# blueollie

## Almost well

Just running today; not quite up to double workouts yet. I did slog 5 miles in 55:05 on the treadmill (not terrible for me on this machine) and while I coughed for 10 minutes afterward, I felt much better than when I did 3 miles at the same pace 3 days ago. Hope to swim tomorrow and maybe do an easy weights/run double on Thursday.

We had ice yesterday; I had to be careful just getting outside to lay down salt and to scrape the car.

## Losing a week…

My goodness, I am still trying to catch up. And yes, one exam this week, two the next.

I am not 100 percent yet, but I did an easy 4 miles on the home treadmill (43:20); terrible but 1 minute faster than yesterday with less effort. Who knows, at this rate of improvement I should be at my 1998 level in under 3 week’s time? ;-)

Yes, that is a joke, but given how bad science writing is in the media, you can’t really be sure!

Note: my wife is having a horrible time with her chronic coughing; on her previous trip sitting behind a cat in an airplane made her ill for a month; this time she got her cough reactivated by bad air in a city that they visited.

So…I will NOT let her take a trip to tour coal mines or, say, to China.

Now to head home; the weather is supposed to be downright dreadful this week (ice storm tonight; down to 2 F by midweek) but well…maybe by June the snow will finally be gone? ;-)

March 2, 2015

Yes, this has not been a great year for Bradley Basketball; the men finished 3-15 in conference and in 10’th place, out of 10 teams. I had predicted 4-5 home conference wins and 1 road win for somewhere between 5-13 and 6-12. When I heard that we were predicted to finish in 8’th I joked “that high?” Turns out that the joke was on me.

So no one denies that this wasn’t a successful season. I figured that our getting beat in an exhibition game by a D-3 team was a clue, but hey…

So now after our 15’th conference loss, our coach is quoted as saying (we did play Wichita to a close game (after falling down by 16), and rallied to give UNI a scare prior to losing by double digits):

“We have to go with the mindset we can win the tournament,” Ford said. “To do that, we have to win four games in four days. I’m aware that nobody’s done that. And I’m aware that we have not won. But if you look at how we’ve played against the upper-tier teams, we’ve played better. We kind of play to the level of our competition and then a half step below that.

(emphasis mine).

Uh, coach, there is really a simpler, less flattering explanation: the better teams probably didn’t take us that seriously and just went through the motions against us. Northern Iowa lead us by 22 before relaxing and still winning by 11 at our place. Wichita lead by 16 (at our place) before losing interest in the game and letting the lead dwindle to 3. Those games were merely a matter of those teams PLAYING DOWN TO A LEVEL JUST ABOVE US and not the other way around. That is why the only teams not to sweep us were Evansville (beat us by 10 here, lost to us by 3 there), Missouri State (2 point win here, 3 point triple overtime loss there) and Southern Illinois (each home team blew out the visitor).

The reality is that we simply aren’t a good basketball team, period.

I am not sure as to why things didn’t work out here; at Kent State he inherited a decent program and kept it at a good level; here he inherited a wreck and…well…kept it there.

March 2, 2015

## Women: Bradley 60, Illinois State 50

Bradley started out well and built an early double digit lead; it took the Braves 6 minutes to commit the first of their 23 turnovers.

But then they came fast and furious, and a bad 4:39 finish to the half saw ISU come back to tie at 27.

Then in the second half, ISU had control early as they moved out to a 6 point lead.

But a big 3 point by BU appeared to turn the tide, and BU got plenty of stops down the stretch to stretch the lead to 55-45 and hold on to win 60-50.

A big factor was that while Bradley shot 38 percent, ISU only shot 30 percent and BU blocked 7 shots; everything was contested. ISU was intimidated into missing lay ups, even when they were uncontested.

BU’s turnovers and poor free throw shooting (66 percent, uncharacteristic of this team) kept it closer than it had to be.

But it was a win: Bradley’s 5’th conference win of the year and the 5’th win out of the previous 10 games.

March 1, 2015

Over the past few days, I’ve gone to some basketball games and observed many obese, wheezing people who struggle to climb the stairs.

Yesterday, I went to a memorial service for someone and noticed those in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s…all moving slowly, stooped over, various breathing impediments and found myself starting to react with anger and contempt (inside).

Then I realized: my trying to tell myself “I am not like them” isn’t going to make it so. In fact, though one can boost one’s odds of being healthier at an old age, there is no certainties nor are there any guarantees.

And yes: if I manage to avoid the back luck of an accident or debilitating illness: IT. WILL. HAPPEN. TO. ME. EVENTUALLY.

All I can do: take advantage of the good luck that I’ve enjoyed so far and do what I can, when I can. So today, as usual: no snow blower baby!

And I did run a slow 4 miles on my home treadmill first. It wasn’t pretty (44:20, though remember that it was all at incline and my MPM for this treadmill is slower than it is for other treadmills and tracks).

And yes, this week should see a reduced workout load; hopefully close to normal with Wednesday’s workout.
Tuesday: 1/2 weights, short run
Wednesday: swim
Thursday: full weights, short run
Friday: swim

That’s the plan anyway.

No, this wasn’t a snarky comment. I had planned to go to the game as usual, but it turns out that a friend of my wife’s died recently and the memorial service was that afternoon. But I had time to make the first half of the game, which saw Indiana State lead 27-20.

It ended 60-52, so I missed the 33-32 second half, though I was able to drive home while listening to the game, drive to the service, and listen to the final 2:30 when it was 52-50, ISU. Then the service started and I found out the (all too predictable) final score as we were leaving the building (yes, I waited and used my wife’s smart phone).

I was hoping that this downtrodden team would have at least one more win to finish the season, but in sports, you win when you are good enough to win, period. Shooting 33 percent, including 20 percent from 3 and 56.3 percent from the line and getting out rebounded 45-34 is not a winning formula.

What was interesting is that the teams appeared to swap long scoreless/infrequent scoring stretches.

It took Bradley almost 7 minutes (6:58) to get to 6 points.

BU then held ISU scoreless for 8:32 (13-6 to 13-16)

Then BU went scoreless for the final 5:15 of the half.

BU only scored 4 points in the final 4:35 of the game.

So it is official: the men are in dead last and will play in the 10-7 game against Drake, who is a good 3 point shooting team.

As far as the men’s tournament: I don’t know. This year, I’ve watched more of the other teams than I’ve ever have.

Game 1 — #8 Missouri State (11-19, 5-13) vs. #9 Southern Illinois (11-20, 4-14), My pick: SIU
Game 2 — #7 Drake (9-21, 6-12) vs. #10 Bradley (8-23, 3-15), My pick: Drake (bad matchup for BU)

Friday, March 6 — Session II
Game 3 — #1 Wichita State (27-3, 17-1) vs. Winner Game 1, 12:05 p.m. Wichita
Game 4 — #4 Illinois State (19-11, 11-7) vs. #5 Evansville (19-11, 9-9) Evansville (ISU swept with a blow out in the first; last one went to OT at Evansville) Best game of Friday

Friday, March 6 — Session III
Game 5 — #2 UNI (27-3, 16-2) vs. Winner of Game 2, 6:05 p.m. [MVC TV Network] UNI
Game 6 — #3 Indiana State (15-15, 11-7) #6 Loyola (18-12, 8-10), 8:35 p.m. Loyola interesting game here

Saturday, March 7 — Session IV
Game 7 — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1:35 p.m. [MVC TV Network] Wichita
Game 8 — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 4:05 p.m. [MVC TV Network] UNI

Sunday, March 8 — Session V
Championship — 1:05 p.m. [CBS Sports, Westwood One, Sirius/XM Radio] UNI

I really don’t see any big upset potential games here.

March 1, 2015

Later today: half of a Bradley basketball game then I’ll leave to pick up my wife and go with her to a Memorial Service for someone that, well, I never liked her but she had a tough life on many levels..and still did some impressive things.

Earlier, I decided against getting up early to go to the Riverplex to swim/run and just try a short run on the treadmill. THAT was plenty; I did 5K in 34:25 (just over 11 mpm, albeit at a good incline) and that was enough to be actual work; I was sweaty and I coughed. The first 25 minutes was very easy but I tired quickly.

Oh well…I have to remember that I am still weakened from last week’s illness.

And it did feel good to get a deep sweat on.

February 28, 2015

## Women’s Basketball: Southern Illinois 72 Bradley 66: turnovers and perimeter defense

Good news: I walked TWO MILES on the treadmill this morning. I didn’t die; maybe a bit more tomorrow morning.

27:54; I did enough to get warm.

Though Bradley stated out well, BU allowed SIU to hit 7 of 14 from 3 point land; two SIU guards just killed us: no. 10 with 25 points (8-15, 2/5 from 3) and no. 13 had 21 (6-13, 4/6 from 3). We also gave up 20 turn overs; rebounding (BU 33-30) kept us in it.

It was mostly back and forth with SIU not starting to get away for good until about 2 minutes were left; they stretched it to 7, though BU cut it to 3 a few times in the very long last minute.

Note: I blistered my mouth with too many cough drops; Barbara got me some ointment that really helps.

February 28, 2015

## Statistical stupidity from NPR

I am no longer surprised when NPR commits a statistical howler.

Today, they aired a touching story about a black hockey player and the racism that he endured. So far, so good.

But then, they go on to say this:

Despite stars like P.K. Subban and Evander Kane, hockey remains a stubbornly white sport. Only about five percent of NHL players are black 28 years after James.

Uh, exactly why is this a problem?

So making the assumption that one would expect zero black players from other than the US or Canada (think of the hockey powers of this world), IF the representation were exactly proportional, we’d expect:

$(.5)(2.9) + (.25)(12.6) = 4.6$ percent, which is about what they have.

So why is 5 percent a problem? My guess: they assume that blacks are grossly over represented in football and basketball, they should be in hockey as well? If so, why?

Of course, this isn’t as bad as some idiot academic administrator with a Ph. D. insisting that everyone needs to be above the department average, but …well…let’s just say that I am cranky and that NPR comes across as smug.

February 27, 2015

## Feeling strong enough to complain

Ok, no 100 percent; I still have some illness “afterglow”. I’ll put this on my virus post.

But I didn’t cough much when I shoveled snow (about 3 inches of easy, fluffy stuff) in very cold (14 F) weather. I cursed the idiot plow drivers as they buried our walks instead of putting the snow on the useless median and did the walks…again.

Peoria is simply a horrible place to live; Canadian winters (last 2 anyway), incompetent city government and idiotic people.

But when I finished shoveling (AGAIN), walking to school and climbing the stairs I was soaking with sweat…and did not cough…once. I can’t tell you what a huge improvement that is. I’ll probably walk on the treadmill tomorrow.

But my wife is home, taking up space and coughing away…no rest of the wicked, I suppose.

No relief from the brutality of this winter either; yes, THIS YEAR, and LAST YEAR have made the “top 10 coldest Februaries on record:

February 2015 is on track to being one of the coldest February’s on record for Illinois. Data through February 24 puts the statewide average at 19.4° F. This is 11.5°F below average and slightly colder than last February’s 19.4°F. Before February, this was shaping up to be a mild winter with near to above-average temperatures (see graph to the left, click to enlarge).

At this point, February 2015 is ranked as the 8th coldest on record, edging out 2014 (see table below). The NWS forecasts show that temperatures for the rest of February will be 15 to 20 degrees below average. Therefore it is possible that it could move up the ranks. I will post more on this at the end of the month.

Yes, it will get colder:

And yep, we will get slammed with more snow again.

We have the worst of both worlds: Canadian winters and US conservatives in the same place.

Work

When I started as an assistant professor, our Provost insisted that to be tenured, all tenure-track faculty had to have scores on their anonymous student evaluations that were above their department’s averages. I tried to explain to him that if this were sustained over time, the result would be that all tenure-track faculty would be required to have perfect scores. After that happened, no one would get tenure, since it would no longer be possible to score higher than average. He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look.

(by department average, they mean vs. all tenure track and tenured; this is the “everyone should be above average idiocy”)

And yes, they expect you to view whatever “research” they did on a level with yours.

February 27, 2015