Considering that half the Australian team is also Croatian, it is nice to see that their match had a sort of fitting end, a tie. Of course in a slightly grander scheme of things it wasn’t a tie, Australia advanced and Croatia didn’t. But, in the end Australia didn’t make it very far. Sadly, of course many other teams are now out of the tournament, notably the USA, which finally scored their first and only goal of the tournament in their losing game against Ghana. The US was ranked 5th going into the tournament, so we might have had some hope, but I hear those rankings aren’t very meaningful. Of course if we had won we would have advanced to play Brazil in the round of 16, the conclusion of which is probably inevitable (Brazil has won more World Cups than any other country and the US has never come close to winning.)
Speaking of which… Jeremy has some recent comments on his blog about his fondness for the “overdog”, and just today at lunch I happend to read about overdogs in a slightly more prestegious source, National Geographic magazine. I am one of those “stupid” people who has no problem rooting for the underdog, but according to John Lanchester, if you have to root for the overdog then you should probably choose Brazil. National Geographic brought together a flock of short essays about the significance of the World Cup as a whole and the meaningfulness of soccer to people in countries around the world. It is a really great feature that I couldn’t stop reading. I was using the dead-tree version today while I enjoyed some buns at iced tea at Eastern Accents, but the web site has even more content.
We finally put up an ad looking for one (or maybe two, I’m still not sure if Latika is staying) new housemates for next year. When I happened to be using a Google map of Ann Arbor it struck me that we can honestly say our house is “centrally located”. Check it out: a search for “Ann Arbor” points to our very own block, though on the other side. We are beat out only by the likes of the Ann Arbor offices of Weather Underground and Mysore Woodlands.
Incidently, here’s the description from the ad we are currently running,
A room is available in a six-bedroom, two-story house with friendly graduate studentish people (in fields such as anthropology, physics, and archeology). The house is on a quiet and very convenient tree-lined street near Kerrytown. The house has a large kitchen, two full bathrooms, free off-street parking, free washer and dryer, a living room, small reading room/dining room, very large basement storage space, a “mud room” for bikes and other storage, and a cable internet connection with wired and wireless networks. It is ten minutes walking distance to the UM Central Campus, even less to the Medical Campus, and on a bus route to North Campus (#1). It is one block from Kerrytown, Zingermann’s deli, the Farmer’s Market, and The People’s Food Co-op; and only minutes from downtown Ann Arbor.
We’d like to find considerate, environmentally-minded people with which we could enjoy sharing a drink and some chit-chat. If you enjoy life and keep the sink relatively clear of dishes we should be able to get along. You don’t have to be a non-smoker, but please no smoking inside. The cost of all utilities (including the internet connection and some common kitchen supplies) is an additional $65/person/month averaged over the whole year.
I’ve added new things to my albums:
- Chamber construction – What I’m working on right now.
- Week 27 – With Jeremy in Geneva and French National Day.
- Week 28 – Sunflowers, two barbeques, pictures of the work in 180, the broken window on our car, and more…
- Week 29 – Erecting the first endcap muon sector frame in 180
Also, thanks to Jeremy I discovered that the new folders were hidden to everyone except me (unless you link directly to them) and that problem is now fixed. Next up is will be weeks 30 and 34. Then I will put up those panoramas from Chamonix that I promised. And then finally I need to go back and fill in the photos from previous years (first the summer of 2004, then much older stuff that was on my old web page).
I’m filling out the gaps in my gallery for 2005 these days. Lately I’ve filled in Week 24 and Week 25. Week 25 includes hundreds of pictures from my trip with James to Chamonix. Still, there are panoramas I have yet to process and will appear later. There are also new photos for Week 12 and Week 13. (There are no photos from week 11.)
‘French Stores Honor Sabbath, Except When They Don’t‘ is an interesting article in the New York Times today. It explains some the quirks of Sunday opening in France. It is law that stores must be closed on Sunday, but there are many exceptions. Unions are fighting heavily for the protection of the sabbath, but on the other hand 75% of French people want to be able to shop on Sundays. Many businesses get exemptions (such as museums, pharamacists, and owner operated stores) but the whole system is devolving into irrationality as the restrictions get chipped away. It’s an interesting debate. I empathize with some of the goals,
The crackdown against Vuitton and other businesses is largely a result of an aggressive campaign against clothing, shoe and handbag sellers by the National Clothing Federation… Its main goal is to protect small merchants, for whom opening on Sundays is a bother and a burden, from big competitors.
I hate those “huge malls that Americans adore” as if I were French myself. (Though there still is a special place in my heart for our upscale friend out on Big Beaver Road.) The trouble is I think the forces at work are much stronger than Sunday hours can account for. The price, convenience, and selection of larger stores draws people in any day. For me a far more significant factor was the hours after work, I wouldn’t have nearly the same need to shop on Sundays (I would have to get up “early” and bike to the Champion in St. Genis on Sunday, where there always were huge lines just before the noon closing) if the stores would just stay open a little later on the weekdays (8:30pm was the absolute latest closing, which was barely enough for me and my late schedule).
On Tuesday, just after passing Linda on “a great run” I arrived home to find a rabbit sitting in the middle of our yard. A picture from my phone camera is in the gallery. It hoped away before I could get my good camera. I hope it doesn’t nibble away all of the “spicy mixed greens” I am growing (seen in the background). On Sunday at the end of walk through the arboretum I ran into a raccoon eating some french fries on the steps next to the hospital helipad. I’ll upload a picture just as soon as I can get a reliable network connection, lately the one at home has seemed flaky. I’m also working on uploading pictures to fill out my 2005 – CERN folder, but I may have to do that from my office.
During a trip to Hawaii two and a half years ago with my family my mom dragged us to the Polynesian Cultural Center. After a day of palm frond weaving, drum pounding, and canoe appreciation there’s a buffet dinner served at long communal tables. We struck up a conversation with the couple next to us, as they almost force you to do, and ended up speaking of fairly weighty politics. Weighty because the husband was 100% conviced that the US was at the point of no return past the appex of it’s powers. I was as deeply disgusted by the dumbass child we had soiling the sheets in Whitehouse, but at least I took of vaguely optomistic view of things. He said quite bluntly to me, “I’m sorry you’re young, the only hope I feel is that I may not live to see the country fall completely apart.” I told him I don’t take nearly such a dismal view of our nation, in part because I simply can’t, I have to live with what I am given. He was in no way swayed, even by my less fatalistic arguments. But, mostly his views came as a reaction to his wife’s, which were unwaiveringly optimistic. She emigrated from Germany just after the war and took one of those lucky mailroom to boardroom carear paths. I can’t entirely blame him. There may well be some dark days ahead.
Facing the possibility of those dark days is a recent Newsweek article. There is a good reason Fareed Zakaria [FZ.com] [Wikipedia], editor of Newsweek’s international edition, is a frequent and well loved guest on The Daily Show. Fareed Zakaria speaks the truth, and the latest incarnation of that truth is in ‘How Long Will America Lead the World?’ Of course a magazine article doesn’t solve problems of national policy, but, on the other hand, usually politicians don’t either. The tricky part is getting down to the painful details. Zakaria at least outlines them well. In addition, he offers up a good helping of hope; we have a steady history of success and many of the problems we face have concrete, though painful, solutions. The good ol’ US of A is not teetering at the cliff’s edge, but there is a long steep hill we are cresting and we better start taking some substantial action before we pick up speed.
A search on the Newsweek’s site uncovers further brilliance from Zakaria in the form of his recent columns, ‘Conservative Contradictions’ and ‘Why Kerry Is Right On Iraq’. He also has archives of old columns on his self-titled site.
There are two very cool commericals mentioned on JJ Sutherland’s ‘Mix Signals’ NPR blog. The first is a quirky, self-conscious implementation of a cool, over-the-top beer ad concept. I like the little touches like the men piling over the wire fence and the lone horse rider; they are dramatic and yet pointless much like the whole commercial. The second ad is a Folgers commercial that is the stuff of my worst nightmares. Can they show this stuff on TV? If you know me and my relationship to mornings then you will understand.
Speaking of video “entertainment” on the web, consider putting the Earth in a sandwich.
Check out this hat. Those Bavarian’s don’t mess around. (I assume it is Bavarian from the caption, though it’s content does not instill confidence in its relevance to the photo, that guy is clearly not Koehler, Pelé, or Schiffer.)
BTW, are you watching the World Cup? The rest of the world is, get with the program!
I put up two large albums of Paris photos in the gallery a few days ago. I’m still in the process of adding captions, though. Speaking of captions, I finally made a change to my gallery so that you can see the captions I put in from past years. They only show up on the individual photo pages, not the whole album view. (Also, note, since at least one person has asked, the arrows that appear on the gallery images when your mouse is over the image indicate that you can click to move forward or back. It’s an easy way to browse through the images quickly.)
At the same time I also put up some older stuff that I hadn’t gotten around to. Just before my trip to Paris I took a trip to Harvard for a workshop where I gave two presentations. I didn’t get a lot of time to visit Boston, just one evening walk around downtown, but loved what time I had there. Also, I put up some much older photos from St. Patrick’s Day when Heidi invited us over for a nice dinner at her place including the usual corned beef, cabbage, and beer.
I’m realizing I have quite a lot of older stuff that should be put up in the gallery, not just from two years ago but even from just last year. Hopefully I will get to some of that in the next week or two. With Monica and Jeremy gone and the town kind of quite for the summer, I’m looking for things to entertain me. So, maybe my web page will finally get the updates it deserves.