5 Things That Make Me Proud to Be an American This Week

Every week I point out five things that make America the greatest damn country on Earth. This week: Tecmo Bowl, the Olive Garden, and the entirely justified tasering of fat dudes.

Video Games Merit Badge

Okay so, no, the Boy Scouts aren’t giving out a Video Games merit badge.  It’s a Video Games belt loop.  That’s way better, and yet still just as terrible.

Scouting…is a thing.  I don’t even really have the words to get into it.  Look, Priests look at the Scouts’ track record and think, “lol”.  And then there’s the lifers: guys who stay in the Scouts until they die.  There’s a good chance you work or go to school or live next-door to a 25 year-old Eagle Scout.  You can probably figure out who it is off the top of your head.  I know, right?

Yeah, the Scouts serve a purpose and yes camping is fun and cool and yes you’re a goddamned Communist heathen if you’re not down with the Pinewood Derby but like everything else that was a nugget of a good idea two hundred years ago the Boy Scouts has been co-opted and fetishized and corrupted and marginalized to the point where today, in 2010, they’re a joke.  A shorts-wearing Hitler Youth-looking sleeping bag-sharing racist backwards joke, but a joke nonetheless.

A joke that would, hypothetically, go something like, “Which will roll over and die first, the Boy Scouts or Lindsay Lohan’s vagina?

Olive Garden Cooking School

Here’s a good test for when you meet someone new: ask if they consider the Olive Garden to be a nice Italian restaurant.

If they answer No?  Carry on and consider them as a potential mate/AA sponsor/NFL draft prospect/whatever.

But what if…they answer Yes?  Slap them in the face.  Hard.  If they’re worth anything they’ll realize and understand why you did it and even why they deserved it.  They might even thank you.

The Olive Garden is basically a more-expensive Fazoli’s, with worse breadsticks.  And so, when they run that goddamn commercial where they carry on about their super-awesome Olive Garden cooking school in Tuscany the natural response is to roll your eyes.  I mean, can you imagine a Fazoli’s cooking school in Tuscany?  A Pollo Loco institute in Guadalajara?  Exactly.

But, shock of shocks, it turns out that the Olive Garden Culinary Institute of Tuscany actually exists.  Every class is about breadsticks, but still.  The good news is that, at a minimum, your diploma is worth at least much as a Russian PhD.

Tecmo Bowl

Looking back, Tecmo Bowl on the NES was, to be honest, perfect.  We’re at this point in the development of video games where every game has to be everything to everyone.  We can do anything visually.  There’s 26 buttons on the controller and every one does something crucial.  Video games in 2010 have gone baroque.  And it sucks.

The pop resurgence of Tecmo Bowl and all the other retro or vintage or classic or whatever video games says that all we really want out of video games is to push some buttons, watch some cool stuff happen on a television, the end.  Well, and maybe eat some pizza.

But yeah, let me just push two buttons on a thing and let me steer a little dude around on screen.  It’s not rocket science.  Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Jeff Feagles is the last active NFL player who was in the original Tecmo Bowl.  He’s probably going to retire this week after playing in the NFL for twenty two years.  Today is my 30th birthday.  Is the universe telling me something?  Or am I too old to be thinking this much about Tecmo Bowl?

Probably both.


I want to do a sports-only version of this column and call it IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE and do nothing but show asinine sports videos from around the world and then remind everyone that America is, in fact, the best and the asinine stuff, well, doesn’t happen here.

There’s the part of you that wants to stab that guy in the parking lot after the game (which would have happened in Colombia), but then there’s the other part of you that, at least a little bit, respects his misguided and brazen attempt to put one over on the ref.

That move right there is something you’d see at a pro-wrestling match in Memphis in like 1978.  Nobody dicks it up like that in front of a packed house anyore.  Andy Kaufman would have been proud.

But let’s be honest here: that guy still probably got stabbed in the parking lot after the game.

M.I.A. Born Free Video

Every vagina, everywhere, has had sand in it the last few days because of the completely awesome new M.I.A. video/short film thing.

Okay now watch this:

The naked wizard tasering thing happened almost exactly a year ago.  We can’t prove that M.I.A. and Romain-Gravas were inspired by the sordid tale of a naked fat guy with his clitoris hanging out getting tasered at Coachella, but we can say it.  One is not more absurd than the other.

Or maybe the point is that both videos show naked fat guys getting roughed up by the cops.

Or, maybe, there is no point.  And that’s the point.

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