Penalty on Abdullah wasn’t about Muslim prayer (the NFL did make a mistake of interpretation though)

Here, Husain Abdullah got a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Why? The knee slide was interpreted as, well a knee slide celebration:


instead of merely getting into a position to pray. Yes, American football players have done this before.

This is a knee slide in soccer:

This was not intentional “Muslim prayers are not ok, Christian prayers are” type of thing.

Of course, people LOVE the good old self-righteous outrage. But it helps to actually know what you are talking about.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL, religion, social/political | | Leave a comment

Unwelcome political news….

Workout notes
Cool, overcast and so I took an easy effort 8.1 mile run on a hilly course (Cornstalk)

Time: ghastly 1:29:29, but I kept the effort easy AND I am still not over my cold totally nor have I recovered from this weekend’s festivities. And I did enjoy the slow run: 10:18, 34:11 (44:29), 34:25, 10:34.

The Senate forecasts are coming in; bad news. It sure looks as if the GOP are strong favorites to retake the Senate (say, 70 percent probability).

September 30, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, politics, politics/social, running | | Leave a comment

Being smart enough to know that you are dumb….

There is some truth here, though it isn’t just intelligence. There is ignorance too: the more you know about a subject, the more aware you are as to the vast amount of stuff that you don’t know and probably never will.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | social/political | | Leave a comment

Some education/academia articles

Paul Krugman: reviews a book called Seven Bad Ideas by Jeff Madrick. The idea:

In “Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World,” Jeff Madrick — a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and a frequent writer on matters economic — argues that the professional failures since 2008 didn’t come out of the blue but were rooted in decades of intellectual malfeasance.

As a practicing and, I’d claim, mainstream economist myself, I’m tempted to quibble. How “mainstream,” really, are the bad ideas he attacks? How much of the problem is bad economic ideas per se as opposed to economists who have proved all too ready to drop their own models — in effect, reject their own ideas — when their models conflict with their political leanings? And was it the ideas of economists or the prejudices of politicians that led to so much bad policy? […]

Such quibbles aside, “Seven Bad Ideas” tells us an important and broadly accurate story about what went wrong. Economists presented as reality an idealized vision of free markets, dressed up in fancy math that gave it a false appearance of rigor. As a result, the world was unprepared when markets went bad. Economic ideas, declared John Maynard Keynes, are “dangerous for good or evil.” And in recent years, sad to say, evil has had the upper hand.

Speaking of ideas: are we becoming afraid to make our students uncomfortable? I know what I read in the media, but I am not sure as to how accurate it is.

Note: I am not saying that students should be taught “all points of view”; some ideas have been shown to be crackpot (e. g. creationism). They shouldn’t be taught as if they are viable ideas.

Now speaking of science and religion Biologist David Barash had an article in the New York Times about the talk he has with his classes at a public university:

And that’s where The Talk comes in. It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution, and yet many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science. Just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of my students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material.

Until recently, I had pretty much ignored such discomfort, assuming that it was their problem, not mine. Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy. But instead of students’ growing more comfortable with the tension between evolution and religion over time, the opposite seems to have happened. Thus, The Talk.

There are a few ways to talk about evolution and religion, I begin. [..]

I CONCLUDE The Talk by saying that, although they don’t have to discard their religion in order to inform themselves about biology (or even to pass my course), if they insist on retaining and respecting both, they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines. And while I respect their beliefs, the entire point of The Talk is to make clear that, at least for this biologist, it is no longer acceptable for science to be the one doing those routines, as Professor Gould and noma have insisted we do.

I recommend reading the entire article. I especially like Biology Professor Jerry Coyne’s critique of it:

As I mentioned two posts ago, David Barash, a biologist at the University of Washington who works on animal behavior and evolution, has a post in today’s New York Times, “God, Darwin, and my college biology class.” It’s basically an argument for the incompatibility of science and religion, and I like it a lot, not the least because I agree with him 100%.

But there’s one thing about his piece that bothers me: Barash’s article is about how he tells his animal behavior class that science and religion are incompatible. In other words, he’s making theological arguments at a public university. […]

But in fact, and this is my beef (a small one, like a filet mignon): Barash may not be accommodating science with religion, but he’s still discussing their relationship, and his view of their incompatibility—in a science class. I wouldn’t do that, especially in a public university. One could even make the argument that he’s skirting the First Amendment here, mixing government (a state university) and religion. After all, if Eric Hedin can’t tell his students in a Ball State University science class that biology and cosmology are compatible with belief in God, why is it okay to say that they’re incompatible with God?

I share Professor Coyne’s trepidation here.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | economics, education, evolution, religion, science | , | Leave a comment


I had weird sleep last night. So I was up early and decided to lift in the morning.
pull ups: 6 sets of 10 (miscounted my sets and did one more than intended; I was running on fumes in the final set of 10)
hip hikes, achilles
bench press (very weak): 10 x 135, 2 x 180, 4 x 170, 8 x 155 (?)
rotator cuff
military presses: 2 sets of 12 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 1 set of 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing) strong?
pull downs: 3 sets of (7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 65 (dumbbell, single arm), 1 set of 10 x 200 Hammer

It was just what I needed, I think.

I am going to have to get serious about working out my quads over the next 4 weeks.

September 29, 2014 Posted by | weight training | Leave a comment

2014 Quad Cities Half Marathon: social, mistakes, but some success

I had bib number 85 because I had registered for the marathon. But I got a head cold last weekend; I went home early from work on Monday. Yes, some people can do a successful marathon with a head cold, but at this stage of my life, I am not one of those.

So I changed races at the expo. But to ensure that I’d make the change, I ran a 5K (hard) on Saturday.

The facts: 2:24:17 for a half marathon. Cool day: 1285/1946 overall, 624/770 males, 45/57 age group, but I was walking in a running race.

I powerwalked, and mixed some slower walking with the faster powerwalking style at about mile 5 when it appeared that I was exerting too much energy to be able to sustain it. Yes, my knees were bent.

I made this trip with my department chair Mat. The night before, we had dinner with marathon maniac David (see the report of the runner who did the marathon with a bad cold; Dave ran a 3:39 which was his SIXTH marathon of September!

Also of note: Mat picked up Jason’s packet (Religious Studies professor) and Jason ran a 3:21.

After the race, we ate with Mat’s brother Bill and family (wife and daughter); all of us did the half. Bill ran 1:57, Mat ran 1:59 and Maria (daughter) and Teri ran 2:26…BUT they stopped to assist a fallen runner. They would have been several minutes faster than that otherwise.

All of them will be doing the Chicago Marathon in a couple of weeks.

I enjoyed this trip quite a bit, even if I didn’t snag my marathon finish.

My race: modest success but some lessons

I warmed up with a walk from my hotel to the start line (.7 miles) then 12 minutes of quicker walking and shin exercises. I saw Jason, Maria, Teri and Bill. And while warming up, I saw Dave.

I lined up behind the 2:30 pace group which was a good thing to do. However the race takes you over the I-74 bridge; it is VERY congested there. I wonder if that part of the race will continue to be doable. But coming off of the bridge, I ended up getting ahead of myself a bit; I found myself getting ahead of the 2:20 pace group which I knew was a mistake.

So the early miles looked like:

21:16 (mile 2)
10:50 (uphill) long climb
9:52 (very downhill)
10:30 (52:28 at mile 5) here we entered the Bettendorf to Davenport bikepath.
10:24 (mile 6); I lost 5 age group laces from this point onward.

At this stage, I knew that what I was doing was unsustainable today. I made the decision to do 3 minutes of slower pace walking every mile. I was to eventually lose ground to the 2:20 pace group; I leapfrogged with people I was to see later.

10:56 (in Rock Island)
11:02 (in Arsenal Island)
12:25 1:48:11 for 10 miles. We had crossed an old railroad bridge. During this mile, I tried to pick it up after 3 minutes of “slower walking” but wasn’t feeling great. So I stayed with the slow walking.
11:01 (picked up the faster walking; it was starting to warm up)
11:36 (just before that long bridge to the finish; I felt that I was going to make it)
12:21 (to mile 13; I was feeling bad so stayed with “slow walking” for the duration of this mile; I got some people back here)
1:08 (.1 to the finish)

Afterward, I was feeling woozy and just plain bad. I made it to the hotel and wasn’t in good shape. I had forgotten to give back my chip! I did so later…I felt better after an ice tea.

But the problem: I did NOT take my electrolyte tablets; I was short on electrolytes How I could tell? It took a couple hours before I could ingest anything and when I nibbled at my french fries…I perked right up. It was quick. I needed salt.

So next time: I’ll take my tablets with me; I had ordered some for the marathon but figured that I didn’t need them for such a cool day. I’ll take them early and often during Mc-Not-Again. Though my pace will be much slower, the hills force you to work a bit.

The Quad Cities race itself
The I-74 part is beginning to worry me. Though the traffic is going slowly, given the huge crowding, we are only one trip/stumble away from disaster. I found myself staying waaaay to the right, even if it slowed me down.

2014 marathon powerwalks
April 12 Peoria Heights Half Marathon powerwalk 2:25:25
May 18: River City Half Marathon powerwalk (2:19:58)
September 14: 2:34:59 half marathon (IVS)

Quad Cities History
1998: 3:55 as a runner (hot)
1999: 3:45 as a runner
2000: 1:40 for half of a relay
2001: 1:49 for half marathon (week after giving blood)
2002: 4:44 marathon as a walker
2004: 5:12 marathon as a walker
2005: 5:34 marathon as a walker.
2007: DNF at mile 23 (walker)
2008: 2:25 half marathon (walker)
2009: 5:28 marathon (as a walker)
2010: 2:39 half marathon (as a walker; knee surgery in July).
2011: 2:22:27 (half marathon powerwalk)
2013: 2:20:59 as a runner
2014: 2:24:17 powerwalk.

September 29, 2014 Posted by | Friends, walking | , , | 4 Comments

One (of many) reasons I was never successful with the ladies


September 28, 2014 Posted by | human sexuality, humor, relationships | | Leave a comment

Football remarks

Navy’s loss to Western Kentucky surprised me a little. Navy doesn’t appear to be quite as sharp as last year, though Ohio State is a good team and Rutgers is respectable. But WKU: lost to Illinois and…


Illinois: the 45-14 loss to Nebraska was all-too-expected. Expectations are so low that the Champaign Newspaper gave the Illini team a C- for being…competitive in the first quarter? The reality is that Illinois would be a strong Sun Belt or Conference USA team; we don’t have the over all team talent to compete with Big Ten teams ….save perhaps…perhaps Purdue.


But Purdue has at least played well against Iowa and Notre Dame; I am not so sure that Illinois would have stayed that close.

Texas: Kansas is not a good team; Texas winning is hardly a surprise.
Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.40.07 PM

Note: Kansas fired their coach Charlie Weis:

On-field results, however, weren’t the only factor that cost Weis his job. Kansas announced an attendance of just 36,904 for Texas, even after Weis pleaded with fans leading up to the game to fill Memorial Stadium.

Ugh…I know of a team that I follow that is having that sort of attendance at home games.

Notre Dame: quietly having a good season. But how will Notre Dame do against a strong Stanford squad next week?


Other notes: though my pick of Duke over Miami was a miss, my pick of Minnesota over a reeling Michigan team was right on.


I was also surprised at how easily Northwestern handled Penn State. I saw that one; they physically whipped them.


The Rams were off. The Bears reverted to form (38-17 loss at home to the Packers) and Tampa Bay rebounded from a 56-14 defeat last week to beat the Steelers 27-24; the defense got the ball back in the final minute and the offense scored with 7 seconds to go.

September 28, 2014 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Strides for Justice photos

I hope that I didn’t crack the camera lens.



September 27, 2014 Posted by | Friends | , | Leave a comment

Unplanned 5K: Strides for Justice

I wasn’t going to do this as I had a “maximum effort” walking marathon planned for tomorrow. But a cold took me out of that, so I am dropping to the half marathon (walking at a “leisurely, see the course” pace) so I decided to try a local 5K. It is one I’ve done before (Strides for Justice 5K) but I did a spring version of this as a walker (2010).

So, I signed up the day before and bought some new trail shoes for the upcoming Mc-Not-Again 30 miler on November 8. That race has a 10 hour time limit, which I should be able to meet, provided I get in a mix of distance and hills over the next 4 weeks. I need 2-3 5 hour plus walks which feature tough hills and some trail stuff.

So, what about today?
Screen shot 2014-09-27 at 10.46.44 AM

Splits: 7:50/8:15/9:46 (uphill 1.1)

As you can see: just slower than the median male, not quite upper third but of all who finished ahead of me, only 4 were my age or older. Gads, that is sad isn’t it: I am still babbling about age. 🙂

I took a 2 mile warm up (using part of the bike path) and then started gently; the downhill (kind of steep) was nice; 7:50 mile one. I couldn’t sustain that on level ground right now; I was coughing at times.

I saw Pat up ahead; trying to stay with her would be a losing proposition for me right now. I did have some targets though. I was to get a few of them; sadly 3 of them got me back. But not all did! 🙂

There was a bit more drop; I saw the leader and smiled to myself. The turn around was coming. Sure enough, it did; I was 12:29; realistically I knew that sub 25 was out of reach with all that uphill coming up. The second mile was a mix of down and up and probably represented what I could do on level ground: 8:15. I caught two guys who later got me back. Then came the loooong final 1.1. I did slow on that hill but was able to pick it up…a little on that final .25 or so. I could feel the burn and the legs get heavy. I did hold my lead on MOST of the people I caught but not on those two guys.

I wondered if the course was measured on the tangents or not; my guess is that it may have been a few seconds (10-20?) short; perhaps not (.02-.03 miles by my experimenting on google). Then again, on the way back, running tangents was impossible due to traffic. Close enough.

So I walked back and cheered for some; I saw T finishing (walking a little) so I joined her. Then with about 300-400 meters to go, she put forth a sprint that I could NOT stay with. She finished 7 minutes behind me today as she is getting back into it, but still has a sprint that I can’t match. I’d bet that she’d be good at the mile.

Afterward was fun; I got to talk to Bill, Herb, Michael Ball, T, Crystal and others.

What I learned is that people are very different in their warm up needs. For example, Michael is 59 and STILL runs under 20 minutes for the 5K (his marathon PR is 2:59; 5K is 17:20). But he has one 30 minute interval workout and his warm up is all of…800 meters.

Me: I don’t start sweating until 12 minutes or so. Even in swimming, my first 500 yards is slow, no matter what. I really do need a minimum of 10-12 minutes of war up; 15-20 minutes usually works better. But Michael is fast and slender; I am terribly slow and heavy. I have more body to warm up.

Whatever works, I guess.

5K for 2014: post blood donation

27:06 68F, 65 percent
27:41 73F, 69 percent
27:23 74 F, 67 percent
25:53, 70 F, 72 percent
26:38, 78F, 87 percent
26:38 (head cold, slightly long course)
25:53 (head cold, cool weather)

September 27, 2014 Posted by | running | , | 1 Comment