blueollie

napping…

Easy 3 mile run in the morning. It is taper time. This means more internet reading and more making stupid memes.

before

I’ve come a long way from only being able to do a few pull ups and getting 4 x 170 on the bench press.

May 30, 2016 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Nature, political whining, and censorship of ideas

Workout notes
Though it is Sunday, I lifted. Weight: 192.5 on the Riverplex scale (post breakfast with a lot of coffee)
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: ok)
bench press: 10 x 135, 2 x 185 (“thick” bar), 4 x 185 (“usual” Olympic bar), 8 x 170
incline press: 10 x 135 (very easy)
military: 2 sets of 7 x 50 dumbbell (standing), 10 x 180 machine
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell (each arm)
head stand, twist crunches (2 sets of 12), yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 10)

Then 5.5 miles of walking in about 1:29; very leisurely. It was pretty and I just wanted to amble a bit.

Nature
I see all sorts of wild animals when I walk. Today, I watched a flock of red winged blackbirds (who’ve yet to dive bomb me this year) attacking a hawk. Yes, I’ve seen hawks go after squirrels; each time the squirrel got away and the hawk went hungry. Other times: the squirrel had its life ended (haven’t seen that, but I’ve seen the remains). So, you want to tell me about the “beauty and harmony of nature?”:-) Yes, it was a pretty day. But day to day existence for animals is mostly a struggle to survive to reproduce; it was that way for humans as well until relatively recently (in terms of how long life has existed on earth).

Political whining No, the primary election was NOT rigged, no matter what Sanders people say.

bernunfair

The rules were in place before the election started, and no, it isn’t “rigging the election” to not have as many debates as one campaign wants. Having people who worked with BOTH people prefer one candidate over the other isn’t “rigging” the election.

Nate Silver nailed what was going on:

krugmanretweet

Censorship of ideas
I’ve complained about this before. What got me on this train of thought was seeing someone post this photo in a pro-Clinton facebook group:

vandalized

The person who took this photo reported that this was the result of vandalism. I know that this sort of thing happens; I remember some person leaving a nasty card on our car which had an Obama sticker on it.

I wonder what makes people think that they have some sort of right to limit what OTHERS can say or see? Yes, this applies to the idiots who think that they have the right to block access to Trump rallies.

brocktrump

May 29, 2016 Posted by | nature, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

When not every result was “AWEsome!”

At today’s 5K race, I had a conversation with a runner that I met back in 1997. We talked about how we met; she said “those were good times”. I immediately agreed.

Now what was meant by that?

The situation: I had joined a running group (“Team Steam”) in the summer of 1997; the idea was to get “group coaching” so as to improve my running times. Then in the next year, I joined the IVS marathon training group in hopes of running a decent marathon.

I have vivid memories: I remember all of the colorful running gear. I remember the sense of community, people pushing each other, etc. I also remember how the interactions went. Most people knew who could run what sort of time, and we shared both joy and disappointment when we saw our results. I was disappointed with my 3:46 at the Chicago marathon, and one of the Running Central guys winced in sympathetic pain upon hearing my time. I WAS looking for 3:30.

So, I’ll list some factors which might be missing today:

1. I was recently “born again” into running; I had a hiatus from the running community from 1985 to 1995, at which time I gained to 320 pounds and lost it all. So this was a “return of the Prodigal Son” sort of thing. I wept when I finished my first “post morbid obesity” 5K (23:15 in 1996).

2. The body worked better; though I wasn’t a “runner” I still finished much higher up the pecking order than I do now.

3. I was in the “improvement stage” of my running. I never got to my “early 20’s” times, but I moved from 23:15 to 19:53 in the 5K.

4. I was meeting new people.

5. The atmosphere was slightly different. Today the conversation goes something like this: “I finished a 5K in xx:xx”. Reply: “Oh, that’s AWEsome!” In that era: “I finished a 5K in xx:xx” was met by “Wow..that’s a PR, isn’t it? Or “sounds rough; there are days like that” or “wow..conditions must have been tough”. When the response you get actually depends on the result you give, you get the impression that the person you are talking to has made an effort to get to know you! There was something a bit more intimate about that than a token “AWEsome” response.

I think that this “happy face, everyone is AWEsome” culture is colder and less intimate.

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Friends, running | | Leave a comment

2016 River Run: muggy, windy

Today: it was overcast, 69.8 F, 83 percent humidity and there was a 10 mph (gusting to 17) headwind. Yet, it was easier to run against the headwind as it felt downright sweltering with the wind. We aren’t used to the heat yet.

I drove down with Tracy and I got a good feel for the conditions as I warmed up. I knew it would be a tough race though I felt ok.

The results:
2016riverrunresult

The first person in my age group had the same chip time I had; he just lined up near the front and I couldn’t catch him. BUT, the older age groups actually had faster times.

One hilarious incident: an older couple had accidentally switched bibs; hence the lady got credited with a 10 minute faster time than she ran. They fixed it, and happily both got the medals they earned.

I held back and even tracked Cheryl for a bit. I had Dianne and Jerry in my sights, but early on I trailed a bespandexed lady with sweet, subtle granny VPLs. She fell off the pace a bit so I went after Cheryl and kept three other “targets” in sight. I was ok with my first mile split as it was against a 10 mph wind; I knew conditions would be hard later. The next mile I slowed, but not as much as others. Some experienced runners faded here.

Then on the way back, I did talk myself out of walking. It was tough to keep going, but I was encouraged by my gaining on Dianne. I even caught her but she got me back. When I finished: yep, I felt it.

Afterward: I went back for Tracy and then got to reconnect with some old running friends. Finish photos below:

2016riverrunlist

Past years: 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013., 2014 2015

mile 2009 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1 7:35 8:19 8:08 8:03 7:54 8:07 8:26
2 8:43 8:49 8:07 8:01 7:56 8:15 8:44
3.1 9:21 9:48 8:47 8:52 8:52 9:21 9:35
final 25:40 26:56 25:03 24:56 24:42 25:45 26:46
place 82/148 144/283 89/255 71/258 47/146 53/109 50/119

Photos:

bazu-8362112

Cheryl: looking good at the finish

bazu-8362149

The “Maybell” like lady and Mike at the finish

bazu-8363800

Dianne: I am just out of sight. Behind her is the guy who beat me out in my AG

bazu-8364117

Closing in, trying to not to walk

bazu-8364122

Clicking my watch; you can see the results of my weight training

bazu-8364559

Tracy closing in; I am in the background

bazu-8364933

Tracy puts another one in the books

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Friends, running | , | Leave a comment

Workout issues and 24 hour race coming up

Workout notes: weights only.
Rotator cuff
pull ups: 15-10-10-10-5
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 9 x 170 (didn’t squeeze out a 10’th as I was by myself, even though the bench had safety catches)
incline press: 10 x 135
dumbbell military (all standing) 7 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 40 (first time got 50 standing in a while; normally I have the seated, supported bench)
rows (Hammer) 3 sets of 10 x 200
head stand (not my best, but ok)
twist crunch: 2 sets of 12
yoga leg lifts: 2 sets of 10

Workout problems: I weighed 194 on the home scale yesterday, but that was after drinking a LOT of coffee. It was 191 this morning, just after getting up. The gym scale had been reading 187-188.
If I have a “genuine” weight gain, my pull ups get harder, and today, they went reasonably well.

I’ve also noticed that I find myself pulling up my sleeves prior to doing bench presses; the arms are slightly bigger. That might be a good thing, but my “goal event” is the 24 hour walk, which occurs the first weekend in June. So having bigger arms won’t exactly help with that.

Anyway, I am signed up and have my hotel all lined up and some friends are also going. It will be fun to see them.

And, well, my 24 hour performances have mostly gone downhill after my first one. Note: the first few were “100 or bust” events where I mostly busted and ended up napping. The way I see it: I haven’t had a good one since 2006. This year: keeping the ego in check early (especially if it is hot) and showing toughness in that “tunnel of despair” period (somewhere between 10 to 18 hours) will be the keys to success. My challenge goal: 79 miles (triple marathon). I was so close to 60 miles last year (sans training) that there shouldn’t be a reason that I don’t improve on that by quite a bit.

But I have some other “worth fighting for” goals:

Walter Mitty: 100 (though Bernie Sanders has a better chance of becoming President than I have of making this..)
Stretch goal: 85 miles
Realistic challenge goal: 79 miles (3 marathons)
Worth it goal: 100 km (62.2 miles)
Ok goal: 50 miles. I can’t discount going over 50 miles, even if it takes me a while.

Date Event Distance Remarks
May 2004 Conrbelt (track) 101 7 out of 49
May 2004 Wandelweekend pavement 88 Netherlands
November 2004 Ultracentric (track) 81
April 2005 McNaughton 100 (trail) 76 split 34:16 for the 100
August 2005 Leanhorse 100 (groomed trail) 85 29:34 for 100
November 2005 Ultracentric (track) 70
February 2006 Houston Bear (pavement) 76 rainy
June 2006 FANS (pavement) 83
June 2007 FANS (pavement) 66
November 2007 Ultracentric (pavement) 58
June 2008 FANS 47.5 retired half way
April 2009 McNaughton 100 (trail) 50 47:48 for 100 (muddy)
June 2009 FANS (pavement) 66
June 2011 FANS (pavement) 54 untrained
June 2015 FANS (dirt/pavement) 59.9 untrained

May 27, 2016 Posted by | walking | , , | Leave a comment

Versus Trump (and the Democratic platform committee)

Donald Trump He keeps saying that he’ll get “great people” to do the job. But is senior press representative basically …knows nothing? The interview I saw reminded me of a Chico Escuela interview that I saw on Saturday night live:

Now, we’d like to welcome a new member to our Update team, the former All-Star second baseman for the New York Mets, Chico Escuela. Welcome, Chico. [Chico clears his throat, photo of smiling Chico Escuela in baseball uniform and holding a bat] Chico will be covering the sports scene for Weekend Update. [applause for Chico, a Dominican ballplayer who sits opposite Jane – he has a thick Dominican accent and speaks very little English]

Chico Escuela: Thank you. Thank you, berry, berry much. … Base-ball … been berry, berry good to me. … Thank you, Hane. … [Photo of major league ballplayer Pete Rose] Pete-ee Rose … Base-ball been berry, berry good to Pete Rose. … Three – point – two – million – dollar para Pete Rose. Charlie Hustle, you bet. … Thank you very, very much. [National Football League schedule is shown] In – foot-ball … I don’t know – football. … In Dominican Republic, foot-ball is — how you say, Hane? Um – Oh! — soccer! Your football– [pause] I don’t know. … [Hockey graphic] In National Hockey League … [shakes his head] I don’t know hockey … [applause, photo of smiling Chico again] In base-ball– Base-ball been berry, berry good to me! … Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. [applause] Hane? Thank you, Hane.

Jane Curtin: [genuinely enthusiastic] Great job, Chico. I’m glad that we haven’t hired just another stupid ex-jock sportscaster. …

Perhaps the fictional Mr. Escuela can get a job with the Trump campaign as a press secretary?

So how will Hillary Clinton run against Donald Trump? One conjecture is that she might use a little game theory.
Here is the idea: getting into a twitter battle of insults won’t work. However she can get surrogates to attack him, and choose the surrogates to be classes of people that Trump loves to insult (e. g. Mexicans, women, etc.). Trump can’t resist hitting back when attacked, and in so attacking, he can turn off people from those respective groups.

Democratic Primary Yes, the Democratic primary is still going on, but Clinton is all but certain to be the nominee. And no, the system isn’t rigged against Sanders; in fact the evidence suggests that having so many caucus contests actually helped him (example: consider Washington: Sanders won the caucuses handily and collected the lion’s share of the delegates; however Clinton beat him comfortably in the “beauty contest” primary and the primary had a MUCH higher turnout.

And yes, Clinton is the favorite in California. Sure, a couple of polls that showed a close race made the news. (from here)

californiapolls

The polls suggest about a 10 point Clinton lead; demographic regression models predict a larger win.

Nevertheless, the elections continue on. Sanders has picked his platform committee: 6 appointed by Clinton, 5 by Sanders, 4 from the DNC. One Sanders committee member is Cornel West: yes, he was (is?) a well respected religion and philosophy scholar but has some problems when he delves into other areas:

But West also has a particular critique of the sitting Democratic president that goes well beyond Sanders’s expressions of disappointment. West’s position is not merely that Obama has not gone far enough, but that he has made life worse for African-Americans:

On the empirical or lived level of Black experience, Black people have suffered more in this age than in the recent past. Empirical indices of infant mortality rates, mass incarceration rates, mass unemployment and dramatic declines in household wealth reveal this sad reality. How do we account for this irony? It goes far beyond the individual figure of President Obama himself, though he is complicit; he is a symptom, not a primary cause. Although he is a symbol for some of either a postracial condition or incredible Black progress, his presidency conceals the escalating levels of social misery in poor and Black America.
This is actually not empirical. African-American infant mortality has declined, not increased, during Obama’s presidency [..]

The African-American unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. The African-American uninsured rate has fallen by more than half, and the administration has undertaken a wide range of liberalizing reforms to the criminal-justice system. The notion that Obama has made life worse for African-Americans rests entirely on affixing the blame for the 2008 economic collapse on him, without giving him any credit for the wide-ranging measures to alleviate it, or the recovery that has ensued. This is, in other words, the Republican Party’s method of measuring Obama’s record, and it’s the sort of grossly unfair cherry-picking that no good faith critic would use.

And the man has no political savvy at all.

I focus on him because I liked the man; heck I still do. I watched him speak at Bradley University in the early 1990’s and got to shake his hand. But..he is so….closed minded about what a President does and can do.

May 26, 2016 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Safe spaces: utility and inappropriateness …

Workout notes: just a 5.1 Cornstalk course run after a rain; it was a bit humid and I didn’t bother with a stop watch. I’d guess I ran at 11-11:15 mpm or so.

Safe spaces

I’ve thought about the “safe space” concept. This has been a topic of discussion on college campuses. In some cases, the “safe space” concept is used to shield students from ideas that, well, they don’t like and to keep away speakers they don’t like (including: Hillary Clinton!). Of course, one can protest a speaker and counter their ideas with other ideas; in the article I linked to, we see one student saying that Clinton ought not to have been permitted on campus.

Ironically this concept has been used against activists (e. g. the very presence of activists might violate the “safe space” of campus staff members).

So I’ll say that I have serious reservations about this concept.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for private conversation for certain groups of people. I’ll give some examples.

Example: I find it useful to have a private place to discuss dealings with students. Faculty sometimes get frustrated and there should be a place to deal with said frustration where one doesn’t have non-academic administrators, parents and students present.

Example: sometimes the self destructive habits of the poor come under fire. This can be an especially sensitive subject when, say, birth rates among unwed and underemployed African Americans is brought up. In fact, this very topic IS frequently discussed in private in African American circles. One famous African American columnist said that the privacy was to “keep the bigots from having another stick to beat us with”, or something along those lines.

Example: it is sometimes useful to have a place where one can discuss their prejudices in private. Sure, some might think that they have no prejudice but I am skeptical. Sometimes a good way to deal with them is to discuss them in private. One example: I was walking to an event and I saw a young man with his pants pulled down below his butt; his boxer shorts were visible. I had some non-flattering thoughts. But, when he saw me, he….held the door open for me. Go figure.:-)

I admit that I’ve joined a “secret” Facebook group for Hillary Clinton supporters. This doesn’t meant that I am afraid of challenges to my ideas. However, it had gotten to the point where if I posted a Democratic primary election article, I’d be attacked by Sanders supporters. And the attacks were often illogical, factually incorrect, or were laden with hidden assumptions. Correcting basic errors is part of what I do for a living. I don’t want to do that on my off time, especially with people who seem themselves as logical and informed, even when they aren’t.

Now the risk in joining such a group is that one is, by definition, in a bubble when one is in such a group. That is why I value some individuals who, while they might differ on candidate of choice (e. g. support Sanders or a Republican), know the basic facts and understand basic logic. These sorts of friends are also good to discuss science related issues with.

So I’ll say that I value private conversation groups, though it is a very bad idea to turn public spaces into “safe spaces”. Private groups can be joined by choice. The latter affects all of us, and I don’t want someone else dictating what is appropriate for ME to see or hear.

One other comment On social media, I treat people differently. If I know a person (either in person or online) and I’ve had history of interaction with them, I’ll cut them some slack. What I won’t tolerate is some moral scold going onto my wall and wagging their finger either at my friends or at me. I’ll accept (even welcome) correction of my factual errors, my error of omission, or my hasty inferences. I sometimes get things wrong or I sometimes am blind to an important factor. So yes, I’ll accept those from strangers.

But if you want to be a moral scold on my wall, I had better have a history with you, like you and respect you. But until you’ve shown me something, I won’t tolerate it. And no, a high self opinion is not a credential that impresses me.

May 26, 2016 Posted by | running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

played too much today

Workout notes: easy 3+ mile walk (Bradley park 5K plus a bit) after weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), incline presses: 10 x 135, 8 x 150, 10 x 140, military press: 2 sets of 12 with 50 seated, supported, 1 set of 10 with 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 with 50.

Later: 3 miles with the group. Barbara really struggled with the heat, her just getting over a bug, the cottonwood and her foot.

I didn’t do much today. I was going to go on and on about whatever but I’ll do that tomorrow.

May 26, 2016 Posted by | walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Minor league baseball: yesterday’s Chiefs game and talent

Yes, I’ve talked about yesterday’s Chiefs game, where the Chiefs managed to strand 6 runners over the past two innings and lose 5-4. What I didn’t emphasize is the Chiefs pitching:

Helsley watched fellow starter Sandy Alcantara toss a tremendous game in a losing cause. The big lanky righty allowed four runs but struck out 14 in six innings, including seven straight in one stretch.

The 14 whiffs tied the Chiefs record at Dozer Park, set by Starling Peralta against Clinton on Aug. 7, 2012. The seven straight K’s matched the Chiefs record for most in a single-game appearance, shared with Daryle Gavlick (Aug. 2, 1993 at Burlington). […]

Chiefs righty starter Sandy Alcantara hit 100 mph on the radar gun three times in the second inning, including back-to-back pitches to Beloit’s Brett Siddall. …

Yes, he has one hell of an arm. But, at the same time, he was tagged for FOUR hits in the 2’nd inning alone, including two doubles which gave Beloit 3 runs (all earned). And earlier this year, he got knocked out of the box in the first inning, giving up a walk and 3 hits (including a triple).

So, this kid has talent. Can he (and the coaches) develop this talent? Only time will tell. He is pretty raw right now, though he can really pop that glove with his fastball.

One other note: I sometimes wonder “how do they hit that stuff”? But those players are professionals for a reason. I just shake my head when I think of how many excellent players will never see the field in a major league game.

May 24, 2016 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment

Clinton vs. Trump and the Democratic end game …

I admit that the end game of this campaign (Democrats, 2016) has been fascinating. I was one who thought it would be boring.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is going to win and yes, she remains the favorite for the general election, though the odds have crept back from 1/3 to just over 1/2 (in some books).

24mayoddsuspolitics

There is some worry that the “slash and burn” tactics from the Sanders campaign might hurt us against Trump. Gin and Tacos has a nice summary of the denialism that is going on among Sanders supporters. Paul Krugman provides a summary of the types of Sanders supporters that one encounters: Genuine Idealists (don’t realize how hard genuine change is), Romantics (e. g. hippies), Purists (e. g. Nader voters in 2000), Clinton haters, and “Salon des Refuses” (policy wonks who couldn’t make the varsity (Clinton) team but now found a team (Sanders) where they could become starters; think of the frustrated division I (FBS) football player who finds that he can start for a I-AA (FCS) program). Krugman concludes

So how will this coalition of the not-always disinterested break once it’s over? The genuine idealists will probably realize that whatever their dreams, Trump would be a nightmare. Purists and CDSers won’t back Clinton, but they were never going to anyway. My guess is that disgruntled policy intellectuals will, in the end, generally back Clinton.

The question, as I see it, involves the romantics. How many will give in to their bitterness? A lot may depend on Sanders – and whether he himself is one of those embittered romantics, unable to move on.

Interestingly enough, Charles Krauthammer has a better understanding of the situation than many Democrats. He makes some interesting observations. Here are his comments on what Hillary Clinton is trying to do:

The Trump and Sanders constituencies share one stark characteristic: They are both overwhelmingly white. In the Rust Belt, the appeal is to middle- and working-class voters who have suffered economic and social dislocation. The question is whether Trump can win a sufficient number of those voters, erstwhile Reagan Democrats, to flip just a few states that, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, have gone Democratic for the last six elections.

Which is why Clinton is treating Sanders so (relatively) gently. She wants to be rid of him but cannot alienate his constituency – especially after the ruckus made by his supporters at the Nevada state convention and after his string of recent victories in West Virginia, Indiana, and Oregon, along with the virtual draw in Kentucky. She needs him.

Normally, endorsements don’t matter in American politics. But the Sanders constituency is substantial and very loyal. And rather angry now as they can see the Clinton machine winning the nomination through superdelegates.

She needs his blessing and active support in the general election. If not carefully cultivated and appeased, say, on the party platform and/or vice presidential choice, Sanders could very well disappear after the Philadelphia convention and leave her to her own devices – which are much lacking, as demonstrated in her recent primary losses.

She needs to keep his legions in the game through November. At the very least, she needs him to warn his followers away from a Trump temptation.

And here is what he says about Donald Trump:

Right now, Clinton has the distinct advantage. Flipping reliably Democratic states, as well as lowering Trump’s high negatives, are both very difficult.

But there’s one wild card: events – unforeseen, unforeseeable, yet near inevitable. We are highly unlikely to go the next six months without a significant crisis. In September 2008, the financial collapse cemented Obama’s victory when he, the novice, reacted far more calmly and steadily than did John McCain, the veteran.

This time around, Trump reacted to the terror attack in San Bernardino with a nakedly nativist, shamelessly demagogic, yet politically shrewd call for (temporarily, allegedly) banning all Muslims from entering the country. Roundly denounced by Democrats and leading Republicans alike, Trump watched his poll numbers go through the roof. Turns out that GOP voters supported the ban, 2-to-1.

A candidate with the tactical acuity to successfully deploy such breathtaking, bigotry-tinged cynicism is not to be trifled with. Under normal circumstances, Clinton wins. But if the fire alarm goes off between now and Election Day, all bets are off. Clinton had better be ready. Trump has shown that he will be.

In short: how well will Donald Trump’s simplistic nativist, xenophobic, isolationist attitude sell with the general public? I really don’t know, though I think that I do. And don’t underestimate his charm; he really does have some.

Ending snark: These are two well deserved shots at the more clueless Sanders supporters.

truthintrump

wedontneednorules

May 24, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

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