Saturday, July 4, 2009

I miss the USA

On Wednesday, July 1, (Canada Day up here), the New York Times ran a fun Op-Ed piece written by various Canadians who now live in the US on what they miss most about home. Actor/comedian Rick Moranis leads the essay with a little history, followed by musings on loonies, toques, and "demure" Canadians. Others talk about cold, snowy winters, Franophones, Second Cup, hockey, "colour," free health care, Coffee Crisp, and other northern specialties. I actually can't believe that no one mentioned Tim Hortons, although that franchise has migrated to border states.

That article got me thinking about what I miss most about the good old US of A. Here is a quick list of things that I miss about my homeland.
  • Target - no Target in the Great White North. I shop there every time I am back in the states. Canadian Tire just does not cut it.
  • Getting a big Sunday paper. For some reason, the large edition "Sunday" paper is delivered on Saturdays. It drives me crazy.
  • Imperial Units- Fahrenheit, Miles per Hour, Dollars per Gallon. I weigh 130 pounds, not 59 kilograms.
  • Gallon jugs of milk. Its either bags of milk, or litre cartons.
  • Good Pizza. In the New York Times article, musician A.C. Newman complains that there is no good pizza in Canada. He is correct.
  • ESPN - Yeah, they have sports networks here like TSN (same parent company as ESPN), but every edition of Sportscentre (French spelling), regardless of the time of year, leads off with a hockey story. I miss having more than one sport to be fanatical about.
  • College Sports - University athletics in Canada is an afterthought. All of the really good athletes either play hockey, or get sports scholarships to US schools. I miss watching US college football and basketball. Sure, my cable system gets the US networks, but there is only so much of the Nortre Dame Broadcasting Company that one can watch.
  • Timely Cable - Due to some broadcast agreements that I don't understand, Canada gets many cable shows months after they air in the US. For example, I get episodes of South Park two months after their US broadcast.
  • Buying booze at grocery stores or gas stations. In Ontario you can only buy liquor, wine, and beer at government run stores such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) or The Beer Store ("Where the Beers Are"). Its a total pain in the ass. I know some states in the US have this policy too. I hope I never live in one.
Believe me, there are plenty of things that I love about Canada, and I will get to those things some other time. Today I just want to wish everyone a happy, safe, Independence Day. Most of my family is either vacationing in Tennessee, or bar-b-queing in Wisconsin, and I miss them very much. Please have a Miller Lite and a Johnsonville Brat for me!

Here are some tunes that describe the hope, fear, love, pride, frustration, and joy about the country that is America.

Ray Charles
- America the Beautiful.mp3
Buy: A Message from the People (1972, reissued 2009)
The definitive version. If you listen to the Celine Dion version today, you lose your citizenship.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - American Girl.mp3
Buy: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976, reissued 2002)
My anthem.

Vigilantes of Love
- America.mp3
From: V.O.L. (1996, out of print)
Questioning the country is a very important part of being a citizen of it.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - This Land is Your Land.mp3
Buy: Live: 1975-85 (1986, reissued 1997)
The Boss's version of the Woody Guthrie classic speaks for itself.

Jimi Hendrix - Star Spangled Banner.mp3
Buy: Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix (1998, reissued 2007)
I know everyone is posting this track today, but too bad. It rules!

NPR is streaming a Mix for America that includes a mix of genres like rock, jazz, punk and symphonic music, nearly as diverse as America itself. No Depression has a nice list of songs about America.


Ramone666 said...

There´s no good pizza in the States either. Like, Italy, dude.

rhiTHEred said...

watch your mouth!

Ramone666 said...

What I meant.

sager said...

Good stuff ... speaking as a Canadian who edits a blog on university athletics (which are an afterthrough), most of your points a pretty spot-on.

They should sell beer at corner stores, gas stations and such in Ontario. That is permitted in other provinces, including Quebec and Manitoba.

Ontario has always been kind of conservative in that regard. They used to have separate entrances for men and women in bars. Even well into the '90s, last call was 1 a.m.

I'll second what you're saying about cable shows. It's nothing but protectionism. It's ridiculous that I can't watch a clip from Colbert that comes up on my Google reader because it's "available on the Comedy Network in Canada."

Nazz Nomad said...

William Shatner and Geddy Lee are both Canadian.

Canada wins.

Brian Vinson said...

Wow. Vigilantes of Love. 'nuff said. Great band.