1. ¿What’s Bueno? Planter’s NUT•rition Peanut Butter!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    Sweet pickled radicchio!  Do my eyes deceive me?! Look what’s at the 99¢ Only store – peanut butter!

    planters

    And not just any peanut butter, but high-end, name-brand, fancy peanut butter! Faaaaaaancy peanut butter!

    From Planters! The peanut people!

    New! says the label! Planters NUT•rition Energy Mix Berry Nut and Cinnamon Raisin Granola Nut peanut butter. Twelve ounces for 99¢ only. Who could say no to that?  You could?

    Well, what if I pointed out that the lid is green?  And this isn’t your father’s green!  Back in the old days, a green lid on a jar of peanut butter meant it was either lime-flavored peanut butter or menthol light peanut butter or an open case of peanut butter was back in the stockroom when the maintenance crew put a fresh coat of spray paint on the cardboard baler!

    No, today, green implies healthy and/or recycled! I’m going out on a limb here and presume that, even though I bought this at the 99¢ Only store, this isn’t recycled peanut butter so that leaves only one other possibility: healthy! You’d pay 99¢ only for a jar of healthy peanut butter, wouldn’t you?

    Of course you would! We all would!

    How exactly is it healthy? I’m glad you asked! It’s got Mr. Peanut using his cane to mime a golf swing on the label, and it’s from Planters NUT•rition line of products – which is a play on the word “nutrition.” Could it be any more healthy?

    And that’s not all! It’s also got 10% copper!  See?

    copper

    Do you know how much copper sells for these days?!

    …Neither do I, but I know it’d be a hell of a lot easier to buy a bunch of this stuff from the 99¢ Only store and smelt it down to the copper and peanut alloys (peanutium rises to the top) than to break into construction sites and vacant houses and steal all the copper wiring like we all did during the summers we were in college.

    Here’s the Cinnamon Raisin Granola Nut version:

    othernut

    I tried some on a crisp Ritz cracker!

    And then there’s this one, the Berry Nut type:

    berrynut

    Which I also tried on a crisp Ritz cracker. Mmm-mm! Good cracker! Good cracker!

    As you know, everything tastes great when it sits on a Ritz, but the first one – the granola one – it was just a little bit better.  Crunchy, it was. And not crunchy like chunky peanut butter. Really crunchy, like there was granola made of rice in there, which there was. Who the hell makes granola out of rice? you ask. Apparently Planters does. Don’t argue, it gives it a nice crunch.

    Tired? Need a quick pick-me-up without the crash? Toss those cans of Monster M-80 in the garbage, you’re going to chug a peanut butter sandwich! Yes, that’s right – these are “Energy Mix” peanut butters.

    energy

    Like a peanut butter adrenaline shot directly to the heart, they are! Christ almighty I hope you’re not allergic to peanut butter!

    Oh, by the way, if you are allergic to peanut butter, and, by extension, peanuts…?

    peanut

    Or even peanut, singular, I guess.

    Anyway, there ya go: Planters NUT•rition Energy Mix Peanut Butter (contains: peanut) is what’s bueno at the 99¢ Only store today. But it won’t be for long, because every jar they had (and they had a lot of them) had a best-by date of somewhere around the third week of February. And folks, we’re there now.

    Now that’s not to say that they won’t continue to carry them long past the best-by date. Good heavens, no – this is the 99¢ Only store we’re talking about, after all! I’m just saying that maybe they won’t be as bueno, say, fourteen months down the road as they are today.

    Posted by on February 21, 2013, 2:19 AM.

  2. ¿What’s Bueno? ¡Salsa Botchalisma!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    What’s bueno at the 99¢ Only store? This salsa! The one on the left, of course!  I put it next to the one on the right so that you might, whaddayacall, compare and contrast! So that you might compare and contrast the concave and convex!

    bulge

    It looks like someone was asleep at the ol’ el switcho at the salsa factorio, they accidentally overfilled it, and it’s ready to burst at the seams!  Someone’s going to make out like a bandito – lucky bastard!

    Anyway, after I found that, I found this:

    velvet1

    Pretty cool for a buck, huh?  A couple of flocked pictures with six markers to color ’em in. But that’s not what’s so amazing.  The name is!

    Let’s go in for a closeup, hmm?

    velvet2

    Can you believe it?  Velvet Doodles!  Yes – you remember! That was my name when I used to host Karaoke Tuesdays at The Leather Anvil in Silverlake! That is, until the ol’ ball-and-chain made me quit because it interfered with her damn softball league night.

    Posted by on February 7, 2013, 12:23 AM.

  3. ¿What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store? ¡Radicchio!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    Sweet pickled radicchio!  Do my eyes deceive me?! Look what’s at the 99¢ Only store – sweet pickled radicchio!

    Yes, “sweet pickled radicchio” may sound like the sort of expletive that someone in a comic book would sputter, but it exists! It exists, and it’s at the 99¢ Only store!

    Sweet Pickled Radicchio!

    Joe’s Premium Sweet Pickled Radicchio it’s called, and it’s from the good folks at J. Marchini Farms, grown right here in California (unlike most of the “food” sold at the 99¢ Only store which is imported from China – a country where even potatoes are made from some sort of plastic polymer).

    (And by the way, my attorney would like me to add that everything the 99¢ Only store sells is delicious and good to eat, even the detergents and cleaning prod–  No?  Okay, just the food.)

    Sweet Pickled Radicchio, am I easily distracted or what!

    Anyway, the label tells me that radicchio was first written about by Pliny the Elder as an aid to digestion, and that I can try it on pizzas, sandwiches, or crackers.

    So I did – I tried it on a crisp Ritz cracker.

    radicc

    Mmmm-mm!  Good cracker, good cracker!

    Oh, and the radicchio was nice, too.

    Pickling radicchio sweetly may seem odd, because radicchio naturally has a bitter taste. And this radicchio, though sweetly pickled, still has that sharp bite to it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. But despite the label further stating that “Now you can enjoy radicchio every day”  it’s unlikely you’re going to take them up on that. Unless enjoying radicchio every day is something you’ve been aspiring to do – perhaps a new year’s resolution, some sort of wager with a friend, an item on your bucket list, hell, I don’t know.

    In that case – sweet pickled radicchio! – you’re in luck!

    Posted by on January 22, 2013, 1:06 AM.

  4. ¿What’s Bueno? ¡Jesus Christ!

    WOW.

    Potentially the most bueno items offered in the 99¢ Only Store ever.

    It’s Jesus. Playing soccer. In a soccer outfit and His robe.

    And then there’s this one:

    It’s hard to see, but Jesus is carrying a semi-automatic rifle at his side.

    When Jesus Christ is depicted hiding an M16 in the folds of his robe, it would seem that somewhere along the way, His gentle message of peace has been misinterpreted.

    Also available was this figure:

    “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
    “Well, I–”
    “I’ll tell you why. We have a helmet law in this state. Not a ‘crown-of-thorns’ law. A helmet law. You think that thing’s going to protect you when you plow into the back of a bingo bus at sixty miles an hour?”

    Others available in the series included Jesus as a football player, a bullrider, a homeless man, a skateboarder, and a rock climber. He’s wearing his robe in each one, which to me, would seem to get in the way. But without the robe and crown of thorns (removable!), how would you know it’s Him?

    Here’s the one that went home with me:

    I don’t surf but for 99¢ only, you don’t have to surf to appreciate something as exquisite as this.

    The level of detail on these figures was surprisingly high.

    It’s a nice touch that Jesus has his own logo, and it’s not only on his surfboard…

    …but also on his wetsuit.

    It should be noted that these figures were not intended as goofs, as jokes, as ironic action figures. I did some reading on them and it seems the creator (of the figures, not the Creator) looks at them as a way of telling people that Jesus is always with you, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.

    That’s a comforting thought in theory.

    But if Jesus loses his grip, He’ll just ascend right up to Heaven. If you slip and let go, you may do the same thing eventually, but you’re going to hit the rocks below first.

    Posted by on December 4, 2012, 4:38 AM.

  5. What’s Bueno: Taco Bell Home Originals!

    “SURE, I like Taco Bell food,” we’ve all of us said, “but driving to Taco Bell, sitting in the car, talking to that impersonal squawk box, and then having to reach out the window to grab the bag – really, who has time for all that hassle?!”

    Then along came Taco Bell Home Originals – “Taco Bell” because it’s made by the good folks at Taco Bell, “Home” because that’s where you prepare it, and “Originals” because evidently it was Opposite Day in the marketing department when they decided on a name.

    And what could be easier? Just go to the 99¢ Only Store, pick up a box of Taco Bell Home Originals (in this case “Cheesy Double Decker Taco Dinner”), ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. (I suppose this really is a “Home Original” because the restaurant version includes refried beans though the picture on the box above does not. But you’re already in the store, so you can pick up a can of those, too.)

    By the way, you’re going to have to drop by the supermarket as well: Many 99¢ Onlys now sell some produce and dairy products but sadly, fresh ground beef hasn’t yet made it to their hallowed and discounted aisles. Someday…!

    Once you get home, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work – browning the beef, washing the tomatoes and lettuce, and respectively dicing and shredding them. Better get those refried beans out of the can and into a small pot on the stove. Now lay down your tortillas, open up that nacho cheese sauce packet and squeeze away, brother! Ooh, don’t forget to stir the beans! Next, simply place a hard taco shell on each tortilla, wrap it around – careful now, that cheese sauce gets everywhere! And be gentle, friend! Too hard and you’ll snap the two shells that weren’t already a jigsaw puzzle of sharp, broken shards when you opened the box.

    Time to start spooning in the ground beef (you remembered to drain it, right?), dolloping on some sour cream, and adding lettuce and a sprinkling of diced tomatoes. Wait, what’s that burning smell?!  Oh, no – the beans! Surely you’ll be able to salvage a tablespoon or so of them. Eh…except they were supposed to go on the tortillas with the cheese. Ah well. Next time, right?

    How you’ll chuckle to yourself as you think about the plight of those poor suckers sitting in the drive-thru line down the street as you prepare this fun and delicious homemade Taco Bell meal, and then again later as you clean up the kitchen and do all those dishes. (Better let the refried bean pot soak overnight.) Oh, and remember to stop at the ATM on the way to work tomorrow because somehow you’re out of cash.

    Anyway, like me, you’re baffled how such an awesome product ended up at the 99¢ Only Store, but also like me, you’re sure glad it did.

    Posted by on November 12, 2012, 9:00 AM.

  6. What’s Bueno: Liberté Yogurt!

    AS YOU KNOW, one of the current food trends is Greek-style yogurt. Greek-style yogurt is currently trending. [Eugh.]

    So when I saw these things at the 99¢ Only Store at two for 99¢ only…

    …I knew I had to try them. Oh, sure, I act like I don’t care what other folks think, but the truth is, I’m very insecure. I need you, what, six people to know I’m eating the trendy foods.

    Anyway, holy mother of God, this yogurt is the best yogurt in the history of yogurt! I’m not kidding! It’s amazing! Oh ho ho, let me tell you, brother – you have never tasted yogurt like this yogurt. It’s nectar of the gods, in yogurtal form. It’s-just-that-good!

    I devoured it in a matter of mere seconds. This involved me darting my long, Gene Simmons-like tongue into every recess of the plastic receptacle so that not a bit, not a single beneficial bacteria culture of delicious yogurt was wasted. And as I was carrying the empty cup to the trash, I noticed this:

    Total fat 18%!  Saturated fat 37%! And sugars – 26 grams! For six lousy ounces! No wonder it tastes so good! It’s all fat mixed with heaping tablespoons of sugar, practically!

    This changes everything!

    …Oh screw it, who am I kidding? This changes nothing.

    Well, maybe to offset this delicious taste treat, I’ll try and limit myself to just one of Marie Callender’s nutritious 16.5 ounce Creamy Parmesan Chicken Pot Pies for dinner tonight. Try.

    Posted by on November 7, 2012, 4:52 AM.

  7. What’s Bueno: The Halloween Aisle

    SURE, we’ve had some fun at the expensive of the 99¢ Only Store lately with some of their more questionable Halloween offerings, but let me tell you, brother, you could do a lot worse by shopping elsewhere for most of your spooky decorations and accessories.

    Above: “Bloody Body Parts Decor,” the first and only time in history
    that particular combination of words has been used together.

    It seems over the last week or so, most 99¢ Only stores around here have really ramped up and revamped their Halloween aisles – they’re keeping them in tip-top shape, sure, and it seems that there’s always one employee stationed there, either restocking merchandise or just making sure everything is just-so. That’s saying a lot for a chain where it’s not unusual to find warm, unrefrigerated hot dogs ironically located next to bacteria-killing Wet Wipes. Which in itself is arguably scarier than anything you’ll find in the Halloween aisle, but I digress.

    I’d have liked to take more photos of these aisles in all their macabre glory, but for some reason, 99¢ Only store employees get nervous when my expensive blogging camera comes out. However, I was able to snap a few on the sly.

    Check out these cool glow-in-the-dark gloves.

    Now you can look like one of my people with our hairy gorilla hands!

    They also had skeleton gloves and skull-and-crossbones gloves. Meanwhile, emo and goth kids are paying probably $25 a pair for them at Hot Topic. Like idiots!

    My favorite  items are these masks:

    They cover your entire head like a ski mask and seem to be made out of nylon. Visibility through the fabric is pretty good, too.

    While I’ve never seen these before, the concept somehow seems pretty old. Makes me wonder if before rubber and latex masks were so ubiquitous, stretchy fabric was the norm for goofy Halloween masks. Regardless, I bet we’ll start seeing more like this next year.

    Here’s me as a vampire:

    Obviously, there are limitations to these masks. You’re essentially putting a nylon stocking over your head, so it flattens everything out. From the side, I looked more like Voldemort than Dracula, and remember that’s with my big honking Slovak nose.

    I think if these things become more popular, the manufacturers or designers will start to realize they need to make the eyes, nose and mouth smaller and position them so they fall generally on top of the wearer’s features to compensate for the way they stretch over a face. Above, Drac’s lower lip is down on my third (or fourth?) chin.

    Frankenstein fared a bit better:

    Oh, oh, pardon – Frankenstein’s monster! Sheesh!

    You could probably put a foam or cardboard square on the top of your head and then slip the mask over it for that boxy monster head look. But as this is not a DIY blog, I am not legally required to show you how.

    The masks don’t really cover up much below your chin, either, so your neck is exposed. Fortunately, I have no neck so it’s not a problem for me.

    Here’s probably the best one:

    You can see it in the package if you scroll up. This one they got right – they pushed all the features together to compensate for when it goes over a three-dimensional form, in this case my grotesquely misshapen noggin.

    It even looks good from different angles:

    The masks available were vampire, unlicensed Frankenstein’s monster, unlicensed Lurch (or zombie, really, but in the package he reminded me of Lurch), and pirate skull (not shown). I think they’re pretty cool for a buck, and now you do, too.

    Another fun item they had were these bottle stickers:

    You stick them over the real label of a bottle of  wine or some other beverage at your Halloween party and everyone has such a good laugh that they don’t care whether they’re drinking a 1996 Chateau La Mondotte Saint-Emilion or that “Two Buck Chuck” swill from Trader Joe’s – potentially saving you thousands of dollars .

    While these are undeniably fun, the manufacturer doesn’t want any lawsuits:

    They’ve noted along the bottom “THIS IS A NOVELTY LABEL AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE SAFETY OF THE CONTAINER CONTENTS.”

    Wait, the label reads “poison.” And they’re saying it’s not poison, therefore it may not be safe…?  So it would presumably be safer to consume if it was poison…? I’m confused. I think I need a refill. Bartender, another glass of Zombie Virus, and this time make it a double!

    Like you, I love lenticulars in general, but these…?

    …These were particularly awesome.

    On the left is a photo of a normal, everyday person. On the right is what you see if you look at it at jussst the right angle – a hideous ghoul!

    There were maybe half a dozen different examples for purchase, and most of the (original) photos looked old. I couldn’t help wondering if these were just random photos the manufacturers found somewhere and decided to use. So that someone might have wandered into the 99¢ Only store, saw one, and said, “Why, that’s Great Uncle Melvin, and look at that, apparently he was one of the undead, which would explain a lot. Oh, sure, everyone said he was a ‘confirmed bachelor,’ but I knew there was more to the story!”

    The images are about 5″ x 7″ and come in awful, flimsy vacuform frames. You’ll want to pull them out of those and put them into something a little more sturdy, for year ’round enjoyment.

    Has there ever been any store, anywhere, that’s sold some Halloween merchandise and not advertised itself as being “Halloween Headquarters”…?!

    There’s tons of other neat stuff at the 99¢ Only store – everything from whimsical bobbling owls to horrific bloody aprons – as well as – yes! – some real crap. But by and large, this jaded consumer was pretty impressed by their Halloween offerings.

    What really blew me away, however, is when I walked into one store around eight-fifteen p.m. (whose location I won’t mention) just after a power outage in the area had plunged the store into near total darkness – and they were still letting people in! 

    I was torn between stuffing my pockets with everything I could cram in there or staging a classic slip-and-fall and initiating an enormous lawsuit. In the spirit of the Halloween season, I did both.

    Now, remember, for the depositions next week: You guys were there and even though it was so dark, you saw me go flying and fall on my ass when I slipped on a big puddle of some off-brand Mexican mayonesa.

    And I’m going to take care of you for helping me out with this one. I managed to get out of there with like five packs of Zacky Chicken Franks in my cargo shorts. You like chicken franks, right?

    Posted by on October 27, 2012, 12:27 PM.

  8. What’s Bueno: Tasteless Unlicensed Michael Jackson Halloween Decor!

    SURE, you could do your Michael Jackson-themed Halloween shopping at one of those overpriced and seasonal Halloween stores where packaging for Michael Jackson wigs feature an unsurprising non-African-American model…

    Oh, how nice that Adam Lambert fellow is still getting work.
    And he gets to tell friends “I’m working on a Michael Jackson project!”

    Yes, you could buy officially-licensed (and expensive!) MJ stuff there…

    But instead, why not head to your local 99¢ Only Store where this bony gentleman might greet you over over the registers at the entrance?

    He’s available in the Halloween aisle for sale, too! For 99¢ Only!

    Can we get a closeup of his head?

    Awright, who’s the comedian?! The head of the decoration! Sheesh!

    There we go.

    And here’s the whole thing, as seen on the package itself:

    Tasteless? Definitely.

    Worth a chuckle?  Hell, it’s worth 99¢ Only and a chuckle!

    And on the positive side, since it’s unlicensed, the Jackson family won’t further descend into warfare over the profits.

    Posted by on October 15, 2012, 1:57 PM.

  9. ¿What’s Bueno? E-Z Eats Country Fried Beef Fingers!

    VERY little time here, folks – I’ve made a wager with some fellows at the club and am now on a race around the world with my trusted valet/irritating Filipino houseboy Kenji.

    Thankfully I’ve taken the precaution of scheduling in advance a bunch of these insipid What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store posts that are nonetheless the lifeblood of this blog. Well, what do you know – here comes one now!

    E-Z Eats! Country Fried Beef Fingers

    Man, if you’ve got a hankerin’ for some good old-fashioned country fried beef fingers – deeelicious breaded strips of beef in a handy carrying cup – look no further than E-Z Eats Country Fried Beef Fingers! They microwave up just as quick as you please and—

    …Okay, okay, I can’t go through with it; I just can’t do it. These things were atrocious. Now I’m going to have to win the bet, if only to be able to return all that money to the country fried beef finger industry.

    Posted by on September 9, 2012, 6:00 AM.

  10. ¿What’s Bueno? Pitfall T-Shirt!

    AS longtime readers of this blog know, some of the best years of my life were spent as first warbler in a Roger Whittaker tribute band.

    Well, gang – I can finally officially announce it: Jimmy, Dane, Joe-Joe, Evelyn R., Big Curtis, Flaubert, Marc, Evelyn C., Antonio, Chester, Pam, Brucie, Christian, Russ, Alan and I have been rehearsing over the last few weeks and – yes! – Whitaker Experience is back together again! (We used the be “The Roger Whittaker Experience” but then we got that letter from BMG and had to drop the first name and one of the T’s. And stop performing any of his songs.)

    My point is I’m gone – I’m out of here for a while – while we’re on tour!  (I know!) Come see us at the Eastern Idaho State Fair on the Bear Lake Credit Union free stage tonight after the arm wrestling tournament! (Sometime after 9:30, depending on how many contestants there are.)

    Despite all the time and hard work spent tuning up my “whistler” (mouth), I managed to line up a bunch of these inane What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store blog posts in advance! And here’s one now!

    Activision Pitfall T-Shirt

    Ninety-nine cents only for this t-shirt featuring the original box art from the 1982 Activision video game! It’s brand new! It turns out the original price – on the original price tag – is a whopping $9.99! That’s like eight times as much as 99¢ only, I think! And the funny thing is that if I saw this in Target with their annoyingly enormous selection of retro 80s t-shirts, why, I’d turn my nose up at it no matter what the price!

    Yet here at the 99¢ Only Store, I was for some reason compelled to purchase it! This despite the fact that it’s a medium and these days, hoo boy, I wear a large!

    Well, I’ll just give it to someone for Christmas, sure. And if it’s you, forget you read this! I paid full price at Target.

    Posted by on September 8, 2012, 6:00 AM.

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