Jesus saves…and he’s managed to save enough for a deposit on a billboard.

I know I try and stay away from any religious content because, well, America. But sometimes they poke the bear a few too many times and I have to at least growl a bit.

So, this billboard is a real thing over here.

What do you think; a little preachy?

Hmm, I’m not sure these pillocks know how procreation works. Without lust, no-one would be having sex and then we wouldn’t have babies to continue the species.

Oh wait, these twats also put these up.

So much facepalm.

Well, at least Jesus saves. I mean, as long as you don’t count cancer, AIDS, cot death, famine, poverty or any disputes, conflicts or wars in his name.

So……….

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Us Brits don’t necessarily say what we mean…keep up, America!

If you’re an avid reader of my blog (and why wouldn’t you be?), then you’ll know that the last 3 years or so has mostly been content around the cultural differences between the UK and the US…and a plethora of fart and dick jokes too.

Anyway, I’ve noticed a few other small cultural differences; one of which I wanted to share with you.

This difference revolves around the phrase,“We really should get together soon and catch up”

 

In the UK

Me: “We really should get together soon and catch up”

(Translation: “I’m saying this to let you know I like you enough that the mere idea of us getting together socially is something I would enjoy IF we were to do it. But we both know that we’re unlikely to arrange it anytime soon, or EVER, because neither of us really feel like socialising with anyone to be honest. However, please know that if I WERE to socialise with anyone, the thought of doing it with you is tolerable and I wanted you to know that I value you THAT MUCH as a friend to suggest it in the first place”)

Brit: “We really should!”

(Translation: “I am subscribing to this social dance we’re doing. I like you too, but let’s not have this social anytime soon…or ever…unless we absolutely have to, but thank you for asking”)

Me: “Great!”

(Translation: “Phew!”)

 

In the US:

Me: “We really should get together soon and catch up”
(Translation: See above)

Yank: “I’m free this Saturday”
(Translation: “I’m free this Saturday”)

Me: “Shit”
(Translation: “Shit”)

Fancy another? (to be sure, so it is…)

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, so naturally everyone at work is starting to wear green, drink green beer, and eat Lucky Charms (or whatever it is that Americans think the Irish actually do). In fact, some people have been wearing kilts and playing traditional Irish music including ‘Scotland The Brave’.

I shit you not.

I don’t think they realise that Scotland and Ireland aren’t the same place.

Anyway, during this morning’s drive into work, I had the radio on as usual and I was listening to a show called ‘Mercedes in the morning’ in which Mercedes – a woman, not a car – and her co-host, JC (not jeebus christ, just a metro-male called….well….JC) were talking about St. Patrick’s Day and all the fun and frivolity that goes with it.

Hey, by the way, did you know the mascot of Ireland is the Leprechaun? I didn’t! I wrongly thought it was a type of hat wearing fairy from Irish folklore and NOT something used to sell god awful cereal to sugar addicted snowflakes! In fact, I was so taken aback that they called it a mascot that I contemplated calling into their show and correcting them, but then I realised that profanity – an ACTUAL Irish tradition – isn’t really tolerated in the US, let alone live on air. So instead I decided to smile, shake my head disapprovingly and mutter lots of Irish traditions under my breath.

And by ‘under my breath‘, I meant ‘out loud, with the windows down, scaring other drivers‘.

But I digress.

Mercedes said there was a recent study regarding the number of drink-related injuries on St. Partick’s Day.

Really, a study?

She then went on to say that the maximum amount of drinks typically imbibed before some sort of injury occurs is 8 drinks for men and 6 drinks for women.

‘Fair enough’, I thought to myself.

It was at this point that Mercedes exclaimed, “8 drinks?? Who can drink 8 drinks?? I get to 3 drinks and I’m feeling all woozy!“. Then JC said proudly that he would occasionally knock back 8 drinks in his younger ‘party‘ days.

Fuck me, 8 drinks is what you consume at home BEFORE you head out on the piss!

In fact, my friend and I used to polish off a 12 pack of beers EACH on the sofa, and then get all miserable when we ran out.

Maybe if the US reduced their drinking age back down to 18 (yes, it was once 18), they could build up their tolerance sooner and keep up with us expats who are desperate for drinking buddies who can go the distance.

And get a fucking round in, from time to time.

Cheers!

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‘Tis the season to be careful what you say…Fa la la la la

So, today I would like to talk about a massively contradictory double standard here in the US.

As you may know, in the US it’s a cultural ‘no-no’ to say something that omits or discriminates a particular race, religion, sex (or sexes, depending on which one (or ones) you identify with), or if it discriminates based on fashion, wealth, political leaning, car, shoes, hair, ….actually I think i’m making some of this up, but you get my point.

In a nutshell, we should all be talking like this….apparently:

So with this in mind, it’s fashionable to say “Happy Holidays” in the US rather than “Merry Christmas” because it’s considered offensive to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ if they’re not a Christian/Catholic/Mormon etc.

But is that really true, or are we implying that other cultures aren’t tolerant?

Who knows?1

But I can tell you one thing, I am NOT touching a religious debate with a barge pole. Oh, wait, that’s probably offensive to people who aren’t familiar with that saying…or to people who drive barges, or to those who don’t.

Wait, do you drive a barge? Or do you sail one?

(Awkward pause)

Either way, I’m not touching this with a barge pole / Christmas tree / Driedel / Kinara.

Is…is that better? Seems a bit of a mouthful. (Insert penis joke here…..and also insert ‘insert penis’ joke here too)

I suppose it’s the same as people wishing me a “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Happy 4th of July” when I’m English and don’t celebrate them. Oh, I get SO offended! I can’t believe that people have the audacity to….nah, i’m fucking with you, I don’t care.

I recognise that Thanksgiving is a thing at the end of November, like Christmas and Kwanzaa is a thing at the end of December and Hanukkah is a thing around the same time as the other things I just mentioned; it’s all a bit confusing if i’m honest. But just because I don’t celebrate these holidays, that doesn’t mean others can’t wish me good tidings at their belief’s time of year; good for them! I appreciate the gesture because it’s NOT ABOUT ME!

Anyway….

This post wasn’t intended to be a rant at the ‘I’m offended’ culture (as much fun as that is), but more of an observation of a massively contradictory double standard around this time of year, hence the opening sentence.

So, we say “Happy Holidays” to avoid offending those who don’t celebrate Christmas, but apparently we’re OK with:

  • Christmas decorations in the shops (stores).
  • Christmas decorations adorning homes everywhere.
  • Christmas trees for sale.
  • Christmas music on the radio.
  • Christmas imagery2 EVERYWHERE, including lots of pictures of Santa, Reindeer, Elves, Snowmen (sorry, SnowPEOPLE), snow, Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, and all that stuff directly linked and relevant to the birth of Jesus.
  • Christmas foods.
  • Ugly Christmas jumpers (sweaters).
  • Christmas lights, inside and outside.
  • Christmas hats with antlers, Christmas trees, holly and all the same Christian imagery from before.

It’s all a load of bull……dog

And, above all, a lot of workers get the day off on Christmas Day! Although i’m sure the non-Christmas folk out there insist on going into work that day instead of taking a paid day off with their families.

But that’s OK, because it’s our right to celebrate Christmas as long as we don’t do it openly.

What a farce.

By the way, if you go to somewhere like Greenland and see a reindeer, is that considered offensive?

Food for thought.

Unless you’re offended by food.

Merry Christmahanakwanzika everyone! (I really wish I’d made that word up….sigh)

1 – We know

2 – Not a single image of the Holiday Armadillo I’ve noticed. Sorry Ross.

Stick it to me, baby.

I get stuck in traffic a lot, especially when commuting to and from work because, well, there are more idiots on the road at those times (myself included1). As a result, I get the joyous and underwhelming opportunity to read the various stickers people adorn their cars with.

And they use them a lot in America!

From the Jesus fish…

Jesus, would you look at these!?

…and the ‘My offspring is serving in the Army/Navy/Air Force’…

Everyone gets a participation trophy

…to the various forms of ‘Coexist’ I’ve seen.

Holy Idealism, Batman!

But nothing sums up ignorance like the two stickers I have seen a lot of recently.

And no, it’s not a collection of pointlessly stupid stick figures of family members.

Get ’em Darth! GET ‘EM!

No, these stickers are as follows:

If you don’t have the same views as me, I will shoot you

And this one:

Be nice to each other, or so help me I will kill you.

I get the feeling these stickers are supposed to portray pride and like-minded thinking in this fine country, but they’re pretty aggressive if you ask me (and this is a statement from a thick skinned Brit living in the land of the thin skinned…so that’s saying something!)

For me, it boils down to this:

“If y’all ain’t gon’ be wit’ us, then we’s gon’ shoot y’all….so help me God”

(I’m sure he won’t).

These stickers aren’t a display of Patriotism; they’re Jingoism at it’s most prevalent.

Maybe this would be more appropriate?

Seems about right

So remember, if you won’t share this post with all your friends and family, then feel free to…erm….feel free to….er….not?

 

1 – Not true.

My brain filter may need some work.

Being a Brit living in America is, mostly, pretty easy.

The main issue I have (other than the stupid way they format their dates, their driving, their TV, their….well, you get my point) is filtering my disgusting and yet hilarious brain from reacting when I find something funny that others REALLY won’t.

After all, offending someone over here is as difficult as fist fighting a baby.

These moments of internal hilarity involve things like growlers, double-fisting and, more recently, this sign I saw on a colleagues desk that was clearly meant to be heartwarming…

You know what’s coming…

It took all my willpower not to put a note on it that reads:

“So are your wife’s tits”.

Does that make me a bad person?

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?

French Toast

Nope.  Never seen that in France ANYWHERE.  Toast in France is usually thin and NOT packed to the gills with sugar, butter and death.

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.