Moving Teams

When Wimbledon FC moved away from London and became the Milton Keynes Dons, there was a large outcry in the sporting world. Here in the US teams moving from city to city is a fairly common occurrence.

Three of California’s baseball teams came from the East Coast. In 1958 The New York Giants moved to California and became the San Francisco Giants. That same year the Brooklyn Dodgers made the move to Southern California and became the LA Dodgers. Ten years later the Philadelphia Athletics followed suit and became the Oakland Athletics.

The Oakland A’s and LA Dodgers had success following their moves, winning World Series within a few years of their moves. The Giants have not won the Series in the half century since their move.

One result of these moves is that team names that made sense in their original location loss the connection. The Dodgers were so named because getting to the park in Brooklyn involves dodging across trolley bus tracks; whatever hazards there might be in LA, avoiding public transport is not one of them.

Published in: on 24 April, 2008 at 9:35  Comments (2)  

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

On Sunday I went with a couple of visiting friends to watch a baseball game. This was the first baseball game since I moved up to Northern California. Since my last game I have watched it on TV and read a book on watching baseball, so I had a better idea of what was happening. The game was Kansas City at Oakland; the Oakland A’s won 7-1. The A’s won the World Series in three consecutive years back in the seventies when players had mustaches that were almost as large as a baseball bat. They won it again at the end of the eighties when they beat the team from across the bay, the San Francisco Giants.

The entire walkway that runs around the inside of the stadium is lined with places selling food and drink. For those too lazy to get up and go in search of refreshment, vendors walk up and down the aisles during the game selling ice cream, coffee, and other snacks. We had the obligatory hot-dog and beer, as well as sharing an excellent plate of Nachos.

In the UK the team mascot runs or at least trots onto the pitch. Here he drives on in a car, as the announcer proclaims the benefits of using Chevron fuel for a cleaner engine.

Published in: on 22 April, 2008 at 6:24  Comments (1)  

Reverse Blog

When picking a theme for one’s blog, I think it is important to ensure that it offers plenty of material about which to write. The oddities of life in America have been a rich vein for the nearly two years that I have been blogging. I came across a blog ( that seems to offer much less subject matter; the weirdness of life in the UK told from an American stand point. After all, British behavior is always totally normal and I cannot see how can find anything amusing or interesting in the lack of eccentricity and always smooth organization that exemplifies life in Blighty.

Published in: on 21 April, 2008 at 20:27  Comments (2)  

Medieval Pirates

We were in Vacaville for lunch yesterday. There was a Medieval Fantasy Fair in town. This explained the women dressed as princesses and fairies, and the men in armour. I do think that those dressed as pirates, including a Jack Sparrow look alike had a sense of history so poor that they could write scripts for Mel Gibson.

Published in: on 20 April, 2008 at 7:07  Comments (2)  

Where No One Knows Your Name

Maybe it is just me, maybe I am a naturally untrusting individual, but when I receive a letter address to Valued California Resident I don’t feel especially valued. I suppose the positive aspect is that I can bin the letter and not waste time opening and shredding to remove personal information. I do feel that addressing it to The Resident would be more honest.

Published in: on 19 April, 2008 at 16:22  Leave a Comment  

You Have Mail

AT&T provide us with our Internet connectivity and it would seem the additional service of filling our mailbox with mail. We have been in the house less than a month and we have had at least eight pieces of mail from AT&T.

This is a typical example:

I am not sure whether I authorized the action or not… since the letter fails to specify an action. Based on this letter, I think that AT&T are an organization that need help with their own communications before offering to help their customers.

I have signed up for paperless bills, but that does seem to prevent them sending the following bill, which is clearly going to cost them more to mail than they will get in return.

It almost makes me feel nostalgic for BT (British Telecom).

Published in: on 18 April, 2008 at 6:43  Comments (1)  

Park and Thrive

In the UK most hospitals charge visitors and patients for parking. This can be tricky if you are visiting the hospital unexpectedly, as you may not have suitable change to feed the machines.

Earlier in the week we visited a hospital in Vallejo and the parking free, as seems to be the norm among hospitals in California. Moreover, during office hours they offered a valet parking service, so you could stop at convenient place, get out of the car and your car would then be taken to the parking garage (Multi-storey car park) for you.

We just parked ourselves and then took advantage of the hospital’s clever scheme to encourage exercise as we walked the seemingly endless corridors to where my mother-in-law was staying.

Published in: on 17 April, 2008 at 5:43  Comments (1)  

Corporate Censorship

I have to report a terrible piece of censorship of political expression that is happening here in the US.
If you run a Windows PC open Notepad type the following in
Bush hid the facts
Do not press , save the file
Close Notepad
Open the file again
You will see that your incisive political commentary has been obscured.
There are those who claim that this is not censorship, they point out that if you type Bill fed the goats, you get the same result. However, pause for a moment and ask yourself if the alternative is plausible. Which is more likely, that a Microsoft program has a bug or notepad is connected directly to the NSA who censor anything that is critical of Bush? Obviously, it must be the latter.

Published in: on 16 April, 2008 at 6:05  Comments (6)  

Down in the Valley

This weekend the coolness of early spring departed and the temperature moved into the 30 Celsius range. We drove up into Napa Valley, eating lunch in Yountville and then heading up to Saint Helena. Napa Valley would be attractive if it was an untouched wilderness, but with the mix of architecture, the great dining, and agriculture that creates such splendid product, the valley is truly wonderful.

On the way home, we stopped in the city of Napa itself and had Anette’s home made ice-cream. It is worth driving the twenty minutes to Napa just to indulge in this heavenly dessert; the peach and the mint truffle are especially recommended.

It is great when an ordinary Saturday feels like a vacation.

Published in: on 13 April, 2008 at 17:29  Leave a Comment  

Up for the Cup

The Scottish football team that I support is the strangely named “Queen of the South”, as it is my parent’s local team. I have seen them play at Palmerston Park on a couple of occasions; neither time did the win. Today, however, they won an historic game. They beat Aberdeen 4-3 in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final. On May 24 they will play in their first ever Cup Final. Unfortunately, I do not think that any US TV channel carries Scottish Cup football, so I shall not get to see the game.

I have just heard an interview with the Manager and Chairman. I do not wish to say anything in this blog that might be considered libelous, but I suspect that the Chairman might have been partaking of a wee dram or two; though it may just have been the emotion of the occasion. If Rangers are the opponents then Queen of the South would play in Europe next year.

Go Doonhammers (If you will forgive me a very American cheer)

Published in: on 12 April, 2008 at 8:23  Leave a Comment