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)