The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #79, December 2007

For many kids, Christmas means packages. For me it means a turkey-induced stupor with Grandma watching Erik while I free-associate. Remember Wacky Packages? They were packages of stickers (sold from 1967 on by the Topps Chewing Gum Company) that parodied popular household products. Who can forget a toothpaste named Crust, a breakfast cereal named Weakies, or crackers named Ratz? Clearly I can't, and I dream of suing the Topps Chewing Gum people, along with the publisher of Mad Magazine and the producers of Monty Python's Flying Circus for warping my sense of humor to such a degree that I will never be able to sell any of my songs to an American Idol finalist.

To be positive, perhaps I should harness my fondness for mockery to the powers of good. I could work for advertising firms mocking product names BEFORE they are released, so they could preemptively change those easily-mocked brand names. We might also consult with expecting parents, before they name their baby "Aquanette". Becca suggested I call my new field "Mocketing", but then we decided this might be confusing on the Eastern seaboard.

Earlier this month I learned that Australian Santas have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho, ho, ho" greeting as it may be offensive to women. Westaff, a recruitment firm that employees hundreds of Santas, instructed them to say "ha, ha, ha" instead, as they felt the traditional greeting might also frighten children and was too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute.

While I understand that language evolves, I think sometimes we need to take additional steps to make sure it evolves in the way we'd like. Therefore, I'm starting a coalition to reclaim the word "ho". In a partnership with scale model railroad enthusiasts, manufacturers of garden tools, Green Giants, and the family of a recently-departed Hawaiian entertainer, I will work to emphasize the many family-friendly uses of the word, in an effort to outweigh the "adult-only" connotations. I also plan to work with legal prostitution groups as well, and provide them with a free slogan: "We put the rrrrrr back in whore!"

[Uh, Becca informs me I won't actually be working with any prostitution groups. But still…]

This language stuff is all about communicating effectively, and it's tricky. No one knows the importance of being able to communicate effectively more than Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who was busted this summer for soliciting whoopie from an undercover policeman at the MSP airport. Craig claims that when he moved his foot next to the undercover officer's foot in the next stall, and was swiping his hands under the stall divider, he wasn't indicating that he wanted whoopie. I imagine he thinks that his reputation will be restored if people believe that he wasn't soliciting whoopie with his hands and feet under the stall wall, but I'm not sure this is a good tactic - any other explanations for this behavior start to sound downright weird: was he gathering specimens for his collection of harmful bacteria? Trying to make new platonic friendships?

I guess I need to hear his entire story before I pass my meaningless judgment. Maybe he simply dropped his wacky package.

It's time for me to drop a few gigs on you for the new year. On Wed, January 2nd, we'll be part of Sample Night Live at the Bryant Lake Bowl (810 W Lake St, Minneapolis). This vaudeville-esque show will feature a dozen ten-minute acts of wildly different stuff, from J.D. and Fred Steele, to puppetry, to theater, to dance, to a short film, to, well, us -- playing 3 or 4 songs. The fun starts at 7pm and tickets are $15. See the links above for details or call the BLB at 612-825-8949.

Then on Friday, Jan 11, we'll return to the Eagles Club where there's no cover, free parking, friendly folks, and guest saxophonist Ruston Reynolds. We'll play two sets, starting as soon as our pals the Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs clear the stage, a little after 9pm: 2507 E 25th Street, Minneapolis: 612-729-4469.

The last time we played the Eagles, I got there early to find Kent's car in the parking lot. Kent was in the car and obviously up to something. If this had been back in the day, and if we were a real rock band, he would have been lighting up a Bob Marley-sized fatty or, I dunno, putting his foot next to his wife's foot. Sadly, he was on his Blackberry, finishing up some work from the office. Come and cheer him on in January, or he'll start pulling that thing out on stage.

Happy holidays,
Scott "I mean the Blackberry" Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, Knights of the Auto Order

PS: Hey, after over a year, Greg and Jason made it to our website. Check out their bios and my silly haircut at -- click on "The Band" and then "click here".

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