Baffled And BeanBoozled

When Niece Katie showed up at the Buntjer family farm on Christmas Eve, she was carrying a Rubik’s Cube — the colorful square toy that plagued my youth and proved I will never possess the patience for such mind games.

Katie had done a fair job messing up the color combination, but hadn’t quite figured out how to put it back in its original state: six sides of solid, matching colors.

It gave me flashbacks to fifth grade, when two fellow students — the wizards of the Rubik’s Cube — sat in the halls of West Elementary and restored anyone’s jumbled-up cube to factory settings without cheating.

Of course, the stickers on my Rubik’s Cube were peeled up at the corners. Some might say switching stickers is cheating — alright, everyone might. I prefer to say I solved the problem the old-fashioned way!

Anyway, when Nephew Blake arrived at the farm, picked up Katie’s Rubik’s Cube and said he could solve it, I had my doubts.

Little did I know there’s a new way to cheat the cube, and it doesn’t involve peeling stickers. Someone has developed an app to help kids cheat.

Blake opened the app on his phone and had the Rubik’s Cube looking like new in 20 minutes. No peeled-back stickers, no dismantling and reassembly required.

“No fair,” I declared.

You know what else isn’t fair? Playing BeanBoozled with the kiddos and, in the luck of the draw, sampling some of the nastiest flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans ever made.

Niece Katie, Nephew Reece and I gathered around the table the other night with a pink bowl half-filled with colorful Jelly Belly jelly beans between us. For those unfamiliar with the game, the company made look-alikes for some of their most popular flavored beans, only the look-alikes feature tastes you’d never, ever, want to experience.

For instance, on my first spin, I ended up with a green jelly bean that could have been lime, but instead tasted like lawn clippings. I’m not kidding when I say that was the mildest of the awful flavors.

In round 2, I picked a brown jelly bean from the bowl, hoping I ended up with the chocolate pudding-flavored bean. It smelled like chocolate, so I plopped the entire bean into my mouth. Big mistake! It tasted like canned dog food.

Round 3: Berry Blue versus Toothpaste. My jelly bean was most definitely comparable to Crest’s original flavor and, as an added bonus, cleared out the aftertaste of canned dog food.

Upon revealing Round 4 and Round 5 flavors, you will understand why I walked away from the table and said I’d had enough.

On spin No. 4, I landed on caramel corn/moldy cheese and, continuing with my absolutely awful selection from the bowl of jelly beans, endured the nastiest of the nasty flavors.

Oh, but spin No. 5 was equally as bad. How I’d hoped the yellow bean with the red spots tasted like a strawberry banana smoothie. Instead, I ended up sampling dead fish. How does dead, rotting, decaying fish taste? If Jelly Belly got it right, I’d say it ranks right up there with moldy cheese.

It’s safe to say that, just like my old Rubik’s Cube ended up in the bottom of the toy bin, I will never, ever, play BeanBoozled again.

And if someone develops an app to help us differentiate between the good and bad flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans, I will declare, “That isn’t fair!”