McDonald's Sells Out

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Vol 32 Issue 03

Microsft Bids $2.1 Billion For Milton Berle Joke File

REDMOND, WA—Continuing its massive content-acquisition drive, Microsoft paid $2.1 billion Monday for Milton Berle's Joke File, the world's most vaunted collection of insults, gags and one-liners. "We aim to build the greatest archive in human history," Microsoft spokesperson Samantha Franks said, "and, as such, we needed to acquire the world's greatest jokes." Culled from the legendary comedian's six decades in show business—spanning Vaudeville, radio and television—the Milton Berle Joke File is believed to be the largest collection of zingers in existence, covering subjects ranging from mothers-in-law to schwartzes. Microsoft is also rumored to be interested in acquiring Rich Hall's extensive "Sniglets" lexicon.

New Toothbrush Slightly Different From Already Existing, Perfectly Good Toothbrushes

BELMONT, CA—At a press conference Monday, Oral-B Laboratories unveiled its much-anticipated new DentuTek 6.0 toothbrush, touted by its designers as slightly different from the hundreds of perfectly good toothbrushes currently on the market. "This toothbrush design is perfect for those who are not satisfied with the 846 existing toothbrush designs currently on the market," Oral-B director of product development Julianne Wuerfel said. "Finally, the American consumer has an 847th choice." According to Wuerfel, the DentuTek 6.0 features a patented ErgoDynamic(TM) handle, tapered to a curve vector almost .002 inches from its nearest competitor, the Colgate 34-XB, as well as a revolutionary new Tri-Level Bristle-Control System(TM). "We're very excited," Oral-B CEO Palmer Esch said. "Our team of toothbrush designers and engineers labored intensely to develop a toothbrush that fit within the infinitesimally small window of as-yet-undesigned toothbrush styles. And they did it."

AARP Calls For 'Comfier Booths' At Denny's

WASHINGTON, DC—Taking a bold stand against discomfort, the American Association of Retired Persons called for "comfier booths" at America's approximately 500 Denny's restaurants Monday. "How long can Denny's management stand idly by while our nation's elderly eat their senior breakfast specials at booths that are merely adequate?" AARP president Marge Littlefield, 77, said. Among its principal demands, the AARP called for increased cushiness, more leg room and an adjustable back-rest feature for those seniors suffering from lower-back discomfort and/or osteoporosis. Additional demands included waitstaff-dispensed shawls, Epsom-salt foot baths at select tables, and specially designated nap areas.

Baseball Hall Of Fame Elected To Hall Of Fame Hall Of Fame

MAPLEWOOD, NJ—In a gala ceremony Monday, the Baseball Hall of Fame was inducted into the Hall of Fame Hall of Fame. Said Hall of Fame Hall of Fame president Darrell Quinlan: "There have been many extraordinary Halls of Fame through the years, but few quite so extraordinary as the Baseball Hall of Fame, with its long, proud tradition of inducting only the most extraordinary baseball players into its ranks." The Baseball Hall of Fame joins such legendary Halls of Fame as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Aviation Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in the Hall of Fame Hall of Fame.

My Short Fiction Will Restore America's Romantic Spirit

Sadly, when I look around America today, I see a lack of romantic spirit. Men and women are no longer filled with wonder for the ethereal forces that drive them together. They're not looking up, starry-eyed, at the shimmering night sky. They're not dreaming of the dawn. They're not talking about love! But once my short fiction starts getting published, that should all change.

The UPS Strike

The weeks-old UPS strike is badly hurting America's small businesses—employers of 50 percent of the nation's workers—prompting many to call for President Clinton to step in and resolve the dispute. What do you think?
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McDonald's Sells Out

OAK PARK, IL—The hip, underground fast-food chain McDonald's is being assailed with cries of "sell-out" from its rabid fan base, which has expressed anger and disillusionment over a merchandising deal signed recently between the restaurant and the Disney Corporation.

A sign at a Lexington, KY, McDonald's advertises <I>Hercules </I>cups for sale, a promotion which has hurt the alternative fast-food chain's street credibility among fans.

For years one of the most respected and influential members of the nation's underground fast-food scene, McDonald's earlier this summer began selling "collectors cups" from the Disney film Hercules for 99 cents with any food purchase.

"God, I can't believe they would do something like this, man," said 25-year-old Ted Dolgan of Durham, NC. "I've been eating there since, like, '82, back before they even had McNuggets. They'd never have done something like this back then."

"Obviously, it's all just a money thing to them now," said Stacey Opperman, 20, a Minneapolis-area college student. "What about integrity?"

Frederick Regis, McDonald's director of community relations, expressed regret over the negative fan reaction, but said that in today's fiercely competitive fast-food market they simply could no longer afford to remain viably independent.

"Movie merchandising, 'instant-win peel-offs,' NBA tie-ins, these kinds of things are, unfortunately, necessary if you want to survive these days," said Regis, who left the Washington, D.C.-based independent punk label Dischord Records before joining the fast-food chain in 1992. "It was either start doing corporate promotional tie-ins or die. It's sad, really."

Added Regis: "Sure, there are a lot of purists out there decrying this as a sell-out. But believe me, nothing will change. McDonald's is still 100 percent committed to serving the same cutting-edge 'burgers with attitude' its fans have come to expect. Our street cred will remain rock-solid, let me assure you."

Ever since making waves in the fast-food underground with the seminal, groundbreaking McRib sandwich in the late '80s, McDonald's has grown steadily, today boasting a rabidly devoted following numbering in the thousands. The chain has proven hugely influential, spawning the so-called "McDonaldland Scene" of the mid-'90s and shaping the menus of dozens of fast-food outlets.

Perhaps no chain has been more influenced by the famed "McDonald's Taste" than its chief rival, Burger King.

"Burger King has always been just a lame McDonald's cover chain," said Sean Grady, 22, a longtime McDonald's fan. "When McDonald's released the Filet O' Fish, Burger King came out with the Whaler. When McDonald's came out with the Happy Meal in '81, Burger King ripped them off with the BK Kids' Club Happy Pak. It's like, McDonald's is Nirvana, and Burger King is totally Bush."

Long praised by its cult following for rebellious, anti-authority slogans like "You Deserve A Break Today" and "We Do It All For You," and for its steadfast refusal to compromise its burger-making to win a mass audience, McDonald's was something independent franchisers and customers regarded as a "family."

"This used to be my McDonald's," said Jared Gildon, 16, of Austin, TX. "But now I just don't know."

"I remember back in '93, '94—that was when I got into them, they were doing really cool, hardcore shit like the McLean Deluxe," said Stacey Orton, 17. "It was a way-cool scene. Now it's all just poseurs who just want to eat McDonald's 'cause it's the 'in' place to be."

Added Orton: "I'm totally into Arby's now. They've got the dopest horseradish."

Said Marc Jaworski, editor of College Fast-Food Journal, "McDonald's was the only true independent left. Who else? Wendy's? Taco Bell? All those other chains sold out years ago. Either that or they were driven out by the mainstream, like Burger Chef was. Burger Chef put out some tasty burgers back in the '60s and '70s, too. Totally experimental, underground stuff too—onion rings, the works. Now they're long gone."

"How can McDonald's seriously expect to get the customers in there to buy their food if they're going to have big cross-marketing schemes with Disney and the NBA?" Jaworski said. "No one will take them seriously as a restaurant anymore."

"What about the shakes?" Jeff Webber, 22, of Stockton, CA, said. "It used to be all about the shakes. But now it's all about one thing: c-a-s-h."

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