1. Last Minute Costume Idea!


    Pick one of these up at Dollar Tree and you can go as Darth Vader performing court-mandated community service picking up trash alongside the road.

    Of course this presumes you already own a full Darth Vader costume that you can wear the vest on top of.

    Posted by on October 30, 2015, 2:07 AM.

  2. [Keep] Baby Alive!


    Here’s a Halloween surprise for you, from the good folks at that thrift store up near my gym!

    A coupla, whaddayacall, suitcases!  Just sittin’ there in the appliance section! 

    Two of them, there were!


    Turns out I’m in the market for a good quality used suitcase!  This fits the bill!


    Wait a second, it seems kind of heavy!  Maybe there’s something inside…

    Why, there is something inside!


    Oh my — it’s Resusci Baby!


    He’s adorable!

    But since there’s two suitcases…  Could it be…?


    Yes!  It’s Resusci Baby’s twin brother! Oh how will we ever tell ’em apart?!

    Of course…!


    By wrapping electrical tape around one of their wrists — just like they do in the maternity wards of our better hospitals.


    “I love you Resusci Baby!”

    Resusci Baby comes in his own carrying case. Resusci Baby’s twin brother sold separately. By Hasbr—


    …er, by Laerdal Medical Corp.

    Posted by on October 29, 2015, 11:44 AM.

  3. ¿What’s Bueno at the Dollar Store? This Tablet From Super Dollar!

    SUPER Dollar’s an anomaly among my local dollar stores.

    It opened about four years ago in a mid-sized retail location along busy Topanga Canyon Boulevard here in the lovely San Fernando Valley.

    Coupla strange things about Super Dollar:

    It originally didn’t look like a no-name, one-off dollar store. The logo, the signage inside — it seemed to be one of a chain of stores, like 99¢ Only and Dollar Tree. But it’s the only “Super Dollar” around (though there are Super Dollars on the East Coast with a slightly different logo). I get the impression my local Super Dollar was possibly an unfortunate franchise opportunity for someone who didn’t realize around here, independent dollar stores do fine without any big name.

    The other weird thing was that the store had about twice as much space as it had merchandise, so it always looked understocked.

    But they remedied that about two years ago when they closed off roughly half of the interior of the store and rented it to another business, and brought in a bunch more shelves and a ton more merchandise for the area they kept.


    Now that’s a dollar store, dammit!

    My favorite recent item, and now yours, can be found in the toy aisle:


    It’s a tablet, and while it doesn’t have a ton of memory to download a huge number of apps, neither is it prone to crashing.

    It’s great for kids as well as professionals, such as those who design labels for jars of peppers — frankly, I think this tagline on the package…


    …kind of says it all.

    So the choice is yours: An Apple iPad starting at about $400 if you insist on going with a name brand, or this more economical choice for a dollar.


    My rating: 4-1/2 out of 7 Dollar Signs.

    I would have awarded a higher score except this manufacturer is known for the rapid obsolescence of its products: There’s already rumors that the next generation tablet will feature a foam sponge over 1/8″ larger in overall area and an unlicensed, crudely traced image of Elsa from “Frozen” on the box of chalk.

    Posted by on , 2:45 AM.

  4. ¿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.”


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


    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.


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

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

  5. ¿What’s Bueno At The Dollar Store? Dr. Jekyll & Mr. David Hyde Pierce!

    HERE’S what’s bueno at your local Dollar Tree for Halloween: Scary lenticular portraits!

    Lenticulars (“flickers” some people call ’em) are those plastic-ridgy pictures where you look at it one way, you see one image, you look at it another way, you see a different image, and you look at it the wrong way and it’ll kick your ass.

    These dual-image Halloween prints in the dollar stores have been around for a few years now — but this particular one bears worth mentioning:


    First of all, it’s pretty damn big:  The main image is about 7″ by about 11″ and with its “frame” it measures about 12″ by 16″.

    But more than that — it looks like David Hyde Pierce!

    I mean, it’s not just me, this is a manipulated photo of David Hyde Pierce, isn’t it?  They took a picture of him and messed around with it, right? Gave him glasses, drew on a mustache (poorly), maybe put him in different clothes, and called it a day, I’m thinking.

    Compare & contrast for yourself!


    Okay, well, that’s not helping my case.

    It’s almost as though it looks more like Mr. Pierce if you don’t have an actual photograph of the actor to compare it to. But still, you’ll agree it sort of evokes the feeling of David Hyde Pierce.

    Unfortunately, this being a lenticular, it’s very difficult to photograph it decently and not get either a glare off the plastic ridges or a partial view of the secondary image (in this case, a skeleton):


    Be that as it may, we’re rating this Halloween Lenticular From Dollar Tree That May Or May Not Have Used A Photograph Of David Hyde Pierce As Its Source Material…


    5 out of 7 dollar signs!

    …because it’s so big, it looks pretty cool, and, most of, because we’d all like to imagine a scene in “Frasier” where Niles enters his brother’s apartment carrying Dollar Tree bags (perhaps during the lean days of his separation from Maris) and announcing, “Apparently there’s something called a ‘dollar store’…”

    Posted by on , 2:41 AM.

  6. Recently, @Wendy’s!

    “Budek!  Just got a memo from Corporate!  They want us to push— …Budek? Budek!”

    “Choost a second! I yim almost finished. …Annnd sended!  Jes, what is it, Boss?”

    “Budek, shame on you! You know my policy against smartphone use during work hours! Put that thing away!

    Anyway, Corporate wants us to push the spicy chicken sandwich! We want customers to know we’ve added our own special mix of spices — black pepper, red pepper, and chili pepper to their favorite chicken breast. Topped with mayo, lettuce, and red, ripe tomato, Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is more delicious and harder to resist than ever.

    So up on your ladder, Budek, and make me proud!”


    “Hold on, Boss. ‘Can’t…chat…now…boss…being…’ Boss, how is it you spell the bag of dush?”

    “The sign, Budek, the sign!”



    Posted by on October 22, 2015, 10:17 PM.

  7. Apparently Bollywood Is Officially Out Of Original Ideas!

    …because judging by this poster, it seems they’ve now remade “It’s Pat.”



    What took them so long?!

    Posted by on October 19, 2015, 3:57 AM.

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


    If Joe Besser were alive today…


    …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 , 3:52 AM.

  9. Editorializing In The Donation Processing Center?!


    Someone in the back room of a local thrift store has some definite views on a popular Southern California tourist attraction…


    Or who knows? Maybe it was donated that way.

    You think that’s bad — you should have seen what some joker wrote on a pair of promotional Planned Parenthood salad tongs I saw in the silverware section.

    This is why I don’t allow comments, folks.

    Posted by on October 17, 2015, 3:01 AM.

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

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


    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:


    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.


    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.


    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.)  


    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:


    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!



    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?


    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 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:


    And this one, much more vicious:


    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!


    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!


    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.


    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!


    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.


    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.


    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.

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