HERE’S what’s bueno at the dollar store, specifically Super Dollar, that one down the street from me:
Why, it’s a 2-pack of boys briefs — and you know they’re good: They’ve got the Spongebob Squarepants Seal of Approval on ’em!
See, they help build self-esteem and promote a healthy self-image — by reinforcing the message to the wearer that he’s gorgeous.
My rating: 6 out of 7 dollar signs, on account of I covered the “girls boxer” version of these two years ago, and now it’s — hold on, let me do the math — now it’s two years later, and rather than Nickelodeon/Viacom having shut them down, somehow these creepy underpants have become a dollar store staple.
And as you collectors know, the best items in any extensive collection of a licensed property are always the unauthorized items.
But if my Jedi Mind Trick didn’t work on you, and it is the non-dairy coffee creamer you’re looking for, and you’re a collector, here’s a tip: There’s mint-in-package and there’s rancid French Vanilla in package, the latter of which is what you’ll get if you don’t empty it out before you give it an honored space next to your vinyl-cape Jawa and your Topps C3P0 penis card. And brother, if you don’t pour it out, eventually that plastic bottle’s going to swell and swell and swell…and then following a sudden explosion of Death Star proportions, you’re going to be spending the next few months cleaning chunkified high oleic soybean oil off of every piece of Star Wars memorabilia you’ve spent the last 38 years collecting. Or I guess the short version of all that is: “Oh geez, look, R2D2 Coffee Mate.”
While we’re discussing Star Wars, there’s this, too, which I also saw at Walmart today:
As with all inflatable Christmas lawn decorations, it’s hideous and you wouldn’t want it on your lawn or your neighbors’ lawn or anywhere that you’d have to see it, and you’d be forgiven if you ran merrily around your neighborhood with a steak knife and permanently disabled any you could find. (You’d be forgiven by me, anyway. I don’t have much sway with your neighbors, the homeowners association, or the local police.) The point is, as awful is it is, it still makes some sense in an absurd and not particularly funny way, and I get it.
This one I don’t get:
It’s just a Star Wars character. On your lawn. And, uh, it happens to be Christmastime.
As horrible and ridiculous as the other one is, at least they tied it into Christmas by having Darth Vader take a break from choking disbelievers to death and building a snowman and tossing wrapped presents around it.
Couldn’t they give this guy a corncob pipe or something? A button nose? Two eyes made out of carbonite, maybe?
MAN, I tell ya — seems despite all the bueno stuff available at the 99¢ Only store lately, I’ve been seriously remiss in covering what’s bueno over there — distracted, as I often am, by collectibles from Dollar Tree — their arch-rival!
So let’s see if we can make up for that with this:
Holy cow! It’s a quarttannaug for just 99¢ only!
Whoa, slow down, Ted — you’re so excited, people won’t be able to understand you! They’ll think you’re blogging about obscure Massachusetts port towns now!
Okay, okay… Deep breath…
All right, like I was saying, it’s a full-on quart of nog — specifically Silk brand Almond Nog, pumpkin spice variety, for 99¢ Only.
Oh, you know I bought a quart! You know I did!
I think what sold me on it was the gift tag-like label — the sign of good taste!
So I got it home, and I had a glass! A glasannaug, sure.
Steady, Ted, steady…
The best way I can describe it is it’s kind of like the non-GMO, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free drinkable equivalent of a collect-’em-all bike bag.
Wait wait wait! That’s not a bad thing.
Silk brand Pumpkin Spice flavored Almond Nog is kind of holiday-themed, so that’s nice.
It’s just that it’s pretty much impossible getting away from the concept of “egg” when you’ve already committed to “nog.” I mean, how many other nogs can you name?
I’m sorry, WhiteWave Foods, benificent makers of Silk brand Almond Nog, but seriously: Anything other than “egg” that precedes “nog” is a punchline in reverse. You’d have been better off calling it “Faux Egg Nog.”
And as you all know — or should know, if you’ve invited me to any holiday get-togethers, I love pumpkin pie. Love it, love it, looooooove-it! Mmm-mm! Good pie! Good pie!
But “pumpkin-spice almond nog”…? All kindsa things can go wrong there.
The nog wasn’t bad, though the nog tasted a little artificial. And you know how I feel about artificially banana-flavored stuff. Don’t make me extend that one-item list to include “pumpkin spice.”
Bottom line? Bottom line regarding the nog? I’m happy I paid just 99¢ only for it.
Having said all that: I’m not allergic to gluten, I’m not lactose-intolerant, I don’t have some sort of stupid ethical dilemma with dairy items. So you’re getting the opinion of a guy who bought a quarttanaug simply because it was 99¢. Perhaps if I was stymied by any of those problems, I might appreciate it more, and by the way, I think we all appreciate how I’ve dismissed legitimate medical issues with the fun verb “stymy.”
Look, it’s late and I’m just digging myself in deeper here, so let’s end this now:
My Rating: 5.5 out of 7 Dollar Signs. On account of it’s not bad, it’s got really low fat (so low that I drank the whole quarttannaug in one gulping and wasn’t concerned about my trim girlish figure), and it’s probably good for you people who are still on that ridiculous “gluten-free” kick.
TODAY’S What’s Bueno item comes from our good friends at Dollar Tree, on account of it seems we never do enough What’s Buenos from them.
So in the spirit of the season, I’m doing a What’s Bueno from them today.
Anyway, it’s this thing:
It’s a bike bag!
Look carefully at the photo on the package — now, do you suppose it was an artistic decision to just show half of the bike inside the bag so there’s no question as to what a “bike bag” is used for…or does this bike bag, in fact, only fit half a bike?
Well, the bag apparently measures 60″ x 72″ so I’m guessing it’s the former. But, perhaps we’ll never know, because as it turns out, I didn’t buy this bike bag.
[ Just so you know…? I checked with my attorney and he tells me that I’m well within my rights reviewing items for “¡What’s Bueno at the Dollar Store!” without actually buying them. Well within my rights. In fact, I might as well just come clean, before that Michael Moore documentary on me comes out — a lot of times, I don’t even buy the damn ¡What’s Bueno at the Dollar Store! items that I review. Sheesh, what do you think — that I’m made out of dollars? ]
Anyway, what makes this Christmas House™ brand bike bag such a delight is this, at the bottom of the package:
Apparently, not only do you, what, six regular readers think I’m made of dollars, the Christmas House™ people think I’m made out of bicycles, and expect that I’ll be giving away four of them this Christmas and thus would have a reason for “Collect[ing] All 4 Designs.”
And to that I say, “Thanks a lot, Christmas House™, for spoiling the surprise.”
The cat is out of the bicycle bag: Four of you can expect shiny new bicycles in wonderful 60″ x 72″ bicycle bags under your tree this year from me.
Two of you, however, severely disappointed me — you know who you are! – and you’ll be getting nothing but cold Almond Nog & abuse from me this holiday season.
My Rating: 3.5 out of 7 Dollar Signs. Eh, probably perfectly serviceable as a bike bag, but let’s face it: It’s only being showcased here because of that genius “Collect All 4 Designs” bit.
After you’ve watched The Wiz live tonight on NBC, if you’re still hankerin’ for a new and different take on a beloved musical, check out this LP I saw in a thrift store (but left there for you):
It’s The Black Mikado!
Hmm…culturally-insensitively-written Asian characters traditionally played by white actors now being played by African-American actors?
Wow, I don’t even know where to begin with who I’m offended by this one, but I’ll start with Goodwill, who wanted $2.99 for it.
HERE’S one for you gals among my, what, six readers: Seen on, and grabbed from, the free book cart at my local municipal book-lending distribution center, or library — and just in time for football season, which I understand will be starting up again soon!
A Woman’s Guide to Football!
Featuring the ol’ pigskin right on the cover, but, whaddayacall, femmanized, dere, with a pretty pink bow and a spray of flowers atop! Adorable!
It’s a “Dell Purse Book,” so it fits handily right into those purses you ladies are always carrying around.
Published by the good folks at Dell Publishing in 1969, what amounts to a foreword, under the heading “Forever On Sunday,” begins thusly:
Had the housewife of 1869 been able to see ahead, chances are she’d have stormed to New Brunswick, New Jersey and plunged her Victorian hatpin into the backsides of 22 students (from Rutgers and Princeton) who were assembled to play the first football game on record. But Granny was no soothsayer and as it turned out, her lack of foresight didn’t matter for the better part of a century. Until the 1950s, Sunday was a restful day — a time for visiting, taking a stroll, enjoying a leisurely dinner. But I guess you know, lady, things have changed . This is the age of television and the era of football, and between the two, you haven’t got a chance.
It goes on to gently warn readers that “it’s time for the women of America learned this new adage: The family that prays for the home team together stays together.”
Good advice, you’ll agree. And it just gets better from there, brother! …er, sister!
“A Woman’s Guide to Football” was written by Hy Goldberg, and as best as I can divine from thirty seconds of searching on the internet, it’s the only book the man wrote. A shame, too — the man had such a talent for writing for a female audience. Clearly, if he were around today, he’d be a regular contributor on “Bustle.”
Good heavens, even if you become passionate about the sport, don’t start absorbing too much knowledge — the ongoing existence of your marriage may depend on it! Besides, no one likes a smart woman!
“A Woman’s Guide to Football” is written in a question-and-answer format, with one of those, ha!, typically hapless, sports-baffled ladies posing questions and Hy patiently answering them.
Well, mostly patiently: Occasionally, even our author gets a bit frustrated (and who can blame him?), such as seen in this exchange:
…and so on.
Here’s how supermarket-checkout-counter-impulse-buying women of the late 1960s and early 1970s learned football, with examples chosen specifically not for Mr. Goldberg’s knowledge of the game, but rather for his approach towards addressing the feminine sex:
If you manage your time well enough, honey, you can probably baste the roast and take your curlers out!
While Hy does attempt something resembling politeness, occasionally referring to the reader as “ma’am,” more often he has nicknamed the reader, all readers, all women everywhere, as “Alice.”
But even “Alice” has her limits being talked down to:
Though when one remembers that it’s Hy writing both sides of the conversation, even “Alice’s” attempts at sticking up for herself become irrelevant.
Ah, yes: “the fancy place-kicker.”
“Old girl.” Apparently “Alice” is now a beloved horse.
Steady, Hy. Remember, this is all new to Alice.
Alice may grasp it, but she’s already been warned about being a know-it-all, so if she’s smart (and she shouldn’t be!), she’ll still act confused.
The “reader” finally gets to assert herself at the end, and explain that she’s not “Alice.” But not before ol’ Hy hits a game-winning home run of a hat trick (to use some of my own football knowledge) with this triple play of condescending misogyny:
One can only imagine the guys around Dell’s purse book division in the late 60s patting Hy Goldberg and themselves on the back for this one. “A masterpiece, Hy. And women can’t complain — because we let them ‘have the last word!'”
Anyway, after having picked this thing up and flipped through it with you, I realize there’s no way on earth this book would ever be published today.
And for good reason:
Any publisher would go broke selling an informative little volume like this for only two bits!
…And that staccato click-click-click-click, fellas, is the last of my female readers stamping their pretty little high-heeled shod-feet away from my blog.
Seriously, though — I’ve come across this particular Dell Purse book a few times over the years, and not surprisingly, they’re always in excellent condition. Were they purchased by women themselves who were making an attempt to learn the game and immediately turned off by the author’s condescending tone, or bought by husbands to give to their wives (with the same result)?
I guess we’ll never know, Alice.
Before he freed the slaves, young Abe Lincoln was well-known not only for splitting rails, but splitting pairs.
Update! Adds a pal: “Young Lincoln?! That’s clearly a photo of Robert ‘F’ Kennedy!”
Yes, yes, well, I can see that now, but where was this reader at two-thirty in the morning when I was drunkenly posting this? Besides, what clever wordplay could possibly have accompanied that? Something about cashing in your chips at the Ambassador Hotel? See, it doesn’t work.
Too Soon? Too Soon?
What?! It’s not even Thanksgiving and I’m bypassing that holiday for Christmas stuff?!
Yes. Maybe we’ll get to Thanksgiving tomorrow. For all, what, six of you that still visit regularly.
So here’s the deal: You know I have a love / sometimes-not-love-so-much relationship with 99¢ Only stores.
But mostly it’s love. Awww…!
When they sold all of their Halloween items for a buck a piece back in October, and then two Halloween items for a buck still in October, I was both stunned and delighted, as you were.
Now, they’re selling all their Christmas accoutrements for 99¢ only, and they have a lot of good stuff.
But what I really liked, at least for now, as it approaches two in the morning and I have a lot of other work to do and I want to go to bed at some point tonight, but I still want to throw something up here quickly…
…is this thing:
It’s a “Solar Dancing Yeti,” and you’ll agree it’s wonderful.
You’ll also agree it’s like the Abominable Snowman from “Rudolph” and one of the “Where the Wild Things Are” creatures engaged in some unholy, monstrous, violent lovemaking, possibly even rolling off the edge of a cliff while intertwined, crushing both Max and Yukon Cornelius in the process, and the result, 22 months later (the normal gestation period for apelike cryptids) was this little fella.
Anyway, it’s magnificent, it’s a delight, it’s very late, it’s just been awarded our highest rating of seven dollar signs, do pick one up, good night, and we’ll see you all tomorrow.
My Rating: 7 out of 7 Dollar Signs. For the love of Christmas, buy one!
. . .yes, my Dad still does have that jar of Musterole that was in our house when I was growing up in the 1970s — which seemed old then, and that has traveled with him over the past 40 years or so across three states and a few more living situations than that.
Still got about a third left, too!
According to my calculations, he’ll be in danger of running out in about 2039.
And I was able to figure that out with this…
…the same Casio calculator he’s had since about 1977.
Perhaps most troubling is how amenable the principal is to Woodsy’s idea.