A meme with an unintentional point


Yes, the minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with inflation. Yes, raising the minimum wage can provide some “demand side” economic stimulus and help some lead better lives. I’ve argued as much before.

So, I remain on the side of those who want to raise it from where it is now.

Nevertheless, well…let me just say this: sometimes, a good public policy disproportionately benefits people that I might not necessarily like. I’ll just leave it at that.

October 6, 2015 Posted by | social/political | , | Leave a comment

Kicking off the taper

5 mile walk outside (light drizzle) then 2 on the track: 23:52 (lane 2); there was a swarm of students from some sort of fitness program. Whatever they were doing, it wasn’t that hard. But it was better than zilch.

Gun control: there is little that is less pleasant (in terms of social interaction) than to start talking to someone about this issue and have a gun advocate jump in. Even worse: the case when the said advocate thinks that he is smart and logical and accuses me of making a logical error.

Frankly, the time and energy isn’t worth it; it is to the point where I’d like to have some filter that makes someone pass a quiz on basic statistics in order to talk to me.

But certain things keep coming up over and over again.

So, here is a balanced report about Chicago, its gun deaths, murder rates, and “people being shot” rates. Summary: Chicago has problems, but they aren’t as severe as the gun advocates say that they are.

And here is the stupid “Honduras vs. Switzerland” meme.

And no, putting out stupid memes isn’t just a gun advocate problem, nor is it only a conservative problem. I frequently complain about stupid liberal memes.

So, this really isn’t a rant about gun advocates or conservatives (and yes, I have the pleasure of knowing several smart, successful conservatives and I enjoy talking to them) ; it is more about people who think that they know a lot more than they do and, at the same time, lack the intellectual tools to fact check themselves.

But alas, there is no graceful way to say “STFU; you don’t know what you are talking about. Go bother someone else. “

October 6, 2015 Posted by | morons, social/political, walking | | 2 Comments

Why is there an undercurrent of anger (if there is one?)


Bill Maher also has this interesting take on the supply side Republicans trying to stay merged with religious conservatives.

October 6, 2015 Posted by | social/political | | Leave a comment


I am going to knock it off early. Not much to say, though there is a lot going on.

Workout notes: 500 yards easy, 5 x 100 drill (fins), 100 swim, 250 in 4:30 (steady), 50 back.
Then weights: pull ups (5 sets of 10), rotator cuff
incline: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 6 x 150
bench (dumbbell) 10 x 70
standing presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40 (dumbbells),
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 (each arm), 10 x 110 machine.

I got to work quickly, but later regretted not doing yoga.

Note: I had some “non pain but unsteady” twinges in my right knee.

October 6, 2015 Posted by | swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

I’m ready

No, my long walk didn’t set any records. In fact, it was slow, by my old standards (14:31 mpm). But I covered 16.1 miles in 3:53 and 16.5 in 4 hours.


It was down to the River, along the trail via the Goose loop and ball field wall, to the Woodruff track 1:19 for 5.5, 1:11:40 for 29 laps (16 in lane 2, 4 in lane 1), 1:22 back (net uphill, got fatigued). The trail was empty due to the 50’s and windy conditions. I loved it.

So, my long walk progression has been like this, starting on July 5 (1 month after by miles at FANS):
18, 16, 13, 13, 20, 18, 19, 18, 18, 18 (half marathon in 2:38, 3 prior, 2 after), 22, 20, 16. Now there is not much I can do, other than avoid cold germs.

More football
Someone is angry that their team lost to Illinois:

“Nebraska lost to Illinois, of all teams, which should be automatic elimination from Big Ten West consideration for the sheer embarrassment, if no other reason. It’s largely because of a horrendous offensive game plan and inexplicable, unacceptable and downright ludicrous clock management — not the first time this staff has mismanaged the clock, either. The overall “F” for this game goes directly to the coaching staff. Suddenly, making a bowl game seems iffy, at best.”

Here is a bit of fact: Illinois has won its previous 3 Big Ten games in a row (dating back to last season) and 3 out of 4 of its Big Ten home games (Minnesota, Iowa (oops..that was the loss), Penn State, now Nebraska). Ok, we are talking about winning by 4, 2, and 1 point(s)…but they were wins nevertheless.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

College Football weekend: assessing “my” teams..

Ok, my take:

Texas Fortunately, I “only” saw the first quarter of the TCU game:


Frankly I was a bit surprised. California and Oklahoma State beat Texas, but Texas at least looked like competent team…at home. But on the road: 38-3, 50-7 losses, albeit to good teams. I am not close enough to the situation to know what is going on; I do know that Coach Strong’s first two seasons at Louisville were 7-6 each; then came the 11-2 and 12-1. But right now, Texas is not competing, AT ALL.


Right now, Navy is playing really, really well, winning over competent football teams. I’d say that they are on a higher level than last year. We’ll see if Navy can avoid the injury bug.
They have been a pleasant surprise.

Notre Dame

Yes, they lost; their rally from a 21-3 deficit fell short. But I’ll say this: for the first time since the Holtz years, I can say that Notre Dame is becoming (“becoming, as “not there yet””) a consistently good team. I do NOT see them as a playoff caliber team. But top 15, top 10? Yes. They are on their way to being what they were under Parsegian, Holtz and Devine: “good most years, and a legitimate candidate for top honors every few years”.


I talked about the Nebraska game at length in a previous post. Now I know that this isn’t a vintage Nebraska team. But one must remember where Illinois came from: dating back to last season, Illinois has won 3 out of their last 4 Big Ten home games, and two of those wins came in the final 10 seconds of play. I can honestly say that Illinois is now a legitimate Big Ten team, albeit not one of the powers.

They have been a pleasant surprise; I now admit that they have a legitimate shot at winning at least 3-4 more conference games. I am NOT saying that they will. Realistically, Northwestern, Ohio State and Iowa will rough sledding. But Purdue, Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin are all winnable. I see them winning perhaps 2-3 of those games..IF they can play well on the road.

Sagarin Ratings We are now at the part of the season where the computer ratings start to make some sense.

ND is ranked 14’th in the Sagarin, which makes sense.


Navy is 41, atop of the AAC West and atop of the AAC in general. Illinois is 52’nd, ranked ahead of Purdue and Minnesota in the Big Ten West:


And Texas: is where it belongs: 72’nd (that high?) ahead of Kansas.


I really don’t understand why Texas has been so non-competitive away from home. Something is wrong.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | college football, football | , | Leave a comment

Illini rally to beat Nebraska 14-13; overcome missed opportunities

Prior to leaving for the game, I got in 5 miles of running, (shuffling, really; took me 1 hour to do 5.01 miles)
Screen shot 2015-10-03 at 10.17.45 PM

Then 21:10 of cycling (10K) then yoga.

The game: Illinois outgained Nebraska 382 to 292 but with 51 seconds to go in the game they were down 13-7, at their own 27 and had no time outs. No problem.


The game started ok; Nebraska was stopped on its first possession and the teams traded punts. But Nebraska muffed the Illinois punt giving the Illini the ball at the Nebraska 39. But Illinois couldn’t move it and missed a 51 yard field goal (windy day).

Then came another Nebraska punt to the Illinois 8. The Illini drove it (getting good running) but got it to 4’th and 1 at the Nebraska 10. Illinois went for it with a quarterback keep but got thrown for a loss.

nebraska1long run

Nebraska got stopped again, had to punt; Illinois drove again and ended up missing a 41 yard field goal. Illinois had tons of chances and had zero points to show for it.

Second quarter, Nebraska broke a quarterback keeper for a 32 yard gain, and that sparked a 76 yard touchdown drive. “Here we go”, I thought. Throughout the game, Nebraska misfired on open passes (drops or slightly bad throws).

Throughout the second quarter, Illinois was going against the wind. Hence they played “slow” by running and running down the clock between snaps. But this quarter also featured a bizarre sequence in which the Illini ran a play on 4’th down, thinking it was 3’rd down because that is what the down marker said. For more: see this excellent analysis. Hence Nebraska got the ball at the Illinois 44. But the Illinois defense got an interception.


The defenses took over until late in the first quarter when Nebraska drove and got a field goal to go up 10-0, where the half ended.

Note: on the final play of the first half, Illinois was at the 40. They ran a running play which came oh-so-close to breaking; he was brought down at the Nebraska 12.

The third quarter saw Illinois playing “slow” again. It appeared that Nebraska won the field position battle when it pinned Illinois on its own 1 with great punt coverage. On the subsequent drive, Nebraska got the ball on the Illinois 31. The Illini defense stiffened again


and forced a field goal attempt, which was good. It was 13-0 Nebraska going into the 4’th..but the Illini had the wind again and was driving. A busted coverage enabled Illinois to cap off the 75 yard drive with a touchdown; it was now 13-7.

Then came a brutal defensive struggle; neither team could get anything going.

Then came the two key drives.

First, with 4:38 in the game, Nebraska started at their own 38 and mostly stayed on the ground. They got a first down at the Illinois 48 with 2:31 left in the game, and Illinois started to call time outs.

They ran to the Illini 30 for another first down; and so Illinois called time out. It got to be 3’rd and 7 at the Illinois 27 with Illinois out of time outs..1:46 is when they called their last one.

Nebraska gained 3 yards. It was now 3’rd and 7 with the clock running down, and Nebraska tried a pass, which was incomplete and stopped the clock with 55 seconds to play. So it was 4’th and 7 at the 27; field goal attempt into the wind would have been low percentage. Another incomplete pass.

So Illinois got the ball at their own 27 with 51 seconds left and no time outs.

Illinois hit a 15 yard sideline route then a 50 yard bomb to the Nebraska 7. A clear pass interference call gave Illinois the ball at the Nebraska 2 with 15 seconds to go..but no time outs..runs were out of the question.

There was one incomplete pass, then another pass interference call. First and goal at the one, when the Illini passed for the touchdown.

10 seconds were left. Whew!

Dating back to last season, the Illini have won 5 home games in a row, and 3 of the games (Penn State, Middle Tennessee, this game) featured an Illinois comeback and the game not being decided until 10 seconds in the game were left…or less.

Tracy was my dedicated buddy for this game; she was a trooper.


October 4, 2015 Posted by | college football, football | | Leave a comment

College Football this weekend

Air Force at Navy Rivalry game; Air Force won the last one. Air Force beat two weak teams and played Michigan State tough before losing by 14.
Navy: easy win over Colgate; dominating win over a decent East Carolina team, and a victory over Connecticut on the road. Navy is favored by 6 at home.

Mids: 30-21 though this is not a “gimme”.

Texas at TCU TCU has some injuries on defense; they beat lesser teams easily, beat Texas Tech on a last second touchdown off of a tipped pass and beat a stubborn Minnesota team on the road.
Texas: stomped by Notre Dame, beat Rice, and had heart breaking home losses to California and Oklahoma State due to mistakes in the kicking game.

The Frogs are better and know how to win; not sure they’ll cover that 16 point spread though. Frogs 38-31.

Notre Dame at Clemson
Clemson: two easy wins against weak opponents, then a close, hard fought quality win at Louisville. Notre Dame: easy wins over Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia Tech (it was 30-7 with about 2 minutes to go) and a narrow, last second win at Virginia (who hasn’t done well this year). Two good teams; I’ll go with the home team. I’ll call it 24-21 Tigers, though this one might be close enough for ND to win on a break.

Nebraska at Illinois Yep, I’ll be there, and for a change, I shouldn’t have leg room around me. We’ll probably have the best crowd of the season.
So, Nebraska has dispatched 2 lesser opponents; Southern Mississippi managed to rally to make a 26-0 game interesting. They lost two very close games to BYU and Miami.
Illinois: easy wins over a sleep deprived MAC team and an FCS team, followed by getting slaughtered by North Carolina and beating Middle Tennessee 27-25 when MTSU missed a 43 yard field goal with 8 seconds to play. To me, it appeared the MTSU and Illinois were equal teams.

I say that Nebraska wins this more easily than some say (they are a 7 point favorite); they did better against the type of opponent that blew out the Illini. I sure hope that I am wrong, but I see something on the order of 31-17.

October 3, 2015 Posted by | college football, football | | Leave a comment

Mass shootings: not much will change

Yes, I agree with what President Obama said:

But alas, nothing will change and the right wing politicians know this.

The embarrassing truth is that the rural right wing is over represented in Congress, be it from gerrymandering the House districts or from other causes (e. g. simple geography). And it is even worse in the Senate with every state getting two Senators, no matter how small the population.

So yes, Mr. President, I AM numbed to it, because nothing is going to raise our nation’s IQ. As far as the other advanced countries: remember that they are smaller than we are; their populations are more homogeneous. So, it is probably easier to get into this “we are all in this together” mode.

We, as a country, have problems, as do the other “large population” countries.

October 3, 2015 Posted by | politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Felt good today?

Weird …but when I feel good during a workout, I start to wonder: “what is wrong”? :-)

Swim: 500 warm up, 500 of drill/swim (drill were kicks with fins)
7 x 100 on the 2:05: 1:45, 1:45, 1:45, 1:47, 1:46 1:44, 1:45. 100 cool down (back stroke, with fins).
That was my best set of 100’s in a long, long time, though it isn’t what anyone would call good.

Weights: rotator cuff,
pull ups (strong), 5 sets of 10
incline presses: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 6 x 150
military presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40 standing (dumbbell)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbells (each arm), 10 x 110 machine.

I felt good walking away.

There is running Twitter joke about #collegekickers with the idea that they are bad. Well, I don’t think that they are bad; they are actually reasonably good. It is just that we’ve gotten used to NFL kickers, and given their longevity (they can last longer than other NFL players), well, only the very best from the very best make it to the NFL. They are extreme outliers.

Smart idiots Yes, I sometimes get tired of discussing things on social media where many are completely unaware of their intellectual limitations, which includes not only being badly misinformed (or underinformed) but also not realizing their own intellectual limitations, especially when the issue at hand involves something technical.

But there are “smart idiots” too: these are people who are smart, have credentials in a given field but think that they know far more about another field..when they don’t:

It’s really quite sad. Kinsley is a very smart guy, who also happens to have given me my big break into journalism by hiring me to write for Slate. But now he’s a prisoner of derp.

I’ve seen this a number of times, mainly in economics, although it happens in other fields (especially climate science) too. Somebody with a reputation for cleverness looks at, say, macroeconomics, and imagines himself smart enough to weigh in — not realizing that there is a technical discipline here, and that he, well, has no idea what he’s talking about.

They are sometimes worse than the ordinary idiots.

You see this during arguments about economics and arguments about science issues:



My scourge every fall:

At times it sure feels this way

This was put out by an actual author


Sure, the social and historical setting of a story matters, and sometimes a story really does have a point. But sometimes it appears to me that people get a bit carried away. But I am not a specialist in this area..but again, it was an author who put this out.

October 2, 2015 Posted by | economics, politics, science, social/political, swimming, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment


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