Saw this ceramic delight in my local Salvation Army.
A hand-painted Mickey Mouse ashtray!
I think we can presume it is currently the record holder for speed in the Received-As-A-Gift, Donated-To-A-Thrift-Store category.
SOME WEEKS AGO, in an effort to get fresh content out there where it’ll do everyone some good in a more timely manner, we introduced a new, uh, dealie there:
Instead of simply
we now have
which means I can now legally tell you what things are bueno — a Slovak word meaning “nifty,” sure — from all sorts of dollar stores, not just the Big Two, as we call them here in Southern California. Oh yes — we’re no longer limited to 99¢ Only or Dollar Tree! I can shop with confidence at all those crappy, no-name dollar stores, too! Well, with as much confidence as those garbage dumps inspire, and ho ho, brother, it ain’t much!
And what’s more, I’ll be rating all these items in terms of their buenocity. For instance, something’s a great deal? Bam! I’ll give it seven dollar signs, just like that, so you know it’s good. Something’s ridiculous, a big waste of money, but I thought you should know so you steer clear (because I’m just that kind of a caring guy)? One lousy dollar sign, if that!
What’s really great is that these changes to the Ted Parsnips model allows me that necessary loophole to review items that are being sold for more than 99¢ only from the increasingly-in-name-only 99¢ Only store (which I swore to God on a stack of 99¢ Only printed-in-China bibles I’d never ever do).
I’m not quite sure how this provides me this loophole, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it does, because, really, what do you care?
So, let’s get started and see how this works!
A Gallon of Kraft Ranch Dressing!
It’s a frickin’ gallon of name brand ranch dressing for 99¢ only, therefore,
7 out of 7 dollar signs, obviously.
See, that was pretty painless. Now, the whole thing’s a work in progress, though, so expect some changes, or, more likely, expect me to just lose interest in the whole thing or accidentally and permanently delete all the little dollar sign rating icons I spent eight weeks creating.
But just to prove to you that it works for any dollar store, let’s do another one:
We would’ve given it 7 dollar signs, but it claims to be authentic…
…and I sat outside blowing in this thing for six hours and not a single Sasquatch showed up.
The cops did, however.
Anyway, there you have it. New ¡What’s Bueno! rating system, making your life easier, and God knows, making it easier for me to put new content up here on a regular basis. And on that note, expect even more of the content on here to be dollar store-related, since it’s going to be so much easier now. And shorter, probably, too. Because the internet has spoken! — “We can’t focus for much more than 140 characters now!” — and I have listened! Mostly! (I think this particular post may clock in at around 143 or 144 characters.)
Also, I’ve decided to use something brand new called “social media” — that you’re probably just reading about right here for the first time — to further announce all “What’s Bueno” news, and to that end, I’ve created a new Twitter account to do so – @WhatsBueno99. (It would have just been “@WhatsBueno” but some guy is already using that name, and what kills me is that the account is basically dead. He tweeted a grand total of three times and that was six years ago. If he only knew what kind of gold mine he’s sitting on!)
Anyway, I encourage all of you to follow me on Twitter — and for a limited time, the first five tweets I send out to you will be free. (After that, your credit card will be charged $29.95 per Tweet unless you cancel — ooh, and please be sure to send me your credit card info so we can get started on processing that.)
Also, just to be a jackass, I went ahead and followed all of you who are already following me on that other one, what is it, @TedParsnips, which lately seems to be a repository of pictures from those marvelous 1960s Popeye cartoons.
So, anyway, this should be fun, right?
Here’s one for you comic book fans out there!
How much would you pay for a big bunch of comic books — indeed, a laundry basket full of comic books?
Wait, before you answer: What if I were to sweeten the deal and tell you that they all appear to be fairly recent — oh, between ten and twenty years old? None of that musty old “Golden Age” and “Silver Age” crap here, no sir!
Got a price in mind?
Well, don’t tell me yet, because there’s more: It’s a veritable grab bag! And they’re all packaged up tight as a drum — so as to the actual titles, you won’t know until you get home! Fun!
Now what would you pay?
Hold on! Because you should know that a generous, nay, inordinate amount of packing tape has been used to securely seal them in their plastic tomb, er…tote! That is to say, you don’t have to worry about any of them falling out on the way to the car! Especially the ones on the top, to which the tape is directly, permanently and irremovably adhered to!
So, whaddaya thinking, price-wise…?
Well, what if I were to tell you that you’re wrong, and this treasure chest of comics is available to you for the incredible, amazing, fantastic, uncanny low, low price of…
And don’t forget: You’re getting that laundry basket, too!
MANY of you, what, six readers come here regular for one thing and one thing only: to read our popular feature, “What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store”…
or its sister feature, “What’s Bueno at Dollar Tree”…
the latter which doesn’t pop up nearly as often as it should.
But what I’m hearing from all your emails, letters, postcards, and rocks with notes attached somehow thrown through my computer screen is this:
“Sure, Ted,” you begin, “Sure, this is bueno and that’s bueno, and then this other thing? Bueno. But some things seem bueno for obvious reasons; others not so.”
And you continue: “Why, there’s even been times, Ted, when some of the items you’ve labeled bueno are not bueno at all, and seem so absurd and ridiculous — why, my family and I suspect that you’re just labeling them bueno ironically — oh, we wouldn’t put it past you, you wacky guy!”
Guilty as charged!
So I thought to myself, Ted, I thought, how can we keep the popular feature — and yet make it better for them, what, six readers?
And then it hit me: Another rock flying through the screen.
Got me good, too — 18 stitches, and a Frankenstein-like scar on my forehead the guy at the emergency 24-Hour EconoVet said I’ll carry for life.
But while I was recovering from my concussion, it occurred to me that maybe what I should do is start rating the bueno-icity of these bueno items.
So I got right to work, and came up with this clever rating system: A series of 99¢ Only logos, and the amount of bueno of each item would be conveyed through the number of logos. For instance, something with nine logos would be the most amazing deal you could find at 99¢ Only:
Something with, say 4-1/2 logos would be a pretty good deal (I mean, its inclusion under the What’s Bueno banner already implies it’s bueno).
And, eh, something with just one logo? Or, God forbid, half a logo…?
Let’s just say it’s such a lousy deal that it’s being included only to point out what a lousy deal it is, because it’s unbueno at any price, as I imagine Ralph Nader would say if he had a blog.
Good! Everything set! Ready to go!
…Well, no, because ever since that lawsuit with the Fried Bologna Board of America, the stockholders here at Ted Parsnips LLC say everything I write has to go through Legal first. I tell you, we didn’t have these problems back in the 1950s, when I started blogging!
Those killjoys in Legal were of course worried about the whole rating system, and sent it off to my attorney (Why the hell do I even have a Legal department if they’re just going to send things out to our main lawyer? They’re more useless than the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team, who spend an awful lot of company time developing ideas for some sort of idiotic local Carnival of Cheese event they’re all involved with).
Anyway, my attorney immediately had a conniption [legal term] and said using 99¢ Only store’s own 99¢ Only logo as a rating system would be like poking the 99¢ Only store’s Legal Department with a 99¢ Only stick, to coin a phrase.
“Besides,” he continued, “besides, those rating icons only work for 99¢ Only stores, so, what, you’re going to create a whole set of other rating icons for Dollar Tree and every other goddamn dollar store you go to?! Just how complicated do you want to make this idiotic blog of yours that nobody reads?! It’s not like you’re covering anything interesting — like local cheese carnivals.”
Well, he does have a point, so we gave the old new rating system the heave-ho and came up with a new new rating system, to wit:
The Official Ted Parsnips New What’s Bueno Dollar Store Rating Guide!
And here’s how it goes:
Seven Dollar Signs = The cream of the crop! An unbelievable find! An amazing deal! It doesn’t get any better than this!
You come across whatever I’ve reviewed with these lucky seven dollar signs at a dollar store, you pick ’em up, brother, and you pick up plenty of ’em! This is your best dollar store value, and you’re lucky — damn lucky! — you got a pal like me what tells you about crap like this! Damn lucky!
Six Dollar Signs = Still a really great deal! Just not an absolutely amazing deal! Worth dropping by your local dollar store on the way home from work even if you just ate a bunch of sauerkraut and your stomach is rumbling. Just make it snappy. No dawdling. Who gets to eat sauerkraut at work just before going home? I wish I worked in your office!
Five Dollar Signs = A great deal, but not a really great deal! Head home, deal with the after-effects of your late afternoon sauerkraut snack, then head back out to the store later, but do it tonight.
Four Dollar Si— …Okay, I think you get the idea. The more dollar signs, the more bueno the deal, the fewer dollar signs, the fewer bueno the deal. The scale goes all the way down to…
…No Dollar Signs, which of course means it’s a huge waste of money, even at a dollar.
And as someone who enjoys needlessly complicating things, I’ve of course crafted half-ratings for the whole scale as well…
…such as this Three and a Half Dollar Signs, which is for something that would fall, yes, midway between three dollar signs and four dollar signs. Though we’re both wondering why I bothered since it’s no secret I’m someone who enjoys dealing in extremes and 98% of the ratings will probably be either seven dollar signs or no dollar signs.
Anyway, that’s it! Are you as excited as I am?
Oh boy — I’m sure you can hardly wait for my next post!
HOLY crap! I haven’t “blogged,” as they say, in over a month! What did you, what, six readers do with yourselves?
Well, me, I been busy. But I got something for you today. Oh it’s quick, but don’t worry — you’ll like this one!
Like you, I love peanut butter. And now in addition to peanut butter, there’s this stuff, that looks just like peanut butter, but technically, it’s not peanut butter:
And note that the label reads not “peanut butter” but “peanut and natural honey spread.” [Italics mine.] You’d be forgiven if you just picked this up and bought it thinking it’s peanut butter, because I did the same thing, and if I did it, well, I guess anyone could make the same mistake.
Fact is, it’s actually better than peanut butter. It’s smoother, creamier, and even sweeter than peanut butter. Used to be, every now and then a fellow like me would enjoy a spoonful or two of peanut butter right out of the jar! — if you can believe such a thing. With this stuff, by God, I have a hard time stopping myself from gorging on the entire twenty-eight ounces.
It’s from the good people at Walmart — where America shops for value. But I first stumbled across this type of peanut butter-like spread — as I said, presuming it was peanut butter — at Ralph’s, with their version. But this Walmart house brand [industry term] is even better than Ralph’s house brand [also an industry term].
Anyway, the reason I called you all here today is because of this:
WTF?! [“What the heck?” — blogging industry term.]
I don’t get it. Usually when you see “serving suggestion” on food packaging, it’s being run under a photo of the food as it might be prepared and served.
Here it’s merely words on a label, no photo of the product. Just “serving suggestion.” It makes no sense — no sense at-tall!
Obviously, some lazy package designer in the Great Value Label Department was asleep at the switch.
There, I fixed it.
Walmart, I’ll take payment in a truckload of Great Value Honey Roasted Creamy Peanut and Natural Honey Spread, and believe-me-you, you’re getting off cheap. I could have just as easily contacted the FDA with this and shut your whole operation down.
AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, Sunday night found me driving around aimlessly just to enjoy the air conditioning in my car, on account of the oppressive humidity we’re suffering through here in Southern California — thank you, unseasonable July rainstorm! — when I happened by a Taco Bell (one of those ‘quick-serve’ restaurants we’ve been hearing about).
Sunday night is traditionally pizza night in the Parsnips household, but as I wasn’t in the Parsnips household, but rather in the Parsnips carhold (I guess), why not enjoy a good wholesome dinner from Taco Bell, right? Why not indeed! Like our First Lady says, Taco Bell has the food choices Americans can feel good about!
So I drove up and what do I see but this ad slick [industry term] on the window of the establishment.
The food inventing geniuses at Taco Bell Labs, in cooperation with the Quaker Oats people, probably, just gave us Cap’n Crunch Delights. That cements the deal. I’m going in.
Or rather, I went in. No sense changing tenses mid-stream (to mix metaphors mid-stream).
A side note: Cap’n Crunch Delights are not to be confused with Cap’n Crunch Treats, which we covered here some time ago, and which even might make a cameo appearance elsewhere in this post!
Anyway! I got a few of those Taco Whosits and an order of Nacho Dealies plus a couple of them Burrito McGees, a Chalupa This, an Enchordito That, and a Grilled Stuffed Whatsit or two — on account of you don’t want to just order the Cap’n Crunch Delights alone, because you’ll either look like a pathetic loser or a sad blogger. And yes, those two descriptors are mutually exclusive if only to afford myself some dignity; a man of my age and social standing buying these things.
So, I ordered the rest of the food, as I said, and then, very cleverly, almost as though it was an afterthought, I ordered that which I specifically went in for.
“Yes, that does complete my order,” I responded to the counter-person’s polite inquiry. “But, hullo, what’s this that I’m just noticing now? ‘Cap’n…Crunch…Delights.’ Huh. Huh. Interesting. Well, why not, right? Hold on just a moment, old man! Let’s go ahead and add some of those Delights — the Cap’n Crunch Delights — to my order. Just a two-pack will do. Thank you.”
Now I was kind of taking a risk just ordering the 2-pack and I’ll tell you why: One gets no sense of scale from the in-store promotional materials for these items — I had no idea how big or small they were. And I certainly wasn’t going to be one of those people who ask to see the Delights in person before making up his mind. Would a 2-pack be enough? Should I have gone for the 4-pack instead? Or thrown caution to the wind and picked up the 12-pack, or “dozen?”
Too late — I went with the 2-pack for a dollar and hoped for the best. Price and participation may vary.
With bag in hand, I headed home. Regardless of how much of a disgusting slob you insist that I am, I draw the line at eating Taco Bell food in the car, as that’s too messy even for me. And that line I drew…? Actually, it’s not so much a line as just an errant French fry that fell onto the floor from my last foray to Jack in the Box (and which shall remain there until I’m feeling a bit peckish).
Once home, I ate the other food, and as delicious as everything was, it was only a precursor, a main course if you will, to what would in effect be the dessert: These Cap’n Crunch Delights.
The question was “Would these Delights in fact be delights?” — ‘delights’ being a word we don’t throw around here willy-nilly.
They came in this little paper sack here, which you can bet I’ve saved to put up on Flickr (at which point I’ll immediately be contacted by the moderator of a group called “Mexican Fast Food Chain / General Mills Cereal Crossover Menu Item Packaging” and asked if it can be added to their gallery).
I tapped the bag over a plate, and here’s what rolled out for my dollar:
They were about an inch and a half in diameter, if that, and not quite as thick as they were wide, quite red in color, and besprinkled in crushed Cap’n Crunch cereal — giving them almost a sandy texture. The overall visual impression is not unlike what I, and now you, would imagine the result would be if Cap’n Crunch himself happened upon Jean LaFoote on a beach, with LaFoote getting the upper hand with that sword of his and making the Cap’n start singing soprano.
But I guess “Cap’n Crunch Testicles” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue (well, with their round shape, technically they would), so I can see why they went with “Cap’n Crunch Delights.”
Still, I think they should have called them “Battle Creek Oysters.” And yes, I’m aware it’s Kellogg’s, not Quaker Oats, that’s headquartered there. But it just kind of works.
…Oh, oh! The review! Right!
They tasted good.
This here book!
Look! It’s inscribed!
Inscribed books are the best used books, ’cause they can tell as much of a story as the book itself!
And the story this inscription tells is that little Henry didn’t make as much of an impression on Mrs. Robinson as she did on him…
…because, uh, she donated the book to Goodwill.
Here’s one I’ve been saving for the summer, when the winter-themed imagery below will help everyone enjoy a much-needed break from all the hot weather!
It’s a snow globe!
At least I think it’s a snow globe. Here, let me shake it up to be sure…
Yep, yep — it’s a snow globe!
Unfortunately, I have no idea what it’s a snow globe of!
There’s something in there, I think, but God only knows what it is, for all the dirty water!
Now get this: It was originally priced, on February 10th of last year (I told ya I’d been sitting on these pics for while!), for $3.99. You’re a reasonable person so you’ll concede, won’t you, that a secondhand snow globe with water so filthy-dirty that you can’t tell what’s inside is, shall we say, a tad overpriced at $3.99, right?
But it didn’t sell!
So they re-priced it on March 2nd…
…for four dollars more!
AH, the magnificent Popeye cartoons of the early 1960s!
As all of you know, by the late 1950s, the Popeye theatrical shorts released by Fleischer / Paramount / Famous Studios for the past near-quarter century had been packaged for TV and become a hit with kiddies nationwide.
“More! Give us more!” broadcasters screamed, and King Features Syndicate, owner of the popular sailor, acquiesced.
“You thought them old ones was something? Phphpht! You ain’t seen nothing yet!” read a press release at the time, probably, and with that, 220 additional Popeye cartoons were commissioned and artistically rendered between 1960 and 1962 — each and every one of them a bonafide masterpiece.
Loved by not only Popeye fans everywhere but serious animation aficionados and scholars of all kinds, these 5 minute, 40 second masterpieces have since been lauded by cartoon historians and experts such as Beck, Evanier, Maltin and Amidi* as among the best cartoons ever produced and are, to this day, universally recognized as examples of the animation art form at its highest. All 220 of them have a permanent place in the Library of Congress. (I would assume.)
*Mark Beck, Leonard Evanier, Jerry Maltin and Mark Amidi. Who did you think I was talking about?
Yet, despite all the high praise for what was termed at the time (and ever since) as the cartoons that ushered in “the true Golden Era of Animation,” there was — alas! — a less savory side to them.
Producing over 200 cartoons each with lush animation that rivaled the ‘Night On Bald Mountain’ sequence in Disney’s Fantasia did not come cheap. In order to finance the project, the cost of production had to be subsidized somehow. And that’s when King Features Syndicate quietly lined up potential sponsors to help foot the bill.
Now it can be told: The Popeye cartoons of the early 1960s were rife with product placement.
From “Bazillion Whacks” (1960).
From “Groin With The Wind” (1960).
From “Go Flock Yourself” (1962).
From “Beatnik Off” (1961). [No longer shown on TV today because the word “Mexican” is racist.]
From “Special Edjamakation” (1961).
From “Proctological Liar” (1962).
From “Deep Trout” (1961).
From “Irritable Growl Syndrome” (1960).
From “Urine the Money” (1961).
From “Roofy Goofy” (1960).
From “Danger — Perves Ahead” (1961).
From “Projectile Dysfunction” (1961).
From “Popeye’s Glasgow Smile” (1960).
From “Yeast Inflection” (1962).
From “A Portion Is Murder” (1961).
Oh, think that’s bad? That’s nothin’!
Turns out this stuff is all over the place!
Like, in practically every cartoon! Man, the things you don’t notice when you’re a stupid kid!
I guess the other thing none of us ever realized before is how suggestive some of the titles of the cartoons were. And that many of the double-entendres made no sense 55 years ago.
Okay, let’s end this before my attorney needs some spinach himself — haw!
Saw this awesome designer mouse pad at the 99¢ Only store the other day for — yes! — 99¢ only.
Oh, don’t let the hang tag [industry term] fool you! It says “Mouse Pads,” plural, but there’s only one to a package! No matter — I don’t need to tell you that even sold singly, this thing is a delight!
Like you, it’s making me nostalgic for 2014, when the calendar might have been useful, and even more nostalgic for some years before that, when we still used mouse pads!