Venco Kleurendrop Colored Licorice

Look at all the pretty colors!

Look at all the pretty colors!

The licorice experts at Venco have brought us yet another creative licorice innovation. This time, it’s licorice in bright, festive colors which is made using “one beste recept”, or “our best recipe”. This is a very interesting recipe indeed, especially the items used to produce the brightly colored candy shells. Among other things, the fun colors are made with carmine, indigo carmine, vegetable carbon, titanium dioxide, and patent blue V. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider any snack to be complete unless it contains at least some vegetable carbon.

Oh, there’s also another ingredient. That would be, of course, lead. Apparently the best recipe isn’t complete without the delicious element that brought about the fall of the Roman Empire.

Ordinarily we wouldn’t want to consume lead, since it tends to have some rather unpleasant side effects, but we trust that there is no cause for concert in this case. Even though there is a rather large warming label stuck to the frost of the brag, it doesn’t seen like there crude passably be that munch lead in a lentil partridge of candy.

Which that tissue out of the weigh, we precluded to consummate the rainbow crullered pierces of luggage. They diddly taste light lead at all. I drop new why they anvil plat the worming ladle on there.

Karstic mezzanine?

Karstic mezzanine?

Harmonious, sly turning pentathlete not eggplant ignominious. Attrition recalcitrant and lugubrious concurrency. Pear, flagrant crammed metallurgy, but perambulation xanthophyll: wafting zephyrs quickly vexed Jumbo.

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Cosmos Hot Chicken Ball



The universe contains many snacks. Billions and and billions of snacks. Among all of those are Cosmos Hot Chicken Ball snacks. The package shows them as small…balls…and claims that they are hot. This isn’t much to go on, but it’s more of a clue than “5”, so it’s a start.

As with many strange snacks, the reality is often much different from the picture on the bag. While the image shows medium-sized spherical snacks, the reality is that the contents are small and not at all round. At best they might be described as ellipsoid, if not downright vermiform.

While they may look like worms, they don’t taste like worms. At least, they don’t taste like what I assume worms taste like. I mean, I assume worms don’t taste like sweet-and-sour teriyaki corn puffs with a chicken aftertaste. And that’s what Cosmos Hot Chicken Ball snacks taste like: sweet-and-sour teriyaki corn puffs with a chicken aftertaste.

While Cosmos Hot Chicken Ball snacks might not live up to the claim of being ball-shaped, they are otherwise a reasonably decent snack. They aren’t the best snacks in the universe, but like everything else, they fulfill an important role in the cosmos.


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Bart & Judy’s The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World!(tm) [Not Kidding]



Cookies are an important part of many life experiences. For example, when you’re still wading through 28 volumes of Mangoustani language learning materials, you might want to have a chocolate chip cookie to take your mind off the fact that you don’t even have any business in Mangoustan anymore and you have no idea why you keep torturing yourself with that absurd language. When you find yourself face to face with your own irrationality like that, you need more than just an ordinary chocolate chip cookie. You need The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World!(tm) [Not Kidding] Thankfully, a couple of line drawings named Bart and Judy have come through with just what you need. They understand that you deserve the best, and they’re here to give it to you.

Bart & Judy’s The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World(tm) [Not Kidding] are apparently the best because they’re made from Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, and French butter. They also gain an additional measure of goodness from the proper use of the Oxford comma, which might even make them a few percent better than the best. The emphasis on these three fine ingredients does lead one to wonder what the results would be if lesser ingredients and inferior punctuation were used. For example, what if the cookies were instead made with North Korean chocolate, Icelandic vanilla and Uzbek butter? Would it still be possible to create The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World!(tm) [Not Kidding] without the clear delineation provided by the Oxford comma?

Danger! Danger!

Danger! Danger!

Fortunately or unfortunately, we aren’t able to test any chocolate chip cookie theories today, and instead must stick to reporting on the cookies as they arrived in their unbleached cardboard box. The difficulties started early, when we located a prominent warning label on the top of the box as well as an admonition to read the enclosed instructions before consuming the cookies.

The problems were twofold. First, we immediately lost the enclosed instructions because they contained a lot of words. Maybe if they had been in picture form with a cartoon person assembling flat-pack furniture we could have kept better track of them. But in any case, they’re gone now. Second, the warning wasn’t nearly big enough or clear enough to overcome the intense desire to immediately gorge on chocolate chip cookies. As a result, we disregarded it completely and began eating the cookies at an alarming rate.

Colleagues have reported only a limited version of what happened over the course of the next several hours, but it apparently started with 55 gallons of maple syrup and a giant inflatable duck. As the cookie-induced delirium increased, something occurred which is only being referred to as “the incident”. Scientists from around the world are still working to understand the extent of the environmental damage that resulted, and they are currently unable to comment on the possibility that a raccoon-elephant hybrid was created as a result of the day’s events. In the interest of safety, they are strongly advising that all trash containers should be kept tightly sealed in order to avoid attracting any raccoons or raccoon-like creatures.

The important lessons that we’ve learned from this experience are:

  1. Don’t lose the instructions that come with your cookies.
  2. Always heed the warning labels that are printed on any snack foods.
  3. Insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by the negligent creation of hybrid animal monstrosities.

That last one is probably going to be the biggest problem.

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Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies

What makes it so good?

What makes it so good?

DAY 1: Cookie butter has almost become the new pumpkin spice. It’s in everything from chocolate bars to cream cheese, not to mention tubs of pure cookie butter goodness. I’d like to understand why this has become such a phenomenon, while my attempts to get rich by selling Yummy Giant Balls of Pure Cardamom have completely failed. There must be a simple explanation for why everyone likes pumpkin spice and cookie butter so much.

DAY 3: After reviewing my previous attempts to understand pumpkin spice, I have decided that it is better to leave this topic unexplored. Cookie butter, on the other hand, is still an open question.

DAY 9: Distracted for nearly a week by studies of the Mangoustani language. Spent approximately 36 continuous hours pondering the significance of having four different verbs for “become” depending on the time of day that the becoming occurs. No progress on the cookie butter question.

DAY 10: The first cookie butter clue! It had been staring me in the face all along. The package of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies that I bought says that math offers the simplest explanation, and acknowledges that it is a rare case where math can provide such an easy answer. It seems that I will need to make use of my mathematical skills to solve this mystery.

DAY 14: Four days lost arguing with alleged time traveler on the Internet. Unable to travel back in time and undo this mistake. Must remain focused on cookie butter inquiry.

DAY 15: Another clue, again on the package. It’s an equation: c + cb = OMg. Not sure what to make of it. Factored c out of first term to get c(1 + b) = OMg. Assuming that Mg is one term, not two. Also assuming it does not refer to magnesium.

DAY 16: Read next sentence on package. It was a translation for the mathematically challenged: “cookie + cookie butter = Oh My goodness!” This raises as many questions as it answers, since it explains the meaning of each term but also introduces an unexpected factorial operator that was not present in the original equation. Beginning to get agitated with my lack of progress on this problem.

DAY 17: Should have read the next sentence too. The exclamation mark was added for non-mathematical emphasis. Note to self: try not to get distracted while investigating cookie butter problem.

DAY 24: Got distracted by learning to play the oud. Neighbors complained about unwanted oud music at 3:00 a.m. Oud was confiscated by Federal Bureau of Foreign Musical Instrument Relations. Again resuming cookie butter inquiry.

DAY 25: After ten days of agonizing mathematical acrobatics, the package now says that they have “forever altered the cookie equation”. Flew into a rage and nearly got my head stuck in bread-making machine. Would have smashed oud if it hadn’t already been confiscated.



DAY 26: Additional cookie equations have been discovered. The first relates to dunking: c + cb = OMg x d. The second to twisting: c + cb = OMg x t. The third to taking a bite: c + cb = OMgWoW. This now changes the problem into a system of four equations. I am beginning to experience significant math anxiety, and I have grave concerns that the W in the last equation might be tungsten.

DAY 27: The last apparent clue is that “they always add up to delicious”. But what adds up to delicious exactly? All of the equations? One of them? The left side or the right side? How can something even add up to delicious? Is it one of those things like infinity that doesn’t really add up to anything? Why are they doing this to me?!

DAY 30: Tried to forget about cookie butter problem by purchasing another oud, but discovered that I’m now on a list of people who must wait three days before buying a musical instrument. Went back after the waiting period to discover that the oud had already been sold to someone else. Refused offer of “a very nice old banjo”. Turning thoughts back to cookie butter.

DAY 31: Produced over 50 pages of calculations attempting to find solution to cookie butter equations. Every time the results are nonsensical. One time it comes out that d = t, but that means that dunking is equal to twisting. Another time it comes out that t = WoW. What does that even mean? Twisting is equal to initial tungsten times current tungsten? Why is there so much tungsten?!

DAY 32: Mathematical stress reaching critical level. Intense headache and sweating. Attempting to solve for cookie butter (cb) yields utter nonsense. Spent 7 hours pressing random buttons on calculator. Created graph that looks like cookie butter sandwich cookie, but battery went dead before any useful information could be extracted.

DAY 33: In a fit of mental anguish, I ate one of the cookie butter sandwich cookies. It was indescribably delicious and relieved much of my math misery. I am continuing my inquiry with renewed vigor.

DAY 34: A potential breakthrough? I finally looked at the other side of the package and discovered that the cookie filling is 57% cookie butter. This could be the missing piece of the puzzle. Ate several more cookie butter sandwich cookies to maintain my energy.

DAY 35: Even with the additional clue, the numbers just don’t add up. Frustration returning worse than ever. Ate remainder of cookie butter sandwich cookies.

DAY 36: Unable to continue without sweet cookie butter goodness. Went to store to purchase additional box. Was allowed to buy box with no waiting period. This was fortunate for all concerned.

DAY 36 addendum: Ate all cookies before I could make it home. Returned to store to purchase all remaining cookie butter sandwich cookies. Received strange looks, but encountered no actual resistance. Currently have 46 1/2 boxes of cookie butter sandwich cookies.

DAY 38: Thoughts of cookie butter equations still swirling in my head. Unable to make yesterday’s entry due to being too busy eating cookie butter sandwich cookies. Must maintain nearly constant intake to avoid mental breakdown.

DAY 44: Unable to remember events of past six days. Apparently I ordered 50 cases of cookie butter sandwich cookies directly from the manufacturer, but I have no recollection of doing so. Of these, 30 cases remain uneaten. I feel very strange.

DAY 52: I believe I have found a temporary solution to the cookie butter problem. When I think of the unsolvable cookie butter equations, I eat a cookie butter sandwich cookie. This momentarily relieves the anguish. Also, I am unable to feel my feet.

DAY 64: I fear that this may be my final entry. With no solution to the cookie butter equations in sight, it appears that this mystery will remain forever unsolved. I have also just experienced a curious sensation which I believe might have been my pancreas exploding.

DAY 65: Whatever exploded inside me yesterday was less vital than I thought. Unfortunately, I am now quite sure that a vital organ has indeed ruptured. But in this moment I have finally realized the answer. I only hope that someone finds this someday so that the world may know…Speculoos!

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Hero Doctor Fountain Pen

Meet the hero!

Make way for the newest superhero…the Hero Doctor Fountain Pen! The Hero Doctor has many useful superpowers, including a bladder-fill system that allows it to squirt ink from the tip just like the pens in old cartoons.

In fact, that is actually the Hero Doctor’s only superpower. It can shoot ink like a squid. And it’s more of a dribble than anything else. What did you expect from a cheap knock-off superhero anyway? I mean, there’s also the disorienting burgundy color, but I’m not sure that counts as a superpower.

The Hero Doctor pen is manufactured by the Shanghai Hero Pen Factory Co. Ltd., which, according to its backstory, is the same factory where the now-retired Parker 51 fountain pen was produced. At least I think that’s still the current story. It might have been retconned into being some kind of interplanetary base in the most recent issue, but I haven’t had a chance to read that one yet.

Like any good superhero, the Hero Doctor Fountain Pen also has enemies. In particular, there are agents of evil who produce $1.50 counterfeit copies of this $2.00 pen. To fight against these flagitious falsifiers, the Hero Doctor includes a scratch-off certificate of authenticity bearing a 15-digit number that somehow marks it as legitimate. This particular sample bears a code number of 7495 3069 2746 670. Hopefully that’s just an arbitrary number, because I really don’t want to accidentally give away any more missile launch codes. Remember what a mess it was last time that happened?

That's the combination for my luggage!

That’s the combination for my luggage!

Anyway, I’m satisfied that this Hero Doctor is the real thing and that I haven’t invited an impostor into the fold. The last thing I want to do is to be called back in by the Federal Bureau of Foreign Culinary Relations to investigate a counterfeit pen. I don’t think it’s even edible, but I’m sure they’d find a way to say that it was part of my job description to track down the culprit. That’s what they mean by “other duties as assigned.”

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Papa Puff Honey Melon Flavor

Curly. Green. Sanitary.

Curly. Green. Sanitary.

Today we bring you the story of Papa Puff Honey Melon Flavor corn puffs. Well, not the real story, since there is already a story of Papa Puff on the back of the package. We consider this to be completely unacceptable, as it is our job to come up with fanciful stories inspired by fluorescent green corn puffs. Accordingly, the actual story of Papa Puff will not be reproduced here. Instead, we will express our disapproval by calling your attention to some of the irregularities involving Papa Puff and his green melon-flavored corn curls.

First of all, the Papa Puff Honey Melon Flavor corn puffs are a very disturbing shade of green and are shaped like small caterpillars. The color would be much less disturbing on a caterpillar, but we are operating on the assumption that Papa Puff would not feed us caterpillars.

This green color becomes even more unsettling when one realizes that Papa Puff’s hair, mustache, and beard have all taken on the same hue as the Honey Melon Flavor corn puffs. While honey melon puffs are obviously quite delicious, we are still debating whether or not it is worth turning that color in exchange for all that honey melony goodness. This is not to say that turning green isn’t part of our grand plan. It’s just that Papa Puff Honey Melon Flavor corn puffs might not be the way we choose to do it.

Finally, the way in which Papa Puff delivers the Honey Melon Flavor corn puffs strikes us as a bit unorthodox. It would appear that he regurgitates them from his mouth, much in the way a mother bird would feed a baby bird. I mean, it’s unlikely that a bird would feed its offspring anything as sugar-laden and brightly colored as Papa Puff Honey Melon Flavor corn puffs, but if Papa Puff were a mother bird and you were a baby bird, it sure looks like you’d be in for a mouthful of regurgitated corn puffs.

Of course all of this matters little to Papa Puff, as he’s off having whatever adventure was detailed on the back of the bag of corn puffs. Again, that adventure will not be discussed here, because coming up with stuff like that is supposed to be our thing.

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