1. Comic Con 2013! Live! From the Floor!

    DON’T worry, folks – I know these posts are coming a bit erratically lately, but I’m still alive.

    I’m down here…on the floor. Finally woke up with my usual Friday morning hangov– eh, migraine, and it occurred to me: oh yeah, the San Diego Comic Con is this weekend. It somehow snuck up on me yet again and as usual, I have no material ready for it.

    Comic-Con!

    Join me, won’t you, in revisiting last year’s Comic Con post which my regular, what?, six readers all agree is “the only mildly amusing thing you’ve ever posted on this crap website of yours.” Yes, all six of you made that exact same observation, sure.

    Oh, you know things have taken a sad turn over at Ted Parsnips Dot Com when I’ve resorted to linking to old posts! Yep, wonnn’t be long now before this domain is available once again at GoDaddy!

    Posted by on July 19, 2013, 2:36 PM.

  2. I Wanna Be A Lifeguard!

    If you’re like me, you don’t have the swimming skills, upper body strength, CPR training or six-pack to become a lifeguard on one of Southern California’s beautiful, trash-strewn beaches. Nor do you likely have the dedication to work towards achieving any of these things. And for what, really? The chance to swim out in cold, polluted water, dodging stingrays and sharks just to drag some fat-ass back to shore who somehow managed to fall off his trendy paddleboard right smack between a riptide and an undertow? Who the hell needs it?!

    That’s why I was thrilled when I found this at TJ Maxx the other day.

    boogieboard

    Two-day lifeguard certification class: $140 and a weekend shot to hell – and there’s no guarantee I’d pass.
    Boogie board with the word ‘Lifeguard’ on it: $9.99.

    Yeah, I think I made the right choice.

    Now I can head out to Zuma with this slung over my shoulder and impress the entire beach-going public without even getting wet. And once those military dog tags I bought on eBay arrive, people’ll really stop and take notice.

    This is going to be the best summer ever!

    Posted by on July 6, 2013, 4:06 AM.

  3. 0.000726 Leagues Under the Pool!

    LIKE YOURS, enormous tracts of the landscape that is my workday is made up of avoiding doing any work at all and looking at those time-sucking websites with a whole grid of fascinating and enriching slideshow-based articles to peruse; i.e., “Ten Scariest Abandoned Scrapbooking Stores,” “Sexiest Waltons Cosplay” and “Ridiculously Adorable Organic Material Stuck to the Undersides of Subway Seats” where you click on a link that brings you to another page of articles in little boxes and then you click on one of them (usually not the one you were originally interested in because it curiously doesn’t exist on this new page). And that brings you to another page which leads you to yet a different website of links and then again to another page and a different site, on and on and on and on, and his father’s father before him.

    One of the things I’ve seen time and time again, and you have, too, probably, is the “World’s Biggest Pool.” And as it will soon enrage you, it enrages me every time I see it. Every time I see it! 

    It’s a magnificent example of how the internet has dumbed down so many who now will believe anything they read and are too lazy to use any critical thinking skills or do any research on their own.

    Those who provide content for these sort of sites ought to be ashamed, is what, for taking the so-called facts concerning this pool at face value without verifying them nor even using reasonable common sense; instead reposting this nonsense everywhere.

    You see, San Alfonso del Mar is a large resort on the coast of Chile. It has a pool in front of it that’s very big.

    alfonso2

    The “facts” usually cited are that the pool is 1 kilometer long, covers about 19 acres, holds 66 million gallons of water, and has a maximum depth of 115 feet.

    I don’t have any problem with the first three pieces of data.  It’s the last one – the 115 foot depth – that I call utter hovadina on.

    Let’s take another look at the pool, shall we?

    bigpool1

    As you can see, it’s right up against the shore. A child, even a stupid child, who has dug holes in the sand at the beach knows that the deeper you go, the more likely water starts rushing in through the sand. Suddenly, your hole collapses. (Much like after you had that particularly virulent strain of monkey dysenta— Okay, never mind about that.)

    Now imagine digging a hole 115 feet deep this close to the shore. The water table so close to the Pacific Ocean would make this an engineering nightmare! Probably!

    And for what? What exactly would be the purpose in having one end of the pool 115 feet deep? You tell me! For scuba diving perhaps!  To explore what? The featureless cement bottom of a pool?

    Here’s a photo of a few mighty vessels asea, or in this case, apool:

    alfonso1

    And another:

    alfonso5

    Notice that in each instance, you’re seeing a shadow of roughly the same size just below each of these magnificent crafts. That’s because the shadows are on the pool bottom, I posit, a relatively short distance below.

    Next!  Satellite photo:

    alfonso4

    If one end of this pool was 115 feet deep – that’s roughly as deep as a ten story building is tall by the way –  then that area – wherever it is, would be significantly darker than the shallower areas of the pool.  You can see very shallow areas of the pool – presumably wading areas. But nothing very dark.

    Clearly, this pool is not 115 feet deep.

    Therefore, I submit, Your Honor, that this pool is at most 11.5 feet deep, and that somewhere along the way, someone left off the decimal point.

    For the want of a dot on a page, the world’s largest pool has become the world’s deepest pool as well, and if you should go for a dip and your room key slips out of your trunks and sinks to the bottom, well, better call the front desk and see if they can get Ignacio in Maintenance to fire up the bathysphere and retrieve it.

    Yet, I’m a reasonable a man, and I can understand how this misinformation has been repeated ad infinitum across the internet because doing the research on this one is not as easy as one might think.

    I wanted to be able to definitively say “I looked into this, dammit, and the pool is actually eleven and a half feet deep – Ignacio himself told me so!”  so I got in touch with both the resort and the company responsible for building the pool.

    In fact, I contacted them multiple times…but each attempt ended without any answers.

    alfonso3

    Crystal Lagoons Corporation LLC is the company responsible for designing and building the pool. They’re headquartered in Chile, but they have phone numbers in New York and Miami. Each time I called, I talked with what I presume is an answering service that couldn’t provide any information, and even though I left my contact information, no one called back.

    I emailed them as well, both at their American and Chilean email addresses. No response! I fared no better contacting the resort itself:  No reply to my emails and surprisingly, whoever answered the phone at this enormous world class resort couldn’t put me in touch with anyone who spoke better English than I speak Spanish. (And despite living where I do, I don’t hablo español muy good-o. Ha!)

    Terrified of high international rates on my next phone bill, and suddenly remembering I write a blog about bad deals in thrift shops and good deals in dollar stores and not some sort of exhaustively researched online reference work, I didn’t call back.

    Lest anyone suggest my assertion that the World’s Biggest Swimming Pool at San Alfonso del Mar is not 115 feet deep without concrete evidence to back it up makes me no better than those awful sites I’m complaining about, it’s not merely Buzzfeed and its countless viral content-peddling clones that are regurgitating the inaccurate depth factoid.

    It’s also good, wholesome, decent sites like  Popular Mechanics, Wikipedia, National Geographic (!) and, dear God above, the one website we all thought we could always count on, Snopes.com.  Oh, Barbara and David Mikkelson, what happened?

    So I say we settle this once and for all. Let’s get some kind of Kickstarter/IndieWhosis thing going to send me on a fact-finding mission down there for a couple of weeks so I can finally get us a definitive answer and put this controversy to rest once and for all. I’ve already got the tape measure and snorkel so don’t worry about that; I just need you folks to come up with airfare (first class, please – I drink a lot) and maybe twenty-five thousand dollars for an ocean-facing suite plus miscellaneous expenses. (Prostitution is legal there!)

    Anyone pledging five grand gets a free postcard from the lobby (contingent on if they have free postcards in the lobby).

    Pledge ten thousand and you get everything from the $5,000 package plus a little bottle of shampoo or a hotel bar of soap or something. I’m rewriting – née correcting – history here, folks, and you can be part of it! Let’s do this!

    bosomy

    Posted by on June 18, 2013, 2:38 AM.

  4. Ah, The Innocence of Youth!

    LAST WEEK I had to take Bryce to buy some new clothes.

    He’s at the age where what he wears is becoming important to him, so the days of dragging him into Goodwill, having him try on something that more or less fits, snapping off the tags, and then quickly walking back out to the car are over. (Plus some of their locations have security cameras now – imagine!)

    You’re thinking, “Ted, you poor bastard – Bryce obviously inherited those gorgeous Parsnips genes so you must be going broke buying his wardrobe at Hollister and A&F!”

    I wish!  

    No, we live in the filthy West Valley, so he’s trying to “fit in” by dressing like everyone else around here: He insists we shop at that place next to 99¢ Only where all the local gang-bangers buy (or I guess steal – ha!) their clothes.

    I bought him his Chucks and his knee-high white socks and his oversized khaki Dickie shorts and his wife-beater and black and white flannel jacket…but when we were walking out he saw something – and his reaction just about melted my heart.

    gunsgrenades1

    “Daddy, can I have 75¢ for the Guns N Grenades machine? Pleeease?”

    gunsgrenades2

    Aww! 

    How could I say no? Of course I gave it to him. He may be growing up, but it’s moments like this that make me realize he’ll always be my little boy.

    Posted by on May 28, 2013, 4:56 AM.

  5. Walmart’s 2013 Memorial Day T-Shirt!

    EACH Memorial Day, I head into Walmart, find their patriotic t-shirt offering for that year, and look at the label to see where it’s made!

    It’s a blog post that has become a time-honored Ted Parsnips tradition!

    And it’s not particularly surprising, or at this point, even slightly amusing, but if we know one thing here in America, it’s that even if something is no longer really working for us, like Daylight Savings Time, or Attorney General Eric Holder (Hey! This is not a political blog!), we don’t bother to make changes. We just keep things the way they are! Inefficient consistency at the cost of all else!  That’s the American way!

    So here’s the t-shirt!

    heartusa1

    And here’s where it’s made! China! Awesome!

    heartusa2

    Now you’re asking “Since it also has the Spanish translation for ‘Made In CHINA’ inside the collar, isn’t it racist for them not to also have the Spanish language equivalent for ‘I [heart] USA’ – which would be ‘Me [heart] EE.UU’ – alongside the design on the front?”

    Look, I don’t want to get involved in any of this. I’m probably already on some kind of government watch list for that Daylight Savings Time crack.

    Posted by on May 25, 2013, 4:39 AM.

  6. Manscaping: Not Just For Girls!

    I know! I’m as stunned as you are!

    manscaping

    …Well, at least it doesn’t say “Got Manscaping?”

    Posted by on May 9, 2013, 4:31 AM.

  7. It’s All So Confusing!

    gotprom

    “Got PROM?”

    It doesn’t make any sense, man!

    I get it, I get it.  It’s a takeoff on the “got milk?” ads. Of course I know that.

    No, what doesn’t make any sense is that businesses are still awkwardly ripping off a tagline from an ad campaign that reached the peak of its popularity more than a decade ago.

    Of course it’s an improvement over the slogan they had on their banner last year, which took its inspiration from an even older commercial, and made even less sense.

    meatprom

    Posted by on May 7, 2013, 4:06 AM.

  8. Excitement At Canoga Park High School!

    YESTERDAY morning was a scary one for the future Nobel Prize winners over there at Canoga Park High School – through a variety of sources I’ve been able to piece together the story:

    Some dumbass was across the street at Taco Bell acting suspiciously.

    Perhaps – and this is merely conjecture on my part – he ordered a regular taco as opposed to one of those new Cool Ranch Dorito dealies that are all the rage. This, you’ll agree, would have raised eyebrows.

    coolranch

    School security was alerted, they confronted said moron – who apparently had a gun! He then fled across Topanga Canyon Boulevard (No easy feat! Four lanes of busy, busy traffic and no one knows how to drive around here!) and onto the school grounds…which was then put on lockdown for the next three hours.

    Thankfully, the suspect dropped the gun (and presumably the taco if indeed he was eating one – again, just a theory from this armchair detective) but it was quite some time before the police actually found him.

    No further information – who? why? which type of hot sauce? – seems to be available, and frankly, if it’s a story involving a nutjob with a gun at a school that ends this way, that’s great. I don’t really need any further information; the cops nailed the bastard and most importantly, no one was hurt.

    greatday

    So in that respect – potential tragedy averted – yes, it was a ‘great day’ for Canoga Park High School.

    Still, they…eh…they might want to rethink that mascot.

    Posted by on May 3, 2013, 3:57 AM.

  9. A “Tree”-mendous Adventure!

    AS YOU KNOW, I’ve been going on for weeks and weeks, right here on the ol’ blog, about a little vacation I’ve been planning.  Why, every day I’ve been talking about it!

    Well, it’s finally here!

    Yesterday we headed northeast a piece, and brother, anyone who tells you that you can’t do Sequoia National Park (631 square miles, and just 4-1/2 hours outside of Los Angeles by car) in one day has apparently never heard of any of those energy shots I’m  still trying to review.

    mapshot

    Up there’s where the tall timber is, brother – trees so big around that even the gentle giant of the sea, the giant squid, would be hard pressed to wrap its “tentacles,” or feelers, around one of their trunks. And wouldn’t that be something to see!

    We stopped first at the visitor center so that I could distract the park ranger there by asking inane questions (“What time is Old Faithful’s next show?,” “How long is the wait for It’s a Small World?” and so on)  while my street urchins-in-training, Enoch and Little Bess, practiced their trade by pocketing key chains and post cards to sell to their school chums back home.

    Then I got my hands on some rubberized bear scat in one of those educational, interactive animal feces displays.

    beardoo

    (Now that I know what bear dung looks like, evidence further points to it being one of my neighbors crapping on the windshield of my car every night.)

    Next it was back in the car to get the hell out of there!

    A half-hour of heart-stoppingly steep roads along frightening drop-offs, and that’s when the kids realize they forgot to get their goddamn National Parks Passports stamped. So after a lot of arguing, whining and crying, I composed myself and headed back down to the visitor center.

    parkstamp4

    And then, an hour or so later up the same treacherous mountain roads with hairpin switchbacks galore, we finally got to the trees.

    They are, in a word, big.

    But you want to see the famous one: good ol’ General Sherman, the largest tree on earth! Not the tallest, not the oldest, not the widest, but somehow the largest. I don’t understand it either. There were informative plaques around explaining it – but you don’t drive hundreds and hundreds of miles loopy on cheap 5-Hour Energy knockoffs to stand around reading words!

    So I’m going to go out on a limb here (a little tree humor for ya) and presume that by “the largest” the park service means you could make more coffee tables from thin cross-sections of its trunk than any other.

    treetable

    Speaking of which: Join me, won’t you, in petitioning the White House to let us cut down this glorious beast and do just that. General Sherman is in fact big enough to make coffee tables for every man, woman and child in this country legally.*

    sherman3

    *Before your precious Obama crams illegal alien amnesty down our throats! Hey! I don’t want to hear it! This is not a political blog!

    Anyway, here what you’ve been waiting for: Yours truly: your humble blogger and pal Ted in front of the World’s Largest Tree.

    germansherman

    Well, sort of.

    Rest assured, if I ever get up there again (Not likely! The brakes on the car are shot from coming back down the mountain!) I’m going to figure out the stupid timer on the camera and charge the damn batteries the night before just in case I need to take more than one photo.

    Posted by on April 17, 2013, 4:13 PM.

  10. Help! I’m Being Cyberstalked By A Hot Plate!

    THE OTHER NIGHT I was on the phone talking a pal down from making a terrible decision – ordering something from an infomercial.

    “This won’t be like my foot-scouring Ped Egg or my ear-scouring WaxVac,” he insisted. “This is something I know I’ll use every day!”
    “What is it?” I inquired.
    “Huh? I didn’t hear you.”
    “Maybe if you used that WaxVac…”
    “No, I couldn’t hear you because I got my TurbieTwist on,” he explained.
    “What the good goddamn is the infomercial for, man?!”
    “Well! I’m glad you asked! It’s the NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop, and it’s a complete kitchen, all-in-one! Living Well for Less hosts Bob Wharton and Jenny Repko swear by it!”

    hosts

    I’d never heard of the NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop and I immediately looked it up on the internet, just as you would do.

    A quick search brought me to their website – but you might want to read the rest of the post this time before you click on that link. (Ha! As though any of you, what, six regulars make it through anything I write here in its entirety or click on any of the links!)

    So after looking over the item and reading various reviews of it on other sites, I came to the conclusion it was not a good investment and advised said pal not to purchase it. Intent on buying something as-seen-on-TV, he wisely settled for a Bedazzler.

    “That way, I can trick out my TurbieTwist. Really dazzle-hack the hell out of it!” he exclaimed.

    Okay, so that was the end of it, right?

    No. Not by a long shot, brother!

    Because later that night, I was – imagine this! – back on the internet, looking up God-knows-what this time, and I noticed this ad on the page:

    smallnuwave2

    Huh,” I thought to myself.  “That’s a coincidence. I was just on their website a little while ago.”

    Then a little later, on a different website, I noticed this:

    nuwave3

    And on another website, this:

    nuwave4

    Before a video loaded on yet another site, I got this one:

    nuwave6

    And then things started getting creepy. Because after that, this is the ad I began seeing:

    nuwave5

    “Come Back?!”  I was on your site for two minutes! We had some fun, we both had a good time, but that was it. I’m not ever coming back. I’ve moved on. I’m seeing someone else now – a heartwarming video on YouTube about a possum and a deer tick who were raised together and are now inseparable. So I’m sorry, that little fling we had, whatever you want to call it – it’s over.

    But today, a day and a half later, on fully 90% of the websites I visit that carry outside advertising, there’s that same disturbing “Come Back!” ad. It’s like the NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop is following me…well, not so much following but somehow anticipating my every online move.

    It’s easily explained, of course: the NuWave website installed a cookie on my computer that loads their ads on any other site I visit that carries that same Google ad software.

    comeback

    Still, the omnipresence of the ad – it is everywhere – is disturbing. And how apt that I just looked up “omnipresence” on Merriam-Webster online to make sure I was using it correctly – and no joke – there were five ads for it on that one page.

    Obviously I need to delete my cookies, clear my browser history, and empty my browser cache before the situation gets any further out of hand, which I imagine will look something like this:

    FATAL2

    By the way, my attorney – who I’ve got busy filing a restraining order on my behalf – wanted me to note here that the  NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop is a magnificent piece of equipment and you should buy ten.

    Posted by on April 2, 2013, 8:30 AM.

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