2015 USA Trip Review   8 comments

Confederate flags September 2015


I mentioned, earlier, that we spotted far fewer bumper stickers than in years past but more Confederate flags on this trip. Forget the irony that in this part of Tennessee most of the locals were open supporters of the Union; this is eclipsed by the further irony of putting a flag of treason at the same height as the flag against which it represents rebellion. There are firm instructions about the display of the flag in this country foremost of which is that the National banner shall never fly at equal height to lesser ones (which is to say — even if you don’t believe it — all others). So, here’s my little photo tour of nearly 2 weeks in the belly of the Great Satan.

US culture shock Jesus is Lord Gun Shop


Jackie spotted this on our way to Bristol Rhythm and Roots and I remembered to snap the shot as we drove past. After this, we were appending “Jesus is Lord at” to every billboard we could find. Like “Jesus is Lord at 24 Hour Adult Superstore” and “Jesus is Lord at Booties Exotic Dancers.”

US culture shock Jesus is Lord Gun Shop detail

Sausage is an urgent agenda item upon arrival from the UK. It may be full of fat but it is devoid of rusk and other filler in the British (I hesitate to call it) “equivalent.” The manufacturers are not afraid of flavour and actually use spices to prove that point.

Tennessee Pride Sausage tube

At a filling station in Bristol, Virginia (as seen from Bristol, Tennessee), Freedom Mugs are your ticket to cheap coffee refills. The place also carries discount tobacco.

US culture shock Freedom Mug
My brother-in-law drew the short lot on this trip to my mother-in-law’s place in Tennessee, so he stayed in the late step-dad’s room.

Their stepdad was a great guy. Not the brightest spark, nor even an ember for that matter he was an earnest sweetheart that seemed more big child than anything else. I used to think he was a long lost missing Stooge, perhaps escaped from the same compound where Moe, Larry and Curly were developed. We were visiting Jackie’s mom and her brother drew the short straw and had to stay in what we have come to know as the Indian Porn Room.

Indian Porn Room collection

You see, he was also a member of the Cherokee Nation and would travel out to the Oklahoma reservation every year or so and would come back re-Native-ized, just a wee bit (never very much so, though, nor long-lastingly). He started collecting these Indian themed plates and was very proud of them and the only thing that kept us all from laughing in public about it is that it might have gotten back to him and if he realised we were right about the erotic content he would die, mortified, where he stood.

What you you expect to read in this book?

What would you expect to read in this book?

As a funny related sidenote, Jackie’s mom got into cowboy literature a few years after the stepdad passed and was just loading up on books from thrift stores. She bought one with a photo of a couple of muscular lads wearing nothing but chaps on the cover with a title something like “The Ramrod” or “Tales of Leather Trails.” During the phone conversation about this, Jackie managed not to laugh almost all the way through:

J: “Whatcha reading these days, Momma?”
Momma: “I’ve been reading that there cowboy fiction.”

J: “Mmm-hmm. Like what? Tex Ritter and that?”
M: [after listing a few things] “Things like that. But, I had to throw one right in the garbage.”

J: “Why did you do that? Momma, you should have taken it back to the Thrift Store and let them re-sell it.”
M: “No, I WOULD NOT. That was the vilest bunch of filth I think I’ve ever read in my life.”

J: “What was wrong with it?”
And, then she described the book and gave its title.

J: “What did you THINK the book was going to be about, Momma?”
M: “I don’t know. Men working hard, camaraderie.”

J: “Well…it sounds like that’s what you got.”
M: “I’ve never been so disgusted in all my life.”

J: “Momma, let me call you back in a minute.” I’d been listening to Jackie’s half of the conversation and watching her contortions whilst trying not to laugh. When she stopped laughing and told me the other half of the conversation it took us 5 minutes to regain composure before she called her mom back, who (as is her fashion) skipped the pleasantries and started right back in:

J: “Hi, Momma, it’s me. I just had to…”
M: “…and, do you know, the people at the Thrift Store just laughed when I told them about it. It’s a Christian charity and they’re selling books about homersensuals.”[sic] “Lord, save my time. I don’t know what’s happening to this world…” My punctuation is here for your edification. When she gets started, there is only one long sentence and I even have doubts that there are even spaces between the words (this one ran for another minute-and-a-half with Jackie laughing all the way through it this time).

Dunlap Veterans' Memorial

The military is everywhere, especially in the South. Don’t get me wrong, it makes it good to be a veteran; but, EVERYBODY is a veteran around here. Put away the hardware and give it a fucking rest: there isn’t a military compound within a hundred miles (save for the National Guard center I ran past a few times).

And, then some shit is just weird for no good reason:

Kat's Car Wash Dunlap


The carbon footprint of mum-in-law’s house is about the same as that of Paraguay. She recycles the newspaper, at least, but no bottles or cans…straight to the landfill.

Recycling American-style

These signs turned up every 100 yards or so. Perverts…”we have a heart on for our children,” indeed.

heart on for children


And, on a visit to a friend of Jackie’s from High School (whose spectacular house is close to the massive Sequoyah Nuclear Energy plant) these signs:

Sequoyah Evac


An old friend (of both of us) has a catering business that got third place in the readers’ choice awards of the local paper:

Gin-Gin takes 3rd


I don’t know what the hell this is all about (West Valley Road, Dunlap, Tennessee):

Across from Sammie's

But, the birdwatching was good.  Hummers everywhere!

Dunlap hummingbird 1

It seems to be traditional to bring back treats for co-workers when you travel.  Moon Pies are a Chattanooga product (there’s also a DuPont chemical factory there, by the way and probably not coincidentally), so that’s what they got at our respective jobs.  Here’s the email I sent explaining the deliciousness that awaited them:

I have spent much (too much) of the last 2 weeks in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee where Moon Pies are made https://moonpie.com/.

I ate an inordinate number of these as a youth.  Today, I wouldn’t touch them but they will probably go over well with you lot.  Supplies are very limited but they are large and toxic, so share with your neighbours.  They’ll turn up shortly in the normal scavenger location…<ahem> ‘enjoy.’

Moon Pies for coworkers

No, indeed, we are adults and picked up adult treats for ourselves on the way to the airport…these are about 2/3 the price in America than they are in England:

Turkey and Tequila

Then, at the Atlanta airport, a final mocking insult came from the beer cooler at the bar (the barrel was supposed to be “Sweetwater,” but this is what I saw):

Twat beer in Atlanta Airport


Posted October 1, 2015 by Drunken Bunny in Drunken Bunny, Obits, Tourism

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8 responses to “2015 USA Trip Review

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  3. One co-worker replied to my Moon Pies note with: “These look like Tunnock’s Tea Cakes without the jam…..” later saying that it’s just one more thing the American’s stole from the British.

    More detailed comment came from a ‘milliem’ who, unusually for this forum, seems to be an actual reader of the blog (sad, I know):
    milliem comment 2015-10-04

    Always up for a Father Ted clip, here’s the one referred to http://www.channel4.com/programmes/father-ted/videos/all/father-ted-pulp-fiction

    And, for no good reason, one on cherries being prepped:


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