Wanting to “go back to” in order to….”win again”, “be the best again”: doesn’t work.

We are nearing a midterm election, and one thing both sides do is to exclaim: “we are going to take our country back“. Note: it is not “wrest control from” or “attain control”, but “take BACK“, presumedly to some time when all was better.

When Democrats say this, they often mean “wrest our country away from the interests of big money” or “take our country back when unions were at their peak and the economy was growing”; Republicans often mean “take our country back from the evils of modernity (e. g. gay rights, taking their religion off of the favored place in the public square) or sometimes “going back to pre-union days when you took what jobs that were there and liked it”. Or perhaps, it means “going back to a time when the US lead the world in everything and didn’t take backtalk from second and third rate countries”, or whatever.

You see some of this claptrap here:

(remember in these “good old days”, Black people and women had limited rights, we could lock up Japanese Americans for their ethnicity, etc.)

You see this in this citizens anguish (1:14 into it). Of course, it never WAS her country …exclusively…and what she pines for probably only exists in her imagination:

And here is another citizen who, well, wants to return to “The Constitution” though it isn’t clear to me what she meant by that, or what that meant to others applauding her:

Again, I am not talking about “vote for party X or candidate Y because policy Z would be the best approach”; I am talking about all of this “back” stuff.

You also see this in sports. I remember seeing a sign at a Dallas Cowboy game; the Cowboys had switched quarterbacks from Danny White to Gary Hogeboom and had started to lose games. The sign read something like “Landry lowered The Boom on us; switch back to White because we want to win again!”

In reality, the Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons in a row; a remarkable streak in the NFL, given that the teams with the best records get to draft later than teams with worse records. Basically, that had caught up to the Cowboys; their current starters weren’t up to the standard of the older starters that they replaced (when the older guys were in their prime). That was really it.

And, I’ve seen this in my own life.
I remember being in graduate school in mathematics and thinking: “oh my goodness; I used to be SMART but now I’ve morphed into an idiot.” I still remember the shock of walking to the math section in the campus bookstore and understanding the TITLES of perhaps 5 percent of the books.

By the time I had graduated with my Ph. D. and first scholarly publication, I probably understood…25-30 percent of the titles? 🙂

Of course, there are my endurance sports and weight lifting. I remember a time when in most “non-powerlifter, non-bodybuilder” gyms, I had one of the stronger bench presses (300-310). I remember finishing in the upper 10-20 percent of the field at running races (broke 40 minutes at one 10K).

But now, as an older man, I see how horrible my performances are and have to come to realize that my performances merely reflected that I was a young guy who worked out and not much athletic merit on my part.

And about graduate school (or Navy Nuclear Power school)?

Basically, my shock came from stepping up; at these higher levels, I was with others who were also “smart” compared to their contemporaries as undergraduate students; you might think of it as moving from “2 sigma” competition to “3.5 sigma” competition. Every new group of graduate students needs to have a lower tail on the IQ bell curve, and that is where I was.

My getting the Ph. D. and publishing is modest overachievement on my part; it isn’t much compared to what the research caliber professors do, but it was a reach, given my natural limitations in IQ.

So, when I think of “going back to a time when I was better”, I really mean: “I’d like to return to a time when I was more ignorant as to where my abilities and accomplishments stood”. I am pining for a return to blissful ignorance.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | Personal Issues, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Randazza’s take on catcalls

I’ve talked about the “catcall video” here and here and here.

Marc Randazza is a famous First Amendment lawyer and, well, explains things very well. You have to get past his “I am a tough guy” language and his Ted Nugent like “if you did this around me I’d do X, Y and Z to you” stuff; I am surprised that I haven’t been able to find his MMA record. 🙂

But his logic and ability to get a point across is very impressive; I think that he’d make an excellent professor. I’d even call him “brilliant”; even if he appears to work hard to hide that.

So, he takes on the cat-calling stuff and does a great job of getting right to the point: yes, it is irrational for women to flaunt what they’ve got and to not expect a reaction, but they have the right to be irrational and..yes, they are showing their butt, but NOT FOR YOU. And, catcalls aren’t going to get you any.

Read what he writes; it is excellent.

True: some feminists might say “see, the guys KNOW that catcalls won’t get them sex, hence they are doing this to punish women for rejecting them hence it is misogyny.” But, even so “not-so-hot” women get catcalls and many guys are delusional about what they are capable of attracting.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, human sexuality, social/political | , , | 2 Comments

Theresa Tracy Trot 2014 version

I did this race last year. It was colder this year (high 20’s F as opposed to 40’s) and the course was “roughly” the same; there were small changes. My time: 32:59 (chip) vs. 33:07 last year.


I am not trained up for short running, but I was relatively fresh. (27/86 overall, 22/41 among the males but 6/8 in 50-59 males). That was a bit weird; there were only a few males 60+ but I did worse among the older guys than among all of the men.

I went with Tracy, who won her age group.

The splits made no sense at all; my guess is that miles 1 and 4 were short and mile 3 made up for it: 7:24 (yeah, sure), 8:27 (more believable), 9:18 (I didn’t die; I held my place) and 7:48 (I wish).
Note: I was cold until I got warmed up (did one warm up mile); I raced a woman in colorful socks and shiny black tights. I caught and passed her at mile 1.1 or so…but she got me back in the last .5 miles and had too much of a kick for me. I was really racing to finish before the clock made 33:00 but didn’t quite get it..but I got under via “chip time”.

Then I went back for Tracy who hung in there; she was the last one across (51:10) but hey, not many 70 year old women can even finish 4 miles.

As for me: well, this was what I used to run 5 miles in; I am about 80 percent of my former self.
I also have a constant “slight soreness/stiffness” in my body; it never goes away though stretching helps it a little, as does doing sets of “weightless squats”.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | running | | 1 Comment

My life as a new IL-17 Republican: toward November 4

I got a couple of mailers; one was from Bobby Schilling and one was a letter signed by several “prominent” Republicans (Aaron Schock was one) saying how bad Cheri Bustos is and how great Bobby Schilling is.

It wasn’t as bad as the stuff I got in 2012.

But it was still bad.

This also reminded me of the stuff conservatives pulled in 2004 (I cannot say that the Republican party did this):


I find it interesting that they are trying to rely on deception and suppressing the vote.

I suppose they can justify the latter by saying that “it is better if only the “worthy” vote” and the former….trying to trick not-so-informed people into thinking that your candidate is a Democrat….hmmm…not sure as how I would justify that. Why wouldn’t you brag about how super-duper conservative your Tea Party nutjob is?

I am no fan of Cheri Bustos as she is a Blue Dog in what should be a more progressive district. But Bobby Schilling is a 14’th Century regressive and a dishonest campaigner.

She remains a modest favorite to win reelection.

IL-governor: toss up. Nate Silver has Quinn up by 1 but the election well within the “toss up” range. Same for Election Projection. Though Dick Durbin is comfortably ahead in his US Senate Race, the overall balance: Republicans will probably end up with 51-53 seats, depending on how the post November 4 run-offs go.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

One fallacy I am prone to…

I like to find a new person to listen to, and the Karen Straughan is a lot of fun for me to listen to. Here, she discusses the ridiculous double standard there are for feminists vs. men’s rights groups:

One potential problem though: Ms. Straughan appears to be smarter, more knowledgeable and better spoken than many of the feminists that I have contact with; hence she sells her arguments better. That does NOT mean that those arguments are correct.

She does give us a lot to think about though.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | social/political | , | Leave a comment