Okay. Long John Silver’s is the coolest fast-food chain in America. I got this one from Stefan Jones. Long John Silver’s has offered to give everyone free giant shrimp if NASA finds conclusive evidence that oceans have existed on Mars. Even a cheesy press release (what do you expect? It was written by the publicity department of a fast-food chain) can’t entirely camouflage the voice of true space exploration enthusiasts:
You could argue that they’re just trying to promote the introduction of their Giant Shrimp; but fast-food chains are always introducing this-or-that new menu item, and they don’t usually do it by expressing fervent enthusiasm for space exploration.
IF NASA FINDS CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE
OF AN OCEAN ON MARS,
AMERICA EATS FREE GIANT SHRIMP
LOUISVILLE, KY, January 15, 2004 - Long John Silver’s announced today that it will give America free Giant Shrimp if NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover project finds conclusive evidence of an ocean on Mars by February 29, 2004. The out-of-this-world offer from the world’s most popular seafood chain celebrates NASA’s efforts to find traces of ocean water—and possibly, evidence of life—on Mars.
Steve Davis, President of Long John Silver’s, Inc., and A&W Restaurants, Inc. sent a letter to NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, expressing support for NASA’s efforts to find conclusive evidence of an ocean on Mars. In addition, Davis announced plans to provide free Giant Shrimp to America if conclusive evidence of an ocean is found.
“We have closely followed NASA’s recent exploration of Mars and all of us are rooting you on to find ocean water on the Red Planet,” Davis wrote. “The ‘Free Giant Shrimp’ offer is our way of saying NASA’s exploration of Mars and the discovery of ocean water would be ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for seafood.’”
In the letter, Davis also officially registered interest in Long John Silver’s becoming the first seafood restaurant on Mars. “It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s just a matter of ‘when’ human beings are able to live permanently on Mars. Long John Silver’s mission is to feed people with delicious seafood wherever they are—on earth or even outer space.”
“We are strongly behind NASA’s efforts to find conclusive evidence of an ocean on Mars for two reasons,” said Mike Baker, Chief Marketing Officer for Long John Silver’s, Inc. “As Americans, we’re proud of NASA’s exploration of space; as the world’s most popular quick-service seafood chain, we get excited about ocean water, wherever it is. If there’s ocean water on Mars, that would be giant news. And giant news calls for Giant Shrimp!”
If NASA announces the discovery of conclusive evidence of an ocean on Mars prior to February 29, 2004, America gets free Giant Shrimp at participating Long John Silver’s restaurants on Monday, March 15, 2004, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Baker and his team are closely monitoring the progress of the Mars Exploration Rover “Spirit,” which has already begun its quest to find evidence of ocean water on Earth’s celestial next-door neighbor.
The company will rely on top scientific experts leading NASA’s Athena Science Payload Investigation team to ultimately provide an official declaration if conclusive evidence of an ocean has been found on Mars. Long John Silver’s will look to the team’s Principal Investigator Steven Squyres and Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson to provide official news on NASA’s Mars exploration web site at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov.In addition, consumers can find updates on NASA’s progress and join in the hunt for ocean water on Mars by visiting www.ljsilvers.com.
Just compare their commitment to George Bush’s. They’re promising to give away free shrimp. He sent up a trial balloon about space exploration, found it didn’t give him a jump in the polls, killed Hubble, did other miscellaneous damage to science programs, and has now stopped talking about space exploration and moved on to another trial balloon, athletes and steroids.
(That’s how Sen. Joseph McCarthy got onto his “commie conspirators in the government” kick, you know. He’d just been casting around, delivering speeches on this that and the other thing, no real pattern to it. He wasn’t a thoughtful man, never had any real principles; he was just seeing what sold. Then, in some minor venue in West Virginia, he started riffing on “communists in the government”, and registered a sharp jump in public interest and media coverage. He riffed on it some more, got the same effect, and was off and running. If his audience had responded to calls for polka-dotted rather than striped neckties, he’d have gone after that instead—and right now, so would George Bush. That’s how you can tell it’s an election year: George only talks to us when he wants something out of us. Right now he’s looking for some new buttons he can push. Thus his talk about space exploration, and athletes and steroids, and all his other whack-a-mole momentary crusades. He’ll never care what you think, but this is the one year in four when he cares what you’ll respond to. … But I digress.)
Getting back to my subject, I can’t even object to Long John Silvers’ vulgar enthusiasm at the prospect of selling seafood in space. Why not? It’s what they do. If I get to go to Mars (hey, you never know), you can bet I’ll be trying to rig some way to print, bind, and distribute some appropriate piece of text while I’m there, thus inaugurating both Martian publishing and Martian bibliographies.
Furthermore, if I were the Weather Channel, I’d be adding Martian weather reports to my programming right now. Why not? We have the data. Or anyway, we have some data, for a while; and wouldn’t it be cool to have the temperature on Mars reported along with the temperature in Vladivostok, Yuma, International Falls, Trieste, Coober Pedy, and MacMurdo Station?
I’m glad at least one organization out there gets it. Let’s hear it for them Giant Shrimp.