What's Weird About America?

Foreigners give their answers.


I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm drunk.

One of the best Reddit threads I've seen in a while asks non-Americans who have visited the U.S., "What is the weirdest thing about America that Americans don't realise is weird?" Among the answers: We eat a lot of pickles, there are ads for lawyers everywhere, the disclaimers at the end of our pharmaceutical commercials are freaky, and "Those huge-ass bikes with the RATATATATATA sound and tattooed bald people riding them. What's up with that?" There is also a lot of discussion of the way our public restrooms are designed. And best of all, there's this comment by a Redditor who was actually raised here in the States:

I teach and have a lot of international students. Since it's an anthropology course, one of their assignments is to go out and observe social behavior on campus.

One of my Chinese students told me, "I think Americans live very much in harmony with nature. There are so many trees and squirrels! When I first get here, I thought I was in a fairy tale movie."

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  1. What a lot of environmentalists do not get is that ‘caring for nature’ like they do is something that usually only happens in developed, industrialized nations.

    1. You have to be exceedingly affluent to think like that. For everyone else nature is a cruel, heartless bitch that has to be constantly fought against in order to see the next sunrise.

    2. A person who live in a cabin in the woods in an environmentalist.

      A person who wants to build a cabin in the woods is a developer.

      1. A person who burns down a cabin in the woods is an arsonist.

        A person who wholes up in a cabin in the woods is about to find out that the police are arsonists.

        A person who decorates a cabin in the woods is a rural interior decorator.

        A person who votes for libertarians in a cabin in the woods is a seditious terrorist.

        1. I actually lived in a cabin in the woods. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. A cabin in the woods doesn’t generally provide a lot of insulation from nature.

          1. It does if you add insulation.


          2. What keeps me out of a cabin in the woods is the terrible internet access.

    3. The Chinese guy was right about the lack of animals in China though. It’s downright disturbing. No birds, nothing.

  2. I love the bitching about our pathetic toilets.

    Remember people mocking Rand Paul on MSNBC when he bitched about the Federal Regs mandating that we have wimpy toilets?

    Yeah, *he* was the nutjob on that issue.

    1. I want to murder the low-flow advocates. I keep my mop in my bathroom because those things clog so easily.

      1. I want to murder the low-flow advocates. I keep my mop in my bathroom because those things clog so easily.

        My city dweller friends are amazed at my full strength utilities. I recall one guy who staid the night after being too inebriated to drive using the shower, and asking, ‘Wow. Is this thing legal?’ In the House of Zod, it’s legal, baby.

        1. My 90-year-old toilet flushes about 5-8 gallons per flush. It’s wonderful!

      2. The low flow shit drives me nuts. Just because some parts of the country have water shortages, everyone has to have stupid toilets and low pressure showers.

    2. Remember people mocking Rand Paul on MSNBC when he bitched about the Federal Regs mandating that we have wimpy toilets?

      Yeah, *he* was the nutjob on that issue.

      Exactly. When I’m recruiting average nonpolitical types to the cause, I point out weak toilets, low shower pressure, and heat limits on water pump regs as reasons to hate the state before I get into anything abstract to their lives.

      1. Add energy efficient dish washers to the list. I asked the guy that installed mine why the normal setting took over 2 hours to wash a load. He said the motors and pumps are tiny compared to the past. Not sure how running it so long to clean dishes is, in the end, efficient.

        1. Mine broke down back in September, and I haven’t even bothered to replace it. We wash our pots and pans as soon as we finish using them so there is no dish accumulation, a bad habit that having a dishwasher incentivizes, anyway.

        2. He said the motors and pumps are tiny compared to the past. Not sure how running it so long to clean dishes is, in the end, efficient.

          Prolly for much the same reason that for the same car, the standard four cylinder engine gets better gas mileage than the V6 option. A tiny motor running at close to full capacity most the time will likely use less electricity than a powerful motor uselessly idling most of the time. Plus, said tiny motors cost less upfront to purchase.

    3. When I was in Amsterdam years back there was literally no water in the toilet bowl until it came time to flush. It was pretty smelly/gross.

    4. At least we don’t have German shit on a shelf toilets. Most bizarre thing I’ve ever taken a dump on, and I’ve taken a dump on some strange things.

      1. “German shit on a shelf toilets”


        1. You are not familiar with the toilets designed to allow you to inspect your own feces ?

          1. Well what happens after you shit on the shelf? What would I Google image to see one?

            1. Just plugged in “German Shelf Toilet” and I gotta say, that is fucked up.

              1. I am SO glad the link I clicked on didn’t include actual photos. The mental images generated by the diagram were bad enough. What is it with Germans and poop?

      2. Oh god, I stayed in a hostel with those. Damn near gave me nightmares.

      3. You know it’s time to flush when it stacks up to where it’s touching you. Then it flushes so fast, it flings some toilet water and poop particles out of the toilet.

    5. Wait a second… Our toilets suck because of federal regulations? Damn. All of my life I had just assumed that our toilets suck in general. That now goes in my top 10 qualms with the government list.

      1. See, things change, then everyone thinks that’s the way it’s supposed to be. No one complains about things they don’t know about.

    6. tarran|10.24.13 @ 1:29PM|#

      I love the bitching about our pathetic toilets.


      You should go to a former Soviet Bloc country. Their “public toilets” were DEFINITELY public. As in, no stalls, no doors = NO PRIVACY, natch. Because what would anyone have to hide? You shit where we can watch you, comrade.

      By contrast, I found Brits quite prudish about some American toilets. In the UK the doors go to the ground apparently. But urinals? They extolled their “trough” style ones in bars, and I agreed, they were superior. At least in terms of not having to wait to piss.

      1. They’re talking about how weak the flushes are on our toilets.

        1. Ah. They don’t “suck” enough, I see. In Russia, Toilet Flush You. (groan)

  3. Do they mean we eat a lot of pickled cucumbers? Because other cultures pickle a lot more shit than we do. The Indians and the Chinese pickle all kinds of veggies. My local Indian restaurant serves pickles (as in pickled carrots and lemons) as a condiment with just about everything.

    1. I could go for some kimchi.

      1. I was just thinking the same thing.

      2. I’ll take some real sauerkraut.

        1. I hear Angela Merkel is a real sour kraut after learning the NSA’s been snooping on her phone calls.

      3. I have been making kimchi lately. Mine comes out good, but I can’t find Korean chili powder, so it is just a bit off. It’s a LOT cheaper to make than buy.

    2. I’m a huge fan of all the pickled radishes and carrots and shit in Lebanese food, too.

      1. I’m a huge fan of all the pickled radishes and carrots and shit in Lebanese food, too.

        I always thought I hated turnips, but then a Middle Eastern restaurant served me a pickled turnip.

        1. Ever tried kimchi?

          1. Sure. Good stuff, though I know people who can’t stand it.

      2. My old boss (in a lebanese restaurant) used to make pickled veggies all the time. We’d throw in whatever was leftover, jar it and leave it on the shelf. We’d always add a shit load of hot peppers.

        After a few months we’d devour it on top of hummus. Loved that shit.

        I’m ready to go get my old job back just for the food.

    3. In the South they will pickle anything that is edible.

      Watermelon rind? Why not?
      Pigs feet? Sure.
      Jalepeno peppers? Of course.
      Eggs? You don’t?

      1. Heat makes things spoil quicker. Also, carrots, onions and jalapenos pickled together are the stuff of the Gods. Think I’ll stop off and get the makings of a batch.

  4. Have you ever seen a public toilet in France?

    Yeah. Just Yeah.

    Also, no trees and squirrels in China? What’s up with that?

    1. Chinese cities are pretty depressing – even the parks are mostly cemented over. The Forbidden City is just one big mass of concrete and cobblestones – no gardens. Nanjing was OK – there were some trees there. The Summer Palace was the only place I saw where the setting was largely natural.

      1. I think it was nearly universal for the communist to fetish over concrete. I remember a professor of Russian History reading to us an excerpt from a Soviet Realist period novel where the people decided to concrete the planet for greater social progress.

      2. Temple of Heaven had a fair amount of trees and open space. Of course, kids were pissing on it when there was a bathroom literally 20 yards away. But it wasn’t all concrete.

        1. Beijing has a crapload of open space. It’s just that most of it is paved over.

          1. Tienamen Square? Holy shit, this thing is like a mile on a side. A square mile of concrete is fucking huge.

            1. Yep -that place is crazy. Even with a jillion people milling about it looks desolate.

    2. Have you ever seen a public toilet in France?

      AKA “the sidewalk.”

      1. Paris really needs a new nickname (from my stay there): City of Lights and Dog Turds.

        1. I’m hoping they were dog turds.

          1. And this is the thing about France and Paris that really stood out to me.

            In NYC the crack addict homeless guy who lives on your street will scream at you and call you a filthy barbarian if you don’t poop-scoop after your dog, but in Paris shit litters the sidewalk like rain drops after a summer shower.

            1. This must be a French thing because Montreal is covered in dog shit, too. The worst is when people put it in bags but just let it sit on the sidewalk. When the snow melts it is truly disgusting.

              1. Subhuman behavior. Even my cats know to go to the grove of trees to shit.

                1. My cat just shits in the garden. If she gets outside, that is.

                  1. I have three cats, and pets are not allowed in the house. I own several acres for them to keep clear of snakes and rodents so that status for them is a natural part of the ecological order.

    3. Why does Thonas Friedman hate squirrels and trees?

    4. I once read an anecdote from someone who traveled to Hong Kong (I think, certainly somewhere Chinese). He found some small greenspace and just laid down on the grass. Some locals, obviously embarrassed, warned him that he probably didn’t want to do that. He smiled back at them and replied that it was okay, he did this all the time back where he was from. One of the locals overcame his embarrassment and informed him that this “park” was essentially the local dog toilet.

      1. People in Hong Kong will rip your head off if you call them Chinese.

        1. You’ll have to forgive me for calling a territory under the control of the PRC “Chinese.” I’m sure you could understand my confusion. Although I do understand the discontent you have identified.

          1. Rather like the discontent I feel when foreigner referts to me as a “Yankee.” I’m from the South.

            1. Whoa whoa, you’re a ‘merican, aren’t you? Therefore Yankee.

            2. It’s simple logic man.

          2. A lot of Tibetans would similarly object to their country being called “Chinese.”

      2. You read that in Rolf Potts “Vagabonding”. Unless the author just lifted anecdotes from everywhere.

        1. No, that’s exactly right. Thanks for that, I was completely blanking.

    5. Guangzhou was the most depressing place I’ve ever been to. It has the massive population concentration that I saw in Hong Kong combined with the drab concrete construction of Moscow (the “new” parts built by the Soviets).

      And the air pollution is shocking.

    6. There are trees, but they don’t have birds or squirrels in them. It’s very strange.

  5. Well, there’s iced drinks. With lots of ice, not token slivers.

    1. Heh, I remember a friend ordering a coke in Germany back in the early 90’s. It came in a thimble*, served at room temperature, and cost more than twice as much as their normal sized draft beer (about a pint.)

      * Only a slight exaggeration. Seriously.

      1. I wanted water with my tempura fish (which was excellent) at a restaurant in Tokyo. Not hot green tea. It was over 90F outside! Had trouble communicating “water” (I somehow never learned that word in my Japanese class), then they ended up bringing me a jigger of water. It was cold and delicious, but the quantity was unsatisfying.

        1. I never had this problem when I was in Osaka. There was ice water by the pitcher in every restaurant, and loads of iced tea and bottled water was available at any of the thousand vending machines.

          1. I make no extrapolations, and this was one restaurant on one day in one city. I was only there a couple of days. It could’ve been the language barrier, too, as my ordering process involved making raining motions with my fingers. And saying wakarimasen a lot.

            1. I’m not correcting, just found it curious that I had literally the opposite experience during my (also brief) time. I was lucky enough to have my college roommate interpret since I didn’t know how to say anything in Japanese, though.

              1. I came within a hair of spending a year at Kansai Gaidai in Osaka as part of an exchange program with UF–wish I had.

          2. Japan has one of the highest per capita rates of vending machines in the world. About one machine per 23 people. Someone living in Japan told me he thought it was due in part to the high cost of labor and the low rate vandalism.

        2. For some reason, the Japanese think foreigners like to eat green salad with breakfast. They’ll serve miso soup, scrambled eggs and salad.

      2. My biggest impression from my European trip was “Can’t get a reasonable glass of water anywhere”

        1. I wonder if that is becasue for most of European history drinking the water would make you horribly sick.

        2. That’s because you should be drinking wine, beer, or coffee. When in Rome, uh, drink what the Romans drink.

          1. At some point I need to rehydrate. I just want to chug a bunch of water so I can go back to getting hammered!

            1. Soup broth is the best rehydrate. Seriously, never had a hangover after ending a session with a bowl of noodle soup.

              1. Maybe because by the time you had the sense to rehydrate, you also had the sense to stop drinking before blacking out or whatnot.

                Recently went drinking with some acquaintances, and one of them ended up not quite passed out on the shoulder of the roadway in a small pool of vomit. Had a hell of a time getting him back in the truck to get him home.

                1. I haven’t had a blackout since my high school graduation party.

            2. Amateur.

    2. Finnish exchange student that stayed with some friends of mine went to an “American style” cafe in Helsinki after she got home and ranted on Facebook about ice and especially, lack of free refills.

    3. Finnish exchange student that stayed with some friends of mine went to an “American style” cafe in Helsinki after she got home and ranted on Facebook about ice and especially, lack of free refills.

      1. So, in high school, me and some friends were playing Trivial Pursuit. I quickly got all of the wedges, but took forever to get to the middle to win. The game dragged on, and the Spanish exchange student, who was the last to get all of his, gets to the middle on one roll and gets this question: “What is the Spanish word for black?”

        I’d have been less pissed, I think, if the word had been one every single one of the Americans didn’t know, too. Fucking foreigners.

        1. “Obamo”?

          1. This was back in the 80s, in the Before Time. Before Obama. Before the Empire.

            1. The Before Time? Every day you find new ways to amaze me with how old you are!

              1. In the Year 1984, from whence my people came, computers were expected to someday have up to 1 megabyte of memory.

                1. Those poor bastards. Did you just store everything remotely on the internet?

                  1. Yes. We’d upload data at 2,400-bits/second to the “Mainframe,” which is what we called the Internet back then. Later, it was replaced by Prodigy, a techno-metal precursor to the Internet.

                    1. Tell him about ASCII porn.

                    2. No, he’s too young. Too innocent. Let him enjoy that while he can.

        2. Negro.

          1. Yes, yes, yes, the whole point was that I knew the word, the other guys and girls knew the word, and the Evil Exchange Student knew the word.

            1. That’s your fault for getting your students on the Evil Exchange.

              1. Yes, agreed. Live and learn!

              2. I heard it’s impossible to actually log in to your Evil account.

                1. Sadly, Evil is more about efficiency than economically pure ideology and employs the best, albeit evil, contractors.

                2. No, no, the Evil account is working, it just can’t be used on sites to get health insurance.

      2. So this refill made up for that. Good for you.

  6. We do have TP in our restrooms by default, which apparently is weird compared to the rest of the worl. I’ve gotten into….errr…trouble when I’ve been in a foreign toilet and forgotten that it’s BYOTP.

    1. Paper products in general seem to be very rare abroad. TP, tissues and napkins can and must be purchased in convenience stores because every restaurant, hotel and store seem to be hoarding theirs.

      1. Look, if they ration their healthcare, you don’t think they’re gonna ration TP?

      2. It’s the evil Koch brothers fault that we have this abundance of paper products.

      3. Every time I walk through Costco, I have to marvel at the absurd abundance that we have available to us and how we royally take for granted.

        We should be down on our knees thanking the government for making all those products for us, since those evil capitalists would just as soon slit our throats.

      4. Ziplock baggies too. I chatted with an Austrian kid in a hostel who had an American mother and he said she had to import that shit herself and they reused them to make them last till her next trip home.

    2. Mrs. Pants: But what about the privies?

      Blackadder: Um, well, what we are talking about in privy terms is the latest in front wall fresh air orifices combined with a wide capacity gutter installation below.

      Mrs. Pants: You mean you crap out the window?

      Blackadder: Yes.

      Mrs. Pants: Well in that case we’ll definitely take it. I can’t stand those dirty indoor things.

  7. I like that quote from the Chinese student, I’ve heard the same kind of thing from my aunt and her son when they came over here from Korea (after she married my uncle) They thought that squirrels were the most adorable thing ever and couldn’t believe they were everywhere.

    1. You did tell them they are genetically engineered to kill on command, right?

      1. And that they love to fuck up comment boards. Little bastards.

        1. oops should’ve refreshed

        2. While true, squirrels are loyal to America. Not the government, the country. When the time comes, they will protect us all from oppression.

        3. And why do you think the Obamacare exchanges are having so much difficulty?

          They torture us, but it’s only for practice.

      2. I know now about their great ability to kill online posts, but I didn’t know about it at the time.

    2. I feel the same way about monkeys overseas. They get monkeys, and we get squirrels. I’d say the latter is probably preferable, as they don’t fling poop, although a squirrel did steal my golf ball the other day.

      1. That’s why a keep a .22 in my golf bag.

      2. Are you sure it wasn’t a gopher?

      3. My dental hygienists is originally from India and told me how monkeys will sneak into your home and touch and steal food you’re cooking with their dirty poop flinging fingers. I was charmed and disgusted.

        1. Haven’t the indians heard of screens?

          1. No. But if they had do you think an American style screen would protect against monkey infiltration? Monkeys (and apes) are clever. {see Planet of the Apes}

      4. I once stopped under a tree to rest on a cross country jog, and a squirrel came out and bitched at me with a George Costanza like tantrum. Wished I had caught it on film, it was the cutest shit.

    3. Reminds me of the lizards when we moved to Miami. Freaking little lizards everywhere.

      1. We have hordes of them here, too, but South Florida has some really creepy varieties.

        Almost all brown anoles here, or so it seems. I saw a bunch for sale in a pet store in Chicago, all while thinking I had hundreds at my parents’ houses.

      2. I love that about visiting my parents – reptiles and non-geese water fowl.

  8. Despite *justified* libertarian grousing about stupid gun control laws, we really are astonishingly heavily armed compared to any other modern country.

    1. Not compared to Latin America. Everyone I know in Venezuela has a gun.

      1. In the Philippines, every other Garage is a gun smith.

        Despite *justified* libertarian grousing about stupid gun control laws, we private citizens really are astonishingly heavily armed compared to any other modern country.

        I can agree with that.

  9. I grew up overseas and moved back to the States when I was 16. The biggest thing that jumped out to me watching TV was how commercials imbue every consumer good with meaning. In South Africa, a beer commercial focused on how good the beer was. In the States, a beer commercial focuses on how much fun you’ll have on the night you drink the beer and the women that will drape their arms around you as you’re sitting.

    In fact, commercials most often come up to foreigners as the weirdest things about Americans. Maybe it’s the contrast between the TV show they’re watching, which they’re probably familiar with if they’re from a first world country, and the marketing directed towards Americans and all the assumptions that come with that. I don’t know.

    1. A better example than beer would be toothpaste. South Africans are much more literal with their toothpaste commercials, and talk about what the product will do and how white your teeth will be. Americans still mention whiteness, but the focus is always on the smile. Everything is about the smile, and feelings associated with smiling. Perhaps Americans have just perfected marketing to a lifestyle instead of a product.

    2. I grew up in Singapore and moved back at 13. The beer commercials there were the same as here. It’s Tiger Time!

  10. One of my Chinese students told me, “I think Americans live very much in harmony with nature. There are so many trees and squirrels! When I first get here, I thought I was in a fairy tale movie.”

    The guy who made the game “Flower” for the PS3 did it because he was inspired by the absolute natural beauty of L.A. after coming here from China.

    True story.

    As a kid who grew up with a ferriner as a parent, I’m always a bit amused by what foreigners get wrong about America (rarely offended), and equally amused by what they get right.

    #1 thing foreigners get wrong about America: Few have any concept as to how vast and diverse this country is.

    1. I’ve had Euros tell me how shitty our beer is here. I was stunned at first, given the variety of amazing beers we’ve had since the Carter administration. Then I realized that the only beers that are exported to other countries are Bud and Miller.

      1. The Euros have sicced Guiness Draught on the world, and that’s basically the Bud Lite of dark beers.

        1. I think Guinness is a fine product, but it is true, it really isn’t very interesting or special. And it really is (in spite of its color) a pretty light beer.

          1. Guinness makes a lot of variations. It’s the cheap versions that I think are pretty awful.

            1. Ah, so by “Guinness Draught” you mean the cans, not actual draft beer?

              1. Actual draft Guinness isn’t much better than what you get in the cans. The Extra Stout is a world apart and quite good.

        2. I prefer black ‘n’ tans.

          1. Me too. Oh wait, you mean Beer. NVM.

          2. My wife ordered a black-and-tan in London. They had no idea what she was talking about, so they took an ale and dumped some berry-based shit into it.

            1. Same thing happened to me in London. Then I asked for a half and half and got the same puzzlement.

            2. Stick with the brown ales, they are good at producing those.

      2. Yes, that ship has sailed. We’re close to the being the best country in the world for beer now. That pisses off people in the know almost as much as when the U.S. finally wins the World Cup. When that happens, nuclear missiles will be heading our way.

        1. when the U.S. finally wins the World Cup

          The lulz will be epic.

          1. I know rankings don’t mean anything, but the US is currently ranked above Portugal, Greece and France.

        2. I think Belgium still wins, but we are pretty damn good at this point.

          1. Belgium is really good at a subset of beers.

          2. There are a lot of good Belgian style beers being made by American craft breweries. Hell there are some who specialize in it.

            1. Ommegang?

        3. Yes, that ship has sailed. We’re close to the being the best country in the world for beer now.

          American Exceptionalizmz!

        4. As an expat who lives in the country that makes some of the best beer in the world, I pretty much agree with this.

          1. It’s amazing how quickly it happened, because it wasn’t all that long ago that we did lead the world. . .in shit beer.

            1. We’re incredible wine producers as well. 😉

            2. When I lived in Oregon in the early nineties the beer revolution was already in full swing, mostly thanks to deregulation and tax breaks by bureaucrats hoping to stimulate the wine industry a la CA.

              1. Same was true in Colorado in mid-90’s at least. I think it was 97, in Colorado Springs they had a brew fest with almost 200 beers featured.

        5. I suppose it depends on taste, but I would put American beers up against any other country in the world and I don’t even think it would be a competition. Belgian beers may be the exception but they are such a unique subclass that it really isn’t an apples to apples comparison. Some of the purists will scoff at the crazy styles and hopping rates used by a lot of American brewers, but for anyone who wants to move past the German purity law (Reinheitsgebot) and the 16th century, American beer can’t be beat.

      3. Euro cheap beer is better. American good beer is far more diverse and just as good.

        1. Yes, I’m talking about the microbrews. We still have shit swill. But so do other countries.

        2. Euro cheap beer is pretty bad. Guinness Draught is the lite version of dark beers, plus it has a metallic aftertaste. Stella Artois is Keystone Light for Eurotrash. Heineken is OK.

          1. I like it fine. Stella is quite good for what it is (though way too expensive here and there are much better beers for the same price in Belgium). Nothing is as bad as Keystone light. Except maybe Gennesee Cream Ale. I’d always take Stella over Heineken, but I’m capable of accepting that different people have different tastes.

          2. Ugh, Stella is awful. I can’t drink Heinekin anymore.

            1. Well, Stella has one advantage. You can yell for it ? la Marlon Brando.

          3. I had a Major in the Belgian Army once snort that Stella Artois was “peasant beer”.

            1. Sure. I guess all I’m saying is that I’d pick it over any of the cheap American pilsners if it didn’t cost twice as much because it’s an import. If I were in Belgium, I’d drink Hoegaarden or DeKonink or maybe Palm if I wanted an inexpensive beer.

              1. I’ve been living in Czechia for almost 20 years, and when I’m in America I drink Bud and Coors and I have no problem at all with them. Nice summer beers in my opinion. This dichotomy of so-called quality beers is mostly BS.

                1. Stella is a total shit beer, of course.

            2. The traditionally lower-class food items are extremely underrated in our culture. Think just about any sort of stewing cut of meat, for instance.

              1. Interestingly I think there is a rennasiance of sorts going on with that among…”foodies”.

                1. As a half-foodie myself there is a lot of truth to that. But they’re right!

            3. Stella is called “wife beater” in England for a reason.

          4. Heinie tastes like heinie, as in ass.

            Heineken and Becks are two of the foulest beers in the world.

            Although I recently had Beck’s Sapphire and found it to be quite good.

        3. When I drank beer I used to think High Life was a pretty good cheap beer. If I had to buy for a group where volume was the main concern (like a softball game) it was a thirty-rack of High Life.

          1. Nice – I still have a soft spot for High Life.

            1. You can also without guilt do that trick with the bottles where you tap the rim of one with the bottom of another and cause the first to foam uncontrollably. They’re cheap enough to not have to worry about spills.

              1. It’s the champagne of beers!

          2. I just don’t bother to drink anything cheaper than a SN pale ale any longer. I’m not poor college student, why should my taste buds suffer when they don’t have to?

            1. Sometimes it’s fun to slum it.

              1. I get that. We all wanna be Dennis and Denise on the steps with the forties in hand sometimes.

                Tonight is gonna be a Stone night, Arrogant Basterdz and Russian Imps.

          3. There’s nothing wrong with champ-pag-knee.

      4. Craft beers exports are on a huge upswing, so that is beginning to change.

        And we are influencing the young generation of brewers in Europe.

        They are brewing American-style beers.

            1. It can be, but its hard to do.

          1. More about using citrusy west coast hops than the amount.

            But yeah, hopping the fuck out of things is part of it.

            Also, imperializing everything.

            1. Also, imperializing everything

              What does this mean? In layman’s terms if you can. I like a lot of hoppy IPAs but it seems this is a no-no among those in the…know?

              1. Imperializing is basically taking any style and turning it up to 11, except you turn the hops up to 15. I’ve come to really like hops, but I do think that some American brewers overdo it just to one-up each other.

                1. except you turn the hops up to 15

                  not necessarily. Imperial stouts arent overly hoppy. Well, they can be, but it isnt the norm.

                  Basically, imperializing means to up the abv a couple of percent.

      5. When you try to say “But America produces some of the best beer in the world!” it just makes it look like you have no taste and are defending shitty beer. And the Euros get a nice laugh about how Americans have such unrefined palates.

        This was probably 15 years ago or so, so maybe it’s changing.

        1. Any European who would tell you that today is an ignoramus of the highest order. Only the Belgians make brew that is comparable to America’s best in 2013 Planet Earth. I have sampled thousands from all over the planet, including recently some delicious West African samples similar to a sahti, I know of what I speak.

        2. That’s completely changed. That’s my point. We didn’t have it, now we do. Beer mojo.

    2. Few have any concept as to how vast and diverse this country is.

      This goes double for our very own bicoastal progtards as well.

      1. At least they notice that there are the coasts, the south and the middle part and don’t think that every American is an obese Texan who eats fried chicken every day.

        1. “that every American is an obese Texan who eats fried chicken every day”

          That is ridiculous….everyone knows obese Texans eat Frito Pie.

          1. I heard it was a New Mexican dish.

        2. You know, at times I wish I was an obese Texan who eats fried chicken every day.

        3. I would add fried chicken to the list of uniquely American things done awesomely.

      2. It’s been said here by others, but I’ll repeat it:

        It’s like when Urban liberals believe there isn’t any green space left in America.

        1. Or cities in the South.

          Seriously, there are people who have had their minds blown at stop overs in Charlotte. I’ve heard stories from a guy who worked the airport there.

          1. Yeah, and how ’bout that tiny airport they have in Atlanta?

            1. If Charlotte blows their minds, Atlanta would have been a pants shitting moment.

              1. Atlanta’s airport has a fucking train inside it.

    3. … because he was inspired by the absolute natural beauty of L.A. after coming here from China.

      I had an Anaheim, CA based, though lives in LA, software engineer visiting me in Maryland to help with a project a couple of years ago. He kept going on how nice it was – Columbia in February? – and how much Maryland was like a park.

      After living in none states and two countries, the only place I disliked living in more than Maryland was Anaheim, CA.

  11. Met some Swiss guys at a house party after a mutual friends wedding. They couldn’t believe that we were all actually drinking out of red Solo cups, it blew their minds. They kept on taking pictures and saying “It’s just like the movies!”

    My neighbor was hosting a Swedish foreign exchange student. They had a small neighborhood party and she too had a fascination with red solo cups.

    1. Let’s have a party

      1. She was 17, but let’s say I am hoping she comes back to visit in the future.

        Oh God, I am that guy.

        1. Oh God, I am that guy.

          Embrace your inner perv; it’s a natural impulse. That’s what I tell myself as I eye my coaches’ ass at the gym.

          1. It was the accent too.

            I was 23 at the time, so maybe I am being too hard on myself.

            1. you said hard on

              1. No no, where I am from, hard on means something else.

        2. We’re all that guy.

    2. Red solo cups and yellow school buses.

      1. So ubiquitous I had to look them up on Bing for an image. Oh, those things? Why are they called solo?

        I started drinking from a sippy. And, yes, the spills have gone down immensely, since the change up.

        1. Solo’s the brand, like Kleenex. Also, that stupid Toby Keith song.

          1. There’s my problem, I’m not in anyway acquainted with popular music. Wouldn’t know Tobey Keith from Keith Urban. Just names and vaguely defined faces to me.

      2. What’s the fascination with the red Solo cups? I don’t get it.

        1. They are cheap and decent quality so they are used at college parties. And Hollywood uses them as a symbol of “college/HS party”. And Europeans get the latter but dont realize the former, that they are real.

  12. The thing I always hear from foreigners about the US is about how non-homogenous our culture is. Just about every other nation has traditions culturally that go back hundreds if not thousands of years, whereas we are the relative newcomer on the block.

    The fun part is explaining that our culture is based on personal liberty and the rule of law through the constitution (stop laughing) and that’s why we aren’t homogenous. Everyone should have personal liberty, whereas not everyone can be a true shinto.

  13. There is also a lot of discussion of the way our public restrooms are designed.

    I commented on this part of the thread (about a month ago when it happened). The guy I was responding to said:

    “i dont know why they bother putting a stall door on in the first place when you could easilly crawl under it, or climb over it”

    1. Yeah, this is the point I made above about Stalls vis a vis Europeans. Their public toilets were either a) PRIVATE BANK VAULTS TO SHIT IN, or b) wide open, no-stall Eastern Block shit-shelf. They seemed to find our ‘minimalist stall’ un-nerving. Which is weird. Maybe they feel vulnerable while pooping. I know dogs like that. They’re terrified of being interrupted. I on the other hand am fine carrying on conversation while exchanging parts of the newspaper.

      1. How paranoid do you have to be to worry about people crawling on a bathroom floor just to sneak into your pooping stall?

        1. Obviously you’ve never taken a shit in Germany.

          1. That sounds like something from the movie Top Secret.

            “there are no Good White Basketball Players, my friend”

  14. “Dr. Pepper” is what my Euro friends tell me is bizarre about the US. They think it’s disgusting.

    I will say that I’ve never seen it for sale in Europe.

    1. Funny, I just had a Dr. Pepper. Delicious.

    2. Wait till they try Moxie.

      1. Moxie: The rootiest of root beers. Also the creepiest logo.

      1. Malta is very popular in most of Latin America. It’s like non-alcoholic beer leftovers. I never could get used to it.

        1. Gah! I tired that stuff once and was tempted to scrape my tongue with steel wool to get the taste off.

      2. Vernor’s is crap. Sorry, your lordship. Unless they’ve recently reformulated it’s artificially flavored. Canada dry went through a long spell of being artificially flavored, but is now using real ginger again.

        1. it’s a Michigan thing. We’re nursed on it since a young age.

    3. Dr. Pepper has a PhD in tasting great. Those blasphemers.

    4. Heh. A while back I met some Irish tourists, and they said that they didn’t have root beer in Ireland, so we got some for them to try. They said it was “interesting” but you could tell they were working really hard to be polite.

  15. That is a pretty good thread, and I like the mix of foreigners and Americans replying to them. From a post about food sizes:

    …I don’t care if it’s good value, nobody needs a burger the size of their own face.
    There are two kinds of people in this world: people that need burgers the size of their faces, and communists.


    1. There are two kinds of people in this world: people that need burgers the size of their faces, and communists.

      Quote of the day!

    2. This is a picture of a pulled pork sandwich eating challenge in Burlington, VT. Note that the top half of the bun is literally the size of the guy’s face.

      I did try this once, and failed miserably.

      1. Pulled pork and Burlington….does not compute.

        I had a large black raspberry creemee from Goodies Snack Bar when I was up there in August. It was about 12″ high. The squeeze said he wanted to marry the creemee stand girl because she knew how to construct such an architectural wonder. I didn’t blame him.

        1. Big Fatty’s restaurant. That sandwich is The Big Fatty.

          1. It also came with a pound of fries.

  16. For Sloopy and Sarcasmic:

    The presence of police. I think i saw more cops in my first month in the US than my whole life in Europe. And it was very weird for me that i actually had to justify what i’m doing to them more than once. They seem to see kids (i was maybe 13-14) always as troublemakers. For example, i rode my bike through some tiny village in the Rockies and just rested on a bench. I sat there and watched stuff cause everything was new for me. 10 minutes later the police showed up and asked why i’m here, what i’m doing etc. They were not nice and i didn’t understand what i’m doing wrong. The only time a police officer stopped me in Germany as a kid was when he asked me if i could spare some of my crisps…

    1. They seem to see kids (i was maybe 13-14) non-cops always as troublemakers.


    2. Yeah, that’s a part of America we need to get to work on fixing. I’m not proud of that shit, at all.

    3. This is interesting, because I’ve lived/vacationed in places in the US with almost zero police presence, and places with insane levels of police presence. We had foreign exchange students when I was in high school (including an extremely hot Spanish chick, oh my), and they would have had our experience: no cops. Encountering a cop was an extremely rare event. But any exchange students in the town in Orange County, NY, where I had a house would have seen or encountered cops on a daily basis, because the place was carpeted in them.

      It’s a foreigner’s decision of where to go in the US that will effect their “cop experience”.

      1. Orange County, NY

        I may have asked you this before but what town? I grew up in Goshen.

        1. Montgomery. I had to go to Goshen constantly because that’s where the pistol permit office and the DMV were, along with the other county offices. What a fucking ugly building that is.

          1. Yes it is. My parents are still there and I marvel at that building’s hideousness every time I see it.

            1. Maybe you can tell me what the deal is with the NYS Thruway between Sloatsburg and Harriman? It’s a fricken parking lot, and as far as I can tell, there’s not much there.

              1. Well there is a toll booth there that frankly doesn’t belong, and it also near where US6 and Route 17 (which will eventually be I86) all link up with each other. Throw in the massive outlet shopping center that draws for 50 miles in every direction and BOOM! you get lots of traffic. At least that’s my guess.

                1. It’s the pits on weekends. Maybe take the Taconic?

      2. I think most foreigners go to places like NYC, which of course is loaded with cops.

      3. As a life-long resident of Indiana, I can say that I’ve never been stopped by a cop simply for traveling or waiting somewhere. I have been talked to by officers in two separate incidents, but in each case my behavior contributed to the stop.

        In one case another person apparently told the police I was acting weird (they thought I was on drugs for pacing and looking out a window), so not the cops’ fault; and in the second I was hauling something out of a dumpster at 3 am, which would look pretty odd. In neither case was I harassed or accused of anything untoward, and they soon left me to my own devices without any trouble.

    4. Part of the problem is that cops are just another government jobs program these days. Going to be very hard to pare down.

  17. I grew up in rural Ohio and I remember our first car trip out west when I was about 10 years old. We drove through Arizona and I thought it would just like Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons. I remember being just shocked at the number of things growing in the desert.

    1. On the other side, my husband, who was raised in El Paso, was taken aback to see real red barns when I took him to Ohio.

      1. A friend who grew up in Vegas couldn’t get over the lack of horizon in the wooded southeast. Said it felt claustrophobic.

  18. I had a yard sale a few years back and some German tourists stopped by to take a picture of me sitting in my front yard with crap strewn around. The weirdest part was that they didn’t try to talk to me at all. I could hear them talking to each other as they took pictures, that’s how I knew they were German. It’s like I wasn’t a person, just a point of interest. To be fair, I live in the midwest so not a lot of other possibilities for picture-taking.

    1. My dad is immortalized in Japanese tourist film. A bus came up while he was fly-fishing in Yellowstone and couldn’t get over the crazy guy out in the middle of the stream while it was snowing. Hey, the hatch was rising!

  19. This one is also pretty good:

    A German friend of mine did a year of high school in the U.S. and freaked out on the first day when they did the pledge of allegiance. She thought she had accidentally landed in some small town run by a Nazi-like cult.

    That observation really made me think differently about nationalism.

    1. I presume you know about the Bellamy salute that originally accompanied the Pledge.

      1. What are you suggesting Ted, that we scrap the pledge altogether? Why do you hate the troops and Benjamin Franklin?

  20. I picked up the Aussie parents of a friend of mine at JFK and drove them out to Southampton on a June Saturday.

    They thought the entire US consisted of inner cities and western deserts and mountains. Since they flew into “New York City”, they were definitely expecting the Escape from NY set.

    They were all like, “How is it all this green? I’ve never seen a place this green.”

    We were on the frickin’ Long Island Expressway.

    1. Funny, so they are just as dumb as everyone else for thinking what they see on teevee is how things actually are…

    2. Once, when I was a kid, I mentioned to another kid that I was from NYC, and he said, “Have you, like, ever seen a tree before?”

      I don’t think he was messing with me, I think he was actually that dumb.

      The bit about the Aussies is odd, though – when I visited Sydney, my reaction was that it was very like Northern California (if Northern California had been settled by the British).

    3. Sound’s similar to my sister’s godfather. She was born and christened in San Francisco, and said godfather came to central Jersey for her wedding. He had never been east of the Mississippi, maybe not even the Rockies. When he drove with my dad to north central PA to pick up my grandfather (about 3 hrs. each way) he was astounded that it was non-stop trees and greenery.

  21. Eric Clapton Wows Audience With Even Slower Version Of ‘Layla’…..sio,34325/

    Hat tip to Lucy Stag.

    1. The first time I heard the acoustic version I started yelling at the radio about how Clapton should sue the fucker who is doing that to his song.

      [and yes I know that covers are protected from that kind of suit]

  22. I loved how deep and high the water was. You could snap one off, without it actually snapping in half. Never in my life had I admired such long complete turds.

    1. Let me guess his next response, Also, what do Americans mean when they say TMI?

  23. My Welsh neighbors seemed to think the only places in the US were NYC, Chicago, and Orlando.

    1. None of those three would make my top three list of places to visit. NYC is fun, but it is no Boston or Philly, Miami or SanFran.

      1. And sorry, Nicky, Chicago just sucks as a party time happening place.

  24. You should take a dump in the bathroom in Baghdad International Airport. It is an “Eastern” style toile, i.e. a hole in the floor, much like a porty potty. I guess the honey wagon comes every couple of days to haul away the mound of turds.

    Just one more reason to dislike the middle east in general.

    1. I fucking LOVE threading. This comment should be in the toilet/turd subthread.

  25. You just made my day! Having logged 250,000 miles wandering the planet, living as a disabled vet in a room & board, I know exactly how good I have it. Thanks for pointing out something really positive despite what’s happening to me physically.

    1. @briny, exactly. Anywhere else and we would be begging on the streets.

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