July 26th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Birthday

My day was full of foods, naps, and phone calls. It was lovely and it was leisurely. I ate far too much, but it was good food. I spoke to all the members of my immediate family, one phone call per person. My parents, along with tens of thousands of Ragbrai riders, were scattered across the western hills of Iowa. My sister and I played phone tag all day, but my grandmothers and I reached each other easily enough. C.'s parents even called in honor of the day!

All I have done this weekend was eat. On Friday, we went to the Hopper Hut, probably the best Indian restaurant in town. On Saturday, we went to St. Lawrence market, picnicked, and then ate farmer's market bounty for dinner. (I've outlined a whole post's worth of foods involved in yesterday, but it's not read to post yet.) Today, we went to Mitzi's (pistachio ricotta, sour cherries, whipped cream, and maple syrup) for brunch, and then digested in time for a decadently well-paced dinner. I love indulging in the sorts of meals which last for hours, digesting in time for the next course, coordinating drinks, and enjoying leisurely conversation with a few good friends. That's the kind of evening it was. A very good birthday evening.

Thank you for all your lovely birthday wishes!
Fishy Circumstances

Sporting relations

A few weeks ago, Little Portugal turned into an ongoing street party in honor of Portugal's successes in the European Cup. Yesterday, Little Portugal turned into an impromptu street party in honor of Brazil's win of the Copa America. People of both Brazilian and Portugese descent live in Little Portugal, but the sporting endorsements went further than geographic and linguistic coincidence. There was a large amount of overlap in terms of both people and venues for both tournaments.

Brazil and Portugal share a closer colonial relationship than many countries do. Although Portugal's early colonizing successes gave it a strong foothold in the Indian Ocean, within a century it had lost most of its possessions there to the Spanish. By the height of the colonial era, Portugal's worldwide holdings dwarfed compared to Spain, France, and England. Brazil and Portugal share a more unusual political bond as well: at one point, the capital of Portugal was moved to Brazil. I do not know if many people in Portugal itself celebrated Brazil's win yeserday. But is the sporting support of each others' teams more pronounced for Brazil and Portugal than it is for most country pairs, colonial or otherwise?

I know that there are legions of Manchester United fans in Japan and India, but I don't know if those same fans tuned in to cheer on England in the European Cup. Certainly, I don't think that fanship works both ways as strongly as it does the one. I've rarely heard a Brit talk about sports in which Japanese or Indian teams were specifically competing. In Eurovision (not a sport, I know), partisan voting is frequently along linguistic and geographic lines, when the strength of a given song doesn't pull a voting nation in any other more specific direction.

Is the support for each others' teams in LIttle Portugal a product of the fact that both groups are expats in Canada, or is there a deeper tradition and relationship of support for each others' teams in international competition? Do other countries share this kind of comraderie?
Fishy Circumstances

Suzette Hadin Elgin

When I was a teenager, my local SF bookstore introduced me to Native Tongue, a novel about a futuristic America where women no longer have emancipation and communication with aliens is part of the daily job of the linguists' households. Some of the "quotations" preceding the chapters were made up of some of the most tasteful filk I have ever had the pleasure to read. I read the rest of the trilogy, and then, language junkie that I was at the time, ordered the companion volume to Láadan, the constructed language which the linguist women within the book had designed for private communication, and which the author, a linguist herself, had worked out in great detail. The book took a year to arrive, but I treasured it. I wasn't fan enough to learn the language, however.

Suzette Hadin Elgin wrote those books, along with her series of language-use books which began with The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense. I spent a good while at Jason Taniguchi's house last year discussing the series with him, since the various volumes of it littered his architecturally-balanced barricades of books.

All of this is just to tell you that Suzette Hadin Elgin now has a weblog: ozarque.