Archive for June, 2010

What World Cup?

When the World Cup began, I was impressed by how many bars here in Atlanta planned to show the matches. Big signs promising drink specials and multiple television screens popped up outside several neighborhood establishments. But that was before I realized that very few people would patronize them.

A few bars here attract crowds on weekends, I have heard. But the masses of diehard hard fans who would go to pubs in London to watch the World Cup during the week, even at unsociable hours, don’t seem to be present here in Atlanta.

Maybe people are recording the matches, and watching them later in the comfort of their own homes. Or maybe they’re content to get live scores from their handheld devices.

But I feel for the bars who decided to open early, and offer breakfast specials to entice the legions of World Cup fans who don’t seem to be here.

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BP CEO’s Yachting Weekend

I wonder if Tony Hayward had any idea that he would set off a media maelstrom by attending a yacht race off the English coast.

I suppose he wanted a break from getting battered on Capitol Hill, and supervising the cleanup of another coast. But surely, someone must have considered the anger that would arise at his admiring a boat race on pristine English waters while Gulf of Mexico tourists will most likely be stuck watching races between tar balls, rather than luxury yachts, for years to come.

BP’s CEO on Capitol Hill

During today’s epic drilling, during which Tony Hayward dodged questions and responsilbity for the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I couldn’t help but wonder whether it’s too soon to start laying blame.

After all, oil is still gushing into the Gulf. Shouldn’t the CEO of the company behind the disaster be directing the effort to stop the flow, rather than deflecting tough questions from lawmakers?

As candid and cruel as some of those questions were, I would rather have been in the Capitol Hill hot seat, rather than on board a boat, trying to figure out how to stem the tide of the ecological disaster, if I were BP’s CEO.

At the very least, he did say he was sorry…

Hotlanta

If our car’s dashboard thermometer is accurate, temperatures hit 100 degrees fahrenheit today here in Atlanta. It certainly felt like it. And it’s only mid-June.

What’s alarming is that summer hasn’t officially begun yet. From the unofficial poll I have taken, Atlantans seem to be divided over whether this weather is normal for this time of year: some say it is, and others say that this June is hotter than they can remember.

They all seem to agree that as hot as it is now, August will be even worse.

Why the World Cup Tie?

During a barbecue viewing party for the England-US World Cup match on Saturday, a frustrated American viewer yelled when she saw the final score: “What kind of sport has games that end in ties?!”

I felt for her, because she was obviously new to non-American football, and the startling prevalence of draws — especially in this World Cup so far.

I have grown accustomed to tie games, after six years of marriage to an Englishman whose team doesn’t always do what its supporters hope. A draw, after all, is better than a loss — even if the scoreboard reads: “0-0.”

As an American with a British passport, I wasn’t heartbroken with the result — at least nobody lost.

World Cup Fever Hits the US

I am impressed by the level of excitement here in Atlanta ahead of the World Cup. There are signs in front of bars, coaxing fans to watch the tournament while drinking at their establishments; daily articles in the press (even LOCAL papers!); and conversations between people I never knew followed soccer/football, talking about where they play to watch, and who think they will win.

During the ’02 and ’06 World Cups, I was living in London, where you couldn’t avoid getting drawn into the hoopla: there were fans decked out in their country’s kit, screaming newspaper headlines, and constant World Cup chatter everywhere you looked.

Here, I expected football fever to pass the country by. But instead, people seem to suddenly be soccer fans, holding viewing parties, complete with barbecues, to watch the US play England on Saturday.

I hope that the excitement lasts, even if the US team doesn’t.

Taking Responsibility: BP’s Oil Spill


While I appreciate BP’s CEO admitting that the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is his company’s fault, I couldn’t help feeling that I share some of the blame.

I buy gas (not from BP stations since the April 20th explosion, but still…) and, as it turns out, I am a BP shareholder.

When I looked today at a breakdown of my kids’ savings accounts in the UK, I noticed that BP is the top held share in both funds.

I didn’t pick the shares — the Child Trust Fund administrator did — but I didn’t protest when I saw the statement. My kids are too young to ask probing questions about why we support big polluters with their college funds, but that day might come soon.

Maybe it is time for us to switch to alternative fuels, and to diversify the kids’ savings into ethically sound companies.

In the meantime, if we make it to a Gulf of Mexico beach this summer, we will be sure to bring the tar remover.