1. From the Law Offices of Company Logo, LLP!

    HERE’S a fun one that will brighten your day.

    I was playing one of those electronic games on my iPod, and like you, I’m too cheap to pony up the $1.99 for the paid version, so I just download the free version and deal with an ad every eight to ten seconds or so.

    Anyway, here’s one that came up recently:


    Evidently this guy’s specialty is homeowner association disputes, but I bet the makers of Donut Dash hope he doesn’t know much about the law with regards to online advertising contracts…or else he might sue them for not including his name in the ad!  Ha!

    Yep — already sent it off to the folks at Reader’s Digest. Keep your fingers crossed!

    Posted by on April 30, 2015, 3:31 AM.

  2. All Action Figures Must Die!

    Thank You Free Online Photo Editor!

    Saw this one in Westero——  …er, Simi Valley’s Goodwill store some months ago, but I cleverly saved it until “Game of Thrones” was back on the air:

    Dreamy, exiled bastard Jon Snow! Seen here as part of Funko’s Game of Thrones Legacy Collection! And look carefully at the crappy photo below: This particular figure is apparently from the extremely rare “Jon Snow as Marilyn Monroe from ‘The Seven Year Itch'” series…


    …where Jon’s cape has been provocatively blown up from a subway grate on top of the Wall. Either that or someone opened the box, pulled Jon out, and then crammed ‘im back in without repositioning the cape in his blister pack [industry term] coffin.

    Now, I don’t watch your so-called “Games a’ Thrones,” so I don’t know if Jon Snow is dead yet or not. But unless he gets his hand lopped off as depicted here…


    …I’d say the store’s price of $7.99 (!) may be a tad steep.


    Oh, wait!


    There it is! There’s the snapped-off appendage, rattling around in the bottom of the box.

    I suppose if you’ve got a Longclaw-like sword to hack through all that excessive packing tape they’ve inexplicably seen fit to bound this in…and then you can employ the magical services of some sort of red priestess — or someone with a tube of super glue — to reattach his hand, I guess you could make the argument that $7.99 isn’t completely out of line.

    But it’s a pretty flimsy argument. It’s a good bet that no one’s going to buy this thing.

    Unless Tyrion Lannister wanders into this particular Goodwill.


    I understand he has a tender spot in his heart for cripples, bastards and broken things.

    Posted by on April 29, 2015, 12:14 PM.

  3. ¿What’s Bueno? ¡Las Vegas Edition!


    AS REGULAR readers of this blog know, I was in Las Vegas a few days ago, and you know what they say: “What happens in Vegas is you go to the 99¢ Only store.”

    Now this brings up an interesting (to me) issue — one that I’d been meaning to share with you, the reader, for quite some time, so that you, too (the reader), will find it interesting.

    And what that is, is that not all 99¢ Only stores are created equal. Or stocked equal. Like you, I’ll go to that one on Ventura in Woodland Hills (the one that always has customers bringing their dogs inside, you know, after they and their pets have managed to negotiate around whatever cadre of solicitors from dubious “charitable” organizations are hovering right outside the door)…


    …and I’ll find delicious, high-quality, name brand wieners — delicious, high-quality, name brand wieners that I don’t find at other locations.

    Or, I’ll head over to that one in Simi Valley and find a nourishing breakfast entree, like this…


    …that I wouldn’t look twice at in a grocery store, but since I assume it goes for like ten bucks there, I feel compelled to pick it up here for 99¢ only just because it’s a good deal. Update: I did a little research (which is what I do here for you, what, six readers), and it turns out they sell for an astronomical $2.00 at Walmart. That’s more than double 99¢ Only’s low, low price. Let me break it down for you: By purchasing this at 99¢ Only I saved a whopping 99¢ only plus another two cents. And for the record, I still assume they go for more at one of your so-called “super” markets, so even though it’s sat in my freezer for the last month and I have little interest in eating it, experts will tell you: buying this was a shrewd move on my part.

    And don’t even get me started on that 99¢ Only location in Van Nuys! Oh, I don’t have to tell you – I’m sure you know as well as I do: Filthy toilet of a neighborhood, true!, and yet, the most amazing items specific to that particular store! Example? Oh, how about delicious Nabisco Mallomars…


    …by the God-blessed palletful! Oh yes. And there were two displays of them, each piled high as you please! As big as a man, they were! A large square man, it would seem. Let me tell you — in your wildest dreams you cannot imagine the marvelous surprises that await you at the Van Nuys store. So do me a favor, pal, and stay away — I kind of like to be the only one of us who finds the neat-o deals. You understand.

    Anyway, the point is, you go to different 99¢ Only stores, you’re going to find different products, sometimes! So I had high hopes for the Las Vegas location I visited. High hopes indeed!

    Here’s what I found there:


    And that was about it. Bleah.

    Oh, this Nevada 99¢ Only had all the usual stuff that all their Southern California brothers carried, but aside from these boxes of unsold-store-stock-from-last-October Limited Edition Pebbles cereal, there was nothing I saw that was unique to this location.

    We’ve talked about the Pebbles family of cereals before, haven’t we? Ah yes, here and here.

    And what I find fascinating, and now you do, too, is that without the adjectives “Cocoa” or “Fruity” in front of it, “Pebbles” — which on the original two varieties described the size and shape of the cereal itself — now seems to specifically reference the Flintstones’ baby girl, featured prominently on the box, much like Dora is on Dora the Explorer cereal, or Spongebob on Spongebob Squarepants cereal.  But unlike Dora or Spongebob, no one under the age of thirty has any idea who the hell Pebbles Flintstone is.

    That’s kind of interesting, right? Sure.

    Anyway, most of the cereal blogs out there, when they’re updated at all, offer very little coverage in the way of your seasonal offerings, so as a public service to you, the cereal eating public, I bought a box for 99¢ only and will now review it for you:


    Post Limited Edition Pebbles Candy Corn Flavor Cereal


    Name of cereal: Post Limited Edition Pebbles Candy Corn Flavor Cereal
    Manufacturer: Post
    Longterm Availability: Limited Edition
    Cereal shape: Pebbles
    Flavor: Candy Corn Flavor
    Type of breakfast food: Cereal
    Found at: 99¢ Only store
    Price Paid: 99¢ only


    Prominence of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm on box: 9.5
    Current pop cultural relevance of featured characters: 1.25 (I love “The Flintstones.” Believe me, I hated to have to give this such a low score. I’ll do what I can to make it up elsewhere and bring its overall grade back up.)
    Detail of cereal pieces enlarged to show texture on box front: 9.75
    Balance of orange, yellow and whitish cereal pieces: 9.75
    Uniqueness of seasonal cereal theme (Halloween): 9.75

    Okay, that should even things out, right?

    Unfortunately, no. Because here are the problems:

    • There was no prize inside. Back when I was a kid, it was the law: your cereal was federally mandated to come with a prize inside. Here’s my vintage Cap’n Crunch regulation-size soccer ball that was included in specially marked boxes of Cap’n Crunch back in 1972:


    Fascinatingly, not only does it depict the Captain as he’d look after numerous redesigns forty years in the future, it was also shipped in the boxes fully inflated, which tended to crush the cereal into powder (which somehow still cut the roof of your mouth!) and made the boxes bloated, misshapen, distended…and impossible to keep from rolling off the shelves. Thus they were only in the stores for a few days before they were recalled, making this perhaps the rarest of Cap’n Crunch IBPs. (In-Box Prizes. Industry term.) Still, as prizes go, it’s one of my favorites. My point is, you want my seal of approval on your cereal, you better give me a decent prize.


    • Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm dressed as a Wiccan and a vampire? The whole concept behind the cereal doesn’t make any sense! We’re supposed to believe these characters lived thousands of years ago, in the stone age, and somehow they’re celebrating Halloween, i.e, the birth of Christ, millennia before Jesus himself went trick-or-treating in Nazareth (but only at the homes of people who left their porch lights on and didn’t mark their doors with lambs’ blood, if I recall my Sunday School lessons correctly).


    • The back of the box features a photo of Halloween snacks and a recipe. What’s going on here? I’m expecting some delightfully garish and off-model illustrations of the gang from Bedrock challenging me to, I dunno, probably a maze constructed by palm trees, boulders and brontosaurus necks — and instead I’ve got an overly complicated 14-ingredient, 13-step set of directions to make something called “Whoopie Pies” (which by the way no one ever heard of two years ago but is now one of those trendy foods that’s all over your precious “Pinterest.”).

    And finally — and there are those who might suggest this is the most important:


    • It don’t taste nothing like candy corn. It’s just…sweet. It tastes sort of familiar, like some other cereal, but I can’t quite put my finger (or tongue) on it. (I can put my finger on my tongue, and I frequently do, but given how infrequently I wash my hands, this probably accounts for all my canker sores. …Which now that I think of it, might explain how little I was able to discern any kind of candy corn taste. So take this last critique of the cereal with a grain of salt. No, please, take it. I have no need for a grain of salt that’ll just further irritate my cankered tongue.)

    Bottom line, the only way this stuff is bueno is if, 30 years from now, I unpack the carefully preserved package from my stockpile of old cereal boxes and list it on whatever eBay-like auction site exists then and sell it for a ton of cash. And for that to happen, I need for everyone else who saved their Halloween Pebbles boxes for eventual re-sale as collectibles to perish in some sort of cataclysmic event that fortuitously spares everyone who collects old food packaging but needs this particular box. Could happen. In fact, my entire retirement plan counts on it.

    Anyway, while 99¢ Only in Las Vegas didn’t hold a lot of wonderful surprises for me, at least they had 7-pound bags of ice for 99¢ Only, and that’s the main reason I went there. I make it a point to fill up my hotel room bathtub with ice before I go out irresponsibly gambling and binge-drinking. That way, whoever steals my kidney isn’t relying on hotel-provided ice. I learned that the hard way a few years ago when I woke up in a shallow tub of lukewarm water with a Post-It note on my forehead apologizing that the ice machine at the end of the hall was out of order.


    I’d tell you the whole story but I’ve got to go. I just had a sip of iced tea and now I have to tinkle like a race horse.

    Posted by on April 27, 2015, 1:42 PM.

  4. Wendy’s Ghost Pepper Fries — A Review!

    IT WAS Maya Angelou who famously said, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has answers, it sings because it has Ghost Pepper Fries” — a sentiment which held little meaning for me before the events of this past week transpired and when I fortuitously wandered into my local Wendy’s quick-serve (as they like to say) restaurant yesterday.

    There on the illuminated menu board, or IMB, was news of a brand new, presumably available-for-a-limited-time offering known as, yes!, Ghost Pepper Fries, which might prove to — however briefly! — take my mind off other issues, and refocus it on the soon-to-be searing pain afflicting my tongue and esophagus (and later, I guessed, other parts of my digestive system). Or so I’d expected.


    The ghost pepper, or jalapeño fantasmo as it’s called in Spanish-speaking countries, probably, is well-known as the hottest pepper on the face of the earth, measuring 212 decibals on the Richter scale, which can easily result in permanent tasting loss in the lower frequency range. It has a well-deserved reputation as the world’s deadliest pepper.

    Wendy’s is now offering it diced and sprinkled delicately atop a bed of cheese-covered fries.

    Screw it,  sign me up — what the hell do I have to live for? Some say I have death wish; others might conclude I just don’t care anymore.


    I ordered my usual meal — Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe, Value Soft Drink (Diet Coke — I’m watching my figure. Someone’s got to!) and Value Fries, but then here’s what I did: I flipped the gal behind the counter a couple extra quarters and upgraded [industry term] to these Ghost Pepper Fries of theirs. (Buy ’em separately and they’ll set you back $1.99. Prices vary by location, I imagine.)

    Here’s what I got:


    The verdict: Eh, they’re, uh…they’re good.

    French fries topped with cheese and peppers: What’s not to like? I love spicy food, though I do have my limits when it comes to the really hot stuff. But these were a walk in the park, and surprisingly, not a walk in the park where you’re suddenly doubled over, clenching, clenching, looking for a public restroom that isn’t already occupied with homeless men washing out their underpants in the sink or loitering in a stall, hoping to earn a quick 50¢ to upgrade to Ghost Pepper Fries of their own.

    I’d go so far as to say that among a tray of fried potato slivers, cheese sauce and chopped-up jalapeños reportedly grown by Lucifer himself, these raw, diced peppers were the healthiest, or the least health-compromising, part of this side dish.

    More importantly, I’ve finally realized something about America and food and the 21st century:

    As with everything else today, food trends too are moving faster than ever. Believe it or not, we’ve already reached peak sriracha saturation and it’s clear that ghost peppers are the next big thing. And just like sriracha sauce, there’s no definitive, industry-wide standard for ghost peppers. Seems you can call anything a ghost pepper and there’s never any danger of being hauled up in front of a Congressional hearing to explain yourself.


    I’ve a pal who’s growing something called “ghost peppers” in his garden this year, and they’re probably no closer to Bhut jolokia, the “true” Asian ghost pepper (illustrated a few paragraphs above, courtesy your precious Wikipedia), than the vaguely spicy peppers with which Wendy’s is garnishing their new menu item.

    But like I said, these so-called “Ghost Pepper Fries” weren’t bad. They used all the ingredients in their basket, they got everything on the plate in time, and most importantly, presentation was flawless. If this were “Chopped,” Wendy’s would be moving onto the next round, which I imagine will involve something like a salted caramel burger on a red velvet bun.

    *  *  * *  *  *

    Update! [From a day after I posted this.]

    Reader Mail: “Ted you [expletive deleted]! No one claimed the peppers on top are ghost peppers. They’re obviously jalapeños. There’s a ghost pepper sauce that they put on with the cheese. Maybe you should actually do some research before you go railing against Wendy’s, a national treasure.”

    My Response: Maybe you should actually Shut! Up!  Thanks for writing! Your t-shirt is on its way!

    Any and all information about these Ghost Pepper Fries at my local Wendy’s was limited to the picture on the IMB, or Illuminated Menu Board, and if there were any specifics about what actually constituted Ghost Pepper Fries, in particular the ghost pepper aspect of them  — and I don’t think there was — it was in print too tiny to read.

    Okay, so apparently the “ghost pepper” element comes from some sauce that my taste buds and I didn’t even notice was commingling with the cheese. Bottom line: These fries were not “ghost pepper” hot; they were still good; and I stand by my assertion that “ghost pepper” has already become a trendy, ridiculous food buzzword that ultimately means nothing.

    Folks, keep those cards & letters coming!

    Posted by on April 10, 2015, 3:07 PM.

  5. In Memoriam: Mr. Whiskers

    MR. WHISKERS never asked to be thrust into the bright, blaring spotlight that this fabulously successful website generated.

    Indeed, it was out of respect for privacy that I changed his name and gender so he wouldn’t be mobbed by the, what, six readers this blog usually has.

    Her name was in fact Sarah, and she was a lady, if we were to concede there exists ladies who, when a can of Friskies is being opened, are frequently so completely overcome by anticipation and ecstasy that they clasp a paw around a naked ankle and gleefully dig in claws and teeth.

    I suspect we connected because we are both misanthropic loners living in a place we detest: misery loves company. She originally belonged to the neighbors and based on the fact that she spent almost all of her time in my side yard — specifically on my car (and presumably before I lived here, on a previous resident’s vehicle) — she was not happy in her own yard, nor was she particularly fond of the number of other cats that inhabited it.

    A scaredy-cat personified (feline-ified?), Sarah was extremely timid and not an overtly friendly creature to anyone but me — a relationship that developed over a few years. I’ll spare you the innumerable, ponderous, interesting-to-no-one cat stories save this one anecdote: Before she “officially” became mine but after she had made the move from car to back porch, ever closer to inside my house, she was sitting on a patio table there one day when I was about to go for a run. I bent down to tie my sneaker, my head at about table level. Then I felt it: A fuzzy forehead pressed against my own and held there for a few seconds. This cat who to her dying day was never one to shower affection (indeed, the only time she was ever in my lap was when I held her as she was euthanized) spontaneously decided to mark me as hers with her noggin-based cat-glands, as some cat experts would interpret this act, or as others suggest, identifying me as safe and someone she could trust.

    Either way, she was right: from that moment on, she owned me, and she had no further need to worry about anything. That trust was well-placed. I didn’t let her down and made the last five years of her life very, very comfortable.

    Still, I got the better end of that deal.


    Posted by on April 6, 2015, 1:09 PM.

  6. Go Ahead! Guess!

    LIKE ME, you love those “What-Is-It?” features in magazines and game shows and whatnot, where they take a closeup photo of something and demand that you guess what it is.

    So here’s one I came up with just for you!

    Guess what this is!


    If you guessed, uh, I dunno, a bunch of popcorn crammed into some sort of popcorn ball…you’re wrong!  But you may not be too far off! Nope, nope—not a scoop of yummy chocolate chip ice cream, either. What’s that? ‘Detail of the nooks and crannies of a delicious Thomas’ English Muffin?’ Good guess, but no! Hmm! What could it be?

    Let’s pull out a bit and let you guess again:


    Some manner of fungus found under a rock, attached to a tree stump, growing between my toes? Good, reasonable guesses, each one — yet all equally incorrect!

    What could it be?!

    Want to take another look?


    “I recognize that!” I hear someone say, “Those are NASA photos of the surface of some far-away planet, with craters and ridges eerily resembling otherworldly faces, etched by millennia of violent meteor showers and enormous asteroids bombarding the extraterrestrial surface— or perhaps carved there by some ancient civilization.”

    Fascinating! And you, sir or madam, are 100%…wrong!  Ha!

    Here, try again:


    Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. “Parsnips, you sneak!” you bellow. “That’s the bedroom from your old apartment when you came home from vacation and found that the cottage-cheese acoustic ceiling was soaking wet from a leak in the roof, and dripped down for a full week onto your bed ruining those Huckleberry Hound bedsheets you’d had since you were a kid, and you, like a jerk, ended up settling with that cheap bastard of a landlord of yours for a hell of a lot less than you should’ve, you-jackass-you!”

    Close! In fact, when you mentioned “ceiling” you were very warm — superheated, even!

    Because it is in fact…


    …the ceiling inside my microwave oven! And despite how terribly unsanitary/unsafe it appears, turns out this is the best microwave I’ve ever owned! And I’ll prove it by cooking a Banquet chicken pot pie for you.





    Cooks in half the time the box says, and that’s with it just sitting on the counter near the microwave!

    Posted by on April 3, 2015, 11:55 AM.

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