1. What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store: Smashbar!

    WHEN I SAY “Smashbar” you think of that trendy bar in Silverlake, crowded wall to wall with hipster douchebags all reeking of clove cigarettes and sweat, right? No, no – wait. “Smashbar” – they’re that late 90s band that had that song “All Star” that’s been a staple of movie trailers since “Walking on Sunshine” overslept and missed the audition. Or, no, “Smashbar:” that overpriced line of cosmetics that you bought a Groupon for, figuring your girlfriend would be thrilled…but she didn’t redeem it and now you’re out forty bucks. Or maybe “Smashbar” is that studio near La Brea in Hollywood where you worked as a caterer for the wrap party for that Lifetime TV movie last summer and met Richard Karn from Home Improvement and Richard Thomas from The Waltons. No! No, wait – “Smashbar” is that so-called all-in-one website development software you paid $59 for and downloaded from Smith-Micro but never used and completely forgot about until now. Nope? Oh, of course – “Smashbar” – it’s the thick steel pipe that runs across the top of your Jeep Wrangler so even if you fly off a cliff careening down PCH drunk as Mel Gibson, you’ll still be able to walk away from the crash and hide among the rocks until you sober up.

    Wrong, sir! Wrong!

    You couldn’t be more wrong, but that certainly hasn’t kept you from trying!

    No, this is Smashbar…

    …and by Godfrey, it’s today’s What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store Item of the Week today.

    For 99¢ Only, you get a box of eight of these snack bars. Each is just 90 calories, has no high fructose corn syrup and is a good source of fiber and calcium – but don’t let that scare you off, pal: like me, you’ll be eating four or five of these in one sitting.  They’re just that good!

    What are these things?  As the back of the box says, they’re “lots of GREAT tasting ingredients…SMASHED TOGETHER!”

    “Specifics?” you demand with arched eyebrows, indicating dubiousness yet betraying mild interest.

    I’ll specifics you!  Pretzels! Berries! Oat cereal! Chocolate!  That specific enough for you?

    I saw these at the 99¢ Only Store last week and I wisely thought to myself, “Hm, these things look good.  I’d be smart to pick up two boxes.”

    Then I get home and try one, they turn out to be the best purchase I’ve made at the 99¢ Only Store since they had all that high-end but about-to-expire personal lubricant two years ago. And like an idiot, I only bought two goddamn boxes! I should have bought like ten!  Ah, the classic 99¢ Only Store shopper’s remorse. You and I, we know it all too well. Actually, I guess the true “classic 99¢ Only Store shopper’s remorse” comes about six hours after eating anything with dairy in it from their refrigerated case.

    I’m kidding!  I’m sure this stuff is wonderful.

    Back to Smashbar:  Like me, you’re wondering how such a fantastic new product from the good people at Quaker Oats ended up in the grocery landfill that is the 99¢ Only store.

    Here’s my theory: Whoever designed the package thought it might be fun to have a side panel featuring a cut-out arrow so you can see the product inside.

    But what they didn’t count on was the ongoing de-evolution of society where thieving shoppers have no qualms about sneaking out a Smashbar when no one’s looking, putting the box back on the shelf…and then whoever eventually buys the package gets seven bars instead of eight, probably!  See?

    Anyway, all that cut into supermarkets’ bottom line and Big Grocery was having none of that!  None of it! “Off to the 99¢ Only Store with you,” they ordered, probably! But Quaker taking a bath on this one is where you and I benefit; that is, if you’re able to find any of these at all, and if I’m able to find more. And brother, if I can find more, don’t expect me to leave any on the shelves for you. You’ve been warned.

    As to the variety, all they had was “Pretzel Berry,” but that was good enough for me, although it does bring up some bitter memories. (As you know, “Pretzelberry” was also the name of the boutique smoothie business I was trying to start up last year for which that stupid loan officer from Wells-Fargo foolishly OK’d a small business loan and now I’m still into them for $27K of that thirty grand. I’d be like Genarro Freaking Sbarro by now, franchising these places left and right, sure, if only I’d found a supplier that offered straws wide enough to accommodate the pretzel chunks.)

    Anyway, these Smashbars are delicious. Even better if you do like I do and head out into the garage, unplug the dryer, plug in your Star Manufacturing Co. restaurant grade humidified pretzel oven, and pop one in for twelve minutes.  If you have such an oven. (And if you want one, I’ve got six, hardly used, $1200 each or best offer.)

    Posted by on November 30, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  2. Who Wants the Last Two Deviled Eggs?

    Hey, go for it.

    Good, huh?

    Well, thank God they’re finally gone. There’s been no room in the fridge and I think we’re all a little tired of seeing those things sitting on the counter for the last five days.

    Posted by on November 29, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  3. Stalking the Wild Animus!

    LIKE big game hunting?  Sure, there, Frank Buck, we all do.

    Here’s a fun hunting game that you can play when you and your pals are in a thrift store – any thrift store – in the greater Los Angeles area, and the best part is, you won’t actually be killing anything, so those morons at PeTA will have no reason to throw red paint on you. Unless you’re wearing fur or eating KFC.

    What you do, see, is you head over to the book section and have a race to see who can find this book first:

    It’s a quick game – it will only take a moment or so before you (or your pal) will find it.

    Why?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I have come across this book in literally every single thrift store in LA County (and often, beyond) for the last six years. And brother, I been to plenty! Hoo boy, I been to palennnty!

    Back at the beginning, you’d see this invasive species in large flocks – twenty, thirty books together, often occupying an entire shelf, leaving precious little room for the graceful and majestic Tuesdays with Morries, the peaceful Bridges of Madison Countys, those gentle giants of the lower shelves, The DaVinci Codes, and, perhaps most tragically, the once abundant but now endangered I’m OK – You’re OKs and The Cracker Factorys.  I can go on.

    Then, as the months and years went by, the numbers of this once prolific creature had dwindled to smaller packs – five or six copies per store. Today it’s definitely still out there, but the herd has been thinned to just a single copy or two in each thrift shop. Nature has a way of adapting, and perhaps realizing its days in thrifts were numbered, Wild Animuses (or Animii) have recently been spotted migrating into used book stores and remainder outlets where they’ll peacefully live out the rest of their lives, unmolested and unsold.

    You think I’m lying about this whole Wild Phenomenus of course – you’ve never trusted me, which is one of our problems we’re still working on when you even bother coming to therapy – but I know plenty of folks who will back me up on this: shifty secondhand book dealers, filthy thrift store regulars, and people who just need a place to sit down for a few hours so they grabbed a random stack of books to leaf through at Salvation Army while occupying a broken Barcalounger in the furniture department.

    Now, what’s most fascinating is that at least two distinct subspecies of this book have been sighted – possibly more. There’s the version above – which actually has been the (slightly) rarer one in my experience, and then another with a dark, primitive-looking aboriginal-type image, which I used to see everywhere.

    A little online research reveals that the book is the product of a vanity press founded by its very author, Rich Shapero.  He wrote it, and he published it.  Kind of like I did in the late 1980s with my Ann Jillian zine, though apparently Shapero had a bigger budget and didn’t have to make copies at Kinko’s at three a.m. and sneak out without paying.

    Oh, great. This is just freaking wonderful – further online research uncovers the aggravating fact that I’m far from the first person to cover the ubiquity of this book.

    So the hell with this, I’m done wasting my time for you people. Oh, sure – clearly I should have somehow magically foreseen that blogging was going to be the next big “thing” and started this website and wrote about “Wild Animus” way back in 2007 before anyone ever heard of “blogs” much less the Information Superhighway.

    …Okay, so this isn’t a total waste, let’s start over.

    Like big game hunting?  Sure, there, Bror von Blixen-Finecke, we all do.

    Here’s a fun hunting game that you can play when you and your pals are in a thrift store – any thrift store anywhere.

    Head over to the LPs and look for Herb Alpert albums.

    Posted by on November 28, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  4. A Proud Day for the Egg Industry!

    WELL NOW I’ve seen everything!

    Oh, sure they’ve been putting “born on” dates on beer since 1996.  And prior to that they’d added “use before” dates to packages of batteries.  But this – ho ho, brother – this takes the cake!

    I guess my question – now that my stupor and amazement has subsided – is how do they stamp them without breaking them? If stamping best-by dates on eggs were my job, I’d probably end up smashing every egg that rolled down the chute, and before long my ink pad and my rubber stamp would be a runny mess. Also, I’d get bored quickly, feign carpal tunnel syndrome, and go on permanent disability while secretly bowling every day. Unions made this nation great!

    Getting back to the matter at hand, I think it’s safe to say they’ve finally developed the chicken that can freshness-date an egg as it passes through her cloaca.

    But how does her cloaca know how long the egg will be good for?

    Posted by on November 25, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  5. Happy Thanksgiving!

    AS YOU WILL probably recall, our daughter Melinda lost the thumb on her left hand when we drove up to Solvang for a day trip this past summer and stopped to feed the emus. She was holding the bowl wrong (there’s a sign telling you how to hold it and, well, there’s a reason she’s in the slow reading group in her class) and instead of a mouthful of pellets, one frisky flightless bird got a taste for meat.

    Many of you were kind enough to point out that at least she’s right-handed, and it was her left thumb. Others sent in hand-knitted mittens with the thumb on the left mitten thoughtfully omitted. (Elaine H. from Marbleton, Wyoming mentioned she used a regular mitten pattern for the right, but just a sock pattern for the left. Clever!) And we even got a few well-intentioned notes suggesting that surgeons may be able to take her left big toe and transplant it to her hand. (Too late. She lost that to a bicycle chain when riding her two-wheeler barefoot the summer before. And this was right after she proudly asked us to take off the training wheels – talk about your good day/bad days!)

    But we’re happy to say she’s adjusted well, although her cat’s cradle days are over. It’s sort of a blessing that her older brother Mark lost a couple of fingers to the fireworks we bought in Ventura County and snuck back here – she looks up to him and a missing digit or two to her is now something of a badge of honor. That is, it was until art class this week when young Miss Casarin, all of twenty-three, right out of college, and somehow responsible for over two dozen children, callously decided the perfect Thanksgiving project for all her pupils – even those without all their fingers (and we hardly believe Melinda is the only one in a class of 26) – would be the traditional turkey hand-tracing.

    Look at the hideous monstrosity Melinda came home with:

    After supper that night, we convened in the living room for an emergency family meeting to discuss whether or not it deserved a space on the Sub-Zero. It was unanimous: Absolutely not. Melinda was right to be upset, we told her, it really was horrible, but we assured our sensitive progeny: We don’t blame her, or her disfigurement, we blame the teacher. (More on that later.) The awful art was consigned to the kindling pile by the fireplace. By the next day, it would be nothing but ashes and bad memories.

    Enter Uncle Frank. He and Berta came up for the holiday weekend, and seeing the drawing and noticing Little Nine-Fingers moping around, put two and two together.

    He picked her up, plopped her down on his lap and explained that in fact, her drawing was perhaps the most accurate of all those her classmates had drawn. “What do you mean, Uncle Frank?” she asked, childlike wonderment in her good eye.

    “Well, Melinda, all turkeys destined for the dinner table this Thursday – every single one – is going to have its head lopped off – chop!” he smiled, using the side of his hand to pantomime an axe to her neck.

    “And then, why, ol’ Mr. Turkey will have as much as a head as you have a thumb!”

    With those words, as though by magic, this disgusting agglutination of construction paper and crayon suddenly had some worth, (most of) the family decided. Up went the drawing on the fridge (despite my objections).

    Still, I think that Uncle Frank’s message kind of put it all into perspective for us – something that we’re all too often guilty of losing sight of especially during this time of year, as the days grow shorter, and, by degrees, the weather turns colder, when it seems we’re beginning to have to rush around busier than ever, with more and more to do, and less time to do it all, all the while the season changing all around us from the refreshing cool of mid-autumn to the crispness of late autumn, and eventually, even winter’s chill – the spirit of giving.

    It’s true, the turkey drawing will never have a permanent place in the Parsnips family scrapbook – somehow it ended up in the fire anyway – but that which it represented transcends mere cheap school-grade art supplies anyway: a message of thanks.

    As to Miss Casarin, I hope she had a nice Thanksgiving weekend, no doubt shopping for her little belted pencil skirts at Dress Barn on Black Friday, and then it was off to DSW, probably, for a pair of black Sofft Sorrento peep toes or those Franco Sarto Ravel over-the-knee boots (also black) with the zipper up the back. Because come Monday, I’m going in there, alone, because it looks like once again, I’m going to have to have a talk with her.

    Posted by on November 24, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  6. Delightfully Anachronistic Package Design: Libby’s Spaghetti & Meatballs!

    ONCE AGAIN, I found a food product with delightfully anachronistic package design at the 99¢ Only store. What is it with me and these things? God only knows. (I brought it up at group last week but Dr. Aaronson told me it wasn’t germane to our goal and asked me not to mention it again. I keyed his Mercedes.)

    As you know, I get all sweaty and excited when I see some sort of food product, nearly always at the 99¢ Only store, whose package design belies its very…existence in the year that it currently…is. Do you follow?

    Take for instance the specific item I’m going on about this time.  It’s a can of Libby’s Spaghetti & Meatballs. In tomato sauce.

    The thing is, it doesn’t look like a food product you’d see here in 2011, right? I’m not talking about the actual food inside, but the way the label is designed. It looks like it’s much older. Right? It’s not just me, right? Okay.

    Now you’re thinking to yourself, “What an idiot – he shops at the 99¢ Only store for God’s sake, where all they have is garbage – clearly this disgusting product is decades old, he’ll get sick eating it, and then maybe he’ll learn his lesson already.”

    But no!  That’s just it!  It’s a current product!

    And yet the color scheme, the typeface, everything screams, I dunno, the mid-1970s!

    “But how do you know it’s not from the mid-1970s?” you sneer derisively.

    Ready for this? Because in the mid-1970s, back then, Libby’s had a contemporary logo!  Remember?


    By the way, thanks to http://trade.mar.cx/ where I found that.

    Now, most of the delightfully anachronistic package design foods we’ve visited over the past months have labels that we must presume have endured for years and were never updated.  Libby’s, however, is unique on account of it was updated, and now it looks dated. Not terribly dated, but dated nonetheless.

    And here’s something else: Libby’s meat products, like these delicious spaghetti and meatballs – and brother, they were great! – are from the good people at ConAgra Foods.  But Libby’s vegetable products, like your gourmet tiny early June peas, your whole kernel succotash and the like comes to you from the good folks at Seneca Foods.

    Confused? Don’t worry. You’re the only one who read this far.

    Posted by on November 23, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  7. Overpriced Goodwill Item of the Week!

    HEY, LOOK, I’ve decided, on a whim, to start yet another new feature on this blog. My God, how do I manage to keep so many different topics and themes up and running simultaneously? Believe me, pal, it’s like spinning plates while juggling chainsaws, a career and motherhood.

    Anyway, I could, with very little difficulty, write an entire blog not just on thrift stores, not just local thrift stores, but on local Goodwill thrift stores. But then, I’d have even less traffic to this blog (if that’s even possible) so I’ve opted not to.

    Or maybe…maybe I’d have many, many more visitors.

    Hmm…

    Aaah, then they’d all be thrift store people and they annoy me enough as it is in the stores. Christ almighty, I don’t need them visiting my blog, too.

    Now here’s the thing about Goodwill Industries: As you know they operate an enormous chain of thrift stores that raise money for charity – feral cats or something, I think. But ultimately, it’s still a bunch of stores run by a big corporation. Big corporations don’t bother me (being part of the 1% and all) and I love capitalism, but I do have a problem with dumb decisions.

    Goodwill has made a point over the last few years, as the economy’s been tanking, to promote the idea that shopping in one of their retail locations is a sensible and frugal alternative to buying – brand new – everything from a severely dented metal IKEA side table to a Hilditch & Key dress shirt with an indelible stain that’s somehow completely invisible under fluorescent thrift store lights to personalized coffee mugs featuring photos of complete strangers’ ugly children. Buy it used at Goodwill and save-save-save, they say.

    Yeah, well, someone needs to tell the people who price the donated items that.

    My local Goodwill has this shelving unit that’s about ten feet long. There’s four shelves plus the bottom of the unit.  That’s about fifty linear feet and it’s dedicated to…

    …VHS tapes.

    So in the highly unlikely chance that anyone from Goodwill Headquarters is reading this, here’s a newsflash, friend: VHS is a dead technology. No major studio is releasing anything on VHS anymore because we’ve all moved onto DVD and Blu-ray. And while you can still find one or two DVD/VCR combos for sale at major electronic stores, the last standalone VCR was manufactured in 2008.

    VHS is no more!

    The only reason any of us are even keeping our VCRs is so we’ll have something to play our homemade porn on. There’s no way I’m having all these tapes converted to DVD, I don’t care how good my abs looked then. Plus Sharon and I promised Heather, our neighbor at the time, that we destroyed  the tapes. (She and Cliff finally got back together, they’ve moved up to Corte Madera and she volunteers at Via Cordova Elementary where their kids are enrolled so the last thing she needs is some asshole at the transfer service to post everything on the internet and then Cliff finding out when one of his buddies at Firehouse 22 – Cane St. Station – sees her on Pornhub, yells “Guys! Guys! Holy crap, come here!” and then everyone else on that shift gathers around his netbook so they can watch, too.)

    Where was I?  Oh yeah.

    Furthermore, it’s unlikely most pre-recorded VHS tapes are ever going to have any kind of serious collector value in the future.  The tapes naturally degrade over the years, and even at its best, the quality is lousy compared to everything that’s come since. Plus the whole process of inserting the media into the player, and the fast forwarding, pausing, rewinding – it’s interminable compared to DVD or Blu-ray. Oh, sure, there will always be collectors who’ll want to own every single different videotape release of Star Wars likely for the sleeves alone, like idiots, and then you’ve got your jackass hipsters who might have some ridiculous 80s-themed party where part of the supposed ironic fun is watching Sixteen Candles on an old VCR while sipping old store stock drink boxes of Hi-C Ecto-Cooler spiked with vodka, and maybe I wouldn’t have called the police about the noise if I had been invited since I live right next door, but to you and me and 95% of the population, these tapes are worthless.

    But apparently not at Goodwill, brother! Not at Goodwill!

    No, here they’ll each run you a buck ninety-nine!

    So I was pleasantly surprised when I visited another thrift store just down the street, an independant thrift store benefitting pregnant homeless women or homeless pregnant women or some such nonsense, and I saw this:

    Three VHS tapes for 99¢! See, they get it! And by the way, when they’re not on sale at this place, they’re charging half of what Goodwill charges – just a buck! (Interestingly, the videos in clamshell boxes – virtually all children’s movies – weren’t on sale.  Was this because they realized parents were more willing to pay “full-price” for a kids film that their child will likely watch over and over and over, or because whoever priced them wasn’t too bright and thought that the larger plastic cases made these movies inherently more valuable?  We’ll never know, because I didn’t ask anyone, not really caring about the answer and knowing you wouldn’t, either.)

    Now what you’re saying is, “Ted, so Goodwill charges two bucks a tape. Would you deny them this, knowing the money goes to a good cause – shoes for the blind or whatnot?”

    No.  The point is that no one buys them! The tapes just sit there and each week there’s more! These things multiply nearly as fast as most of the people who shop there! All these VHS tapes are taking up valuable thrift store shelf real estate that could better be utilized displaying donations that shoppers (i.e., me) would buy.

    Namely vintage tiki mugs, Sillsculpts, and any sort of cast and crew item from the production of a popular TV show or film that I can turn around on eBay for twenty times its (already high) Goodwill price.

    Posted by on November 22, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  8. What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store: Duncan Hines Snack Size Brownies!

    AS YOU KNOW, I’ve been shopping at the 99¢ Only store since back when you and everyone else made fun of me for shopping at the 99¢ Only store. And also because my pants only came down to about three inches above my ankles. That’s the disadvantage of hand-me-downs and having an older sister who’s so short.

    And now who’s laughing? Me, because you shop there now, too, as does everyone else. Don’t deny it. Oh, sure, you drive waaay out to the one in Simi Valley figuring no one you know will see you there, and then you bump into Gretchen from your daughter’s “Hoofprints” riding class and you make up some bullshit excuse like, “Oh, I came out here because the Jo-Ann’s next door has a much better selection of print flannels, and since I was here anyway, and Sarah needed some posterboard for her science fair project, I figured I might as well run in.”

    Yeah, you’re fooling no one, especially since you’ve got a shopping cart full of cheap Argentinian breakfast cereal and White Rain shampoo. But then, so does she, plus she’s got a package of Julie maxipads. Believe me, brother, or in this case, sister, you’ve got the upper hand here; she’s telling no one who she saw slumming it.

    Where the hell was I?

    Oh yes! Here’s the thing: The 99¢ Only store is a game-changer now. What does that mean? Well, really, it’s just a hyphenated buzzword that you can plug in just about anywhere, and everyone does, but what I mean specifically is that Big Food finally realized that normal people, people like you and I, have begun shopping at the 99¢ Only store, sure. The 99¢ Only store: It’s not just for poor people anymore!™  So they realized this, and what they’ve started to do, see, is package their products in smaller sizes so they can be sold for a buck! Which pisses you and me off because we’re really not getting the deals we used to, but, aah, whaddayagonnado, right? …Well, at least I’m not getting the deals I used to, because I shopped here before you did, back before it was “cool.” Before the 99¢ Only store sold out, man.

    So about these Duncan Hines Snack Size Brownies, Chewy Fudge variety: “Makes 12 Brownies” the box says. Okay, that’s my first problem. Technically, it makes one big brownie. But it’s a smaller one big brownie than if you bought a box at your regular grocery store. See, that’s what they’re doing – they know people like you are shopping at the 99¢ Only store now, so while you may not bother picking up a box of brownie mix at A&P or Grand Union or your precious “Wegmans” because it’s too expensive, you see it at the 99¢ Only store, and like idiots, like sheep, you decide “Ooh, boy! Brownie mix – name brand brownie mix! – here at the 99¢ Only store! I’ll pick up a box here and really stick it to the man!” Like idiots you people do this, not realizing they’ve shrunken the package down specifically for the 99¢ Only store. You’re not saving a dime!

    Anyway, I know a bargain when I see one so I snatched this thing up right away!  Jesus, this is Duncan Hines brownie mix! This isn’t some off-brand crap! This is the real deal! And for a buck?! Of course I bought it!

    But once I got home and began the brownie-making process, I saw there was a second problem: The directions. (Or “instructions” for you East Coasters. Sheesh.)

    “Here it comes,” I hear you saying. “Here’s the part where Ted bitches about the fact that Duncan Hines hates America because they’ve decided to print the directions in English and Spanish!”

    No. Well, yes. I mean, yes, they’re in English and Spanish and, yes, it’s ridiculously short-sighted on the part of the Duncan Hines people because study after study after study shows (citation needed) that people who don’t bother to learn English can never succeed in this great country of ours, thus the Duncan Hines people are saying, “Sure, go ahead, don’t bother to learn English, we don’t care, we’ll still reward you with a plate of delicious, warm browñeros.” [Or, technically, a single browñero grande.]

    But no, my problem is not with the Spanish directions! After all, this feature is called “What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store,” right? My problem is this:

    Okay, do you see that asterisk after “coated pans”…?

    Yeah, well, there’s no corresponding asterisk, no footnote, if you will, ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE PACKAGE!

    325˚F for dark or coated pans…and then what?! I defy you to locate another asterisk on the entire box! You won’t find one – not even on the Spanish side! We’re left hanging, you and I. There’s evidently something they wanted us to be aware of, but then the goddamn technical writer who comes up with the copy for these boxes decided “Hell with it, lunch time! Buffalo Wild Wings?  I’m in!” and that was that. He never got back to it – and pity the poor Spanish-only readers, who didn’t even know about this asterisktastrophe! Or maybe they were the lucky ones – unable (or unwilling) to read English, they were never faced with the anxiety, the disquietude, even, of  a dangling asterisk.

    Well, as it happened, I used a coated pan and my one big brownie turned out great. Hell, it’s a brownie – how can it not be great, right? (Though it wasn’t nearly as thick as they appear on the package.) I was going to call Duncan Hines’ toll-free number and find out what was supposed to be on the other side of that missing asterisk, but my phone bill’s high enough as it is.

    So, in short, What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store? Duncan Hines Snack Size Brownies.*

    Posted by on November 15, 2011, 6:00 AM.

  9. Abbondanza!

    GEE, I can’t imagine how such an appealing flavor of baby food ever ended up at the 99¢ Only store.

    If there’s two things babies love, it’s whole wheat pasta and parmesan cheese. Ah, that the baby food people had only figured this out when you and I were infants, right?

    Okay, seriously: outside of, I don’t know, Italian babies I guess, what normal baby in its right mind is going to eat something like this and not puke it up on your shoulder within six minutes? I don’t know if Beech-Nut likes being #2, but I’ll tell you one thing: they keep putting crap like this on grocery shelves, and they’ll never overtake Friskies’ market share.

    Speaking of which, it’s time for little Emily’s din-din. Oh, and she crawls like the dickens when she hears that can opener!

    Posted by on November 14, 2011, 9:00 AM.

  10. You Are NOT Going to Believe This!

    OMG!  I don’t want to ruin the surprise but I have totally found your Christmas present…!!!!!

    You don’t already have it, do you?  You probably do, don’t you?  I can’t imagine you don’t have it!  Oh my God, it would be soooooo cool if you don’t have it and I’m the one who found it for you!  I mean, I saw this and

    I.  Just.  About.  Screeeeeamed!!!!!

    …right there in the store. Right there in the store! Oh my God. I almost sent you a picture of it from my iPhone but then I thought, no, I’m not going to ruin the surprise.  And here I am ruining the surprise.  Can you blame me?

    Seriously, do you already have it?  You can tell me if you do!  I won’t be offended if you already have it.  I can bring it back and get you the Twilight one instead. Either way, I want to give it to you early, so you can enjoy it all Christmas season long!

    But I have a feeling that even if you already have it, you’re going to want another one.  If you have one already (it’s cool if you do – TELL ME!!!!  PLEASE!!!!) you can hang this one on your rearview mirror. Or I can tell everyone else about it and we can each get you one and your entire tree will be nothing but these!  How amazing would that be?????

    And yes, I know, we agreed to a $5 limit this year, but how could I say no?  If you really feel you want to keep everything even (totally NOT necessary!) you can pay for my brunch at the Abbey on Sunday.

    Or you can take me out for sushi. Let’s do sushi, okay?  Or the Abbey, it’s up to you. Why don’t we do both?

    You totally love it, right?????

    Posted by on November 12, 2011, 2:16 AM.

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