AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, yesterday California voters went to the polls — that is to say, in the last few weeks, California voters mailed in their absentee ballots, because who has time to go to the polls today? None of us, that’s what! Especially here in Los Angeles, where things were so confusing at your place of envotement, your vote wouldn’t have counted anyway!
Anyway, this is not a political blog, but one thing we all enjoy is when I review the stupid political flyers I receive for local elections — like I did here and here…and to a lesser extent, here — and this year it’s been another bumper crop.
The final tally:
Janice Kamenir-Reznik: 5 mailers for, 1 against
Matt Dababneh: 15 mailers
Shawn Bayliss: 2 mailers
David Pollock: 1 mailer
Henry Stern: 16 mailers for, 4 against
Steve Fazio: 3 mailers
Sleazy ‘Voter Guides’ Designed to Look Vaguely Official: 6 mailers
As happens during every election season, I just throw out the first few days’ worth of these mailers until I notice they’re so numerous that I realize it could be a thing on the blog — at which point I start keeping them. So the actual totals are a bit higher, probably.
But counting those alone: That’s a grand total of (at least) 53 mailers that were sent to me. Honestly, they don’t make a bit of difference as to how I cast my vote. Crazy talk radio and paranoia-ridden websites with flashing neon text on a black background — that’s how I research the candidates!
As to the mailers, here are some of my, and now your, favorites:
You won’t be able to read beneath “Henry,” but it says “A Nutty Blend of Big Oil, Big Energy and Big Auto Contributions — 0% Truth. 100% Hypocrisy.”
Like you do, I love that they used an Oh Henry! candy bar for this anti-Henry Stern ad. And like you, it drives me crazy that they didn’t put the “Nutty Blend” copy above “Henry” and “Stern” below it. Or better yet, just leave “Stern” out, because it’s completely unnecessary with his face on the wrapper and his full name in the line below the art. As it is, it reads like “Oh Stern Henry!”
The back side, or verso [industry term], takes it down to pool-scene-in-Caddyshack levels (though they used a Baby Ruth bar):
It’s probably a safe assumption that whoever put this ad together didn’t waste a lot of time getting permission from Nestlé.
Here’s one for Matt Dababneh:
Here Matt goes after the all-important puppy and bunny vote. The verso, or reverse, of this shows one more rabbit, two more puppies, two adult dogs, two cats and a bird. And it also mentions what he’s done to protect wild and domestic animals. Folks, this being touchy-feely LA…? This ad is brilliant.
This one’s pro-Henry Stern:
I’m a big fan of this one because it’s so bizarre. In fact, it’s so complicated to explain that it requires the flyer to fold out to 11 x 17 to give us the details. And it’s not that interesting. So as a successful political mailer, I’d give it a 3 out of 10, at best. But for weirdness, at least an 8.
Speaking of animals, as we were a few mailers back, here’s another anti-Stern mailer:
The “NOTHING” is in response to the copy on the other side: “Sacramento bureaucrat Henry Stern got a free trip to Peru. What did we get?”
The thing to note, however, is this is probably the first time in American political history that an alpaca has appeared on an election mailer.
Yet another anti-Henry Stern mailer:
Here we see Henry knocking on doors, shaking hands, while a bunch of “Special Interests” groups offer him money and gifts.
I especially like these three villainous types, just as — we must presume — you do. We’ve got the requisite “Fat Cat,” a generic masked bandit who looks like one of the Special Guest Villain’s minions on any episode of the 1960s Batman, and behind him, apparently, Cthulhu.
Henry struck back with this ad which answers a question no one asked:
(The answer, in case you’re interested: “Corporate Special Interests.” Like you, I thought it was maybe the opposing candidate’s, I dunno, grandmother or milkman or someone.)
But the important thing to take away from this mailer is, 1) whoever designs these things loves those horrible oversized Ben-Day dots; judging by the look on her face, this woman is not only extremely impressionable but also very invested in this race for California State Senate District 27; and most importantly, evidently there was another anti-Henry Stern ad using these same three villains but drawn by a different artist…and they didn’t send it to me!
Look, candidates, if you’re going to cram my mailbox with useless crap like this, you might as well send me all of them.
The good news is there’s a runoff election in November with Stern in it and with that — more mailers!
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!
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.
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.
YOU’D think putting together one of my always delightful letters-from-our-listeners posts is one of the easiest things there is! You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.
First, I have to contact the mailroom, and order one of the surly interns there to send up three or four mailbags of the better letters. Next I assign a few of my segment producers to start getting the number down to a manageable two or three hundred. Then my assistant goes through those and gets me the best fifty or sixty. Finally, I personally whittle those down to the cream of the crop, the very best letters that– Yeah yeah yeah, okay, let’s just get this thing started.
• A pal named Hank writes:
And here’s the sign!
While unfortunately I do not have a time machine any more, Hank was right to refer to his What Would Ted Do? bracelet to give him guidance on this issue. To clarify, he came across this sign and sent me the picture on July 25 – a full four days before the July 29 date at the top of this notice! Believe It or Not!
So what’s the deal? Does someone in maintenance have premonitions about broken elevators? Did Steve or Debbie anticipate it would break? I know I speak for all of us when I say we also enjoy how it was originally taped over the button panel itself, as evidenced by the round outline around the first three letters of “elevator” where someone, hopefully not alone, in possession of a cell phone, and in absolute need, took their chances and pressed the button.
Look, the bottom line is any one of you good readers could probably do five minutes of solid material on open mic night about this thing; in this one particular instance I don’t need to make the witty comments! It’s just a great sign is all.
• A pal likely from right here in Southern California writes:
See, this is where you people argue “Ted, for God’s sake, if you enabled the comments, he could have put it right below the original post and we wouldn’t have to click all over creation to follow this lunacy! Or if you just posted the damn photos from the real estate website that would at least cut down on the number of links we’re all obligated to click! We’re busy people, Ted! We don’t have time for this nonsense!”
Oh, settle down, you have plenty of time for this nonsense. Plus I have a feeling if I actually included the photos of a house for sale on here within the context of the original post I’d be dealing with lawsuits from owners of both houses, and maybe a class action lawsuit on behalf of anyone anywhere who has similar brickwork accents on their homes. Which would be a shame because now after all this, my attorney tells me that I find the brick thing absolutely charming – a wonderful little touch, really – and by Godfrey, he’s right!
• A pal named Bob writes:
Well, as it turns out he doesn’t write anything for the ol’ mailbag, but over on his blog, he did write this very funny piece on proposed spinoffs for The Office that is just perfect. These aren’t just descriptions of the shows, mind you, he created the title cards, too. I’m jealous I didn’t write it. My favorite, and now yours, is “Hail to the Chief.”
A pal namedSome anonymous jackass with the mysterious and impossible to trace email address TedParsnipsWebDesignProjectMgr@tedparsnips.com writes:
By the way, he’s referencing this photo…
…from my recent delightful “Back to School” post.
First of all, when I find out who you are, I will kill you. Secondly, as much as I’m sure we all enjoyed you publicly embarrassing me with your little joke that I wear cheap, ill-fitting jeans that come with a free belt, we all know I haven’t worn any kind of pants that don’t have an elastic waist band for years now. And if I can’t find something with an elastic waist band, I just don’t bother wearing pants at all. Third of all, okay, yes, it was a belt. Where the hell was I going to find a real book strap?!
• A pal named Dan writes:
And he enclosed this photo in the envelope:
Like I said twice in the original post, I didn’t buy any of the 3-C cranberry sauce. And obviously, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s a regret I live with every day. Thanks for rubbing it in, Dan. Thanks for rubbing it in.
As to the Jo-Ann’s Thanksgiving items (as well as any other Thanksgiving items in any store), let’s just drop all pretense here: Who in hell is buying this stuff now?! It should be noted that Dan further mentioned he’s saving up for the Christmas sale starting September 1st – ha! Like the stores will wait another 25 days to start rolling out the yuletide merch (industry term).
• Our last letter’s from our man in London – Clive, we’ll call him – no, Nigel! Let’s call him Nigel! – our man in London, Nigel, covering the XXX Olympiad of the 2012 Summer Olympic…Games. The Olympics! He’s covering the damn Olympics! Anyway, he filed this report!
What in God’s name was all that?! Great, apparently I’ve hired some unholy hybrid of Michael Caine, Penfold from “Dangermouse,” John Lennon and character actor Terry-Thomas.
Oh, anyway, there were a couple of pictu– eh, “photos” attached.
By Godfrey, he was right!
It’s uncanny is what it is! It’s those crazy Swirly Design Things that I went on and on and on about some time ago! Like a bloody git, whatever that is! They’re all over those two nice girls’ bathing suits! Who knew that in addition to business cards, VistaPrint apparently offers free Olympic competition swimsuits.
And since they’re an American company, doesn’t that make up for the American athletes’ uniforms being made in China?
Anyway, that’s it for now! I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for writing in – and to show you my appreciation for writing in, I have thanked you in the first part of this sentence.
It’s another one of these delightful mailbag posts!
As my blogging mentor, or as I call her, blogntor, Sylvia Haynes-Darden taught us in her Learning Appendix Class “Making Money In Foreclosures, We’ll Do Some Wine Tasting And Let’s Get You Started on WordPress If There’s Time” (well worth the $185 tuition, $65 materials cost, $25 corking fee, and the $1200+ I ended up paying for DUI-related charges from when I was pulled over on the way home) – eh, as she taught us, “One quick and easy way to come up with content for your blog when it’s getting late and you want to go to bed but you’re worried about not having posted something in a few days is to use emails as posts! Then your readers write your stupid blog for you!”
And she’s right! I sent Sylvia a bunch of information about my failing marriage (I was also enrolled in “Making Twentieth Century Relationships Work In the Upcoming New Millennium” – a terrific online class which Sylvia’s been teaching for a dozen years or so!) and the next day, there it was on her blog – the entire email!
Everything! My problem with the ferret being allowed to sleep in our bed, Karen’s complaints about my “performance,”* the time I got up on the roof (with a bullhorn) and cried like a baby because Karen gave my favorite mint green Old Navy ring-tee (with the salsa stains on the back) to Goodwill. (Goodwill! You know how I feel about them! So does Karen!), whether I should be concerned that it smells like blue cheese behind Karen’s ears or just suck it up and get down to business – everything – even that picture I sent to see if she could diagnose whether I had Pierogie’s Disease.
*I was El Gallo in a local community theatre production of “The Fantasticks” last winter and accidentally sang “Rag Mop” instead of “Try to Remember” – a mistake I think anyone might easily make, Ed “Kookie” Ames being identified with both songs.
Where was I? Oh yes, the point is, if you need blog content (“blogntent”) quick, just use the emails people send you! I mean, why not, right?
Our first email is from a pal, Danny we’ll call him, who writes,
“TED! I am just checking to make sure you weren’t the stabbing victim in the news story below. I know you recently had mentioned something about commanding down a plague of Morlock Spurlocks upon the chain.”
Ha! I have to say that one just tickled me. Here’s the link ol’ Danny sent along:
First I want to say no, thank God, it was not me.
Second, I want to thank Danny at least for his concern – out of this blog’s, what, six readers, he’s the only one who was thoughtful enough to even consider I might have been bleeding out my life’s blood on the floor of a cheap Mexican fast food chain (and getting salsa on another ring-tee), dying alone.
Third, because of this horrific tragedy – the poor bastard gets stabbed in the gut with a knife! – I’m officially swearing off Del Taco from now on!
It’s back to Taco Bell for me – food I can feel good about eating! Plus they only have sporks there.
COUNTLESS of my, what, six readers have written to me during the many years I’ve had this blog, and all have posed the same question: “Ted,” they all ask, “Why, Ted, you must get so many interesting emails from your readers; won’t you share them with the rest of us – especially since like an idiot you refuse to enable comments on this blog of yours.”
Up to this point I’ve avoided covering Listener Mail for one reason only: It would mean I’d have to commit to a name for this feature and I was torn between “I Shaved My Mail Bag for This?!” and “Parsnipsnal Corresparsnips” both of which you’ll agree are Bennett Cerf-level genius. They’re so good, in fact, that I’ve decided to save them for some future project, and they’re both protected by basic copyright law merely by virtue of me coming up with them and so noting it here, if I understand basic copyright law correctly and ignore what my attorney tells me completely.
So, to review: I made them up, they’re mine, and by law you cannot steal them and use them for your own. You’ve been warned; govern yourself accordingly.
“To Ted It May Concern” is of course just as good as the other two and it’s a little more accessible to my readers in Serbia (Two visitors as of May 23, 10:28 p.m.! Or one visitor, twice.) who might not get the clever wordplay of the other possible names.
Anyway, on to the letters!
A pal from Sacramento writes,
I enjoyed your recent post about the decorative bottles of vinegar so much, I ran to the kitchen to take a picture of my mother’s own collection she keeps atop the stove to share with you. But alas! They are gone. Did someone donate the bottles to the thrift stores in your area? I guess we’ll never know.
Yes, we’ll never know indeed! The vinegar / olive oil bottles piece got more mail than any piece we’ve run so far – two emails! Read on!
A pal from New York City writes,
…My mom still has those gross disintegrating oil and vinegar bottles on her shelf, along with bath products from twenty years ago! Gotta love old pack rats. Where would our thrift stores be without them?
Where would they be indeed! Pack rats are thrift stores’ best customers and their best suppliers (especially once the health department steps in and you get one of those Three Day Notice to Comply things taped to your door – and who doesn’t remember their first one?).
A pal named Canada writes,
Regarding Nancy Walker… did you ever notice the she and Dr. Zira from Planet of the Apes have the exact same hairstyle?
They have the exact same hairstyle indeed!
And as though to drive home the point, said email-writer posted pictures side-by-side of Dr. Zira and Nancy Walker on his blog, and brother, he ain’t kiddin’ – they have the exact same hairstyle!
Actually, you should visit Bob Canada’s BlogWorld regularly because it’s got pictures taken in Target, like my blog does, but I don’t want any of you going there and then saying, “Screw Ted Parsnips and his lame website – this blog is better plus the guy can draw!”
So while I’m enabling the link now, you’re all on your honor not to click on it until you each submit a signed affidavit promising that you’ll come back here when you’re done. There’s going to be a head count at the end of the post, and God help any of you, what, six regulars who aren’t here. God help you, that’s all I’ll say.
A pal from Dallas writes in regards to my second-to-none coverage of local dollar stores,
“I was just telling my wife, Audrey Mae, ‘why pay more for electrical doodads just because they may be UL approved.’
And then later,
“My wife Dorothea and I are looking forward to more reviews of good wholesome calories from the cheap eats stores.”
Hm. Hmm. I thought maybe I was being mocked, so I had my better half Caroline take a look at the email but she just said I was being paranoid.
Finally, a pal from Somewhere On The Internet writes,
“I, too, noticed that there was no corresponding asterisk in the directions on the back of the box.”
This was, of course, in reference to those Duncan Hines brownies I alerted readers to some months ago. Said pal called Duncan Hines and not only got an answer to the whole missing asterisk problem, he (or she?) passed along the information to me.
What were the chances that someone else would have noticed the missing asterisk, contacted the company about it, later read my take on it and then email me?!
Forget that time last year when my long-lost twin brother Bronislav-Vibol (who was adopted shortly after his birth to Boupha Pok, widely regarded as the Cambodian Angelina Jolie) contacted me purely by chance via Nigerian scam at an internet fermented fish paste café – this Duncan Hines Missing Asterisk Email is the most amazing thing I have ever and will have ever received in my inbox.
But I want to thank you all for writing in.
Every one of Ted’s pals whose email I read in this edition of Ted’s Mailbox or whatever the hell I’m calling it gets their very own Goodie Bag filled with… …A bagel necklace with your name on it! Dynamite magazine! Nannnndy Cannnndy! A pack of Fruit Stripe gum! A 45 of “Boogie Fever” by today’s guests The Sylvers! A package of Lender’s Bagelettes! …And an Oral-B toothbrush!
I’m just kidding – you get nothing. The honor of having your email edited down to nothing and posted here is thanks enough. Plus, we both know that I’m writing to no one at this point – I lost most of you by the second email, and the rest of you never came back from Bob’s blog.
HEY, check this out!
This was hanging on my door.
It’s called a “door hanger” by the boys on Madison Avenue.
In this case, this door hanger advertises a cary out special.
Boy, she’s really enjoying that pizza, huh?
Now, here’s the thing. This isn’t the first time they’ve advertised a cary out special on a door hanger. They did the same thing a few months ago. They spelled “Hawaiian” correctly that time, too!
And I like their religious logo, too, even if it makes the second word look like “ptus.”
Am I going to get sued for putting this thing here? Can someone check on this for me? I don’t need any more problems.
Okay, let’s look at the bottom half of their door hanger.
You know, the one advertising their cary out special.
Gee, that lasagna looks good, huh?
And the calzone looks like something that was crawling on my geranium one rainy morning after I poked it with a twig and it retracted its eyestalks. And by that I mean it also looks delicious, of course.
I like how each illustrated menu item is in a completely different degree of focus than the next. You can see this much better on the actual cary out special door hanger, but since it’s here and you’re there, and I do not want company today, you’re just going to have to take my word for it.
But seriously…? I’ve bought food here and it’s awesome! I’ve had delivery from here and also ordered cary out. It’s the best food in whatever area it is that this place is located! I highly recommend them! And they get high marks on both Yelp and some other local restaurant review website.
Look, I just got a kick out of their cary out special door hanger is all.
HEY, look what I got in the mail!
I was obviously pretty surprised and excited to receive this. Ordinarily, I would have thought, “Oh, just another piece of junk mail!” But it was the writing on the front that caught my eye – as you might well imagine. A very old church loans something to me, something that will bless me! Key words have been underlined, as though by a red felt-tip pen. Indeed, the most important words and phrases among them have been underlined twice. And by the way…?
It was not me who underlined this!
It arrived this way!
The bald eagle by the postmark, too, seemed to underscore this missive’s importance. How very unpatriotic, how un-American it would be for me to just toss into the trash something bearing our national symbol! Besides, by now, this envelope was shaping up to be more mysterious and intriguing than a Dan Brown thriller. Frankly, I was hooked.
Now, studying that photo above as you are wont to do, you’re probably thinking “This is very unusual. It arrived at Ted’s house sans any address at all; just the simple and perhaps apropos designation ‘TO A FRIEND.'” I need to be honest with you: I digitally removed my address from that photo. What’s fair is fair, folks: If I’m no longer legally allowed to stalk others, I see no reason why anyone – and I love you all, you know this – why anyone should be allowed to stalk me. So, no, this arrived at the Parsnips home with my street address below that.
Anyway, I eagerly opened it up and discovered a wealth of papers inside!
Shuffling through them, I found a letter.
A most interesting letter, indeed!
“Dear…Someone Connected with This Address,” it begins – quite accurately, I might add. After all, there I was, reading the letter, and I am in fact someone connected with this address. Anyway, since it was written to me, and I am at my core a private person, I won’t share the details with you – you understand. But I will say that it sheds some light on that mystery of the “very old church.” It turns out that it is the benign St. Matthew’s Church, and indeed is very old! Sixty years old this year! Can you imagine a church any older than that?
As to the other items inside: There was a double-page of testimonials from those who St. Matthew’s have helped. There was a postage-paid business reply mail envelope (More on that later!). “God Is Watching OUR VERY THOUGHTS” was the somewhat conflicting message at the top of a provocative Jesus pin-up, also enclosed.
But most exciting was the prayer rug. Yes! A prayer rug! Now, you’re thinking “How did they enclose an actual prayer rug in a standard business-size envelope?” Well, I don’t need to tell you this, but as it says in Matthew 19:26, “With God, all things are possible.”
But in this case, the prayer rug measures 11″ x 17″ and is printed on thin paper. Which was folded up.
To fit in the envelope.
The thing about the prayer rug is that it’s not mine to keep. At first I was a bit put off by this, but I came to understand: According to the directions, I need only kneel on it – no reason to bother with praying, curiously! – then, like so many five-for-a-dollar Archie comic books on an order form in a 1970s “Pals ‘n’ Gals,” merely check off my needs on that letter I mentioned and send the letter and the prayer rug back to the church. (This is where that return envelope comes in.) There, the folks at the church, they’ll pray on my behalf, and then they’ll send the prayer rug on to another home that needs a blessing. (I can only image all the hundreds or even thousands of houses this prayer rug has been to already.)
Oh, also I think they’d like it if I sent them money as well.
And the most astounding thing about the prayer rug is that you’ll notice – at first, anyway – you’ll notice that Jesus’ eyes are closed. Here, take a look – He won’t bite.
Along the bottom, it reads, “Look into Jesus’ Eyes you will see they are closed. But as you continue to look you will see His eyes opening and looking back into your eyes.”
My faith is not as strong as it once was, and I’ll admit – I was a bit skeptical to put it mildly. But I figured I’d give it a try. What did I have to lose? And so, yes, I looked into Jesus’ eyes and I continued to look…
Holy crap, it works!
And I’ll let you know if both your and my prayers are answered for some sort of editor to reign me in from pounding out these never-ending shaggy dog story-type posts.