…and I almost authorized a raise! Almost!
Thankfully, that very afternoon I decided to take my post-lunch constitutional through the employee parking lot and saw him walking away from his car.
Just so you know, folks…? If any of you ever apply for work here at Ted Parsnips, LLC…?
It’s bad form to have more chrome swans than your boss. And frankly, at eighteen, even I admit I’m pushing the envelope of good taste. But twenty-two! There’s just no excuse! The mudflap babes are, of course, completely acceptable.
Anyway, to teach the miscreant savante (French word!) a lesson, I plucked out one of his precious bulldog’s googly eyes – the right one. (His right! The bulldog’s right! Sheesh!) He’ll get it back when – and only when – I get that total website redesign I keep hearing promises about!
HERE’S one that’ll have you saying “Hey, gotta hand it to ol’ Ted – he hit the nail on the head with this one, as he so often does!”
I was walking down the street the other day and there’s a pleasant little house on the block south of me. Oh, it’s a cute little cottage-type thing that you’d expect to see in a nice neighborhood, in a decent city; not in this rundown, trash-strewn, slum-ridden area of the filthy toilet that is Los Angeles.
And yet there it was.
I respect people’s privacy and private areas, so I won’t give you a shot of the whole place – but hell, I shot it from a public sidewalk, so my attorney can just shut his lawhole and relax, for God’s sake.
Looks nice, eh? Quaint, in a word, right?
You’d almost expect Rachel Arsewell herself to step right out on the porch and holler “Wot the ‘ell are you snappin’ bloody pictures o’ me ‘ouse for, wot? Get outter ‘ere before I pry a leg off’n me vintage 1920s naturally distressed white finish farmhouse gelding table and beat you within a centimeter of your bloomin’ life! Off with yeh, then, before I ring the constable!”
You’d almost expect something just like that, and you’d be right to.
But before we hurry on our way, let’s take a closer look at one of the little design elements to the exterior. You’re smart – you know exactly what I’m referring to.
There it is.
And here’s the thing: I guess maybe it’s a cute touch…but it makes no sense architecturally!
Accepting, for the moment, that despite your last name being neither Addams nor Munster but you still want to make your house look like it’s in worse repair than it actually is – accepting that, it still makes no sense.
Clearly the idea the idea behind this detail is here’s a darling little bungalow, sure – but even though it’s showing its age, any slight imperfections only make it that much more homey, appealing and cozy. I can buy the whole shoddy chic angle to this decorating flourish. That I can buy.
What I have trouble with is the fact that the charming “exposed bricks” are on top of the stucco.
Anyone with even an elementary knowledge of home construction knows that any brickwork would be under the stucco. The stucco is applied on top of the bricks, to cover it up and give it a uniform, flat surface. So this little added detail, which we all agree is just goddamn adorable, is entirely absurd.
I can’t imagine I’m the only one who notices this. Our street gets a lot of foot traffic – gang members, drug dealers, taggers, the chronically homeless – and no doubt every single one of them who passes this place is thinking the same thing – albeit in another language – and most of them are probably laughing about it.
I’m a good neighbor, however, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the rest of the neighborhood make fun of the fine people living in one of the few nice houses around here.
So tonight, reeeal late, see, I’m going to sneak down the street and with hammer and chisel, knock off those stupid fake bricks once and for all and then pound the holy hell out of a few random areas on the exterior, knocking loose as much of the stucco and exposing the actual brick beneath before the lights start coming on.
And I need you at the curb with the car running.
Let’s do this.
IT’S that time again, gang! Comic-Con time!
Here’s my schedule of all the events I’m either a part of or that I plan to passive-aggressively horn my way into! If you see me, be sure to come up and say hello, unless I’m talking to someone more famous or who can do more for my career than you, in which case, don’t you dare interrupt. Don’t you dare.
As always, I’m happy to sign autographs – and still for my nominal fourteen dollar charge! (Exact change please.) Just let me know whose name you want me to sign and on what. My Will Eisner is all but indistinguishable from the real thing (especially now that I’m spelling it right) and my Bill Finger’s been getting some nice notices as well. Ask about my Siegel & Shuster “two-fer” discount!
Above: Some of my most requested autographs.
On with my schedule!
Thursday July 12
3:00-4:00 - Finding Last-Minute Lodgings in a Booked-Solid San Diego: A Candid Discussion
I plan to leave the cesspool that is Los Angeles at exactly five-thirty a.m. Thursday morning so I can get down to the Con when everything starts. But it’s three a.m. as I write this, and I’ll likely oversleep until 1:30 in the afternoon. I have no place to stay (yet!) but I’ll be damned if I spend three nights in my car again for the sixth year in a row. Head on over to Room 212 in the Bushmiller Pavilion if you have any suggestions. If you’re a vendor, maybe we can strike a deal and I can help you construct a fort out of your comic book boxes and sleep right there in your booth, making sure none of the notoriously sticky-fingered security guards roaming the convention at night start pawing through your stacks of vintage Little Lulus.
Were Whitman comics ever sold individually in the 1970s? They were priced individually, yes – but is there an actual recorded instance of any issue sold singly, by itself, alone – and not in the little plastic bag where you got two decent funny animal ones and one piece of crap you never read like “Battle of the Planets” or, God forbid, “Star Trek” in the middle, which you couldn’t even see until you got home and ripped open the plastic? We’ll explore the evidence and talk to some guy who used to worked in a Rexall Drug Store back then. Room 218 (off of the Gottfredson Ballroom).
Friday July 13
11:00-12:00 - The “Stop Saying Zombie Apocalypse” Panel
A heartfelt plea to the general public and the media to stop using the phrase “the zombie apocalypse” immediately. Please note: People using the phrase “the zombie apocalypse” will not be admitted. Room 8.
1:00-2:00 – Who Was Wealthier: Scrooge McDuck or Richie Rich? A Debate
Obsessed Swedish “Barks-ologist” Mågnild Ljüngbørg and completist Richie Rich collector Franklin Todd go head to head to finally settle the question which has baffled young children under the age of ten for decades: Who has more money – the edema-suffering “Poor Little Rich Boy” in the Eton collar or the greedy, globe-trotting waterfowl from Duckburg? You won’t want to miss this one, especially if you just bought a hot dog or a slice of pizza and need a place to sit down and eat it. Room 27-C.
Midnight-1:30am – The Golden Age of Animation’s Most Hilariously Racist Cartoons
A Comic-Con Tradition! Join fellow animation enthusiasts as I screen clips from 37 vintage animated shorts from the 1920s through the late 1950s featuring the most patently offensive ethnic stereotypes you’ve ever seen! In the interest of time, I’ve edited them down to just the funny parts so they’re completely out of context. My promise: I will not waste time getting all Leonard Maltin on you by explaining these were “a product of their time.” The clip of the disgusting hairy Slovak peddler (“Toby the Pup in Prague,” Van Beuren Studios, 1930) is alone worth attending to see! Room 15.
Saturday July 14
1:00-2:30 - No, You’re Not The Next Mel Blanc: The “101 Bad Voices” and “101 Worse Voices” Panel
We’ll be screening a bunch of highly annoying, often infuriating YouTube videos of those jackasses who honestly believe they can get work as voiceover talent based on the dozens of very slightly different voices, none of them good and most of them based not on the original source – but on someone else’s impression of the original (usually an SNL cast member). Roll your eyes and grumble with the rest of us as we hear the requisite Stewie, Scooby-Doo and Cartman again and again and again, plus numerous other animated characters none of which are currently in need of a new actor to portray them. Also: We’ll be speaking with a panel of animation voice casting directors who’ll discuss why they don’t tend to hire new talent based on clips on the internet where someone is only able to perform a rudimentary vocal facsimile of an actor or character’s one most famous catchphrase. Room 12A.
4:00-6:00 – 60s Sitcom Powerhouses: Sheriff Taylor & Lt. McHale
What a treat! Set a spell and listen as I interview two of 1960s television’s biggest legends – Andy Griffith and Ernest Borgnine -as they describe what it was like to star in a hit comedy of the early 1960s. Paul Henning Amphitheatre. Canceled.
3:00pm-4:30am – The People Versus Matt Groening
Join us as we hijack 20th Century Fox’s “Simpsons” panel – where they intended to discuss the upcoming season – and instead force Matt Groening, Al Jean, various writers, producers and show-runners to watch every single goddamn episode of the last season, “A Clockwork Orange“-style, and subsequently force them to defend each recycled plot, every single unfunny joke and awful line in a kangaroo court that hopefully will result in a formal apology and mutual agreement to finally pull the goddamn plug on the show once and for all.
4:00-5:30 - The Annual Jack Kirby Anecdotal Circle Jerk
Come join friends and fans of the late, great Jack Kirby as we all attempt to outdo one another with a personal story or remembrance of the comic book legend, née God, who conveniently is no longer around to dispute any of what is said. The room fills up fast so be sure to get there early so you don’t miss a single one of the amazing stories you’ve heard ten times before! Room 23-B
Sunday July 15
10:30-12:00 – I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
It was half a century ago this September 28th that a small portion of the nation first watched, with diminishing interest week by week, the probably pleasant and likely amusing adventures of Harry Dickens and Arch Fenster, until the last episode aired September 13th of the following year. I’ll be moderating neither John Astin (Dickens?) nor Marty Ingels (Fenster, I guess) but rather a panel of people not even tangentially involved in the television industry but who, like you, may have seen stills of the show or think the title at least sounds familiar. Also: What the next fifty years will bring, Dickens & Fenster-wise. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster” character. Room 18, Adam West Wing.
Our only offsite event, not officially sanctioned by the Con, but you know if Stan Lee can negotiate the treacherous cliff, he’ll be there! Please, no Furries or Gamorrean Guards! Torrey Pines, San Diego.
Okay, I think that’s it. See you there! Now to get some sleep, then hop in the car and head down the freeway before my attorney reads any of this.
…that He gave His only begotten son.”
He gave his only begotten son eight fingers is what he gave him!
Oh, sure, impose on Him to change water into wine for your party, no problem; see if He wouldn’t mind raising the dead for you, it’s done. But ask Him what size Isotoners he wears so you can get him a little something for Christmas, and suddenly things get awkward.
Look, I know it’s not unusual for cartoon characters to have only four fingers per hand, but when that cartoon character is based on a real-life celebrity, in this case the Christ, shouldn’t you go the extra mile and draw that fifth digit?
While I’m at it – since I’m going to hell anyway for mocking not only the Lord himself as well as the perfectly reasonable artwork by some anonymous artist out there who can draw better than me – while I’m at it, what’s up with this?
The open-palm bent-pinky gesture, that is! Why do so many cartoonists do this? Is it just a little artisterly pretension? A cartoonisterly affectation? Jesus’s other hand doesn’t look that way. Or is that the point – to mix things up a bit, you know – break the fingeral monotony so the two hands don’t look identical?
Or does Jesus suffer from early onset rheumatoid arthritis and it’s painful to unbend that pinky?
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I used to draw the open-palm bent-pinky gesture, or OPBPG, myself, but in my defense, I learned it by watching you!
And by “you,” I don’t mean you, but rather the output of pretty much everyone at Archie Comics, from Bob Goldschwartz to Stann Montecarlo as well as the entire stable of Harvey Comics artists, none of whom I know by name. (Don’t worry; neither do you.)
They all used it! They all used the OPBPG! Why? Why?!
Who holds their hand this way?! It’s not easy! Try it! No, go ahead – try it!
If you’re like me you’re just going to end up with finger cramps and stigmata.
LAST NIGHT was Erin’s weekly “Girls Night Out.” She and the rest of “the usual suspects” as I jokingly call them – Kelly, Lupita, Heather, Todd, Laura and Annette – all went out to see “Magic Mike” leaving me in charge of our little Ethan.
Well, I wasn’t about to sit home alone on a Friday night like some loser! I did what any one of you would do – I headed out for a bite to eat and then took a drive over to CVS to check out their “As Seen On TV” section. Oh, and I brought the baby along.
I don’t have to tell you fathers of young children out there – you know: Nature calls at the most inopportune times. I had just found the Eggies display when I suddenly had to piss like a racehorse! That’ll teach me to fill up on Diet Sierra Mist at Hooters during dinner. (I’m not going to drink beer with the kid with me – what the hell kind of father do you think I am?!)
Thankfully, I knew my local CVS has a public toilet for the use of both customers and homeless alike. But what to do with Ethan? I would have set him up at the digital photo kiosk at the front of the store and left him alone to play for a few minutes, but the last time I did that, the little rugrat managed to hit the screen in just the right sequence so I was on the hook for $60 of ceramic mugs featuring photos of people I don’t even know.
Of course next I tried the blood pressure machine, figuring if I timed it right, I could stick his little arm in the sleeve, activate it, and effectively keep him immobilized for a minute and a half while I literally ran to the men’s room.
No dice – it was out of goddamn order! (Thank Christ I wasn’t having a heart attack!)
So I had no alternative but to bring him in the bathroom with me.
I’m pleased to note that the good folks at CVS have partnered with the manufacturers of Safe-Sitter, so I had a place to stash him while I went. This wall mounted child seat was a godsend, so I could take him off my chest and out of his ergonomic baby carrier (actually just my old JanSport backpack, but without most of my gym stuff in it, and worn backwards) while Daddy tinkled.
However, due to the curvature of the bowl and my son’s leg-flailing rambunctiousness (he’s at that age!), there ended up being some collateral splashback (unavoidable!). So this post also conveniently serves to answer Erin’s question as to why the velcro on Ethan’s right Stride Rite was a bit damp when we got home.
By the way, my attorney continues to advise me that perhaps the more prudent, shorter post would simply read “Why the hell were these mounted so close together?!”
And thanks to a visit to Dollar Tree today, I realized it’s time to start getting ready for Halloween!
We were going to head to the beach on Saturday, but instead, I think we’ll have the whole family pile into the car and head up to that pick-your-own pumpkin patch up near Ventura; maybe stop along the way at a roadside stand for some apple cider while we take in all the beautiful autumn foliage. Really make a day of it!
WHY IT SEEMS it was only twelve days ago when I had helped dear old Dad celebrate Father’s Day by the sending of a greeting card. Here, you can read all about that again right here.
And now it’s, what, twelve days later already and it’s his birthday. (They grow up so fast these days.) Anyway, I did what any decent son would do – I wandered into the 99¢ Only Store to buy a bunch of cheap groceries, and as long as I was there anyway, I realized, hey, I guess I can pick up a card, too. Kill two birds with one stone, right?
Ah, but to find the perfect birthday card for my Dad – the one that, through a careful marriage of artwork and prose, somehow manages to crystallize and convey the complex feelings and difficult-to-express emotions in the complicated relationship between father and son.
That’s why a place like the 99¢ Only Store is perfect for occasions like this! They only had one “father” birthday card! Literally!
So there was no tortured picking and choosing and comparing and searching for a goddamn envelope that fits and pondering and deciding and considering and passive-aggressively blocking a section the rack for an extra three minutes just to piss off some probably perfectly nice old lady by preventing her from looking at a card that I happened to be standing right in front of. There was none of that at all!
So unless I wanted to stop at Walgreen’s on the way home (I did not), my choice was clear!
Now, the fact that there was evidently some sort of mix-up at the discount greeting card factory which resulted in the inside of this card having nothing even remotely to do with the image and phrase on the front…?
I don’t see this as a drawback. Rather I look at this as more of an asset.
At my father’s age, they’re always telling you that you’ve got to keep their minds active. So he’ll be trying to figure out this one for weeks.
CONTINUING our recent Warner Bros. cartoon theme (Traffic on this blog has been up to almost the double-digits this week; I’d be a fool to switch gears now!) I offer up this little beauty:
Huh. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand that whole “Stylized, Miniature, Disproportionate Versions of Cartoon Characters Cast in Vinyl” craze that so many of our young people are embracing these days and subsequently pissing away their money on.
What, you don’t think I’m worth my $50 pricetag?! Bite my vinyl wooden ass!
Similarly, sort of, I’m completely baffled by Lego video games and now all this talk of a Lego Batman / Superman movie based on such games’ popularity. I mean that I just don’t get.
Like you, I played with Legos as a child, just like any red-blooded Slovak-American boy. I even pushed a few of the smaller ones up my nose and the noses of others and maybe even one of those little round white pegs into the back end of the dog and then ran and told Mom “Look! Look! Fritz has worms! Just kidding, Mom! Here, look – stand still Fritz! – see, it’s just a Lego!” Who among us didn’t?
And if I was still a boy – as opposed to just whatever it is I’ve become – why, I’d continue to play with Legos. But I don’t understand how if you’re a kid today, and you’ve decided to play a video game, why in holy hell you’d want to play as the same plastic, truncated, detail-lacking, limited-range-of-motion, barely articulated, stubby Lego version of the character you’re already playing with in real life right there in the middle of the kitchen floor while your mother is tripping over you trying to make dinner - as opposed to a more realistic version – which, today, video game technology allows for!
Now I realize each generation that came after mine is increasingly stupider, but are kids already this moronic? Really? Already? Really? That’s a shame.
That would be like me and Jesse and Trip and Steve play-acting on the playground behind the Round Hill Community House with our World’s Greatest Super-Heroes Mego dolls (This was before “action figures” had been invented!) and then going home and not watching Batman at 5:30 because Adam West’s portrayal was too lifelike for our mushy little pea brains to comprehend.
…Where was I going with this one?
Oh yes: If you’re going to make miniature versions of the classic Merrie Melodies characters, don’t use Sylvester because he ends up looking like his son Sylvester Junior. That’s all I wanted to say.
Look, sometimes I have to pad these things a little to compensate for all the butchering my syndicate does.
HERE’S a seemingly insignificant and arguably subtle phenomenon I’ve noticed for about the last eight years, and you have too, but you weren’t sure you should say anything. You thought maybe it was just you who noticed it – that perhaps it wasn’t as widespread as you suspected.
It is. In fact, it’s much worse.
Make no mistake, pal, this phenomenon is quite ubiquitous! Quite ubiquitous indeed! One might even say it’s very ubiquitous!
And not only that, I’m seeing it everywhere!
I’m talking, of course, about the unholy profusion of these things! These swirly design things! They’re everywhere!
What the hell are they? And where did they come from? Are these the spores of some sort of extraterrestrial organism from the planet Banal and we’re being invaded by aliens just like in that science fiction thriller about the pods and the snatching of the bodies and the dog with the human head? What was it called again…? “Steel Magnolias” you say…? Sure, why not!
Look, here’s a swirly design thing in one of its many natural environments: In an ad on the internet! It’s attaching itself to the young man’s legs; sadly, there will be no escape for him.
I say “many natural environments” because I theorize these things can adapt! Oh yes! Like any hardy invasive species, they’re doing what they can to survive!
I first started noticing them in commercials where they were animated and they’d grow near the corners of the screen like so many morning glories twine around my door. And of course now I can’t remember what the hell any of these spots were advertising so I can’t find any examples of them on YouTube to prove how they were all over the place. But they were! You have to believe me!
While the profusion of these animated things seems to have mercifully died down on their own, their more static cousins live on – thriving, I reckon, by virtue of having infected countless graphic designers. Once they attach themselves to such entities, the parasites then can reproduce thousandfold. Using some manner of not-yet-understood virulent mind control, they convey to their hosts that these designs must be used in all future assignments.
As is the case with Costa Rican bullet ants that have been infected with the fungus Ophiocordyceps, the graphic designer’s will is no longer his own. He is now compelled to put swirly design things on everything – everything!
More business cards!
And more business cards, yet!
In fact, suffice it to say if you’re getting your business cards from Vistaprint, you’re getting them with swirly design things on them. Believe me, I only scratched the surface! There was like twelve pages of these things on that site!
You’ll find them in your email, in the monthly printable coupons for that disgusting buffet place you deny going to!
Thanks to my pal, uh, Tad for…eh, forwarding the above image to me.
You’ll find them all over the place online! Like I said, in ads!
Ooh, a fancy green technology-themed one!
My God, these designers love those goddamn butterflies, don’t they?
You’ve hired a website designer. Little do you realize he’s one of Them. Doesn’t matter what you want, pal.
This is what you’re getting:
The worst part is even once the glut of these things have finally died out, if that ever happens, just as we’re ready to forget about them and put this latest long national nightmare behind us – immediately, they’ll be brought to the forefront of our collective consciousness once again by a bunch of unfunny comedians desperate for exposure on VH1s “I Love the 2010s.”
I can hear it now! “What was up with those swirly design things?!” “Those swirly design things were everywhere!” “I have to admit that I had a swirly design thing toilet seat because [begin air quotes] back in the day [end air quotes] I thought it looked cool!” Oh please, Michael Ian Black, you did not!
A Reusable Shopping Bag.
And even that won’t be the end! Don’t you believe it, brother! Since we’ve been dealing with these for at least eight years, and because nostalgia seems to operate in twenty-year cycles, in just another twelve years (or less) these will be everywhere all over again!
A Gift Bag with Matching Tissue Paper.
Then in the future, people will ironically embrace this crap like I ironically embraced my 1976 Hollie Hobby lunch box back in 1996, carrying it with me everywhere as I did. And while it’s taken me sixteen years to admit it, I can now say that perhaps I looked a little like a jackass and maybe it wasn’t worth getting cut out of Grandpa’s will just so I had a stylish way to carry all the stacks of free postcards I would grab from those racks in all the coffee shops I hung out in. (Remember when we all hung out in coffee shops? And there were free postcard racks? Remember those? Okay, okay, let’s not turn this into a VH1 show! Let’s stay on point!)
Like I was saying, you can’t get away from swirly design things!
They’re on this thing, whatever it is!
And on this thing, whatever it is!
Be careful! If you get them on your fingernails then they’ll just spread!
By the way, nothing says “sexy” like a photo featuring a few stray hairs from an unidentifiable part of the body.
Oh, this one surprised even me: You’ll find swirly design things on the bulletin board at Orcutt Ranch! Yes, even Orcutt Ranch! Where you hoped to be married someday!
Even your closet isn’t immune! They’re on your t-shirts!
In your local office supply store, you’ll find they’ve attached themselves to computer mice, disks, flash drives, and spiral bound notebooks!
Don’t worry, Ted, you say! We’ll be okay…so long as they don’t get into our food supply!
Too late, pal! Too late!
Oh no! This is going to be tough to watch but don’t look away! We’re seeing the first strangling tendrils of a swirly design thing just as it’s gotten hold of a package of Kellogg’s Special K cracker chips! Alas, its fate is unfortunately sealed!
Soon the entire box will be suffocated in a mass of vines, dots, blossoms, splashes, fern fronds, acanthus leaves, arabesque motifs and, yes, in a bizarre and sick twist, otherwise benign butterflies!
Apparently gum is particularly susceptible to Swirly Design Thing Syndrome (SDTS) as I have wisely dubbed it.
Like the Kellogg’s crackers, the package on the right is just in the initial stages of infection – just a few swirls of various widths so far. Ironic, isn’t it, that the gum is called Vitality – as it is now doomed.
It’s not just your sophisticated, “adult” gums, neither!
And it’s not just things we humans ingest, either! Look what’s happened to our dear Mr. Whiskers’ favorite dry cat food!
Even our hair care products aren’t safe! Those swirly design things have made it onto our shampoos, and once there, easily leapt onto our conditioners!
And from there it was a short leap to our detergents and, folks, this is where it gets absolutely terrifying:
…Because not only do we have the usual suspects – dots, leaves, inexplicable swirled lines and dear God above, the butterflies, always the butterflies – we’ve now got rendered images of realistic organic matter – blossoms, philodendron leaves, possibly a papaya, and a kiwi split in two. Can’t you see? It’s changing! It’s adapting! Mankind can’t keep up with this!
But maybe…maybe the others are right. Those that don’t see it. Those who don’t believe me.
Maybe I am over reacting. And there is no invasion of swirly design things on everything. Perhaps it’s just my imagination. And none of this is happening. I thought for sure I was onto something here, but perhaps I’ve worked myself into a lather for nothing.
Still, this little episode of mine has been exhausting. I’m beat. I…I think I’ll just go to bed. Things will look better in the morning, sure.
I KNOW HOW everyone likes to give people like me a hard time for shopping at the “evil retail juggernaut” Walmart and by doing so, helping to put the so-called “little guy” out of business, but come on! The local Mom & Pop solar LED landscape light stores just can’t hold a solar LED landscape light to Walmart when it comes to selection!
Just look at this! Holy crap, it goes on forever!
God bless America, brother! God bless America!
Guys like me, we’re not going to let ourselves be hedged in by the lousy handful of solar LED landscape light options the small, independently-owned stores offer when it comes to making our solar LED landscape light decisions. I think I speak for everyone everywhere when I say it’s certainly not something we take (solar LED landscape) lightly – especially when purchasing something as important as solar LED landscape lights.
This despite the fact that none of us realized we needed them until they were invented a few years ago!