What it’s REALLY like across the pond

I haven’t posted anything for a long time.  Seriously, it’s been over a month!

I’m sure you’re [not] wondering why this is; well….life has been pretty ‘samey’ recently and there hasn’t been anything that has amused or pissed me off in a while.

Over a month actually.

Anyway, the other day I was asked a question that stunned me into silence so much that it inspired me to write this post.  The question I was asked was:

“Is Christmas day in the UK the same as it is in the US?”

I paused for a moment, blinked a few times, and then gave a polite and sensible reply.

Oh, wait, no I didn’t.

I was sarcastic, condescending and there was a lot of finger pointing and laughing. I won’t lie….I was a bit of a cunt about it.

But honestly, who thinks Christmas is on a different day in the UK!?

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the questions and conversations I’ve been in that highlight the misconceptions Americans have about the UK and Europe in general. I have already touched on some of these before, but they just won’t go away….like syphilis or any of the Kardashians1.

So, without further ado:

We all drink Tea in the UK

Actually….no.

Granted, tea IS a big deal in the UK but there are a lot of Brits that don’t like it, opting instead for coffee. We like to call those people ‘traitors’ or ‘weird’. In addition, Americans also don’t realise that we generally drink tea with milk.

“Oh. My. GAWD!  With milk??”

Yes, with milk.

They go on and on (and fucking on) about how much we drink tea in Britain, but have absolutely NO idea about the tea we actually drink.  I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked what flavour tea I drink.

“Fruit?”  No.

“Green?”  Still no.

“Camomile?”2  Nope.

“Earl Grey?”  Erm, some people do.

“So what do y’all drink then?”

Proper (black) tea…in a mug….with milk and sugar; very few people use the clichéd dainty little cup and saucer with the obligatory pinky finger sticking out.  Take note

America, a proper mug – sometimes with a crack in it – is the ONLY way to drink tea.

Oooh, I do fancy a cuppa right now.

Geographically confusing delights

English Muffins

In America they have ‘English Muffins’ which, aside from McDonalds, I have never seen in the UK ever.

Yes, I know the flag isn’t the English flag. More on that below….

Yet I get told that we all eat them in England because, well, it has England in the name.  It’s either English muffins or ‘tea and crumpets’.  Sorry to tell you this America, but we don’t all eat crumpets all the time with our tea.  If anything, it would be tea and toast.

Mmmm, tea and hot buttered toast….with either Marmite or a nice bitter marmalade.

But tea and crumpets?  Rarely.

Additionally, whilst I’m on the subject of geographically named sweet treats, they also have something over here called:

German Chocolate Cake

I’ve been to Germany several times and never seen this cake.  Do you want to know why?  Hmm?  Do you?  Well, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

‘German chocolate cake, originally German’s chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German’

Interesting….considering I’ve been told, categorically, that it DOES come from Germany and I “don’t know what i’m talking about”, so it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that:

a) I’m right, and

b) The people who told me that bullshit, read my blog.

Read it bitches…..read it all!

French Fries

I don’t even want to get started on this one.  Let’s just move on shall we?

Italian Wedding Soup. 

Yep, apparently that’s a thing here too.  I’m half Italian and I’ve been to real Italian weddings and I have NEVER seen this soup. How can this be? 

Oh hello Wikipedia!

Wedding soup or Italian wedding soup is an Italian-American soup consisting of green vegetables and meat. It is popular in the United States, where it is a staple in many Italian restaurants.

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is a) Italian and b) for weddings.  It’s a lovely soup, but at the end of the day it’s still a soup….and soup can be messy.  Adding any type of sloshy food to people in their smartest attire, and one big white dress, is a recipe for disaster (thinly stretched pun intended).

Belgian Waffles

Now THIS one is actually accurate.  This style of waffle IS Belgian; I’ve been to Belgium a lot and they’re exactly the same as the American ones.  Only, this time, the Americans just call them ‘Waffles’; no ‘Belgian’ in there whatsoever.  The ONE time it’s actually correct to name a food after a country and they don’t do it!

I despair, I really do.

(takes a moment to compose himself)

OK…moving on….

Paris is romantic

No it’s not.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it really isn’t. It’s grey, grimy, crap and in French.

It’s basically London with less friendly people…trust me!  The Hollywood held perception is that Paris is all cobble streets and baguettes, with accordion music faintly heard on the breeze, when in reality it’s a bustling city with the sound of constant droning traffic.

Oh, and it smells like toilet.  Not ‘Eau Du Toilette’…….an actual toilet.

Yes, it has the Eiffel Tower and yes the architecture is old and beautiful and it has museums and bridges and stuff, but that’s the case all over Europe.  Paris isn’t special in that respect.  Paris is, for want of a better word, a shithole.

Sorry France.3

London is all cobble streets and fog

I’ve touched on this before, but I’ve been asked this more than a handful of times.  Look at the description of Paris above and you’ve basically got London.  It’s pretty much the same, but not in French.  This is useful for understanding what’s being said about me by waiters and shop staff when I’m being overcharged for their lacklustre service.

The English all say things like ‘Tally ho’ , ‘Pip pip’ and ‘Guv’nor’

This is very true. Also, the French say “Sa·cré bleu!” a lot too, did you know that?

I’ve found that a lot of Americans say “Yee-Haw!!” and “Rootin’ Tootin’!!” all the time.

(rolls eyes until they hurt a bit)

British Food is terrible and bland

This is both wrong AND wrong.  In addition, it’s also wrong.

Firstly, it’s difficult to define ‘British food’ because Britain is actually made up of four countries/nations, each with their own foods and palettes.  I can’t speak for the other three countries, but I can speak for England.

Oh, did I mention that there is no understanding of the difference between England and Britain?  No?  Well, more of that in due course…

Anyway, back to the food.  There’s a belief that British food is bland and tasteless.  Ha ha ha ha WRONG!  Despite being a small(ish) island, Britain is located and influenced by all the European cuisine surrounding it, and it’s an international hub for commerce across the planet….so the food is AMAZING!  In fact there are more options and choices in the UK than I’ve found anywhere else, including the USA.

Aside from the traditional British foods like fish and chips, a full roast dinner, a proper ‘full English’ breakfast etc…we also have Indian, Italian, French, American (yes, we do burgers too), Greek, Turkish, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, African, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Polish, German, Blah, Blah, Blah……basically we have them ALL!

And yes, I meant to put ‘Indian’ in there more than once.  I LOVE Indian food and it has become the UK’s most favourite food!  Seriously, the national dish of the UK is Chicken tikka masala!

Mmmm, Chicken tikka masala….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to mankind.

Wait, no…that’s not right.  Let me try that again….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to drunk revellers outside the taxi rank after a night out on the piss.

No, it’s not a fucking ‘Gyro’

Now THAT’S British! (or Turkish actually)

America’s answer to post piss-up nosh?  McDonald’s.

Oh dear.

Europe is a country

Not only is this a belief (just like Africa), it’s surprising how many people I’ve spoken to who can’t point to Europe on a map, let alone the individual countries it consists of!

Besides, why bother learning about these countries when you can simply visit them at Epcot anyway?

(rolls eyes until they start bleeding slightly)

The UK, Great Britain and England are the same

I can understand why this is confusing, but even after I’ve explained it to one of my American friends, I can still see the lack of understanding behind their eyes.

Then again, it could be the huge doses of sugar and sodium in their diet.

(shrugs)

For clarity, here is a visual breakdown….

It’s like the United States, but with four states, not fifty.

Now, I’m sure this as clear as mud, but allow me to explain.

There are effectively four countries or ‘nations’ at play here.  England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.  The uncoloured area below Northern Ireland is, unsurprisingly, Southern Ireland (or ‘The Republic of Ireland’) and actually forms part of Europe.

Yes, they have Euros as currency.

Confused yet?

Well, the English occasionally refer to themselves as British, but the Scottish, Irish and Welsh don’t…..even though they are.  In the same way that people from Hawaii refuse to call themselves American…..even though they are.

So, when I’m told I have a British accent I do smile to myself as there is no such thing really….unless I include all four accents together:

“I say good sir, the laddie is just a wee bairn, to be sure, so it is boyo isn’t it?”

Hmmm….

And, whilst I’m on the subject of the the UK….here is how the Union Flag came to be:

This is why the flag in the muffin picture earlier was technically incorrect

We celebrate Thanksgiving and 4th July

I can’t begin to tell you how many times i’ve been asked if we celebrate these. Oh, wait….I already have!

And, for the record, we also have Hallowe’en4

However, we do not have the following holidays:

  • Labor Day (should be ‘Labour’, but hey, who am I to judge?)
  • Presidents Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Columbus Day

Take a moment and ask yourselves why this is.  If you can’t answer that question, feel free to ask me about it and see what kind of answer you get.

One of the UK holiday days I miss a lot is Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas Day (still also the 25th December).  In the US a few have started calling it DAXMAS (Day After XMAS), but it’s not an official  holiday day and serves no purpose other than…well….it’s the day after Christmas.

For us Brits (all four nations), Boxing Day is another Christmas Day and I love it!

“Why is it called Boxing Day?”

Why thank you for stepping in Wikipedia!

All the presents. All the food. All the booze.

 

1 – It’s a reoccurring joke on here, but seriously….when are these harpies going to fuck off and leave us in peace?

2 – I have NO idea why the USA have added an ‘H’ to this word, considering the way they usually hack letters OUT of words.

3 – Not really.  I hate Paris.

4 – It actually originated in the UK!  You’re welcome.

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A slice of life

A couple of nights ago my wife and I were sat at home, slightly inebriated, and very…VERY hungry.

We had been going back and forth about what we wanted to eat. It was our Friday night and were were definitely going to be eating bad, shitty, unhealthy, delicious food.

After much debating I made a decision and said, “I’m going to order a pizza”.

“Oh, OK”, she replied.

There was a pause.

“Do you want one?”

Oh how we laughed!

Partly because it was funny…but mostly because it was true.

The Farce is strong with this one.

Today at work, the subject of Star Wars came up.

Actually, every day at work and at home and at the supermarket and in the car and sat on the toilet pushing out a Jar Jar, the subject of Star Wars comes up.

Why?  Because I fucking LOVE Star Wars.

The Scruffy Nerf Herder has a point.

Anyway, today’s Star Wars conversation started when I saw a trailer for the new Blade Runner 2049 trailer (Squeeeeeee!). I asked my work colleagues if they’re as pant-wettingly excited to see it as I am.

This question was met with was a lot of blank expressions.

My heart sank.

“Wait, who here has seen the original Blade Runner?”, I asked, with slight desperation in my voice.

Only one hand went up.

One.

It was at this point that the girl who sits next to me – let’s call her Cluelessa – said, “There’s one reason why I want to see that movie”.

I sighed. “It’s because of Ryan Gosling isn’t it?”

She beamed excitedly, “Of course!”

I held my shit together and smiled. “So let me get this straight”, I said incredulously, “You went with Ryan Gosling and not Harrison Ford?”

She nodded enthusiastically.

“But he’s a legend!”.  (Harrison, not Ryan)

She paused for a moment as she redirected brain power from her mouth to her brain, “I liked him in Air Force One” she replied proudly.

I had to take a moment to compose myself and remember it’s not deemed socially acceptable to choke the shit out of a co-worker.

For some reason it’s frowned upon.

“So, let me understand this right….you didn’t go with Indiana Jones or Han Solo….instead you went with ‘Air Force One’?”

Thus began the conversation about the cultural phenomenon that is Star Wars[1]

It soon became evident that most of the people I work with haven’t actually seen Star Wars, unless it was the one with the “racing thingy” (Pod Race) or “Anakin” (probably a prequel).

I wanted to scream like a Wookie.

The conversation, as dumbfounding as it was, came to a head when Cluelessa asked, “Wait, Darth Vader….is that Star Wars?”

I had to take a moment.

Trembling with rage, I picked up the concrete paperweight on my desk and pushed it towards her face.

“That’s no moon”

“Pop quiz; what’s this?”

She beamed blankly as she looked at it, then at me, then back at the paperweight.

She didn’t know the answer.

SHE DIDN’T KNOW THE ANSWER!

“It’s the Death Star!”, I said, holding back tears and throat punches.

“OK, here’s another question for you”, I said with a new hope (see what I did there?), “What do Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker have in common?”.

There was a long pause.

In fact, there shouldn’t have even been a short pause.

It went very quiet and I could hear my own heart breaking.

One of the other girls piped up, “Isn’t he, like, his dad or something?”

Oh my god!

Then Cluelessa said, “Wait, isn’t Anakin, Luke? Wait, no….hold on, so who is Luke?”

Unbelievable.

But, as I write this from prison, I have to say it has become evident over the last few years that Star Wars is slowly slipping off the radar with the ‘young folk’ of today. It’s for this reason that I am so thankful that Disney now own the rights to a galaxy far, far away.  All the time there is love for the franchise – and tons of cash coming in – Disney will continue to bring Star Wars to the big screen.

Despite one of the girls saying they’ve only seen ‘The Force Awakens’ (eye twitch), it is still keeping the legacy alive….and ‘The Force Awakens’ is still a great film even though its plot is effectively ‘A New Hope’, but without enough R2D2.

I live and breathe Star Wars. I love everything about it[2] and it breaks my heart to think that one day, in the dystopian future of…say…2049, it’s possible that no-one will look at Rick Deckard and say Hey, you look a lot like Han Solo”.

[1]  Not including the prequels.

[2]  Except Jar Jar Binks[3] and any unnecessary or comedic CGI special effects added to the original trilogy.

[3]  Especially Jar Jar Binks!

Feeling Cranleigh*

I’m having a bad day.

It’s not the kind of bad day that simply makes you want the hours to fly by, but the kind of bad day that makes you want to to punch others indiscriminately in the face as hard and as often as possible.

Maybe a swift kick in the dick too; gender permitting.

I can’t put my finger on why it’s a bad day, it just is and I can’t shake it, no matter how many times I’ve gone to the toilets for a poo.

Now, for clarity, I don’t actually need to poo as often as I’ve been to the toilets today – because I would need some serious medical attention if I did – but it’s the only place in the building I can guarantee I won’t be disturbed as I sit on my porcelain throne, trousers and lacy thong around my ankles, playing ‘Flow Free’ on my phone. To add a little more joy to the proceedings, the toilets have music piped in.

Perfect splash concealment.

Thanks Ed Sheeran.

I look around at the fresh faced people I work with (at my desk, not in the toilets), buzzing away like bees in a hive, happy to simply go through their day like any other and I realise it’s the sort of attitude I usually have pretty much every day, except for today. Today I feel the overwhelming urge to yank people’s hair as I walk past them, dish out the occasional – yet unnecessarily brutal – Chinese/Indian burn (depending on whichever outdated, oddly racial description of this cruel childhood torture is your preference) and kick away office chairs just as people trustingly begin to sit down.

Actually, let’s be honest here….kicking away a chair is always funny, bad mood or not.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have depression nor do I crave sympathy or attention like so many baited Facebook posts.

#grammarpolice

Nope, I’m just simply in a shitty mood. This might be because it’s Monday, or maybe it’s because I’ve had too much/not enough coffee [delete as appropriate] or maybe…just maybe…it’s because I’ve only had 4 hours sleep the last two nights.

Yeah, it might be that.

Does it diminish my desire to choke passers by, just for passing by?

Nope.

So here I sit, marinating in my deep seeded desire to push over children and people on crutches, using this post as an outlet for the pent up rage bubbling somewhere in the depths of my soul.

I think I’ll go for another poo….and maybe a nap.

Zzzzzzz…..

Thrrrppp!

Excuse me.

 

 

*Look it up in ‘The Meaning Of Liff’.

A truck filled with wood, plastic and all things irony

This morning I was driving behind a pick up truck filled to capacity with an assortment of ladders, poles, planks, pointy metal things, tubing, plastic containers and other dooberrywhatsits I couldn’t describe if my life depended on it.

One of the things I CAN describe is the big white sticker on the back that read ‘Safety Is My Number One Goal’.

I noticed this sticker just before he violently mounted the central reservation (median) and nearly scattered indescribable carnage across the road like the dramatic end of a drunken Jenga match.

So that was terrifying.

A thought that’s been buzzing around a while. 

I want to know why, after millions of years of evolution, natural selection and the survival of the fittest, do flies still not ‘get’ glass and twat themselves repeatedly against it in a vain bid for freedom; even when you’ve opened the bloody window!? 

No wonder they land on shit.

It’s all they’re good for.

Buzzy little bastards.