Tuesday, July 27, 2010

100 Things I Love About America

A little while back, MY WIFE and I were reading a magazine that touted, on the cover, an article concerning 100 things the editors loved about America. As a fun exercise, we decided to compile our own lists of things we loved about America. We thought we would then compare our lists to the one in the magazine, seeing how many of ours matched theirs. I wrote out my list, train-of-thought-style, and so did MY WIFE.

It turned out the list in the magazine was far more specific than we had thought. It named particular places and things – Joe’s Diner in Weehawken, perhaps, or some weirdly built house in a cornfield in Omaha - whereas our lists were much more generic. It was an interesting article, but our writing of lists had turned out to be an hour wasted. We felt somewhat cheated.

But, wait! I saved my list, thinking of perhaps using it as a text for a blog post, and here it is!

(For those wondering, MY WIFE’s list is no longer extant. That's unfortunate, but perhaps, if enough of you clamored for it, she'd be willing to write it again.)

The following is only a list. I’m not going to elaborate on any of the individual entries. If I did so, we’d be here until next year. You might read through it, agreeing or disagreeing with my choices. You might consider compiling a list of your own (and then letting me know about it, thanks, as I’d love to read it.)

(If you live someplace other than America, I’d probably like to see a list about your own country even more. I find patriotism and a love of one’s country tremendously appealing, so long as it isn’t at the expense of someone else’s lovely country. And, having said that, I hope my list isn’t overly jingoistic. It has to approach that territory, to be sure, but the intent isn’t one of forcing you to acknowledge that I live in the best place on earth – even though I do.)

If you think some of these things aren’t specific enough to my country, you’re right. Many of these things can be found in other places. However, they are here and I enjoy them. Also, a fair number of them were INVENTED here, and that’s why I included them.

(A short while back, I had an acrimonious disagreement with a blogger residing in Asia. I felt that one of her entries unfairly denigrated The United States. I replied, in her comments section, with a defense of what she ridiculed. I won’t go into detail – nor will I give you her name, as I refuse to send anyone to her place – but it ended with me telling her that I found her attitude towards my homeland entirely unacceptable, insulting, and ignorant.

I rarely fight. I like to think I can get along with almost anyone, and I’ll usually just ignore something I don’t like, moving on to another site, but she really raised my hackles. This list isn’t what I said to her, but it became more special to me after that exchange of unpleasantries.)

So, enough preamble. Here’s my list of 100 Things I Love About America. My things won’t be your things, but that’s just fine. One of the great things about America, which I didn’t include on the list because I felt it was self-evident, is that we don’t have to walk in lockstep.


If you get sick of me, you can click onto any of the links and probably find something entertaining, educational, or both.

1 – Baseball
2 – Sitcoms
3 – Plentiful Food
4 – Varying Climates
5 – Air Conditioning
6 – Rock ‘n Roll
7 – Jazz
8 – Musicals
9 – Comedy Teams
10 – Sneakers
11 – Basketball
12 – Football
13 – Generosity
14 – Heroes
15 – Electric Toothbrushes
16 – Watermelon
17 – Norman Rockwell

18 – Public Parks
19 – Subways
20 – Trolleys

[courtesy Track Twenty-Nine]

21 – Beaches
22 - Ice Cream
23 – Cheeseburgers
24 – Paved Roads
25 – Shoeshines
26 – Money That Doesn’t Have This Year’s King Or Queen On It
27 – The Internet
28 – Bass Guitars
29 – La-Z-Boys
30 – Good Coffee
31 – Porches
32 – Decks
33 – Grills
34 – Cold Beer
35 – Tube Socks
36 – T-Shirts
37 – Jeans
38 – TV
39 – Radio
40 – Fried Chicken
41 – Electric Lights
42 – Popcorn
43 – Ice Water
44 – Public Libraries
45 – Mailmen
46 – Gambling
47 – Air Fresheners
48 – Mark Twain
49 – Q-Tips
50 – Breathe Rights
51 – Just Enough History
52 – Voting
53 – Funny Pages
54 – Pornography

(No, you don't get a link. If you can't find any yourself, you're just lazy.)

55 – Peanut Butter
56 – Thanksgiving
57 – Capitalism
58 – Rubber Duckies

59 – Cheap Stuff
60 – 50 States, So If You Don’t Like Where You Are, You Can Move To Another One And Still Be Here
61 – Inventiveness & Ingenuity
62 – The Right To Bear Arms
63 – Plain Food, Served Flat

(That is to say, not THIS...

(courtesy And Then We Eat)

But, yes, THIS...

(found at From L.A. To LA)

64 – Holidays That Celebrate Ideals
65 – The Freedom To Be Weird
66 – The Freedom To Call Someone A Weirdo If They’re Weird
67 – Americanized Chinese Food
68 – Big Honkin’ Trucks
69 – Nostalgia
70 – Amazing Medical Breakthroughs
71 – Netflix
72 – Professional Wrestling
73 – Roller Derby

74 – Cartoons
75 – Stand-Up Comedians
76 – Long Hot Showers
77 – Wikipedia
78 – A Distinct Lack Of Man-Eating Tigers
79 – You Don’t Have To Bow Down To Some Asshole Who Inherited A Throne
80 – Not Too Many Volcanoes
81 – No State Religion
82 – Photo Booths
83 – Pie
84 – Wonderfully Silly Self-Importance
85 – The Ability To Laugh At Ourselves
86 – Amazing Diversity Of Cultures
87 – Frozen Foods
88 – Second Chances
89 – The Ability To Quit A Rotten Job
90 – ONE Great Idea Can Make You A Rich Person
91 - Drive-In Restaurants
92 – Motels
93 – The Johnson & Smith Co.
94 – If You Don’t Like It, You Can Leave
95 – If You Don’t Like Where You Are, You Can Come To It

96 – If We Don’t Like YOU, We Can Tell You To Go Away
97 – If You Don’t Like US, Tough Shit
98 – No Matter How Silly Your Idea, You Can Always Find At Least One Person Willing To Seriously Discuss It
99 – I Met MY WIFE Here


100 – If You Can’t Think Of 100 Things, It’s OK. As A Matter Of Fact, If You Make A List Entitled "100 Things I Hate About America", You Won't Get Thrown Into Jail. That, In And Of Itself, Is Worth The Other 99 Things.

Soon, with more better stuff.


The Good Cook said...

That is a beautiful list and I don't think a waste of an hour at all. I may make my own list and ask TBHITW and kids to do the same.

Brian Miller said...

ha. great list...shoeshines and roller derby...we need more of those...

Anonymous said...

woooooooooooooooo to be the man you got to beat the man wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo44

Jazz said...

Can it be done for Canada too?

lime said...

what a great list. it spans the silly, the serious, and the sublime.

love the shoutout to public libraries. i realized how much i'd taken them for granted when i moved to trinidad and couldn't find one. and i couldn't agree more with your last item. :)

however, i may run a list related to trinidad.;)

Craig said...

A great list. I was going down it nodding and chuckling, all the way.

And hey, I met MY wife here, too!

And. . . what the HELL is that first 'food item', anyway?

Suldog said...

Jazz - Positively! I wasn't sure if my paragraph about doing your own list made it clear enough that I meant about your own country. I guess not, so I'll edit a bit. But, most definitely, please do one about Canada! I love Canada, too!

Sueann said...

Your list is great! Air Fresheners definitely!! Long hot showers...yessiree!! Freedom to be weird and big honkin' trucks for sure! LOL!!
And of course, Thanksgiving!!

Christina RN LMT said...

Most of the items on your list would find themselves on my list as well. Except for all the sports! :P

Pam said...

Great list! Anything with baseball, beaches and rock and roll works!

Hilary said...

A fine list my south-of-the-border friend. I may just keep this idea in mind as fodder for a future Canuck-style list.

Daryl said...

Wow .. that's my list except for the sports .. in place of those I would add shopping in stores, shopping online, shopping in general or staff sargent

fuzzbert_1999@yahoo.com said...

You mind is a never ending dream of ideas!

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

I find no fault with you list. I'm sure I have personal favorites that would supersede items on your list. But just being able to have a list is a really good reason.

That and Photoshop...

Unknown said...

that's a great list! You forgot chocolate!

Chris said...

Great post, and I think my favorite was "Just enough history." I know PRECISELY what you mean by that, and I couldn't agree more.

BTW, Theresa and I just bought a house with a back deck with a great view, and it's like heaven. Before we had one, I had no idea how great they were but now it's our favorite hang out.

Anonymous said...

This is a great list. Your hour was not wasted. Love your "we don't have to walk in lockstep" statement.
Saw you on Boston.com again. :)

Saz said...

what a fab theme and list..though many were generic in terms of they could apply over here in the uk too....

but then l always have lived vicariously with one foot in the usa...love it so much...

saz x

Buck said...

The Flag. It's simply beautiful, recognized anywhere and everywhere, and the symbolism in it's design is profound.

Great list!

Buck said...

Forgot! YOUR WIFE's list. Please.

Unknown said...

This entire section of the list, in order and only with the exception of #39:
33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41
Makes seeing #12 live all that much more exciting! Of course you'd have to get there in #68. (Is that a regional term I wonder? Honkin is one of my very favorite words to use.) Great list.

Suldog said...

Jenn - I have a specific fondness for "honkin'" as a word, too, and I think I may have included the trucks just so I could use it :-)

YOUR WIFE's brother said...

Public Parks...Subways...Paved Roads...Public Libraries...The Internet...

As a big "L" Libertatrian,you gotta be thrilled to see your tax dollars put to such good use. ;-)

YOUR WIFE's brother said...

...despite my embarassing misspelling of "Libertarian", can I get a shout out for free public education?

Suldog said...

MY WIFE's brother - I'm a Libertarian, not an anarchist. I do think government does a fine job in a few select areas, and I'm happy to see my tax dollars used for those things as opposed to, say, a foolhardy attempt to eradicate drug usage. Insofar as public education is concerned, I think private schools do it better. That's not to say I think public schools should be abolished, as they are worthwhile, but in most instances private schools provide a better product. And I bet YOUR SISTER would agree on that one point :-)

Expat mum said...

Great list and the first one is right where it should be. I'm a complete convert.
#95 is a tad inaccurate. It's clear you haven't had to jump through the beaurocratic hoops to come here in a while. ;-)

Suldog said...

Expat mum - True. There is a certain amount of hideous red tape involved in #95 (also, #94, I would assume) but it is possible to a greater extent than many other countries.

i beati said...

speaking of sitcoms I am in love wioth The Middle, Modern Family, hot in cleveland and cougar town !!!riotously funny do you agree?Wednesday nioght??

Karen said...

Fun and interesting list! Yay for Rubber Duckies!

Ericka said...

very cool list. i need happy posts right now. maybe i'll do a list too.

and i wanna see YOUR WIFE's list!

Shammickite said...

I'd be very interested in your list of things that you DON'T like about America.

Unknown said...

I travel out of the country at least two times a year. The good old USA may not be perfect but it sure beats what I have see in other countries! I am new to your blog. I just signed up to follow you and I will check back often.

Urbie said...


Jeni said...

As always, your thoughts, which really do run the gamut, of 100 things you love about this country often mirrored my likes about living here too. I've come to the conclusion that you and I have much more alike than we have different -other than sex and basketball maybe. (When I say "sex" I mean that you are male, I am female -not anything at all to do with having sex. Just figured I'd clarify that a bit.)
Someday I'll have to try to do my own list of things I like but right now, my brain's not quite up to handling a challenge like that.)

Janet said...

It took me 30 minutes to read this because after I went to the link of "Wonderfully Silly Self-Importance" and laughed myself silly, I had to then go to all the other links. And I actually read the whole article about tunneling through the moon, which I probably shouldn't admit here, but you know me well enough by now that you would have guessed it anyhow. "It's About Time" was what we put on our wedding program (after we dated for seven years, that was the recurring refrain when we announced we were getting married). And I never truly appreciated paved roads until I moved to the land of "paving when we bloody well feel like it." I'll have to think on doing a list like that. I already posted once this month, people might not be able to handle it if I did two.

Anonymous said...

That is a great list, and thanks to your great country we can enjoy many of the things on that list over here. No one does sit-coms like you, and if I listed them it would go on and on.

Just a word though on our Royalty...you won't lose your head if you don't bow...it's just a courtesy...I certainly wouldn't curtsey...would'nt be able to rise up again. And with the general state of the politicians on offer,I think we are better off. They attract tourism, know how to behave, and give us lots to snigger at over the morning newspapers.

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

I imagine a list of 100 things to hate can be created but who'd want to be around anyone so negative.
The only place where hate really fits is in the expression I hate it when that happens.

Jackie said...

I can always count on coming here and getting smile after smile, and I also know that deep within the blogger is a heart of gold. I'll pretend I didn't read your comment about public education...ahhhemmm. I devoted over 35 years as a teacher in the public school system. I was a honkin' good teacher...and had the best students and parents. OK...I'll step down off my soapbox now....don't want to be included in the company of the unpleasant Asian blogger that raised your hackles.. :)))
You always give me pause to smile...and think. Those are very good things.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Jim, I don't see many people taking up your challenge to produce their lists, but I have. It's at Pebbles if you are interested in seeing what I love about England.

Suldog said...

Urbie - Indeed. Candlepins should have made the list. Many things should have, actually, but I did it train-of-thought, as I said. If I had edited it...

Carolina said...

Luvly list. I'd like to see your wife's list. And I'm considering making a list of my own :-)

There was a piece in our newspaper today about red haired people and that they will be extinct some day. Translating it into English gave me a headache, so I gave up. In stead I checked Wikipedia and there was a photograph of you!
Check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair

Suldog said...


It wasn't a dig at your royalty, specifically. Just in general. If I had anyone specific in mind, really, it was the King of Thailand from when I visited there during the 1980's (I don't know his name, and he may still be King.) His damn picture was on everything, and word was that you had best not say anything derogatory about him unless you felt like seeing what the inside of a Thai prison was like. Well, I was a visitor, so I was more than happy to be nice, but just hearing something like that, and seeing his mug plastered everywhere, made me WANT to see what would happen if I called him something less-than-nice.

Suldog said...

Teacher's Pet - Any comments I make concerning public education should not be taken as an indictment of teachers within the system as a whole. I had some wonderful and caring teachers during my years in the Boston public schools, and I know many fine teachers who ply their trade in public schools.

It's just that, on the whole, I believe private educational systems are better able to nurture individuality, and also have a step up on moving a student to higher levels more quickly. And that's not to say that they always do those things better than public schools. I just believe the potential is better realized.

Suldog said...

Brighton Pensioner - I will definitely be by to see it. I would love to see lists from everyone!

Suldog said...

Carolina - I think you're joking, but just in case...

OK, I've visited that page. It is NOT me, but it is close!

Carolina said...

I knew it isn't you, but it sure looks like you.
And I forgot to mention that I love that Norman Rockwell painting ;-)

Shammickite said...

I'm still waiting for the list of things you DON'T like about America.
Or maybe you like EVERYTHING about America?

Suldog said...

Shammickite - I replied to you, via e-mail, but I'll put it out here, just in case anyone else is interested.

I did consider doing that as a follow up, but I'm a lazy blogger these days. I may in future. Believe me, there are many things about America with which I am not in love. However, my likes far outweigh my dislikes.


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I'm working on my list... honest. It's just that there are so many things and I keep forgetting it's not the 100 things I love best.
It's really amazing how many we take for granted.

Michelle H. said...

A wonderful list. If I come up with something, I'll share.

George said...

That's a pretty cohesive list, Jim. I would have to say that if I were to write mine up it would be very similar to yours in some aspects.

Rebecca said...

I LOVE it. :) See, here's the thing; I rarely get to blogsurf but when I do, your my first stop - and never disappoint. :)

Totally fun list; and I'm going to start working on mine for tomorrow. :) Hope you don't mind, but I'll link my post to yours.

So fun. You are, the man. :)

Rebecca said...

btw - #94 -97, my very faves. ROFLMAO. They are so how I feel. Might seem them on mine, but maybe worded differently. You know, creative license and all... :)

Eric said...

Great list, my man. While it is general, it gives the overall idea of just who wonderful our country is. Nice post!

Oh, and negative points for not providing a porn link. That's just criminal.

Ruth and Glen said...

What a great list ! Especially liked #68 . . . Big honkin' trucks! :o)