AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, I was in the supermarket earlier today, and I found myself in the cookie aisle.
I was trying to decide whether I felt like some Avast! Thar Be Chips! or maybe a package of Pecan Gritties. You see, I’m a big fan of store brand interpretations of your more well-known “name brand” cookies. I end up saving quite a bit, and if I’m drunk enough – and I usually am – I can’t tell the difference.
Anyway, that’s when I came upon the Oreo section.
Back when you and I were kids, you’ll remember, there was no Oreo “section” – there was no need for one – for there was only one Oreo. We didn’t have all these crazy variations this younger generation enjoys (and takes for granted) today. Sure, I guess we had the Double Stuf at some point, but that was it.
So imagine my surprise when I see, among all the different Oreo flavors – your seasonal this and your limited edition that – when I see this:
And of course, I think to myself, as you would, “Seriously? It’s 2015. Isn’t this a little outdated?”
I was making homemade Mega Stuf Oreos years ago. And with continual progress in cookie technology and the exponential advances in wafer capacity, the very idea of a “Mega” Stuff Oreo is particularly laughable.
I’ve moved on to much greater things.
Behold! The new Tera Stuf Oreo.
Attention Nabisco Attorneys! Let’s talk proprietary rights and licensing deals. I’m ready to negotiate!
Look, it’s Christmas (again!) – yes, yes, Merry Christmas and all that! – but you’ve just found out Aunt Judy’s all alone again today – just like last year! – and she’d really like to see you and the kids again. Sure it’s a pain in the ass, but she still has the first dollar she ever earned so it can’t hurt to spend another few minutes with her – after all, she’s not going to live forever (although it’s starting to seem that way) and she’s got to leave that money to someone…!
Dare you drop by without a gift?
No sir! What to do, what to do?
Jons Grocery stores to the rescue! Not open today (Why, it’s Christmas, after all!), but since when did that ever stop you (and that brick you carry in the trunk)?
Around the corner from the produce section (you may have to feel your way a bit what with the lights off and all), on a display made of their own shipping cartons, you’ll find these seasonal delights:
What could be more Christmas-y than chestnuts?
You’ll just need one pack, but take two to be safe. They’re 4 for $5, but go ahead and leave a $20 bill on one of the checkouts on your way out – after all, it is the season of giving and your generosity will pay off in spades in just a little while.
Once at Aunt Judy’s, grab a few of her Good Housekeepings and Family Circles, set them ablaze in her candy dish on the coffee table, and voila, you’ve got the requisite open fire that goes famously with your present! Brother, you’re all set!
Good heavens! What’s this on the back of the package?
…And Aunt Judy, she’s…what is she now, 87…? 88…? Yeah, there’s no way those choppers are going to be able to negotiate these holiday treats. They’re going down her gullet whole! At least part-way!
So here’s what you do: While you and the missus are roasting them with Aunt J., send whichever of the kids took the CPR class (with the unit on the Heimlich maneuver) out of the room. In fact, send em all – Barney & Ben, Janice & Jen – out back with a monkey wrench and have them turn off the water to the house.
This way there’s no pesky glasses of water available for a frantic attempt to clear the esophagus, no okay-everyone-let’s-get-our-story-straight (kids are terrible at this!), and best of all, no worries about the pipes freezing up over the next few months since the place will be empty at least until spring when everything goes through probate and you can unload this dilapidated dog of a charming 2 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath charming mid-century fixer-upper that smells from spoiled cottage cheese and old lady. (Or is that redundant?)
Note: Today’s entry was perhaps a bit darker than the season warrants for you see I’ve been watching a lot of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” there on the ol’ Netflix lately. So let’s presume that after the merry little scenario described above plays out, Hitch (or in this case, me – our profiles are quite similar, especially with all this holiday binging) comes back to tie things up and announce you all got caught and went to the electric chair (including little Janice & Jen), even though we all know he’s (rather, I’m) only saying that because the network and his sponsors (or my attorney) are making him. Or me. Feel better now? Good night.
HERE’S something that the one-post-every-eight-months cereal blogs are too lazy to cover, but not me, brother! Not me! You’ll find new content here (such as it is) that you can set your watch by, on schedule, right on time, precisely every once in a while!
So I was in my local discount grocery store…? You know the kind – the produce is cheaper (and more mottled with blemishes and fæces from the hands of whoever picked it)…and all the other stuff is the exact same price if not higher, but they give you the illusion of it being a bargain by displaying everything in the cardboard cartons they were shipped in with the front cut off…?
Anyway, that’s when I saw this – a new member of Post’s Pebbles family of cereals:
And like you, I thought it ridiculous!
Why, these “Poppin’ Pieces” that “fizz in your mouth with burstin’ berry flavor” are nothing but glorified Pop Rocks! Over-sweetened candy commingling with nourishing rice cereal – someone thought this was a good idea?!
No thank you, I’ll stick with my healthy breakfast ritual.
A great big bowl of Cap’n Crunch’s Oops! All Circus Peanuts.
It’s a delicious part of a balanced breakfast.
Okay, okay, fine – I got it – I’m not allowed to eat here any more…or my membership will be revocted.
But I can still warm up my Fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli in the steam room, right? I tell ya – set it on the upper tier of benches in the back next to those two guys who always sit next to each other, go work out and 45 minutes later, you’ve got perfectly-cooked pasta, every time!
[And here I do that, what would you call it?, Italian Chef Kissing Motion, I guess.] Mmwuh!
I wonder what gave me away – the olive at the bottom of my “water bottle” on Tuesday? Last Thursday’s festive paper umbrella perched atop my Core Power protein shake-arita? Or maybe it was yesterday when I stumbled into the Razz M’Jazz spin class and vomited all over spinstructor Rogelio’s 60-mph front wheel, effectively spraying the entire class with Grey Goose and Vanilla Creme Muscle Milk. And corn dog chunks.
Regardless, I guess it’s back to alcohol-loading in the parking lot before I begin my workout, like you X90P people.
SHEESH, it’s been ages since I did one of those Ted’s Mailbag dealies, isn’t it?
Or posted anything, really, of substance up here other than screen-grabs from whatever I’m currently watching on Netflix, which – with the closed captioning on and still images taken out of context – are a quick way to instant hilarity, or at least reasonably quick content. What’s more I didn’t even have to bother coming up with the idea myself, instead saving even more time by stealing the concept from the blog of a pal.
[My blogging mentor, or blogntor, Sylvia Haynes-Darden, in her Learning Barn continuing education class, “What’s This New Thing Called Blogging I Keep Hearing About?,” and also her other class, “Convincing Learning Barn to Continue Including Severely Outdated Courses In Their Catalog That After 15 Years You Can Teach In Your Sleep” (I had a two-for-one Groupon that was going to expire; why not take both?) says the first rule of blogging is “Make friends with other bloggers and then ruthlessly mine their blogs for premises you can adapt for whatever the hell it is you write about, but tell them it’s an homage so they don’t get pissed.”]
My my my, we do go off on tangents, don’t we? Anyway, back to today’s post, Letters From Pals or whatever we’re calling it. So here comes the mailman now – oh, pardon me – gender-neutral man – and it looks like…yes! It looks like he’s got a letter for me!
What the hell’s going on with the 99¢ Only store? I used to be able count on their refrigerated section being chock full of frozen waffles and frozen pretzels – and now the freezer section is all but bare! How the hell am I supposed to stick to the Frozen Pretzel & Waffle Diet Plan that’s sweeping social media with neither of the staples at hand? Look, if anyone has the interest or huge swaths of free time to look into this, it’s you. Find me an answer and this half-finished coarse pretzel salt packet and near-empty bottle of cheap Pampa “maple-flavored” corn syrup from Argentina is yours!
A Pal in Hollywood
P.S. What do you think about the boxes of Goldfish macaroni and cheese they’ve been selling? My God, man, I can’t get enough of ‘em! Manna from heaven by way of Pepperidge Farm if you ask me! Yum!
You know, the good thing about having, what?, six readers is that you can drop all kinds of inside jokes into your posts and at least 16.66666 percent of your audience will appreciate ‘em.
I admit I hadn’t heard about this depleted frozen food inventory dilemma, so I headed over to 99¢ Only, Reseda Division, and by Godfrey, the man’s right!
While the freezer section wasn’t completely empty, it was missing a number of items said pal mentioned, namely frozen pretzels & frozen waffles.
I was determined to get to the bottom of this and if this meant asking the checker about it as I was paying for my groceries – and in doing so, interacting with another human being – well, so be it. Except I forgot about it by the time I was up at the registers, fixated as I was on a rare candy aisle find – a Reese’s Big Cup 2-pack that I wanted to get out to the car and cram down my gullet before it melted all over the faux naugahyde interior – so we’ll never know.
However, I will say this: Both the waffles and pretzels were not likely closeout items, so they’ll probably be back. How’s that for a definitive answer? Now I believe you owe me some syrup & salt…?
* * * * *
Oh yes – as to the Goldfish Macaroni & Cheese, which the art department will please illustrate below with some sort of photograph so we’re all on the same page here…?
There we are! Sank-you!
As to the Goldfish Mac & Cheese, as I was saying, I’m cautiously labeling this one
due to sheer, overwhelming value. You’ll understand in a moment, gang. (Provided you read this idiocy to the end.)
As you can see above, a few months ago, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mac & Cheese was available at the 99¢ Only store for the low, low price of 3 boxes for 99¢ only. Not a great deal for mac & cheese, but not bad, either.
I tried some – “some” being equivalent to six or eight boxes over a two-week period. (I really wanted to get a taste for the stuff before committing my thoughts to the [web]page, you understand – I owe it to the good folks at the 99¢ Only store, you, my loyal, what, six, readers, the wholesalers I buy my commas from, and most of all, to the memory of Pepperidge Farm spokesyokel Parker Fennelly.)
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mac & Cheese wasn’t bad…but, well, let’s say that the Kraft people shouldn’t be losing any sleep over this. The “mac” or macaroni pasta is flat, dense and goldfish-shaped giving it a particularly al lewis, or “to the tooth,” texture. What I’m saying was it was exceedingly doughy for macaroni – hell, they could have more accurately named the product Goldfish Dumplings & Cheese. But – again – three for a buck so, eh, why not?
Then a few weeks later the 99¢ Only store upped the ante: You give them 99¢ only, they’ll give you four boxes. And then a week later it was up to five boxes for a buck! Clearly they were telling us, an eager mac & cheese buying public, “Look, friends, this stuff’s good – damned good! – and we want you to know it!”
Good lord, what other possible reason could they have for continuing to lower the price?!
Now, according to the Pepperidge Farm website, Goldfish Mac & Cheese is available in four flavors. Unfortunately, 99¢ Only had but two: Cheesy Pizza and Nacho Cheese. Your more traditional “Cheddar” variety was nowhere to be found. Neither was the “Butter Parmesan” flavor which, if you’re like me, and of course you are, you know sounds a lot better than reconstituted cheese powder could possibly ever hope to be, but you are nevertheless intrigued and, given the chance, would have gambled twenty bucks on a hundred boxes just in case.
Despite the nacho cheese variety tasting, in the words of a pal, “atrocious,” and the cheesy pizza, “like vomit,” (or maybe I’ve got them backwards, but you get the idea), I didn’t think they were that terrible. Oh, sure, the cheese sauce was a little thin (A trick I came up with to counteract that, which I didn’t steal from another fellow blogger: eschew the milk altogether and just dump in more dollar store margarine, or as he calls it, “butter.” Ha! I stole the trick from him all right, but the guy doesn’t hardly blog anymore, so it doesn’t count), but once you dump a can of tuna in there and a handful of jalapeño slices (or maybe I’ve got them backwards – a can of jalapeño slices, a handful of tuna, who knows, but you get the idea), you can hardly tell.
Besides, it’s hard to complain when you go back to the 99¢ Only store a few days later and you see this:
This is getting serious. Six boxes of mac & cheese for a buck! Another pal – oh, I’ve got plenty of ’em – (and this one a real killjoy) – pointed out that for less than a dollar you could buy a pound of dry macaroni and make a decent homemade mac & cheese instead of buying this stuff 5.5 ounces at a time and then hoping for some sort of miracle when you combine it with its accompanying envelope of dehydrated whey, xanthan gum and maltodextrin, and a few handfuls of dollar store margarine.
To that I say, “Feh!,” because, sure, you’ve got your macaroni, but where’s the cheese, man? Where’s the cheese? If you think you’re going to get a decent macaroni-&-cheese cheese for anything close to a buck, well, brother, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Or if it’s not a bridge you’re looking for, I’ve got a few dozen boxes of recently expired fish-shaped macaroni & cheese. It’s not bad, but it’s an acquired taste.
Step right up! One crisp dollar bill will get you not one but two boxes – because if you think I’m taking a loss on this crap, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
* * * * *
Update! While the 99¢ Only locations I go to have finally depleted their expiring inventory – or possibly buried them in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico – a pal tells me that the 99¢ Only store near him was recently offering an unprecedented TEN boxes for a dollar which amount to – pardon while I get out my calculator – which amounts to approximately one shiny Roosevelt dime per box (if my figures are correct).
Of course I called him a filthy liar, but as he’s also the same pal who sent in the original letter whose unbelievable tale of disappearing waffles and pretzels turned out to be largely accurate, we’ll take him at his word. So head to the 99¢ Only store in Hollywood, pull nine boxes off the shelf, bring them to the counter, hand the checker a dollar and tell her to put them in one of those 10¢ paper bags they’re making us pay for in LA now; and once home, dump everything in a boiling cauldron – bag, boxes, receipt – the whole schmear, and for the outlaying of exactly one lousy buck, you’ve got dinner and everything you need for a night of papier-mâché arts & crafts with the kids.
The 99¢ Only store has the after-school snacks kids love!
Great for dolphins, too!
AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, last week the Parsnips clan got in some early, pre-spring camping up at Sequoia and this is the first time we brought along Evan, five. Oh, he’s a little dickens, he is. He insisted on taking a box of Totino’s Salmon Puffs into his tent with him when he went to bed “in case I get hungwy in da middoo of da night.”
Aw, how precious.
Yeah, well, we all thought so, too – until a 600 pound black bear ripped his tent open at two in the morning carried him off. “Let go of the Salmon Puffs!” I yelled. I mean, if you’re going to have to organize a search party at that hour you want to be able to offer the rangers something to eat, right?
As luck would have it, when Evan dropped the food, the bear dropped him. (And took off with the Puffs – of course.) So all is fine, right? A splash of hydrogen peroxide on the puncture wounds, a coupla dozen Buzz Lightyear Band-Aids here and there, and let’s all get back to bed – I’ve got a long drive back tomorrow.
No, of course not, my life is never that easy. Ever since we got home, the kid’s afraid of the dark, and when it’s daytime, all he does is talk, and whine, and cry about this little mishap – yap yap yap yap yap!
And then these hideous drawings! He finishes one, and then he get started right away on another one, and they’re all the same! You’d figure with his right arm in a sling, he might give it a rest, but he’s a boy possessed! Sheesh!
“Well, you’re the one who wanted to bring the salmon puffs into your tent,” I’ve reminded him. Like that does any good!
Look, folks, I work at home – I can’t have him going on and on and on about this all day long. I’m getting nothing done here!
So we figured the best thing to do, short of returning him to the foster child depot (and losing out on that check!) was get him enrolled in some sort of daycare place. Maybe being around other kids his own age, he can work through this issue or play Legos or something to keep him occupied. Regardless, this way, he’d be someone else’s problem for fourteen or sixteen hours a day, right?
I flipped through the phone book and came across a day care facility up the street. “Hmm, Melody Child Care – that has a nice ring to it,” I announced, and having come up with such a witty line, I figured I was pretty much committed to this place.
Anyway, first thing Monday morning, I’m dropping him off there and thankfully all this bear nonsense will be behind us.