Five Songs That Make Me Go “Hmmm…”

Like most folks, I like music.  I don’t like ALL music, but I like a lot of it.  If an auto-tuner is involved, I don’t care much for it.  Otherwise, I’m pretty open-minded.

I’m not a deep person, and my shallowness extends to my musical taste.  I once read that Angus Young of AC/DC described his song writing as “getting from one rhyme to the another.”  AC/DC is one of my favorite bands.  Their songs rhyme (mostly), and they flat ROCK!  Good stuff.

Occasionally, though, a song fascinates me not so much by the music, but by the lyrics–the story of the song.  Here are five that fascinate and confound me:

COWARD OF THE COUNTY by Roger Bowling and Billy Ed Wheeler

You know this one, made famous by Kenny Rogers.  It tells the tale of Tommy, a cowardly nebbish who has been cautioned by his late father to disavow all violence (Promise me son not to do the things I done….).  Tommy’s father it seems died in prison while serving time for unspecified acts of violence.   The song’s narrator–brother of the incarcerated father–tells the tale of Tommy’s life of non-violence and the hideous consequences of it.

Tommy’s Dad impressed upon him that walking away from violence was the true measure of a man.  Weakness, he urged, was not found in turning the other cheek.  How wrong he was!

Because of Tommy’s Ghandi-like vows, his true love, Becky, was subjected to a brutal gang-rape by the Gatlin Boys, a group of ruffians who were sure that Tommy would do nothing to stop the attack.  Well, they were right about that; however, Tommy then went on the vengeance trail and beat the Hell out of all three Gatlin  Boys.  The song leaves it to the listener to determine the outcome, but I believe that he beat them all to death–at least I’d like to think so.

The lesson of the song?  Non-violence will get you picked on and called names (Coward of the County?) and get your girl friend raped.  Violence, on the other hand, solves everything.

This story was so compelling that someone made a movie about it starring, of course, Kenny Rogers, as a preacher (!). So, there’s that.

I haven't seen this, but I'm sure it was heinous.

I haven’t seen this, but I’m sure it was heinous.


This classic of Alt-Rock was written by members of REM.  I’ve listened to it about a thousand times and have no idea what it’s about . It starts out like listening to someone recite their Facebook post (That’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion….) and then drifts into a stalker’s rant (Trying to keep an eye on you like a lost, hurt and blinded fool).

Ultimately, it sounds like Michael Stipe is talking to his therapist:  Consider this: The slip that brought me to my knees failed.  What if all these fantasies come flailing around?  The song concludes by speculating that all of this may well be a dream.  Okay.


Jimmy Webb is a great songwriter.  He wrote Wichita Lineman and a bunch of other good songs.  No list of odd songs is complete, though, without his classic, MacArthur Park.  I know MacArthur Park is in Los Angeles.  Otherwise, I’m completely lost.

It’s the story of love gone bad told through the allegory of a cake sitting in the rain until the icing runs all over. ” Someone left the cake out in the rain… I don’t think that I can take it ’cause it took so long to bake and I’ll never have that recipe again…”  The singer’s love–like that cake–took so long to develop that there is no way it can happen again… or something like that.

Beyond the bizarre mescaline-induced lyrics is the fact that Richard Harris made the song famous.  Richard Harris was a great actor and a shitty singer.  No range.  Off-key.  He sounds drunk.  He also says “MacArthur‘s Park” throughout the song.  THAT’S NOT THE NAME OF THE SONG!  Then there’s the part in the middle that sounds like it came from a completely different song.  It’s all just plain weird.

I couldn’t find a link to live performance by Richard Harris, but here is a link to Dave Thomas of SCTV as Richard Harris singing MacArthur Park.  It’s pretty close to the real thing.  By the way, Donna Summer covered it a few years after Sir Richard.  She sang it much better, but that didn’t reduce the weirdness of it any.

As an aside, I once had a secretary who had a photo of her and Richard Harris on her desk.  He looked drunk in that photo.


Ah, the rag man draws circles up and down the block

I’d ask him what the matter was

But I know that he don’t talk

And the ladies treat me kindly

And furnish me with tape

But deep inside my heart, I know I can’t escape

Thus begins this Dylan classic which clocks in at over seven minutes.  It’s hard to say what Bob was shooting for here, but it’s a catchy mess of a song.  The imagery contains Grandpa shooting up a fire, Shakespeare wearing pointed shoes, someone punching a cigarette and smoking eyelids and other disconnected thoughts.  The Grateful Dead used to cover this in concert.  I guess it makes more sense if you’re wasted.

This song has to be about something.  All Bob’s songs are about something, aren’t they?  What is railroad gin? Texas medicine? How do you steal a post office?  Why did the Senator hand out free tickets to his son’s wedding?  Why did the preacher have 20 pounds of headlines stapled to his chest?   Who are the neon mad men?  What price DO you pay for going through all these things twice?   Did all this strange shit happen in Mobile?

If I had to guess, I’d say Bob was tired of everyone saying that all his songs had deep meaning, so he just wrote a long song full of disconnected lyrics.  It’s pretty good, though.

MONGOLOID by Gerald Casale

Those of us of a certain age remember the New Wave band, Devo.  They were not particularly talented, but they were odd which was all that was required for air play in the early 1980’s.  They wore rubber/vinyl suits and pots on their heads.  They didn’t so much sing as sort of chant.  It wasn’t singing, and it wasn’t rap.  It was Devo.

The boys from Devo sounded just liked they looked.

The boys from Devo sounded just liked they looked–like a bunch of corn-fed Buckeyes.

Devo had a number of fairly popular songs:  We Are Devo, Whip It and a bizarre cover of Satisfaction.  Their strangest song is a vile number called Mongoloid written by Devo bassist Jerry Casale.  Now, the title alone tells you this will be different.  By the 1980’s, “Mongoloid” had drifted from the medical to the pejorative, much like “idiot” and “moron” of an early generation or “retarded” today.

The song tells the story of man suffering from a chromosomal disorder who manages to live a normal life.  As the singer tells it:

And he wore a hat

And he had a job

And he brought home the bacon

So that nobody knew

That he was a Mongoloid, Mongoloid

His friends were unaware

Mongoloid, he was a Mongoloid

Nobody even cared

On some level, I suppose this is inspiring.  This man overcame his disability to have a job and be a productive member of society.  Apparently, all that was required was the donning of a hat.  While one might question whether this is a realistic portrayal of intellectual disability, it’s hard to criticize the sentiment, despite the politically incorrect title of the song.

It’s not the title or even the substance of the song that get me.  It’s the fact that it’s pretty catchy.  I won’t link to it here, because I don’t want to hear it.  Why not?  Because it gets stuck in my head.  You can search for it and listen if you want, but be forewarned:  It will burrow into your brain.  Don’t blame me if you find yourself involuntarily singing:  He was a Mongoloid, a Mongoloid…. If people hear you singing that, you’ll lose friends, as well you should.

Oh, despite Devo’s weirdness, the members aren’t British.  They’re from Ohio.  Buckeyes.  Go figure.

AQUALUNG by Ian and Jennie Anderson

This is a classic song by Jethro Tull.   Jethro Tull is not a person.  It’s a band fronted by Rock’s greatest flautist, Ian Anderson.  Ian and his wife, Jennie, wrote Aqualung.  I was quite the Jethro Tull fan and quite the Aqualung fan.  My enjoyment of the song is not diminished in the slightest by the fact that I have no idea what it’s about.  It starts like this:

Sitting on the park bench —
eyeing little girls with bad intent.
Snot is running down his nose —
greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.

Aqualung is a man, maybe.  Possibly a pedophile, too, since he watches the “pretty panties run.”  His beard freezes (probably from the snot), he picks a dog-end (whatever the Hell that is), warms his feet at the bog and eventually it sounds like he dies.  What the…..?!?!?!

It’s a long song, too.  Like MacArthur Park it breaks into a part that sounds like it came from another song.  It’s all redeemed by Anderson’s great voice and peerless flute-playing.  Okay, it’s still weird, but I like it.

Ian Anderson's flute can fix any song.

Ian Anderson’s flute can fix any song.

So, those are five songs that make me think or at least confuse me.  I could come up many more–any song by Nick Cave, for instance (“Karl Marx squeezed his carbuncles while writing Das Kapital.”).  Bob Dylan has many others, too (Quinn the Eskimo, Subterranean Homesick Blues).  I’m sure you have your own.  Think about them.  It’s fun, and you just might learn something.

© 2013

You Can Quote Me On That

If I were as clever as Wilde, I could get away with dressing like this.

Like most people, I’d like to do something memorable, to be known for something.  Something good, of course.  It’s easy to be remembered for some horrid thing.  Those are fairly easy to do, but I’m not of that stripe, fortunately.

As with most lawyers, I think I could be a writer or even should be one.  Writing–good writing, that is–requires work ethic and inspiration, neither of which I possess in plentiful amounts.  To write well, or “good” as a poor writer might say, research are at least interesting life experiences are also required.  Plus, writers often must suffer for their art.  Suffering holds little interest for me.  Writers are also often unappreciated during their lifetimes.  I have absolutely no interest in that type of attention.  Thus, I lack the basic skills required to be a successful writer.

I recently thought that I could make my mark by coining pithy sayings.  I’ve been known to turn a phrase or two on occasion.  Sayings, memorable quotes and random witticisms are much easier to compose than entire books or even novellas.  Many people are known for saying things.  Oscar Wilde, for instance, said many things, most of which were pretty funny.  Of course, they also seem to have been designed to show that he was smarter than everyone else, which he probably was.

Here’s one I came up with:  Ambition is the devil’s anvil.  That was just off the top of my head!  Amazing, huh?  What does it mean?  I don’t know.  Maybe it means that if you are too ambitious, Satan will hammer you on his anvil into whatever he wants.  It’s not very good, is it?  Why?  First off, you have to think too much about it.  Second–and most importantly–no one knows who I am.  What would I know of the Devil?  If C.S. Lewis had said this, we might nod our heads, reflecting upon the wisdom of the great Christian apologist.  If I say it, people ask me questions like “Does the Devil have an anvil?”  or “What are you, a Communist?”

Thus, I am now perplexed by how to break into this world of wisdom.  In this age of sound bites and brief attention spans, there should be ample opportunity.  This post summarizes my thoughts on this complex subject.  To determine where I fall short, I studied the vast universe of the quotable.

Literary quotes, of course, are fantastic.  I could fill many volumes with the witty, inspiring or profound writings of others. Here’s a good one:

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

This is a zinger.  It’s not really a saying, as much as it is a literary quote, but it’s a good one.  The main character in the book pretended to be a Nazi, and it turns that’s exactly what he was.  Good stuff, but Vonnegut was a great writer.  He could probably come up with things like this all day.  Like I said, if I were a writer, this would take care of itself.

Already being well-known certainly helps.  In fact, it may be the number one advantage you can have.  If you have a certain amount of fame or notoriety, you can say things and people will like those things.  How about this one:

“Winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing.”

Vince Lombardi

Lombardi was not a writer, but was a great football coach.  Although he’s been dead for over 40 years, he’s still thought of as the prototype for coaches–tough, demanding and a stern taskmaster.  This is his most famous saying.  It’s been quoted thousands of times.  Alas, it makes little sense.  If winning is, indeed, the only thing, isn’t it, by definition, everything?  Also, winning isn’t really the only thing, is it?  There’s losing.  When Lombardi said that, there was no overtime in football.  So, there was also tying.  What was his point?  He didn’t need one.  He was Vince Lombardi.

Thus, it may be more about who says something than what they say.  Try this one:

“A long time ago, being crazy meant something.  Nowadays, everybody’s crazy.”

That’s so-so.  But, if I tell you that Charles Manson said it, you pay attention.  If Charlie thinks that, what’s the world coming to?  Of course, we must be careful.  Freely quoting Charles Manson isn’t advisable, even if he has the occasional gem.  More importantly, looking to Charlie for wisdom is a bad, bad sign.

This last example points out a truism.  Attribution is important–maybe the most important thing.  Let’s say that I’m fond of this one:

“No one ever went broke spending other people’s money.

If that was spoken by Barack Obama, many folks would become apoplectic.  It would be quoted on social media and in campaign ads as proof of his socialist agenda.  What if Ronald Reagan said it?  Those same folks would think of it as wise counsel warning us that the government is stealing our money.  What if–as is really the case–I said it?  Then, you don’t give a damn.  Of course, it may not be original to me, either.  There are so many sayings out there that sometimes I’ll think I’ve come up with a pearl, only to realize that someone else said it or I heard it on TV.

A friend of mine recently said “I’m tired of wearing things.”  Now, this makes little sense, especially considering that it was said in response to someone offering him a campaign sticker.  If it had been said by–let’s say–William F. Buckley, it would be thought-provoking, perhaps.  As it was, it only created an uncomfortable few moments of silence.

Some sayings have been around so long, we don’t who said them, like “A stitch in time saves nine.”  What the hell does that mean, anyway?  I think it means that if I’m industrious enough to sew up a small hole, it will save me the work of fixing a much bigger rip later.  I’ve heard that, but I’ve never used it, and I probably won’t.  With these types of adages, we just say “Someone once said…”  or “You know what they say….”  They and someone have much more credibility than, say, you or I do when it comes to wisdom.

There are snarky quotes, like Gore Vidal or Dorothy Parker might have said.  “When a friend of mine succeeds, something inside of me dies.”  Vidal said that, and I agree, especially if a friend of mine comes up with a catchy saying.  But, one must first have a reputation of being either an intellectual snob (Vidal), a curmudgeon (Andy Rooney) or maybe just a bit disturbed (Truman Capote) for these to mean much.  Otherwise, you just seem hateful and must be relegated to talk radio for your audience.

There is the Malapropism, as when Dan Quayle bemoaned that “It is terrible to lose one’s mind or to have no mind at all” or when President Obama referred to “56” states.  In order to be known for a Malaprop, however, one must already have achieved some fame.  Who cares if a nobody says something wrong?  I had a client who once repeatedly said on the witness stand “that’s a mute point.”  It wasn’t funny.  It was annoying.  If he had been the President, it would have been funny.  Pretty simple.  If you’re going to be famous for sounding like an idiot, be famous first.  It is difficult–but not impossible–to become famous for one’s stupidity alone.

Movies are a great source of memorable quotes.  Here are 10 of my favorites:

  • “I’ve always been lucky when it comes to killin’ folks.” Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
  • “It’s my way or the highway.”  Patrick Swayze, Road House
  • “They don’t even know I’m not in their f***ing Army anymore.”  Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now.
  • “Avenge me!!”  Harry Dean Stanton, Red Dawn
  • “Look what your brother did to the door!” Jim Sedow, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • “Lick my plate!” Bill Moseley, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2
  • “Luca Brazi sleeps with the fishes.” Abe Vigoda, The Godfather
  • “She had good judgment if not particularly good taste.”  Tim McIntyre (As Blue the Dog), A Boy and His Dog
  • “You humans are stupid!  STUPID!!”  Dudley Manlove, Plan Nine from Outer Space

Since I am neither an actor nor a screenwriter, cinema isn’t available to me.

We quote songs.  I like MacArthur Park (“Someone left the cake out in the rain….”).  Bob Dylan had many good one (“Don’t wanna be bum you better chew gum”).  The Doors alone will give you a vast library of quotes.  There is an endless supply.  Alas, I have no musical talent.  This is not a possibility for me.

Of course, there are also the inane, useless sayings that no one claims, like:

  • Whatever:  I’m convinced this was coined for the sole use of my wife to make my flesh crawl.
  • It is what is.  This is the long form of  “It is.”  So what?
  • We’ll agree to disagree.  Really?  Doesn’t that just mean we disagree?
  • Too much information!  If I were to post on Facebook that my new hemorrhoidal ointment was caused a severe rash, I would soon get this comment.  There is no such thing as too much information.  The more the better.
  • Just sayin‘:  This gem is added to the end of things that people say to reinforce that they are saying them, as opposed to acting them out in pantomime or interpretative dance.  Most times it follows a caustic comment  to connote that “just sayin'” is some type of qualification of the statement.
  • “Know what I’m sayin’?”: This is a variety of the older “You know what I mean?” and the newer “Feel me?” If you could speak clearly, you would not have to ask me repeatedly if I know what it is that you just said.
  • God is good.  Okay, I know I’ve just offended a whole bunch of people, but I only hear that when good stuff happens.  Of course, God is good!  If God is a god, you better not being saying that He’s not.  Don’t forget the smiting.

We also have famous last words.  Some, like actresses Tallulah Bankhead (“Codeine…bourbon”) or Joan Crawford (“Dammit. Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”) are less than inspiring.  Others are odd (James Thurber–“God bless. God damn”).  Some are funny (Gen. John Sedgwick–“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist….”).  And some are spooky (Victor Hugo:  “I see black light.”).  Regardless, they all have one thing in common.  THEY ARE LAST WORDS!  I’m not saving the good stuff for my last breath.

So, what do I do now?  Well, I’ve come up with a short list of sayings, quotes, catchphrases and witticisms for all occasions.  At least one of them has to catch on, but in case you don’t want to quote me, I’ve included in bold a more prominent person for attribution:

  • He’s as useless as a blind guide dog.   Walter Brennan
  • A camel is just a swayback horse turned inside out.  Junior Samples (Actually, I might have heard that on Hee Haw).
  • Charity is God’s way of robbing us blind, assuming for a moment there were, in fact, a God.   Ayn Rand
  • The Government protects freedom like a jackal guards a meerkat.  Ronald Reagan
  • Never swim with sharks where there is a perfectly good boat. Harry Truman
  • Never fight a man with a glass eye (I mean don’t fight a man who HAS a glass, not don’t use a glass eye as a weapon, although that’s good advice, too). Mark Twain
  • Don’t trust a woman who… aw, hell, just don’t trust a woman.  Albert Einstein
  • An atheist is a man whose God doesn’t exist.  Billy Sunday
  • Leave me alone (that’s not really a helpful saying.  It’s just something I say a lot).  J.D. Salinger
  • You beat a man with a whip and that man likes a whip, you’re just making a fool out of yourself.  (Okay, actually Charles Manson said that, but you can’t quote him, can you?).  Andy Warhol

Feel free to use these any time, just be sure to give me proper attribution, unless of course you want to be taken seriously.   Notice how I cleverly used only dead people as potential sources.  As we lawyers know, the dead are defamation-proof.   Remember, though, that I am a lawyer, and I will sue you if you steal my material.

So, I’ve made my contribution.  Now, it’s up to the public to seize upon it.  If they don’t, to Hell with them.  You can quote me on that.

© 2012

Why I Love Being An American

Our flag is cool. No weird colors or animals on it. Just the good old star and stripes.

I am an American and proud of it.  By that, I mean I’m glad to be an American.  I’m saying not that being American makes me superior to other nationalities, but I’d like to think it does.  Why?  Here’s why:


We speak English.  English is the international language of business.  Plus, it sounds good.  Foreign languages sound like gibberish.  Have you ever eavesdropped on foreigners having a conversation?  It’s incomprehensible!  I recently overheard a couple of people speaking Japanese, I think.  I’m convinced they weren’t really saying anything–just making a bunch of sounds.

I come from strong German stock, but I wouldn’t want to speak German.  They always sound mad shouting in guttural grunts.  That’s probably why they’ve started so many wars.  If you said “Please pass the salt” in German, you could start a fight.  Some languages, like Hebrew, make you spit while speaking them.  Others, like Russian, sound evil.  English just sounds sensible.

Now, of course, the English speak English, but it’s a smarmy, stuck-up version–not like ours.  Plus they say things like “loo” and “lorry.”  That’s just weird.

English also looks more sensible.  Our vowels are A, E, I, O, U and Y (sometimes).  Here are the Korean vowels:

Korean vowels. Are these even letters? They’re more like a bunch of poorly drawn stick figures.

Good luck trying to work a crossword puzzle with that pile of emoticons for an alphabet.  Russian is even worse:

The Russian alphabet. It’s so screwed up that they have two “E”s and a frickin’ 3 included.

What can you say about this mess?  The Russians are fond of strong drink.  I can only assume that this was some drunk guy’s effort to copy the real alphabet.  “Awww, what the Hell? I’ll just throw in a number to fill it out!  No one will notice.”  One time in college, I was drunk and wrote a note to girl to apologize for vomiting in her sink.  It looked like the picture above (I mean the note, not the vomit).

Those are just two examples.  Other languages are just as bad, I’m sure.  Hungarian, for instance.  Here is the longest word in the Hungarian language: legeslegmegszentségtelenítetthetetlenebbjeitekként.  You know what it means?  “like those of you that are the very least possible to get desecrated.”  You don’t speak English, and that’s the kind of useless crap you go around saying. 


We’re the best at war.  We spend all most as much money on the military as every other country combined, but we win.  We’re the New York Yankees of warfare.  No one can touch our payroll, and we have the results to back it up, too:

  • Revolutionary War:  Win
  • War of 1812:  Win, but I don’t know whom we fought.
  • French and Indian War: Win.  I assume we fought in this.  We must have won. Otherwise, we would be French and would have surrendered in the rest of our wars.
  • Civil War:  Win (for most of us).
  • Spanish-American War:  Win
  • World War I:  Win
  • World War II:  Win
  • Korean War:  Win. Okay, technically we won.  The war isn’t really over.  They just declared a truce.
  • Vietnam War: Forfeit
  • Gulf War:  Win
  • Iraq War:  Win
  • Afghanistan War (or whatever they call it):  Winning.
  • Canadian War (planning stages)

Anyone would admit that is an impressive record.  This doesn’t even count our skirmishes like Grenada and Panama.  Even someone like me who has never been in the military and would be unfit to serve anyway can swell up with pride about our military.


American sports are just better.  Okay, I know that soccer is the most popular sport in the world.  Big deal.  We took soccer and it’s more violent cousin, rugby, and turned them into football.  Let’s see some Euro-trash do that.

Baseball is a vast improvement over the foolish looking game of cricket with its rounders and batsmen.  Basketball is all ours.  Invented here. Perfected here.

What have they given us? Soccer.  Bullfighting, maybe.  That’s it. Jai Alai? That’s only watched by degenerate gamblers.  Hockey? Hell, no Americans play it.

We’re better athletes than the rest of the world, too.  Eastern Bloc countries used to challenge us. The Soviet Union was a group of like 20 countries–no wonder they won a lot of Olympic medals.  Each on its own can’t match us.  Now, the East Germans (yes, kids, there used to be an East Germany) gave us massive she-male swimmers.  We could have done that, but we like our chicks hot.   And female.

East German mad scientists did this to their women in an effort to compete with Americans.


American money is just better.  It looks like money.  That’s why it’s the international choice for business exchange.  Look at what other countries have to use:

The poor Albanians. I don’t even know if this is a lot of money, but wouldn’t you be embarrassed to pull this out at Walmart? It looks like it was drawn by a third grader.

Of course, dictators always mar their money:

It’s bad enough that Ghaddafi oppressed everyone. He didn’t even have enough respect for his citizens to use a decent picture. It looks like he just got out of the shower.

Our money has former presidents and other impressive dignitaries (with the possible exception of Salmon Chase) on it.  Plus, our One Dollar Bill has a weird, mystical-looking image on the back.

The freaky backside of the One Dollar Bill.  Note the foreign gibberish.

Some foreign money looks like napkins.  Some of it looks like old paper bags.  Ours is just much better.  Plus, it’s American.  Stuff  a 1 Dinar bill in a stripper’s g-string, and you’ll not only get ignored, but a bouncer will probably beat the bejesus out of you.

Finally, we have the $2 bill, greatest of all monetary denominations.  It’s worth two dollars, of course, but if you use one, look at the faces light up!  If you give a stripper a $2 bill she’ll dance for you all night, at least that’s what I’ve heard.


We invented rock ‘n’ roll.  And country music. Nuff said.  Oh, I know about Mozart and Beethoven and Bach and those other haughty composers.  But, we flat rock.  The rest of the world is still trying to catch up.

The British have made inroads in rock, of course, but they speak English.  Plus, when they sing, most of them do so without that goofy accent.  That’s counterbalanced by their shameful ending of Jerry Lee Lewis’s career.  Apparently, the Brits have a problem with someone marrying his cousin–unless that someone is called a Prince or King.  By the way, who had the number 1 single in the UK for 11 weeks in the 1950’s?  Slim Whitman, American.  That little record only lasted 36 years.

Australia and Scotland gave us AC/DC.  For that, we are forever grateful.  Beyond that, the rest of the world can’t say much.

There is one area where we failed miserably.  Christian Rock.  It’s like milk and Coca-Cola.  Separately, they are both excellent.  Combined, they’re awful.  Christian rock works the same way.  It’s like Soviet hair bands during the Glasnost Era.  It just doesn’t work.  We apologize for trying.


Here’s what we have:

  • Sports (see above)
  • Music (see above)
  • Movies (no subtitles)
  • Tractor Pulls
  • Celebrities
  • Rodeos
  • Eating contests
  • TV (again, no subtitles)

Here’s what they have:

  • Goat-carcass polo
  • Royal Families
  • Hockey
  • American Flag burning
  • Telemundo (actually, it’s pretty good)
  • Incomprehensible Swedish films
  • Anti-American chanting
  • Vodka (Russia only)
  • Loathsome diseases
  • Civil war

I’ll admit that they hold their own in pornography (that’s what I’ve been told).  Otherwise, all our stuff is better.


We’re edgy.  We’re like a neighbor who is a nice guy, always friendly, but you find out that he’s beaten the crap out of a bunch of people.  That’s us.  Nice people.  Generous to a fault.  Cross us, and we’ll kill you.  We’re like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. Stay off our lawn.

We speak our minds, even if our minds are full things best kept quiet.  Right now, there’s great controversy over an anti-Islamic film made here in the USA.  We do that kind of thing.  We make insulting films. I watched a couple of clips of that movie.  Not since Manos The Hands of Fate has there been such a poorly made film.  We don’t care.  It’s controversial.  The Last Temptation of Christ is a great film, but it made people go nuts back in the 1980’s.  Fortunately, no one tried to kill Martin Scorcese for making it.

We have Nazis in the U.S.  Some countries have outlawed the Nazis but not us.  You can be a Nazi here.  Or a Communist.  Or a Socialist.  Anything.  You can start a cult or join an established one.  You can speak your mind about damn near anything.  If a bunch of tools want to protest at funerals, they can.  Of course, others of us might beat the crap out of them.  It’s the American Way.

Once you speak your mind, everyone else is entitled to get pissed off.  And we do.  We’ll yell right back at you. Now, we usually don’t go completely mental and attack each other.  Usually.

Who’s the only country to nuke another country?  U! S! A!  If you didn’t want nuked, you should have thought about that before you bombed our naval base.  That’s how we roll.  Think about this:  We didn’t want to be in WWII.  The economy was a wreck.  We didn’t have a fighting army or many weapons.  Less than four years later, we build a freakin’ atom bomb!  Stay off our lawn!

If it weren’t for us, they’d be speaking German in London right now and goose-stepping in front of Buckingham Palace.  Think about that.  What’s German for “lorry?” We kick ass and take names.  Why?  Because we’re edgy.


Mostly, I like being an American, because I am one.  I always have been.  I’m not a foreigner.  I also haven’t traveled to foreign countries.  Well, I did once.  I went to Mexico, and I got severe diarrhea.  That should tell you something.  Not that I haven’t had diarrhea in America, but that’s different.  It’s American.

In the great book, Catch-22, a character observes that there are 50 countries fighting in World War II and that not all of them can be worth dying for.  I agree.  Only America is worth that, but I must confess that I would hate to be put to the test on that one.  Of course, I’ll say it anyway.

There are other things I like about America–leggy supermodels, good candy, Waffle House, gas-guzzling cars and many other things.  It’s good to be an American.  At least I hope so, because that’s what I am.

© 2012