It’s what’s for dinner

We’re heavily invested in trying out every typically American cut of beef since we came here. Listing them makes my mouth water:
– Flank Steak
– Hanger Steak
– Tri Tip
– Brisket
Oh, my. Yes! If you’re confused, follow my lead and order the Beef Made Easy chart from the Beef Store!

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Make that a double breakfast burrito with extra salsa

Everything that’s wrong with this country in one Etsy item: LE BIBB Commuter Bib. It even has “a handy lapel pocket for your cell phone” – thank god, because driving while eating is not enough!

Cornbread!

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Choo chooooo!

Their rail system may not live up to European standards, but boy, Americans really are obsessed with trains. You know what causes this love? It’s not an extensive network, it’s not high speed, it’s not accurate timing, it’s not working A/Cs, it’s: Horns, or, to use the technical term, choo choooo! Listen to this Amtrak train passing trough Oakland on its way to or from Berkeley. We can hear them every day where we live. In fact, I can hear one right now!

There’s a whole genre of American music that consists of train imitation. Start out with this very simple, very skilfull example from 1926 –  if you’re DeFord Bailey, you don’t need more than a harp:

Choo-choo and rhythm can be done in many different ways, here’s some of my favorites:

Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues is missing the Choo-choo, but it has great rhythm and gangsta lyrics to make up for that (“I shot a man in Reno / Just to watch him die”). Can you imagine this train stopping because there’s some ice or snow on the tracks? I don’t think so! Johnny Cash really Had a Thing About Trains, liked Riding The Rail, wanted you to Come Along And Ride This Train,  whether it’s the Bible Train or the Orange Blossom Special (that one is a typical imitation including choo and rhythm) – and finished it up with the very sad Let The Train Blow Her Whistle.

I also like the Mystery Train:

Bob Dylan’s wonderful version of the Freight Train Blues:

And the Chattanooga Choo Choo:

Wikipedia offers this extensive (but not complete) list of train songs. It’s missing the only German train song that I can think of (maybe for the better)…the other one is of course a cover version of the aforementioned Chattanooga. The lack of train music is probably due to the fact that German trains don’t choo-chooo. Maybe the Deutsche Bahn should invest in some decent horns?

Busy with Americana

Dogs in Chinatown, for example. Also:

Cal cheerleaders and…

…some more cheerleaders  in the U.S. Congress.

I sure as fuck do roll on Shabbos, though not very skillfully! Our next stop is one of the most remote parts of the US:

Rumors have it they don’t even have a Starbucks there…but, alas, two lawyers and Paris Hilton.

Head of The State

In honor of my upcoming visit to Warshingten (that’s how they pronounce it on NPR!), here’s a West Coast original:

hard in the paint: To approach a problem, obstacle, or challenge with supreme confidence of success through a commitment to use all facilities available to one’s self to achieve a goal. The term has etymological roots in the basketball parlance that describes an attempt to score in the crowded and highly contested area directly under and immediately adjacent to the raised hoop on a basketball court, or “painted” area. Shot attempts in this area are traditionally only successful when made with a strong conviction to score, skill, overpowering strength, or a combination thereof (i.d. “going hard”). (Urban Dictionary)

Cue the East Coast copy:

Both definitely NSFW and possibly offensive. Context. More context.

Ask and tell

Sfgate reports that “The military is accepting openly gay recruits for the first time in the nation’s history.” The perfect excuse for posting this cute picture of innocent male bonding I took during Fleet Week. Speaking of which – how does the military prove that someone is gay? The “Explainer” explains that:
“Technically, the military doesn’t fire people for being gay—it fires them for engaging in “homosexual conduct.” This comprises: touching a member of the same sex for sexual gratification (including handholding or hugging), marrying someone of the same sex, or announcing that you’re gay.” (Slate.com)
Holding hands for sexual gratification! – this country is full of depraved sex practices we Europeans would never dream of. Anyway, the military’s gaydar was apparently re-calibrated at some point during the last three decades. How else would you explain the Navy’s official friendly cooperation in the production of this video in 1978: