The variety and vibrancy of the American greeting is unrivaled
If something can be done while seated, Americans are probably going to excel at it
This year's gastronomic triumph was the cronut, introduced in New York City
Granted, China is on pace to eclipse at least half of the superlatives on this list by 2016
The USA has a lot going for it.
In fact, there are at least 10 things by our count that you can’t find as good anywhere else on Earth:
1. Effusive greetings
“Ahoy!” “Aloha!” “Hey!” “Hola!” “Howdy!” “Hiya!” “Ho there!” “Well, look who it is!” “What’s happenin’?!” “‘Sup!” “Yo!” “Hello!”
The variety and vibrancy of the American greeting is unrivaled, upholding a threshold of friendliness that Americans demand, Europeans find onerous and others find perplexing.
Want to slip through somewhere un-greeted?
Whether you’re leaving a hotel, shopping for a pair of jeans or just trying to get around a bystander, someone’s going to pop out from the shadows with a neighborly salutation, the enthusiasm of which may border on deranged.
2. Road trips
If we’re talking about something that can be done while seated, Americans are probably going to excel at it.
Germany likes to lay claim to the world’s first road trip, but having come of age at the same time as the automobile, the United States was custom-built for it.
With roadside oddities like Carhenge in Nebraska and the world’s largest ball of paint in Indiana, along with infamous rest areas and national parks (more on those later) dotting America’s majestic roadscape at uniform intervals, you’re never far from the next adventure.
Unless you’re driving through Texas.
With all due respect to the English city, the U.S. is the home of the derby in all its forms, be it racing, smashing or haberdashing.
Originating in the county fairs of the nation’s 1950s backwoods, demolition derbies, like the one held annually in Delaware County, New York, pit hulking early-model autos against one another in contests of Americanly excessive ramming until only one remains functional.
On the oval track, Louisville’s Kentucky Derby is a spectacle of horseshoed pageantry, while roller derbies from Austin to Seattle are cataclysms of people-wheeled fury.
Not to keep taking shots at Germany, but there’s only so much you can do with barley and hops.
Live a little, Üter!
By contrast, American brewers aren’t bound by purity restrictions on their craft, allowing them to push the pint glass with new additives, processes, styles and malt and hops strains moved through the largest number of breweries of any nation on earth.
Whether it’s Portland, Oregon’s Hopworks, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Founders, or Asheville, North Carolina’s Wicked Weed breweries, in no country is beer more innovative.
The U.S. is a microcosm of nearly every world culture, climate, landscape and category of wildlife. (And whatever doesn’t occur naturally gets recreated at Disney.)
Beaches extend from Cape Cod to Kaanapali; bayous encircle the Gulf of Mexico; alpine mountains streak the Rockies and Appalachians; rain forests span the Pacific Northwest; deserts stretch across the Southwest.
Cougars, wolves, bear, bison and mustangs roam plains and forests; gators, crocs, whales, dolphins, turtles and snakes frequent the coasts; condors, eagles, falcons, flamingos, bats and pterodactyls – just making sure you’re still with us – inhabit the skies.
But of course the Melting Pot concept was built on ethnic diversity. Despite the politics of immigration, the U.S. has and will continue to welcome the world’s huddled (and also brilliant) masses, making it as heterogeneous as any nation on earth.
Geo-diversity has pocked much of the landscape with vast gorges and canyons that create expansive pockets of pure emptiness ringed by the most stunning rock formations, vegetation and slack-jawed tourists imaginable.
Unbelievable until experienced, Utah’s Bryce Canyon is the closest you can get to another planet without tickets on Virgin Galactic.
Then there’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado), Palo Duro Canyon (Texas), Canyon de Chelly (Arizona), Sequioa and Kings Canyon (California), Waimea Canyon (Hawaii) and hundreds more to round out a list so deep and wide that it makes the U.S. the hands-down winner in this category even without mentioning the Grandest one of them all.
7. National parks
Overlooked during the westward expansion of the American frontier in the 1800s, Yellowstone was made the world’s first national park the way you might give the last kid picked for kickball the top spot in the order.
Turns out it’s one of America’s great national treasures, a tradition extended to 400 more areas comprising more than 84 million acres of buttes, plateaus, rapids, coral reefs, caverns, badlands, volcanoes, glaciers, falls, fjords, swamplands, sandstone arches, mangroves, geysers, gift shops and excellent interpretive centers ranging from coast to coast.
Make all the fat jokes you want – seriously, they’re hilarious – but no other nation offers the portions and varieties of culinary experimentation found in the U.S.
This year’s gastronomic breakthrough was the cronut, a croissant-donut hybrid introduced by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City.
It’s just the latest in a litany of extreme foods that’s yielded curated cupcakes, ramen burgers, sushirritoes, Korean tacos – the only limit will be an eventual shortage of truffles.
There’s nothing the home of super-sizing won’t deep-fry, roll in bacon or drown with nacho cheese sauce, proving Americans eat like none other.
Just don’t ask them to do math.
Most countries have a national sport. The U.S. has four. (OK, three; you can have hockey, Canada.)
While the world’s most popular sport, soccer, has yet to gain critical traction in the U.S., it also has the burden of competing with the seasonal panoply of baseball, football, basketball and hockey.
That’s tough enough without NASCAR, golf and action sports like extreme death gliding and low-orbit cloudboarding or whatever else is nipping at soccer’s heels.
Some of the best places to catch a game in the U.S. are Wrigley Field (Chicago) and Fenway Park (Boston) for baseball; Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin) for football; and Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham, North Carolina) and Rupp Arena (Lexington, Kentucky) for college basketball.
10. Moving pictures
From internationally beloved TV shows like Breaking Bad and The Daily Show to movies like Avatar and anything the Coen brothers do to viral videos like Harlem Shake and the Kardashian sex tape, America is the world’s dramatic chipmunk.