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.