FRI15: My responses to’s article “15 Odd Things About America That Americans Don’t Realize”

To see the original article on, click here.

  1.   Flags Everywhere.  “You name something and Americans will put a flag on it.”

Uhhh … because NOT flying one means you’re UNAMURICAN!   President Obama neglected to wear a flag pin, I think ONCE, and that might have started off the whole “not born in America” thing.  BTW, did you know that John McCain wasn’t born in America either?  Nope.  He was born in Panama.  The country, not Panama City, Florida, either, kids.  How many people got bent out of shape because of that??

  1. The Pledge of Allegiance.  “Americans are used to saying it all of the time, but to people from other countries seeing a bunch of school children mindlessly pledging allegiance is a little… well, creepy.”

Did you know that the words “Under God” in the Pledge weren’t added until 1954?  And “In God We Trust” on American money was not added until 1956?  You can thank President Truman, and indirectly, Joe McCarthy for that.  Requests to add these words started around 1948.  When Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge in 1892, there was a special “Bellamy Salute” that went with it, and it looked like this:

"Ich schwöre Treue auf die Fahne der Vereingten Staaten von Amerika und die Republik, für die sie steht, eine Nation unter Gott, unteilbar, mit Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit für jeden!“

“Ich schwöre Treue auf die Fahne der Vereingten Staaten von Amerika und die Republik, für die sie steht, eine Nation, unteilbar, mit Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit für jeden!“

…and this salute was dropped in December 1942.  Wonder why??

  1. Lawyer Advertisements. “Whether or not their reputation is deserved, lawyers and attorneys in America are very stereotyped. Advertisements on television, on the internet and print media attempt to paint the picture of the assertive lawyer who wants to help.”

If you watch daytime TV like I do, you see more of these then you could ever want to.  I guess the most litigious people are the ones who don’t have jobs.   Also, having seventeen versions of Law and Order on television doesn’t help.  DONK-DONK!

  1. Tipping. “In other countries servers are able to make a decent wage without having to rely on tipping from customers who may or may not have different expectations for service.”

Being American, and having not done very much foreign travel, I didn’t know that tipping was fairly exclusively American.  The good Hubster and I went to New Zealand, and tipping is neither customary nor necessary there.  Of course, we tipped.  I suppose the locals laughed at us, but I’ll tell you, we always got great service.  But what else is more American than to pay folks who work really really hard a substandard wage because they make their money in tips?  And speaking of servers who have to work really really hard ….

  1. Portion sizes.  “Americans love their food!”

Damn Skippy we do!  Americans are really really big on the “perceived value” value thing, and more more more for the money is ALWAYS best best best.  That’s why Costco is so popular here.  Who cares if you NEED five gallons of mayonnaise if you can get it for a great price??  Furthermore, who cares if the food on a buffet line all tastes like damp newspaper, so long as you can eat oodles of it for one low price?

  1. Free Refills. “Soda flows freely in all of its high-fructose corn syrup glory! In almost any restaurant in America, soda refills are free.Americans take this for granted.”

It’s true, and I’m a huge fan of free refills, although I prefer the diet variety.  Coke Zero ™ if possible.  Look, we know here that pop is dirt cheap.  In fact, the pop costs less per glass than it does to clean the glass and put ice in it, and it baffles me why the servers feel the need to fill that glass to the top with ice when the pop comes cold out of the fountain.  Not that I’d skimp on a tip for too much ice.  When travelling abroad I tend to drink water in restaurants, so long as I can make a pop run at a grocery store.  The Hubster knows this well.  He’s seen me uncaffeinated.  It’s pretty gross.

  1. Loud People/Friendly People. “Partially depending on the region of the country, people in America are generally really loud and unnervingly friendly. It just isn’t normal in many countries to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the bus.”

I guess the author of this article would prefer Americans stare wordlessly at tourists?

Yeah, we’re loud and a little overly friendly to complete strangers, mostly because we’re NOSY and we LOVE to talk about ourselves.  It’s Amurica, y’all.  I’m not a big fan of noisy people except in necessary context, like sporting events, bar brawls, and sessions of Congress.

  1. Waste Water. “Toilets in America use a lot of water, not sure why, but they do! Foreigners see this and are baffled at how much water is being wasted one very flush while other places in the world are in desperate need of water.”

On the flip side, the “poop troughs” I have heard of in other countries scare me, so don’t expect me to go to India anytime soon.  Lots of water means cleanliness is the reason I can think of for why toilets here use so much water.  That, and because of the aforementioned portion sizes and free-flowing corn syrup, we all want to make sure anything left in the potty GOES DOWN on the first flush.  Low flush toilet, and the average sports fan will be in there flushing the damn toilet all day.   Speaking of …

  1. College Sports. “College athletes are worshipped and venerated in America. Aren’t they just students that are playing a sport?”

If you want to be technical, yes, these are college kids.  But considering that the games – football in particular – generate so much freaking MONEY, that a winning and popular college team earns ga-zillions for a school.  Is it fair?  Hell no.  Is this attitude detrimental to the students’ academic careers?  Possibly, in the short run.  After all, only 3% of all kids who play sports of any kind go on to play professionally, and the majority of kids who receive sports scholarships play strictly to maintain their scholarship, which again, is funded by the fans of popular sports programs.

Hey, I went to grad school on a full free ride, so if I have cheer “ROLL TIDE!” like a maniac to express my gratitude, then ROLL TIDE! ROLL!

  1. Sweet Bread. ”Bread in America is full of sugar. Just like cake. It is unsettling to some foreign guests. However, we love it because it’s simply delicious!”

Well, the bread is often sweet because that damn corn syrup goes into everything, and I mean everything.   I predict that corn syrup will soon be recognized as a sentient being under the Geneva Convention, and once it learns the Pledge of Allegiance (especially the “under God” part) then corn syrup will receive full American citizenship.

  1. Pickles. “Americans love to put pickles on everything. And why not? They are tasty, salty, vinegary and go well with everything!” 

I’m not a fan of pickles, although I tolerate relish as mixed into other foods.  Go figure.  But pickles always do end up on my plate when eating out… and then on a napkin on the table so the nasty pickle juice doesn’t taint my food.

  1. Colloquial Phrases. “America is a huge place, so common phrases and phrase meanings differ from region to region. It isn’t difficult to see how non-Americans can be confused by many phrases that you use everyday without even thinking about them.”

Because heaven knows, other countries – such as England – use only proper phrases and grammatical vernancular.  But I shouldn’t lose the plot —  I’m knackered, you know, after getting all legless at this great knees-up.  Doesn’t take just take the piss?  Talk about throwing a spanner in the works, you tossers.

  1. Odd Bathrooms.  “Public restrooms in America are a risky endeavor. With toilets low to the ground and large gaps in between the walls and door, American public toilets can leave one yearning for just a little more privacy.”

And don’t forget how much damn water the American toilet uses!

Personally, I’m bothered by the fact that women’s bathroom stall doors always open in.  Sometimes the stall in so shallow that I get crammed up against the toilet bowl when trying to exit, and heaven only knows what I’m getting on the backs of my calves when I do so.  Ewww.

  1. Cheese in a Can.  “Cheese isn’t supposed to come in a can. Aerosol cheese is puzzling and is an affront to all of the good dairy farmers and cows out there.”

The author assumes that cheese in a can is in fact cheese.  I haven’t read the ingredients list of aerosol cheese but it’s safe to assume that aerosol cheese is simply mutated corn syrup.

On the other hand, I try not to question spreadable brewer’s yeast leftovers that come out of a jar. 

  1. Sales Tax. “Taxes exist in every country, but most countries include tax into the listed price of goods. This is a constant frustration for non-Americans whenever they attempt to purchase anything.”

To add to the confusion, sales tax laws vary from state to state to city to city to product to product.  I agree, it is a mess.  I’m a fan of flat taxes, as well as getting rid of the penny (which cost more to make than are worth) and having no paper money note smaller than $5.  I’m a fan of how Canada phased out pennies, and I love the Loonies and Toonies.  The only concern I can think of for the phasing out of dollar bills is how to tip strippers, being such fan of the tipping system as we are here in America.  Perhaps strippers will be required to wear those coin-changers like the roller skating kids at Sonic wear.

"And when these get full of dollar coins, I can spin on the pole that much faster!"

“And when these get full of dollar coins, I can spin on the pole that much faster! Wheeeeee!!”


About The Knitting Cinephile

I'm obsessed with good yarn, bad movies, and the Hubster.
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