Waffle House: My First Impressions

This week, the staff at Mid-American Culture was tasked with reviewing a restaurant with which we had little or no experience. I decided to write about the enigmatic Waffle House. I also tweaked the title everyone else is using a little bit to include this piece in  my “My First Impressions” series (because why not?). For the vast majority of my life, I was part of the significant minority of people who had never had Waffle House. People around me had always told me that it is a brilliant eating establishment, but for whatever reason, I never made time to try it. That is, until recently. To be fair, I went once as a small child but I have little to no memory of it and I couldn’t remember what I had or if I liked it. However, I consider the trip I made a few months ago to be my first true visit. I went with a friend from my work who was flabbergasted at the thought of a 20 year old who had never really had a Waffle House experience. I am eternally grateful to her for putting me on to the magical wonder that is Waffle House.


During my first visit, my friend recommended to me that I try the chocolate chip waffles. This will undoubtedly be my go-to order moving forward. These are, without a doubt, some of the best waffles I have ever had. I am still a pancake guy to the core, but I can still respect a good waffle. That experience was very pleasant, but it left something to be desired because I didn’t truly get the full Waffle House experience. For that, I feel you have to go late at night and order one of their sensational side options. It was during my most recent visit that I really got that experience.

While driving to Tennessee for my recent vacation (check out my piece on that vacation here), we stopped at a Waffle House after a long day of being stuck in the car. It was approximately 11 p.m. There was only one other group in the restaurant and they looked exactly like what you would expect the late-night Waffle House crowd to look like.  The atmosphere was perfect. I ordered my staple chocolate chip waffles and also added an order of country ham. This was one of the best food-related decisions I have made in a very long time. The ham was great and the waffles never disappoint. I also sampled some of my mom’s hash browns and those were immaculate. I will most definitely order those on my next trip. Everyone in my family loved the Waffle House visit. The service was very prompt, the staff was surprisingly friendly given the late hour at which we were there, and the food was great.

Overall, I loved my first Waffle House experiences. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. In the words of some tweet I saw on twitter a few months ago, “it isn’t a Waffle House. It’s a Waffle Home”. That sums it up perfectly. I hope to go back to my Waffle Home very soon.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the rest of the Mid-American Culture restaurant reviews this week!

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter: @M_American_C

Scorpion-Drake: In-Depth Review

In the unlikely event that someone reading this is unaware, Drake released his newest album, Scorpion, five days ago. The album is currently shattering several streaming records on various platforms. Upon release, the album drew large amounts of praise from loyal fans, its fair share of hate from those predisposed to disliking Drake, and mixed reactions from various media outlets. As I have confessed any number of times before, I am a huge Drake fan. This inevitably impacts the way I view the album. If my take comes off as too biased, there are plenty of other reviews out there, including one from a self-confessed Drake hater at Mid-American Culture, available here. For my review, I will go song-by-song and briefly say what I liked or disliked about it and at the end, I will give my final thoughts on the album.


A Side

Survival- Drake never disappoints on his intros. Pretty much every intro he has done has been solid. I really liked the “Mount Rushmore” line at the start of the song. I love me some overconfident Drizzy.

Nonstop- This track appears to be the most popular new song on the album, which upon first listen, I did not see coming. However, after a few more listens, I can somewhat see it. The track is catchy and Drake’s delivery is pretty enjoyable.

Elevate- I didn’t find this track to be anything particularly special. It isn’t bad by any means. It just doesn’t stand out to me.

Emotionless- This is one of my favorite tracks on the entire album. The production on this track is absolutely outstanding and Drake addressing real issues in his life always makes for enjoyable music.

God’s Plan- Released before the album, the song is a huge hit. The video is amazing and the song is solid.

I’m Upset- Also released before the album. Average Drake song. Not bad, not amazing.

8 Out of 10- I love the delivery of this track. The way Drake hits the beat running, so to speak, is awesome. The beat is solid and this is one of the more standout tracks from the A Side of the album.

Mob Ties- Another standout track, Mob Ties has a catchiness that not a lot of songs have. Drake changes up his delivery a good bit out of his typical comfort zone here and I found it really enjoyable.

Can’t Take A Joke- This track features some of the best bars on the album. The beat is one of the better ones and I like this track a lot.

Sandra’s Rose- I was expecting this one to be really deep and passionate, given it is named after Drake’s mother. I was wrong. The song isn’t bad, but it’s not anything that stood out to me either.

Talk Up- This is my favorite song on the A Side. The track features one of the hardest beats Drake has ever rapped over. I’m not a big Jay-Z fan by any means but his guest verse is phenomenal. The last few bars of his verse are stellar.

Is There More- This track is very meh. It didn’t do much of anything for me.

B Side

Peak- Not a bad introduction to the R&B side of the album. The instrumentals and overall production are top-notch.

Summer Games- This song is a brilliant commentary on modern relationships. It’s songs like this with relatable aspects in which Drake is at his best.

Jaded- I don’t know who broke Drake’s heart, but the world needs to take a moment to collectively thank them. Jaded is one of Drake’s all-time great feels songs. I love it. It is probably the best song on Side B.

Nice For What- Released before the album. This is a solid club banger.

Finesse- The chorus of this song is excellent. As stupid as this sounds, I love the way Drake says “finesse”. It is definitely my favorite part of the whole song.

Ratchet Happy Birthday- This is the worst song on the entire album. It has few, if any, redeeming qualities. With that being said, I’m probably still going to bump it when my birthday rolls around.

That’s How You Feel- I wasn’t feeling this song at all until the Nicki Minaj snippets. They kept me hyped up for the rest of the song.

Blue Tint- This is a Drake and Future song about being rich. It is a classic formula that rarely disappoints. This is a solid track.

In My Feelings- I was very let down by this song. When I saw it on the tracklist, I assumed it would be a Marvin’s Room caliber feels song. It isn’t a bad song by any means. It just isn’t what I expected and it is very hard to get past that.

Don’t Matter To Me- This is the song that I was most excited for on Scorpion. I love Michael Jackson and the concept of the biggest music stars from two different generations on the same song together is very appealing. I think MJ would have approved. I know I did.

After Dark- This is another one of the stronger songs on the entire album. The Ty Dolla $ign feature is superb.

Final Fantasy- This is the most underrated song on the entire album. I have hardly heard anyone really talk about it. I can’t overstate how good it really is.

March 14- This is the song that everyone who followed Drake’s drama leading up to the album release was waiting for. He addresses his son and the controversy that surrounds him. In my opinion, he handled the entire situation in the best way possible and listening to this song makes me happy. You can hear the love Drake has for his son and it makes me smile.


Overall, I give the album a 7.5/10. I think this is probably Drake’s 4th best project. This sounds negative,  but given how highly I think of the top 3, this is actually a fairly complementary ranking. Scorpion sounds fairly similar to the sounds of Views and More Life. If you enjoy this type of sound, you will like Scorpion very much. If you do not enjoy the more recent Drake projects, there is a good chance Scorpion isn’t for you. Myself being such a big Drake fan, I highly recommend the album and feel that Drake certainly delivered, as he always does.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture.

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter:@M_American_C

Drake’s Most Underrated Songs

We are a mere two days away from the release of Drake’s highly anticipated album, Scorpion. This is the perfect time to write another piece on the great Drizzy Drake. My intense Drake fandom is well documented, both on various social media platforms, as well as in some of my previous pieces on Mid-American Culture. In my opinion, Mr. Aubrey Drake Graham is the greatest hip-hop artist who has ever lived. His discography has produced a countless number of classics which span multiple genres. There are also a number of hidden gems mixed in that never received the critical acclaim or commercial success that they deserved. The latter is what this piece will focus on. Here are some of what I consider to be Drake’s most underrated tracks:

Wu-Tang Forever


Upon listening to Nothing Was The Same for the very first time back in 2013, I immediately identified Wu-Tang Forever as one of my favorite tracks on the album. It wasn’t until much later, however, that I realized just how good it really is. Wu-Tang Forever serves double duty, both as an emotional and reflective track about a former love interest and as an introspective metaphor for Drake’s journey through the rap game. The song is both a great storytelling piece and a sonically pleasing song. In short, Wu-Tang Forever is classic Drake at some of his finest.

Find Your Love

Thank me later.jpg

In my earlier piece, Ranking Drake’s Major Projects, I boldly stated that if Find Your Love were to have been released today at the height of Drake’s popularity, as opposed to his first years in the spotlight, it would be his most successful song ever. I still firmly believe that. This is not to say that the song did not receive its fair share of acclaim. However, it could have and should have been infinitely bigger. This song has the credentials required to be a chart topper in multiple different genres, being Pop, R&B, and Hip-Hop. It beautifully fuses the three in a way that only Drake can. I don’t think I will ever stop raving about just how good this song really is.


take care.jpg

I think what makes Drake truly great is his ability to create music that feels as if he is consistently flexing his superstar lifestyle, while still being honest, deep, and relatable. Cameras is a perfect example. In the song, Drake uses a very passive, almost uninterested flow to try to calm the concerns of a certain woman about his glamourous and public lifestyle. He argues essentially that the man, Aubrey, is different from the superstar, Drake, portrayed by the media, particularly by the paparazzi. My favorite part of the lyrics is that while Drake acknowledges a number of his suspect behaviors, he never once apologizes for them, instead portraying them as an unfortunate side-effect of his fame and lifestyle. This is a brilliant commentary on popular culture, and a huge part of what makes Cameras so brilliant.

Can’t Have Everything

more life.jpg

In recent years, Drake has transitioned further away from rap, opting instead to focus on musical experimentation. With Can’t Have Everything, he reminds the world that he is still a dominant force in the rap game, willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone and everyone. Drake replaces his generally emotional tone for one of aggression and utter disgust at the criticisms placed on him by some of his peers. Drake essentially spends an entire song flexing the hunger he still has while still citing his status on top of the music world. The song concludes with a voicemail recording of his mother, in which she addresses her son’s recent spat with Meek Mill, and asks her son to let go of his resentment and return to his more positive tone. She concludes by paraphrasing Michelle Obama’s famous “when they go low, we go high” line. This is some of the most brilliant contrasting we’ve ever seen from Drake and only adds to the aura of this song.

5 A.M. In Toronto 


5 A.M. In Toronto is the song that Drake haters love to pretend doesn’t exist. The song is nothing but pure greatness. It is 3 minutes and 30 seconds of Drake at his absolute best. However, this is certainly the most controversial entries on this list. Most major Drake fans rank this song among his best. However, the more casual fans very well may have never heard this song. It doesn’t appear on any major albums and it doesn’t appear on Apple Music or Spotify. The lack of availability  of this song is an utter travesty because I consider it to be the best track of Drake’s career. For me, 5A.M. In Toronto is the song that cemented Drakes status as one of the all-time greats. With it, he put to rest any claims that he is not a superb rapper who deserves a place on music’s Mount Rushmore. It really doesn’t get any better.

While there are any number of underrated tracks I could have added to this list, these are the 5 that I felt most needed to be shared. I have been listening to more than my fair share of Drake lately in preparation for Scorpion. Next week, I will do a My First Impressions article on the album, and will likely provide a full, in-depth review of it the following week. Prepare for an abundance of Drake content from me in the coming weeks. Until then, check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture. Thanks for reading!

My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter: @M_American_C

Travel Recap: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

As I stated in my post last week, I have been on vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is a staple in the world of Mid-American vacation spots and it is fairly easy to see why. In addition to the countless tourist-oriented spots, Gatlinburg and the neighboring Pigeon Forge provide some breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as various hiking trails and other opportunities to admire the natural beauty of the area. Gatlinburg has all sorts of exciting experiences to offer and in this piece, I will be highlighting some of my favorites.

pancake pantry

Firstly, the food selection in Gatlinburg is absolutely phenomenal. Several premier eating destinations can be found throughout the area. My personal favorite, Pancake Pantry, is located in Downtown Gatlinburg. The Pancake Pantry offers a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, highlighted by their superb pancakes. Out of the 15+ varieties of pancakes they offer, I recommend the Swiss chocolate chip option. As a firm believer in the idea that pancakes are far superior to their waffle counterpart, I fancy myself as somewhat of a pancake expert. I can say with absolute certainty that these were the very best pancakes I have ever had in my life. They also offer several sandwiches and side dishes that were of great quality. I highly recommend anyone in the area try the Pancake Pantry. Gatlinburg also offers a variety of dinner establishments, such as Paula Deen’s restaurant. I highly recommend it as well. It is worth mentioning, however, that eating out in Gatlinburg can be very pricy, as their taxes are somewhere around 12%. We found that a filet mignon steak dinner prepared at our cabin was more economical than eating at a moderate hamburger place. However, if you are prepared to spend a little more money, Gatlinburg offers a fine selection of eateries.

A lovely waterfall in Gatlinburg

The natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains can’t be understated. I have a hard time believing there is a more gorgeous landscape to be found anywhere in the country. The Gatlinburg area offers all sorts of opportunities to connect with nature, such as hiking trails, chair lifts which provide excellent views, and guided nature tours. Seeing as how I am not exactly a fan of traditional hiking, I gravitated toward the motor trails offered. These are roads which take you through some of the most beautifully forested parts of the state, offer the chance to see magnificent wildlife, and do it all from the air conditioned comfort of your car. During one of our motor trail experiences, a small bear cub walked right up to our car. It was absolutely adorable and made the experience even more special. Along with the wildlife, several historical structures such as old churches, mills, and cemeteries can be found within walking distance of these trails. Experiences like this are part of what makes Gatlinburg such a great destination.


The bear we saw on the motor trail
Probably my favorite part of Gatlinburg, the area offers some exemplary shopping destinations. Nearby Sevierville features a substantially sized outlet mall with all of the stores you could ask for, including Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas, several food-oriented stores, Vans, American Eagle, and countless others. Downtown Gatlinburg features all kinds of tourist-targeted shops, such as a plethora of souvenir stores, moonshine and whisky shops, and, my favorite, a high-end clock store. I was dangerously close to buying a luxury mantel clock because it was so beautiful. There is also a shopping hub near Gatlinburg, known as The Island. It has virtually every kind of store imaginable: pop-culture themed stores, cigar shops, food places, a caricature store where my brother and I had a phenomenal caricature done (which can be seen on my Instagram page under the username BigRedAFerg), and much more. Aside from New York City, Gatlinburg offers the best shopping experience of anywhere I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting.

Some suspect hat options available in Gatlinburg shops

Overall, Gatlinburg is a sensational vacation spot and I urge everyone to travel there if presented with the chance. The sights, shopping, and food are just part of what makes Tennessee, and Gatlinburg in particular, such a great place to visit. The local amusement park, Dollywood, the Ripley’s Aquarium, the theatre dinner shows, and some of the desirable fishing spots are some more great options as well. This vacation was certainly memorable and I hope some of our readers get to experience it as well. Below are a few more pictures from my trip if you are interested. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture.




My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

The Horrors of Traveling

At the time of this post going up, I am either preparing to, or I already have left for vacation. My journey is taking me to the mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Along with Myrtle Beach, I think Gatlinburg is the go-to travel destination for most Mid-Western families, particularly those from the Ohio-West Virginia-Kentucky tristate area. I, for one, absolutely love Tennessee. The landscape is stunning, the touristy spots are always a good time, the vast majority of the people are very pleasant, and there’s a ton of great shopping and eating destinations (shopping and eating are two of my favorite recreational activities).

However, traveling certainly has its drawbacks. People like myself, being the excessive procrastinator that I am, tend to put off packing until the day they leave for their trip. I absolutely waited until the day I leave to start. Those sharing my traits often tend to not realize they need to go to the store to get some essentials (or in my case, hair spray, pomade, and extra crispy cheez-its) until the very last minute. I have made one trip already and might have to make another one before I leave. Me and my fellow procrastinators also have a tendency to end up forgetting something of great importance when throwing together their luggage, which I almost certainly will. Perhaps worst of all, traveling paired with immense procrastination has prevented me from writing a quality, meaningful post for Mid-American Culture this week. With that being said, once I get back, I hope to detail the highs and lows of my trip in a relatively lengthy piece. Hopefully that makes up for the sub-par piece about all of the problems I have caused myself that you are reading right now. In the meantime, be sure to check out some of the other articles on the page from our awesome writers! See you guys next week. Thanks for reading!

Podcasts: My New Favorite Platform

Over the course of the last couple of weeks or so, I really discovered podcasts. I was familiar with the concept of podcasts before, but I didn’t ever really listen to or watch any until fairly recently. What I discovered when I did start listening was a platform that mixes entertainment with education in a beautiful way. Listening to a wide array of people discuss an even wider array of issues and topics is both fun and productive. In this sense, I think that podcasting is a truly revolutionary platform. I’d be amiss if I didn’t point out the fact that podcasting has been around for a relatively long time. My counterpoint to that being that the explosion in the popularity of podcasts occurred much more recently and more people are newly discovering them every day. Moving forward, I think podcasting could be the next great platform of entertainment.

Musician Post Malone appearing on the H3 Podcast



To me, podcasts have two very valuable and practical applications. The first of such applications is their value as a form of entertainment. The first podcast I ever listened to with any form of regularity was Bruce Prichard’s Something to Wrestle With, which centers on various topics in the world of professional wrestling and features all sorts of stories from Prichard’s time as both a man behind the scene and as an on-screen personality with the WWE. I find such stories to be extremely enjoyable to hear, seeing as how I am a fairly big fan of professional wrestling. Another favorite podcast of mine for entertainment purposes is the H3 Podcast. This podcast features the team of Ethan and Hila Klein interviewing different personalities from various cultural fields such as the internet, music, and a wide variety of other areas. Their quirky, nerdy, and borderline weird personalities make them beyond entertaining to watch. Their interactions with musician Post Malone, who is a close personal friend of theirs, are my favorite segments from their podcast just because those are some very funny and laid-back personalities colliding to create a wholesomely entertaining and hilarious podcast. Purely from an entertainment standpoint, podcasts are a great medium, if done properly.

Thumbnail image from Ben Shapiro’s appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience


Entertainment value alone does not push podcasting to the forefront of social platforms, however. In my eyes, what pushes them to that next level is their value from an educational standpoint. My favorite podcast to watch with the intention of learning new things about a particular topic is definitely The Joe Rogan Experience. Yes, that Joe Rogan. I’m talking about Joe Rogan, the MMA guy. I’m talking about Joe Rogan, the host of Fear Factor. I’m talking about Joe Rogan, the comedian. Joe Rogan is clearly not the first name most people would conjure up when they think about educational content on the internet. With that being said, Rogan is clearly an extremely intelligent man. He is very articulate and he pairs himself with a wide variety of guests from all sorts of different backgrounds and viewpoints. Some of my personal favorite episodes of his podcast have featured liberal pundit Kyle Kulinski, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dr. Jordan Peterson, and, perhaps most surprisingly, conservative icon Ben Shapiro. Shapiro’s appearance was particularly enjoyable for me for some peculiar reason. I do not agree with hardly anything he has ever said about political issues or most of his personal beliefs about anything. But with that being said, there is something both very important and deceptively interesting about hearing people discuss viewpoints in opposition to your own. Knowing the other side is half of winning any argument. Shapiro is another very intelligent person and hearing him discuss his views certainly has educational value. Podcasts, in ways that very few (if any) other platforms do, allow for the introduction and understanding of oppositional views in non-hostile and truly interesting ways. Podcasts as educational tool have just as much value as podcasts as forms of entertainment do. I look forward to further exploring the world of podcasting and finding more great content on the platform.

Before I sign off on this article, I just want to point out that the words “Mid-American Culture Podcast” have a very nice ring to them. Just throwing that out there. Thanks for reading!

My twitter:@BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter:@M_American_C


Top 10 TV Series of All Time: Part II

Last week, I presented the first half of my top ten television series of all time. This week, I will be highlighting numbers 5 through 1 on my list. As I said before, this is my personal opinion only. First, I will present some honorable mentions.

  • Game of Thrones
  • Mad Men
  • The Wire
  • Dexter

Now, without further ado, here are what I consider to be the five best television series ever made.

5. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit


Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is a particularly unique entrant on this list. Firstly, I would argue that it is far and away the greatest spinoff in television history. Virtually every other spinoff I have ever seen has been frankly insulting to the original show from which it was spawned. However, SVU outshines the original Law and Order in ways that can’t be understated. The cast, the stories, the character development, everything about SVU is magnificent. The iconic status that this show has reached can be demonstrated very simply. Approach nearly anyone (particularly people ages 13-30) who watches television regularly and say the words “In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous,” and there is an astronomical chance that they will be able to recite the remainder of the show’s introduction flawlessly. I generally find myself drawn more toward shows focusing on the other side of the law, but SVU is just so good that it has to be mentioned on this list. Even through all of the cast changes over the years, SVU is still the greatest police drama ever made and is more than deserving of a place on this list.

4. Friends 


I don’t want to hear about The Office. I don’t want to hear about Seinfeld. I don’t want to hear about Arrested Development. Friends is the greatest comedy series ever made. The story of six friends in their mid to late 20’s trying to find their way in life in New York City is both compelling and hilarious. I think, to some extent, that every group of friends can relate to at least one of the show’s characters, as well as the group as a whole. That sense of relatability is part of what makes Friends so great. The show premiered 24 years ago and is arguably just as iconic now as it was back in 1994. Although there are a few storylines that do not age particularly well, Friends has maintained its popularity in ways that no other TV show ever has. It will continue to bring laughs and joy to more and more generations to come.

3. The Sopranos


Before I start, I must confess that I have not watches all of The Sopranos like I have all of the other shows on this list. However, I am currently on the 4th season and I can say, with absolute certainty, that it is deserving of at least a top 3 spot. The impact of The Sopranos on television is unparalleled, in the sense that it started the popularity surge in the anti-hero. Tony Soprano is the original Walter White, Don Draper, Dexter Morgan, etc. What I love most about the ensemble of characters in the show are their complexities. Not a single character on this show is one-dimensional. They all have their own agendas, their own shortcomings, and their own sense of their own humanity. The Sopranos doesn’t glamorize mob life. Instead, it presents all sides of it: the violence, the money, the delicate balance between the Mafia family and the family at home. Everything about this show is great. I already know how it ends and I can definitively say that it is both terrible and brilliant. Watch the show and you will understand. It really is a must see.

2. The West Wing

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I spent more time than I care to admit deciding if The West Wing was going to be number one or number two. Ultimately, it just barely lost out. That does not, however, take anything away from the show’s greatness. As far as political dramas go, it will never get any better. The West Wing is hands down the best written television series of all time. The witty and genuine dialogue goes unmatched in the world of TV. The show is driven by the strong performances of both the main and secondary cast. The show’s driving plot lines center on real world issues and the people trying to solve these issues, making the show that much more compelling. For some reason, I have found that a lot of people have never seen this masterpiece of a show. I urge anyone who hasn’t yet seen it to find the time and watch it. You absolutely will not regret it.

1. Sons of Anarchy 


If Tony Soprano was the original anti-hero, then Jax Teller is the ultimate anti-hero. The son of the founder of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Jax Teller is forced to balance out his role as a leader of a violent motorcycle gang with his role as a new father. The story of Sons of Anarchy draws heavy inspiration from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The show does an outstanding job of using subtle foreshadowing mixed with great, intense dialogue and heavy amounts of violence to create a story unlike any other ever put to television. The ending of Sons is what I consider the single most artistically beautiful ending to a television show ever. The deeps symbolism is the kind of thing someone like me, who loves to look for the deeper meaning in everything, lives for. Simply put, Sons of Anarchy is the greatest television series of all time.

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t read part one of the series yet, check it out here.

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C