Posts tagged "america"

When I was 21, I went to America.

I was going to keep a blog as I went, but I only ever made one post. It was here. Now it is here:

There is no beginning to this story… [Jul. 22nd, 2004|12:35 am]

[ music | The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet ]

Every journey has an arbitrary beginning. This journey is no different. Or to put it another way, the Bright Eyes record ‘Lifted, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground’ starts off with a seven minute track that only sounds like half a song; Conor sings over a vaguely strummed acoustic guitar and some driving and conversation noises. Near the end he starts getting all worked up and then it cuts out. The next track, ‘Method Acting’, starts off with the line ‘there’s no beginning to this story,’ and it’s correct, because the album just kind of fizzles in, if you know what I mean.

My trip was like that. I could go into all the history, like filling out the forms, or choosing WWU, or meeting the cute apple-pie blond girl from Iowa, or even the first time I heard of the damn place, but I don’t want to go into all that David Copperfield shit. I wouldn’t mind further discussion about the girl from Iowa, though. If you’re from Iowa and you’re hot, I want to talk to you.

So I’m stating arbitrarily that the story began yesterday. 20th of July, 2004.

Now, let’s check the facts. I’m 20 years old, Australian and an unwilling resident of Newcastle, a far too small city on the east coast. It has beaches, suburbs and too many people who like football too much. I am doing a Bachelor of Communication at the University of Newcastle, in my third year, majoring in Journalism and Media Production. In September of this year I will leave the country for almost the first time in my life and spend the following six months in the United States, going to University in Washington (state). I’ve never been good at keeping journals; fortunately, this thing isn’t a journal. It’s a collection of thoughts about the United States of America. It’s not an ‘I did this, then I did this’ (though, today it is).

There are rules to this thing. I can only eat something if it’s on the menu. If they ask me to supersize, I have to do it. And I have to eat everything on the menu at least once. That is not true.

And yesterday, I waited in a room for almost three hours to get a visa.

So yeah, I went to the consulate in Sydney, it was long, bureaucratic and none of the pretty girls I saw talked to me, except I did get a smile from the daughter of the parents who were emigrating and couldn’t remember to bring their documents (wife to husband: ‘I’m the creative artist type and you’re the smart lawyer who’s meant to have all this together!’).

And I saw Americans, which is fun, because I love Americans. One guy had a big Green Bay Packer’s jacket and a goatee. Very U.S.A. And then there was the soccer mom with permed, dyed hair and her sk8er boi son in hoodie and backwards baseball cap. I think people who say our culture’s being taken over by Americans don’t know Americans. No matter how many kids wear their caps backwards or how many women get their hair styled ridiculously, Australians just can’t match the Americanness of Soccer Mom and Sk8er Boi. They’re in a class all of their own.

The consulate had lots of posters of different states on the walls, which was cool, because American states maintain very distinct cultures. I like that. We don’t do that in Australia. But the one that I was most interested in was the poster of Delaware, because where Alaska had Eskimos, and bears and Anchorage, and Oregon had Portland and Mount Hood, all Delaware had was a photo of a finger of land (or maybe it was a dock) leading out into a body of water. I guess there’s not much you can do to pictorially summarise Delaware.

And just to top it all off, I went to the new Krispy Kreme near Wynyard Station, which was the epitome of Americanness and generally one of the greatest things in existence. When I’m in America, I’ll live off Krispy Kreme donuts, because these things are up there with the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China as far as feats of Human acheivement go. I tell you, I’d forgive Dubya if he told us that he invaded Iraq because he heard Saddam was stockpiling Krispy Kremes. War for oil is heinous, but war for donuts is something we all should support.

Jun 02

Luda, this is a bit platitudinous, even if I did enjoy “Maybe I will run for President in 2012.” I mean, somebody’s gotta try to make them turn the lights out.

Even so, I did appreciate that a rapper got to talk to the National Press Club. But really, we all know Luda would have given a better speech if he’d got 16 bars in the middle of some other guy’s talk.


At this point of each episode, and pretty much this point only, I get to thinking it would be pretty neat to live in Newport.

At this point of each episode, and pretty much this point only, I get to thinking it would be pretty neat to live in Newport.


Exile on Maine Street: Middle America takes a trip to the Pine Tree State

Ain’t Nothing Cool About Carrying a Strap, About Worrying Your Moms or Burying Your Best Cat

douglasmartini:

Ayo Douglas, you wanna kick it when I’m in Seattle? What should we do?

(jonathan.)

No, Jonathan. Why the hell would I want to kick it with you? HAHA. I shouldn’t have to tell you that I’m totally kidding. Dinner at Bimbo’s, show at Neumo’s, post-show drinks at Comet Tavern, post-show drunk eats at Dick’s in Capitol Hill? That sounds good to me. Since I don’t eat red meat, I’ll just get like four orders of fries and a milkshake.

MY POSSE’S ON BROADWAY. This is going to be the fucking shit; me and M.D. Martin. Anyone wanna holla at me, I’ll be there from March 2010. Us dudes will be wildin’ out, guaranteed.


Just who is going to opt out of Opt Out?

I like maps like these, because they demonstrate the great diversity to be found within the United States of America, and how important regionalism is in the country. I posted it along with some commentary a couple weeks back on my other blog, but it originally comes from FlowingData.com. (Should you not like pictures, you can see the figures in table form over at Business Week.) The disparity should not be too surprising; the United States has a federal system of government, and while the Founding Fathers may not have intended for Hawaiians to live an average of eight years longer than… [read more]

As I tell y’all over at the USSC, the states that opt out will probably be the ones that could best benefit from the public option.

Just who is going to opt out of Opt Out?

I like maps like these, because they demonstrate the great diversity to be found within the United States of America, and how important regionalism is in the country. I posted it along with some commentary a couple weeks back on my other blog, but it originally comes from FlowingData.com. (Should you not like pictures, you can see the figures in table form over at Business Week.) The disparity should not be too surprising; the United States has a federal system of government, and while the Founding Fathers may not have intended for Hawaiians to live an average of eight years longer than… [read more]

As I tell y’all over at the USSC, the states that opt out will probably be the ones that could best benefit from the public option.


All Mad Men are created equal: Glenn Beck’s common sense

I’ll say this for cable news programs: they really know how to up the ante. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart pricked the absurdity of the relentless and frequently meaningless 24 hour news cycle, but he couldn’t match Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly. Then Stewart launched protégé Stephen Colbert and his wicked parody of the rabble-rousing, self-satisfied conservative anchorman, and the game seemed over. How could you top a man who accused reality of having a well-known liberal bias?

Why, with Glenn Beck, of course! A year ago, Beck was… [read more]

Didn’t get around to linking to this one… Me at the USSC blog on Glenn Beck, “Mad Men” and American nostalgia.


Electoral Maths vs Electoral Math

So the big victory of the hard right in the U.S. summer was not to lift confidence in their own party, but to drag Obama down a bit. You know, “A wise man told me don’t argue with fools/Cause people from a distance can’t tell who’s who.”
(chart via Yglesias)

So the big victory of the hard right in the U.S. summer was not to lift confidence in their own party, but to drag Obama down a bit. You know, “A wise man told me don’t argue with fools/Cause people from a distance can’t tell who’s who.”

(chart via Yglesias)


Democrats take health care one vote at a time

It wasn’t quite Grand Final day for health care reform today, but the excited atmosphere surrounding the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote was something close. Call it a semi-final, perhaps; one that ended with a 220-215 final score in favour of passing H.R. 3962: Affordable Health Care for America Act. 219 Democrats voted for the bill, and one Republican: Joseph Cao, a Louisianan representing a heavily Democratic district, who won election against an opponent who was under indictment on corruption charges at the time.
That makes it sound easy, but anyone who has heard the adage that watching the creation of legislation is like seeing a sausage get made can guess that something as contentious as health care reform was no cakewalk. As with a big game, it all kicked off when House Democrats were given a pep talk from Coach Barack Obama, who told his team, “When I’m in the Rose Garden signing a piece of legislation to give health care to all Americans, we’ll look back and say that was our finest moment.” I like to imagine his speech was followed up with one from Offensive Coordinator Rahm Emanuel, warning, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” (Or perhaps, “If you lose, you’re out of the family”).

I’ve had a great time watching the health care action on C-Span’s online feed (yes, really). You can read my wrap-up over at the USSC blog.

Democrats take health care one vote at a time

It wasn’t quite Grand Final day for health care reform today, but the excited atmosphere surrounding the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote was something close. Call it a semi-final, perhaps; one that ended with a 220-215 final score in favour of passing H.R. 3962: Affordable Health Care for America Act. 219 Democrats voted for the bill, and one Republican: Joseph Cao, a Louisianan representing a heavily Democratic district, who won election against an opponent who was under indictment on corruption charges at the time.

That makes it sound easy, but anyone who has heard the adage that watching the creation of legislation is like seeing a sausage get made can guess that something as contentious as health care reform was no cakewalk. As with a big game, it all kicked off when House Democrats were given a pep talk from Coach Barack Obama, who told his team, “When I’m in the Rose Garden signing a piece of legislation to give health care to all Americans, we’ll look back and say that was our finest moment.” I like to imagine his speech was followed up with one from Offensive Coordinator Rahm Emanuel, warning, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” (Or perhaps, “If you lose, you’re out of the family”).

I’ve had a great time watching the health care action on C-Span’s online feed (yes, really). You can read my wrap-up over at the USSC blog.



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