Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Friday Thoughts


2014_World_CupThings to consider over the weekend:

→ The World Cup is going on and America doesn’t care. Freakonomics Radio explores the possible reasons why. One theory that’s offered up by a Stanford-educated NFL quarterback is that,

“Our mindset in this country is that we have to be the best.”

What he doesn’t explicitly say is that if Americans can’t be the best at something, they won’t even try. This is both true and truly sad.

→ My mother recently asked me what the deal was with inches and pounds and ounces. I told her that I thought inches were based on the length of some king’s nose (untrue, as it turns out) and that 16 ounces made a pound (still true). There’s no logic to the US measuring system, only memorization of weird quantities.

It hadn’t occurred to me to wonder where the kilo came from since the metric system did seem logical, but it turns out there’s quite a good story there. Radiolab reports on how a kilo became a kilo and the actual (French) kilo that all others are measured against. The story has inspired me to put the Musée des Arts et Métiers on my list of things to do when I have a spare afternoon.


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

9 thoughts on “Friday Thoughts

  1. I highly recommend the Musée des Arts et Métiers. I went twice with visiting friends and both time was fascinated by the collection. It is a very interesting museum and well worth a visit. It also has the advantage of not being very crowded not being on the A list for tourists. (Suzanne)

    • I love that Metro stop, so I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t made it yet.

      I’m not surprised you’ve been though — you must have been to every museum by now!

      • Nope, I haven’t been yet to all of the Parisian museums…too many of them but I have done all of the major ones. I only went to this one because a friend of mine visiting from New York is very interested in science and inventions (he is a geek) so this was the perfect place for him. But it turned out to be a great museum so I went back with an Australian friend…

      • I would never have been able to check if you had been to all of them; you should have said yes! I would have been impressed my whole life!

      • I am too honest…I couldn’t tell you I had been if it wasn’t the truth…

  2. So I’m pretty sure that FIFA guy who is quoted in the article you posted was a neighbor of mine in New York–I know this because “someone in our building who worked for FIFA” hooked our super up with WC tickets to one of the Mexico matches in 2010, and also offered him tickets to the final but the flights were ludicrous in price so he didn’t go. Small world!

    What’s interesting about the “Americans don’t care about soccer” trope is while it is still true, it’s definitely changing–Americans bought the most tickets of any foreign country (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffick/2014/06/16/u-s-soccer-fans-biggest-buyers-of-world-cup-tickets-outside-brazil/) and the ratings so far for the matches have reached record levels. I think the issues keeping people from really getting into the sport are the following: a.) having to stay put for 45-minute long (or longer) halves without any sort of reprieve to leave the TV (less of an issue now as you can stream on a tablet, I guess) and on a related note, b.) no commercials during halves means there are fewer opportunities for advertisers to pummel you with ads.

    • It *is* a small world! I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same guy.

      As far as stats like the ones in the story you linked to.. I always take those with a grain of salt. The US has more people than many other countries (sometimes by orders of magnitude), so a straight number can be misleading. The thing to know is per capita or a straight %. Those are more “true” data points.

      I honestly think that part of the issue is just the time zones. If there were as many games played during US awake-hours, there would be more interest.

  3. It’s nothing like watching the cup in other countries, but soccer fever is catching on in the States. I was just in DC and all TVs in restaurants, bars, etc. were tuned to the matches and there were WC posters on the windows. In one reasonably elegant Italian place catering to a business crowd, the servers were dressed in (Italy) soccer jerseys. Granted, it was in the more cosmopolitan neighborhood of Dupont Circle, but even there I can’t imagine it happening a few years ago.

    • DC was into the World Cup the last time too, but there are a lot of int’l people there, as well as immigrants. I don’t think bars in Peoria are feeling the WC-fever. It’s possible, but I super doubt it.

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