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Billy Connolly's Route 66

The Big Yin On The Ultimate American Road Trip

Billy Connolly

In USA they usually pronounce 'route' as 'rowt'. Except for Route 66. Thanks to the song, it's 'root' 66.

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Gets quite concerned about words. Doesn't want to call his vehicle a trike, though that is clearly what it is. He keeps calling it a bike. "Compared with anything else on the road it's a three-wheel Batmobile. It's a joy, it's funky and it's designed for showing off. A total poser's machine ... like a cross between a hot-rod car and a chopper bike, but in fact it had all the disadvantages of a motorbike and none of the advantages of a car.... there was no heater, so I froze my bum off and if it rained my crotch got soaking wet." But did give him the feel of being on a bike while allowing him to lean back and relax.

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Al Capone earned $106m in 1927 but forgot to file a tax return, so off to prison he went. But a lasting legacy. One of his charitable donations was a million dollars to provide milk or schoolchildren. But he insisted that a use-by date had to be put on every bottle because he'd hated the taste of sour milk he'd been forced to drink as a child.It was the first time anyone had had that idea, and it set a standard that's endured to today.

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I used to be quite a sincere Catholic when I was a boy, but it hasn't stood the test of time for me, especially when a child dies and some fool says "Jesus wanted him for an angel." I just want to lash out when I hear something like that .... I think religion's time has come and gone. They're having a lot of fun just now throwing bombs at each other, aren't they, all the peace and love merchants."

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When Pat Boone recorded "Tutti Frutti" that paragon of clean living didn't have a clue that the song was about prostitution and gay sex. The original opening lyrics were 'A wop bop a loo mop, a good goddam!
Tutti frutti, loose booty
If it don't fit, don't force it
You can grease it, make it easy

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Town of Godley straddles county line. In 1930's coal mines and stone quarries in full swing, and when the boys came to town on Friday night they wanted a woman. And the brothel they went to had a unique way of evading the law. It was in a railway carriage. And as soon as a police raid was on its way, the boys would stop who or what they were doing and push the carriage into the neighboring county. The 'crime' had been perpetrated in the next door county, but now everyone was a law-abiding citizen and there was nothing the cops could do. And to think the little town was called Godley.

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The Beverley Hillbillies responsible for Billy Connolly. The bluegrass banjo theme song made him rush out and buy a banjo, thereby kick-starting the whole long story that took him out of the shipyards, into playing in folk bands and from there into comedy, movies and ultimately a TV series about riding a trike along Route 66.

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Arrived at town when tornado had just been through, leaving place looking like a gigantic machine had cut a wide valley neatly through the middle of it. At the Ferguson Christian Church they'd been watching Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ when the storm showed up. As the congregation watched Jesus being whipped, the roof was ripped off, frightening the bejesus out of them. They must have thought they'd been sent for. meanwhile the house next door and a big Buddhist temple further down the road were left untouched. I didn't think it meant anything significant, but it did make me smile.

"I've watched those (televangelist) preachers for years on American TV. Almost to a man, they're frauds. They've got that politician look about them - two haircuts a day, whitened teeth, all that crap - and they talk a lot of bloody nonsense. They're very selective about the Bible. None of the bits about slavery get mentioned, but they're very keen on quoting the bits about homosexuality.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, a Western style saloon restaurant with a 25 foot neon cowboy standing guard. You get a free steak if you can eat it all - 72oz (just over 2 kgs)of sirloin plus a baked potato, salad, dinner roll and shrimp cocktail - in less than 60 minutes. You eat meal on a raised platform with rest of place watching, and now, on world-wide live webcam as well. A few people, such as Klondike Bill, a pro wrestler, have managed two of the steak dinners in an hour. But of the rest, only 8,000 out of 50,000 who have tried, have succeeded.

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Likes Thomas Jefferson's attitude that miracles spoil religion because they are obviously rubbish and go against nature. Jefferson even went to the trouble of writing an alternative Bible with no miracles or supernatural events in it.

Plenty of Americans keep big cats in their yard. Buy them as cute kits and then sell them when get older. But only two markets - canned hunts, which are illegal, but difficult to police, and "lion burgers" (at $27 a time) for those who want to try something different.

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