1. ¿What’s Bueno But Ultimately Worthless? ¡1984 Olympic Bus Tokens!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    Now here’s something you don’t see every day.

    Recently, over at the extremely dog-friendly Woodland Hills 99¢ Only store, I happened upon a magnificent and unusual example of What’s Bueno At The 99¢ Only Store – an item which is sort of a throwback, in a couple of ways, to the 99¢ Only Store’s glory days – when it was much less of a discount food store and much more of a closeout store; and where heaven only knows what sort of bizarre treasures you’d find!


    There – for 99¢ Only – you can purchase a set of not one, not two, but twenty-four transit fare tokens “created for the Southern California Rapid Transit District in cooperation with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, for use during the 1984 Olympic Year.”

    Again, you’re not getting just one of these coins, but a complete set of 24, still sealed after thirty years, and presented in a handsome navy blue padded case, each token mounted in its own receptacle on a flocked velvet board inside.


    There was a stack of a few dozen of these boxes, all similarly sealed, at the store, half-hidden towards the back of a bottom shelf. I’m not greedy (nor stupid, as you’ll see, but you should already know that): I bought just one. And frankly, I bought it solely for the purpose of the blog.

    It was only later when I thought of a pal who, bless her heart, must rely on public transportation, and wondered if perhaps these tokens were still good. After all, tokens don’t expire, do they?  Sure they were “created…for use during…1984,” but that wouldn’t preclude them from being legal bus and subway fare tender today, would they? They’re like the coinal equivalent of the US Postal Service’s Forever Stamps, right?


    Turns out I’m wrong. The Southern California Rapid Transit District, or “RTD” as it had been known, hasn’t existed since 1993. Thankfully, it’s been a while since I’ve had to take a filthy LA bus, though for the last 21 years, I’d still been considering LA’s bus service “the RTD” (when I’d considered it at all). And brother, the only time we car owners even think of LA bus service is when one of those enormous land-barges is in front of you on the road and you can’t get around it. Anyway, turns out LA’s bus service has been “Metro” or “LA Metro” for two decades, and while I guess that sounds familiar, I haven’t been thinking much about it.  You know, being a car owner and all.

    My point is, either as bus fare or as collectibles (and hopeful eBay sellers are being disappointed as we speak), these tokens aren’t worth the bronze they’re minted on.


    But what’s really fascinating, at least from the perspective of a fellow writing a blog with an unnatural and/or uninteresting focus on a Southern California dollar store chain, is that when I searched online for these things, the only result – from whatever very specific parameters I used – was a posting on a Google-archived Usenet “misc.transport.urban-transit” group, where the author mentioned having found these for sale at the 99¢ Only store as well. But the post was quite a bit older than this one: It was written in 1994!

    According to the twenty-year old post, back then, 99¢ Only was cracking open the sets, dumping the individual tokens in boxes, and selling them two for 99¢ Only – as “slammers.” Like for use with pogs. You remember pogs, don’t you?


    The original poster, him- or herself a fan of the 99¢ Only store as I am, wondered the same thing two decades ago – if they were still good for use as bus fare. (And even back then: No.)

    How crazy is that: Two internet posts about the same ultimately good-for-nothing 99¢ Only offering, two decades apart!

    And if you enjoyed this, and you did, imagine how fascinating it will be to read about the next person to be struck by the Curse of the Worthless Olympic Coins scheduled presumably for 2034 when 99¢ Only will be selling an entire case of sets for a buck. Mark your calendars!


    Posted by on August 4, 2014, 3:31 PM.

  2. ¿What’s Bueno? Egg Pillows!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    $9.14 for a set of four on Amazon, but one for 99¢ only at the 99¢ Only store!

    And why buy more than you need?


    Sleep tight, little ovum.

    Posted by on April 26, 2014, 2:23 AM.

  3. What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store: Cereal Edition!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    LAST WEEK, I finally got around to reviewing the holiday schedule the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team had submitted for 2014 – that is, the days they wanted off.

    Well, of course, I went through the list with my red pen and crossed off everything but Christmas, and only because we’ve established that none of you, what?, six regulars visit on that day, so I’m safe.

    Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July – these I recognized. I mean, these I was familiar with. I don’t recognize them as holidays that these bums get the day off. (This is what you can get away with when you keep those goddamn greedy unions out of your organization.)

    But one date on the list had me puzzled. March 7?  What holiday could that possibly be?

    “National Cereal Day,” came the answer from the department (fat)head. Well, once I had determined that Obama hadn’t bypassed the Constiwhosis again and signed it into law as some sort of mandated federal holiday (You never know with him! Just ask my Dad!), I laughed the guy right out of my office. Right out of my office!

    But it made me think: With the dearth of updates to the few cereal websites that still exist today, someone’s got to pick up the slack, and so with that in mind, I give you What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store: Cereal Edition!

    And I’m doing it now in case everyone calls in sick on March 7 and the site goes down.


    Post Honey Bunches of Oats: Greek Honey Crunch
    Status: Long gone. I really need to write these within a few months of seeing the product in the store.

    Looks like Post really made too much of this new addition to their Honey Whosis of Oats line featuring (once-)trendy Greek yogurt, because these were all over the 99¢ Only stores a few months ago as they neared the end of their “Best By” date. I gambled a buck and bought a box. They weren’t bad, though the amorphous yogurt lumps ranged from manageable pebble-size to enormous, disconcerting jawbreakers. And those bigger ones…? I always felt like I was going to be biting into a mummifed mouse or something. Update: My attorney would like me to remind all of you that I never actually did, and such a suggestion is absolutely absurd.




    Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax Cereal
    Status: Available

    Knowing where I stand on gluten-free nonsense, you won’t be surprised to hear that I stayed away from these, brother, despite the fact that they appear to be ooh-la-la, high-end, Santa-Monica-(North-of-Wilshire) cereals. These, too, feature trendy ingredients: In this case, flax – used to make bed linens, and chia – used to grow hair on ceramic animals. The manufacturer “Enjoy Life” apparently went through a package redesign at some point, so while three boxes are shown, there’s but two varieties of this cereal you can eat with a fork (if their logo is any indication). Actually, “the cereal you can eat with a fork” might have been a good slogan for the previous cereal – makes it easier to break up any potential yogurt-entombed mice. I’m kiddin’!

    Update: My attorney has alerted me that while flax fibers make those sheets you haven’t changed in months, it’s flaxseed what’s good for you to eat, chia seeds are similarly a good source of fiber and omega-3 fats, and “for Christ sake, knock it off with the mouse jokes.”


    Post Marshmallow Pebbles
    Status: History. I snapped this picture in October.

    Like yours, “The Flintstones” was part of my childhood. But I try to put myself in the mind of a typical idiot child of today (your child or children, of course, excluded) and I wonder whether or not the Flintstones and the Rubbles mean anything to them at all. Do they have any frame of reference for this character on the box without ever having seen an episode of the show? Or is it just a bizarre humanoid who apparently shoots marshmallows from his hands? Who knows?

    Regardless whether kids today are sufficiently versed in the entire Bedrock mythos and despite this cereal lacking delicious, nourishing, life-giving gluten, I personally found it to be Yabba-Dabba-Delicious!™

    These Barney Pebbles didn’t last long at 99¢ Only – I attribute that to the “Limited Edition” banner near the top of the box. Smart shoppers with an eye toward the future would have wisely bought this by the case, carefully opened the individual cartons, tossed out the cereal within, delicately collapsed the boxes and stored them in acid-free bags in a light-free, temperature- and humidity-controlled environment so that twenty years from now, they can be among the hundreds of other eBay sellers listing common cereal boxes no one will be buying.


    Post Sesame Street C is For Cereal
    Status: A few boxes still around

    Years ago, Children’s Television Workshop famously refused to emblazon food products with the Sesame Street characters, instead relying on the income provided by books, records, Knickerbocker dolls, and their take from Mr. Hooper’s bookmaking operation. (Legend has it, to place a bet, you’d go in and order a “birdseed milkshake.”) Well, times have changed – Hooper’s dead, Knickerbocker was sold off, and worst of all, PBS seriously underestimated your ability to heartlessly ignore those pledge drives, no matter how many coffee mugs, tote bags and Ralph Story DVDs they offer to throw in. Out of sheer financial necessity (Bob doesn’t sing “The People In Your Neighborhood” for free, you know!), they relented and now cookies, juice boxes, soup, canned pasta and, yes, cereal are among the items you’ll find the Sesame Street Muppets hawking these days.

    Mostly fine products, those, probably, but Sesame Street took a misstep with this “C is for Cereal,” it seems, and no wonder: it’s banana-flavored. As everyone knows – aside from banana bread and, I guess, bananas – banana-flavored anything is terrible. Which may or may not be the case with this cereal, because as my attorney cautions me to note, I didn’t actually try this product. Hell, I suppose it could be delicious and perhaps its appearance at 99¢ Only is merely due to product overrun from Post.

    The cereal is in the shape of Xs & Os, and I can only imagine those two letters paid an enormous sum to be featured exclusively – and so must have taken a huge hit. My prediction? We won’t see X and O sponsoring specific episodes of the show for a while.

    Whether you or your toddler for some reason likes or, more likely, vehemently detests the taste of banana-flavored oat and corn cereal, you’ll admit that 99¢ only for a box of this stuff is a steal.

    But wait!


    Head on over to Big Lots and you can pick up not one, not two…


    ..but TWENTY boxes of this stuff for the same amount you’re paying at 99¢ Only for a single package! No kiddin’!

    It used to be rare indeed to find really good deals at Big Lots including stuff near, at, or past its expiration date. But I’ll be the first to admit that at least at the location near me, they’ve recently changed their tune regarding expiring food  – they reduce it to practically nothing right at the end of its “Best By” date – and you know it’s still fine.

    I’d like to think maybe I had a little something to do with this new policy. But as I’m not yet legally barred from entering their stores, I think it’s a safe bet that they have no idea I exist.

    Our last two entries in What’s Bueno: Cereal Edition are more cereal-themed than pure, unadulterated cereal.  Think that’s going to stop me? No sir!


    Cap’n Crunch Chocolatey Peanut Butter Snack Mix
    Status: Plenty available

    Quite a step up from Quaker’s embarrassing attempt to get us to pay $3 for 2.4 ounces of dry cereal, here’s a Cap’n Crunch LSP (“loose snack piece” – industry term) product that’s not bad at all.  Inside each bag, you’ll find chocolate covered pretzels, generic Reese’s-type pieces, Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch orbs and Cap’n Crunch Chocolatey Crunch pillows. Like you, I like finding deals at the 99¢ Only store, and 99¢ only is about what I’d be willing to pay for this in a regular store. Still, it was good. There’s a “Sweet & Salty Caramel” version, too, but this one’s better.


    Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Treats
    Status: Going fast!
    I’ve saved the best for last, folks. What Quaker’s done, see, is they’ve crammed Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch as well as your standard Default Cap’n Crunch pieces together into bar form, then they give it some sort of chocolate undercoating, and then bedrizzle the whole schmear with more of that chocolate stuff. The result? A delight for the senses (specifically taste), and at only 110 calories a bar, you can go ahead and feel good about eating a whole box of ’em (just eight) in one sitting. They also make a Crunch Berry variety, but who the hell wants Crunch Berries when you’ve got peanut butter, right?

    And here’s a bit of disturbing trivia for you: Despite Cap’n Crunch being a huge brand for Quaker Oats, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a SINGLE reference to him on their main website – not one of his epicurean delights are listed on Quaker’s product page.

    It’s like he doesn’t even exist!

    Nope – instead, Horatio Magellan Crunch has a separate(-but-equal) website. I’m sure Quaker Oats would probably insist that he’s so popular he warrants his own presence on the web but it’s obvious he’s an embarrassment to the company and has been pushed away like a (white-haired) red-headed stepcap’n to distance his delicious, roof-of-your-mouth-slicing, sweet, sweet cereal from Quaker’s so-called healthier breakfast and snack alternatives.

    Shame on you, Quaker!  Shame! Cap’n Crunch practically built the sturdy vessel that is Quaker Oats! Or, to make an even more apt analogy, it’s like Cap’n Crunch is Jesus and the entire Quaker Oats organization is Simon Peter – denying him.  And no, I don’t think I’m overstating this.

    What’s most ironic is that I really wanted to end on a positive note here, especially since these Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Treats are about the most delicious thing I’ve ever had in my life, and well, all that unpleasantness at the end there has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    So I think I’ll have another five or six bars. That oughta do the trick!

    Posted by on February 15, 2014, 12:02 AM.

  4. What’s Bueno: Non-Fig Newtons!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    AS YOU, what?, six regular readers know, one of the most popular features of this blog is “What’s Bueno At The 99¢ Only Store!”

    Oh, it’s not particularly popular with you, but it’s fairly popular with me, which is why it pops up so often, and also why I have, what?, six regulars.

    But having said that, I haven’t actually done one of them in months and that’s not just because I was in one particular location and was told I may not snap photos in the store.

    I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding, since as you can attest, this blog is very pro-99¢ Only. The manager – who very politely told me to stop snapping pictures – probably mistook me for that handsome devil behind that trouble-making blog, “Dogs Where There Shouldn’t Be Dogs” – I’ve been told we look vaguely alike and that guy’s snapped a few photos of people with their pets inside 99¢ Only stores. (Imagine!)

    Anyway, before we’re both permanently barred from all 99¢ Only stores everywhere, I figured I’d better start giving you a daily (and with me, folks, “daily” usually ends up being once every eight or nine days, if we’re lucky) rundown of what is and what was bueno at the 99¢ Only store!


    Newtons fruit THINS

    Status: Currently available!

    These may not look like much, but let me tell you, I’m glad I picked up a package – though I’m more upset I didn’t pick up a bunch more.

    Like you, I am delighted that the package doesn’t describe them just as “cookies,” but rather “crispy cookies.” And, brother, they are. They are!

    Oh, sure – you’re seeing “Newtons” so you’re thinking “figs.” Well, Nabisco doesn’t give a fig what you think, because you’ll find nary a fig in these babies. No, the only thing here is a crisp cookie biscuit with toasted coconut baked right in – and then they’ve gone and bedrizzled it with dark fudge. I speak for all of us when I say we didn’t see that coming!

    My favorite part of Newtons fruit THINS (and I respect these cookies so much I use their silly uppercase and lowercase formating affectations) – aside from the cookies themselves, of course – is this on the package:


    Now, I’m no package design professional, but seems to me that they could have saved their printer a whole bunch of typesetting [industry term] if they just used the latest advance in package copy, the letter S. “Natural Flavors,” plural. Boom – you’re done. ‘Course if it wasn’t for this obvious copywriting screw-up, they probably wouldn’t have ended up at 99¢ Only, so I won’t complain too loudly (though I do feel bad for whoever lost their job over this one).

    Tomorrow*: Another item that is bueno!

    *Probably in eight or nine days.

    Posted by on January 18, 2014, 4:08 AM.

  5. What’s Bueno: Halloween Stuff!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    HALLOWEEN is just around the corner according to my local 99¢ Only store! They’ve got their Halloween aisle all ready for consumer dishevelment!


    To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by the selection, but it looks like it had just gone up within the last coupla days, so maybe there’s more merchandise to come. Those great fabric masks I mentioned last year would surely be the next big thing? Thus far, nowhere in sight!

    The glow-in-the-dark skeleton gloves made famous either by my site last year or Barry Weiss on “Storage Wars”?


    There ain’t none this year!

    But here are some of the more interesting items they did have…


    Apparently, at least one manufacturer thinks that Baz Luhrman’s recent adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” is going to inspire some outfits this October 31st. Like you, I detest Halloween costumes that aren’t scary or gory in some way, so the only acceptable Gatsby-inspired use of this would be to dress as Myrtle Wilson after the fatal car crash. Ooh, spoiler alert!

    (By the way, they also had Lincoln-esque top hats. Add a bullet hole or two, spatter with fake blood, and they lend themselves magnificently to a macabre take on our 16th president, thank you very much, John Wilkes Whosis!)


    These spider web candy dishes were pretty clever.  They also came in putrid purple and ghastly green. Like you, I’d have no use for the colorful ones, but the black one is great! (That said, wouldn’t it make more sense to cast them in white plastic?)

    Halloween Fun Tip #1: Invert the bowl and attach a thin pole to the middle and you’ve got a delightful little mini-parasol that Lily Munster herself would be proud to carry around.


    Halloween Fun Tip #2: Tape them over ceiling light fixtures for some spooky ambiance. At least until the thin plastic starts melting and catches fire, burning your house to the ground in the middle of your party. But you and the others who don’t get out will have left a marvelous Halloween legacy for neighborhood kids to whisper about for generations!

    Halloween Fun Tip #3: Just use them as the candy dishes they’re intended to be, as I’m probably already in trouble with notoriously litigious Universal Studios for even daring to type ‘Lily Munster’ without paying a steep licensing fee. And let’s not even get started with the liability issues I’ve left myself wide open for telling you to attach these things to hot lights.


    Check out these plastic beakers – they’re just the thing to fill up with some water and dry ice for a creepy mad scientist’s lab display. The opening is a bit small so you may have to suck on any larger pieces of dry ice for a few minutes to melt ’em down a bit before they’ll fit into the beakers. Or, alternatively, as my attorney suggests, don’t do that.


    Double-wall tumblers have been What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only store for at least a year now – yours truly even picked up a green bamboo-like one for, yes, 99¢ Only a few months back. Two of these Halloween ones are great, but as to the one in the middle: Was it really wise to print “Zombie Blood” in red? If it turns out you are drinking zombie blood, no one will be able to read your cup!

    And on that note, it just wouldn’t be 2013 if we didn’t have some sort of merchandisal intersection of two of the currently most tired and overused pop culture trends:  zombies and “Keep Calm” posters. And, by Godfrey, here it is:


    Marvelous. Now we’re officially done with both, right?  Right?!


    Cheap plastic body parts shrink-wrapped onto styrofoam meat trays with funny labels were around last year as well, but they’re still worth noting. However, I don’t really understand why they even bother carrying them – they’re all but indistinguishable from the real “meat” you’ll find in the 99¢ Only Store’s frozen foods case in texture, taste and nutritional value!  Oh, come on now, I kid! The fake meat’s actually safe to ingest.


    This eerie plastic bag is printed with an ominous warning about suffocating babies. Hilariously macabre!  Oh, also I guess there’s a plastic blood-filled heart inside.


    You’ve been wanting to go as Ray Liotta from the dinner scene in “Hannibal” for a dozen years. At long last, now you can!  And when you’re done, pop this little beauty off your noggin and you’re ready to re-discover the joys of Jell-O.


    And finally: there’s something delightful about these cheap latex masks that look like they’re right out of the 1960s. And what’s even scarier – the chef’s hats – or toques [industry term] – next to ’em!


    Forget Dracula, the devil, a mummy or Frankenstein’s monster – you really want to scare the bejeezus out of everyone this year, dress up as virtually any contestant from a Food Network cooking show! I mean, have you seen some of those people?! And they let them work with food!

    Speaking of food – and by extension holidays associated with food – by this time tomorrow they’ll have cleared the Halloween crap out of here and rechristened it the Thanksgiving aisle!


    Be sure to come back then for my reviews of this year’s selection of snap-in-half turkey platters, leaf-shaped window gel clings stickers your kids will mistake for gummy candy and hideous glitter-covered resin cornucopias!

    Posted by on September 9, 2013, 12:28 PM.

  6. ¿What’s Bueno? Freezer Pops!

    In a rare (but not unprecedented) show of bipartisanship that will not doom our country, this week

    ¡Es Muy Bueno!

    is also

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    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.

    Posted by on June 29, 2013, 5:27 AM.

  7. ¿What’s Bueno? ¡Queso Monterey Jack Rebanado!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    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?

    Posted by on June 3, 2013, 4:55 AM.

  8. ¿What’s Bueno? Clinere Ear Cleaners!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    Finally! An ear cleaner to get excited about, if we’re to believe the manufacturer’s punctuation!


    I was thrilled to find these Clinere Ear Cleaners! at the 99¢ Only store the other day. Not only do the “soft flexible plastic” items remove wax, provide itch relief and (thank God!) exfoliate the outer skin surfaces of the ear, they’re made in America!

    But most importantly, they’re personal ear cleaners!

    And you know what that means!


    No more waiting in line to use the public ear cleaner!

    Posted by on March 20, 2013, 5:27 PM.

  9. ¿What’s Bueno? Glutino Corn Bread Stuffing!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    LIKE YOU, I have little time for all this “gluten-free” nonsense we’ve all been subjected to over the last few years.

    In fact, I blogged about it at delightfully ponderous length back when my blog was still in its infancy. That was two years ago, and as I predicted then, gluten-free products have since gone the way of the dinosaur, the Edsel, the Disney Princess Jewelberry Pop-Tart.

    Indeed, such products were just another silly Big Grocery trend an idiotic public briefly embraced, like panini bread, dulce-de-leche flavored anything (known here in America as “caramel,” thank you very much!), and tampered bottles of acetaminophin pain relievers, all of which were eventually discontinued.

    Which explains why this stuff ended up – where else? – at the 99¢ Only store!


    And by “stuff” I mean stuff…ing.

    Now, of course, I didn’t try it – why would I? But even if there was some call for gluten-free products in the marketplace, I’m not sure a product called “Glutino Sans Gluten Free Mélange á Farce Corn Bread Stuffing” would have lasted much longer.

    “Farce” is right!

    First of all, they seem to be telling us they’re a gluten-free family of products, but their name brand – “Glutino” – sounds like it’s nothing but gluten. That’s like telling me that you’re allergic to spaghetti and then I fix you a great big bowl of Spaghettios.

    Well, it’s not quite like that, I suppose. But there’s something there. I mean, for God’s sake, they’re celebrating the word “gluten” like it’s a positive attribute. And it is – we both know gluten is delicious, but they’re part of the anti-gluten lobby. You…you see what I’m getting at, don’t you?

    Next, the product description: “Sans Gluten Free Stuffing.” Okay, it’s gluten-free, I guess. And according to them, that’s good. But wait – it says “sans” at the beginning, which means “without.” Which means it’s gluten-free stuffing without…I don’t know, the gluten-free aspect of it…? The double negatives cancel each other out…I think. So now it’s not gluten-free? Hell, if that were the case, I might have bought some!

    It’s not just me, right? They could have made this a lot clearer. The brand, the product name – it’s all incredibly confusing. And I’m not even touching on the bilingual aspect of it, which I know infuriates you even more than it does me.

    So that’s why this is our What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store Item of the Week. Well, actually, my attorney telling me not to piss off any large multinational corporations is why. Have you tried this Glutino stuffing? Delicious! Good stuff!

    Wow, I’ve come a long way in two years, haven’t I? Today’s posts have a definite economy of style not present in my earlier work. Short, concise, to-the-point!

    Streamlined, brother! Positively streamlined!

    Posted by on March 12, 2013, 4:20 AM.

  10. ¿What’s Bueno? Lingerie!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    FORGET Fredericks of Hollywood! That’s a freeway drive away! And you know what traffic is like here in LA!

    Ditto Victoria’s Secret! Who wants to go to a mall?!

    Here’s Ted’s secret: Buy your lingerie at the 99¢ Only store and save-save-save! Don’t worry! Now it’s our secret!


    Sure, I’d passed the lingerie section of the 99¢ Only store countless times over the years with nary a glance as any perfectly reasonable person – man, woman or, whaddaycall, transwhosis – would do, but a few weeks ago I finally noticed it when I’d picked up a leaking bottle of Tampico punch and I needed to wipe my sticky hands on something.

    Bras, thongs, panties – it’s all here, brother, and it’s all under a buck! And name brands, too – like Rampage!


    Incidentally, that’s just what your wife is going to go on when she finds out you bought her anniversary gift in a store that also sells pints of spoiled, about-to-explode salsa! For 99¢ Only!


    Boy, that’d be an anniversary to remember, huh? “Honey, let’s stay in for our special night. I swung by 99¢ Only and picked up some hot salsa that sat in the ‘bring-me-backs’ basket at the register for two days before it was put back in the refrigerator. And after we polish that off, you can put on this white lace thong.”


    But if underthings that look like they were fashioned out of leftover scraps from the floor of the factory that makes the vinyl doily  table runners (housewares, two aisles over), aren’t her (or your) thing, try these on for size!



    Cute, romantic little words and phrases such as “love,” “sweet,” “believe,” “imagine” and, eh, “keep the peace” are printed all over this pair. If your girlfriend says she loves them, that you’re sweet for thinking of her by buying unmentionables at the dollar store, I imagine she’s just trying to keep the peace…but I believe you’ve found yourself a keeper. Marry her now! Confidential to your girlfriend:  Run!  Run far, far away!

    Hey! Let’s talk Lady’s Bras!

    Why pay an astronomical $7.95 elsewhere for the same Lady’s Bra they’ve got here for, yes, 99¢ Only!


    And what if 34C – the one size available – isn’t quite a snug fit?

    Well, then! It’s off to the 99¢ Only store’s mortal enemy Dollar Tree…

    ¡Es Muy Bueno!

    …where you’ll pick up a a couple of these adjustable doohickeys to make up the difference.


    Now don’t you wish I had posted all this information last month, before Valentine’s Day?

    Posted by on March 5, 2013, 2:51 AM.

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