Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cross Country

Took a drive to Grand Canyon recently, or The Grand Canyon if you prefer. Somewhere around Tulsa I decided to do the scan test of local radio stations, AM natch.

Not surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh reruns were being rebroadcast by the first stop on my scan test. End of the year, Rush is in Hawai'i, we're replaying the very, very best of Rush.

"Obama sucks. Democrats eat children. Talent on loan from God. EIB network. I love America, and I know all you Dittoheads do too. Obama sucks."

Next came a station rebroadcasting Sean Hannity's very very best programming from 2009.

A Christmas Holiday special.

"Obama is evil and Democrats want to bring this wonderful country down to a Third World level. Obama is an asshole, Democrats are assholes, and Republicans love the United States of America. Health care reform is the work of evil Socialists hiding in the shadows of the evil Obama administration. Happy New Year America!"

Next, and I'm not kidding about this, another station was running Rush Limbaugh reruns.

Obama sucks. Democrats suck. God Bless America. Obama is evil.

Sooners football chat.

Jesus saves.

Fred Thompson Show.

Then, ANOTHER station running Rush reruns.

I tried desperately not to cop an attitude about all Oklahomans, knowing they aren't in charge of radio programming, but in a way...they are. If there was no audience for the sort of ear-bleeding inducement I was hearing, it wouldn't be on almost every station. So I decided that Oklahomans, for the most part, embrace that sort of thing.

As I crossed the border on US 40, and entered the panhandle of Texas, I noticed a huge cross in the distance. A billboard soon explained that I was approaching the "Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere." (Turns out it's the 2nd largest cross, but hey...who's keeping track of such things?)

Groom, Texas is the name of the place that boasts about the size of their holy unit. Turns out the thing is 19 stories tall. Very impressive indeed. 

Very pious people in Texas. Very pious.

They love God and guns.

Scan test.

Rush is in Hawai'i, so we're running the Very Best of Rush Limbaugh, 2009.

Obama sucks. Democrats are evil monsters. We must take back our wonderful country from these Socialists who would have us all taxed into the poorhouse. Obama sucks. Rahm is missing his most important digit, but believe me dear friends, he's flipping us all half-a-bird. God bless America.


Herman Cain is sitting in for Rush, who's on vacation. Herman gives a unique perspective on American politics.

"I'm Herman Cain. I'm black. I'm conservative. Barack Obama is evil. You can find me at That's H-E-R-M-A-N-C-A-I-N dot C-O-M Obama is the devil. Democrats want to take away everything you've worked so hard for in this wonderful blessed country we call home. Thanks to EIB for letting me sit in for Rush, who's spending the holidays in Hawai'i."


Jesus saves.


Longhorn football chat. Colt McCoy is the sort of kid that God would want for his son if he wanted another one.


Rush Limbaugh.

Around that point, just outside of Amarillo, I looked to the north and saw a rather large truck stop. Now that's not unusual in the panhandle of Texas. Simply put, that stretch of highway is the most dreary, endlessly boring ribbon of tedium on Earth. Amarillo. The "Big A". Armpit of the country. It's so boring that I was actually looking forward to the occasional exit ramps to break up the monotony. Words cannot describe just how dreadful the panhandle of Texas really is. No wonder they're all cooking meth in their single-wides.

Oh goody, a truck stop.

The Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center.

Think I'm making this shit up? Nope.

Same exit as the Big Texan Steak Ranch & Opry home of the 72 ounce steak.

The Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center runs ads on the CB radio too.

"Breaker breaker One-Nine. Be sure to visit the Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center in beeeee-autiful Amarillo. Diesel for $2.92 a gallon and we have the cleanest rest rooms this side of Eden. Special on mud flaps this month when you buy a Bible."

They're also very big on right wing talk radio in Texas. You ever wonder where our local idiot gets his material? Stop wondering. It's spoon fed to the rubes 24/7. Signal a little scratchy? Not to worry. It's also, like in Oklahoma, on damned near every channel of AM radio in Texas from what I can tell.

Except of course Longhorn chat.

They love Rush Limbaugh in Texas. More even than in Oklahoma. They love Rush, and they hate Barack Obama. And I do mean hate. It's not just politics with those mouth-breathers. It's cultural. They do not want Barack Obama anywhere near the White House.

Listening to Texas truckers talk was a real eye opener. It's not just that they're a pack of racist crackers (they are), it's that they hate all Yankees, just especially the nigger in the White House. I never believed it before, but I began to wonder if the rumors were true about Texas school kids cheering when JFK got whacked in Dallas. I guarantee you there'd be dry eyes in Texas if something happened to Barack.

New Mexico and Arizona are pretty right wing too, but nothing close to the radical degree displayed in Texas.

I'm not sure, but maybe it's because New Mexico and Arizona are very beautiful states while the Texas panhandle is a shithole in every sense of the word. Maybe the scenery tempers their right wingy leanings a bit. They also ran Rush reruns on their 50,000 watt blow torch stations in AZ and NM, but not with the same frequency that I heard in Texas. I've been told since my return that Houston and San Antonio are lovely places, and so I take some comfort in that.

After a too-short stay at the Canyon, I briefly considered taking another route home. Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa seemed like a wonderful option when I considered the backtrack across Texas. Unfortunately, a blizzard, the same one that had obscured most of the Grand Canyon from my view, was blanketing the midwest. 80 was impassible near Lincoln and Omaha.

So, I was forced to drag myself once more through what is undoubtedly the ugliest place in the United States, and if I consider the crackers who inhabit the panhandle of Texas, probably the ugliest place on Earth. I listened to my CDs while crossing east, I just couldn't take another 260 miles of Texas shit kickin'. I briefly considered listening in after I heard about Rush's chest pains in Hawai'i. then thought better of the idea.

Along the way on my trip, practically every exit had a sign prompting me to see "Historic Route 66" which, if I'd felt like it, I could have taken for almost the entire distance.

I've decided that for my next trip to the Grand Canyon in the summer of 2011, that's what I'm going to do. I can pick up 66 down in Countryside and follow it through the little old towns now essentially forgotten due to the superhighway. It's going to take a lot longer, but I don't care. It's something I feel like I need to do. I'll take 66 through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona.

But I'm going to grab 40 through the panhandle of Texas because I want to spend as little time as possible there, and I have absolutely no interest in meeting the local rubes.

I was reminded of that dump again last night when I heard the reports of Rush Limbaugh's remarks about Haiti and Barack Obama. I'm sure they're already queueing that shit up for the Best of Rush 2010.


artandsoul said...

I'm often amazed at how many things there are in the world that are true and real and yet would be "unbelievable" if you included them in a novel.

You really can not make this shit up.

Schmutzie said...

Who would believe there's really a Jesus Christ is Lord truck stop? A 19 story aluminum cross in the middle of nowhere, with a billboard bragging about its size?

I was raised Catholic, and while I have pretty much taken up an agnostic position on such things, I really do consider myself a Christian. Obviously, the pious types that I described in this thing wouldn't agree with me.

But when I consider monster crosses and Jesus truck stops, I think I get the message he was spreading back in the day a lot better than some of the holiest rollers I encountered on this trip.

Keifus said...

Oh man, that thing is huge.

Weldon said...

If you like I can send you my picture of chrome baby Jesus from the Crystal Cathedral. It's not on a par with the Jesus Christ is Lord Truck Stop but it has its own maniacal charm ...

Anonymous said...

Okay, I found the Crystal Cathedral post. It doesn't have gas pumps but I'll bet the gift shop is similar to the one in the JCILTS.

Schmutzie said...

Oooo. Cyborg baby Jesus is kind of creepy looking. Why chrome I wonder? That whole post reminds me of the Vanity Fair article this month on the Creation Museum down in Petersburg, KY.

Did you buy the It is Finished neck tie? Nice party ice breaker I'll bet.

Weldon said...

It took me a long time to figure out but I think the chrome is to simulate light emanating from him. Also there's something very familiar and disturbing about Mary's expression but I can't pinpoint it.

Yeah, it would take a serious party animal to carry off that tie. It didn't even occur to me to buy anything there, I was so stunned by it all. I'm trying to think whether I would like to go back. I have a better camera now.

MichaelRyerson said...

When you really contemplate a 72 oz. steak, I mean really think about it and the sheer, mindless gluttony that holds such a thing as a virtue, a bargain even, it is a short step to then envision a couple of corpulent, mouthbreating kitchenmen, greasy forearms straining, simply wrestling the steaming corpse of an intact bovine, reeking barbeque sauce and superheated fat, onto your table. Didn't Monty Python already do this one?

Schmutzie said...

Just the man I was thinking of when I mentioned Houston (and San Antonio) redeeming the entire state!

Adam Richman did a segment on Man vs Food (Food Channel) about the Big Texan. My jaw dropped when I saw the billboard. And it's true. They'll give it to you for free if you can eat the damned thing. I saw one pre-cooked. Looked like a pair of lungs.

4 1/2 pounds of meat.

Dude, there are a couple of vids that I decided not to upload in which I spoke directly to you. Camera was just too shaky. I thought of you often as I was suffering through the panhandle.
Goddamn that's a big state.

Good to hear from you Michael.

Happy New Year.

Thomas Paine said...

Let me throw in Austin as another redeeming aspect to the state -- specifically, some of the music coming out of that community.

Another great post!

Schmutzie said...

Thanks Thomas.

And thanks very much for reading my blog. I mean that sincerely, and thanks to the rest of you as well.

I have a funny feeling I'm going to be spending much more time posting here than at the place we first met. I've about had it with that place.

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