At work we've all participated in a sweepstake, with everybody selecting a World Cup team. There were the usual comments for some folk - for example, a colleague who chose Switzerland was told to cheer up because "they're rubbish at football - but boy can they yodel!"
As for me, a friend circulated an email asking how I, a Scot, was going to deal with having picked England. I replied that I respected the traditions and supported the national teams when I lived in Italy and France, and it was the same now (finishing with "cricket test? What cricket test?")
As it happened, we tried watching the games in the Draughty Old Fen, then put on the radio for the commentary, but had to switch over both times because of those blessed Vuvuzela horns; but I can remember my Mum making similar criticisms of Irvine Meadow fans and their rattles after matches when we lived in the Ayrshire town (behind the stadium).
With its customary patriotism, the BBC has published a report saying that England were forced to settle for a disappointing draw. What rubbish: a defeat is disappointing, a draw isn't.
The draw possibly also served as a metaphor for the political football game being played by Barack Obama and David Cameron over the BP oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, to which the company's chief executive added insult to injury with his comment "I'd like my life back".
Obama's constant references to "British Petroleum", however, perhaps indicate a failure to grasp the interpenetration of liabilities and responsibilities, which are as mixed as USA midfielder Stuart Holden's Scottish and English parentage: a situation, like so many pertaining to Anglo-American relations, best depicted by Wes Wilson's adaptation of the Yin/Yang theme in his poster for the Beatles' concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
Obama's half-hour phone-call with the Prime Minister, in which he told Cameron that his handling of the crisis had "nothing to do with national identity", may indicate that somebody's told him of the likely consequences of his demands that BP not pay dividends until the spill is cleaned up: that American investors and pension funds, which make up 40% of BP's shareholder constituency, will want him to explain to them why their returns have fallen. Unfortunately this isn't going to be over quickly - the gulf-stream is set to move contaminants to the coasts of the Carolinas, and eventually over to those of western Ireland and north-west Scotland.
Both England and the US gave a good account of themselves in this first game for either team. I wish us well against Algeria, and them good luck against Slovenia, both on Friday. I'll try to catch the games...maybe with the volume off?
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