On Twin Peaks, man-sized beers and the exquisite delicacy of bottom rocker etiquette

Good afternoon Austin:

When I arrived at the Twin Peaks on Stassney last night the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

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Well, actually not.

But the St. Louis Cardinals and my New York Mets were tied 1-1 in the middle of the ninth, or, as Siri told me when I asked her for an update on the Mets game on my drive from the Capitol to Twin Peaks  – “the Cardinals and Mets are knotted at 1-1 in the ninth.”

Knotted. I love it when Siri goes all colloquial. Steve Jobs you were a genius. I can’t wait to see Steve Jobs, the movie, which I got a first sneak peak of while watching the Mad Men finale Sunday night.

Anyway, the scene at Twin Peaks, deep in the valley of the big box restaurant – Macaroni Grill to the left of me, Logan’s Roadhouse to the right of me, Chili’s dead ahead – was pretty mellow.  About half full. Brightly lit. Sports on the score of TV screens.

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I was here, of course, because of what happened at a sister franchise in Waco Sunday, and I was more than a bit disappointed.

When I first heard about the biker shootout, I figured Twin Peaks was some seedy biker bar on the outskirts of town – a place with a murder every few years – and with maybe a sly, ominous nod somewhere to David Lynch’s creepy cult classic.

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But I was wrong. Twin Peaks it turns out is a chain, a very successful chain, with about as much in common with a bona fide biker bar as Times Square today has to Times Square of yore.

Here, from a 2014 story on Twin Peaks, from Devin Leonard at Bloomberg Business:

Before each shift at Twin Peaks, a Hooters-like restaurant with 57 locations across the U.S., managers line up waitresses and grade them on their looks. The women get points for hair, makeup, slenderness, and the cleanliness of their uniforms: fur-lined boots, khaki hot pants, and skimpy plaid tops that accentuate their cleavage. Their job, between serving sports-bar fare with names such as “well-built sandwiches” and “smokin’ hot dishes,” is to beguile the mostly male customers, flirting to get them to empty their wallets. They may also have to fend off patrons who’ve washed down too many of the house beers, including the Dirty Blonde or the Knotty Brunette.

Twin Peaks is the most successful example of a new generation of restaurants, what people in the industry euphemistically refer to as “the attentive service sector” or, as they’re more casually known, “breastaurants.” Twin Peaks Chief Executive Officer Randy DeWitt doesn’t care much for the word, not that he’s complaining. Last year, Twin Peaks was the fastest-growing chain in the U.S., with $165 million in sales.
 
On a recent Friday at lunchtime, men fill almost every table at the Twin Peaks in Addison, Texas. Most of them are more preoccupied with their servers than the sports programming on the numerous flatscreen TVs. I’m dining here today with DeWitt, a tall, 56-year-old who laments his paunch. Our waitress is Courtney Freeman, a 20-year-old with platinum blond hair parted on the side. “Hell-ooo, how are you?” she greets us. “My name is Courtney. I’m your Twin Peaks girl today.”

We order two Dirty Blondes. Freeman turns to leave.
 
“Wait, wait. Ask the question,” DeWitt says. He explains to the waitress that I’ve never been to a Twin Peaks before.
 
Freeman seems confused. “OK. Why have you never been to Twin Peaks before?” she asks.
 
“No, not that question,” DeWitt interrupts. “So he’s ordering a beer. …”
 
“Oh!” Freeman says. “Do you want the man size or the girl size?”

(Photo by Ralph Barrera) Vanda Purvis works as a waitress for Twin Peaks restaurant in Round Rock, TX. and posed for pictures in the parking lot with a group of Midland Deputies sporting an assault rifle. One deputy was fired and others were rerimanded for the incident. All the while Purvis, who goes by the name Bambi at the restaurant, is an avid hunter and marksman and actually owns the same rifle she posed with in the photos. August 2009.

(Photo by Ralph Barrera) From August 2009. Vanda Purvis, a waitress for Twin Peaks restaurant in Round Rock, posed for pictures in the parking lot with a group of Midland Deputies sporting an assault rifle. One deputy was fired and others were rerimanded for the incident. All the while Purvis, who goes by the name Bambi at the restaurant, is an avid hunter and marksman and actually owns the same rifle she posed with in the photos.

Well, I’m glad I didn’t read the Bloomberg report before my visit to Twin Peaks. Total spoiler.

My server’s name was Bubbles – yes Bubbles – and not Courtney and not Bambi.

She did sit down across from me in my booth and introduce herself as “your Twin Peaks girl tonight.”

She is 22, finishing a communications degree at Texas State in San Marcos and plans to get her master’s. Looking for a career in advertising and no, she didn’t watch Mad Men. Previously worked at Hooters but likes Twin Peaks more.

All good.

She offered me the choice of Dirty Blonde or Knotty Brunette, though I heard it as Naughty Brunette, and then asked, per the script, “Do you want the man size or the girl size?”

That doesn’t really leave me with much of a choice, I said.

I think that’s the idea, she said.

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Well, I wondered if this was an important telltale detail.

Maybe, if Twin Peaks did their beer sizes like Starbucks its coffee sizes, the Bandido and Cossack combatants whose encounter in the Twin Peaks bathroom may have precipitated the deadly bedlam, could have honorably ordered “tall” Dirty Blondes and might have been just enough less inebriated to have navigated urinal and sink and automated hand dryer with silent contempt but no lives lost.

But then my man-size beer arrived and well, it was pretty much a normal pint. That girl size must be really puny.

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It appears that the Waco Twin Peaks is being disenfranchised.

As The Daily Beast reported in an article, Cops Rip Hooters Knockoff Twin Peaks After Waco Biker Gang Shootout

Twin Peaks headquarters revoked the license of the Waco franchise on Monday morning. 

“The management team of the franchised restaurant in Waco chose to ignore the warnings and advice from…the police,” it said in a statement. “We will not tolerate the actions of this relatively new franchisee and… [are] revoking their franchise agreement.”

Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan didn’t like the Daily Beast’s tone.

“Based on the bile in their headline, the Daily Beast has apparently found something they agree with the police on,” Stranahan wrote in his piece, headlined, Twin Peaks: Everything the PC Left Hates:

You could fill an entire semester at any Ivy League grad school detailing everything the selectively prudish left would despise about Twin Peaks. It’s a successful American business that combines pretty girls, beer, sports, meat, fun, friendly service, a nice atmosphere and more pretty girls.

Twin Peaks is aimed at delivering PG-13 good times in a world that’s increasingly either Rated X or censored completely. While entertainers like Miley Cyrus or Beyoncé get more accolades for the less clothing they wear, a place like Twin Peaks barely rates a ‘naughty.’

The restaurant’s interiors are a Disney-fied take on a Great Woods lodge, with plenty of wood, stone and antlers galore. The whole concept is brought to you with a grin and a wink.

It’s Twin Peaks lack of bitterness and angst that probably guiles the haters most.

Maybe Twin Peak’s success is actually partially due to the current climate of hectoring, lecturing hate that’s spilling out of the universities and into the streets. Maybe in an overly politicized age, there’s something especially refreshing about the simple pleasures a plate of steak slider, a cold beer and a waitress who gives you a smile instead of a treatise on white male privilege.

And just maybe the shooting location says something about the contorted state of masculinity in 21st century America..

Twin Peaks isn’t a sleazy, off the track biker bar at the end of a lonesome dirt road. It’s in the same plaza as the local Best Buy, Ross Dress for Less and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Ultimately, the nine thugs who died and the eighteen thugs who were injured all went down on a Sunday afternoon in a shopping center right off the main highway.

That’s not exactly Sons of Anarchy.

Bubbles recommended the pot roast, her favorite menu item, and it was good if overstated (probably calculated to make you drink more man-sized beers). The Mets hung on to win in the bottom of the 14th.

mets

And when I asked Bubbles if there was any biker/public blowback from the weekend’s events in Waco ,she looked at me blankly.

“This is my second day on the floor. Did something happen?”

The front page of today’s Statesman is a Texas classic

Screenshot 2015-05-19 07.23.30

 

170 bikers charged in Waco shootings

In Texas, `biker gang’ means the Bandidos

Open carry to Senate floor

Obama limits combat gear transfers to police

Guns, guns, guns and guns.

What does it all mean?

If guns are outlawed only outlaw bikers will have guns.

The best way to know that good guys are armed is to for them to carry them openly

And typical Obama – disarming the police even as the Sons of Anarchy are amassing at your neighborhood breastaurant.

All part of the Jade Helm 15 scheme.

Speaking of which, if this gets out of hand – with the possibility of more bikers converging on Texas bent on revenge – can we count on Special Operations forces deployed here this summer for Jade Helm to redirect from their original mission of taking over Texas to saving Texas?

Either way, it’s win-win for martial law.

This could be a busy summer for the Texas State Guard.

What does Alex Jones think about all of this?

Well, he apparently doesn’t like people seizing this unfortunate event and twisting it to their own peculiar, propagandistic, paranoid ways of thinking.

From Kit Daniels at Jones’ Infowars.com:

Leftists Exploit Biker Bloodbath to Complain About “White Privilege”

Liberals want National Guard on Waco streets in the name of equality

Leftist “social justice warriors” are blaming “white privilege” for the lack of National Guard troops on Waco, Texas, streets in response to the gun battle between rival biker gangs and police which left nine dead on Sunday.

Despite the fact the police were already monitoring the gangs at the Twin Peaks restaurant before the shootings, which entirely took place at the restaurant, not Waco at large, and likely lasted only minutes, social justice warriors are using the #WacoThugs hashtag to complain about how the city isn’t under a complete lockdown with curfews and National Guard troops patrolling the streets.

In other words, leftists are actually promoting a police state in the name of equality.

Where does Infowars come up with this stuff?

Oh. Twitter.

https://twitter.com/cdisquick/status/600085929261412352

Is there anything to this critique?

From   at Vox:

Those who are using what happened in Waco to start conversations about stereotypes and media biases against black people aren’t complaining about the tenor of this weekend’s media coverage. They’re saying something a little different: that by being pretty reasonable and sticking to the facts, this coverage highlights the absurdity of the language and analysis that have been deployed in other instances, when the accused criminals are black.

In particular, you’ll see a lot of sarcasm about “white-on-white crime” and “white-on-white violence.”

That’s because hand-wringing over “black-on-black” violence is frustratingly common — especially as an attempt to derail the focus on high profile stories of police-involved deaths of black people. It’s finally catching on that focusing on black-on-black crime in response to criticism of law enforcement practices doesn’t make sense, but the absence of any similar refrain in cases in which the suspected criminals are white is a reminder of how the idea of intraracial crime is almost exclusively — and unfairly — brought up when black people are involved.

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That’s why some observers of the Waco tragedy have taken note of the fact that the gang members in the brawl weren’t brutalized or killed by the police officers who arrested them, and actually appeared to be treated with a certain level of civility.

A writer at the blog Crooks and Liars lamented, “Check out the cell phones and smokes while they wait for the cops to process them. No rides in the paddy wagon for them. Just sit on the curb and wait until nice Mr. Policeman has a moment to process you.”

That, of course, stands in contrast to what has happened in a string of high-profile cases involving the police-involved deaths of black men w, unlike the Waco bike gang members, were entirely unarmed.

I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to me that the Bandidos and Cossacks and outlaw biker culture are getting kid glove treatment in the press.

“It’s a nasty, dirty, vomit-covered existence,” Jay Dobyns, a former undercover operative with the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said today on MSNBC.

And the cell phones and smokes? Those are the survivors. Eight people lay dead and the Waco police spokesman, Sgt. Patrick Swanton,  said today that it is possible that some were killed by police bullets, though it is too soon to say.

Not for Don Charles Davis, though, who, blogging as The Aging Rebel, has called it The Waco Police Massacre.

A shoving match in a bathroom at a Confederation of Clubs meeting in Waco, Texas exploded into a war yesterday. Nine people were killed, 27 people were injured, 17 were hospitalized, two are listed in critical condition, and 160 men were arrested following a brawl at a chain restaurant in a shopping center on the South Jack Kultgen Espressway.

The fight resulted from a long simmering dispute between members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club and the Cossacks and the Scimitars Motorcycle Clubs. Curtis Jack Lewis, president of the Abilene chapter of the Bandidos, and Wesley Dale Mason, the chapters’ sergeant at arms, were accused of stabbing two Cossacks outside Logan’s Roadhouse in Abilene in November 2013. The two Bandidos were charged with aggravated assault in March 2014. The Scimitars are in the process of patching over to the Cossacks.

Other clubs in attendance at the Sunday brunch included the Blackett Arms MC, Gypsy MC, HonorBound Motorcycle Ministry, Renatus MC, Escondidos MC, Sons of the South MC, Los Pirados MC, Leathernecks MC, Vietnam Vets/Legacy Vets MC, In Country MC and the Tornado Motorcycle Club.

All of the arrestees are being charged under Title 11, Section 71.02, a draconian Texas law titled “Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.” According to that law, “A person commits an offense if, with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang, the person commits or conspires to commit one or more of” most of the acts that are illegal in Texas: Including possession of small amounts of marijuana, transporting a firearm, and possession of banned weapons like brass knuckles and butterfly knives. Police seized about a hundred weapons at the crime scene

Sergeant Patrick Swanton, a spokesman for the Waco Police Department, called the attendees. “A bunch of criminal element biker members that came to Waco and tried to instill violence into our community and unfortunately did just that…. This is not a bunch of doctors and dentists and lawyers riding Harleys. These are criminals on Harley-Davidsons.”

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The shove in the bathroom became a scuffle in the restaurant. When about 30 Bandidos, Cossacks, Scimitars and other bikers spilled into the parking between the Twin peaks and the Don Carlos Mexican restaurant next door, the police were waiting for them. The scuffle became a knife fight and several men were stabbed. When one of the combatants produced a gun the Swat team opened fire with automatic weapons. Multiple sources have told The Aging Rebel that all of the dead were killed by police.

Swanton said the fusillade “saved lives in keeping this from spilling into a very busy Sunday morning. Thank goodness the officers were here and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives.”

The investigation into the massacre is being supervised by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

From Tony Plohetski and Jeremy Schwartz in today’s Statesman:

“The Cossacks just decided they were going to do their own thing,” said Steve Cook, president of the Midwest Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association. “They put a target on their back. From the Bandidos’ standpoint, this had to be nipped in the bud, and I think this is what we are seeing.”

Conflict between the groups dates back at least to 2013, when the gangs battled in the parking lot of another chain restaurant, Logan’s Roadhouse, in Abilene. In that incident, two Cossacks were hospitalized with stab wounds and two Bandidos, including the president of the Abilene chapter, are awaiting trial on aggravated assault charges. Abilene authorities declined to comment on the case, citing the Waco incident.

In the current conflict, Cook said, the Cossacks dared to wear a patch on their vests, called a “bottom rocker,” that proclaimed “Texas.” The Bandidos consider it their exclusive privilege to decide who carries the Texas patch, authorities say.

“Basically the Cossacks decided they won’t be subordinates to the Bandidos,” Cook said. “For the Bandidos, this was an insult.”

Patches and tats are serious business, obviously, with life or death consequences, especially when competing claims to putting Texas on their bottom rocker are on the line.

From the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine: Integrating Emergency Care with Population Health: Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs – Aspects of the One-Percenter Culture for Emergency Department Personnel to Consider:

Patches and tattoos reflect the sect-like symbolism of a gang’s subculture[12,13] and can provide information about a gang member’s social history, such as past incarcerations, drug use, and allegiance to the gang.[14] Central to the attire of outlaw bikers is the sleeveless and collarless jacket that identifies the specific club to which a biker belongs. These jackets, referred to as “colors,” are made from leather or denim.[5] The patches, or “rockers,” that indicate full membership to an OMG are embroidered on a biker’s colors, and are regarded with great reverence by members and club affiliates.[15] The back of a biker’s colors typically has a top rocker, which bears the club’s name; a center patch, which bears the club’s logo; and a bottom rocker, which indicates the location of the chapter of the club to which the biker belongs.[5] A biker’s colors are integral to his identity as a member of the club. Should a biker’s colors be removed during the course of his care in the ED, physicians and staff would be prudent to treat his colors with respect or otherwise risk a hostile reaction from the biker and his associates.

This is all perilously close to parody, were it not for all the people dead and wounded.

From the New Yorker in December, Spencer Ham’s Please Adhere to Our Biker Gang’s Style Guide.

Before you deface any more personal property, I implore you to refer to our house style guide. I shared it in the group’s Google Doc, so there is no excuse this time. I’m looking at you, Spider. These aren’t trivial rules I’ve enumerated—they are crucial for solidifying our brand identity. If we don’t have that, what do we have? Chaos, that’s what. And, yes, I know our mission statement is “To obliterate civilization and create chaos,” but in order to do that we have to be organized, people.

How many times do I have to say this? We’re the Skull & Daggers—that’s with an ampersand. So I don’t want to see anybody spelling out “and.” This was not a random decision. We chose the ampersand because it’s the cleaner, more elegant option, and it resonates with our target audience. We may be vandals, but we’re not savages.

Also, I noticed last week, while dumping a body under Jackson Bridge, that whoever graffitied our motto, “Darkness Will Win,” on that burning trash can really botched the typography. First of all, the color wasn’t even close. It’s simple: we use Cloudy Grey. Not Dark Slate Grey, not Battleship Grey. Cloudy Grey. You don’t have to believe in government to believe in color theory. And, secondly, we never use the Calibri font; we use Cambria. No, it’s not “close enough,” Crazy Jake! Is a PT Cruiser close enough to a Lamborghini? I swear, it’s almost as if this wild band of outlaws and misfits didn’t care about maintaining aesthetic integrity.

Finally, my favorite biker gang movie dance number.

 

 

 

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