokens “created for the Southern California Rapid Transit District in cooperation with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, for use during the 1984 Olympic Year.”
Again, you’re not getting just one of these coins, but a complete set of 24, still sealed after thirty years, and presented in a handsome navy blue padded case, each token mounted in its own receptacle on a flocked velvet board inside.
There was a stack of a few dozen of these boxes, all similarly sealed, at the store, half-hidden towards the back of a bottom shelf. I’m not greedy (nor stupid, as you’ll see, but you should already know that): I bought just one. And frankly, I bought it solely for the purpose of the blog.
It was only later when I thought of a pal who, bless her heart, must rely on public transportation, and wondered if perhaps these tokens were still good. After all, tokens don’t expire, do they? Sure they were “created…for use during…1984,” but that wouldn’t preclude them from being legal bus and subway fare tender today, would they? They’re like the coinal equivalent of the US Postal Service’s Forever Stamps, right?
Turns out I’m wrong. The Southern California Rapid Transit District, or “RTD” as it had been known, hasn’t existed since 1993. Thankfully, it’s been a while since I’ve had to take a filthy LA bus, though for the last 21 years, I’d still been considering LA’s bus service “the RTD” (when I’d considered it at all). And brother, the only time we car owners even think of LA bus service is when one of those enormous land-barges is in front of you on the road and you can’t get around it. Anyway, turns out LA’s bus service has been “Metro” or “LA Metro” for two decades, and while I guess that sounds familiar, I haven’t been thinking much about it. You know, being a car owner and all.
My point is, either as bus fare or as collectibles (and hopeful eBay sellers are being disappointed as we speak), these tokens aren’t worth the bronze they’re minted on.
But what’s really fascinating, at least from the perspective of a fellow writing a blog with an unnatural and/or uninteresting focus on a Southern California dollar store chain, is that when I searched online for these things, the only result – from whatever very specific parameters I used – was a posting on a Google-archived Usenet “misc.transport.urban-transit” group, where the author mentioned having found these for sale at the 99¢ Only store as well. But the post was quite a bit older than this one: It was written in 1994!
According to the twenty-year old post, back then, 99¢ Only was cracking open the sets, dumping the individual tokens in boxes, and selling them two for 99¢ Only – as “slammers.” Like for use with pogs. You remember pogs, don’t you?
The original poster, him- or herself a fan of the 99¢ Only store as I am, wondered the same thing two decades ago – if they were still good for use as bus fare. (And even back then: No.)
How crazy is that: Two internet posts about the same ultimately good-for-nothing 99¢ Only offering, two decades apart!
And if you enjoyed this, and you did, imagine how fascinating it will be to read about the next person to be struck by the Curse of the Worthless Olympic Coins scheduled presumably for 2034 when 99¢ Only will be selling an entire case of sets for a buck. Mark your calendars!
HERE’S an odd one that I perhaps thought better of posting ages ago when I first came up with it, but now – it being the silly season (as it’s known during the slow news period of the summer, at least in England, where I’ve never been) – it’s time to burn off any old, leftover material that’s just taking up space on the ol’ hard drive and actually put it to good use as frivolous, idiotic content – well, more frivolous, idiotic-er content – that you, what?, six readers may or may not enjoy, so maybe I can get out to the beach at some point secure in the knowledge that I’ve vomited something up on the site here relatively recently.
As you know, Hollywood long ago ran out of new ideas and everything anywhere for the last dozen years or so has been a reboot of a previous better something.
Well, one thing they haven’t screwed with yet is “All in the Family.” So far. But what I’m about to show you will change all that.
A while back, I was obliged to watch the HBO series “Girls” for a piece I was working on. And the one and only thing I came away from watching it, aside from a healthy contempt of Lena Dunham of course, is that Zosia Mamet, who plays Shoshanna Shapiro, should obviously be playing a character made famous by the late Jean Stapleton in the 1970s, but an earlier, whaddaycall, intarnation dere of said character.
Yes, I propose a prequel to “All in the Family.” A prequel starring the delightful Zosia Mamet as Edith!
I’m telling you, Mamet’s practically playing Young Edith Bunker as it is on “Girls,” at least ditzy, scatterbrained-wise. Why not go the whole hog and just make it official? Sure, Zosia’s going to have to Edith-up the voice a bit and dye her hair or wear a wig, but I know you’ll agree: Young Edith is the role this Girl was born to play!
So I think we’ll call it “Archie & Edith: The Early Years” or better yet, “Some in the Family” and it will focus on the Bunkers right after the War – and shortly before their little goil, Gloria, dere, is borned.
And there just might be a cameo appearance or two…
I haven’t cast Young Archie yet. But not to worry. If I don’t come up with no one good, we’ll just set it during Dubbaya Dubbaya Two so that way Archie don’t even gotta be in it, him being stationed dere in Italy. In which case we’ll call it “One in the Family.”
Norman Lear, if you’re one of my, what?, six readers, call me!
Well, it’s official!
With this stellar piece, there is absolutely no difference anymore between actual “Huffington Post” headlines and parodies of “Huffington Post” headlines!
Arianna must be thrilled, dahling!
Or, in the words of a Huffington Post headline writer, “Amazing Transition To Completely Inane Non-News Source Will Make You Ugly-Cry Tears Of Joy In The Best Possible Way.”
And speaking of parodies, pal of this blog and hideous monster Scott Maiko himself worked on a parody of “The Huffington Post” that appeared in Mad a few months back. You really should be buying the magazine, but you can see part of the parody on Jim Romensko’s blog here.
…or rather, I was about to.
I mean, a fellow could go broke buying razor blades otherwise!
Forty-two bucks?! And you only get a dozen!
Let’s remember, folks, I’m Slovak – a dozen razors only keeps my neck, shoulders and about a third of my back reasonably smooth for about four days, if that.
So I’m heading towards the exit with these – and, sure, I’m aware that these security disks start emitting a loud, high-pitched screech when you try to get past those posts at the doors. But I had my earplugs in and my running shoes on – I wasn’t too worried.
Thank God, though, I turned it over before I went through with it!
Apparently now they also release live spiders! No thank you!