A Very Merry Un-Birthday

July 3, 2007

CNN Headline News blasts on several plasma TVs overhead. The newscasters yammer on and on about car bombs and the war on terror. I am in Houston’s International airport, waiting for my connecting flight back to LAX. 

Tomorrow our nation will celebrate its 231st birthday, and I couldn’t be less proud of my country. This year there will be no birthday cake, no presents, no fireworks, no nothing!

I left Prague this morning (Berlin five days ago), and I long to start this day again, to miss my flight, and to delay coming back to my native country. Unfortunately, as I wait for my boarding call, I am forced to begin the process of re-entry. I just didn’t think it would be this hard.

A few days ago I thought being around Americans would be comforting, but it’s not. The Americans I see are loud, unsophisticated, overweight, and obnoxious. I see only their shameless ignorance, their blatant disregard for foreign relationships, and their hollow pride. 

Take, for example, the two red headed sisters I sat next to on my flight from Paris to Houston. These two American girls wanted nothing to do with me, even after I managed to squeak out the obligatory “Hi … I’m sitting next to you” smile before take off. No smile back, no warm welcome, nothing. 

I thought maybe it was me, until I realized they were happy to display their snotty, bratty attitudes throughout the entire 9 hour flight to everyone on the plane. They ignored the stewardesses as they asked about food and drinks, thumbed their IPODS as their parents tried to speak to them, and flipped through magazines as people stepped over them to get to the open aisle. These girls represent everything wrong with American culture, I thought.

So when our plane landed in Houston, and after I unpacked my bags from the overhead compartment, I was happy to turn my back and rip one stinky fart in their faces as I marched up the aisle toward the exit.

Still not even my revenge on those two brats can take away from my anxiety about re-entering “my country tis of thee.” But there’s nothing like the smell of sulphur and apple pie to bring one back to reality, so here’s to you, America!

Happy 4th of July!


43 thoughts on “A Very Merry Un-Birthday

  1. Hi Ryan,

    I’m here from Ross’s website and I’m so happy to start reading your blog. I love being in on the ground floor of a new, well-written site that promises great stories. I can’t wait to hear more about your travels, etc. I look forward to your writing!


  2. This is so true of America today. I work in Theater as a stage manager and also during the day in a box office and lots of our subscribers are just not in touch with what is going on in American today. The other day a man called me to tell me that we were making his life hell because we sent him some mail about our up coming show. He said “can you just stop the madness”, and all I could think was that he was talking about he war, but that was not the case. It makes me so sad because growing up in an Italian family the 4th of July was such a big day. It was a day to celebrate the great country that my great-grandfather had immigrated to. Now so many Americans are so blind by what they call patriotism that they have no idea what is going on in the world. Other that the cookie cutter news they get on one of the big network news.


  3. Hi Ryan!

    Just found your blog thanks to Ross, and wanted to comment to let you know I enjoyed reading A Very Merry Un-Birthday.

    Proud flag-waving, NASCAR watching, country music listening gal here, but I feel the same way about the state of this country! America has been so dumbed-down that people can’t even think for themselves any longer – they have to be spoon-fed everything. Critical thinking is becoming obsolete.

    Anyway, here’s hoping that people WAKE UP and “get it”. In the meantime, LOVED the fart! How appropriate that you were able to “perform” on command, too!

    I’ll keep checking back for more blog entries. I’ve got a wandering soul yearning for diferent cultures/people, but I have other priorities that make me stay put here in Texas……..for now.


  4. hey ryan, gotta give ya props for that ending haha they totally deserved that, i hate those kind of people who have no disregard for anyone else. Im so excited that you have a blog now ( ive known about you from ross’s blogs) and will definatley keep reading 🙂 xx ann


  5. hey!
    I know this blog just started but I love it already.
    I’ve added it to my faves!
    Have fun travelling.

    ps. Even though I’m from Australia, I totally agree with this post.


  6. Very funny…and accurate. I work in the public school system. I should know 🙂

    There are some of us out there though that realize that there is much more out there than just our little corner of the world…and some of us teach this to our children.


  7. Hi Ryan!
    I also feel like I know you from seeing you on ROSS blog. Great to see you are sharing your travels.
    I REALLY enjoyed reading about your adventures with the Discovery Channel’s ‘Storm Chasers’. My Munchkin and I watch it all the time as he is fascinated with tornadoes.
    You are a very talented writer, I hope you keep sharing with all of us.
    Happy~safe travels!


  8. Well Hello Mr. Positive,

    You’ve got some work to do. I’ve read nothing on your blog except whining…I never
    really got you on Ross’ Blog and you’ve confirmed what I suspected all along. You’re an
    Arrogant, intolerant, uneducated jerk!

    Your comments about the Midwest are totally off and I take umbrage to the inference. The
    Midwest has a lot to offer. We ARE metropolitan cities full of culture, arts, fine
    food, state of the art medical facilities, not to mention huge international corporations.
    Your ignorance of such is abhorrible!

    I really would have been interested in your “Storm Chasing Stories”. You did not
    Write anything about that experience. Instead, you waste my time implying that we are a
    Bunch of “toothless” “smoking” losers.

    So far, I haven’t read anything about your “so called” travels. But I have found out
    about your intolerance of people you find offensive and your reaction to these
    individuals are even more foul!

    Obviously your are unhappy living in this USA. But to imply that the country as a whole is evil is wrong! We are not all the people you seem to find so interollerant!

    You probably won’t see me around again – but seriously think about what your putting out there – There are GOOD people in the world – even if we live in the USA…or worse yet – in the Midwest!

    Best of luck to your future writings!


  9. I’m here thanks to Ross and very glad he pointed us over to your site.

    I love reading of peoples travels and experiences. You write very well and I look forward to adding you on my website reading lists.

    This comment from “ok”, which I believe will be above mine, all the more proves your insight is correct. I’ll respect what you write and see it as your viewpoint, not a personal attack as “ok” seems to have taken it. I guess I’m fortunate that the genes handed to me included a rational and reasoning mind. I wish it was inherent in more people.

    Keep up the good work!


  10. The sweet smell of Ryan’s hiney….those lucky, lucky girls!!!!

    You can drop a bomb on me anyday handsome.

    Keep on truckin, handsome.


  11. It’s sad to say that Americans are becoming more and more unpleasant people. There are still many good people out there, but I’ve been coming across increasing numbers of the opposite.


  12. The Americans I see are loud, unsophisticated, overweight, and obnoxious. I see only their shameless ignorance, their blatant disregard for foreign relationships, and their hollow pride.

    I think “Americans” could be substituted for an array of citizens of different countries…with a few alterations of following adjectives. “Overweight” and “hollow” may have to be replaced.

    I thought maybe it was me, until I realized they were happy to display their snotty, bratty attitudes throughout the entire 9 hour flight to everyone on the plane….. These girls represent everything wrong with American culture, I thought.

    So it wasn’t you–it was those girls. They represent everything that is unappealing about the human species in general, and surely not just Americans.

    Ungrateful and insufferable dispositions knows no skin color.


  13. Ryan, I enjoyed reading your blog. I have seen you on the Ross Blog and look forward to reading more soon. Keep up the good work, different opinions are what makes the world a great place to be.


  14. hi ryan!!!

    enjoyed your new blog and want to thank ross for directing us to it. looking forward to reading about you and your adventures. very interesting….


  15. Ryan, hi!

    I am one of many who has seen you on Ross’s blog and I’ve always enjoyed your “segments”. You and Ross balance each other perfectly! I have only read this one, first post so far. I have to agree with you; there are lots of people here in the good ol’ US of A who should pick up a book once in awhile. My younger sister has traveled extensively around the world, and through her eyes, I’ve seen the disdain with which we are observed by people outside of the United States. It saddens me. This election is critical! I hope and pray that the Hillary and Barack can take a moment, step back, and begin to work TOGETHER for all of our sake. In any case, you’ve got another reader here ~ can’t wait to dig in and see what else you’ve got to say!



  16. Hi Ryan!

    I love the blog! I am so happy that you started one, I think it was a long time overdue! It’s great seeing how someone else views other places around the world, plus your my fave on Ross’s blog (no offense to the others)! I can’t wait to read it everyday like Ross’!

    Wish you the best!
    Sara for Georgia


  17. ~I have felt exactly the same way when I have traveled.
    I never ever want to be perceived as “The Ugly American”,
    and yet they always manage to be seated at the table next to me in Mexico (usually complaining that no one speaks English)
    behind me on the City bus in Portugal
    talking loudly about how Football is better than Futball(soccer)
    traveling in a group and your friend brings not one, but 2 “Ugly Americans” along at the last minute!


  18. I was hoping for the best when I read your blog….boy was I surprised! I think you are better off living in Prague and have a happy life! You were offensive to us American’s and I thought what you wrote downright rude! How dare you make us look like idiots and judge us like that! I have also traveled and never disrespected people like you have us! Then why did you come back? I will never go back to your sight and read your unrealistic view of the world. You are UNamerican in my eyes…!!! I wonder what the soldiers who are fighting for your freedom would look at you now? You are very young and foolish please think before you write!!!


  19. Ryan, I was excited to check out your blog because of Ross and always thought you were interesting on his talkys, but was left sad after reading your “un-birthday” entry. America, like all other countries has its problems, but I hate generalizing. Not all of us are loud, fat and obnoxious. It bothers me to think that a foreigner could possibly read your blog and think we are all uneducated slobs. I consider America to be a family, not all members are eagerly claimed of course, but to write with such disgust and intolerance, especially with your life style, is a shame. Every time I start to judge someone, I make a conscious effort to stop mid-thought and remind myself, they are not me and I don’t know their story. Because they aren’t doing something the way I would have it done, does not make them wrong. I feel sorry for you. Sounds like you’re in a rut and like Ross said, build yourself a ladder and get the eff out………….of the country. Sorry Ryan.


  20. Number 11 “OK” and Number 25 “Sue” are right on spot! The only arrogant fool is you, Ryan! I’ve always enjoyed you on the RossBlog, but if this is what you think about our county and those who inhabit it, well, adios, my friend! I will not be returning and you really need to THINK before you write. You’re youth and ignorance go before you…better slow down and take stock…you’re not going to get very far writing the way you did. I stopped after the first entry…no need to see if your writing improved. First impressions mean a lot…
    Talk about INTOLERANCE!!!!!!!!…Shameful!


  21. Ryan, I really liked you on the Ross Blog but after reading this, two words….not cool!!! To overgeneralize an entire population as you did is wrong. I’m beginning to think that Ross might have been a little disappointed in how you have started this blog. Hugs, Greg


  22. Keep it up. I like the blogs you are posting. They are raw and real. As a frequent traveler I can empathize with you.


  23. My, my. Having read the comments made by some of their distaste for your writings, I can only say that they have the liberty to create a blog to write their opposing views. This blog is the life and views from the house of Ryan. We are all entitled to our opinions but some of them show more than you realize. Not a pretty picture painted as it just reaffirms the original views posted on the blog. Should you not like them, there was no arm twisting for you to come to read them.

    Personally, I enjoyed the writings. Each writing was a snapshot of time – those moments, those experiences. Many of us have them – while travelling – while in our home countries.

    In honesty, the comments posting that these writings were whining, uneducated or to ask why he came back, should have stayed away — I as a Canadian, for which our borders touch from one ocean to the other, I find much of the Yankee Doodle patriotism of the ‘strongest’ country in the world and the ‘president’ to be the most powerful leader of the free world, IMO — quite sickening. It is so blatently broadcast to try to belittle the rest of the world like they don’t matter. In fact, it’s much of the rest of the world sitting back laughing at you. The unfortunate part is that there are some people who can’t or some who refuse to look outside the box to see a different view or opinion. That’s sad and close-minded. That’s what I found those posts sounding like.

    Yes, I would love to attend a July 4th festivity and I know the exact one I would as it looks like a fantastic time had by all. There are times and places when patriotism is a great thing, but the habitual vocalizing of that word demeans the meaning.


  24. Ryan, What you did offended others others around you, not just the girls, so how does that make you any better than them?
    My son travels all over the world and as imperfect as we are he’s always grateful to be back in America.
    You may be in the wrong business.


  25. Looks like someone has had a very cushioned life. We should leave you in Iraq for awhile. You would kiss the ground you walk on when you come back. Ross should dump you as a friend. You hurt people by labeling them and realizing YOU are the cause of your terrible view of America. Take responsibility of your actions and words please have a heart and realize each of us can make a difference…


  26. Larry, you are the one who should be dumped in Iraq for a LONG, LONG time. Maybe then you’ll realize what freedom of speech is all about, jackass.

    Speaking of asses, Ryan’s got a nice one! Just sayin…..

    Keep on truckin, handsome.


  27. I wish Ryan and I were half as mature and sophisticated as you and your cheese wiz eating, trailer park livin, Jacklyn Smith collection wearin, hoopty beater driving ass, Stacy.

    Speaking of asses, Ryan’s got a fine one! Just sayin….

    Keep on truckin, handsome boy.


  28. I hate to say, but I tend to agree with most of the others. You seem so nice on the talky blogs, so I was a little disappointed when I started reading your blog. Your writing doesn’t seem to reflect your video personality. It makes you seem pretentious and frankly bigoted.

    This country is actually mostly purple–there are very few truly red and blue areas–so I hope eventually you will learn to express the nuances of what you are observing on your travels. Also, I’m sure there are people out there who would laugh at you for waxing poetic about Starbucks, in the same way you laughed at the women who enjoyed going to Wal-Mart. Try expressing more empathy than snobbish pity, and I think more people will be receptive to what you have to say.


  29. Gosh Ryan, I too was so disappointed in your posts. You have every right to say the things you say but I think you are way off in your comments about the USA. Sure some of us are loud and obnoxious, but you will find that in every country of the world. If you hate America so badly why not leave? I wouldn’t want to live in a place I despised. And your comments are not helping anything or anyone. It’s so sad- YOUR intolerance is shameful.


  30. “loud, unsophisticated, overweight, and obnoxious”

    Ross used to be overweight, he is definitely loud and can be obnoxious (Don’t get me wrong I do love Ross) As your best friend I am sure Ross reads your blog, but he must have been hurt to see that the term overweight and portly were used as characteristics for not liking a person. You come across just as snotty as the “two red heads”. The people you talk about in the “red” states are doing what they know. When they know better they will do better, but who are you to make judgments. As a gay man (I am assuming) you must know about unfair judgement. If this is a travel blog then write about your travels not your personal pet peeves.


  31. Nicole, Literary Seuss and anyone else who has a problem here….ya know where the door is, so don’t let it hit ya where the good Lord split ya. Get ta steppin! Oh yeah one more thing- STAY OUT!!!!

    Speaking of the split…I’d say Ryan has a perfect one.


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