Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trip to Germany

I had quite a trip to Germany this month.  I just returned and I’m still recovering a bit, so I won’t write a whole lot about the trip.  I’ll let some of the best pictures and their captions tell the stories.


This is from the center city park in Stuttgart.  Touring this park early in the day helped me to get back to the train station late that night.  Hint: When in Stuttgart, don’t rely on the trains to get you home after 1 am.


Roman Ruins - Trier, Germany.


Old Town – Trier, Germany


Kurfurstliches Palace – Trier, Germany



Spa de Casino – Spa, Belgium.  This casino bills itself as “The oldest casino of the World (1763)”


A blurry picture of a restaurant with a funny name.  Spa, Belgium.



The Philosopher's Walk, Heidelberg, Germany


High above Heidelberg


The Heidelberg Castle


Near Mittenwald, Germany.


Neuschwanstein Castle


Neuschwanstein again.

DSC_2529 Stitch

The view from Neuschwanstein Castle



Hohenschwangau Castle from Neuschwanstein Castle


I love horse fountains with water coming out of their noses. Linderhof Castle


Linderhof Castle


Near Mittenwald, Germany


Near Mittenwald, Germany


Mittenwald, Germany


The rest of the shots are from the Munich Oktoberfest:


Fish on Sticks











Obviously, we didn’t know what to expect from this trip, but we sure did have a blast. Check another line on the life list.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


This week, David, a friend from many years ago lost his dad.  We are all getting older that this sort of thing is happening more and more. 

Also this week, my friend Brad penned another blog post that took be three days to get up the nerve to read.  He has a way of jerking moisture from around my eyes, so I have to prepare.  You can read about promises here:  I didn’t cry this time, but it was still a good read.

On Friday, Dr. K and I will ride our bikes hundreds of miles in the 24 Hours of Booty charity bike ride to raise money that will defeat the bastard disease (brain cancer) that killed her dad 4 years ago.

I’ve got no point except that it is good to sit and think about all of the great dads and the great things that they do.

If you’ve got a few bucks and want to help,


The National Debt and Fun with Graphs

There’s a lot of talk out there about the national debt and who is to blame for creating it and who will get credit for fixing it.  We can be sure the president will take credit for fixing it.  True to form, he is blaming Bush for creating it.  You haven’t heard that?  Well take a look at this graph from

U.S. National Debt

Even the liberal friend who pointed me to it said that it was a bit disingenuous in how it pins spending on Bush that happened during the Obama administration.  They call them lies when a Republican does it.

That got me looking around for other graphs about the national debt.  How about this one from

This one ties increases to the debt to presidents.  Notice that there is no mention about who is running the House of Representatives at the time.  It conveniently stops before Obama took office.

Those first two were obviously written by Democrats.  Here is one that is a little more balances in that it shows the make up of the federal government at the time and percentage changes.  It still leans Republican in that it does not use real dollars and compare the change to the S&P 500 as if that has any place in the debate.  It also includes the Obama years so far.

Here’s a funny one from

This one ties the debt to the President and the Senate and completely ignores the branch of government that is in charge of spending.

Finally, I think this graph is the most balanced and the one that matters most:

That looks bad.  Now if you consider that only half of the adults in the US pay any income tax ( and you can double the totals on the graph’s left to tell you how much taxpayers will have to pay back eventually.  Raising taxes (income enhancement to Democrats) isn’t going to get us close to getting this problem under control.  The balanced approach is a shame designed to help the half that do not pay income tax.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Workout Update for Q2

Just the fact that I’m still tracking my workouts 6 months into the year is a small cause for celebration.  I thought I would start skipping a few entries and then pitch the whole idea after a few months.  Not so.  I really enjoy seeing how much I have done.

Now for the downside.  I’d like to be seeing more progress.  I saw some progress in the first quarter, but I think I’ve stepped back from even those small gains.  Illness and a rough travel schedule caused a four week layoff from any meaningful workouts for the last 2 weeks of Q2 and the first 2 weeks of Q3.  Consistency was also not a high point for this quarter.  Running decreased, but biking came out of the closet and kept the workout time in each month between 7:45 and 9:30.

So here are the totals:

I ran 108.3 miles in 15 hours and 9 minutes for the quarter and 308 miles in 43 hours in the first half.

I biked 172 miles in 10 hours and 21 minutes in this quarter.

I picked my next goal which is to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon on Sunday, December 4, 2011.  It happens to be the weekend of the WPBT (aka Blogger Weekend) and several of my blogger friends also plan to participate.  It should be the capper to another great Vegas weekend.  Of course, there is also the 24 Hours of Booty charity bike ride at the end of this month and I’m still hoping that I can gather up enough fitness to do the Take Flight Tryathlon for the third year.  I’m really busting my workout volume right now.  It’s time to get going or get out of the way.

See you out on the road.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Special K–Senior Citizen

On Friday June 17, 2011, I will officially become a senior citizen.  That is the day that I begin (and end?) play in event 30 of the World Series of Poker, The Seniors event (must be 50 to enter).  I wonder if all senior citizens feel too young to be this old. Smile  I’m looking forward to getting my chips in and having fun with the whole experience.  Dr. K was good to remind me that having fun was the goal.  My friends Jim the Knife, Tom Scott, and David Westbay will also be playing and I wish them all the luck in the world.  Having friends along for the ride definitely adds to the fun. 

The last time I played in a poker tournament, I was out before the end of the first level.  The first goal is to have fun.  The second goal is to last longer than I did in the last tournament.  I could sit in the hallway at the Rio for the first hour and watch people and make the first two goals.  After that, I’ll have to be content to do my best and hope the cards are kind.  I’ll tweet when I can, so follow @CKrumel for live updates starting Friday.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Palin and Revere

I am totally fascinated by the controversy over Sarah Palin’s comment about the ride of Paul Revere.

First off, I have no need to defend Sarah Palin. She’s a big girl now. She’s riding around the country in her bus, looking for and getting attention, so she asked for moments like this.

At the suggestion of a friend whom I respect very much, I watched the clip again. This one: Palin’s statement does lack some pronouns.

Some have criticized her for not even answering the question  by giving her take on the ride of Revere. She was asked about her take-away from "this trip."  She pretty obviously interpreted “this trip” to be the trip to Revere's house (where she was at the time) and not the trip to Boston or the trip around the country. She did not only talk about the ride, be started the answer talking about seeing where Revere “hung out as a teenager.” No biggie there.

As for the ride description and motivation, yes, it is a muddled sentence. Here is what she said: “And you know, he who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells and making sure, as he is riding his horse through town, to send those warning shots and bells, that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.”

Just how far would that sentence have to be edited for it to be accurate and coherent? Let’s see:

“And you know, he [who] warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms[,]. [b]By having colonists ring[ing] those bells and making sure everyone knew about the British [by ], as he [is riding] rode his horse through town, and to send those warning shots and ring the bells, that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.”

I had to take out two words, change the tense of two words/phrases and a punctuation mark, and add 12 words. I don’t think I’ve changed the gist of what she was saying though I’ll grant that some will think I have. I don’t have a problem with that.  Is the statement poor?  Yep.  Is it wrong.  I wouldn’t go that far.

He didn't ring bells or fire shots. He was out to tell others to ring bells and fire shots. I didn't know that before this controversy hit and I’m pretty well educated in history.  I don’t thing most of the critics knew that either. And he did warn the British. It was a bluff once he had been captured. In contrast, the reporter in the clip above ends his piece by telling his audience that there were no bells and that lanterns were used to warn the colonists about the British. It was the opposite of Palin’s comment; a good sentence and completely wrong. There were in fact bells being rung that night to warn the colonists about the emergency. Today, we use Twitter and Facebook for that. The lanterns didn’t warn the colonists as the reporter said. They sent info to Revere and his fellow rider so that they could warn the colonists. Revere and William Dawes went out to do the warning. Smug reporter.

There were a lot of facts in what Palin was trying to say that most people didn’t know. So why has the controversy gone on so long. There are plenty of fact-check reports and articles out there that spin the history one way or the other but most have the facts as I’ve written them here. There should probably be more controversy over teaching our children Longfellow’s poem about the ride and the appalling lies therein. (Longfellow’s Grandfather found Revere to be a coward)

My theory is that once folks publically jumped on Palin for what they thought were gross inaccuracies, whether they were broadcasting, writing on the internet or just around the water cooler at work, they became invested in making this a “stupid Palin moment.” To admit that it wasn’t as bad as they first thought would damage their pride and potentially give Palin a break. For liberal Democrat, this last bit would be worse than Reagan returning from the dead.

Finally, I know what is coming in the comments, so before I’m written off as another right-wing nut (evidence for that can be found elsewhere) or a Palin lover, I want to point out that I’ve publicly defended Joe Biden along these same lines here.

It’s not worth much as theories go, but it entertains me.  So there.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The ‘Glamor’ of Traveling (Part 2)

(See part 1 for the forestory) It’s now day two of my one hour flight to Huntsville, Alabama.  We just boarded half of the plane when the pilot came on the PA to announce that a problem that they thought had been fixed had really not been fixed.  After some confusion on the part of the crew, we de-boarded the plane.  It took about 30 minutes for them to decide that the plane was not fixable and that they would fly the route with a plane that had 20 fewer seats.

Now they need to find a way to boot 18 folks from the flight and so they ask for volunteers.  After considering the $175 in voucher money they were offering and the fact that I could now change to another city, one that would have rental cars, I decided to take the offer and give up my seat.  This would prove to be a winning move.

I consulted my Windows Phone 7 Map application and saw that Huntsville is close to equidistant from Nashville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, and Birmingham, AL.  I had to pick one and I chose Nashville.  I got to the gate and called Avis for a rental car reservation.  Unbelievably, they also had no cars to rent.  As the Nashville flight was now starting to board, I had to high-tail it to US Airways customer service to get yet another change. 

This time I guessed Birmingham.  I got that ticket and headed off to call Avis back.  This time cars were available.  I got my reservation and then I thought of something that I’d forgotten.  I now needed to push my return flight back by a day.  Back to Customer Service go I.  The girl behind the counter said she could do that for only a $150 change fee and that there was no way the system would let her do it for free.  I calmly (really, those who know me would have been shocked) explained that this was due to 2 mechanical failures and that it was going to be free.  I told her the whole story.  She asked if I had my original boarding pass, which I did, and she made the change.  Funny, I thought the system… oh, never mind.  I had won so I left winner. (It was at this point in the day that I penned part 1 of this tale, so I didn’t know how much more ‘adventure’ was to come.)

From that point on, the trip went without a hitch.  I did have a 2 hour drive once I got the Birmingham, but the roads were clear and the sailing smooth.  I arrived at my hotel around 8 pm and prepared for the site visit.  I’ve now completed day one of 3 at the customer site and I’m hoping I can keep this trip running smoothly until I return home of Friday.  If not, there will be a part 3.

Happy Trails.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The ‘Glamor’ of Traveling

For the American worker who slaves away at a job, doing the same thing in the same place for 5 days and week, the life of us who travel as a part of our jobs must seem interesting and glamorous.  I’ve posted over on Facebook how it is truly interesting, but in a proverbial Chinese sort of way.  As for glamorous, it is not.  Consider that I’m now sitting on the floor of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport writing this here post instead of doing the work that I was scheduled to do today.  I’m not doing the work because I’ve been trying to get to Huntsville, Alabama for over 24 hours now.  I’m not saying it’s better to work at the same place everyday, just that each job has its challenges.  Today, I’m being challenged, and how.

It is only a seven hour drive to Huntsville, so I could have driven yesterday and gotten there on time, but I could not foresee the future.  In short, I arrived at the airport yesterday afternoon for a 6 o’clock flight that takes about an hour.  As we were boarding the plane I noticed the interior lights in the plane flickered and then came on full.  I commented to my neighbor that the lights didn’t add a lot of confidence for the flight.  Sometime later the pilot came on the intercom and told us that the flickering lights was actually a circuit overload that they needed to get checked out.

It took about 30 minutes to get the checks done.  Nothing was really wrong and we were good to go.  Just as we were ready to push back, a thunderstorm closed the tarmac and we could not move until it was reopened.  There was some excitement when one plane at the airport was struck by lightning.  That was cool.  I’ll bet they did have an overload.

It took about 45 minutes for the storm to blow over.  We pushed back and headed for the runway.  Once there we pulled to the side and the pilot told us that we were to be rerouted due to other storms in our path and that calculations had to be made to determine if we had enough fuel.  That’s important, I guess.  Then we were scheduled on a different runway.  Then the fuel calculation for the new, way-northerly route came back as insufficient.  But by this time the old route was clear, but we had idled away too much fuel and had to go get more.  But that would take too long for either the crew to make the trip or for the airline to avoid paying us hefty fines.  That wasn’t very clear.  What was clear was that our flight was cancelled.

Rebooking went reasonably well and I was back home by 9 pm with a ticket for today.  Before I went to bed, I called the hotel to let them know I was still coming, I’d just be a day late.  They were cool about that.  Why not. They get paid the same whether I show up or not.  Then I went to change my rental car reservation.  The problem was that they (Avis) had no cars to rent.  NONE.  I didn’t believe the web site so I called Avis.  It was true – no cars, trucks, busses, nothing.  I checked the other rental car companies at the Huntsville airport and they all were out of cars.  Carp. (Carp is funnier than crap right now).  I did find a reservation at the Enterprise rental office in Huntsville and figured I ‘d take a cab to get that car and figure out how to get it back and get to the airport later.

I returned to the airport around 1 this afternoon, waited to board the plane, boarded, and got ready to fly.  That didn’t happen either. (Part 2 coming soon)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Headline

Continuing on yesterday’s theme, this headline reminded me of an old joke:

"Bahrain Police Open Fire on Funeral Procession Leaving One Dead"--headline, Guardian (London), Feb. 16

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Recent Headlines

Since the news from Egypt has cooled a bit, I guess the press has moved on to other stories.  Here are a few recent headlines that I found humorous:

"Why You Should Avoid Getting Pregnant on the Way to Mars"--headline, Guardian (London), Feb. 14

"'Mars' Mission Reaches Climax in a Giant Sand Pit"--headline, Daily Telegraph (London), Feb. 15

That takes care of item 1.

"Light-Emitting Rubber Could Sense Structural Damage"--headline,, Feb. 15

… and that takes care of all other missions.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Airport Bombing

So does the TSA groping still make you feel safe? Ask the poor souls in this video.  There’s no reason it won’t happen in the US.  I hope this bomb maker blows his face off soon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I’ve got a bit of ‘splanin to do

That’s because it’s been since October since I’ve done a real blog post.  It’s not that nothing blog worthy has happened. A lot has happened, actually.  It’s just that I haven’t felt like writing it up and since I don’t make any money or make any promises about posting, I just didn’t.  So let’s see what I remember.

My job kept me on the road after the October triathlon.  I’ve traveled to Germany, Vegas, St. Louis, Vegas (again), St. Louis (again), G-Vegas, DC, and Charleston, SC.  The Germany trip was to upgrade a customers database server.  It took a 24 hour work day (my first ever), but we hit the planned return to service time and the customer has invited me back.  I don’t have any problem with that. 

The first trip to Vegas was for the celebration of my 50th birthday.  I’m still not used to being that old, but so be it.  That trip was awesome.  Most of the folks that I really wanted there made it.  We had incredible dinner at the Hofbrauhaus on Thursday, followed by another incredible dinner Carnevino in the Palazzo, followed by the Cher show at Caesar's on Saturday.  There was some gambling in between with a good session of blackjack, a bad session of pai gow, and lot’s of poker.  Dr. K and I got in a couple of good workouts in the beatuiful fitness spa of the Venetian (where we stayed courtesy of Skoon and Brian the Red) and a visit with my younger brother and Dr. K’s aunt.  Though I ended up on the negative end for gambling, it was my best trip to Vegas ever.

The first trip to St. Louis was for work and nothing real special on that.  I did play some poker at Lumiere Place and River City, both times with poor outcomes, and stayed right downtown near the arch and Busch Stadium.  That was fun.


The second trip to Vegas was for the World Poker Blogger Tour (WPBT).  Seeing that bunch of degens just gets better and better the more times we get together.  The gambling hit a new low as I posted my biggest Vegas loss ever, but I’d do it again.  If I’ve got the resources, I will.

The second trip to St. Louis is probably best forgotten.  I was to present two days of training, but the customer’s folks only showed for 1 of the 4 sessions due to poor weather and general disinterest.  Too bad.  I had some good stuff planned.  I stayed and played at the Harrah’s Hotel and Casino.  My losses continued to mount this trip as well (are you seeing a trend here), so I’ll just move on.

G-Vegas brings us up to the new year and actually New Years Day and the BadBlood New Year’s Tourney.  You can hear all about it on the Gambling Tales Podcast, but the gory details are that I got my money in good and didn’t win any of the significant hands that I needed to post another big loss.  I’ve had good luck and bad luck in G-Vegas.  I’ll try again soon.

Finally, the trip to DC was interesting.  I think that will make for a good blog post of it’s own as that memory is fresh from last week.  I’ll break out this weekend’s trip to Charleston as well.

As for other highlights from the past quarter – Thanksgiving and Christmas were good with family and friends healthy and doing well.  Dr. K lost a bet with her nephew (a Clemson fan) and went over the top in paying off as the picture shows.


The two pictures in this post were taken with my new Windows Phone 7 which really kicksass.  I won’t say that it’s better than the other smart phones (iPhone, Driod), but it holds it’ own with a lot of potential yet to come.

That’s most of the highlights.  There are trips to Seattle, Colorado Springs and San Antonio in the near future.  I’ll try to do better at keeping up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hangin’ at the Hospital

Today didn’t go quite as expected.  It was a pretty normal day at work until just after lunch.  My phone rang with the caller ID telling me that it was my mom.  She rarely calls, but will usually call in the morning.  When I answered, it was not Mom, but a friend of hers.  This is not the kind of call where you want to mess around with.  It’s best to get straight to the point, to outrun my imagination.  Diane did just that and the news was not nearly as bad as it could have been.  Of course, it wasn’t great either.

Mom woke up feeling badly and called Diane for help getting to the emergency room.  That was a good call.  Mom ended up having a ruptured appendix.  I did okay with the news.  I called my wife, who is great in situations like this.  I wrote a quick email to my brothers as that was way quicker than calling each one and headed to the hospital.  Thankfully it was only a 5 minute drive.

As I write it is quarter past 11 and Mom has one less organ than she started the day with and is sleeping comfortably.  The staff here at Carolinas Medical Center – Pineville is doing a great job.  I’m confident that I could leave now and that everything would be okay, but I’ll feel better staying here.  Perhaps I could catch this blog up on all that’s been going on with the adventures of Special K.  I don’t have that much time but perhaps I’ll do an overview.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: XXXXXX 602496

Monday, January 03, 2011

Gambling Tales Freeroll Tournament

If you've not noticed, the Gambling Tales Podcast ( is back "on the air" with new shows weekly.  We took a bit of a break over the last 6 months, reformatted the show to single topic weekly shows, and now we've added a weekly freeroll tournament on Full Tilt Poker.  I'm guessing that the tournament might be the most interesting part of the new GTP, so I'll concentrate the rest of this post on that part.


Full Tilt Poker has been kind enough to offer a freeroll tournament to the listeners of the podcast that includes a $50 prize pool.  The tournaments are on Thursday evenings at 9 pm eastern.  You only need a Full Tilt cash account and the tournament password to participate.  The password is generally given out sometime during the podcast which is released the Monday morning prior to the tourney.  Since you have been a friend to the podcast and since I'm getting ready to ask something of you, I'm going to give you this week's password.  It is "CollegePoker" (Tournament #208556681).  It fits into the subject of the podcast.  Shamus, of the Hard-boiled Poker Blog, is teaching a college course on Poker in American Film and Culture.  Interesting stuff.  I hope you will check it out.

Now my ask:  We need links to our web site.  If you like the podcast or the tournament, please write a brief blog post and include a link to in the post.  You could offer your readers the chance to enter the freeroll.  Encourage them to listen to the podcast, but give out the password if you like.  We would really appreciate it.  If you will reply to this email and let us know that you've created a post, I'll add you to the roll of "Friends of the Podcast" and send you next week's password.

Thanks again for your support and for listening.

May your dice fly high