1. To Ted It May Concern! End-of-Year Roundup!

    Letters to Ted!

    MY GOSH – it’s been months since we’ve delved into the ol’ mailbag!

    Many of you, what, six readers often ask, “Ted you jackass, why don’t you just allow comments on this stupid blog of yours, so then you wouldn’t have to do these To-Ted-It-May-Concerns and we can mock you publicly after each overlong and often incomprehensible post you vomit up there?”

    Well, I think you’ve answered your own question there, haven’t you?

    Anyway, thanks to all of you – okay, okay, both of you – who have written in over the past months. And not only did you write, but you sent in photos, which I’m going to just go ahead and make public without your permission. Because apparently that’s just what we do in the 21st century.

    A pal from Naugatuck, Connecticut was in Aisle Six of “Ocean State Job Lot” (similar to our country’s Big Lots) when she happened upon this display of Farmer’s Pride Snack Bologna. At only $2.00 for a 22-ounce jar, you’re now wondering, like I was, why in hell she didn’t pick up a case or two.

    “Lord a mercy, Zeke, I’ve never seen such corn – on every stalk, eight, ten of the biggest ears I’ve seen. Your apple trees, too: all heavy with enormous, shiny red fruit. The clover honey your bees produce took the blue ribbon at the state fair again this year. All your hens lay a dozen grade A jumbo eggs each day, right in the carton. And your cows? Endless quantities of the sweetest milk I’ve ever tasted spewing from each udder! You must be so very proud!”

    “Don’t reckon I pay much mind to any of that. Now come over here and tell me this ain’t but the finest pickled bologna pole ye’ve ever snacked upon!”


    It’s not just farmers what got pride, neither. A pal from the Pacific Northwest, he’s got pride, too – pride in America, which if you ask me, brother, is in short supply these days. He sent in a snapshot of some ham!

    Ham Pride!

    Not just any ham!  American Pride Cooked Ham! Water added!

    He’s no fool like what’s-her-name up there with the boloney rods – he knew this was too good to pass up!

    He writes: “I bought a few for July 4th. We’ll proudly display these cans on our front porch to show our patriotism! USA!! EAGLES!! HAM!!”

    That, friends, is what America is all about. It also gives you an idea how long ago he sent it in.

    hamprey

    Now you’ll excuse me while I head over to Wikipedia to edit their entry for the bald eagle to include, among its list of prey, cooked ham (water added), stuffing, cranberry sauce and parsley garnish – based on this presumably accurate package design.

    Posted by on December 31, 2012, 12:23 AM.

  2. ¿What’s Bueno? Kitchen Keepers EZ Egg Cook!

    SAW these at Dollar Tree recently.

    These are knockoffs of those As Seen on TV “Eggies” that one uses to hard boil eggs. (Or “hard cook,” if you’re British.)

    Here, though, they’re sold singly. But since the original “Eggies” come six to a box, you’ll probably save money buying them at your local Dollar Tree. Even if you find a good deal online for “Eggies” (And I know you’re looking for a good deal on “Eggies.” In this economy, who isn’t?), even if you find a good deal online for “Eggies,” you still have to pay some inflated shipping price.

    “Uh, yeah, Ted, whatever. I think we’re fine hard-boiling [or hard-berling, if you’re from 1950s Brooklyn] eggs as we’ve always done. But, uh, yeah, thanks for the tip.” 

    Oh, don’t be such a jackass!

    Look, I’m no shill for Dollar Tree items (usually, it’s stuff from the 99¢ Only Store!), but in this case, I think I should point out why you need these things, if only by drawing attention to the egg bullet-pointed benefits on the front of the package:

    Right on your stove top! No more chasing eggs all around the electric wok with your wife’s hair dryer when you suddenly get a hankering for a Cobb salad! No longer will you have to squeeeeze those eggs into the toaster while hoping – hoping! – the shells will hold! (They never do!)

    Thank God! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my Bedazzler all ready to go and just as I’m about to attach a few rhinestones, my egg will slip right out of the vice, roll off the work bench, and down on the ground where it ends up covered in wood shavings or sprinkles (depending on whether I was last working on my boat or decorating cupcakes).

    Hours of peeling – suddenly gone!  The days of getting up at four a.m. to get started on the egg salad for lunch are over!

    Your choice is clear! Buy these egg things!

    Posted by on December 29, 2012, 4:11 PM.

  3. The Password Is “Caveat Emptor!”

    LIKE YOU, I’m a huge fan of the classic television series (and subsequent Milton Bradley home version of) “Password.”

    That’s why it was particularly difficult when I happened upon this on eBay last week…

    …and had to contain myself from telling you – all of you – about it. Because, frankly, I really wanted it. And I didn’t want anyone else bidding on it.

    But even if you, what, six regulars didn’t bid on it, surely one of Password’s other many fans (or Allen Ludden’s countless admirers) would have, and then where would I be? I’ll tell you where I’d be: In a ridiculous online pissing contes– …eh, bidding war trying to prove to some jackass I’m the bigger Password fan.

    And what would be the point of that? So there was only one thing to do: Forgo bidding on it and just take the plunge and click the Buy It Now button for $650.00.

    I didn’t do this lightly: I gathered the ol’ gang around the Christmas tree and had a Parsnips Family Meeting. I wanted everyone to know that by purchasing this, there’d be no money for any other presents and also the gas company would probably turn the gas off for a month or two. (But we live in Southern California! It doesn’t get that cold here!)

    The important thing, I told them, is that I’d already done it, so there was no point in arguing. (Or in the case of Jessica, screaming and crying. Those LeapPads are overpriced and overrated anyway – and why should she be learning at home what my taxes pay her stupid unionized teachers to teach her at school, right?)

    The fact is, I was making an investment in all of our futures. This was a piece of television history!

    Or at least it was supposed to be. You see, yesterday it arrived. (Express shipping in time for Christmas?  Another $45!)

    The thing is enormous – like 20″ wide by 30″ tall. And honestly, at first, it looked good to me. According to the auction description from eBay seller “kewlstuff4Uwow“, it’s a special board they made up for a week’s worth of Christmas episodes in 1972.

    I mean, look at that – this is something you’d expect to see on a 1972 episode of Password, during the week around Christmas, right?  Exactly – but then things started unraveling.

    Because part of the draw of this auction – what really made me plunk down that $650 with no hesitation – was that it came with five puzzles actually used on the show. Mm. 

    The first one? Well, here are the clues, or technically, “passwords”:

    Delicious. Marshmallow. Christmas. Dinner. Tradition.

    Any ideas? “Candied Yams?” Not quite. We’re looking for something a bit more specific:

    Aunt Helen’s Candied Yams.

    Okay, it’s a little troublesome that the puzzles are written by hand. I don’t remember it being that way on the show.  And “Aunt Helen”…? Well, I thought maybe it was a name brand popular at the time – maybe the sponsor.

    But then I took a look at the next puzzle.

    Passwords? McGovern. Hater. Missing. Two. Fingers.

    Lost? Don’t worry, I was too. Let’s reveal the answer.

    Besides presumably Aunt Helen’s husband, who in hell is Uncle Morty?! Also, how did he lose those fingers?

    It was becoming increasingly clear what was going on, especially when I finally realized what you figured out right away:

    That duuuh, Password never had themed puzzles. That started with its revival, Password Plus, in 1979 – a full seven years later than this puzzle board was represented as being from!

    Puzzle number three: Bills. Former. Wife. Drunk. Mishap.

    Contestant: “Is it That Time Lois Chipped Gram’s Wedgwood Gravy Boat?”

    Allen: “I don’t know, let’s see. For the game, is it That Time Lois Chipped Gram’s Wedgwood Gravy Boat?”

    Ding ding ding ding ding!

    Heavens to Dr. Reason A. Goodman, what have I spent my money on?!

    I would have been better off bidding on antique fishing lures!

    Great: almost seven hundred bucks with shipping for a completely misrepresented, worthless, amateurish, homemade, foamcore monstrosity created by some dipwad with an X-acto knife and a hot glue gun for  game time at some family gathering.

    Oh well, at least I have a fun story to tell.

    You know, much like Myrtle did after she saw local meteorologist Skip Patrick at Sambo’s.

    Some might say I was foolish to pay – based on a shady description and a few out-of-focus photos – over six bills for something from an eBay user that’d only been a seller for a week and a half, had eleven transactions, and a feedback rating of 68%.

    To those negative folks, I say “Screw you, all of you. You can all go to hell!” You see, I happen to believe in the basic good nature of people, especially at this time of year. That’s my trouble – sometimes I’m blinded by my own humble naiveté – and my love for Christmas, and all that it means.

    And don’t worry about Jessica – she’ll get her damn LeapPad. There’s a free toy giveaway at the church down the street for homeless kids this afternoon, so I sent her outside to play in the mud an hour ago so she at least looks the part.

    Posted by on December 25, 2012, 12:24 PM.

  4. From Doris’ Kitchen To Yours!

    MAGNIFICENT!  A joy to behold!

    Whether used as a buffer between a hot-from-the-oven 4-quart Corning Ware Blue Cornflower dish full of delicious Tater Tot Taco casserole and your heirloom Gustav Stickley double-leaf, or simply as whimsical kitchen decor hung on the wall next to the Dixie riddle cup dispenser, this is one delightful trivet!

    But $4.99?!  Outrageous!

    Unless your name is Doris, I suppose.

    Posted by on December 23, 2012, 3:47 AM.

  5. A Christmas Gift Idea For the Rachael Ray Fan Who Has Everything!

    WE’VE ALL been there: You’re pals with a fan of Rachael Ray who has all kinds of Rachael Ray garbage, but you don’t know what to get her (or him!) for Christmas! Oh, pardon – or “Hanukkah!”

    Head over to Target, friend, just a few aisles away from Space Mary and Joseph, and your problems will be solved!

    That’s where you’ll find this!

    It’s the official Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl®!

    And boy, isn’t it a beaut!

    “Beautiful and functional” its label says, and your Rachael Ray giftee will agree. Never has bright Cheetos-orange melamine dotted with leftover shards looked better or been more useful.

    “Colorful speckled pattern is sure to add fun and flair to your cooking experience.” Hey, peeling these onions used to be a chore – since I got my Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl, I’m laughing through the tears. Got some fish to gut? Bring ’em over! I want to keep the good times going!

    And believe me, all the fun I’m having…? You know I’m packing this baby next time I go hunting and need to field dress a deer!

    Someone named “Rul Ry” – a designer, perhaps, in the Rachel Ray Empire (Filipino, I reckon, by the name) – has signed off on this – with Rachael’s permission?  We don’t know, but we hope so.

    He tells us that “You’re going to love this Garbage Bowl!” – a short statement which offers us two important bits of information: one, that we’re going to love this Garbage Bowl and two, Garbage Bowl, a term we’ve never before heard, is now a proper noun. Don’t try playing it in Scrabble!

    Rul goes on to let us know that this bowl “keeps you chopping and cooking rather than running back and forth to the garbage can.” Good news for you and me with our cavernous, airplane hangar-like kitchens with the prep counter by the east wall and, opposite, on the west – waaay over there – a trash receptacle permanently bolted to the floor. (Hiring that guy who designs ships’ galleys for the kitchen re-do seemed like a fun idea.)

    Anyway, no surprise: I’ve fallen in love with this thing. I’m keeping it. As for my pal, she’ll get a Target gift card instead. But I will let her know where to find one for herself.

    It’s on the shelf marked with this:

    Posted by on December 21, 2012, 5:06 PM.

  6. Hot Gift Ideas from Big Lots!

    SO I was at Big Lots the other day finishing up my Christmas shopping.

    I’ve taken care of the mailman, the dog walker, my pole dance instructor, the cat’s therapist, my wife’s electrolysis team, the nanny, my cane chair re-weaver, the nanny’s immigration lawyer, the housekeeper, my daughter’s pony’s ferrier, the gardeners, that airy-fairy woman who sages the doghouse twice a month, the paperboy,  the baby sitter, my corset lacer, our pool guy, my haiku coach, the guy that hooked me up with free cable, my mani-pedi crew, the shoeshine boy, my personal watermelon, Bob from Sesame Street, the guy that hooked me up with my mani-pedi crew, the foreman on my ant farm, my corset unlacer, the garbagemen – pretty much everyone.

    But like you, I’m always stumped: What do you get for your tattoo artist? He’s always the toughest person to shop for.

    Thankfully, it was Big Lots to the rescue with a tasteful bottle of pinot grigio:

    Now, this wasn’t any of that swill that Trader Joe’s peddles for two bucks. No sir – a quality wine like this’ll run you twice that.

    Can we get a closeup of the label, please? Ah, here we go.

    This will pair wonderfully with a 7-11 microwave oven-baked burrito in wrapper on a bed of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Or by itself, when relaxing with friends on a bus bench while wearing a trucker cap. Oh, this is perfect!

    Last person crossed off the ol’ shopping list, I could finally unwind and really take in the sights of the season. Namely, hot sauce gift sets!  Because, folks, what says Christmas more than the gift of hot sauce?  I’ll tell you what: Nothing!

    On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

    Just a suggestion, gang…?  Say you and a pal have agreed to a $20 limit and you’re giving him (or her!) the five, ten, or fifteen dollar gift of Big Lots hot sauce this holiday season…?

    You can make up the difference with these.

    Posted by on December 15, 2012, 7:27 PM.

  7. Fear Not; For Behold, I Bring You Glad Tidings of Great Space-Joy!

    AND Joseph went unto the city of Bethlemoon to be taxed with Mary his wife, being great with child.

    And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling moon-clothes, and laid him in a space-manger; because there was no room for them at the starbase.

    Posted by on December 9, 2012, 4:45 AM.

  8. Experience the Joy of Giving Something Better!

    TWICE over the past two weeks, I’ve been asked by a Dollar Tree cashier if I’d like to buy a toy for one dollar to donate to Operation Homefront. As you yourself would do – perhaps as you have done – both times I’ve said yes and the cashier has added the cost to my purchase.

    Still, I’m left with the thought that these are Dollar Tree toys. Have you been through the toy aisle at Dollar Tree?

    Look!  Look!

    It’s almost all cheap plastic junk made in China, blister-packed to cards and hung on pegs. And at Dollar Tree, famously, “Everything’s A Dollar.” Whaddaya expect for a buck – a freakin’ Furby?!

    These toys are going to the children of military families. Can’t we do any better than Dollar Tree toys?

    I have an idea, Dollar Tree: Keep doing what you’re doing, sort of. Your heart is in the right place. Your cashers will continue to ask us if we want to purchase a toy for the child of a military family for a dollar, we’ll say yes, they’ll pick up some chintzy piece of crap from a basket on the counter there and drop it into the donation box. Fine.

    Now here’s the trick: After the store closes each night, Dollar Tree, you have your people fish all that junk out of the donation box, put it all back in the basket on the register (so it’s ready for the next day), and then take all the money you collected for the purchase of these toys…and buy those kids something decent from Toys “R” Us!

    Or if not Toys “R” Us, then Big Lots! Sheesh! It’s a step up, albeit a small one.

    They’ve got all those Your First Babies that aren’t exactly flying off the shelves and are going to be headed to the Landfill of Misfit Toys if they don’t start moving soon.

    Posted by on December 6, 2012, 4:54 AM.

  9. That Stupid iPod / iTunes Ad Campaign!

    HAVE YOU NOTICED that iTunes gift cards have recently changed?

    They now resemble the button for the iTunes app on one’s smartphone or other unnecessary device that irritates us when we see people using them in public with little regard for others, their surroundings and their driving.

    The new card design (above) is an improvement. The previous versions baffled and offended me. Here are the ones I’m talking about:

    These colorful silhouettes have been part of Apple’s marketing campaign for the iPod since it was introduced. And plenty of funny institutions from Mad Magazine all the way to Mad TV have spoofed them, back when it was actually current.

    So, yes, the time for spoofing is long over. Rather, I’d just like to say that as a quiet, restrained, arguably normal, less arguably socially-challenged individual, I really can’t stand people who behave the way those in this failed iPod campaign do.

    What kind of person gets so wrapped up in their music that they feel the need to carry on like this?!

    These are not people in clubs enjoying a shared experience. They’ve got earbuds in. They alone hear their music. (Unless they’re among those attention-starved jackasses who intentionally crank it to such high levels to let others know what crap music they’re using to achieve permanent hearing loss.)

    So stop dancing, you morons! You look ridiculous. How ridiculous? I’m glad you asked.


    Take this one here: Like me, you’d guess that she was calmly walking down the street, listening to something pleasant like “The Best of the Fifth Dimension,” at a reasonable volume (“low”), when suddenly a car bomb goes off nearby, the force of the blast propelling her backwards.

    No.

    In all likelihood, she was merely an undisciplined child whose parents didn’t want to rein in this “free spirit” so now she’s idiotically bopping along all over the sidewalk to “Everybody Talks” and you can’t risk passing her on your Rascal for all the high kicks.


    Look at this Bieber-haired freak. Sure, it’s possible from the posture this is a modern day Jack London who just grabbed onto a passing freight train and is lighting out for the Territory as he listens to the audiobook version of “Roughing It,” to mix late 19th century literary references.

    However chances are this is just some self-absorbed brat on a crowded subway car that you have the misfortune to share a pole with. And if that right hand of his inadvertently slaps your L Magazine one more time, none of us would blame you for grabbing that iPod, throwing it to the ground, and smashing it with the heel of your vintage purple and brown bowling shoes before Carlie Rae Jepsen and that Owl City guy finish autocrooning about their wholesome “Good Time.” We would blame you for the L Magazine and the bowling shoes, though.


    Oof! Snap kick to the stomach by a vicious Muay Thai fighter on the loose?

    I thought so, too!

    No, this is the woman behind you in line at the post office and she wants everyone to know how much she likes Nicki Minaj.


    You’re thinking what I’m thinking – he bent over to tend to his sneaker and inadvertently tied his earbuds cord into the loop of his shoelace. When he stood back up, he yanked that leg skyward. Sure, could happen to anyone!

    Only – that’s not what happened!

    No, this is a fellow shopper in the produce section at Albertsons keeping everyone from getting anywhere near the hot house tomatoes (on sale) while listening to his precious Black Keys and making a darn fool spectacle of himself.


    Seems obvious, right? He’s got his window fan on way too high and even turning his head in that direction would raise hell with his contacts, so he’s hoping to adjust it without looking, mashing the controls with his iPod hand.

    Incorrect.

    This is that little twerp on the elliptical next to you at the gym whose flailing arms keep threatening to invade your personal space. He’s also subtly trying to get you to see the screen, so that you know he’s listening to Graffiti6.


    One might venture a guess that the above young man decided that his life is not worth living, has leapt off a bridge and is in the process of plunging to his demise.

    Sadly, one would be wrong.

    In fact, he’s grinding along the freshly-painted edge of a bus stop bench that our taxes paid for when his skateboard hits a bolt and he stumbles into the street. Now you’ve got to slam on the brakes and pray that the asshole on your tail (on his iPhone, of course) is paying enough attention to avoid rear-ending you. The brakes hold out, your car’s back end crumples up like an empty beer can on a forehead at a frat party, and the oblivious skater, blasting someone named “Flo Rida” through his skull, has picked up his clattering skateboard, hopped on it again and is two blocks away before you find out the guy who plowed into your trunk doesn’t have insurance. Boy, that was a long one, huh?


    Now this gal: Stepped out of a cab and one of those heels plunged into a sewer grate causing her to stumble? Or, judging by her twig-like limbs – perhaps she’s doubled over for some spontaneous purging?

    Neither.

    She’s listening to her new favorite Bangles song after seeing it on an episode of “I Love the 80s” and she’s hoping her exaggerated and inaccurate approximation of an Egyptian hieroglyphic will impress the strangers in the food court she careens into as she heads to Hot Topic to shoplift a Punky Bleach Kit.


    I guess my point is I can enjoy my music while I’m perfectly motionless (save for some occasional and mild finger-tapping if it’s one of Bert Kaempfert’s peppier numbers), and by God, I expect others to do the same. It’s certainly no surprise Apple abruptly pulled the plug on this colossal failure of an ad campaign.

    Next Time: I set my sites on those annoying Fed-Ex ads with the guy who talks so fast you can’t understand what he’s saying.

    Posted by on December 5, 2012, 2:33 AM.

  10. ¿What’s Bueno? ¡Jesus Christ!

    WOW.

    Potentially the most bueno items offered in the 99¢ Only Store ever.

    It’s Jesus. Playing soccer. In a soccer outfit and His robe.

    And then there’s this one:

    It’s hard to see, but Jesus is carrying a semi-automatic rifle at his side.

    When Jesus Christ is depicted hiding an M16 in the folds of his robe, it would seem that somewhere along the way, His gentle message of peace has been misinterpreted.

    Also available was this figure:

    “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
    “Well, I–”
    “I’ll tell you why. We have a helmet law in this state. Not a ‘crown-of-thorns’ law. A helmet law. You think that thing’s going to protect you when you plow into the back of a bingo bus at sixty miles an hour?”

    Others available in the series included Jesus as a football player, a bullrider, a homeless man, a skateboarder, and a rock climber. He’s wearing his robe in each one, which to me, would seem to get in the way. But without the robe and crown of thorns (removable!), how would you know it’s Him?

    Here’s the one that went home with me:

    I don’t surf but for 99¢ only, you don’t have to surf to appreciate something as exquisite as this.

    The level of detail on these figures was surprisingly high.

    It’s a nice touch that Jesus has his own logo, and it’s not only on his surfboard…

    …but also on his wetsuit.

    It should be noted that these figures were not intended as goofs, as jokes, as ironic action figures. I did some reading on them and it seems the creator (of the figures, not the Creator) looks at them as a way of telling people that Jesus is always with you, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.

    That’s a comforting thought in theory.

    But if Jesus loses his grip, He’ll just ascend right up to Heaven. If you slip and let go, you may do the same thing eventually, but you’re going to hit the rocks below first.

    Posted by on December 4, 2012, 4:38 AM.

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