1. Last Minute Costume Idea!

    HEY, this is perfect for you! You love this show! Look what I found for you!

    You can dress up as Glee! You can be Glee for Halloween!

    Which reminds me of a funny anecdote!

    As you know my father was a Carpenter First Class. Now he’s a Carpenter (Retired).

    During the summer when I was a kid, I would work with him on his jobs. And by “work with him,” I mean of course stand around, get in the way and whine a lot.

    Dad loved the show “Get Smart” and often he’d regale me with entire plots – complete with jokes – from specific episodes that he’d enjoyed. But he never referred to the main character as “Maxwell Smart” or “Max” or “Agent 86” or even “Don Adams” or, I don’t know, “the secret agent guy” or anything like that.

    Oh no. He always called him “Get Smart” as though the title of the show was the main character’s name.

    He could remember 99 but not 86?! They’re both numbers!

    Posted by on October 31, 2012, 4:18 PM.

  2. Happy Halloween from Rooglü!

    Or is it “Roo8iü”…?

    I enjoy Google’s silly little “Doodles” as much as the next person, and I really like the style of this one…but c’mon, how hard is it to design monsters that look like the letters they’re supposed to represent?

    By the way, no, of course I couldn’t do any better, and yes, it’s easy for me to criticize because I’m kind of a jerk.

    Posted by on , 12:57 AM.

  3. Financial Tip of the Day!

    When refinancing your home, don’t go with the first deal you find.

    Drive around and compare offers.

    You might find a bush on the next corner with an even better rate.

    Posted by on October 30, 2012, 2:14 AM.

  4. 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:


    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.

  5. Big Lots Presents Your First Baby!

    So  I was at Big Lots the other day looking for a dented barbecue grill with chipped paint and missing hardware…


    Anyway, I happened across these things:

    …And it occurred to me that the reason the shelves are so full is that in this neighborhood, most girls have already had their first baby!

    Posted by on October 24, 2012, 4:11 AM.

  6. Flyer Alarm!

    WE’RE UP TO 47.

    That’s the current tally of mailbox-jamming political ads and flyers I’ve received so far over the last few weeks.

    It may not seem like much, but considering every single one is on thick, almost cardstock-like paper, none smaller than 8-1/2 X 11″ (and most of them were at least that size folded – they opened up even larger), and I have a post office box that I don’t check but once a week if that, this is indeed quite a lot. Especially for an apathetic voter such as myself who prides himself on staying as uninformed as possible.

    When I’ve gone to collect my mail these things have been crammed in there tighter than the delicious salty, hairy fish in a can of Haddon House rolled anchovies with capers – and pulling them out was similarly messy and left me feeling just as dirty.

    By the way, candidates, if you’re listening…? I read virtually none of your ads. This was the one exception:

    An ambitious little brochure – eight pages long – it’s laid out as a children’s book with adorable illustrations showing Congressman Howard Berman enjoying the perks of being a US Representative by spending taxpayers’ money.

    I have to hand it to Brad Sherman, Howard Berman’s opponent for the congressional seat: I really loved this flyer; it’s delightful.

    Oh, by the way, despite the clever political ad, I don’t actually like Sherman, so neither Berman nor Sherman will be getting my much sought-after vote – or since I don’t have to show photo ID – votes. Me, I’ll be voting for a different candidate entirely.

    Anyway, the volume of political mail from this election cycle must be doing wonders for the near-bankrupt USPS. Why, I’ll bet we won’t see another rate increase for at least another couple weeks!

    Posted by on October 22, 2012, 11:18 AM.

  7. Crikey!

    Confounds kids who fling their toys out of their cribs.

    Posted by on October 21, 2012, 3:13 AM.

  8. Making Contact In This World And Beyond!

    So tonight last year, a pal, he calls me up and he says to me, “Ted,” he says, “Ted, you’ve got to see this [then] new program on TLC – ‘Long Island Medium,’ it’s called. A more lively and compelling show you’re unlikely to see!”*
    *Until “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” debuted ten months later.

    Like you, I’m fascinated with the bizarre and the unexplained, the weird and the eerie. I just can’t get enough of all that, despite already spending half my time in thrift stores and the other half in dollar stores.

    As you know, it’s just over three four years this month that I lost Marni to chronic inner thigh chafing. (My God, I begged her not to wear wide wale corduroy – the not-so-silent killer.) A day hasn’t gone by when I haven’t wanted to talk to her again, if only for a moment – long enough to find out where the hell she put my goddamn flat-jaw Vise-Grips. (She used to straighten her hair with them.)

    Anyway, while said pal and I passed the time of day on the phone, I divided my attention precisely in half and the part that wasn’t distractedly muttering “Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Oh. Uh-huh. I see. Mm. Okay. Mm-hmm.” was busy dicking around on the internet looking for more details on this show. Could this “Long Island Medium” be for real? Could she, at last, put me back in touch with the ol’ Marnster?

    What I discovered was startling:  I found a short article on a website called “Channel Guide Magazine,” where the writer describes her experience speaking with the star of Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo.

    Isn’t that freaky?!

    I guess I should be more specific. The puff-piece article itself wasn’t all that startling. What was astonishing was that of the (then) 90+ comments below it, over 70 of them were directed to Caputo herself, as though she has anything to do with the website!

    Inexplicably, scores of people somehow decided that posting a message below an article about the Long Island Medium was the best way to get in touch with her.

    Once someone over at the “Channel Guide Magazine” website saw what was happening, a link labeled “Information on contacting Theresa Caputo” was added below the article. Click on the link and you’ll read:

    Below this bit of helpful information…? Well over six thousand comments, the most recent one as of this writing, posted around 3:30 p.m., Friday October 19, 2012. Judging by the sampling I looked at, they’ve been coming in steadily every single day. Nearly all of them completely ignore the information above, and yes, address Caputo directly in the comments section.

    By the way, Channel Guide’s tagline is “Watch Smarter!” I guess it’s good it doesn’t reference reading comprehension.

    Many of the 6,795 messages are pretty sad. You’d have to be a complete heartless bastard not to feel for some of these people who are desperate for specific closure, real or manufactured, regarding someone who died. (And believe it or not, I’m not a complete heartless bastard.)

    But mostly, it’s a fascinating contrast of communicative abilities that are light-years apart. On one extreme, we have a woman supposedly gifted with the remarkable capability to contact the dead. And on the other: thousands of her fans who are clearly in way over their heads just getting to the right website to send an electronic message to her.

    As for me, I’m not about to get in line behind 6,800 people and wait two years for an audience with the psychic. I’ll avoid all of this nonsense and use Marni’s life insurance money to buy a pair a new pair of Vice Grips. I don’t need Theresa to tell me she’d have wanted it that way.

    Posted by on October 19, 2012, 4:15 PM.

  9. Shouldn’t Box Tops

    be on the top of the box?

    Posted by on October 18, 2012, 10:13 PM.

  10. Recently at Red Baron Pizza Corporate Headquarters…

    Posted by on , 2:45 AM.

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