Short Term Employment

There is a perception in the US media that being a coach at an NFL team is a precarious position; that owners dismiss coaches at the drop of a hat. Compared to the English Premier League, an NFL coach’s position is one of almost geological stability.

Arsene Wenger is the longest serving manager in the English Premier League. He has been at Arsenal since 1996, longer than any NFL manager has held his post. However, the second most tenured manager in England’s top flight has held the position since December 2010, a little over three years. One quarter of the managers were appointed this year and sixty-five percent were appointed since the end of last season.

Eleven of the thirty-two NFL coaches were appointed in or before 2010. And three of the NFL coaches have been at their team for ten or more years. Granted seven coaches were appointed this year, but that is a lower percentage than in England, and came after the season was complete.

The longest serving manager in English football history was Fred Everiss, who held the position for forty-six years; although that record is beaten in the US by Connie Mack. He was the Athletics’ manager for fifty years.

Published in: on 11 April, 2014 at 6:00  Leave a Comment  

Less Than Tempting Offer

I received an email from the dealer that sold me the electric Fiat. It appears below. It offers me a free oil change. This would be a great offer, but electric cars do not require oil changes. It is one of the advantages of having such vehicles, along with doing the equivalent of 125mpg, the cost of the “electric gallon” being 10% less than the petrol gallon, the half price bride tolls, and the free fueling at work. It makes me wonder whether I should believe the claim that is highlighted in the screenshot of the email.

Capture Mail 2014 04 04 08 40 16

Published in: on 5 April, 2014 at 20:44  Leave a Comment  

History in the Making

I have lived in the US since 2006. Therefore, I have missed being present at the A’s historical achievements. I have seen none of their nine World Series wins. I was not present when Henderson set the all time record for base steals. I was not there on the night that they set the record for consecutive wins, but I have seen the movie.

I was not at the Coliseum for Catfish Hunter’s perfect game. I did see the last inning live on TV of Dallas Braden’s perfect game; until last night that was as close as I had been to a moment of major history.

Last night I went to Opening Day at Oakland, my fifth such visit in as many years. Oakland set an all time record for the longest opening day losing streak in baseball history. They lost their first game of the season for the tenth straight year; breaking the previous “best” streak of nine that they jointly held with The Braves and The Giants.

I suppose I can take solace knowing that my presence for the last five years is not wholly to blame for the bad luck, as the A’s were already half way to history before I started going to Opening Day games.

Published in: on 1 April, 2014 at 5:58  Leave a Comment  

Stirred, not Shaken

There can be few fictional characters who have had such a bad influence on the world than James Bond. He famously ordered his Martini, “Shaken, not stirred”. This is not the correct way to mix a Martini or any other cocktail whose ingredients are transparent. Shaking these drinks causes small slivers of ice to be suspended in the drink, making the drink appear cloudy and changing the mouth texture.

Shaking should be reserved for drinks that include juice, milk, or egg. Shaking helps break these up and mixes the drink more effectively.

Most bars will shake the Martini and Manhattan as well as Sidecars. I feel sure that this faux pas can be laid at the feet of Mr Bond. His command, moreover, shows that stirring was the accepted method at the time. For if barmen of the time had shown the same disregard for correctness that they do in this age, he would not have felt the need to instruct the bartender to shake.

The end result of this is that now I am the one who has to ask for my Negroni to be stirred and not shaken. Damn you Mr Bond.

Published in: on 29 March, 2014 at 7:22  Leave a Comment  

Endings and Beginnings

The English football season approaches its end. Norwich City have just seven more games left. They sit on thirty-two points, eight short of the magic number that has always been enough to stave off relegation. Seven games may seem like more than enough time to accumulate those points, but the last four games are against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea. Form would suggest that expecting even a single point would be an exercise in unwarranted optimism.

Therefore, the next three games become the critical ones. We start on Saturday with Swansea away, followed by WBA at home, and Fulham away. Norwich need to win two of those at least to avoid those last four games turning into a slow, powerless spiral around the drain of relegation. Given Norwich’s results at Fulham, a series of humiliating hidings, the Swansea game becomes a make or break game. I am not sure if I can face starting my weekend with the nerve wracking experience of watching the Canaries struggle through another live game.

On the bright-side, Monday brings with it the optimism of a new season of baseball. I have a ticket for Oakland’s opening game. The fifth year in a row that I gone to see the A’s first home game of the season. The last four years I have seen them lose to the Seattle Mariners in that opener; that dismal sequence part of a far longer run of opening day loses for Oakland.

Given that run of loses, you might ask why I seemed upbeat about the coming season. Apart from the ever present hope that all fans, other than Cubbies, have before the season begins; there are the back to back division titles that Oakland have won. The A’s should once again be competitive, although generally not when I go to see the games.

However, even watching a losing game of baseball is still an enjoyable way to spend a few hours in the Spring and Summer.

Published in: on 28 March, 2014 at 7:20  Leave a Comment  

Saving Water

We are in the midst of an historically severe drought in California.

In unrelated news we replaced two toilets in our home with units that use less than half the water of our previous loos.

Published in: on 21 March, 2014 at 20:39  Leave a Comment  

Life in the Fast Lane

The DMV finally delivered the stickers that make Sophia, my electric Fiat, able to drive in the Carpool lane and more importantly use the half-price bridge toll. Unfortunately, I have to use all three stickers to disfigure the cars pristine bodywork.

Published in: on 8 March, 2014 at 7:00  Leave a Comment  

The Man Without the Famous Name

On Thursday Frank Jobe passed away. It is not a name that resonates with many people. He is someone who made a massive contribution to the game of baseball. He was a surgeon who invented a procedure to replace torn ligaments in pitcher’s arms. This surgery saved the career of many players. It was so important that the name of the pioneer is attached to the procedure. It is called “Tommy John Surgery”, after the first player to benefit from it;the brilliant surgeon who invented it did not get his name associated with it.

Published in: on 7 March, 2014 at 7:26  Leave a Comment  

Head On Collision

On Sunday we started the process of finding a new car for my wife. The process was a success in so far as we eliminated several possibilities; Audi A4, Cadillac CTS, Buick Lacrosse, and Mercedes CLS are all off the table after test drives.

One car that is still a possibility is the Volvo S60. We took a couple out for test drives. As I drove it back into the dealer, a set of bollards were pointed out to me. This seemed superfluous, they were obvious, I was hardly going to run into them. Then the salesman told me to speed up and drive right at them. It is not easy to point a car at an object and accelerate; years of instinct tell one that this is a bad idea. However, being British I also have an instinct that tells me to do as I am told. I depressed the accelerator, gathered speed, and then the car decided that this bollard hitting thing was a bad idea. The car applied the brakes and came to a halt before impact.

Published in: on 26 February, 2014 at 7:00  Comments (1)  

Not Enough Choices

Maybe I drink in the wrong places, but bar staff never give me a full range of choices. If I order a Manhattan, I will be asked what Whiskey I want. If I order a Martini, I should be asked for a brand of Gin; unless it is the sort of undesirable place that assumes I want Vodka.

Never have I been asked a question that is just as important for both drinks; what brand of Vermouth do I want. For a Manhattan choosing Martini & Rossi or Punt E Mes makes a vast difference to the drink. Unless you believe, like Churchill, that a Martini I made with ice cold gin and a bow in the direction of France, then once again your drink will be very different with M&R over Dolin.

I suspect the problem is that whilst most bars have a range of Gin and Whiskey, they stock only a single Vermouth – so we are stuck with the lack of choice when ordering Manhattans and Martinis.

Published in: on 25 February, 2014 at 7:00  Leave a Comment  

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