2008-01-27T10:57:52.615-08:00We are making a triumphant return to blogger. Unfortunately, we only currently have our blogger posted archive up (which goes back to January 2006). Eventually, we will get the rest of our stuff on there (or at least that is the hope). Fortunately, there is very little in the way of Angels news at the moment, so we haven't missed that much.
2008-01-27T10:45:39.440-08:00The Senate just invoked cloture on the Alito debate by a count of 72-25.
Me: Hey Landon! How ya' feeling?Hand to God.
Landon Donovan: I'm feeling good. How about yourself?
Me: Couldn't be better.
Landon Donovan: Good. Save me a beer, will ya?
Me: No can do, pal. $6.50.
2008-01-27T10:44:16.674-08:00Give me one good reason why I didn't just waste an hour of my life.
2008-01-27T10:43:26.278-08:00Hey, media idiots: read the fucking press release again. It's Houston 1836, not the Houston 1836.
2008-01-27T10:42:44.915-08:00...love the name, not too hot over the logo...
2008-01-27T10:41:31.988-08:00I read a local news story about a law that the governor of Wisconsin wants passed similar to the one recently passed in Maryland requiring Wal-Mart to provide employee health care. Governor Doyle claims that Wal-Mart is shirking its responsibility of health care to the state (and, therefore, taxpayers). He makes a point that could easily be brought up often in the future as health care costs rise. That being if someone else can afford to take care of you or if it is your choice to be unhealthy (through things like smoking, eating junk food, having unprotected sex) then the government will not provide health care. Of course, private industry has a perfect solution to that: increase the costs of health insurance to those that engage in particularly risky behavior. When the government tries to provide something for "free" that just means that they can't increase incoming money flow (it wouldn't be fair), except by raising taxes (let's get it all from the rich). Gov. Doyle also tries to assuage fears that Wal-Mart would have to raise prices by saying that the $4.75 million bill would result in a 0.000001 percent increase. Doing a quick calculation, with $4.75 million about 0.000001 percent of Wal-Mart's revenues, they take in $475 trillion (I assume over a year). Estimated US GDP for 2005 is about $12.37 trillion, while the entire world has an estimated 2005 GDP of $59.38 trillion. Of course, the easiest and best solution to this is to eliminate government run health care altogether. Then the government won't have to spend money there and people will have more money to spend on things like...good privatized health care. Of course, that still leaves some people with minimal health care, but 1) that's the way of the world, not everyone can get everything and 2) it gives people very strong incentives to make more money. Besides, one reason health care costs are "high" is because many people don't pay the full price for procedures and drugs...and those companies have to get that money from elsewhere, namely those that can afford it. One argument that they are making is that apparently employees are being directed to BadgerCare, the state's health care program. Well, is it surprising that a company that doesn't offer health care to its own employees would direct refer said employees to the cheapest available option if they qualify? No one said that their employees had to get health care. It is a personal choice, not a right. Of course, if this bill eventually passes, it just means that Wal-Mart will find it less desirable to do business in Wisconsin. Which, of course, means fewer jobs for low skill workers, more unemployment, and more people that qualify for government run health care. UPDATE: George Will has a column up about the Maryland law just passed. In it, lists some stats: 86% of Wal-Mart employees have health insurance, most through the company. These include plans where you pay as little as $11 a month (as a graduate student at a state university, I am a state employee and my health insurance costs an astonishingly low $25 a month). Wal-Mart has paid over $3000 in benefits per employee over the last year. The company's $285 billion revenues (just 2000 times lower than Gov. Doyle's claims) amounted to 3.6% profit ($10.3 billion) and just $6,000 profit per employee...which is below the national average. Of course, the most important point, in my opinion, is that when Wal-Mart enters a market, retail prices drop 5-8%, saving consumers (read: everyday people, whether you shop at Wal-Mart or not) $16 billion a year. That means they save people more money than they actually make profits on. This savings gets to be passed on to other businesses and people, whether they be banks, homeowners, car companies, retail stores, gyms, food, etc.[...]
2008-01-27T10:39:43.352-08:00This week's Lost was ok, but it's nothing to lose our heads over.
2008-01-27T10:38:49.959-08:00A-Rod finally made his decision, will play for the US in the World Baseball Classic. For those of you following along, he first said he was going to be on the Dominican team, despite being born in America and, if I recall correctly, never living in the Dominican Republic. After taking flak for his choice, he said that he would not play at all, so as not to offend everyone. This led to him taking flak for not being able to make a decision and worrying about his image too much. This, in turn, led to A-Rod saying he would play for the US. The press still did not go easy on him, so he flat out denied he was going to play. Then his name was announced on the DR provisional roster. Finally, Slappy McBluelips announced officially, presumably once-and-for-all, that he would play for the US, thus assuring a Dominican victory in the WBC, much as Peyton Manning will choke away any reasonable hope his team has of winning a playoff game.
2008-01-27T10:38:05.387-08:00Word from the OC Register says that Disney and the city of Anaheim never planned to have two cities in the Angels' name. The reason why the lease did not specify that the team name had to be Anaheim Angels is because Disney wanted some naming flexibility, such as using the names "Angels of Anaheim" or the far crappier "Almighty Angels of Anaheim" a la the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. In other words, Disney wanted the ability to make changes to the nickname or the order in which the nickname and city are used. I think that the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim remain the only major sports team (if NHL is still considered major) with an official name in which the city is behind the nickname, while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are the major sports team with an official name with two locations. This combo certainly makes Anaheim the most unique sports naming location in the US.
2008-01-27T10:37:18.446-08:00Apparently, the Angels signed Salmon to a minor-league contract with no intention of him ever making the squad. It is basically for him to see if he can get in shape to play for another team. There is even a clause in the contract that says he will be released by March 23rd if he hasn't made it on the 25 man roster. Here's hoping he has a great spring training where the team can't help but keep him.
2008-01-27T10:36:24.455-08:00So, this weekend had some superb football, and none of the games were particularly bad (no real blowouts, although some games had an air of inevitability to them). The first game was Seahawks-Redskins, where Washington showed off the same offense in the first half that helped the win their wild card game. Yes, the offense that gained the fewest yards ever in a playoff victory. The Seahawks, meanwhile, were busy turning the ball over and losing the NFL MVP to a concussion. Hasselbeck to Jackson became the heroic combination of the day as they racked up 143 yards and were able to lead the Seahawks to a 17-3 lead with 14 minutes left. The Redskins made it interesting with a quick TD on their next drive, then a fumble recovery on the subsequent kickoff, but John Hall missed a 36 yard field goal. This lead to a great clock killing drive by the Seahawks, taking 5 minutes off of the clock and getting 3 points. The Redskins, down to their last drive were able to convert on a 4th and 16, but alas the Seahawks carried the day. Then came the Pats-Broncos tilt. Until the last couple minutes of the 1st half, there was nothing going on, although the Patriots seemed to slowly be gaining momentum, leading to a FG with about 4 minutes left. They then forced a quick punt and got the ball back with well over 2 minutes left in the half, when Kevin Faulk fumbled to the Broncos. A poor pass interference call on the Patriots in the end zone helped the Broncos get score the first TD of the game. Then, the Patriots fumbled on the kickoff return, leading to a Broncos FG before the end of the half. The Patriots picked up a FG in the middle of the third, setting up the pivotal drive of the game. The Patriots were on the Denver 5 yard line, and Tom Brady made one of his uncharacteristic mistakes, throwing the ball to a covered Troy Brown, which Champ Bailey intercepted and proceeded to run downfield. Spiderman's uncle, Ben Watson, realizing that he had great power and the responsibility to keep after Bailey was able to knock the ball out of his hand as he reached the goalline. It appeared to go out in the end zone (around the pylon), but the officials declared it out at the one. Upon a challenge, there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the call (although I am as sure that that went out in the end zone as I am that the "tuck" was a fumble). And, it actually mattered because if it went out in the end zone, it would have been Pats ball at the 20. Instead, Denver scored on the next play, putting the game nearly out of reach. The Pats recovered enough to get close enough for a 43 yard FG, which old reliable, Adam Vinatieri, missed. After stopping the Broncos, they went for a punt block and Troy Brown had to run all the way back and catch the punt and he muffed it, giving the Broncos the ball back and, soon enough, a 24-6 lead. The defending champs were not done yet and scored on the next play, a 73 yard pass from Brady to Givens. When the Broncos picked up a FG on their next drive, the Pats had less than 3 and a half minutes to score two TDs to tie, but Brady was quickly intercepted to end it all. The defending champs were finally beaten, clobbered by their own uncharacteristic mistakes. The games on Sunday were much crazier. THe first one pitted the Steelers and the Colts, two teams that had been troubled by the Pats the past two years. The Steelers, a power-running team, came out passing and Big Ben quickly guided his team to a TD. Meanwhile, the Colts went 3 and out on their first two possessions, before Big Ben led his team to another TD. After each team traded a couple of punts, the Colts went on one of their once-a-game-clock-killing-drives that announcers are always shocked they do. After 9 and a half minutes, they we[...]
2008-01-27T10:35:32.266-08:00The Angels locked up Figgins for 3 years and $10.5 million, avoiding arbitration with their Lightning to Vlad's Thunder. They also were able to sign Juan Rivera, 4th OF/DH extraordinaire, to a 2 year contract, probably worth around $4 million.
2008-01-27T10:34:31.390-08:00Holy crap, Lost is a brilliant show. In the interest of those watching the show west of me (and, therefore, have not even had the chance to see it as of this posting) I will only say that this was probably the best episode of the season so far.
2008-01-27T10:33:25.092-08:00Steve Bisheff reports that the Angels are moving Erstad to CF in Spring Training, with Figgy moving to 3rd, Kotchman to 1st, and Dallas DHing. He then adds that the Angels need a power bat desperately, while failing to mention that Kothcman was their second best power hitter last year. With Quinlan and Rivera coming off the bench to fill in at the various corner positions, and no Steve Finley, the Angels can't help but have more punch in their offense. Plus, they have the team's best power hitter of all-time invited to Spring Training. Their offense can't possibly be as bad as last year without significant injuries.
2008-01-27T10:32:39.102-08:00Apparently, a federal law was recently passed and signed which, essentially, prohibits annoying someone anonymously over the internet (Via Instapundit). Of course, on the plus side, our comment policy against anonymous flaming now has a bit more weight to it now.
2008-01-27T10:31:40.888-08:00The initial hearing in the Angels name change case was held today. Basically, all that was decided was that most evidence would be allowed for both sides, including the city's claim that it lost money because of the lack of use of "Anaheim" by media outlets.
2008-01-27T10:31:02.245-08:00I watched the BCS Title Game last night, the first college football game I have watched all the way through in years. It really reminded me of why I don't like college football...nobody can tackle worth a damn. I mean it was like both teams had the Raiders defense minus Schweigert and Burgess. Texas came out pretty nasty early on (one guy in their secondary kneed a Trojan receiver in the head twice, they were constantly pushing guys after they were out of bounds, things like that), but the Trojans were ready to run away with the game. Leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Reggie "He's-real-and-he's-spectacular" Bush made a fantastic run after a catch to the Texas 20 when he decided to lateral to a guy running next to him. Well, that guy didn't get it and Texas scored 16 straight points. Matt Leinart came alive in the second half, LenDale White just kept chugging up the middle of the field, and Reggie "He's-real-and-he's-spectacular" Bush made a couple more plays for the highlight reel, including the one where he finished a 30 yard TD run with a somersault dive from the 5 yard line. USC was able to build a 12 point lead with under 7 minutes left.
2008-01-27T10:21:34.576-08:00Granted, it is still in the talking stages, but this is some of the best TV news I have heard in the past couple of months (it certainly ranks up there with when I found out that Scrubs' 5th season was finally going to begin in January...which it did last night and was as funny as ever).
2008-01-27T10:20:49.529-08:00It was a harrowing two days, but the Raiders fired Norv Turner today. Who should they pick up to coach next season? And who will they pick up? Whoever it is, I hope it is someone that can make their offensive line block (1st and goal at the one, straight ahead runs 4 times in a row and can't make it?!?!?!) and teach the guys on defense how to tackle.
2008-01-27T10:19:51.855-08:00I made it back to Madison safely Thursday night/Friday morning. Expect some catch up posts over the next week or so.
2008-01-27T10:18:14.163-08:00After three long years, the original Angels blog - Purgatory Online - calls it quits. You'll be missed, Sean.
2008-01-27T10:17:31.204-08:00ESPNews is reporting that Steve Finley has been traded to San Francisco.
2008-01-27T10:16:37.215-08:00Why? You'll have to ask Bill Stoneman...
2008-01-27T10:15:34.290-08:00Well, I finally finished my last class ever today. Nearly twenty years of school, and all I have to show for it is doing two more years of research for my Ph.D. Anyways, I am off to California tomorrow (will be in at around 7 PM PST) for a warm Christmas (whoever dreamt of a white Christmas, obviously was insane). I will leave you all with the same story I told last winter of my harrowing journey back to Madison following my first winter trip home (originally found here): We got to the airport at 11:30 AM for a 2:15 PM flight because we had a tip that it could take awhile to get in (this was during one of the Orange Alerts for Southern California airports). Then, we find out the flight is delayed because Chicago is windy and they are taking more time for landings. So, we leave Orange County around 4:30 PM and get to Chicago at 10:30 PM Central Time. Well, our flight from Chicago to Madison was supposed to leave at 9:15 PM, but it got delayed so much it was canceled. So, we got a discount at a hotel (the airline wouldn't comp it because the FAA shut flights down, not the airline itself). We didn't get to our room until after midnight, which gives us a whole 6 hours (sleep at 1:30, wake up at 7:30) We get the 10:20 AM flight to Madison and our luggage is going on the 8 AM flight. Then, we get on the plane and have to wait 20 minutes extra while they fill up the fuel more than they need to (it had had enough in it, but they wanted to top it off, I guess...it's only a 25 minute flight). When we are in the air there is a fuel leak or something and so we land in Milwaukee at about 11:15 AM (which is about the same distance from Chicago that Madison is, but the flight path takes us over Lake Michigan making Milwaukee closer). They tell us they will bus us to Madison and the bus will be at the airport in 20 minutes. Well, the bus made it at 12:15 AM. Then the driver decides the bus isn't running right (or something) while on the on ramp to a freeway. So, he goes in reverse to get to the offramp right next to it (they had asphalt connecting them). We go back to the airport, get on another bus and drive the 60 miles to Madison. We make it to the airport at about 1:45 PM, where our luggage is no longer waiting for us. They have it behind the ticket counter wall (seems like a good place). Well, they only have one person getting bags for people there and all of his time is taken up by one guy. This guy is complaining that kerosene spilled onto his bag (a valid complaint). The problem was that the guy gave him two options 1) they could keep the bag and clean it there and have it ready in a couple of hours or 2) they could give him a voucher to have it cleaned himself. Well, he didn't like option 1 because he had to be in a meeting in an hour and he needed his bag and he didn't like option 2 because he was leaving right afterwards and he wanted his bag cleaned now. Well, his complaining was obviously not going to miraculously change physics to allow the airline to clean the bag on this guy's timeframe, so we were really peeved at this point (25 hours of travel time does that to you). Finally, we get our bags after about 25 minutes of waiting there and get a taxi and head home. We got home around 3 PM, which means it took us 26 hours or so to go from point A to point B.[...]