Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Who cares about sports:

There's an interesting thread on Crooked Timber about soccer and nationalism. Of course, it's often observed that the World Cup is a more civilized alternative to total war, but I do get tired of some writers drawing unwarranted parallels between countries and their soccer teams.

One commenter on Crooked Timber notes:

On a stop-over at Aukland airport I was amused to find the tourist shops selling t-shirts that read, “I support New Zealand and anyone who is playing Australia.”

I wonder if there's a geopolitical explanation for this.


The Native Speaker comes to you today from the Broadway Inn motel in Missoula, Montana. I wish I could tell you a typical July 4th celebration story, but I spent all of yesterday on the road.

Here's where I was yesterday morning at 5:15 -

outside 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. That building on the left was completed since last time I was in Philly, and it makes an interesting architectural contrast with the old station building - something like Copley Square in Boston.

Montana has beautiful natural scenery. Yesterday I drove here from Spokane, WA, through the mountains and past Lake Coeur D'Alene in Idaho. The view is very much like Brokeback Mountain - I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures for you while I was driving. (Watch this space in the next few days.) The local radio stations, on the other hand, are not so great. Your choices are Christian devotional, country, or hardcore metal. (One friend who is from here told me about a radio station that plays hardcore metal and Rush Limbaugh.)

While I missed the Independence Day barbecues, parties, and even the stand-up comic in the hotel bar, I did get to see some fireworks. All the small towns in the area have their own fireworks display, and you can see them all going off at once, up and down the valley. I just pulled my car over on the side of the highway to watch. You can see five or six flashes of colored light very small and close to the horizon, and the mountains looming in the background. I guess everything is bigger out here.