I knew I’d seen it somewhere before!
YOU’VE got to download SongPop! It’s the best game EVARRRRRRR!!!!!!!! We’ll have so much fun playing against each other!
Two different pals told me exactly this some months ago. So I did – I gave in and downloaded the damn app just to shut them the hell up!
And of course just as soon as I did, once I’d downloaded this “amazing” game they were going on and on and on about and was finally able to play against them…? They’d gotten tired of it and now I’m lucky if they log in to play one round every three months. Hmph.
I still play. But now I play with complete strangers. With strangers there are no expectations so they can’t let me down. I can count on them to not break my heart. Perfect strangers are people I can trust.
And an amazing thing happened the other day – one mystery player and I actually tied!
If you play SongPop, you know how unlikely this is, because you’re scored on how quickly you answer correctly. A fraction of a second one way or the other across five songs could result in you and your opponent having scores separated by thousands of points.
But apparently the fellow I was playing against (actual user name redacted because I respect this stranger’s privacy, dammit!) and I are pretty evenly matched in TV Themes…and in this particular round, very evenly matched: We identified all five themes correctly, each in the same amount of time, resulting in a tie score!
And what happens in an ultra-rare SongPop tie score?
I seemingly won and was awarded those three little SongPop coins. I reckon, though, that the other guy “won” and similarly got three coins as well.
But here’s the weird part: Going into this round, my opponent had two wins to my one. When this screen (below) popped up, I saw my ‘1’ win for half a second before it rolled back to ‘0’!
What gives, SongPop?! You said I won! And even when I lose, you’ve never penalized me by taking away previous wins!
And what of my opponent? Did he experience the same thing on his end? Did he roll back to 1 or is he up to 3 now?
Who knows? Most strangers are happy to play SongPop with you, sure, but they get annoyed when you try engaging them with the “message” feature. But I respect that – this way they remain strangers – and not “friends” who insist you download a game that they never play with you.
Dr. Abramson says it’s better for everyone if I blog about this stuff rather than spend a lot of time on it in Group.
LOOK CLOSELY and you’ll realize that this is a rare, and perhaps first, sighting of a sink toad feeding on a rubber bat. Yes, this happened.
This amazing photo was taken over the kitchen sink by me. What happened was I was trying to get a head start on decorating the house for Halloween. I hung the rubber bat on a hanging plant hook in the ceiling. Evidently the cheap elastic string broke and the bat fell down into the waiting maw of the hungry sink toad.
Sink toads usually feast on scouring pads or sponges, but they are notoriously opportunistic feeders, even swallowing the occasional dish rag or Clorox wipe.
After struggling with the meal for quite some time, the toad eventually gave up and spat the bat out. The bat recovered enough to have its elastic retied and rehung in a different part of the house.
The toad, or hideous ceramic frog as it is technically known, is an invasive species from a local thrift store that took up permanent residence in my house two years ago after it was listed on eBay with no bids.
I guess I overestimated the online market for ugly scouring pad holders. I’m sure I won’t make that mistake again.
OVER thirty percent of my, what, six regular readers work either in the creative fields of graphics design or copywriting, or both. They’ll tell you, and now I’ll tell you, that with the number of eyes looking at a design or a block of text for an ad or a product before it’s OK’d, how much of a head-scratcher it is when a mistake somehow makes it through to production…especially in a case when there’s only one thing to screw up: the spelling of a word – as seen on this plastic tumbler I saw in Target’s Halloween section today.
If you look carefully below it, however, you’ll see that whoever works in the department that creates the little tags that go on the shelves where they stock the products…? Well, apparently their spellcheck works.
‘Course it wouldn’t be like me to just snap a picture, post it here, and leave it at that, would it?
So I called up Target’s Customer Relations, and after much haranguing, eventually convinced them to transfer me to someone in Supplier & Vendor Services. More arguing ensued before I got hold of the distributor, then finally the manufacturer – and believe-you-me, after six hours on the phone, I was ready to let ’em have it.
They told me they were aware of the error and had fired the graphic designer responsible for it – as they should have.
I demanded his name so I could make sure this sort of thing didn’t happen again. A quick search on LinkedIn showed that apparently he didn’t stay unemployed for long – a costume company that makes outfits for Target’s competitor Walmart snatched him right up!
Mm. …Well, here we go again, folks!
Oh no! Looks like someone screwed up big time!
If these masks got tagged as Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory”…
…then it stands to reason that the ones that actually look like Jim Parsons must be labeled Max from “Get Smart!”
WE were at Walmart the other day looking for those 50-pound sacks of Great Value mac & cheese when the twins, Breanna and Brandon, saw the Halloween aisle. Technically, they’re not twins nor even related and they’re a year apart, but the foster agency dropped them off on the same day (and I can only remember so many damn birthdays).
Anyway, Breanna’s little face lighted up when she saw this costume…
…so I bought it for her, but I cautioned her, just as you would, “You don’t just go as a witty leopard because the costume’s ‘pretty’ and you ‘like kitty cats.’ There’s a certain expectation that goes with such an outfit.”
I gave her a list of eighty or so clever bon mots, cutting remarks and pithy aphorisms from Dorothy Parker that I pulled off the internet, sent her to the nursery to study them, and told her I’d begin drilling her on them the next morning.
Seems the five-year-old bit off more than she could chew – turns out she hasn’t even learned to read yet. Obviously, there’s no way in hell she could pull off a “witty leopard.” She began crying hysterically despite my assurance she had nothing to worry about, that instead we’d throw a sheet over her with a couple of eyeholes cut out (which was somewhat fitting because that godawful wailing is perfect for a ghost).
Little Brandon did his best to console her. “There are only two tragedies in life,” he told her. “One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it – Oscar Wilde.”
So guess who gets to go as our witty leopard!
IT SEEMS that everyone’s favorite home improvement superstore/juggernaut, Home Depot, was in the news this past week.
No no no, I’m not referring to the embarrassing spectacle of the guy proposing to his boyfriend in the lumber aisle of the Salt Lake City, Utah location…
Hey! Hold on there! Let me finish!
It’s embarrassing because – settle down! – it’s embarrassing because we now live in an age where a guy can propose to his boyfriend in public with an elaborate choreographed dance sequence…
…and that boyfriend’s first thought is not to cherish the moment, but rather – despite the obvious presence of cameras and boom mics capturing the entire affair from multiple angles – to take out his cell phone to record it.
No, I’m talking about this other Home Depot story.
Here’s the gist: A guy and his pal (to whom he presumably didn’t propose) were getting lumber at Home Depot, put on some $3.99 work gloves to handle the wood, took them off before paying and placed them on top of the cart of wood. The cashier rang up the rest of the $1,445 worth of merchandise (but missed the gloves) and when the customer pushed the cart outside, he was stopped by security and accused of shoplifting. Now, according to a lawsuit, the law firm that represents Home Depot is shaking down this guy and other alleged shoplifters for hundreds of dollars (thereby settling the claims rather than making them face litigation).
What a headache! Believe me, pal, you don’t need that kind of trouble!
Regardless of who did what in that situation, I’m here to offer a little primer illustrating just what you can and cannot take from Home Depot so as to not run afoul of their security guards and battery of attorneys!
Let’s get started!
Paver stone ‘inspiration book’ – FREE!
Paver stones – NOT FREE! (Unless you’re wearing cargo pants with really big pockets.)
Plastic bags – FREE!
These neat PVC fittings that you can put in plastic bags – NOT FREE!
Bird Repeller – NOT FREE!
Bird – FREE! (But ya gotta catch ‘im first, and brother, if you can, you’re eatin’ well tonight!)
128 ounces of Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover – NOT FREE!
Little 4″ x 4″ carpet samples you can tape or glue over practically any stain – FREE!
Salt – FREE! (Outside, by contractors’ exit at the food truck that sells gyros)
Salt – NOT FREE! (Inside, along the back wall. I know, it makes no sense whatsoever. Make up your mind, Home Depot!)
Free-standing shelves – Despite the name, surprisingly NOT FREE! (Exception: when they leave them outside by the nursery area after they take the plants in for the night, it’s three a.m., the store’s closed and it’s pouring rain, like coming down in sheets. I mean, seriously, who’s going to come after you?)
For sale sign – FREE! (Offering a ‘for sale’ sign for sale is like a paradox that cancels itself out or something. I read it in an Asimov book once. Either that or the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that selling them was illegal. One or the other. Exception: When you explain all that and the cashier looks at you dubiously and says “I have to call a manager.”)
Temporary use of this handsaw – FREE!
Permanent use of this power saw – NOT FREE! (A shame too, because it’s a real beauty, isn’t it? Yep, a reeeal beaut. Wouldn’t that look great on my work bench? You know, Christmas is just a few months away…)
Cell phone app – FREE!
Donuts so you can get the premium characters and buildings – NOT FR— Oh wait, wrong app.
Overpriced snacks – NOT FREE! (Unless you manage to eat them before you get to the checkout. No easy feat, because they’re at the checkout. But who cares – you’re having squab for dinner, remember?)
Reasonably priced carriage bolts – ALSO NOT FREE! (Unless you manage to eat them before you get to the checkout. You’ll have a little more time here – they’re in the middle of aisle 37, but chew quickly!)
Well, I think you get the idea.
The fact is, while the folks at Home Depot may seem like real hard-asses for making people pay for, oh, the majority of their merchandise…
(including these yard sticks featuring their name which the local Mom & Pop hardware stores they ran out of business used to give away for free)
…they still do offer a bunch of magnificent freebies – you just need to know where to look!
Brochures galore! FREE!
In-Home Installation! FREE! (Just make sure the installers don’t see that back patio you built with all those paver stones.)
Paint chips! FREE!
Estimate On Your Windows! FREE!
Flooring samples! FREE!
Shlate Shingle Shamples! FREE!
And there’s stuff all over the store like this! I mean, just look at the haul from just my last visit!
It’s like Halloween and I’m trick-or-treating in the good neighborhood!
Anyway, now that you know what you are and are not expected to pay for at Home Depot, shop with confidence, friend! And now I can get back to work installing hardwood laminate in the kitchen!
If my measurements are correct, just 1,697 more trips to their flooring department and this project is done!
NOW HERE’S some fun: A good pal of mine, sure – that handsome devil Scott Maiko – recently had a piece published in MAD magazine.
MAD #523, to be exact – on stands now! It’s an hilarious spoof of the Williams-Sonoma catalog. And though he makes such hilarity look easy, he admitted to me that it was difficult coming up with an angle.
“I just couldn’t think of the right approach,” he tells me. “I was going crazy trying to think up how to handle it. I even began talking to myself, that’s how crazy I was going.”
“You talk to yourself? I do that too!” I told him.
Eventually, he explained, inspiration hit when he was wandering through a local thrift store – just like I do! (Surprised I don’t bump into this guy more often.)
Instead of Williams-Sonoma, he thought, how about…
…and write up the catalog as a ‘mash-up,’ if you will, of actual Goodwill thrift store merchandise, and hoity-toity Williams-Sonoma-style catalog copy!
The rest, as they say, is history: His editors hated it so he ended up writing something better for them.
However, they were kind enough to let him take his original misguided, half-assed, mean-spirited, scattershot, who-did-it-and-ran attempt and “piss it away on his blog,” as he likes to say. Turns out, he doesn’t have a blog on which to piss it away (which begs the question ‘Why does he like to say that?’ and I’d ask him but he, uh, left).
Anyway, it seems I have a blog and he asked me to post it here.
Click on each image to see it larger in a new window/tab.
Pages 1 and 2. (Descriptions of items on p. 1 appear on p. 2)
I think we all agree MAD made the right call by passing on this especially because this works out great for me: I’ve bought the entire concept, lock, stock and second-hand barrel from Maiko for three dollars worth of food from Del Taco’s Buck & Under menu! Heh heh…sucker!
Those of you, what?, six regulars who have been coming here for my popular Overpriced Goodwill Item of the Week feature can now look forward to, oh, perhaps the occasional new catalog item as well! So how about that!
HALLOWEEN is just around the corner according to my local 99¢ Only store! They’ve got their Halloween aisle all ready for consumer dishevelment!
To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by the selection, but it looks like it had just gone up within the last coupla days, so maybe there’s more merchandise to come. Those great fabric masks I mentioned last year would surely be the next big thing? Thus far, nowhere in sight!
The glow-in-the-dark skeleton gloves made famous either by my site last year or Barry Weiss on “Storage Wars”?
There ain’t none this year!
But here are some of the more interesting items they did have…
Apparently, at least one manufacturer thinks that Baz Luhrman’s recent adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” is going to inspire some outfits this October 31st. Like you, I detest Halloween costumes that aren’t scary or gory in some way, so the only acceptable Gatsby-inspired use of this would be to dress as Myrtle Wilson after the fatal car crash. Ooh, spoiler alert!
(By the way, they also had Lincoln-esque top hats. Add a bullet hole or two, spatter with fake blood, and they lend themselves magnificently to a macabre take on our 16th president, thank you very much, John Wilkes Whosis!)
These spider web candy dishes were pretty clever. They also came in putrid purple and ghastly green. Like you, I’d have no use for the colorful ones, but the black one is great! (That said, wouldn’t it make more sense to cast them in white plastic?)
Halloween Fun Tip #1: Invert the bowl and attach a thin pole to the middle and you’ve got a delightful little mini-parasol that Lily Munster herself would be proud to carry around.
Halloween Fun Tip #2: Tape them over ceiling light fixtures for some spooky ambiance. At least until the thin plastic starts melting and catches fire, burning your house to the ground in the middle of your party. But you and the others who don’t get out will have left a marvelous Halloween legacy for neighborhood kids to whisper about for generations!
Halloween Fun Tip #3: Just use them as the candy dishes they’re intended to be, as I’m probably already in trouble with notoriously litigious Universal Studios for even daring to type ‘Lily Munster’ without paying a steep licensing fee. And let’s not even get started with the liability issues I’ve left myself wide open for telling you to attach these things to hot lights.
Check out these plastic beakers – they’re just the thing to fill up with some water and dry ice for a creepy mad scientist’s lab display. The opening is a bit small so you may have to suck on any larger pieces of dry ice for a few minutes to melt ’em down a bit before they’ll fit into the beakers. Or, alternatively, as my attorney suggests, don’t do that.
Double-wall tumblers have been What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only store for at least a year now – yours truly even picked up a green bamboo-like one for, yes, 99¢ Only a few months back. Two of these Halloween ones are great, but as to the one in the middle: Was it really wise to print “Zombie Blood” in red? If it turns out you are drinking zombie blood, no one will be able to read your cup!
And on that note, it just wouldn’t be 2013 if we didn’t have some sort of merchandisal intersection of two of the currently most tired and overused pop culture trends: zombies and “Keep Calm” posters. And, by Godfrey, here it is:
Marvelous. Now we’re officially done with both, right? Right?!
Cheap plastic body parts shrink-wrapped onto styrofoam meat trays with funny labels were around last year as well, but they’re still worth noting. However, I don’t really understand why they even bother carrying them – they’re all but indistinguishable from the real “meat” you’ll find in the 99¢ Only Store’s frozen foods case in texture, taste and nutritional value! Oh, come on now, I kid! The fake meat’s actually safe to ingest.
This eerie plastic bag is printed with an ominous warning about suffocating babies. Hilariously macabre! Oh, also I guess there’s a plastic blood-filled heart inside.
You’ve been wanting to go as Ray Liotta from the dinner scene in “Hannibal” for a dozen years. At long last, now you can! And when you’re done, pop this little beauty off your noggin and you’re ready to re-discover the joys of Jell-O.
And finally: there’s something delightful about these cheap latex masks that look like they’re right out of the 1960s. And what’s even scarier – the chef’s hats – or toques [industry term] – next to ’em!
Forget Dracula, the devil, a mummy or Frankenstein’s monster – you really want to scare the bejeezus out of everyone this year, dress up as virtually any contestant from a Food Network cooking show! I mean, have you seen some of those people?! And they let them work with food!
Speaking of food – and by extension holidays associated with food – by this time tomorrow they’ll have cleared the Halloween crap out of here and rechristened it the Thanksgiving aisle!
Be sure to come back then for my reviews of this year’s selection of snap-in-half turkey platters, leaf-shaped window gel clings stickers your kids will mistake for gummy candy and hideous glitter-covered resin cornucopias!