Progress….and Denial (sports)

Today’s workout:
Weights plus a 2 mile walk, 6 mile run.

Weights: Riverplex (university is on spring break):
circuit 1: dumbbell rotator cuff, dumbbell rows (3 sets of 10 x 55 each arm), dumbbell curls (3 sets of 10 x 30 lb.)
circuit 2: bench press plus sit ups (160; 2 sets of 20, 4 sets of 30 total), Bench: 10 x 135, 10 x 165, 4 x 175, 3 x 175.
circuit 3: pull ups, pulley rotator cuff, sit ups. Pull ups: 4 sets of 10, though the last was ragged.
circuit 4: sit ups, incline bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 135
circuit 5: pull downs: 7, 10, 7 with 162.5. Dumbbell military: 15 x 45 seated, 8 x 45 lb. standing, then on the exercise ball: 10 x 20 lb. (too easy), 8 x 35 lb. (just right). I might keep the exercise ball presses.

Note: the 10 x 165 on the bench press is a “recent improvement”; this is the best I’ve done in a while (sad, I know).

Then I drove to the East Peoria trail and tried to run (sunny, low 40’s, very windy). I stopped and walked; walking was simply more pleasant and I walked almost 2 miles. Then I started to run again and ran to the turn-around (52 minutes) and jogged it back (41:20 4 miles…it “felt” faster but the watch doesn’t lie).

Bottom line: running is much harder when I do it after lifting, even if I didn’t lift with my legs. I don’t quite understand it.

As far as ever running another marathon: I can forget it. I really think that 10-15 km might be my running limit; longer than that (perhaps up to 50K) I’ll walk. I reserve the right to “participate” in a 24 hour walk every now and then (once a year is plenty). But as far as pushing myself: road marathon or 50K will be about it…and I have to TRAIN to do that.

This fall I might try a “maximum effort” walking marathon.


March 10, 2012 Posted by | running, time trial/ race, training, ultra, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Gas, gas bags and bags…

Speaking of President Obama: this executive power to kill US citizens in certain situations is troubling. Yes, I know the other side of the argument: this particular guy was working with an Al Qeada group and when one is at war, one kills top leaders when one gets a chance. But the points in the article are still well taken; this whole issue is troubling and difficult. I honestly don’t know where I stand here, and this was true when President Bush was in office.

On a less-lethal civil liberties note: Mano Singham alerted his readers to this Jonathan Turley article about the west “falling out of love with free speech.” I liked the Turley article, but I am not so sure how “in love” we were in with free speech to begin with; it is more “free speech for me but not for thee” or “feel free to express opinions that I don’t find too noxious.”

Many of my liberal friends don’t seem to get this: good politicians win elections. You can be smart, informed and have political views that I agree with; none of this means that you’ll win an election. Right now, Elizabeth Warren (who I like) is getting her butt handed to her by Scott Brown in the race for the Massachusetts US Senate seat. I know that there is a lot of time left, but it appears to me that she is not a good politician.

A good politician needs to be able to deal with the public well (which Gov. Chris Christie does NOT do…that is why he’ll never make it nationally).

If you talk to the general public, you’ll run into conversations that go like this:

I don’t have statistics and hypotheses to throw out, but I do know what works.

They KNOW even though they, well, don’t have any facts. 🙂

Yes, it is easy to lose one’s cool as this diarist at Daily Kos recounts:

So the woman begins checking out my groceries (including the arugula) and starts in with me about “that man, that elitist” in the white house having “no idea” what it’s like for regular people out here. On and on.
My anger was building up to a boil; I mean, I just wanted to get home to that beer and who knows how many people before me had to hear this crap?
So after I was all paid up and everything was in my cart I said to her,
“I suggest you keep your political opinions to yourself when you’re standing there because you never know who’s standing here. I don’t appreciate hearing my president trashed like that. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Her eyes flashed with anger and realization that I must be one of “those people”. She drew in a breath, about to say something and I said,
“If you say one more fucking thing I’ll go find your manager and all three of us can discuss this.”
At that, she suddenly deflated. Now the look in her eyes was fear. She looked down and meekly mumbled “Ok. Sorry sir.”
I left then, proud of myself and still full of anger.

By the time I got to the car however I was starting to have mixed feelings.

Yes, I’ve been rattled like this guy before, though I’ve never resorted to cussing. I did call one Republican “an idiot” and told another that “he didn’t know what he was talking about”. I don’t have the deportment to deal with people in this manner; hence I stick to giving money and stuffing envelopes and the like.

I suggest reading the comments at Daily Kos; they were all over the place from “I am glad that you told her off” to “you should go back and apologize”.

Dealing with your not-so-smart political allies
Kathleen Parker comments on this. She stated that the Republicans have recently come out with a slew of laws that women see as hostile and that the Democrats are taking advantage. She (a Republican) attempted to comment on this and:

What say we relax the rhetoric and see what sanity lies beneath?

Not to tempt the gods of non sequitur, but contrary to what the White House insists, Rush Limbaugh is not the leader of the GOP. Even so, he does have a large audience and it is disconcerting that so many seem to share his obvious hostility toward women. Several of his cohorts in discourtesy are snorting and grunting in my inbox even now.

One who wrote in defense of Limbaugh informed me of my place in God’s hierarchy, slightly above goats, and gave me a tutorial about why women have been saddled with the monthly inconvenience and painful childbirth — for tempting men to do evil and failing to recognize their roles as “helpmeets” for men.

“Pagan women like yourself,” he patiently averred, “have no regard for the natural order of God’s plan and shamelessly promulgate the ‘we are goddesses’ bile that has infected the entire country and pretty much stopped it in its tracks from incurring God’s blessing.” I’m leaving out the best parts.

You don’t have to read many such letters to think that maybe Democrats have a point.

Yep; it is nice to know that it isn’t just liberals who stupidly overreact when you try to explain: “here is how this looks to someone outside of our bubble…”

This Paul Krugman post is recommended for its title alone:

The Stupid, It Freezes

I don’t look at the WSJ much these days; it really has gone downhill since you-know-who took over, and I find that I almost never find anything there that isn’t covered better either in the Times or in the FT.

But following a link to Allan Meltzer led to to a report that’s bad even by current WSJ standards: Stephen Moore telling us to compare California with North Dakota to see what works economically. Because a resource boom in a state whose total population is basically that of one neighborhood in LA, as compared with a slump caused by the mother of all housing bubbles and its aftermath, totally shows that free markets rool.

Yep, the old “drawing conclusions from a small region”…though at times liberals do this too.

Speaking of freezing: no, the Swedish 1 percent (top 1 percent of earned income) aren’t like the top 1 percent of the United States even if conservatives say that they are.

I’ve noticed that our flowers have been “fooled” by the unseasonably warm weather; some are starting to come out. Evidently this COULD pose a major problem state wide.

Debate: there was a debate on the Huffington Post about the compatibility between science and religion. Jerry Coyne talks about it here. Bottom line: “miracles” are, by nature, incompatible with science. My guess: many scientists who are also believers see their “faith” as mostly a collection of “metaphors to help live a better life”, with perhaps some “ration of miracles (singularities?)” thrown in…or perhaps not.

I didn’t know this about the film Casablanca:

History also bled through to the screen in the movie’s best scene – the singing of the “Marseillaise”:

Casablanca was shot in 1941 during the German occupation of France, at a point where many questioned whether or not the United States would ever step in to help, [UPDATED: Not true. Though the play was written before US involvement.] when nobody knew how the whole thing was going to turn out.

And the scene included actors who, in real life, had a lot at stake. To shoot Casablanca as a believable port town, producers brought together one of the most ethnically diverse casts in film history, and a lot of these extras turned out to be Europeans who had fled to America to escape the Nazis — that is, they were basically real-life refugees. They had left homes, friends and families behind, and at this point really didn’t know if things could ever return to normal. Which makes us wonder if the director didn’t stage the whole war just to get that scene.

It’s the scene that makes Laszlo believable as a resistance leader: in front of the singing Nazis he orders the band, “Play the ‘Marseillaise’. Play it.”

March 10, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, civil liberties, economy, energy, environment, movies, politics/social, religion, social/political | Leave a comment

“Teh” Stupid: from my own side….

Here is a political fact: if your side only attracts smart people, your side will lose and lose big.

But it is painful to watch sometimes.

I read this Think Progress post about an economics professor who posted an article “defending” Rush Limbaugh on his blog.

I’ll get into the professor’s argument in a moment. But the Think Progress article said this:

The post prompted a statement of condemnation from University President Joel Seligman, who said, “I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.”

At the beginning Landsburg’s class Wednesday afternoon, the students, formed a line between him and the class as he continued the lecture.

Huh???? She testified and the professor gave his opinion on the testimony. It wasn’t flattering, but so what? I made a comment and that got some responses, most were rather “unlettered”. Scroll down on my wall to see them.

Some of them implied it was NOT ok to attack her testimony. What???? If testimony isn’t to be scrutinized, then why have it?

Oh well. Now what did the professor actually say? I linked to his blog post and will give my opinion on it:

But while Ms. Fluke herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty. I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it.

(emphasis mine)

Ok, yes, some ideas deserve ridicule; for example if someone suggested changing the geology curriculum to conform to Biblical creation myths, that idea would deserve ridicule. To treat such an idea with respect WOULD be a travesty…just like treating the idea that “tax cuts for the wealthy enhances revenue” as a serious idea would also be a travesty.

But I think the professor errs here: I don’t think that she was called on as an expert on policy witness; she was more of a “putting a human face to the statistics” witness.

But whether or not he chose the right word, what I just don’t get is why the pro-respect crowd is aiming all its fire at Rush. Which is more disrespectful — his harsh language or Sandra Fluke’s attempt to pick your pocket?

What is disrespectful is that the professor wants his idea treated seriously. Look: human sexuality is an important part of emotional and mental health; we are hard wired to enjoy a sex life. But advances in human medicine has made infant and child survival rates skyrocket but our libidos were primed for a time when infant/childhood survival was much lower. Also, pregnancy would be dangerous for some and bad (on many levels) for many. Hence, in this sense, birth control can be thought of a component for emotional and mental health.

Picking pockets? Hmmm, I’d imagine that pregnancy and subsequent baby causes would exceed those of the pills, no? I would think that birth control would make sense on economic grounds.

Besides, look at what health insurance covers: it covers stuff that is mostly quality of life related. Example: over the past two years I had a meniscus tear cut off (right knee). I could still walk a little and do my job; I just had pain. The surgery really helped. I also had physical therapy for my shoulder (ok, 30 dollar copay per session). But that took the night aches away; but I WAS getting along without it.

“Picking the pocket?”

Really; we spend money on dumber stuff than this all of the time.

March 10, 2012 Posted by | free speech, politics, politics/social, Rush Limbaugh, social/political | 4 Comments