Nation's Shirtless, Shoeless March On Washington For Equal-Service Rights

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Vol 37 Issue 30

Dome-Home Sales Somehow Manage To Dip Even Lower

AUGUSTA, ME—Despite already negligible figures, sales of geodesic-dome dwellings somehow managed to drop even further in the second quarter of 2001, Alternative Homes magazine reported Tuesday. "Last year, I sold just one dome, to some hippie who'd inherited $80,000," Augusta dome-home-kit salesman Bruce Wyner said. "I figured, hey, it's his money." Geodesic domes are currently the worst-selling alternative dwelling in the U.S., followed closely by the yurt.

New Robert Altman Film Released Straight To Special-Edition Director's-Cut DVD

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Julia And Benjamin: Say Goodbye To The New Camelot!

Item! Why is it that the best-looking couples never stay together? Megastar Julia Roberts and ethnically ambiguous actor Benjamin Bratt have pulled the plug on their three-year relationship. All accounts indicate that it's an amicable parting, but I'm sure if you scratch the surface, you'll find something unseemly. But should we scratch? I mean, on the one hand, it's my job to report the juicy Hollywood facts that matter to my loyal readers. On the other, here are two lovely people who have never done anyone any harm and are going through a difficult time. After agonizing over this for hours, I've decided that the right thing to do is let them have their privacy. When it's time for them to open up, I'm sure they will.

Jesse Helms' Retirement Plans

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HUBBARD, IA—Hubbard residents came out in force Monday to protest the planned Sept. 1 demolition of an unsightly, 1930s-era silo to make room for a halfway house and library. "This rusted, structurally unsound monstrosity is part of our shared heritage," said Save Our Silos president Ivy Case, handcuffing herself to the eyesore. "Tearing down this dilapidated, dangerous hulk would be like tearing the ugly heart out of this town."

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Nation's Shirtless, Shoeless March On Washington For Equal-Service Rights

WASHINGTON, DC—Protesting years of discriminatory treatment at the hands of America's restaurants and stores, an estimated 800,000 shirtless and shoeless citizens marched on the nation's capital Monday to demand equal-service rights.

Shoeless and shirtless Americans march arm-in-arm across the National Mall.

Chanting the slogan, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Justice," members of the nation's shirtless and shoeless communities joined together in a rare act of solidarity. Dubbed "The Million Incompletely Dressed Man March," the demonstration began on I-66 in Arlington, VA—with the barefoot participants walking on the white center line to protect the soles of their feet from burning—and concluded with a rally on the National Mall in Washington.

"For decades, law-abiding Americans have been denied service in restaurants and stores, simply because of the exposedness of their skin," said Bud Hutchins, president of the National Association For The Advancement Of Shirtless People. "This is a direct attack on our civil rights, especially in the summer months when you really need to stay cool."

Waving a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Hutchins added, "Nowhere in this revered document does it say, 'But only if the guy has a shirt on.' Our Founding Fathers would be appalled to see basic service rights denied to the differently clothed."

Wiping a tear from his eye, Hutchins recalled being denied entry to a Marble Falls, TX, 7-Eleven at the age of eight. He said the store manager told him directly that he wasn't welcome in the store because of his bare torso.

"I could not understand how a nation as great as America could say to me, 'You're not as good as your shirt-wearing neighbor,'" Hutchins said. "So I just sat outside the store, watching all the shirted people freely come and go with their Big Gulps and their candy bars. When something like that happens to you at such a young age, you don't soon forget it."

NAASP president Bud Hutchins speaks at the Jefferson Memorial.

Standing before the shirtless, shoeless throngs, Barefoot America! director Diane Wallace said: "As if centuries of suffering from gravel roads and hot blacktop were not enough, the powers-that-be continue to deny us restaurant seating, theater admission, and countless other niceties enjoyed by the shoed. We say, no more."

The coalition is calling for the passage of a constitutional amendment or other legislation guaranteeing "equal access to businesses and services for all citizens, regardless of one's degree of bodily coverage." If no such legislation is passed, NAASP members have threatened to retaliate with Denny's-booth sit-ins, Burger King boycotts, and a program of exercise designed to make their torsos glisten with malodorous sweat.

Despite such threats, lawmakers remain unbowed.

"Why can't these folks just put on some shirts and shoes if they want a Whopper?" U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) asked. "If we cave in to these demands, next year, it'll be trouserless Americans demanding equal access to Tavern On The Green. After that, the underpantsless will be calling for priority seating on airplanes. Then, people who are completely naked will want preferential treatment in college admissions. These people can put on a full wardrobe and get treated like everybody else."

Hutchins dismissed Craig's response.

"I'm hardly surprised [Sen. Craig] ascribes to the repugnant and prejudicial notion that we have 'chosen' to be this way," Hutchins said. "Well, I've got news for you, senator: This is the way I am. I was born not wearing a shirt."

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