When Gigi handed me the latest copy of the Pittsburgh City Paper, I gleefully leafed through its contents. Lo and behold, on page 5...
And you thought this area was devoid of nightlife. "There's nothing to do in the valley" is a common refrain. You hear it all the time. Well, I beg to differ. As Michael McDonald might say, "the proof is in the pudding." I don't know if he would actually use those exact words. But it sure seems like it. After all, the guy uses the phrase "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with alarming regularity.
Well, it got me to thinking. This region of the United States (Eastern Ohio > Western PA) is literally teeming with McDonalds. The golden arches are an omnipresent symbol of inspiration and awe. A combined tribute to childhood obesity and inexpensive, unhealthy cuisine. Did you know that Wheeling, West Virginia was the first ever city to have, not 1 but 2 McDonalds, meet their demise? Yep, both of them went out of business. The one in downtown bit the dust in the early 90's. It's now a travel agency (the business model for a brick and mortar travel agency could only survive in Wheeling where the median age is 64). And there was another McDonalds that folded around the same time. It was located just up the river in Warwood (locals call this area Whore Wood). I believe the building is now 1/3 junk yard, 1/3 tire disposal and 1/3 storage sheds.
Even though Wheeling bears the ignominious distinction of having multiple McDonalds collapse their arches, we still have our fair share. The one located off the I-70 Elm Grove exit is a source of tremendous pride. An expansive indoor playground, plentiful copies of the Wheeling Intelligencer and a dual-tiered drive thru keep the customers coming back. They even used to have the live musical stylings of Ron Retzer once a week. How about that? Pseudo-Christian, quasi-jazz/adult contemporary music at 7 pm every Friday night. Can't beat it. But here's my point. Yeah, we had a few McDonalds that went out of business, but there was always another one out there, ready and willing to take its place. It was all about the promise of a future McDonalds. There was an underlying political vibe.
I believe it was Herbert Hoover's 1928 campaign slogan that called for a "chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." Perhaps Mitt Romney could capitalize on this pro-growth, capitalistic embrace. "A 20 piece chicken McNuggets in every styrofoam container (with abundant choices of seasonally inspired dipping sauce) and multiple 2012 Cadillac Escalades in every 3-car garage (with attached roof carriers for the family dog and a utilitarian-inspired car elevator that conveniently attaches to your McMansion). Right up his alley. Or in Mitt's case, right up his grandiose driveway.
So what makes the other McDonald, first name Michael, so popular round deez parts? I think I can sum up an explanation in one word that consists of three letters... DUH ?
Just look at these two. The underlying facial features and spiritual temperament are virtually identical. Translation - they possess the same appearance and attitude. Their legions of fans call it McTude. Think about it... "Takin' it to the Streets." Fast foodies just call it... "taking it to the farm." If you strip away the suit and the make-up, from here on out, it's a straight up Old MacDonald. Ee - I - Ee - I - Oh. With a Ya Mo here and a Ya Mo there...
Sorry about the green screen, mean Gene. Not sure what's up with that. Probably one of the better lines in the entire movie. Not as good as this one though. Yep, that's her. Our very own Courtney "Spitfire" Brennan professionally absorbing the rantings of a yinzer lunatic. Naturally, this was taken before Jerry Sandusky's wife Dottie tried to terminate her existence in a desperate attempt to neutralize child sexual abuse allegations.
So just who are these people that embrace McDonald? And are the collective chimes of sweet freedom really that compelling? Personally, I thought Michael McDonald passed away in ot 7 (that means 2007). I envisioned him dying comfortably in his sleep, not a hair out of place. His obituary reading, "The time came for this musical angel to truly spread his wings and related follicle plumage." Turns out I was mistaken. McDonald is still alive and kicking, or if you prefer, cognizant and crooning.
I like this McDonald better. It's the subdued yet spirited McDonald who burst onto the scene in the mid 1980's. He sequestered his own little niche during the Reagan years. That anti-Soviet Union, Russian bear propaganda was a great fit. He owned that shit. And the country loved him for it.
That was 1986. But now it's 2012. Much time has passed. A youthfully golden, wispy McDonald has morphed into a powder gray, bristly McDonald. Is this just the mere passage of time or could it be something else? Something more sinister, subliminally evil taking place before the eyes of a nation? I'm beginning to lean in this direction. Take a moment and reflect.
When you take a gander at the robotic Mitt Romney in 2012... it's that exact same reincarnated, spirited vibe of Michael McDonald. We need not replay the "oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain" bit. It's all regurgitated, vintage McDonald! Romney knows this and he's seizing the moment. While simultaneously guffawing, Mitt the Shit is carpe dieming. Once again, the Mormonathon is takin' it to the streets. Galvanizing the disjointed remnants of the conservative base.
This is a truly brilliant campaign strategy (the perception of multi-McDonalds)... or as some have termed it... "An Arsenal of McDonalds." F'in Brilliant!