Friday, August 29, 2008

10 Years

Some 12 years ago this past May, I had a really good week.  The months preceding that week had been difficult (understatement).  My first marriage had come to an end and my father had passed away from cancer.  So a good week was really welcomed.  Wednesday of that week was an outing to Lazer Tag.  I can't recall if it was a Jaycee outing or a work outing.  Hell, I don't even remember if anyone got outed.  I remember meeting Bill Gates for the first time that Thursday.  Friday was a good night for dinner and drinks with friends at a bar.

But it was Saturday that changed my life.  I get tears in my eyes just writing that.  Memories can be tough bastards.  Anyway, I got up early to go to a Jaycee project of reclaiming a park in a poor neighbor hood.  The park had been destroyed by hurricane Hugo.  As we gathered in a parking lot for the ride to the work site, I noticed a cute girl that I had not seen before.  I wanted to talk to her, but kept my distance.  Why, I don't know.  We didn't speak until close to the end of the morning's work.  I invited her to come have lunch with the crew (since she was new and all), and she accepted.

The next week or so we met again after a Jaycee meeting and she gave me her number.  I still have the sheet of paper that she wrote it on.  I still have the girl, too.  To shorten what could be a very long story, we dated, I moved to Seattle forever and came back after 6 months.  We were married on August 29, 1998. 

These have been the most wonderful 10 years of my life.  We've had so many adventures and wonderful times.  Baseball and Boston, Rome and Waterfalls, and "putting our feet up" and sometimes, just a poke in the ribs have all been made more special through sharing them with her.  We've held each other up through the tough times of seeing friends and family members pass.  We've picked up a house and a couple dogs along the way to making that house a home. 

I spend a lot of time on the road, but there is no place I'd rather be than home with my wife.  Dr. K has become the best thing that has ever happened in my life and I am so grateful for all that put me in the right place and time to meet her and for all that has happened since.  I can't imagine life without her.

Thanks Honey!  Now let's start 10 more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I don't know about McCain or Obama. Hope is slim.

Now is the time that our country needs patriots. I wish I saw one running for President, or Congress, or Dog Catcher. In this context, a patriot is someone who is willing to face harm for the love of one's country. Our soldiers are the most obvious example. A politician that is willing to talk straight about who his plans will help and who they will harm would be a patriot. That person would not do such a thing for his own gain. His political career would be harmed. I thought McCain might be that person, and maybe he will be later in the current campaign, but he is playing it safe for now if he want so get elected. Obama has "changed" most of his platform since the end of the primaries in order to appeal to the center of the political spectrum. That's smart, too, and for the same reason. It looks to me like they are appealing to the feelers and not the thinkers among us. Their "changes" appeal to those not paying attention or with short memories. Worst of all, they don't have to worry about the idiots who wouldn't vote for an _________ if they were the only party running.

Let me explain. If you say that you are willing to kill a child to save a thousand, you would be vilified as a monster, a Nazi, or Jessie Helms. On the other hand, if you came out in favor of saving the child without mentioning the thousands that would be killed instead, then you are told by the feelers in the electorate that you have your heart in the right place and it was good to try. That is an extreme example, but sums up politics today. The obvious right answer to this hypothetical is to hate it, but let the one child go. The politician that saves the child and fails to tell us the truth about the thousands the best gets elected and that is what both sides are trying to do. And we are getting what we vote for, liars.

So my dear friend Falstaff has posted about his support for Barack Obama (here). After reading his arguments, I appreciate his reasoning, but he needs to look again. He may come up with the same conclusion, but he has come to his conclusion based on the wrong facts.

Most telling is that he knows that Obama will raise taxes, but all of the things that he lists that would raise taxes, those are not paid for by taxes paid to the federal government. Sure, those tanks and guns are bought by the feds, but if you end the war, spending on those things will go down. He also lists garbage collection, education, sewage, police, and fire protection. In order, those things are the responsibility of the county, state, county, city, and city.

If Obama raises our taxes, he will be spending them on things that will get them more into your life, not less. Your choices on healthcare will certainly be less. Your choices on how you use your electricity will be less. Social programs will grow, and grow more wasteful. I'm not even going to get into what our current social programs have done to the fabric of poor families in this country since the start of Johnson's war on poverty, but the fact is that 30% of children in this country are born to single mothers and that puts them at a huge statistical disadvantage right from the start. That is one thing that will need to change and bigger and more social programs will not change this situation in the long run, and it must change.

Does Obama say that taxes will go up if he is elected? No? Liar. Does McCain? No? Probably a liar.

Obama promises to "change" the economy. I don't want the economy to change that much. That sound a little crazy given what we are told by the media and politicians. The the truth is that the GDP of the United States has grown every quarter of the Bush presidency. Every single one! Oil prices are up, but they are coming down. Housing prices were up, now they are coming down. If you don't like either one, just wait a bit. You may say that the rich are getting richer, but the poor are also getting richer, just at a slower rate. But Obama is going to "change" the economy. I can't wait. You can be sure that the poor will get poorer of the economy contracts.

We've got the terrorist on the run. He's going to change that, too. Oh, Joy.

I'd like to see some changes. Let's require underage girls and single mothers looking for assistance ID the fathers and force them to provide for their children (or prosecute them for rape in the case of the underage girls). That should free up a lot of money for children in greater need. I'll bet adding more responsibility to social programs is not on Obama's list.

Let's really educate all children. What a great investment that would be. Let's provide vocational training for those who won't be going to college instead of tearing those programs apart. Let's add an advanced diploma for the gifted students who are working to get into the best universities. Let's get disruptive children in a highly disciplined environment (boot camps come to mind) where they can be free from distractions. I'd pay for those things gladly.

Let's build out and harden the Internet 2. The internet is doing for our economy now what the interstate road system did for us in the 60s and 70s. It deserves massive investment. And while we are at it, let's get everyone free basic internet. Wi-Fi is not that expensive. We just have to get the cable monopolies out of the way. Then poor children would have as many resources as the rich kids. Yes, we would have to find them computers, too. That not that huge a problem.

And the list goes on and on.

Of course, most of what I've listed here are local or state matters. Truth is (IMO), the federal government gets in and takes a ton of our money and leaves the responsibilities for our services to us and other governments. Think of all the great work the TSA does in helping you get on each and every flight. So it doesn't bother me if Obama or McCain get elected to be President. Unless they do something really stupid like trip up the economy or bring a war to our country, it probably won't matter a whole lot. I don't think either man will have enough power to do either one. One or both of them need to stop lying to us about how great things will be when they are elected. It won't be. It will be a bit better for some and worse for others and none of us can be real sure who is who.

Obama speaks a lot prettier than McCain and that can inspire people. Reagan and Clinton spoke well and inspired people, but then so did Hitler. Both men say they want more alternative energy used, but neither will tell you that doing so will increase the cost of energy that we will all pay. That will mean that someone will not be able to afford something they really need. Are you ready to pull the food from Granny's mouth to get a solar powered house? McCain will try to get more land opened for drilling than Obama. That will lengthen our dependence on oil, but will keep energy costs lower in the long run (but not in the short run).

The biggest difference is that we know a lot more about McCain and what he stood for before the campaign than we know about Obama. You may like what you know, or not. There are reasons to like and dislike each side or maybe both sides. I would much rather have to straight talkers that give me the good and the bad so that we could all make truly informed decisions. I don't like gambling on which man will become what after the election. But I can understand that for one to do that in this day and age would be political suicide.

But what I can not understand are the anit-patriots who say that they would never consider voting for X party. BTW: Falstaff does not qualify here. These are the feelers who would rather pick a side like it was a sports team rather than think about the issues and look at the man or woman running for office. I would hope we could all look for the patriots and sing their praises when we find one in hopes that someday we could get better leadership than we are offered today.

BTW: I'll probably vote for McCain as an obstruction to the other party so that only the plans on which there is some agreement make it into law. However, I'm still looking for the patriot.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I've been home.  I've been gone.  I've come back.  I've played poker a couple of times and I've not written about any of it.  I haven't given up the blogger thing or been kicked off.  I just haven't felt like writing.  I've been slack.  Some folks pay to advertise on this site, so I need to make an effort to post today.  So like a fiber-challenged old man, I'll try to force one out.  (I write that knowing that my mom does read my blog.  That's the cutting edge right there, baby.)

I've not been slack about exercising.  Dr. K and I have gotten outfitted with a couple of nice bikes and the accessories that go along.  Nowadays, you have to have a helmet, clip-in shoes, a bike computer, tools, shades, etc., etc.  I keep thinking back to when we were kids.  We just got a bike and rode.  We used our eyes and ears for safety (well, sometimes).  I do remember my older brother loosing control on a friends bike going down hill at probably 25-30 mph.  He got the worst case of road rash I've ever seen, but he lived.  He also got hit by a car once and he lived through that, too.

Back to the present - Dr. K and I also got a bicycle trainer so that we can ride indoors.  It will be nice to hop on the bike and get in a workout without going to the YMCA.  I hope it leads to more workouts.  Between running and riding, I got some good cardio exercise 6 of 7 days last week, and that was a week when I was on the road for 4 days.

Those 4 days were spent in Norfolk.  It was a good visit in just about every way.  I've got the place I like to stay when in the area.  The Town Center of Virginia Beach is not far from the customer, has some good hotels and lots of restaurants.  There is also a mall and other stores in case I need to pick something up.  For instance, I decided that I needed a certain book on the spur of the moment.  A short walk to Barnes and Nobel took care of that.

The travel schedule is filled to the brim until mid-October.  Next week, I'll be in Colorado Springs.  Then I'll be home for a week of training and then I'm off to Jackson Hole, WY for a week.  Those are both business trips.  I'll get through them somehow. :)  Then a nice two part vacation starts with the Dr. and I going to Europe for a cruise followed by a trip to Vegas to celebrate the 40th birthday of Brian the Red.  Many of the members of the Falstaff Poker Crew (he may not want us to be a crew) will also attend.

I've got some other things on my mind, like:

  • Why can't John McCain remember how many houses he owns?  That looks really bad to folks who don't own a house.  Anyone who has owned rental property would understand if they wanted to.
  • Is that the best Obama can do against McCain?
  • I liked the way I played cards on Friday night.  I generally made good moves in games with which I am not very familiar.
  • I don't like the way I reacted when the cards roshambeax-ed me.  It was not fun for anyone and it was not good poker.  Sorry guys.  More Welbutrian, please!
  • I've got a lot of work to get done in the next 4 days before my 10th wedding anniversary (Friday).
  • Did anyone pay enough attention to notice that I'm not wearing my wedding ring?  Some may have and worried that it means trouble.  Not even close.  Dr K and I are getting our rings "pimped' for our anniversary.
  • How is Schoon doing?  I've thought about him and his wife every day for a while now.
  • How am I going to get my work done while blogging.  I'm not.  Bye.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A most depressing post with a happy ending

This is just one of those times. There has been a lot going on. I just haven't felt like it is the kind of thing that either I'd want to share or the kind of thing that anyone would want to read.

For instance, the mother of a very good friend past away from cancer this weekend. Yesterday morning, an elderly neighbor and nice, gentle man passed away. His was from the effects of a stroke, I think. And as much as I wish it were not true, these are probably the last days of the wife of another good friend. She is in her early 30's and a new mother. See, I told you you wouldn't want to hear about it.

There is so little that Dr. K and I can do for any of the caregivers and survivors. We offer help and suggest ways we might, but when it comes right down to it, these are private matters and we are not a part of those families. They had the same situation back in late '07 and early '08 with the passing of my father-in-law and grandmother. Other folks that have been in my life forever are getting old and it is not too difficult to see that this pattern may continue for a while.

With all of that said, thinks are good around the House of K. Dr. K has had the worst luck in getting work done on her teeth. The last two issues have resulted in a lot of pain after the fact and turned into root canals. She had been dealing with the second one for 6 months now, but it looks like grinding down the new crown has taken care of that.

The Doctor and I are also coming up on our tenth anniversary at the end of this month. We have been getting each other our gifts and frankly just reveling in our lives together. These ten years have flown by and I'm looking forward to many more. I'll have to write down the stories of how we met and how she got her engagement ring in future posts. Those are two of the stories that we like to share the most.

Dr. K has also gotten the bike riding bug. With all of the depression above, we want to help more with a cure for the cancer part. So our goal is to ride in the 24 hours of booty next year and raise a bunch of money in the process. We have our goal. We have acquired the bikes this week. Other stuff is on order. We will be fully outfitted and in training very soon (if you call riding around "in training"). We also have a commitment from Dr. K's employer to sponsor the team. I think we will have a lot of fun along the way.

So the post was depressing, but that is what is going on and on my mind. The happy ending isn't really and ending, but a milestone and a start in a new direction. It is all LIFE. I, for one, am still glad to be taking part.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I'm an anti-Obama Poker Playing ex-blogger

This blog is now doomed.

This past week has seen the web giant Google (owners of Blogger) block access to several of my friends blogs. Pauly, Al, and others lost their ability to post to their blogs after years of regularly posting their entertaining content. They were told they had been identified as Spam Sites and would have to undergo a formal hearing in order to get their sites back or see their sites deleted in 20 days. If you are wondering, a Spam Site is a page that contains mostly links to other pages, thus increasing the link counts of those pages and moving those pages higher in search engines (like Google). Just a quick glance would show anyone that none of these sites comes anywhere close to this description.

So what's up. G-Rob has written a great post that may explain what is going on. In short, someone is complaining to Google about poker related content on the Internet and Google may be knee-jerking those sites away from their authors. It is a better explanation than Google has offered to date. They have offered no comment.

So what is the anti-Obama thing all about? Just as control had returned to most of the poker writers above, I ran across this article which showed the same thing is happening to some anti-Obama blogs on, you guessed it, Blogger. It looks like some Obama supporters are complaining to Google/Blogger that not everyone sees the presidential race the same way that they do. So Google/Blogger pulls the sites and does a review. Those sites are also back up after a day or two.

I wonder what would happen if I complained to Google that they are not living up to their promise to "do no evil." Would Google go down for a day?

Now that I have outed myself to the blogsphere as an anti-Obama poker player, let's see how long it takes for Blogger to track me down and review this. Probably not more th