Insignificant personal comments

1. My wife is away on a tour (Turkey). But I made the same amount of coffee this morning and drank part of what would have been her portion. I am wired…..

2. I had some heel pain in my right foot; I figured that it was probably a heel bruise (going up on my toes seemed to relieve the pain). The pain was mild.
So, doing some miles on the treadmill (at elevation) and sorbothane heel pads have really helped; no Naproxen since Monday.

3. But taking the Naproxen masked my usual lower back pain. Typically, when I sit too long the back starts to ache (mildly) and so I get the cue to stretch and do McKenzie exercises. But the Naproxen masked the pain; hence I got as stiff as a board from driving and sitting while grading papers.

September 17, 2014 Posted by | Personal Issues | , , | Leave a comment


I’ve got the blahs….to be honest I am thrilled to be employed and reasonably healthy (for my age). But I think that I am in a rut; for example: there is really only so many ways one can teach calculus. So, tonight, I might treat myself to another Fourier Transform lecture and perhaps try to write some MATLAB code; the challenge will be to get the nit-picky details right. The logic is pretty easy.

Workout: 2200 swim; the pool was a zoo (again). You’d never guess that we have low enrollment. Still, 500, 500 in about 9:30, 4 x (100 kick/swim with fins, 100 free), 2 x 100 (alt fist/free) on 2:05 (about 1:50), 100 pull, 4 x 25 fly.

Health: my back is stiff; too much driving and too much sitting and grading. I need to do the McKenzie sets several times a day. Note: the foot feels great and I haven’t had Naproxen since Monday morning; I am grateful for that.

September 17, 2014 Posted by | swimming | , , | Leave a comment

Fracking, economics, Obamacare and religious freedom…

Fracking I’ve never been aboard the “fracking is terrible and should be banned” bandwagon. I’ve always been aboard the “energy companies should do it right” bandwagon, and when the companies get sloppy and take short cuts, accidents happen, often with terrible consequences.

So, this study which showed that water contamination near gas wells in Pennsylvania and Texas was NOT due to fracking but instead due to leaky gas wells did not surprise me at all. Yes, there is a problem and it should be fixed. But the technique of fracking isn’t the culprit in these instances.

Of course, this headline is wildly wrong: it should read “no water pollution due to fracking”: (from here)


Economics Textbook economics is working fine, but too many economists have let ideology trump economic theory:

The big problem with economic policy is not, however, that conventional economics doesn’t tell us what to do. In fact, the world would be in much better shape than it is if real-world policy had reflected the lessons of Econ 101. If we’ve made a hash of things — and we have — the fault lies not in our textbooks, but in ourselves.

Yes, Obamacare is working for many, but those who are benefiting from it will vote for those who want to repeal it anyway:

The Affordable Care Act allowed Robin Evans, an eBay warehouse packer earning $9 an hour, to sign up for Medicaid this year. She is being treated for high blood pressure and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, after years of going uninsured and rarely seeing doctors.

“I’m tickled to death with it,” Ms. Evans, 49, said of her new coverage as she walked around the Kentucky State Fair recently with her daughter, who also qualified for Medicaid under the law. “It’s helped me out a bunch.”

But Ms. Evans scowled at the mention of President Obama — “Nobody don’t care for nobody no more, and I think he’s got a lot to do with that,” she explained — and said she would vote this fall for Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, who is fond of saying the health care law should be “pulled out root and branch.”

Ms. Evans said she did not want the law repealed but had too many overall reservations about Democrats to switch her vote. “Born and raised Republican,” she said of herself. “I ain’t planning on changing now.”

So now you know why my sympathy for people is limited. I am for Obamacare as I think that it helps the economy. But as for the individuals helped by it: read the above.

I remember reacting with disgust when many who are on the public dole complain about President Obama and the liberals.

I suppose their cluelessness is a bit like this:

Separation of Church and state

Now, of course, what is said here is perfectly legal as a campaign rally is not a government sponsored event. And yes, Senator McCain had not yet arrived when this invocation was given (he was to arrive later via his “Straight Talk Express” bus:

But I’ll speak to my reaction (I was there): I bit my tongue and tried hard to not break out in laughter; to me this is “Zeus vs. Thor” stuff.

My point: while I believe in separation of church and State and believe that the government should not take sides on religion, I am NOT religiously offended at public prayers and the like. I see it as, well the way you might see an exotic (to you) culture going through some sort of ritual.

But the religious might be VERY offended; a prayer in one religion might be “blasphemy” to someone else.
Hence, religious people ought to be MORE in favor of “separation of church and State” than I am. Because if these aren’t separated:

The Satanic Temple is widely known for fighting to place a statue of Baphomet next to the Ten Commandments on the Oklahoma statehouse grounds. And now they’re bringing Satanic materials to kids in Florida, and it’s all thanks to “Christian” extremists.

Had Christian extremists let the school remain a secular place that honored the separation of church and state, the Satanic Temple would not have been able to introduce kids to The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities, which will be widely available in Orange County schools.

The activity book asks kids to find ways to be inclusive in order to solve problem. For instance, one set of instructions in the book says, “These bullies are mad and afraid of things they don’t understand. Help Damian use inclusive language to defuse the situation.” In addition to the activity book other materials will include “pamphlets related to the Temple’s tenets, philosophy and practice of Satanism, as well as information about the legal right to practice Satanism in school.”

A Louisiana state lawmaker learned this the hard way:

In Louisiana, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal pushed for a voucher program that would allow state funds to be used to pay for religious schools. It’s unconstitutional, it’s a way to use taxpayer money to fund someone’s faith, and it was a bad idea to begin with.
But it passed.
Now, one of the state legislators, Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Watson), just made a shocking discovery, though: Christianity isn’t the only religion!

Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, says she had no idea that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s educational system might mean taxpayer support of Muslim schools.
“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” the District 64 Representative said Monday.

“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges said. “We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”

(of course, she appears to believe that our Founding Founders were Christians; some were but others were not).

September 17, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, health care, morons, politics, religion, science, social/political, technology | , , | Leave a comment

My take on Birthdays


Now, if there is some omnipotent deity that knows when you will die, this is correct. But as someone else points out: we die via a “bathtub curve” function.


That is, given our current age, say x , we have an “expected time left to live l(x) and as we age, the quantity x + l(x) increases, even though, after the risk of early death is over, l(x) is a decreasing function of x .

Of course, l(x) is changed if there is a war, famine, pestilence, etc.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | humor, mathematics, statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

Now this is confidence ….



September 16, 2014 Posted by | big butts, spandex | Leave a comment

last longish walk…prior

Screen shot 2014-09-16 at 12.53.17 PM

Got my wife on the bus to O’Hare and then tried to walk for 4 hours; the problem is that my car’s “low tire” light was on and it took me 3 tries to find a filling station that had an air pump that worked.

Still, I managed to get it in; call it 16 miles in 4:02 (2:00 out, 3:56 back, then a bit extra) The above map doesn’t account for the new bridge which adds a little each way. I started out very slowly and was able to pick it up a bit.

It was very cool.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | walking | Leave a comment

Scottish Independence: probably will fail

The odds: the line is roughly 1/4 for “no” winning (e. g., to win 1 dollar you have to bet 4) and 3/1 for “yes’ (you can win 3 dollars by betting one).

From here.

Screen shot 2014-09-15 at 8.12.43 PM

The vote is this Thursday.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | politics, world events | | Leave a comment

back in Peoria with achy foot

My foot hurt a little; back on Naproxen I go (and back to the ice). But it is far from severe.

I felt gummed up from all of that driving this weekend and didn’t want to work out this morning. But I felt that moving would make me feel better.

Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (hip hikes, Achilles rest)
incline presses: 10 x 135, 3 x 150 (weak), 10 x 140 (strong) (rotator cuff)
military presses: 2 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported)
pull downs: 3 sets of 7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low
rows (single armed with dumbbells): 3 sets of 10 x 65
military presses (standing) 2 sets of 8 x 40 lb.

running: treadmill: started at 5.6 mph, 5.7 (10 min), then every 2: 5.8-5.9-6.0-6.1-6.2-6.3-6.4 (all at 0.5)
then I upped the elevation to 1.0-1.5-2.0-2.5 and then 3 for the final mile. Total time: 38:52 for the 4 miles.

This wasn’t exactly a killer workout, but I got warm and sweaty…and I feel better than when I started.

September 15, 2014 Posted by | running, travel, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

back home in Peoria…driving, etc.

This morning: early run on the Middleburg bike path. 4 miles; 19:22 out, 16:50 back (plus a little extra), 49 F.
Note: saw a group of 6 deer near the start, and another group of 3 more near the middle. Also, they were setting up for a race, which started a bit too late for me today.

Then, breakfast with Olivia and Barbara:



Then on the road. It went fine until I got to the place where I-80 and I-90 split; that bridge is STILL out and I missed the I-65 detour to get back on I-90.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.04.25 PM

That put me on the 5 dollar Chicago Skyway Bridge which took me into Chicago and smack dab into White Sox game traffic. Grrrr…..I got the worst of both worlds: post game traffic without a game!

I sounded a bit like the soundtrack from The Exorcist. But we survived (and my wife let me rant).

I had a good time with my daughter but my right heel is slightly sore…I can’t decide on it being a heel bruise or mile PF.

September 15, 2014 Posted by | family, running, travel | | Leave a comment

Baldwin Wallace Family Day


Yes, that is me during the “cook out”; we went to the Family Day cook out and then to the Baldwin Wallace University football game against Blufton. I enjoyed spending time with her and my wife; we did the cook out, went shopping and hung out. As we walked across campus, many people called out to her; she knows a lot of people even though this is only her sophomore year. She is also deeply into literature and languages (by undergraduate standards) and appears to have that love of learning.

That made a long drive through a sea of orange construction barrels worth it. I still wish that we had better highways though.

About the football game:



This was a NCAA division III contest; Baldwin Wallace fought off a spirited second half comeback and won 32-20 (lead 19-0 at the half).

If you haven’t watched a division III game: the players ARE smaller than division I players (FCS or FBS); they are similar in size to what division I players were in the early 1970s. But they are still strong and fast; the linemen still would all bench press double what I can do. And, to be blunt, if I had a football playing son, I’d rather him attempt to play at this level, where education comes first and the football, while challenging, is a bit more humane.

It was also fun that my daughter knew some of the players.

The game goes a bit quicker too (2:30 or so) due to no television.

And, it spared me from watching the Illinois vs. Washington disaster:
Wes Lunt, Hau'oli Kikaha

I suppose that Illinois is good enough to beat a conference USA team but not to compete with Pac Twelve teams.

September 14, 2014 Posted by | family, football | | Leave a comment


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