My Short Item in The Magazine

Bangkok Post's The Magazine

The current issue of The Magazine (pictured above), a bi-monthly glossy published by the Bangkok Post, contains a very brief item I wrote about Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. (You’ve heard me mention Wilco before, no doubt.) In each issue, various folks are asked to weigh in on their favorite album, book, or movie. The item isn’t online, sadly, but interested Bangkokians can find my thoughts on page eight.

My Favorite Podcasts

Podcasts. Would life be worth living without them? Here’re some of my faves:

NPR: Shuffle. A daily compilation of the best stories from Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and other shows.

— NPR’s World Story of the Day. Same concept, but limited to foreign dispatches.

ESPN/Soccernet Extra: A bunch of English football journalists discussing the week’s news. Heavy emphasis on the English Premiership.

43 Folders Podcast. Thoughts on personal productivity from Merlin Mann. Centers on David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach. Lots of Apple-related geekiness.

The Marketplace podcast. The daily business show from American Public Media.

The Splendid Table podcast. Features “abundant information on food preparation, appreciation, and culture.” Thanks to A for turning me on to this one.

KQED’s Pacific Time podcast. The show “explores the ideas, trends and cultural patterns that flow back and forth between Asia and America.”

World View, from The New York Times (scroll down to the bottom). Discussions with the NYT‘s international staff.

This American Life. Obviously.

Rojas Spanish Language Podcast. For intermediate to advanced Spanish speakers. I like the host’s Peruvian accent.

On the Media. All media criticism, all the time.

Bolivia, FIFA, and Globalization

Bolivia's Prez Playing Soccer at 19,700 feet [not my image]

Simon Romero had an excellent story in the New York Times yesterday about Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, fighting to defeat the high-altitude soccer ban I mentioned recently. I particularly like the lede (as well as the delightful image, above):

Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, donned a green jersey the other day, watched a llama sacrifice for good luck and flew to a snowy spot nearly four miles above sea level, where he scored the winning goal in a brief match pitting him and his aides against a group of mountain climbers.

It was a textbook lesson in Andean political theater, and the perils a globalized sport can meet when it comes up against a small country’s nationalist passions.

On the surface, Bolivia’s president was simply staging an amusing stunt to fight a ban on international soccer games at altitudes above 2,500 meters, or 8,200 feet.

It’s well known that Mr. Morales will play soccer against virtually anyone, from the foreign press corps to local squads in the hinterlands, to let off steam, and recently broke his nose doing so. But in fact, the ban, enacted last month by soccer bureaucrats in Switzerland, played right to Mr. Morales’ trademark populism, and gave him an opportunity to act as a unifier of his otherwise fractious country.

“Bolivia’s dedication to soccer cuts across the deep dividing lines in the country, which are economic, racial, regional and ideological,” said Jim Shultz, a political analyst in Cochabamba, in central Bolivia. “Fighting the ban is great domestic politics.”

(Emphasis mine.)

A friend of mine who’s studied politics in neighboring Ecuador once told me that he felt the Ecuadorian national football team was the single greatest cohesive force that the nation has working in its favor. The game trumps race, class, politics — everything.

Two related books that I recommend highly: “How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization,” and, in the case of Bolivia and its “market dominant minority,” “World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.”

Me As a Little Guy

You may remember “Uncle” Joel, a long-time friend of the family whose remarkable photography I’ve mentioned here before. He snapped the image of me — here — as a three-year-old.

This morning I woke up to a surprise that has made my month: Joel unearthed this old image of me and my Dad back in 1975 or 1976, when I was a just a little guy. I’d never seen it before. And I really, really love the shot. It’s eerie for me to look at because my Dad was probably 28 at the time Joel snapped the pic, which is a few years younger than I am now, and I think we bear a strong resemblance.

Other observations: I’m not sure what, exactly, I’ve got coming out of my mouth (perhaps the drawstring from my hoodie?). Also, I love my Dad’s jaunty sartorial sense: the anorak jacket, the blue collared shirt, the dope shades, and best of all, the hat. Oh man, the hat. I love it.