30 September 09 (am)

Workout notes 4 mile walk (55:xx) then a 2000 yard swim (500 in 9:06, 10 x 50 drill/swim with fins, alternate 50 fly, 50 free, then 10 x 50 (alternate 50 free, 50 paddle).

Note: I had some behind the right knee ache after my walk; just slight “thereness” during the walk. It was chilly.

Birthers (Political Humor)

School Answering Machine Message (we need one of these):

(note: this is a joke..but I wish that it were true)

Humor at the Expense of Right Wing Nutters

Do you want a calendar of “hot” Republican women?
Go here.

One Big Joke: Sarah Palin. How is her time on the speaker circuit going? Not so hot in some areas:

Sarah Palin is not selling well on the lecture circuit, an industry insider told the New York Post.

“The big lecture buyers in the US are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because they think she is a blithering idiot,” the source said. “They don’t want to tick people off.”

Another Big Joke: Glenn Beck.
Ok, I actually start to agree with him; what is shown in the video IS horrible and one wonders why people don’t try to stop it.

But then Mr. Beck goes on to blame ATHEISM????


Gee, how many in this southern lynch mob were atheists????

Were these people atheists????

More right wing nut jobs NewsMax publishes an editorial that suggests that there might be a military coup against President Obama. Subsequently they deleted the article.

More stuff

Paul Krugman notes that David Brooks says that the root of our economic troubles (in terms of personal over consumption) started in 1980. Correct…but what else started in 1980? 🙂

PZ Myers Points out that ignorance in the investigation of crime can be lethal. In this case, a man who was wrongly convicted of arson was executed.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Barack Obama, civil liberties, Democrats, injury, morons, obama, political humor, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, republicans, sarah palin, superstition, swimming, training, walking | Leave a comment

Hey Senate Democrats: Take Notes!

This is what I expect to see from Democrats:

Of course, the Republicans whined and demanded an apology. They got one:

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Democrats, health care, politics, politics/social, republicans, Spineless Democrats | Leave a comment

29 September 09 (pm)

September 30, 2009 Posted by | atheism, religion | Leave a comment

29 September 09 (noon)

Today’s posts will be all over the place.

Health Care Reform My internet circle is abuzz over the failure of two “public option” amendments in the Senate Finance Committee. But Senator Schumer (the author of one of the amendments) reminds us that the public option is in the other bills and that this one is not over:

Dear Friend,

I wanted to give you quick update about our work to pass a public health care option.

My amendment to add a public option to the Senate Finance Committee bill came up just two votes short of being adopted by the full committee this afternoon.

This is unfortunate news but not a surprise. Remember, the Senate Finance Committee is more conservative than the Senate as a whole. And 4 out of 5 Congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care reform have passed a public option.

This is the opening day of our fight, and I will continue to work to improve the health care reform bill as we take the legislation to the Senate floor.

The more the people hear the facts about the public option, the more they support our efforts. We must continue to work together and speak out. If we continue to fight, I am confident we will pass health care reform with a robust public option.



Chuck Schumer
U.S. Senate

Humorous Stuff

Running, Creationism and Evolution: there are some races which I would not run. This one is one of them. Yes, the address is the “Moron Magnet” (aka: Creation “Science” Museum). Here, the IQs are lower than the 5K finish time (in minutes)!

Speaking of unintentional “nutter” humor: a creationist claims that evolutionists claim that are the direct descendants of frogs. (in the sense that if evolution is correct, we should expect to see a frog/monkey transitional species in the fossil record. 🙂

Town Halls

A Starbucks ad has fun with the teabaggers:

(A teabagger is commenting on coffee? 🙂 )

More “nutter” nonsense: Republican Representative Trent Franks: “President Obama is an enemy of humanity”.

No, I don’t have any common ground with this clown.

Economics: Paul Krugman reviews a book on Keynesian economics.

Government Overreach To my conservative friends: sometimes the government does overreach and sometimes government screws up. Here are two cases. To see the first, check out the case of the old lady getting arrested because she bought two boxes of legal, over the counter cold medication for her husband. (the reason for the law: meth labs use this stuff…but still…)

(hat tip: Legal Satyricon)

Another case:

Here is the case where a mom who watched the neighbor’s kids after they got off of the bus was warned about running an illegal day care center!

And my final bone to conservatives: they tend to pay more attention to political news than Democrats. This finding surprised me…until I realized that most of my Democrat friends I met through the ACLU, social action functions, Move On, Daily Kos, Democratic Party events, etc. Also, my “blood family” has ALWAYS loved politics and followed it closely. One of my first “big boy” books was a book on American Presidents.

September 29, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, books, civil liberties, creationism, economy, evolution, health care, humor, morons, nature, obama, political humor, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, running, science, Spineless Democrats | Leave a comment

29 September 2009 (am)

Workout notes yoga, then an easy 5 mile run. The run was fine, if a bit slow (especially at first).


Nothing much to say today! 🙂 That has to be a first (or I am still tired from the weekend)

Here are my Quad Cities Marathon photos.

September 29, 2009 Posted by | injury, marathons, running, training | Leave a comment

28 September 09 (am)

Workout notes 2000 yard swim. 9:55 for the first 500 (!), then drills (500 with fins), 10 x 50 (alternate paddle, free), 4 x 100 IM, 100 side. I was horrible! Part of the reason is that I woke up at 3:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Part of the reason is that yesterday’s marathon took more out of me than I’d care to admit.


Beware of swallowing those studies that say “we showed a group of X photos of Y and took brain scans“.

Also beware of statistical studies, especially if you are prone to agree with the conclusions. There was a well publicized study purporting to show how ill informed Oklahoma high school students were. I found the results to be shocking, even for Oklahoma. Well, there may be a reason for that. Note that this “study” (the one that Nate Silver is commenting on) was run by a group which advocates for private education.

In Canada, some Christians were offended by a statue of Ganesh. Ok, not having religious symbols on public property: sure, if it applies for one religion, it ought to apply for all. Fair enough. But this isn’t what this person said:

If the zoo wants to keep the statue and “[embark] on teaching the public about world religions, Blake suggested that the facility also erect the cross of Jesus Christ, the Ten Commandments and Noah’s Ark

“The display of foreign gods is offensive and does not reflect the views of the majority of Canadians,” he continued.

Foreign gods? 🙂 What an idiot. Note: this quote is from an article linked to by the blogger Friendly Atheist.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | education, free speech, religion, statistics, swimming, training | Leave a comment

Quad Cities Marathon 2009

Background I’ve been dealing with a chronic “behind the knee/upper calf” problem; over the past three weeks I’ve walked only 4 workouts (and had two easy runs during that time). But I was signed up and decided to see if I could do it.

I did a 5:14 in Rockford this past May.

My last marathon finish on this in this race (slightly different course) was in 2005; the report is here.

Yes, I did take a couple of Naproxyen about 3 hours prior to the race.

Weather: cool at the start (spandex season! 🙂 ) and it warmed up into the high 70’s toward the end; it was also somewhat windy/breezy.

Here is the quick and dirty from facebook:

Ok, I’ll admit it: the last “real” training walk I had was three weekends ago; I had a chronic “behind the knee/upper calf soreness” that was getting worse. Hence I did the racewalk clinic two weeks ago and three very short (3, 4, 5 mile) training walks otherwise over the last three weeks.

But I had signed up in advance and wanted to try the marathon.

For those who are unfamiliar: I walk these 100 percent of the way, though in this race I took a few breaks where I street walked (to protect my tender spot)

Note: I had walked a 5:14 at Rockford, but I was well prepared for that race.

Upshot: my first 5 miles was at my normal pace (56:36), I was slowing at mile 10 (1:55:36), slowed some more (mid way at 2:34:36), 2:57:15 at mile 15, slowed way down in the next 5 miles as my calves started to swell (4:01:21 at mile 20), and the next 6 were done in the just get it done with mode (5:10:45) at mile 25, and 5:28:36.

That was an ugly positive split (2:34:36, 2:54:00 for the second half). But I didn’t get passed that much during the second half; most people slowed.

More details:
I really didn’t notice all that much difference early on; though the few hills that there are come early (miles 1-5) I was maintaining my pace rather easily (low 11s); I did take one “cheat break” where I did some street walking. I was taking succeed tablets every 2 miles or so; that kept the nausea away. But today my body didn’t like Power Ade Zero; I often like this during less strenuous walking.

Again nothing seemed wrong until mile 10 (I was chasing a lady in pink shorts). But then my 11s turned into 12s; this happened as we passed from Davenport into Rock Island.

On Arsenal Island (where we were from miles 13-20) those 12’s migrated into 13s and there wasn’t much I could do about it. My calves just plain lost power and I started to walk very “stumpy”.

I did a mile with Beth (who was to finish 1 minute ahead of me) and was going back and forth with some walk-joggers who got away from me.

By the time we left Arsenal Island my legs were shot and I wasn’t able to push off or use my feet. I felt the effort but I’ve felt much worse in other marathons. But my pace migrated into the low 14s.

The out and back was oh-so-long (10 K) and I was in the “finish this” mode.

Spandex notes evidently one of the elite runners (female) missed the start; I saw her blow by us and weave in and out in the first mile; she had the little hiked-up spandex bun-hugger. 🙂

From mile 4 to 5, there was one of those “oh, can’t I give it just a little rub just this once” types (black half-tights and purple spandex top) I think that the most attractive marathon runners are the 4:30 to 5:30 finishers! The faster ones tend to be too skinny for my tastes.

Stats Geeks: Place: 673/746.

mile time cum time
2 22:35
3 11:32 34:07
4 11:29 45:36
5 10:59 56:36
6 11:31 1:08:08
7 11:36 1:19:44
8 11:45 1:31:30
9 11:47 1:43:18
10 12:18 1:55:36 (still ahead of Rockford)
11 12:00 2:07:37
12 12:26 2:20:04
13 12:19 2:32:24 (about 2:34:36 at half)
14 12:17 2:44:41
15 12:33 2:57:15
16 12:39 3:09:55 (Fell behind Rockford pace)
17 12:40 3:22:35
18 12:31 3:35:06
19 13:00 3:48:07
20 13:13 4:01:21
21 13:14 4:14:36
22 13:28 4:28:04
23 14:06 4:42:10
24 14:23 4:56:34
25 14:10 5:10:45
26 14:51 5:25:36
26.219 2:59 5:28:36

Other marathon reports:

Andy Payne Marathon (2008) 6:16

Quad Cities Marathon 2007 (DNF mile 23).

Quad Cities Half Marathon 2008.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | injury, marathons, racewalking, time trial/ race, Uncategorized, walking | 12 Comments

Football weekend 26-27 September 2009

Yes, I did see a couple of stinkers; I was happy that Texas beat UTEP but the score was 64-7; it was 47-7 at the half. So I switched to Illinois-Ohio State; that one ended 30-0 Ohio State.

But the Notre Dame-Purdue game was excellent. ND was up 17-7 at the half and into the 3rd quarter. But Purdue stopped ND’s running game and came back to take the lead 21-17 with 3:40 or so left in the game.

ND drove the ball and scored on 4’th and goal at the 2 with 25 seconds to play.

Notre Dame’s last three games were decided within the final minute; they aren’t an elite team but their games are entertaining.

They are also well followed; I found this comment to be, well, weird:

Notre Dame: We still are waiting, Charlie Weis. Where is that signature victory? It probably won’t come this season with a schedule that’s packed with middling teams. ND already has lost to a Michigan team it had no business losing to. And it nearly lost to Michigan State. Still, don’t be shocked if the Irish get another undeserved BCS bowl bid – where, of course, they will get blown out like they did in Weis’ first two seasons.

I agree that Notre Dame isn’t an elite team that that its schedule isn’t as hard as it usually is (though many of the teams are not that easy…) But “overrated”? I don’t seem them in the rankings (and they don’t belong there); people are realistic about them.

Nuts and bolts:

Here is a synopsis on the “spread punt” formation. I note that I haven’t seen this in NFL games. I wonder if this is because the NFL interior linemen can’t leave until the ball is kicked.


I picked up the Bears-Seahawks game when the Bears were down 13-0. It appeared that the Bears fumbled on the Seahawk 2 yard line, but the Bears challenged the ruling. It turns out that the Bear pass receiver WAS down prior to losing the ball; the Bears ended up scoring. They took the lead in the second half 14-13 and extended it to 17-13. A pair of Seahawk field goals pulled them to a 19-17 lead but the Bears Rallies to go up 25-19 with 1:54 left; the touch down came on a quick slant pass against a blitz which designed to take the Bears out of long field goal position.

The Seahawks got the ball to the Bear 30 (or so) but failed to convert on a 4’th and 2.

Note: I didn’t watch this game, but I love the photo (I played offensive tackle in high school)


(photos from Yahoo)

September 28, 2009 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | Leave a comment

This Level of Stupidity Deserves Special Mention

Senator Inhofe via Think Progress:

On C-Span’s Washington Journal this week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the godfather of global warming deniers, said that he will travel to the climate change summit in Copenhagen this fall to present “another view.” “I think somebody has to be there — a one-man truth squad,” he said. Throughout the program, Inhofe went through his tattered global warming denier claims: that climate change is a “hoax,” that CO2 is not a pollutant, and — latching on to the latest false right-wing talking point — that clean energy legislation will cost American families $1,700 a year. At the end of the interview, Inhofe explained what guides his views:

CALLER: Yes, I agree with the Senator on what he says about the climate change. I believe that the world is just changing like it usually does. […]

INHOFE: I think he’s right. I think what he’s saying is God’s still up there. We’re going through these cycles. … I really believe that a lot of people are in denial who want to hang their hat on the fact, that they believe is a fact, that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, are causing global warming. The science really isn’t there.

Then again he is a Republican from Oklahoma and he fits right in on both counts.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | evolution, morons, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, science | Leave a comment

26 September 09 (II)

Evolution: here is some information about three new or current books on evolution.

Dodson is a bit critical about Prothero’s book (which I’ve praised highly here), and I want to say a few words about this. Dodson calls out Prothero for being too harsh about creationism: […]

Richard Dawkins’s new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, was also criticized by several reviewers for being too hard on creationists — for labeling them “history deniers” and comparing them to those who would deny, for instance, that the Roman Empire ever existed.

I have to defend Dawkins and Prothero here (I haven’t suffered such accusations about my book) on two counts. First, the whole need to write books like mine, Donald’s, and Richard’s comes from resurgent creationism. You don’t write a book about the evidence for evolution in a vacuum: you have to have a reason, and the most pressing reason is that religiously-motivated creationists keep denying that evolution is true. […]

Second, most of us who teach evolution simply get frustrated with the witless nattering of creationists and their refusal to honestly address the mountain of evidence for evolution. Some of that frustration seeps into our writings. And that humanizes our writings. We are not emotionless drones; we have feelings and we show them. As Philip Pullman has pointed out, one reason why Dawkins’s books are so popular is because the reader not only senses a human being behind the prose, but discerns what that person is like.

Frogs: Want to see a photo of that fanged frog? Surf to Conservation Report. I’ll show a thumbnail of it.
Note: there is also a photo of a cook gecko there.


Yes, there is a new graphic novel about….mathematics and the role of logic.

There is one serious misstep, though. It has to do with the notorious paradox that Russell discovered in the spring of 1901: the paradox of the set of all sets that don’t contain themselves as members. (Think of the barber of Seville, who shaves all men, and only those men, who do not shave themselves. Does this barber shave himself or not? Either possibility yields a contradiction.) The authors have fun unpacking Russell’s paradox, but they exaggerate its fallout. The paradox did ultimately doom Russell’s (and Frege’s) project of reducing mathematics to pure logic. However — and this is something that Russell himself failed to realize, along with the authors — it left mathematics pretty much undisturbed. When Cantor heard of Russell’s paradox, he did not react like a madman, the way ­“Logicomix” caricatures him. He calmly observed that it did not apply to his own theory of sets, which evolved into the present-day foundation of mathematics.

It is true that Cantor did suffer fits of madness (the magus of infinity died in a mental asylum), as did many other figures in this story. Frege, the consummate logician, ended up a foaming anti-Semite. Kurt Gödel, who proved that no logical system could capture all of mathematics, starved himself to death out of a paranoid fear that people were poisoning his food. Russell maintained his own grip on sanity, but his fear of hereditary madness was borne out when his elder son became schizophrenic and his granddaughter, also schizophrenic, committed suicide by setting herself afire. Russell’s philosophical confidence, however, was shattered by his onetime pupil Ludwig Wittgenstein, who made him realize that he had never really understood what logic was.

Is it madness to be driven by a passion for something as inhuman as abstract certainty? This is a question the four creators of “Logicomix” ponder as, in a beguiling coda, they make their way through nighttime Athens to an open-air performance of the “Oresteia.” Oddly enough, Aeschylus’ trilogy furnishes the concluding wisdom, which, at the risk of triteness, I’ll condense into a mathematical inequality:

Life > logic.

Politics: more about the Democrats in Congress having trouble raising money. The Washington Post article indicates that the drop in donations is due to the wealthy being put off by anti-business attitudes and complacency among the rank and file. The author (DocJess) of the article at DemConWatch replies:

First, NO ONE HAS ANY MONEY. Forget about the people living in their cars, I’m talking about the “rich” people. Their savings were hit badly, the revolving HELOC door is stuck, and they’ve still got huge nuts for mortgages, kids in college, credit card debt, etc. Sure, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates can still write checks and not feel it, but even their fortunes have declined year over year. Not to mention the fear the employed feel about what could happen.

Second, there are a lot of people who feel that the tent is too big to deserve funding. That is, if you make a donation to the DSCC, and those particular funds went to Kent Conrad or Max Baucus or Blanche Lincoln, how would YOU feel? Personally, I wouldn’t want a dime of my money going to a blue dog.

My guess is that we’ll end up seeing, over the next six months, a greater portion of Democratic donations going to specific candidates compared to what goes to the party itself. The corollary is to look at what Obama collected (about $656 million) compared to what the party collected (about $960 million) for the 2008 cycle. It’s astounding. In addition, there is a lot of soft money which flows to organizations that are exclusively political in nature, and their dollars help certain candidates and causes. For example, MoveOn has over 5 million members – an average donation of $5 from each buys a lot of air time for a campaign.

These thoughts echo mine.

More Politics
The “instant information age” hasn’t made people better informed on the basics. Fox News viewers are especially ill informed.


September 27, 2009 Posted by | atheism, books, creationism, Democrats, economy, evolution, frogs, health care, humor, mathematics, religion, republicans, science, Spineless Democrats | Leave a comment