1. A Sign From Above!

    Yesterday, I noticed this billboard at a major intersection right near my house, featuring Aaron Paul looking intensely at something:


    Follow his gaze directly across the street, and you’ll see this billboard:


    Coincidence? Well, yes. The Roku / Netflix ad has been there for a few months now, long before “The Need for Speed” billboard went up.

    However! Today Netflix puts the final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” up for streaming.


    Still a coincidence? Of course.

    But I’d like to think I’m the only one in my neighborhood who noticed this. Seems like a good bet because I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in my neighborhood who can read.

    [There was originally one more word at the end of that sentence but, eh, it was probably wise to get rid of it.]

    Posted by on February 25, 2014, 11:23 PM.

  2. Adam[and Steve]-12…?

    Ah, good ol’ Reed & Malloy from “Adam-12!” Together in the same squad car for five years, er, seasons at this point.  You put together a coupla guys for this long…



    …they’re bound to occasionally bicker like an old married couple.

    dothatwhat2 toothpick

    But Jim’s happily married to the perky and rarely-seen Jean – plus he’s got a couple of kids at home.

    And Pete, he’s still playing the field.

    Good friends – best friends, really – and partners that work well together.  Not domestic partners, a term that didn’t even exist in 1973. Work partners.

    comeonmary fruitgod

    Really, it’s not what you think.

    Posted by on February 21, 2014, 3:03 PM.

  3. What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store: Cereal Edition!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    LAST WEEK, I finally got around to reviewing the holiday schedule the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team had submitted for 2014 – that is, the days they wanted off.

    Well, of course, I went through the list with my red pen and crossed off everything but Christmas, and only because we’ve established that none of you, what?, six regulars visit on that day, so I’m safe.

    Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July – these I recognized. I mean, these I was familiar with. I don’t recognize them as holidays that these bums get the day off. (This is what you can get away with when you keep those goddamn greedy unions out of your organization.)

    But one date on the list had me puzzled. March 7?  What holiday could that possibly be?

    “National Cereal Day,” came the answer from the department (fat)head. Well, once I had determined that Obama hadn’t bypassed the Constiwhosis again and signed it into law as some sort of mandated federal holiday (You never know with him! Just ask my Dad!), I laughed the guy right out of my office. Right out of my office!

    But it made me think: With the dearth of updates to the few cereal websites that still exist today, someone’s got to pick up the slack, and so with that in mind, I give you What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store: Cereal Edition!

    And I’m doing it now in case everyone calls in sick on March 7 and the site goes down.


    Post Honey Bunches of Oats: Greek Honey Crunch
    Status: Long gone. I really need to write these within a few months of seeing the product in the store.

    Looks like Post really made too much of this new addition to their Honey Whosis of Oats line featuring (once-)trendy Greek yogurt, because these were all over the 99¢ Only stores a few months ago as they neared the end of their “Best By” date. I gambled a buck and bought a box. They weren’t bad, though the amorphous yogurt lumps ranged from manageable pebble-size to enormous, disconcerting jawbreakers. And those bigger ones…? I always felt like I was going to be biting into a mummifed mouse or something. Update: My attorney would like me to remind all of you that I never actually did, and such a suggestion is absolutely absurd.




    Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax Cereal
    Status: Available

    Knowing where I stand on gluten-free nonsense, you won’t be surprised to hear that I stayed away from these, brother, despite the fact that they appear to be ooh-la-la, high-end, Santa-Monica-(North-of-Wilshire) cereals. These, too, feature trendy ingredients: In this case, flax – used to make bed linens, and chia – used to grow hair on ceramic animals. The manufacturer “Enjoy Life” apparently went through a package redesign at some point, so while three boxes are shown, there’s but two varieties of this cereal you can eat with a fork (if their logo is any indication). Actually, “the cereal you can eat with a fork” might have been a good slogan for the previous cereal – makes it easier to break up any potential yogurt-entombed mice. I’m kiddin’!

    Update: My attorney has alerted me that while flax fibers make those sheets you haven’t changed in months, it’s flaxseed what’s good for you to eat, chia seeds are similarly a good source of fiber and omega-3 fats, and “for Christ sake, knock it off with the mouse jokes.”


    Post Marshmallow Pebbles
    Status: History. I snapped this picture in October.

    Like yours, “The Flintstones” was part of my childhood. But I try to put myself in the mind of a typical idiot child of today (your child or children, of course, excluded) and I wonder whether or not the Flintstones and the Rubbles mean anything to them at all. Do they have any frame of reference for this character on the box without ever having seen an episode of the show? Or is it just a bizarre humanoid who apparently shoots marshmallows from his hands? Who knows?

    Regardless whether kids today are sufficiently versed in the entire Bedrock mythos and despite this cereal lacking delicious, nourishing, life-giving gluten, I personally found it to be Yabba-Dabba-Delicious!™

    These Barney Pebbles didn’t last long at 99¢ Only – I attribute that to the “Limited Edition” banner near the top of the box. Smart shoppers with an eye toward the future would have wisely bought this by the case, carefully opened the individual cartons, tossed out the cereal within, delicately collapsed the boxes and stored them in acid-free bags in a light-free, temperature- and humidity-controlled environment so that twenty years from now, they can be among the hundreds of other eBay sellers listing common cereal boxes no one will be buying.


    Post Sesame Street C is For Cereal
    Status: A few boxes still around

    Years ago, Children’s Television Workshop famously refused to emblazon food products with the Sesame Street characters, instead relying on the income provided by books, records, Knickerbocker dolls, and their take from Mr. Hooper’s bookmaking operation. (Legend has it, to place a bet, you’d go in and order a “birdseed milkshake.”) Well, times have changed – Hooper’s dead, Knickerbocker was sold off, and worst of all, PBS seriously underestimated your ability to heartlessly ignore those pledge drives, no matter how many coffee mugs, tote bags and Ralph Story DVDs they offer to throw in. Out of sheer financial necessity (Bob doesn’t sing “The People In Your Neighborhood” for free, you know!), they relented and now cookies, juice boxes, soup, canned pasta and, yes, cereal are among the items you’ll find the Sesame Street Muppets hawking these days.

    Mostly fine products, those, probably, but Sesame Street took a misstep with this “C is for Cereal,” it seems, and no wonder: it’s banana-flavored. As everyone knows – aside from banana bread and, I guess, bananas – banana-flavored anything is terrible. Which may or may not be the case with this cereal, because as my attorney cautions me to note, I didn’t actually try this product. Hell, I suppose it could be delicious and perhaps its appearance at 99¢ Only is merely due to product overrun from Post.

    The cereal is in the shape of Xs & Os, and I can only imagine those two letters paid an enormous sum to be featured exclusively – and so must have taken a huge hit. My prediction? We won’t see X and O sponsoring specific episodes of the show for a while.

    Whether you or your toddler for some reason likes or, more likely, vehemently detests the taste of banana-flavored oat and corn cereal, you’ll admit that 99¢ only for a box of this stuff is a steal.

    But wait!


    Head on over to Big Lots and you can pick up not one, not two…


    ..but TWENTY boxes of this stuff for the same amount you’re paying at 99¢ Only for a single package! No kiddin’!

    It used to be rare indeed to find really good deals at Big Lots including stuff near, at, or past its expiration date. But I’ll be the first to admit that at least at the location near me, they’ve recently changed their tune regarding expiring food  – they reduce it to practically nothing right at the end of its “Best By” date – and you know it’s still fine.

    I’d like to think maybe I had a little something to do with this new policy. But as I’m not yet legally barred from entering their stores, I think it’s a safe bet that they have no idea I exist.

    Our last two entries in What’s Bueno: Cereal Edition are more cereal-themed than pure, unadulterated cereal.  Think that’s going to stop me? No sir!


    Cap’n Crunch Chocolatey Peanut Butter Snack Mix
    Status: Plenty available

    Quite a step up from Quaker’s embarrassing attempt to get us to pay $3 for 2.4 ounces of dry cereal, here’s a Cap’n Crunch LSP (“loose snack piece” – industry term) product that’s not bad at all.  Inside each bag, you’ll find chocolate covered pretzels, generic Reese’s-type pieces, Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch orbs and Cap’n Crunch Chocolatey Crunch pillows. Like you, I like finding deals at the 99¢ Only store, and 99¢ only is about what I’d be willing to pay for this in a regular store. Still, it was good. There’s a “Sweet & Salty Caramel” version, too, but this one’s better.


    Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Treats
    Status: Going fast!
    I’ve saved the best for last, folks. What Quaker’s done, see, is they’ve crammed Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch as well as your standard Default Cap’n Crunch pieces together into bar form, then they give it some sort of chocolate undercoating, and then bedrizzle the whole schmear with more of that chocolate stuff. The result? A delight for the senses (specifically taste), and at only 110 calories a bar, you can go ahead and feel good about eating a whole box of ’em (just eight) in one sitting. They also make a Crunch Berry variety, but who the hell wants Crunch Berries when you’ve got peanut butter, right?

    And here’s a bit of disturbing trivia for you: Despite Cap’n Crunch being a huge brand for Quaker Oats, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a SINGLE reference to him on their main website – not one of his epicurean delights are listed on Quaker’s product page.

    It’s like he doesn’t even exist!

    Nope – instead, Horatio Magellan Crunch has a separate(-but-equal) website. I’m sure Quaker Oats would probably insist that he’s so popular he warrants his own presence on the web but it’s obvious he’s an embarrassment to the company and has been pushed away like a (white-haired) red-headed stepcap’n to distance his delicious, roof-of-your-mouth-slicing, sweet, sweet cereal from Quaker’s so-called healthier breakfast and snack alternatives.

    Shame on you, Quaker!  Shame! Cap’n Crunch practically built the sturdy vessel that is Quaker Oats! Or, to make an even more apt analogy, it’s like Cap’n Crunch is Jesus and the entire Quaker Oats organization is Simon Peter – denying him.  And no, I don’t think I’m overstating this.

    What’s most ironic is that I really wanted to end on a positive note here, especially since these Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Treats are about the most delicious thing I’ve ever had in my life, and well, all that unpleasantness at the end there has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    So I think I’ll have another five or six bars. That oughta do the trick!

    Posted by on February 15, 2014, 12:02 AM.

  4. Apparently They’ve Solved That Pesky Helium Shortage!

    And – good news! – just in time for Valentine’s Day!



    Yet these shots don’t come close to doing justice to the breathtaking sight of this school of hundreds and hundreds of majestic heart-shaped mylar balloons floating up at the ceiling of the local Dollar Tree, with their deadly ribbon tentacles trailing below.

    Deadly, I guess, if you got one wrapped around your neck and then the balloon gets tangled in a ceiling fan or  sucked into the engine of a low-flying plane or something.

    So let’s be careful out there today, huh?

    Posted by on February 14, 2014, 2:29 AM.

  5. This Happens Every Time I Park Near That Field Of Quadrotriticale


    Lucky, I brushed it off the hood before it started multiplying and got into the intake manifold.

    Posted by on February 6, 2014, 2:34 AM.

  6. #748 – The Plastic Bag Ban!

    857 Reasons and Counting!

    IT’S BEEN a month, folks!


    On January 1st, 2014, the “plastic bag ban” officially went into effect across the County of Los Angeles. Or was supposed to – compliance has been delightfully inconsistent.

    As a good, rank-and-file LA County Komrade eh, Citizen, this means that – if you didn’t already have them before the first of the year (Shame, shame, shame on you! Shame on you!) – you dutifully purchased your reusable shopping bags at the beginning of January, placed them in your car so they’re at the ready for your next trip to the market…and have forgotten them every goddamn time you’ve gone shopping until you’re already in line at the checkout.


    The plastic bag ban is of course the work of our infamously idiotic LA  City Council, and believe it or not, I’m not terribly against it. I mean, I’m against the LA City Council, but c’mon, everyone is.  I’m talking about the plastic bag ban. There’s a floating sea of crap in the Pacific – and it’s not the diarrhea that the Caribbean Whosess cruise ship is currently leaving in her wake (wrong ocean). No, I’m referring to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is apparently full of plastic bags.

    So you want to get rid of them? That’s (mostly) fine by me. The thing is, they’re perfect for use as a cushioning agent [industry term] for those of us who sell junk on eBay and are too cheap to buy bubblewrap. See – I’m reusing them so that’s good. I’ll certainly miss ’em after I deplete my enormous stockpile (Dr. Abramson calls it my ‘hoard’ – cute!) bursting out of the garage. But I’m willing to let go.


    The biggest argument I’ve heard against the ban is that by using our municipal government-approved “reusable grocery bags” for the very purpose for which they were made, they’ll harbor dangerous amounts bacteria. Really? It’s the grocery bags that harbor bacteria?

    Here’s a visual newsflash for those germaphobic geniuses:


    (And I think we can presume the shopping carts are even worse.)

    No, the reason the plastic bag ban is one of the 857 Reasons to Leave LA is that should you forget your reusable shopping bags – and if you live here, you will – the store will now sell you paper bags – for ten cents each. It’s not up to the stores – they’re required to do it. By LA City Council Law!


    Gone are the days when grocery stores gave us complimentary bags to carry home the food we just purchased from them. What’s next? The end of green stamps?!


    Is there a way to fight the Bag Ban? Yes and no. Thank Christ I live close enough to the edge of the border so I can slip into reasonable Ventura County and request, née, demand that every brick of ramen, every Mama Celeste pizza, every single 25¢ snack size bag of Utz pork rinds (and I buy a lot of them) that I purchase at Ralphs is placed in its own plastic bag. (If they give me trouble I just tell them it’s a religious thing, and then I start yelling a lot of throaty halalala gibberish.)

    Conversely, when I’m feeling particularly persnickety, sometimes I’ll drive twenty miles out of my way – as you would – to Whole Foods in tony Santa Monica and when the cashier asks if I need to purchase a bag, I announce, loudly, “Nope, brought my own!” and – with a theatrical flourish worthy of the Great Ballantine himself – yank from my pocket one of these dolphin blow-hole clogging beauties:


    And if I want to really stir the pot, I’ll make sure a pack of cigarettes and a mohel knife clatter to the floor when I pull out the bag.

    Sometimes I’ll even get on my cell phone and say something like “Disoriented mountain lion in Palisades Park? Shoot it if you have to – I’m teaching a fitness boot camp there in twenty minutes.” It’s kind of overkill, sure, but you know these Santa Monicans! They’re not happy unless they’re outraged.

    Posted by on February 1, 2014, 9:00 AM.

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