Giving up is sometimes the right thing to do…


This was absolutely ghastly running weather. I started at the Riverplex with the idea of doing a few treadmill miles toward the end. But then I changed my mind…bad mistake.
1:31 for 7.27 miles out (12:30 pace), throwing in walking every 10 minutes or so. Back: 2 hours, on the button (16:30 pace); I mostly slow walked and did a short occasional jog.

I did see a hawk and a snake.

Anyhow, I do not regret my decision to can the workout midway through.

And 14.5 miles in the heat is better than 0.

Later: we went out to Barbara’s oldest son’s house; as usual the outing was extremely pleasant.




Yes, I did sneak in that final shot.:-)

July 24, 2016 Posted by | big butts, family, running, walking | Leave a comment

Trump Speech: fantasy

Workout notes: yesterday, 2 extra walking miles (to check out my smart phone map feature) and to see what my “just walking” pace is like. It is about 17 minutes per mile. Then 5K more this morning (15-ish mpm) after lifting weights.

lifting: rotator cuff, pull ups: 5 sets of 10
squats: 2 weightless sets of 10, 10 x 45, then 4 sets of 5 goblet squats: 25, 35, 50, 50
The “tug” in my right inner leg was barely noticeable, at times.

bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 10 x 170 incline press: 10 x 135
military: dumbbells, 7 x 50 standing (sloppy), 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing.
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 (dumbbell) each arm
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch 10 yoga leg lifts
headstand (so-so)

Trump’s Speech and the election.
In a nutshell, you need to be SCARED and to understand that Trump is the ONLY ONE who can fix it.

Yes, better infrastructure (which I do want), less crime, a quick win of the war against ISIS and other terrorist organization, all the while cutting taxes and building that huge wall between US and Mexico. He is going to do ALL of that, VERY QUICKLY (though it took him 73 minutes to tell us that). How? Just trust him; just believe.

Red State Update gave more or less the same speech in 2008, but in a much briefer period of time:

Oh by the way, the world is NOT falling apart, crime is actually down overall (though up in some locations); you can read the rest of the fact checks here.

As far as how the race is going: this is a great resource. Upshot has its own model, and it links to many other models and betting markets. The map hasn’t changed much from the 2012 map.

You’ll read a lot about “Hillary’s support is sinking”. The reality is that “no incumbent in the race” elections tend to be close. As I told a friend:

In my lifetime, there have been 5 “no incumbent” elections. The popular vote margins (in percent) have been:
0.17 (1960 Kennedy vs. Nixon)
0.7 (1968 Nixon vs. Humphrey)
7.72 (1988 Bush I vs. Dukakis )
-0.51 (2000 Bush II vs. Gore, Gore won the popular vote)
7.27 (2008 Obama vs. McCain)
So if there is a poll or two that shows Hillary with a double digit lead…it is probably an outlier. So don’t be surprised to read “Hillary sinking in the polls”; that usually means that there was a favorable outlier followed by a more realistic result. Expect, for statistical reasons, to see a few polls here and there that show Trump leading. A typical margin of error is 3 to 4 points and that is the MOE for the SUPPORT of a candidate, not for the difference. Example (two way example) if she really leads 52-48, Hillary’s support in a single given poll will vary between 48 to 56 percent 95 percent of the time, so one can expect to see her trailing by 4 points in some polls and winning by 12 in others.

July 22, 2016 Posted by | politics/social, poll, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Slight adjustment

I am wasting too much time on political discussion.

So this will be brief: 4 mile treadmill run, 1 mile walk (15:33) to cool down. And I feel great! My legs are coming back.

Treadmill run: 10 minutes (.875 miles) (5.2, 5.3 5 minutes each), 10 minutes at 6.7 (8:57 pace), 1 mile at 6.8 (8:49), .5 at 6.9 (8:43), .25 at 7, .25 at 7.1.
total: 37:35 for 4 miles; 26:28 for 3 miles, 27:35 for 3.125 miles (just over 5K). Incline: 0.5.

It was never “hard” but I did have to focus just a bit in the last mile.

Now off to the office.

July 21, 2016 Posted by | running | 2 Comments

RNC convention thoughts, real Americans and all that…

I watched some of the Republican Convention last night. It was a circus. And I died of laughter watching Ted Cruz get booed.

No, the election odds haven’t changed much; Hillary Clinton is still between a 1/3 to 5/11 favorite in the betting lines.

What I found interesting was this statement by Michael Moore:

I don’t see much evidence of that in the polls:


Yes, Mr. Moore is right that what we are hearing in the RNC convention IS “music to the ears” of a certain type of American which some call a “real American”. But “real Americans” are an increasingly small percentage of those who vote; estimates this to be around 20 percent of the electorate. Trump is getting absolutely blistered in other demographic groups and is even trailing about white college educated voters (Romney won this group).

An interesting aside: I was a bit surprised to learn that about 70 percent of Americans over 25 do not have a bachelors degree. That surprised me. But that is MY being in a bubble; most of my “in real life” friends have advanced degrees or advanced professional credentials.

Aside about “political correctness”: when I hear political correctness, I think of “denying facts or data because they make you uncomfortable”; e. g., denying science because it conflicts with your religion, denying the health risks of obesity because of some concern about “fat-phobia”; denying that there are IQ differences (on the average) between demographic groups (e. g. Asians, on the average, score higher than those of Mexican decent).

I agree that PC-ness should be pushed back against. But that in no way justifies bombarding someone with racial slurs and the like, as happened here.

July 21, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Political attacks and negative campaigning: why I feel it is necessary

Workout notes: weights plus an untimed 5.1 mile walk (75 F, sticky).
rotator cuff, pull ups 15-15-10-10, incline press: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, 10 x 140 (empty gym; played it safe), military: 7 x 50 dumbbell standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, machine: 10 x 200
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell. Abs: 2 sets of: 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts. Headstand (ok).

Squats: 10 x 0, 10 x 45, 5 x 75 (ok,), 5 x 95 (slight strain, right inner thigh). 5 x 35 goblet, 5 x 25 goblet (protect the thigh)

Weight: 189 after weights (gym), 189.5 home (after walking)

Post I saw some comments about the back and forth in campaign tweets and about negative campaign ads.

Here is why I feel negative campaigning is necessary:

1. It is easy to make unrealistic promises (LOWER taxes but better roads and schools).
2. Candidates embellish their record by exaggerating their successes and omitting their failures.

They have to be called out on such things.

However, not all attacks are equal. I had one facebook friend try to say “both sides” when comparing Trump’s attacks on Warren and visa versa.

Here is a Trump attack:


That is name calling and a slur. He also intimated that Sen. Warren lied about her heritage to her advantage.

Here are attacks by Sen. Warren, which call him out on what he does (demeanor, failed businesses, scams) Note the links to articles about “Trump University”.

Those two are not the same things.

Think of it this way: if I were, say, campaigning for a research mathematician post and called myself a “great, productive mathematician”, saying:

“He is a Frito-Bandito who wouldn’t have made it to grad school without affirmative action” would be a classless attack.

Saying “ok, where are his NSF grants? Where are his elite journal articles? Where are his invited addresses and presentations? Why didn’t MSRI, IAS, or the R-1 programs want him? He plays too much on Facebook” would be perfectly acceptable attacks as they attack my record and behavior.

July 20, 2016 Posted by | politics/social, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Melania Trump’s speech and false college record claims: what it means…

No, the country, on the whole, really doesn’t care about Melania Trump’s speech writing abilities or whether she graduate college or not.

But it does speak to how unprofessional the Trump campaign is.

Remember: Trump is running as a “successful businessman” who will “get things done”.

And his campaign, which HE is responsible for, appears to be an unprofessional train wreck. And THAT is relevant.

July 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Day one of the RNC and my Facebook wall gets snippy…

And I mean snippy. My wall is set so that the public can see and comment and, well, a client of someone saw a comment on my wall and threatened to take their business elsewhere.

My thoughts: I’ve had heated discussions with people..only to do yoga with them and go cycling with them too.

It is politics. And my friends include professors (from very different fields), mathematicians, scientists, engineers of various kinds, lawyers, medical doctors, truck drivers, airline pilots, homeless, blue collar workers, corporate executives, homemakers, athletes (real ones, not like me). They come from traditional families, broken families, military families (with lots of moving). They’ve experienced diseases, family violence, strife, family rifts, and good marriages as well. They included religious people, outspoken atheists and those who don’t care one way or the other. They include people who have made the Olympic trials, won boxing matches (and fought for the world title), 100 mile foot races, some even slower than I am (really!) and others who don’t like to play any sort of sport or even work out.

And yes, I have Democrats, Republicans, liberals who are disgusted by the Democrats, and conservatives who are disgusted by the Republicans. And yes, we have the “know-it-alls” who just know that THEY have the insights that the main stream media won’t tell you, but THEY have figured out…

I have people I’ve known for 40 years or more, some I’ve never met in person, some who I know “in person” and keep up with on the internet, and others who I met on the internet and attempted to have a IRL friendship with, with varying results (some good, some not-so-good).

Upshot: lots of passion, lots of different backgrounds, lots of opposing viewpoints AND different “base assumptions”. And while I welcome opposing points of view when they are well presented and backed up with demonstrable facts, well, that isn’t what I always get.:-)

And it pains me when I see two people that I like fighting each other.

Now about the news Frankly I don’t care about the “Pat Buchanan” type politics that I am seeing; that has been standard Republican stuff for some time now. But I was amused by this:

This lead to some funny memes:



And it turns out that the Trump campaign lied (or got it wrong) about Melania Trump graduating from college.

Let’s see: the Republicans are applauding someone who is a college dropout, a nude model and whose English, while pretty good for a second language, is imperfect…and who plagiarizes the speech of someone that they absolutely hate?

Well, perhaps it is unfair to compare her to an American born, Princeton educated attorney.:-)

But hey, I pledge to be as gracious to her as conservatives were to Michelle Obama!

Yes, I know, this is an Eastwood yells at an empty chair distraction, but it doesn’t speak well of the Trump campaign.

As far as where the election sits, it is estimated that Clinton has between a 61.3 percent ( and a 76 percent chance(New York Times Upshot) of winning. The bookies have it between 7/20 and 5/11 (British bookies)

According to Benchmark Politics, the two “within reason” extremes are these:



My opinion (based on, well, not much) is that the 2016 map will look a LOT like the 2012 map with perhaps a couple of states changed (maybe Arizona to Clinton, Ohio to Trump?) But Trump will have to win almost all of the toss ups to have any chance, and that is a bad position to be in.

July 19, 2016 Posted by | 2016, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | 2 Comments

That was DISGUSTING (my run, not the RNC)

The plan: “run” 15K at something approximating my planned marathon pace (11 minutes per mile)

The reality: 75 F, 87 percent humidity at the start; 81 F. 74 percent at the end.

I decided to do away with the final 1.2 mile loop but that wasn’t enough to get me to finish sans walking. I was at mile 4.05 in 45 minutes and started to walk 1.5 miles later. I walked/jogged for a bit..challenged myself to run up the last large hill and didn’t make it, and then “ran” the final 1.03 miles in a blistering 10:55. Yes, it actually “felt fast”. OMG. Time: 1:37, which is actually about 2 minutes slower than my “slow, easy jog” pace for this course.

It was a joke and I was soaked in sweat. Even my shoes were squishy. I never do well in the heat. If it is this hot on marathon day (and it might be), I’ll use the 6:30 time limit to walk/jog it at a moderate pace and aim for running the October one under 5 hours (my ultimate goal)

Early on, when I had hopes of finishing the workout on schedule, a youngish woman (30?) blew past me; she was wearing black spandex tights, a spandex top and had tattoos on her shoulders..and long black hair. She said a cheery good morning; I’d estimate her pace to have been high 7, low 8. I didn’t even think about attempting to keep her in sight; this was “she isn’t for you” moment for me. Despite my weakness in the weight room and snail like running and walking pace, I still have a 7 minute a mile, 250 pound bench press mind but a 10 minute per mile, 200 pound bench press body. I keep reminding myself “it is ok; you were never any good at sports to begin with (compared to athletes) so it isn’t as if you’ve lost much” but I still get annoyed at the degradation of my abilities.

Then I took Barbara to the eye center and, well, there you had mostly old people who didn’t walk all that well. So, I suppose it is a “be grateful that you can still do it at all” sort of thing.

And hey, I can still keep up with the hot grannies (at least MOST of them anyway). And there will be a time when the bespandexed 50 year old hot grannies will be too fast for me (one of the hottest local ones already is, but she looks like an athlete).

July 19, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running | | Leave a comment

Why “I am offended” isn’t good enough: education in the humanities

Watch this:

Now what was your reaction? Was it: ‘well, he is just stating a truth that we often don’t say out of politeness”? Was it: “how DARE he say that…I am OUTRAGED” ?

Those two reactions are really different sides of the same coin.

My reaction: “he is completely wrong but doesn’t understand why”. And that is one, of many reasons, that I value history and the humanities. That is one reason (among many) that we need all majors (including STEM majors) to take such courses. And that is why the increasing disrespect of the humanities (sometimes an earned disrespect) worries me.

Being able to be outraged isn’t the same as being educated. And, I truly wonder what percentage of people could explain why Rep. King’s statement was nonsense.

July 19, 2016 Posted by | education, social/political | | 2 Comments

Race and Law Enforcement: my pessimism for the short term

Having this discussion with conservatives is both frustrating and painful.

First, I should lay my cards on the table: I am for equal treatment by law enforcement. I believe that people should be judged by what THEY do and not by what others do. Racial profiling is wrong, period. And I believe that darker skinned people, especially black males, are unfairly profiled. My evidence for this: look at what routinely happens to even black professional males (the high achievers). Yes, it is wrong even if it happens to underachievers, but I use the high achievers to take away “they might have looked criminal” or “they knew of their record” excuse.

And NO, I am not here to defend what any “activist” says or does; activists don’t represent me. I’ll respond to queries about President Obama or Secretary Clinton as they do represent me; I voted for the former and support the latter.

Now to my argument:

I thought that President Obama was spot on:

But OF COURSE the conservatives hated it.

I’ve struggled to see exactly what they’d find wrong.

Perhaps they think that any criticism of police should be “behind closed doors”? Of course, this tells a large segment of the public that their concerns aren’t worth addressing.

Perhaps they think that there really isn’t that big of a problem but it is mostly a matter of genuine criminals complaining because they got caught and naive liberals falling for it?

If so, explain why highly successful black professionals have a beef?

I have a hard time imagining getting pulled over multiple times every year.

Of course, conservatives love to bring up “black on black” crime.

Yes, I stipulate that there are many poor black areas with appallingly high crime rates; that is undeniable, even of some “activists” will dismiss the statistics as being “racist”. And yes, that high rate will lead to a disproportionate number of encounters with police.

But how does that explain (or justify) what happened to the US Senator or to the surgeon?

Yes, black people are indeed far more likely to get killed by a common criminal than by a police officer; it isn’t even close.

But as to the question of “where are the protests about black crime”: criminals are not employed by the tax payer. They don’t represent us. Law enforcement DOES represent us; we pay their salary (and they deserve a good salary as it is a tough job).

I don’t think having a protest against murderers does much. But agitating for more accountability from those employed to protect and serve us might.

But back to the crime rate: people who live in high crime rate communities tend to not trust law enforcement. That leads to lesser enforcement which makes it easier on criminals and helps some who might not act criminally go over the line; witness what happens during, say, police strikes (in CANADA of all places). And, as pointed out by Stephen Pinker in Better Angels of our Nature, the absence of a Leviathan to keep order hand to enforce justice leads people to take the law into their own hands. Much of the violence in these regions is vigilantism. Middle class people take others to court; the poor often don’t have that option.

So, increasing trust in law enforcement benefits everyone. But why should people who are routinely mistreated by law enforcement have any confidence in it?

But alas, our conservative friends can offer only more moralizing and finger wagging…and that is why I am not hopeful for the near term.

But, well, we are getting older and eventually we dinosaurs will die out and be replaced by a more racially tolerant generation.

July 18, 2016 Posted by | political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment


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