1. Meat and Meat By-Products To Inspire and Motivate

    99how

    Oh my.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul…cat food.  Featuring of all the things cats love: Red-skinned potatoes, spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

    There must have been a lot of drinking at the licensing expo that year.

    That this product even exists is not the craziest part.

    csfts

    No, the craziest part is that the 99¢ Only store is trying to unload these small, Fancy Feast-sized cans of it for, yes, 99¢ Only…each.

    At that price, the old people on severely fixed incomes who shop at 99¢ Only are going to starve!

    Posted by on October 6, 2016, 1:44 AM.

  2. ¿What’s Bueno at the Dollar Store? ¡Captain America Pretzels!

    buenoheaderblogz

    Here’s a ¿What’s Bueno? item for the 16.67% of my, what?, six readers who are big fans of all them Marvel superheroes:

    avengzels

    Available at 99¢ Only, it’s a bag of organic pretzels with Captain America on the package!

    Since pretzels are already a low-fat snack, and these are organic as well, here’s a snack I can feel good about eating!

    …And as such, I wanted nothing to do with them, instead choosing something sweet & fatty from the Hostess shelf.

    They’re also made in the USA, so that’s a good fit for patriotic Captain America! Heaven knows we Americans have had it up to here with all those cheap, imported pretzels. No artificial flavors, either — and I can’t tell you how sick I am of eating half a bag of pretzels before noticing the first ingredient listed on the bag is “artificial pretzel flavoring.” Not a problem here, folks!

    Best of all, the irony of Super Soldier Serum-enhanced Captain America appearing on an organic brand called “Pure Growth” makes these pretzels — which, again I didn’t buy and have never tasted — that much more delicious!

    6.5dollars

    My rating: 6.5 out of 7 stars, because why not? No one reads these things for the ratings anyway. Who am I kidding? No one reads these things period.

    Posted by on June 10, 2016, 3:49 PM.

  3. Here’s a No-Brainer, 99¢ Only Store-Style!

    buenoheaderblogz

    Eight lousy ounces of lame, “lite” whipped topping for 99¢ only…or sixteen ounces — that’s a full pound or pint (depending on whether the whipped topping self-identifies as a solid or a liquid ) —  of the regular, fatty, good kind for that same 99¢ only!

    99whip

    And if for some reason you’re still on the fence, here, let me push you over with this bit of information: You’re only saving a lousy 5 calories per serving by eating the lite version!

    Anyway, I trust you’ll make the right decision.

    Posted by on June 3, 2016, 5:20 PM.

  4. Fifteen Things What Was Bueno in 2015!

    buenoheaderblogz

    LIKE you, I don’t understand why “Year In Review” or “Best of [insert year here]” articles are run in December — the year’s not over! I mean, what — are we to believe that by writing these things largely in advance, to run at the end of the year, whatever publication, “on-line” or real, maybe is able to give its writing and production staff a little breather, a little time off over the holidays?! Ridiculous.

    Anyway, it’s with that in mind, you know, running this in early January February instead, that I justify dumping a ton of What’s Bueno items here — with modified ratings, to save space, and in the process get to clear out a bunch of photos I have on my computer.

    Be warned: Most of it’s from the 99¢ Only store, and some of you, what, six readers have given me grief about covering them more than the other dollar stores. And to that I say, “Get off my ass!” And more importantly, “Thank you for reading my blog.”

    Onward!

    babynewyear

    Baby New Year Solar Dealie from Dollar Tree!

    I kinda like these solar-powered figures. Both Dollar Tree and 99¢ Only carries various styles for a buck a piece. They don’t seem to last indefinitely: The solar cell wears out, they slow down and eventually stop moving. This one was cute and it was only available for 2015. For all I know they were back this year with “2016” on it. 5 out of 7 dollar signs!
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 


    krusty

    Simpsons Figurines from Dollar Tree!

    A buck for a Simpsons figurine?  Aah, hell, why not. I think there were eight of them. Bart as Bartman, Lisa, Maggie, Marge, Homer, Chief Wiggum, Krusty (shown) and Mr. Burns. I thought Burns looked the best, so that’s the one I bought — you may choose differently. They had similar figures from other properties, too — Toy Story, DC Comics, Cars, Finding Nemo (Bruce the Shark was particularly well done). They’re each about 3″ tall or smaller. Not a bad deal: 4 out of 7 dollar signs!
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    2015dollah1

    Dollar Tree: Taste of Tony’s Microwaveable Pizza!

    Dollar Tree seems to have had a long relationship with Tony’s. Just a few years ago, you could occasionally find their full-size pizzas that go for $3 or more at the regular grocery store.  Man, those were the days. Now they sell individual French bread pizzas there, and these. Note it’s “Taste of Tony’s” not “Tony’s” on these microwaveable dealies, since they’re smaller and most disappointingly, unlike the bigger Tony’s, they feature imitation cheese. Meh. Save your money and get the big, regular kind at the grocery store. Costs a little more, but it’s worth it. 3 out of 7 dollar signs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    2015dollah2a

    99¢ Only: Splash and Play!

    Though the photo on the package shows three, you get just one Splash and Play to a package. If you want three, you’re going to have to shell out three bucks.

    2015dollah2b

    And just what do you do with Splash and Play?

    2015dollah2c

    Despite its name, you just blow it up, lay it on the lawn in front of you and sit there quietly with your mother.  There’s neither any splashing nor playing. It earns a perfect 7 out of 7 dollar signs for helping to keep your unruly kid under control!
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    griddlemelt1

    99¢ Only: Aunt Jemima’s Griddle Melts!

    Like you would, I collected the entire set — Sausage, Ham & Bacon; Egg & Cheese; Sausage, Egg & Cheese and Apples & Cinnamon.  And I felt good about doing so, because the nutrition information on the back  indicates they’re fairly low in fat.

    Then I got ’em home, opened ’em up and saw how small they are:

    griddlemelt3

    Well, you can’t tell by the photo, but they measure a paltry 3″ x 3″. If you’re like me, and you are, you’re going to have to eat a whole box to satisfy that breakfast hunger — and in doing so, you just multiplied that fat content by four!

    Here’s one after it came out of the microwave:

    griddlemelt2

    You’ll notice that despite the package photo to the contrary, there’s virtually no way to slide this mess onto a napkin for dainty eating.

    I bumped into the head of the TedParsnipsDotCom web design team in our break room here (where he seems to spend his entire workday) and he took one look at this melted, congealed, adhered-to-the-plate monstrosity and snickered, “Heh — for people who can’t dump their own garbage on a piece of bread.”

    Sadly, he’s right. And I told him so just before I ordered him to clean out his desk and had Security escort him out.  2 out of 7 dollar signs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    tikifresh1

    Dollar Tree: Bahama & Co. Tropical Tiki Air Freshener!

    Ah, the tiki conundrum: I hate “goofy” tiki merchandise, but as both a tiki collector and dollar store enthusiast, I was compelled to purchase this. As you would, I hate its wacky oversized white teeth and wish the entire thing was cast in black or very dark brown. It’s a nodder, too, and I don’t like my tikis to move. Despite that, it somehow smells like my mother’s house did, so it gets some points for that. 3 out of 7 dollar signs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 


    core

    99¢ Only: Core Power High Protein Milkshake!

    Ask anyone who sees me at my gym: “That guy clearly has no idea what the hell he’s doing, but by Godfrey, he’s here almost every day doing it! Jackass!” After an intense but largely pointless, possibly muscle-damaging workout, I drink one of these. I think it’s supposed to be good for you. Tastes good, anyway!  The main thing is they go for over three bucks at Walmart, so I feel like I’m getting an amazing deal regardless that drinking it is probably completely counterproductive to the effects of my misguided attempts to stay  get in shape at age —  …eh, whatever age I am. 6 out of 7 dollar signs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    cameo1

    99¢ Only: Creepy Cameo Costume Jewelry!

    Not a big jewelry wearer here — being a man and all — but I couldn’t help but be delighted by this ghastly cameo necklace in 99¢ Only’s ladies department. As you can see, the other cameos are traditional, what, 18th or 19th century-type ones. And then we have the skeleton woman. (Wish I got a closeup. Sorry!) Pretty sure it was leftover from Halloween and someone just put it with the others, but regardless, it gets 7 out of 7 dollar signs from me!
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    fredcards

    99¢ Only: Fred Cards!

    When the early-2010s generation starts getting nostalgic about its bygone youth — and it seems the nostalgia cycle is getting smaller and smaller so it could be any day now — no doubt YouTube’s Fred will have his own segment with D-level non-celebrities reminiscing about him on some VH1 show. Meanwhile, in antique shops and collectible stores, you’ll find unopened decks of these Fred cards going for far more than 99¢ Only…with no takers. Despite all that, I’m giving these cards 6 out of 7 dollar signs in a pathetic attempt to appeal to a much younger demographic that doesn’t look at blogs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    lobsterpate

    Dollar Tree: Lobster Spread! With Cognac!

    A dollar for lobster spread?  And they have a similar crab spread as well! Doesn’t matter that the actual lobster (and crab) content is probably minimal — the can looks so stylish. I bought one of each. Tasted fine, though kind of unremarkable. Goes for $3.99 a can at Cost Plus World Market!  That and the wonderful printed-on-the-can packaging earn it 5 out of 7 dollar signs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    jealjig

    99¢ Only: Jif Cereal!

    The 99¢ Only store had more Jif cereal than you can shake a spoon at! You know I bought a coupla boxes, loving — as I do — all things peanut butter, as one should. I guess the people at Kellogg’s made too much for this product launch (industry term) and you, Mr & Mrs. Dollar Store Shopper, benefited. If you bought some when they had it.  And brother, they had it for months! 6 out of 7 dollar signs!
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    supobama

    99¢ Only: Super Obama Figure!

    Even at $1.99, which is more than 99¢ only, I figured these wouldn’t last long and I was right — they were all gone on a return trip to the store a day later. There was practically no information on the package other than what you see on the front: “Obama — Exclusive.” Maybe “Made in China” on the back, but little if nothing else. Likely they were unlicensed (not that a public figure needs to be licensed), but eBay — chock full of them at ridiculously high prices with none selling — also shows figures from the same line featuring Obama as a Jedi Knight and as a Chicago White Sox player…which would have had to be licensed and weren’t. I was going to buy one for my father and send it to him as a joke, but really, $1.99 only plus whatever crazy price Priority Mail postage is up to these days just to good-naturedly raise Dad’s blood pressure? Pass! Still, 4 out of 7 dollar signs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    stonewave

    Dollar Tree: Stone Wave Microwave Cooker!

    “If you wait long enough, anything As Seen On TV eventually makes its way to Dollar Tree.” —Ted Parsnips.

    Truer words were never spoken. Now I just need to copyright that, put it on a t-shirt that I’ll advertise on TV and no one will buy, and it’ll end up at Dollar Tree, like a Bacon Bowl maker, the Topsy Tail braider, or the above, the Stone Wave microwave cooker. Like you, I have enough kitchen junk I never use, but I figured for a buck, this would have been worth buying just to review. And then I never got around to it until now.

    But I did use it and took some pictures.

    Here it is midway during the unboxing [industry term].  Looks like a cross between a Sherman tank and a TIE fighter!

    stonewave2

    Here’s all the elements, disassembled!

    You get a pot and a lid! An instruction book, too, fulla recipes!

    stonewave4

    Here is it assembled, all ready for action!

    stonewave3

    I made exactly two dishes in it — some sort of spiced apple thing, which was pretty good, and something resembling an omelet, below:

    stonewavemeal

    The omelet wasn’t bad, either.  The little Stone Wave cooker is small: you’re not going to be feeding an army with this thing.  I’ll be surprised if it’s still in the cabinet. I haven’t used it other than those two times and I’m probably just going to toss it out if I haven’t already. Heck, at a buck, I can afford to!

    Still, I’ll give it a decent rating especially because the Stone Wave Microwave Cooker, at my local Goodwill thrift store for the inflated price of $3.99, also qualifies as an Overpriced Goodwill Item of the Week

    stonewavegw

    And 99¢ Only has them, too — but for twice Dollar Tree’s price — $1.99!

    stonewave99

    Order it off TV and you’re going to pay $10 plus about $7 in shipping, so for all these reasons including Dollar Tree’s so-cheap-why-not-give-it-a-try price: 6 out of 7 dollar signs!
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    quisp99

    99¢ Only: Quisp Cereal!

    I must be growing up: 99¢ Only was selling boxes of Quisp for just 99¢ only and all I did was take this picture. Don’t you make the mistake I did! 7 out of 7 dollar signs.
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    wackyp

    Dollar Tree: Wacky Packages Stickers!

    Speaking of things from one’s childhood — I remember a time when you would get five Wacky Packies, as we called ’em, for a quarter — plus a stick of gum as well! Today, the gum is long gone, but Dollar Tree will sell you a package of four Topps Wacky Packages for a buck! Let me do the math here — Okay: The price of an entire pack of five hilarious stickers (and something to satisfy your gum tooth) from back when I was a kid — 25¢ — now only gets you one lousy sticker.

    Or, to do more math and put it another way, that involves me doing more math — for the price of one pack of 4 Wacky Packs today, you could have gotten four packs of 5 Wacky Packs back in the day!

    They’re still fun though, so 5 out of 7 dollar signs!
    $ $ $ $ $ $ $


    Wow, fifteen What’s Bueno at the Dollar Store items reviewed and I’ve barely made a dent in my backlog of dollar store crap. Expect more reviews, plenty more! And I’ll expect you to keep coming back to read them!

    But I won’t hold my breath.

    Posted by on February 4, 2016, 2:07 PM.

  5. ¿What’s Bueno? Pumpkin-Spice Flavored Almond Nog!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    MAN, I tell ya — seems despite all the bueno stuff available at the 99¢ Only store lately, I’ve been seriously remiss in covering what’s bueno over there — distracted, as I often am, by collectibles from Dollar Tree  their arch-rival!

    So let’s see if we can make up for that with this:

    almondnog1

    Holy cow! It’s a quarttannaug for just 99¢ only!

    Whoa, slow down, Ted — you’re so excited, people won’t be able to understand you! They’ll think you’re blogging about obscure Massachusetts port towns now!

    Okay, okay…  Deep breath…

    All right, like I was saying, it’s a full-on quart of nog — specifically Silk brand Almond Nog, pumpkin spice variety, for 99¢ Only.

    Oh, you know I bought a quart! You know I did!

    (I did.)

    I think what sold me on it was the gift tag-like label — the sign of good taste!

    So I got it home, and I had a glass!  A glasannaug, sure.

    Steady, Ted, steady…

    almondnog2

    The verdict?

    …Meh. 

    The best way I can describe it is it’s kind of like the non-GMO, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free drinkable equivalent of a collect-’em-all bike bag.

    Wait wait wait!  That’s not a bad thing.

    Silk brand Pumpkin Spice flavored Almond Nog is kind of holiday-themed, so that’s nice.

    It’s just that it’s pretty much impossible getting away from the concept of “egg” when you’ve already committed to “nog.” I mean, how many other nogs can you name?

    I’m sorry, WhiteWave Foods, benificent makers of Silk brand Almond Nog, but seriously: Anything other than “egg” that precedes “nog” is a punchline in reverse. You’d have been better off calling it “Faux Egg Nog.”

    …Or something.

    And as you all know — or should know, if you’ve invited me to any holiday get-togethers, I love pumpkin pie. Love it, love it, looooooove-it! Mmm-mm! Good pie!  Good pie!

    But “pumpkin-spice almond nog”…?  All kindsa things can go wrong there.

    The nog wasn’t bad, though the nog tasted a little artificial. And you know how I feel about artificially banana-flavored stuff. Don’t make me extend that one-item list to include “pumpkin spice.”

    Bottom line? Bottom line regarding the nog? I’m happy I paid just 99¢ only for it.

    Having said all that: I’m not allergic to gluten, I’m not lactose-intolerant, I don’t have some sort of stupid ethical dilemma with dairy items. So you’re getting the opinion of a guy who bought a quarttanaug simply because it was 99¢. Perhaps if I was stymied by any of those problems, I might appreciate it more, and by the way, I think we all appreciate how I’ve dismissed legitimate medical issues with the fun verb “stymy.”

    Look, it’s late and I’m just digging myself in deeper here, so let’s end this now:

    5.5dollars

    My Rating: 5.5 out of 7 Dollar Signs. On account of it’s not bad, it’s got really low fat (so low that I drank the whole quarttannaug in one gulping and wasn’t concerned about my trim girlish figure), and it’s probably good for you people who are still on that ridiculous “gluten-free” kick.

    Posted by on December 10, 2015, 4:19 AM.

  6. ¿What’s Bueno? Solar Dancing Unlicensed Abominable Snowma— …”Yeti.”

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    What?!  It’s not even Thanksgiving and I’m bypassing that holiday for Christmas stuff?!

    Yes. Maybe we’ll get to Thanksgiving tomorrow. For all, what, six of you that still visit regularly.

    So here’s the deal: You know I have a love / sometimes-not-love-so-much relationship with 99¢ Only stores.

    But mostly it’s love.  Awww…!

    When they sold all of their Halloween items for a buck a piece back in October, and then two Halloween items for a buck still in October, I was both stunned and delighted, as you were.

    Now, they’re selling all their Christmas accoutrements for 99¢ only, and they have a lot of good stuff.

    But what I really liked, at least for now, as it approaches two in the morning and I have a lot of other work to do and I want to go to bed at some point tonight, but I still want to throw something up here quickly…

    …is this thing:

    bumble

    It’s a “Solar Dancing Yeti,” and you’ll agree it’s wonderful.

    You’ll also agree it’s like the Abominable Snowman from “Rudolph” and one of the “Where the Wild Things Are” creatures engaged in some unholy, monstrous, violent lovemaking, possibly even rolling off the edge of a cliff while intertwined, crushing both Max and Yukon Cornelius in the process, and the result, 22 months later (the normal gestation period for apelike cryptids) was this little fella.

    Anyway, it’s magnificent, it’s a delight, it’s very late, it’s just been awarded our highest rating of seven dollar signs, do pick one up, good night, and we’ll see you all tomorrow.

    7dollars

    My Rating: 7 out of 7 Dollar Signs. For the love of Christmas, buy one!

    Posted by on November 24, 2015, 1:59 AM.

  7. ¿What’s Bueno [or Not] at the Dollar Store? ¡Jalapnẽo Peppers!

    Sorry, 99¢ Only — this manufacturer isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in its product labeling ’em “Jalapnẽo Peppers.”

    pneo1

    And believe-you-me, it takes some effort trying to figure out how to get the tilde over the ‘e’ instead of the ‘n.’

    pneo2

    Once you know how, though, it’s fairly ẽasy. Kidna addictivẽ, as wẽll!

    Still, I’m sorry. It would bẽ dishoẽnst for mẽ to rẽcommnẽd thẽm to my rẽaders.

    1dollars

    My rating: 1 out of 7 dollar signs.  Buy somẽthnig ẽlsẽ!

    Posted by on October 28, 2015, 2:29 PM.

  8. ¡What’s Bueno in the Cereal Aisle!

    buenoheaderblogz

    If Joe Besser were alive today…

    IMG_1424

    …this is what he’d be eating for breakfast.

    Sure, Ted — all, what?, six of us readers will be sure to keep coming back for more obscure references no one gets!

    Posted by on October 19, 2015, 3:52 AM.

  9. ¿What’s Bueno? — Halloween 2015 Edition!

    What’s up with Halloween this year?  No one seems interested! Have we all finally grown up?

    oshspirit

    There’s a Spirit Halloween store near me in a spoooky old abandoned Orchard Supply Hardware, or OSH — and it never looks the least bit busy. What’s more, I’m not even all that interested in checking it out, and I’ve always been interested in checking out the ol’ Halloween store.  But not this year, brother!  Not this year!  And I don’t even know why.

    Walmart’s selection is a bit lackluster, too, and as for Target — last night I saw this on my computer:

     targetad

    The month’s not even half over and they’re already discounting costumes. What’s going on?

    Most surprising of all is what I saw at the 99¢ Only store.

    99night

    For the past three years, I’ve enjoyed checking out their Halloween offerings, as you can see here and here and here. This year was no exception, but a couple of things were unusual:

    • 99¢ Only held off longer than usual to put out Halloween merchandise. Usually, Halloween stuff is in full swing right after the “Back-to-School” push in late June — directly following their “Graduation” push. (The “Fourth of July” push is shoehorned in there around the same time.) This year, I don’t think I saw much if any Halloween stuff before September!  September!  Can you imagine! Has the retail industry finally taken leave of taking leave of its senses and decided to put stuff out at a reasonable time before the holiday in question?

    • Astounding but true: All of their Halloween merchandise was…99¢ only!

    “But Ted,” you say, “It’s the 99¢ Only store — of course it’s all 99¢ only.”

    What, are you new around here? The 99¢ Only store has become quite well-known for pushing the price well above 99¢ only, as I’ve blogged about — and linked back constantly to — here.

    hallow99

    So when the 99¢ Only store is in fact selling all of their Halloween merchandise for 99¢ only (despite some price tags of $1.29, $1.49, 1.99 and $2.49), why, that’s certainly blogworthy, you’ll agree!

    And it gets crazier: 

    I went in a coupla days ago — and all of their Halloween merchandise has been further discounted to the ridiculously bueno price of, eh, buy-one-get-one-free. (What happens is you buy one piece of Halloween stuff, and you get another piece of Halloween stuff of your choosing — of equal or lesser value, but that’s irrelevant because it’s all 99¢ only to begin with — for free, hence the term “buy one get one free.” My pledge to you: We don’t say “BOGO” here on Ted Parsnips [dot] Com, and we never will.)  

    buyoneetc

    So essentially, each piece of Halloween merchandise, or merchoween as I (and now you) like to call it, that they’re offering is now 50¢ only! 

    Folks, that can mean only one thing:

    7dollars

    The Halloween aisle at 99¢ Only gets a rare 7 Dollar Sign rating!  It don’t get no better than that! You head over to your local 99¢ Only store, and you do it now!

    Here’s a small sampling of the items I saw and liked, and please note that while our overall rating for 99¢ Only merchoween, as you insist on calling it, is 7 Dollar Signs, some of these items may rate slightly less — but still at 50¢ each, they wouldn’t rate much less!

    Onward!

    crows

    Crows! Over a foot long, they are, and about 7-1/2″ tall. Made of hollow plastic, they stand on a base and also come with a plastic spike, which frankly, confuses me.

    Still more baffling: the rectangular hole in its back. My guess is maybe the spike is to secure the base (which also has a hole in it) to the ground, so Mr. Crow doesn’t blow away on breezy October nights, but as to the hole on the back: No idea.

    These were originally priced at $1.49 each, so you’re getting three for that price as of this writing! My only wish is that the 99¢ Only store sold ground beef so I could have reenacted this scene from “Parks & Rec”:

    But who am I kidding?  Since when have any of us ever left the 99¢ Only store with just four items?


    nosferwhosis

    Pirate Skull!  I know, I know, it’s clearly a Nosferwhosis-type vampire, or maybe a zombie, but it’s no pirate.  But “Pirate Skull” is what the label reads. They seem to be made of very cheap resin or maybe some sort of plaster, and a decent size at a little over 5″ tall and over 6″ at its widest. The tag read $1.49; I bought one for 99¢ and then picked up another for 50¢ yesterday.

    It’s pretty cool as-is but I’m toying with the idea of keeping the 99¢ one pristine, or mint-in-lack-of-package, and painting the 50¢ one in a sort of 70s dayglo Halloween scheme. That way, once I’ve completely ruined it, I’m only out half a buck!


    severed

    Severed Limbs an’ Stuff!  These don’t really do it for me, and I didn’t buy any, but I still know a great deal when I see one. Choose from hands, arms, legs, even spines, all pretty much life size. The ones on the left of the shot above are hollow, blow-mold plastic; the (smaller) ones more tinged with “blood” are stuffed latex. (Of the two kinds, go for the latex ones!)

    Me, I prefer “traditionally scary” rather than “outright gory” for Halloween (that time last year when I answered the door to trick-or-treaters without my Dearfoams on and they noticed that stubborn, pus-weeping scabby patch of dry rotting flesh I’ve got on the inside of my right foot notwithstanding), so you won’t see any on my front porch.


    Rats! Two varieties!

    This one, with the comical hands-resting-on-his-fat-gut pose:

    rat2

    And this one, much more vicious:

    rat1

    Both are pretty big — about 7″ tall, and pretty hefty.  But here’s the thing: They’re black.  Sure, they look good, but here’s how they look better: Paint ’em with cheap acrylic paints!

    ratty

    And boy oh boy, don’t it look a thousand times better after I applied my heavy-handed artistic skills to it? Of course it does! Just agree with me, I’m very sensitive. “Yes, yes, they look much better, Ted, much better.” Thanks!

    Look, maybe it’s not exactly something out of Rick Baker’s workshop, but there are people in suburban neighborhoods putting together half-assed haunted houses in their garages in upstate New York that’d kill for this kind of prop.

    Anyway, one down, five to go. At the rate I’m working on them, they’ll be done by Thanksgiving!


    zoutbreak

    Zombie Outbreak Sign  Printed on stiff board, this sign gets high marks for the fact that neither the biohazard symbol nor the word “apocalypse” appears anywhere on it — both overused and all but requisite on almost everything “zombie” these days.

    Even better than that: the artwork and colors. Simplicity itself — red and yellow-green on a black background. Looks like something right out of a late 60s or early 70s Halloween display at, I dunno, Woolworth’s!

    Sure, let’s go with that.


    birdskel

    Bird Skeletons!  What is it with animal skeletons this year? Seen in various other retail establishments: dog skeletons, cat skeletons, even non-existent-in-real-life spider skeletons, as a pal recently mentioned he’d seen. It’s like the new thing, Halloween-wise. Well, I can tell you one thing: 99¢ Only wasn’t about to be left out, and the only thing they could offer us — their customers — and keep the price low enough to fit our budget was this bird skeleton.

    He’s approximately 8″ tall and, believe it or not, slightly articulated! His beak can open and close, his wings can be moved up and down, and his two legs (as a single unit), can be tilted both this way…and that. This bird is just begging for some young Ray Harryhausen to do some wonderfully crude stop-motion film with it.

    And like all the other animal skeletons I’ve seen for sale, they’ve gone and added some bones where there shouldn’t be. (On the dogs and cats, it’s usually the ears.) Here, it’s a series of 12 bones where the tail feathers would be. I get it, though: It looks a lot more avian with that anatomically-incorrect detail.

    Kind of a pity to cast it in black plastic, though. Looks like someone has a date with my paintbrush!


    masqueradeskull

    Masquerade Skull Mask Brilliant! Someone had the bright idea of taking the old fashioned “mask you hold up to your face on a stick” like you see at them fancy masquerade balls in movies and making the mask part the top half of a skull, and the stick part hand and arm bones.

    Love it, looooove it!

    For even a creepier effect, have someone do scary skull makeup over your eyes and nose so when you do the big reveal at midnight and pull down the mask, everyone’s like “Oh no!”

    I’d offer to do this makeup for you, but I’ve got my hands full clumsily glopping paint onto rats.


    owl99

    Owls!  Maybe my favorite Halloween item this year at the 99¢ Only store. These guys are 16″ tall!  That’s pretty much life-size, right?! Now, the thing is, they’re just the front half of the owl. But what do you want for $1.99  $0.99  50¢?!

    Most impressive is that the eyes each have a little piece of plastic on them that you have to peel off, as they obviously were stacked when shipped from the owl factory to your local store, and they didn’t want those peepers getting all scuffed up.

    Interesting that they ring up on my receipt as”Owl Halloween Garden Decor,” which made me more suspicious that it was probably just molded off of an owl decoy you’d get in a garden supply place that you’d use to scare off birds or small animals from a garden.

    owlsgalore

    Yep. A quick Google image search confirms it. I hope whoever molded the original gets royalties.

    Anyway, at 50¢ each, I bought six, just as you would. I have no use for more than one of them, really, but I know if I didn’t go crazy and buy six, I’d be kicking myself.

    And to answer your question: Even though it’s roughly half an owl, you cannot fit two of them back to back to make a whole one — like you, I thought of that, too. These owls lean forward, so the bases would match up, but not the rest of the figure, despite our eagerness to play God and create some unholy pushmi-pullyu bird of prey.


    Anyway, there you have it!  My top picks of bueno Halloween stuff from the 99¢ Only store.  And sure, there’s a lot more there — some bueno, some really not bueno — but at 50¢ each, it’s probably worth a trip there yourself. …If you dare!

    (I say “if you dare” because it’s the 99¢ Only store, and aside from us, you know what kind of people shop there — annoying, pushy people who stand way too close to you when you get in line and don’t respect your personal space and have garlic breath and b.o., and who buy a big stack of owls leaving almost none for anyone else. Why did you think I only bought six?)

    Posted by on October 16, 2015, 12:43 PM.

  10. Big News In The World of ¡What’s Bueno!

    MANY of you, what, six readers come here regular for one thing and one thing only: to read our popular feature, “What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store”…

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    or its sister feature, “What’s Bueno at Dollar Tree”…

    ¡Es Muy Bueno!

    the latter which doesn’t pop up nearly as often as it should.

    But what I’m hearing from all your emails, letters, postcards, and rocks with notes attached somehow thrown through my computer screen is this:

    “Sure, Ted,” you begin, “Sure, this is bueno and that’s bueno, and then this other thing? Bueno. But some things seem bueno for obvious reasons; others not so.”

    thrownrock3

    And you continue: “Why, there’s even been times, Ted, when some of the items you’ve labeled bueno are not bueno at all, and seem so absurd and ridiculous — why, my family and I suspect that you’re just labeling them bueno ironically — oh, we wouldn’t put it past you, you wacky guy!”

    Guilty as charged!

    So I thought to myself, Ted, I thought, how can we keep the popular feature — and yet make it better for them, what, six readers?

    And then it hit me: Another rock flying through the screen.

    Got me good, too — 18 stitches, and a Frankenstein-like scar on my forehead the guy at the emergency 24-Hour EconoVet said I’ll carry for life.

    stitches

    But while I was recovering from my concussion, it occurred to me that maybe what I should do is start rating the bueno-icity of these bueno items.

    Brilliant!

    So I got right to work, and came up with this clever rating system: A series of 99¢ Only logos, and the amount of bueno of each item would be conveyed through the number of logos. For instance, something with nine logos would be the most amazing deal you could find at 99¢ Only:

    999s2

    Something with, say 4-1/2 logos would be a pretty good deal (I mean, its inclusion under the What’s Bueno banner already implies it’s bueno).

    4.599s

    And, eh, something with just one logo? Or, God forbid, half a logo…?

    0.599s

    Let’s just say it’s such a lousy deal that it’s being included only to point out what a lousy deal it is, because it’s unbueno at any price, as I imagine Ralph Nader would say if he had a blog.

    nader99

    Good!  Everything set!  Ready to go!

    …Well, no, because ever since that lawsuit with the Fried Bologna Board of America, the stockholders here at Ted Parsnips LLC say everything I write has to go through Legal first.  I tell you, we didn’t have these problems back in the 1950s, when I started blogging!

    Those killjoys in Legal were of course worried about the whole rating system, and sent it off to my attorney (Why the hell do I even have a Legal department if they’re just going to send things out to our main lawyer? They’re more useless than the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team, who spend an awful lot of company time developing ideas for some sort of idiotic local Carnival of Cheese event they’re all involved with).

    sticks2

    Anyway, my attorney immediately had a conniption [legal term] and said using 99¢ Only store’s own 99¢ Only logo as a rating system would be like poking the 99¢ Only store’s Legal Department with a 99¢ Only stick, to coin a phrase.

    “Besides,” he continued, “besides, those rating icons only work for 99¢ Only stores, so, what, you’re going to create a whole set of other rating icons for Dollar Tree and every other goddamn dollar store you go to?! Just how complicated do you want to make this idiotic blog of yours that nobody reads?! It’s not like you’re covering anything interesting — like local cheese carnivals.”

    Well, he does have a point, so we gave the old new rating system the heave-ho and came up with a new new rating system, to wit:

    The Official Ted Parsnips New What’s Bueno Dollar Store Rating Guide!

    And here’s how it goes:

    7dollars

    Seven Dollar Signs = The cream of the crop!  An unbelievable find! An amazing deal! It doesn’t get any better than this!

    You come across whatever I’ve reviewed with these lucky seven dollar signs at a dollar store, you pick ’em up, brother, and you pick up plenty of ’em! This is your best dollar store value, and you’re lucky — damn lucky! — you got a pal like me what tells you about crap like this! Damn lucky!

    Onward!

    6dollars

    Six Dollar Signs = Still a really great deal! Just not an absolutely amazing deal! Worth dropping by your local dollar store on the way home from work even if you just ate a bunch of sauerkraut and your stomach is rumbling. Just make it snappy. No dawdling. Who gets to eat sauerkraut at work just before going home? I wish I worked in your office!

    Next!

    5dollars

    Five Dollar Signs = A great deal, but not a really great deal! Head home, deal with the after-effects of your late afternoon sauerkraut snack, then head back out to the store later, but do it tonight.

    And!

    4dollars

    Four Dollar Si—  …Okay, I think you get the idea. The more dollar signs, the more bueno the deal, the fewer dollar signs, the fewer bueno the deal. The scale goes all the way down to…

    0dollars

    No Dollar Signs, which of course means it’s a huge waste of money, even at a dollar.

    And as someone who enjoys needlessly complicating things, I’ve of course crafted half-ratings for the whole scale as well…

    2.5dollars

    …such as this Three and a Half Dollar Signs, which is for something that would fall, yes, midway between three dollar signs and four dollar signs.  Though we’re both wondering why I bothered since it’s no secret I’m someone who enjoys dealing in extremes and 98% of the ratings will probably be either seven dollar signs or no dollar signs.

    Anyway, that’s it! Are you as excited as I am?

    Oh boy — I’m sure you can hardly wait for my next post!

    Posted by on September 5, 2015, 1:21 AM.

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