Issue 4119

Upper-Middle-Class Man Vows To Never Forget Middle-Class Roots

ELMBROOK, WI—Although he earns a salary in the low six figures, 38-year-old investment banker David Monreal said he will always stay true to his middle-class upbringing. "When I was a kid, both of my parents held down jobs just to help pay for our split-level ranch home and two Chryslers," Monreal said. "Mom used to have a rule: no TV during supper. No matter how big my portfolio gets, I'll never forget that rule." Monreal said he hopes one day to take his kids to the office where their Grandpa Joe toiled selling insurance for up to 40 hours a week.

Poster Vandal Enters 'Phallus In Mouth' Period

OAKLAND, CA—According to experts at the American Folk Art Museum, the billboard and subway-poster defacer known only as "Suck It" has entered his "phallus in mouth" phase. "As you can see, the artist has moved from drawing larger breasts on the lingerie models to depicting erect penises entering their mouths," said art critic Graham Kern, gesturing to a vandalized Victoria's Secret poster. "His Sharpie phalluses offer a stark contrast to the colorful hues of the ad, with simple lines recalling Henri Matisse's nudes." Kern said he has not seen such energetic lines since the poster vandal's "blackened-in teeth" period.

Joy Sucked Out Of Room By Pumped-Up Manager

CHICAGO—Leo Burnett Advertising project manager Dirk Hazelton's show of enthusiasm drained the creative spirit from the conference room Monday. "Man, the country loves this cheddar! The country needs this cheddar!" said Hazelton to his creative team, pumping his fists in the air. "Come on and join in. We all grew up on cheddar! What do you think of when you think of cheddar? Let's get some ideas on the board." Members of the creative team responded with mortified silence.

Fear Factor Creator's Will: 'Heirs Must Eat My Ashes To Collect Inheritance'

LOS ANGELES—According to details of Fear Factor creator John de Mol's will released Monday, his heirs cannot collect their inheritance until they complete a battery of challenges. "I do bequeath my estate to my wife and children, henceforth 'you,' on the condition that you fully consume the ashes from my freshly cremated corpse," the creator's will read. "Should you be able to complete the task, you will receive $10 million and a Caribbean vacation. Fail, and you'll be eliminated from my benefactors—unless you spend one hour locked in a coffin filled with maggots." Comedian Joe Rogan will serve as the will's executor.

Senators Lured Back To Emergency Session By Promise Of Free Pizza

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. senators from both parties, tired and eager to go home to their families after a hard day of legislation, were enticed back into the Senate chamber for an emergency budget session Tuesday by the promise of Little Caesars. "I know it's been a long day, but if you stay late, there's gonna be pizza," said Majority Whip Mitch McConnell at 9:30 p.m. "Don't tell [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist, but stick around, and I'll make sure you all get an extra order of Crazy Bread with sauce." The senators only relented when McConnell promised that if they hammered out the budget by 1 a.m., they could rent Glengarry Glen Ross and watch it in the hearing room.

Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology

LOS ANGELES—According to a report released Monday by the American Institute of Religions, the Church of Scientology, once one of the fastest-growing religious organizations in the U.S., is steadily losing members to the much newer religion Fictionology.

Horoscope for the week of May 11, 2005

After a grueling three-year investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board will rule that a faulty steering valve in your tail section caused your tragic crash into that shopping mall.

Is There New Love for Tom Cruise?

Item! After I reported last time that Dawson's cutie Katie Holmes called it quits with her fiancé, I figured we wouldn't hear from her for a while. Color me wrong! The cutie has been snatched up by none other than Tom Cruise. Wow! Tom certainly did well for himself. Although some would say he's dating someone half his age, I wish them both a long and prosperous relationship. Let's hope there are kids in their future!

36-Year-Old Still Looking For Ways To Make Brushing Fun

SAN FRANCISCO—More than three decades after acquiring his first Pink Panther toothbrush, Mark Naasz continues to search unsuccessfully for new ways to make brushing his teeth fun, the 36-year-old Bernal Heights resident revealed Monday.
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'Not Quite Perfect' McDonald's Opens In Illinois Outlet Mall

GURNEE, IL—Hungry shoppers at the Gurnee Mills outlet mall can now get a name-brand lunch at a bargain-basement price, thanks to the Monday opening of McDonald's first "Not Quite Perfect" outlet store, offering imperfect and irregular items from the fast-food giant's menu.

The new outlet store.

"It's true that consistency is part of what makes McDonald's the leader in the fast-food industry, but so is good value," said Brian Landers, manager of the McDonald's outlet. "When customers see the low, low prices, they're more than willing to give our Six-Piece Quarter Pounders and Fish McGriddles a try. The food's a little different at this McDonald's, but it's really very close."

Continued Landers: "Now, who's ready for factory seconds?!"

Located next to a Levi's outlet store offering mis-stitched and off-season apparel, the McDonald's outlet will be the destination for all products that do not meet the strict requirements of the restaurant's 30,000 regular stores worldwide.

"McDonald's prides itself on having exacting standards for its products," Landers said. "But throwing away all-carrot Salad Shakers, parallelogram-shaped hash browns, and McRibNuggets seemed so wasteful. With more of our customers struggling to make ends meet, we knew people would appreciate the opportunity to buy these slightly irregular products at irresistibly low prices."

In addition to factory mistakes, the outlet will offer items that were tested in limited markets but never received a wide release.

"We had a warehouse full of meat patties made in the shape of our golden-arch logo," Landers said. "A young, quickly fired executive thought it would be a good idea to make an 'M'-shaped burger, but it was expensive to produce, and depending where you took a bite, you had a very good chance of getting no beef. Plus, who's going to open up a burger just to look at the oddly shaped meat patty? Now, we're thawing them out and serving them up for only 30 cents apiece."

Landers said that, while a number of customers have been wary, the prices are so astounding that "people always come back for more."

"I've seen more than one person approach our firm-serve cones with skepticism," Landers said. "But at 20 cents each, we can hardly keep them in stock."

Landers added, "Once they get over the mental block after eating a flash-frozen pyramid of vanilla ice cream, customers realize they just can't beat these prices."

The outlet store, at 32,000 square feet, is the largest McDonald's in the world. In addition to serving irregular meal items, the outlet store houses irregular McDonald's decor.

A $1.99 value meal available at the "Not Quite Perfect" McDonald's.

"These aren't the traditional McDonald's color schemes," Landers said, gesturing to chairs and tables in puce, mottled gray, and army green. "And while some customers make comments about our posters—a printer placed a black child's head on top of a white, elderly cashier's body—well, I think they look very nice once you get used to them."

The outlet also features a shop that sells irregular McDonald's products like boxes of frozen foot-long fries and bags of unsweetened orange-drink syrup.

"The bulk-foods section of the shop hasn't caught on as well as we'd hoped," Landers said. "We think that may be in part a question of functionality. Our 10-gallon buckets of McRib sauce, for example, are reasonably priced, but most people don't have condiment pumps at home. Of course, even those who do are sometimes disappointed to find relish inside."

The outlet's PlayPlace features not-quite-perfect McDonaldland icons.

"Parents worry about our ball pit, but those triangular balls meet Illinois minimum-safety requirements," Landers said. "What we've really gotten complaints about are the statues of the McDonaldland characters. Ronald McDonald's eyes were put in wrong so he's looking in two different directions, our Grimace is pink, and for some reason, the Hamburglar has no teeth."

In spite of the few complaints, most outlet patrons say the bargain prices are well worth enduring the irregular food.

"It's not like the meat's tainted," said Mack Vesper, a longtime McDonald's customer. "A Quarter Pounder on a half-size seedless bun tastes just as good. And, while the gray Shamrock Shake took some getting used to, once you realize that you're getting all the flavor at an eighth of the price, you adapt. Besides, who looks at the color of the shake once you start drinking it?"

Some customers said the "Not Quite Perfect" McDonald's is not for them.

"I'll never take my children there again," said Anita Sibakis, mother of three. "They opened up the Happy Meal and there were headless Mulan figurines in there. It scared the bejesus out my youngest."

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