Dinosaur Dracula!

30 Haikus About Groceries.

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GROCERY SHOPPING!
Here are thirty dumb haikus
About what I saw. Read More…

The $55 Toys “R” Us Shopping Spree!

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I found an old Toys “R” Us gift card while cleaning, and was happy to discover that it still had 59 bucks left on it. I hope the card enjoyed those eight months under our microwave.

This left me with three options. One, I could save it until the Christmas season, when I’m due to blow hundreds of dollars on gifts anyway. Two, I could put it towards one extravagant item that I wouldn’t be able to afford without a 59 dollar assist. Three, I could immediately drive to TRU and blow it all on goofy crap.

An easy decision. Let’s go on a shopping spree!

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My TRU visits are usually fruitless. I’ll go in, look around, want stuff, but ultimately leave empty-handed, confident that groceries and rent are more important than a few extra Ninja Turtles.

By contrast, a gift card shopping spree is an open invitation to be six years old. Even so, fifty bucks doesn’t go as far as it used to, and if I wanted an overstuffed shopping bag that fired on every cylinder, I had to play it smart. I had to be choosy.

The hardest part was keeping track of my total. These days, almost nothing in TRU wears a price sticker. I had to continually run back to that little scanning-zapping-thing for mental math. (The reason this became a $55 shopping spree rather than a $59 shopping spree was my own paranoia. I didn’t want to spend one cent of my own money, so at the last second, I removed the big bag of Peanut M&M’s. As it turned out, I could’ve bought them and still been under my limit. Damn.)

I didn’t just stick with my usual three aisles. I covered every inch of that place, looking for sales and clearances. (And also Sea-Monkeys, which are now so well-hidden that an entire game show could be forged around challenging contestants to find them in TRU.)

The results are below. I wasn’t just aiming for cool stuff, but a variety of it.

Read More…

Yard Sailin’, Volume V.

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As many of you know, this hasn’t been my favorite week. Since our apartment is currently a minefield of memories we’re not ready to deal with, getting out of the house is a good thing. Thank God for yard sale season.

Longtime readers should remember last year’s Yard Sailin’ series, where I spent my Saturday afternoons buying complete strangers’ garbage. Starting now, the saga continues! I doubt I’ll do one of these every week, but whenever the mood strikes, expect more reports about the junk I found on foreign lawns.

Today was the first excursion of 2015, and I definitely got off on the right foot. Check out my scores, down below!

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Pee-wee’s Playhouse Magic Screen Figure!
Price: $5

Can you believe this? A still-packaged Magic Screen, from Matchbox’s 1988 Pee-wee’s Playhouse collection! Sure, the card is dirty and water-warped, but this is not the kind of thing I’d have ever expected to find at a yard sale.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t spotted at one of those “phony” yard sales run by the same dudes who normally rent space at comic book shows. Magic Screen wasn’t on some pretty table, next to baseball card sets, high dollar comics and tiny ceramic busts of Marvel characters that for some reason cost more than dinner for six.

No, I found Magic Screen in a filthy box on some guy’s lawn. Inside the box were six more Magic Screen figures, in similarly destroyed packages. It’s hard to articulate why finding my Magic Screen in such fashion made the event so cool, but I feel like anyone who goes to yard sales on the reg already understands.

I would’ve bought them all, but the $5 price tag wasn’t so much a “steal” as a “bargain.” Had the packages not looked like they’d spent three years serving as dog toys, then we’d be talking. Read More…

March of the Vintage Comic Book Ads.

After flipping through hundreds of yellowed pages that all stank like old glue, I’m now armed with another batch of old comic book ads. When you’re done reading this, go check out the previous editions.

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Nightmare on Elm Street Dream Package!
(Pulled from unknown 1988 comic)

Our pal Larry P. snail-mailed this to me, presumably because he knew I’d love it enough to use some archaic Vistaprint template to turn it into a giant poster. Oh my God, it’s the NOES Dream Package!

For 98 bucks, fans got everything pictured: The mask, the hat, the glove, the poster, the book, the board game AND the videotape. As much as I want to make jokes about a late ‘80s comic book ad that banked its success on the notion that thirteen-year-olds could conjure hundred dollar bills out of thin air, this was a good deal.

None of the eight items had less than a $10 retail value, and several were in the $30 range. I’m worldly enough to know that Monarch Avalon wouldn’t have mailed all of that stuff in a single box — it was a rare case when mailing an order in several packages would’ve worked out cheaper — but man, as a kid, I totally would’ve expected everything to come in one giant red and green Freddy Krueger box. That would’ve been the biggest draw for me. Read More…

Five McDonald’s Happy Meal Boxes.

Let’s take a look at five old McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes, and see how many tangentially related paragraphs they inspire. You may consider this a surrogate sequel to my article about old fast food bags.

God, I write about a lot of garbage!

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Back to the Future Happy Meal!
Year: 1991

Wow, a Back to the Future Happy Meal?! Okay, sure, it’s based on the animated series rather than the movies, but this is still pretty Big Time.

(And besides, the seemingly little-loved cartoon series definitely had its charms, not the least of which being an impressive amount of continuity between it and the movies. The show actually remembered and factored in what happened in the films, whereas so many other movie-to-toon adaptations ignored everything but the names and gimmicks.)

The BTTF Happy Meal set included four toys — all of which being character figurines irremovably stuck inside action-packed vehicles. With apologies to Marty, the only one worth tracking down is Doc in the DeLorean… because DeLorean.

As for the Happy Meal box, it’s one of those neat ones that doubles as a playset after a little help from scissors. I loved boxes like that. True action figure playsets were expensive, and kids rarely got new ones outside of birthdays and major religious holidays. During the off season, a Happy Meal box that worked on the same principle as Castle Grayskull was even better than a toy DeLorean. Read More…

Five More Cereals From Beyond The Grave.

Long ago, I wrote about five ancient cereal boxes from my personal collection. Later, I did it again. Since many of you seem to find great joy in the idea that I’m surrounded by decades-old food, I think we’ll go for the triple.

Here are five more cereals from beyond the grave:

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Morning Funnies Cereal!
Year: 1988
Box Status: Still full & sealed!

Morning Funnies wasn’t around for long, indicating less success than the cereal probably deserved. While I wouldn’t argue that its rainbow mix of corn & oat happy faces gave kids a big reason to buy it, the boxes were just phenomenal, featuring characters from the bulk of the era’s newspaper strips.

In effect, Morning Funnies was less a cereal and more a massive crossover event, where where Dennis the Menace and Billy from The Family Circus matched wits with Hi and Lois. To punctuate the theme, the back of the boxes folded out into three page comic books, looking much like the Sunday comics in any of the time’s major newspapers.

(Unfortunately, our favorites strips — Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side — were missing from the party. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Watterson didn’t break his famous “no merchandising” rule just to get Hobbes next to Beetle Bailey on the back of a cereal box.)

There were at least eight different Morning Funnies boxes available, each with its own set of strips. If I’m remembering things correctly, the cereal came and went in a flash, indicating once and for all that Hagar the Horrible just isn’t much of a draw. Read More…