Since they brought back spokesclown Jack in semi-human form almost twenty (!) years ago, many of Jack-in-the-Box’s countless commercials have been inspired.
And here’s one from a couple of months ago that’s been inspired by an episode of “The Brady Bunch!”
I mean, come on! The hair, the outfit, the tinted glasses, the wrist bands, the rings!
This is an obvious homage to Skip Farnum, the far-out, groovy would-be director of that “Safe” detergent commercial the Bradys almost starred in, right?
I mean, it’s not an exact match, but it’s pretty darn close!
Looks and uninhibited attitude aside, while Paul Winchell’s post-beatnik, pseudo-hippie kook knows exactly what he wants but can’t get it out of the over-“motivating” Brady family, the unnamed Jack-in-the-Box director is in way over his head and is throwing anything at the wall to see if it’ll stick.
I’d like to think – and now you would, too – that this is in fact Skip Farnum, Jr. and he followed in Daddy’s footsteps as a TV commercial director but sadly, inherited none of his father’s talent – yet, he’s still considered brilliant because of the family name.
Commercials are always a little more fun for me if I develop an entire mythology or at least some sort of backstory around each one. Perhaps someday I’ll share with you some of the erotic Mr. Whipple / Madge the Manicurist fanfic I wrote years ago when puberty descended on me like a plague of hairy, oily locusts.
LOOK CLOSELY and you’ll realize that this is a rare, and perhaps first, sighting of a sink toad feeding on a rubber bat. Yes, this happened.
This amazing photo was taken over the kitchen sink by me. What happened was I was trying to get a head start on decorating the house for Halloween. I hung the rubber bat on a hanging plant hook in the ceiling. Evidently the cheap elastic string broke and the bat fell down into the waiting maw of the hungry sink toad.
Sink toads usually feast on scouring pads or sponges, but they are notoriously opportunistic feeders, even swallowing the occasional dish rag or Clorox wipe.
After struggling with the meal for quite some time, the toad eventually gave up and spat the bat out. The bat recovered enough to have its elastic retied and rehung in a different part of the house.
The toad, or hideous ceramic frog as it is technically known, is an invasive species from a local thrift store that took up permanent residence in my house two years ago after it was listed on eBay with no bids.
I guess I overestimated the online market for ugly scouring pad holders. I’m sure I won’t make that mistake again.
SOME of the most enriching times of my life are the hours and hours and hours I spend each week answering online surveys for market research companies. My input helps the real movers and shakers of the business world fine-tune old, trusted products and gauge the market for new ones.
Not only that, but I do just a couple hundred of them or so and I earn enough points to redeem for a $5 gift card for Red Robin!
How do I find the time to make my valuable opinions known? Well, this actual question (and my answer) from a recent poll about sausage of all things may be able to shed some light on all of that!
FORGET the nit-picky argument put forth by grammar freaks that signs above express lanes in grocery stores should technically be “10 Items or Fewer” not “10 Items or Less.” (Or 12, or 15, or however the hell many.)
Ralphs has made the whole issue moot and responded to today’s casual, unaccountable, go-with-the-flow, “whatever,” unconstricted-by-pesky-rules-or-guidelines society with a new kind of quick check-out lane which evidently is aimed at shoppers who have trouble with basic counting skills once their number of grocery items hits those intimidating double digits.
Behold, the ‘about 15 items’ express lane!
The arbitrary implication of the phrase “about 15 items” is of course open to wild interpretation and it no doubt reflects the tendency of inconsiderate “my-time-is-more-valuable-than-your-time” shoppers with, say, seventeen items to just join the express lane queue [pretentious British term], 10 item limit be damned!
No surprise to you, what, six regulars: I’m a stickler for staying at or below the posted limit (unless there’s absolutely no one at the express lane when I walk up).
Back during those now fondly-remembered and significantly less complicated “10-Items-Or-Less” days, a woman ahead of me tried to sneak through just such a checkout with five more cans of cat food than was allowed by the almighty sign – but was reprimanded by the checker, of all people. The customer argued they were similar items but the cashier countered that she still had to scan them all. Despite my propensity for following rules and expecting (usually in vain) others to do the same, I was with the customer on this one – the Ralphs employee was just being a surly, contrary jackass.
So you can understand why I’m a bit wary of the wording of this new signage at the express lane. I can see it now: I’ve got one lousy Tina’s Burrito and exactly 40¢ in coin to pay for it while some complete pain-in-the-ass, disorganized mess of a human being behind me has sixteen different meats, fruits, vegetables, canned goods and bottles of booze, expired coupons for all of them and hopes to pay with an out-of-state check.
This being Ralphs, the cashier is likely to pull that person ahead of me and ring him up first, because after all, while I just have the one burrito, he has – just as the sign says – “about 15 items.”
Oh my God.
I was in the grocery store a few days ago and you’ll never guess what I saw!
Hostess products! They’re back!
Oh, sure, it’s been in the news for the last week or so, but I finally saw them with my own eyes! Now I know the rumors are true!
Our long national nightmare is finally over!
Now, wait, there’s a sign there I should probably read…
Huh. “Due to overwhelming demand, Hostess currently has limited product supply.”
Now that’s interesting, you see, because – believe it or not – I didn’t have to push my way past anyone to take these photos. There didn’t seem to be any mad rush in the pre-packaged baked goods section. In fact, I was the only one in the aisle. And as it turns out – and maybe my eyes are bad – the shelves seem to have plenty of Hostess product.
Could it be that – perhaps! – last November, the sophisticated epicures who snatched up the last boxes of Donettes, Ho-Hos and Ding Dongs because they just couldn’t live without them eventually realized…that they could? Did someone put them wise that Little Debbie, TastyKake, Blue Bird and half a dozen other companies all make similar items and that Hostess products are not unique in the snack cake industry?
Or is it possible that in 21st century America, where grandiose displays of insincere emotion reign supreme and members of the social media-obsessed populace who were busy trying to outdo one another tweeting 140-character eulogies to the Twinkie never truly cared about it in the first place? It’s been less than a year – could these same people really have become briefly obsessed with dozens of other inconsequential news stories of the day since then, having long forgotten that delicious golden sponge cake and creamy filling?
Say it ain’t so!
But if it is, Hostess 2.0 doesn’t want to start off on the wrong foot. They’re going to want to be upfront about stuff like this. A good way to start would be a slightly more accurate sign.
And whether they use their original sign or the version I’ve thoughtfully suggested, it might be more convincing if the shelves weren’t full.
In a rare (but not unprecedented) show of bipartisanship that will not doom our country, this week
Yes, both 99¢ Only Store and its sworn enemy Dollar Tree have put aside their hate and contempt for one another to reach across the cluttered, messy aisle to one another in an effort to mutually offer you, the discount store consumer, not this week’s “What’s Bueno!” item, singular, but a panoply of “What’s Bueno!” items, plural!
And what are they? Freezer pops!
This couldn’t happen at a better time, either – we’re right smack in the middle of this summer’s first miserable heat wave here in the miserable Los Angeles area, so if you live around here, pal, you’re going to need ’em.
Today’s freezer pop enthusiast has a much wider variety to choose from than when you and I were kids. Back then we had Fla-Vor-Ice and Otter Pops and, brother, that was it! That was it!
And while they’re still available (as you’ll see), today, those parched of throat and desiccated of uvula can also reach for over a dozen other brands, for just a buck a box, including such delights as these here Kool Pops.
Licensed by Kool-Aid owner Kraft, these artifically flavored freezer pops are made with Real Fruit Juice from concentrate, so it’s a snack you can feel good about, eating one after another after another after another. Oh, no one stops at one.
They even make a tropical version, which I refused to try because like you, I hate banana-flavored anything. And yet, I like real bananas. Truly, I am an enigma.
Here are our old friends Otter Pops, just like you remember them, complete with crudely-drawn mascots, who have been part of Otter Pops for much longer than crudely-drawn characters have been trendy.
A $1.00 rebate on a box of Otter Pops that cost a dollar?! Astounding! Even more astounding is that there are people who will find it worth their time to cut out the UPC and the form from the box and fill that out, include a copy of their store receipt with price circled, put that all in an envelope, and affix a 46¢ stamp to it and send it off to Otter Pops to get a check for a dollar in the mail in six to eight weeks.
Also available are these 100% fruit juice Otter Pops. Despite the box warning me that they contained no high fructose corn syrup, I bought them anyway and they were quite refreshing.
For years, Otter Pops had mail-in offers for merchandise on their box backs. Some time ago, I sent away for a Louie Bloo Raspberry beach towel. When it arrived, I was disappointed that it was far too small for a gangly manchild such as myself to actually lay out on at the municipal pool. Inexplicably, it was as though it was designed for a child. What the hell?!
Here’s the international equivalent of our proud American freezer pops. They’re called Bolis Icesticks and they’re made in Mexico. The plastic they’re encased in is quite a bit thicker than any of the other pops. You don’t snip off the end with a pair of scissors, either: they’re segmented in two, and you snap them in the middle. The package notes that “BOLIS ICESTICKS are a convenient, inexpensive refreshment.” Inexpensive, sure. But I don’t know about convenient – you don’t need scissors to get ’em open, but snapping them in half leaves you with two separate sections and they can be messy.
Tampico knows its customers! The “number one selling citrus punch brand” in the US (according to its website) chooses to package its freezer pops the same way they do it south of the border, down Mexico way, in those snappable tubes, like Bolis (above). Like you, I can’t imagine why!
Sunny D Orange Citrus freezer pops. All one flavor, gang. No purple stuff here.
Wyler’s Authentic Italian Ices come in four flavors. To me, the only “authentic” Italian ice comes in a paper cup with a peel off lid and you eat it with a wooden spoon, and the only flavor is lemon.
And here’s Slush Puppie Slush Bars. Some trivia for you, courtesy Wikipedia: [Slush Puppie’s] original owners, Will Radcliff and his sister Phyllis, came up with the name while sitting on their front porch in Cincinnati, Ohio. The unique spelling of “puppie” was added to bring attention to both the name and the product. I think you’ll agree they succeeded.
Made with 100% Apple Juice, these Mott’s Freezer Bars come in four delicious flavors – Apple, Apple Strawberry, Apple White Grape and Fruit Punch – which I think we can assume has a delicious apple undertone to it.
Fla-Vor-Ice Fudge Pops are made with Real Hershey’s Cocoa. I like my fudgicles (or Fudgesicles, as they’re known east of the Allegheny) on a stick, dammit. When it comes to freezer pops, it’s advisable to stick with fruit flavors.
…Eh, that said, there’s also these freeze & eat Soda Pops. They come in A&W Root Beer, Crush Strawberry, Dr. Pepper and Crush Grape flavors. Well, those are mostly fruit flavors. Fruit and root flavors. And Dr. Pepper.
Sunkist has gotten into the act, too, with these so-called freezer “bars” as they call them – again, made with real fruit juice from concentrate and no high fructose corn syrup. This country runs on high fructose corn syrup – you better believe it, brother – but I reckon a little change of pace won’t kill us. Special thanks to eagle-eyed reader and 99¢ Only Store shopper Chris in the Sacramento area for sending this in. Your official I’m A Pal of Ted beach towel is in the mail. (Child size.)
Hawaiian Punch Freezer Bars feature four extreme flavors but best of all, the box has Punchy snowboarding down a frosty Hawaiian mountain. Totally awesome! Today’s 3-D rendered Hawaiian Punch mascot is a character with attitude. He’s edgy; he’s in your face!
These guys are your bargain basement freezer pops. Fun Pops are filled with inconsistent levels of colored fluid that seems to vary wildly from pop to pop, and come packaged in cheap a net bag. Yet you get twelve of these and they’re 2 ounces each (well, if they were all filled uniformly) which is more than most of the other varieties. So it seems to me you could do a lot worse than Fun Pops.
According to the label, each bag “may or may not contain: Grape, Orange, Blue Punch, Pina Colada, Banana, Lemon-Lime, Peach, Watermelon, Cherry, Mango, Green Apple & Strawberry.” Still, I passed on these because with my luck, I’d have gotten a bag with like three disgusting banana pops and no peach.
It’s not just me, right? There’s nothing worse than artificial banana flavoring, right?
Mike and Ike: The candy you never buy is now available in freezer pop form that you might buy!
Jolly Rancher has gotten into the act, too, and while they only offer two flavors, they do taste a lot like their hard candy counterparts.
Angry Birds freezer bars feature tangy flavors matching the colors of the red bird, the yellow bird, a pig, and the blue bird. As a bonus, each box has an Angry Birds bookmark that kids can cut out and use – a nostalgic throwback to a time when kids still read books and weren’t spending their free time playing heavily-licensed games on their smartphones.
All of these freezer pops are fine, I reckon, but now we’re down to my top two:
These Snapple Sorbet bars come in colored sleeves, but the innards are white as the driven snow. They’re really good.
But these lip-puckering sour WarHeads freezer pops are my hands-down favorite – and now yours too.
Interestingly, nearly all of these varieties of freezer pops are manufactured or licensed by The Jel Sert Company (or “Big Freezer Pop” as consumer watchdogs know them, probably), the folks who started it all back in 1969 with Fla-Vor-Ice.
And yes, Fla-Vor-Ice is among the brands available at the 99¢ Only Store and Dollar Tree.
They’ve got a Tropical Flavors pack, too. But you’ll want to stay away from that.
I think you’ll know why.
SO THE OTHER DAY I brought the gang into the conference room here at Parsnips Industries, LLC to brainstorm and pitch ideas for upcoming posts. As usual, it was a colossal waste of my time and quickly devolved into an argument over who would win in a fight between Jaime Lannister from “Game of Thrones” and Hanna Horvath from “Girls.” (The overwhelming consensus was that Hannah would wear Jaime down with her self-centered whining and then finish him off by getting naked for no reason at all.)
I finally managed to get everyone back on track with the promise of cookies (I had a half-finished package of Oreos at home I mentioned I’d bring in) and that’s when the head of the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team chimed in with one of his usual moronic ideas.
“Why don’t you review those new Watermelon Oreos?”
Of course, I was suspicious because for someone whose weekly paycheck depends on the commercial success of this site, he’s for some reason constantly trying to undermine it. Surely no such cooky exists! Watermelon Oreos? Yeah, sure – they’re probably right on my grocer’s shelf next to the – phpht! – Peanut Butter Pop Tarts.
But I called his bluff and looked into it. And to everyone’s surprise, it turns out there really is such a thing as a Watermelon Oreo.
So here’s the review:
Aaah, they’re okay I guess. You’d think they’d be disgusting but they’re not.
Still, I wish they’d have waited to launch this particular variety until they developed a seedless watermelon creme.
SO I was at Big Lots the other day looking for the solution to a problem.
You see, we enrolled little Jacob in one of those free LA Unified School District summer programs to get him the hell out of my hair, but those things are full of poor children and no surprise: one of the other boys has been stealing Jake’s cookies each day.
It’s every parent’s nightmare: Learning that your child has become the target of a bully, rather than him bullying some other little wussy boy (or girl).
The best way to handle the situation, of course, is to replace the expensive, name brand cookies (Oreos!) in Jacob’s lunch with something no one would want.
Big Lots to the rescue!
Of course there’s always the possibility that fat little bastard “Crisanto” will be so angry at the switch that he’ll really go off on the Jakester, but, aaah, the summer program’s only a lousy six weeks long. He’ll get by.
While at Big Lots, I decided to make a pilgrimage to the most holy of holy aisles, the Western Wall of Triscuits.
It’s impossible not to be awed by the scope and grandeur of this magnificent whole wheat palisade.
Sure, a box here and there has been replaced with the odd Wheat Thins or Cheez-Its (no doubt due to damage sustained from mortar fire from settlements in the hotly contested Pop-Tart Strip); still, it stands as a monument to the many diverse flavors making up the Triscuit brand, from the old standby, Original, to new and exciting varieties (with such trendy ingredients as brown rice, sweet potato, red bean and, yes!, sea salt & black pepper) whose light have burned oh so brightly for a couple of months in grocery stores and will soon be extinguished forever, as evidenced by their presence in the nationwide closeout chain.
Overwhelmed with emotion, I too joined the countless throngs of worshippers who came before me to tuck a prayer in the wall – a quiet, spiritual way to add one more plaintive voice to the wailing heard throughout Big Lots everywhere.
True, I’m not usually a very religious man, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.
I’ve heard of bricks of cheese, but this is ridiculous!
Cheese Shingles. Not “Singles.” Shingles.
I don’t know!
Maybe it was supposed to be “singles” but the package design copy editor has a lisp and uses voice-to-text software when creating new product labels…?
Or is this one of those ridiculously esoteric food items that you usually only see on those obnoxious cooking shows?
“Chefs, please open your baskets.
“For the dessert round, you must use veal brittle, aquarium granola, horse balls and Monterey Jack cheese shingles. Good luck.”
Outside of those two scenarios, “shingles” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’ve worked construction. I know what shingles look like. I’ve also had shingles. I know what shingles feel like. These are neither rectangular and rigid, like the shingles on your roof; nor itchy and painful, like the shingles on your crotch.
So I asked a pal for his opinion.
“Look at this package of cheese I got at 99¢ Only. Is this a mistake?”
“Oh yes, buying cheese at the dollar store is definitely a mistake.”
“No, you jackass! The word ‘shingles’ on the package!”
He wasn’t sure either, but suggested that ‘singles’ are often individually wrapped slices of cheese (these were not individually wrapped), and since each slice was slightly staggered from the next thus resembling the overlapping nature of roofing shingles, perhaps the unlikely descriptor was intentional.
Mm. An interesting hypothesis, but I think he was giving too much credit to a company whose label looks like it was designed on a free online logo maker, so I immediately dismissed it. Plus there was that crack about where I do most of my shopping.
But it’s all irrelevant now anyway and we may never know the real story behind Monterey Jack Cheese Shingles because on a subsequent trip to 99¢ Only, I picked up this (for 99¢ Only):
Ah! Slices! Now there’s a word we all understand!
You know what? They were pretty good. And that name change can only help. Now I can enjoy Monterey Jack Slices without being subconsciously reminded of the bitter woody taste of cedar shingles or the gamy herpes taste the other kind is infused with. Oh, please, like you don’t eat your scabs!
Now then! Who’s up for one of my famous grilled cheese sandwiches?
WHAT’S new and taken for granted today is the lovingly remembered crap of tomorrow!
Here’s an exclusive sneak preview of what jackasses will be posting on Flickr in the year 2053!
Oh settle down, all of you. Everyone likes old packages.
And believe me, I went easy on you people.