a bad case of the cracker barrel ass

When I was young, I used to drink and make prank phone calls for entertainment. One of my favorite bits entailed me calling retail establishments and asking the manager to please go out and measure the width of their parking spaces for me. Id explain that I very much wanted to do business with them, but that I had to be confident that their parking lot met my requirements. If they asked, Id explain to them that I either had a car that I didn’t want to have touched by other cars, or that I was quite large and needed some extra room to maneuver myself in and out of my vehicle. I’d usually say something like, I was driving by there this afternoon, scouting the place out, and it seemed to me as though the spaces in front of your store were a bit more snug than is the norm.

Well, here it is a decade later and corporate America is finally getting the message. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one complaining. Take a look at this shot I just took at Cracker Barrel. They’ve added a love seat’s-worth of ass room between vehicles.

It makes me wonder how many fat people had to be extracted after getting stuck between vehicles before this policy change was enacted. Id like to know who the Rosa Parks of the obese was who brought about this change. Surely there was one large person in sweatpants who decided to make a stand. I can picture him now, proudly wedging himself between two vehicles to the point where the jaws-of-life had to be employed.

Given the ever-growing size of Americans, my prediction is that within ten years there are tiny moving sidewalks that will run alongside every parking space. Either that, or Cracker Barrel will run a shuttle service to and from the cars of their patrons. And it will be Cracker Barrel leading the way with these innovations. They are at the forefront of this wide-body movement.

… Great…. Now, Im too depressed to write about all that I ate in New Orleans. Itll have to wait until tomorrow.

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a question to mm.com readers:

And how are you celebrating Protection from Pornography Week?

I was thinking of buying a used tiger cage, filling it up with copies of Big Butt magazine, locking it shut, throwing away the key and then just letting it sit there in my living room. I think Id feel pretty safe from the big butts with those two-inch thick steel bars between us. Maybe, just to be sure, I could run some electricity through them. You can never be too safe when it comes to pornography.

How else would one protect him or her self from pornography? Maybe you could insert photos of family members randomly into porn magazines, giving masturbation a kind of Russian roulette component. That might keep a person protected for a while.

Id like to ask my friend Laura, who peddles smut for a living, how this new Bush holiday is affecting her business. I hope she hasnt had to lay off any of the kids that she employees to scrape ejaculate and lube off of the returned videocassettes.

I dont have a story to link to about this, but did you hear that yesterday, while the White House was trying to get us all to think about protecting ourselves from porn, Bush was out saying to the press that the sailors onboard the USS Lincoln (the ship he landed on in his now infamous Top Gun photo-op) were responsible for the big sign that said Mission Accomplished? He said that it wasnt the idea of anyone in the administration, but that the crew somehow manufactured it on their own. Isnt that just un-fucking-believable? How fucking gullible does this man think that we Americans are?

Well, if youre fed up with the administration, and youve got talent, you might want to enter this contest to make a 30 second ad spot about the man and his “accomplishments” as President.

OK, thats it for now.

Oh, before I go, here are some terrible photos that were taken of a Japanese dolphin hunt. Ive never tried dolphin, but I cant imagine that theyre any tastier than they are smart. Does that make sense? I guess what Im trying to say is that the fact that theyre bright animals should count for something. As far as Im concerned, unless monkeys and dolphins taste at least twice as good as a pig, theres no reason we should be out there killing them. (Fuck, Ive come a long way since I was a vegan. I cant believe Ive passed veal and Im now talking about the possibility of eating monkey and dolphin. Once Ive done that, the only thing left is human, so be careful around me.)

And remember your priorities. Dont bother protecting the earth from global warming, protect yourself and your family from porn.

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seattle monkeys

While I was in New Orleans, I got a couple cool photos from Dave in Seattle. The first one seems to be of a stolen U-Haul truck with a Mexican Day of the Dead scene painted on its side.

The second one appears to be a shot of that same stolen U-Haul taken from the other side. This side features monkeys at least one of whom is running for elected office.

I like the Vote Simio poster.

And I really like how it looks like theres a monkey driving the pickup parked next to the truck when you look through its window.

Speaking of stolen U-Hauls, I seem to recall working with a guy at Kinkos many years ago, in Atlanta, who once rented, stole, painted and then lived in a U-Haul. Ive heard since then that this kind of thing happens quite often Where else can you get a house for $35?

Maybe if wed just elect Simio, everyone could have affordable housing and all the bananas they can eat. (Wesley Clark needs to make Simio his running mate.)

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trick or treat politics

Last week I wrote something here about the Bush administrations use of what are being referred to as free speech areas, enclosed pieces of land where protesters are being corralled when either the President or Vice President are speaking in public. These areas, you might not be surprised to learn, are usually located some distance away from the administration official doing the speaking. (Of course, the folks waving signs saying God Bless You, George are encouraged to stay right there with the President, where the camera crews can get good shots of their enthusiastic response.)

Chelsea Lowe and I had been discussing this new phenomenon for a while. (As were both kind of fans of free speech, it pissed us off a bit.) Neither one of us very much liked the idea that people could be herded into free speech areas against their will. I guess you could say, it rubbed us the wrong way In the words of one of the men last threatened with arrest if he didnt go willingly to his convenient, fenced-off free speech area, we thought this whole country was a free speech area.

So, angered by this, as well as a number of other unfriendly acts toward the Bill of Rights (the Patriot Act, the Total Information Awareness project, etc), we started brainstorming as to creative ways in which we could get the word out. We started by talking about t-shirts. We tossed around ideas for slogans like, Do You Know Where Your Free Speech Area Is? Or, America: the land of free speech. where designated. Or, perhaps just the quote – I thought this whole country was a free speech area.

The backs of these shirts would then have details about the practice of the Bush administration of detaining peaceful protesters under threat of arrest where they can’t be seen or heard.

The idea grew from there Chelsea brought up the possibility that we might be able to somehow tie our campaign into the upcoming Halloween holiday.

Then the floodgates opened.

What if we got the word out that people protesting these assaults against freedom of speech were carving jack-o-lanterns with no mouths this Halloween!? Would the ACLU help us get the word out? Would we get the story picked up by mainstream press?

What if we made a website with a list of costume ideas? We could get a white sheet, transcribe the Bill of Rights onto it and then toss it over a kids head. Hi, Im the Ghost of the Constitution. Or, we could make up an Old Man Ashcroft costume, complete with a constantly running tape loop saying things like, thats immoral, Im scared, cover those boobies, and anoint me in oils. We could have photos off all these things and encourage other people to send in ideas. We could even offer a prize, like one of those George Bush action figures.

We could create a downloadable PDF off a handbook on Haloween Activism for Free Speech. We would have flyers that you could print out. We could list the phone number for the White House, encouraging people to call up and say, You know whats really scary? Designating free-speech areas is scary.

I was really excited about all of this stuff when I went off to New Orleans last week. Id gone with every intention of working on the idea the whole time there. I thought Id have days of just sitting around, sipping coffee and working on this. Unfortunately, thats not what happened. Instead, I had fun. I went out and met people. I was uncharacteristically social.

So, in conclusion, there will probably be no revolution this Halloween. I was too busy eating red beans and rice and running up and down Frenchman Street Sorry.

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the shonen knife situation

Linette and I are supposed to be interviewing Atsuko and Naoko Yomano, the sisters behind the great Japanese rock band Shonen Knife, this Friday evening in Detroit. Unfortunately, neither of us has had too much time to prepare for the interview. Weve been listening to our Shonen Knife CDs as we sit here and ship out the new issues of Crimewave, but we havent done much beyond that

Well, I just decided to take a few minutes and scour the web, looking for interesting little things to ask them about.

While looking over the English language version of their new website, I came across a quote that I really love.

Please continue watching their powerful activity.

Im thinking about stealing it from my site. I very much like the idea of powerful activity and I want mine to be watched too

And heres another weird thing I found while skimming through the guestbook of a Shonen Knife fan site. This was an entry, amid all the other entries.

This is Joe Lewis, son of comedian Jerry Lewis. I’m a huge Shonen Knife fan. I think you know a band I worked with called The Fab Four, the Beatles tribute Thank you for being so good and rocking and rolling!
~ Joe Lewis – Las Vegas, Nevada USA

Why doesnt something cool like that ever happen on my bands guestbook? We never get the grown children of celebrities just stopping by All we get are young English girls giggling over elephant cocks.

OK, I need to get back to the mailing of the new issue of Crimewave now. If youre a subscriber, or if you contributed to this issue, you should get your copies in a few days. The first batch went in the mail this afternoon. The rest will go out by this weekend.

For those of you in the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, you can pick up a copy at Henrietta Fahrenheit or Rubber Soul Records. If you arent in southeastern Michigan, youll have to wait a few days longer. Borders Books should have them out in their stores in the next week or so, as should Tower Records. Lots of independent stores carry Crimewave too. One day Ill get motivated and list them all here.

And, I should mention, in a few days well have the Crimewave website set up to take orders. We want to get these out to subscribers before we start working on that though.

As for Shonen Knife, if you have any ideas for questions for them, please send them to me. (As the interview will take place on Halloween night, we plan to ask a lot of stuff about costumes, ghosts, monsters and the like. You don’t have to stay constrained to that subject matter though.)

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