Awaking my “inner Republican”: quite reactionary

I saw this article about a St. Paul “Black Lives Matter” group which is planning to disrupt the Twin Cities Marathon.

Now of course, I have no idea of what will happen but I can tell you, my initial reaction is the same as it usually is when other “activists” plan to impose their “agenda” on me. It is very “reactionary”; I thought “hey, voting Republican doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea”.

But, in my opinion, that is how modern Republicanism survives….they thrive on people being reactionary.

After all, modern Republicans are basically for “tax cuts for the rich”, full stop. Yes, that is even Donald Trump. All of the rest of what they espouse is merely a ploy for you to go along with “tax cuts for the rich”.

So, no I am not voting Republican because some obnoxious “activists” are morons.

But back to what the “activists” are planning (or say that they are planning): that is an interesting dynamic, isn’t it? My guess: if this sort of thing would become more widespread, people would merely move things away from the urban areas; heck that is pretty much the case anyhow.

Note: I live in the city where I could walk to work, and my main “complaint” (not related to our city’s incompetent snow removal) is sometimes (ok, rarely) loud college students who leave a random beer cup or can in the neighborhood. It is nowhere near bad enough to chase me out.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | republicans, social/political | Leave a comment

Intellectual and Emotional Potpourri

Workout notes
First weights (7:10 am):

pull ups: 10, 10, 15, 10, 10 (the set of 15 was tough)
rotator cuff exercises
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170 (good set)
incline press: 10 x 135 (easy at the start, challenging at the end)
military press: 2 of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing, 10 x 100 (each arm) machine
rows: 2 of 10 x 60 single arm dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

That took about 45 minutes. Then running:
11:06 treadmill mile
track: 17:09 2 mile (lane 2: 8:41/8:28) Not all out, but it wasn’t easy either. Was it really 14 years ago this was my marathon pace?

stationary cycle: 16 minutes (4 miles) to help the knees.

I left the workout feeling pretty good. This took me to 8:45

Other topics
Jerry Coyne: is retiring. I found this post interesting as it describes the life of a research professor. He also gives advice to the next generation of research scientists.

He also has some things to say about the attitude of always trying to keep the students comfortable; evidently the current generation of students are more easily traumatized.

I can say this: yes, when I was their age, we whined about similar things. The difference is that administration (and professors) merely told us to “grow up and quit whining”. I admit that, at times, it is easy to take the “easy way out” and not challenge the students to find the best in themselves.

Capitalism and morality Jonathan Haidt suggests that capitalism has contributed positively to our morality in that we now have the luxury of considering certain moral issues. I think that this fits in well with some of the stuff that Jared Diamond wrote about (society reaching a stage where people have time to think)

But yes, capitalism (especially, lightly regulated capitalism) has its dark side too.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Here are some interesting tidbits about that show. Note: one episode helped someone (correctly) beat an unjust murder charge!

Hillary Clinton when a politician has had a long career, they will make mistakes and change their mind on some issues. Now the Iraq war: I wanted my Senator to vote no, and Senator Durbin did.

But on gay marriage: many of us changed our minds; remember in 2004, both President Bush and Senator Kerry were for civil unions. I came to marriage equality long before then, but there was a time in my early adulthood where I was “anti-gay” just, well, that is what “good people were.” But as I grew up and learned more..I found that my heart was never in it. This became clear to me when I saw some gay men kissing and sitting on each other’s lap; I just couldn’t get upset about it though I felt I was “supposed to”. In fact, I thought “well, they won’t compete for my female date” and that was that. So the gay rights thing switched for me in my early 20’s (1980’s).

Keystone pipeline: I was ambivalent at first; after all, oil has to be transported somehow, and the potential for accidents was always there. Reading the science and engineering articles on it turned me against it, but I needed to see the evidence.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton, while a better politician than Bernie Sanders, isn’t the politician that Bill Clinton was or that Barack Obama is. But she is thoughtful and that sometimes confuses people.

Here is a video of her discussing the problems with a program that gives public money vouchers for private religious schools. Of course, her points flew right over the heads of the dimwitted wingnuts who posted the video, but excellent points they remain.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Felt surprisingly good…

I was a bit stiff and my butt was somewhat sore (glutes)..and I even thought about doing a rest day/recovery workout. But it was cool outside so I figured at give it a shot and do my hilly 8.1 mile course and walk it “deliberately” (not all out, but at a good clip and challenge myself a bit).


It went surprisingly well. I had a bit of spring to my step and got to mile 1.03 in 13:20; so I picked it up a little going down the hill. I got to half way in 52:36 and I challenged myself to walk the second half in under 50 minutes (the halves are identical). It ended up taking me 49:30 (last mile in 11:15) which is my fastest training walk in a while (1:42:07). While this is not fast, the course is hilly and features just a bit of gravel here and there.

That was encouraging … and only 10 minutes or so slower than my slower run times. Yes, that is embarrassing. 🙂 But, it appears that my walk training is working. One more serious training walk prior to taper time.

Other notes
I suppose that Donald Trump isn’t that “populist” after all, though his tax plan gives us a decent tax cut (a bit over 500 dollars a month!).

And this video is…ahem…uplifting.

September 29, 2015 Posted by | big butts, butt, walking | | Leave a comment

What is reality anyway? (in terms of sports)

Workout notes: I was still sore from yesterday’s “too slow” 20 mile walk.
But I figured a swim would help:
500 easy, 5 x (50 drill (fins), 50 free)
ladder: 200, 150, 100, 50, 100 on the “1 min per 50” interval: 3:42, 2:51, 1:53, 0:57, 1:48
100 back, 100 IM

Weights: rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (struggle)
bench press: 3 sets of 10 x 70 dumbbells (ok)
military press: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbells (standing)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell (each arm), 10 x 200 Hammer machine
yoga: 15 minutes; got headstand easier than before.
poses: warrior II, triangle, pyramid, revolved triangle, reverse warrior (2 sets each side)
up/down dog, bow, then headstand to finish)

Reality I really don’t know how hard to take it out this marathon; my guess that I ought to ignore the clock and just focus on walking easily and quickly. IF I can make it to mile 20 before feeling bad, then I’ll do fine. But it is not 2002 or is it 2009 (my last “good” year for marathons/ultras).

September 28, 2015 Posted by | swimming, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Science, Boehner, and Ramirez getting something right…

Mike Ramirez is a right wing cartoonist. Ironically, he did get something right, albeit perhaps not in the way that he intended:


I mentioned that John Boehner is stepping down. He had some interesting things to say. I just hope that Democrats aren’t falling into a similar trap; so far it appears that isn’t the case.

One thing that is bipartisan though: being anti science when it clashes with one’s intuition.

Personal: yep, people change with time, and often not for the better. This is one aspect of that. There is also the “hot” chick who now..well, doesn’t look so hot.

Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine

September 28, 2015 Posted by | atheism, Personal Issues, religion, science | | Leave a comment

Long walk: being a head case…

My mood: I am not filled with anger and rage..but rather with unease and angst….malaise if you will. I think that I know what is causing it. But never mind that.

I just know that if I don’t do my long walks, I won’t be able to walk my upcoming marathon in a time that I want. So I got out the door just before 8 am and went for 20.24 miles: I started from the house to the River trail..and came back the same way.


While on the trail I did three out and backs:


and I threw in 3 laps of the Goose loop to get 20:


The weather was fine: low 60s to high 70’s; a bit humid at times.

Along the Illinois River I saw a train engine pull a load along the track, come back, and then come back with another load. I saw a few runners, a few dog walkers, cyclists (the 10 mph variety mostly), duck feeders and two college club baseball teams warming up to play a game (Bradley vs. Northern Illinois). They were excited when the umpire showed up.

There was an art fair going on; one of the attendees asked “how far are you walking?” I said “I dunno” and he said “You were out walking 2 hours ago!”

Head case
And there you go. It was tough to get moving. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I stepped out the door and started on a direction. I figured I’d get to the river and decided what to do and after noticing how pleasant the river section was, I thought “why walk anywhere else?” I played all sorts of mind games on what spur to take to get the distance, but it really doesn’t matter. At this state of my training and life, there is no easy way to walk 20 miles. I can choose terrain, speed and pace (within my abilities) but, one way or another, it is going to involve a level of effort that gets me out of my comfort zone. There is no escaping that.

I also admit that I acknowledge other runners and exercise walkers with a nod, wave or smile. But as far as others, I merely move to one side of the trail to give them room and I keep going. For some reason, the loud, affected greetings annoy me. So, in that sense, I prefer the more impersonal lack of interaction that one has on, say, the Austin Hike and Bike or the Chicago Lakefront.

I think that when I am going hard, I am doing an exorcism of sorts.

September 27, 2015 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

College Football thoughts, week 4

I am getting ready to go out on a longish walk (5 hours).

My teams
Navy: appears to be stronger than I thought they were. Connecticut played Missouri tough but Navy handled them. East Carolina: took Florida to the wire and whipped Virginia Tech, but was dominated by Navy.

Texas: tough opening set of games; hasn’t quite turned the corner yet. Though Texas was dominated by Notre Dame, they were a mistake away from beating Cal and Oklahoma State. If they can get their confidence back, they can be a decent team by the end of the season.

Notre Dame What I thought they were; a good but, IMHO, not-top-5 team. It turns out that whipping Georgia Tech wasn’t as big of deal as they thought.

Illinois What I thought that they were. They got way too much credit for dominating a sleep deprived Kent State team. The last two games showed what they were: not up to snuff against middle of the road “power 5” competition, but roughly equal to a stronger C-USA squad. Fortunately, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue are in a similar situation, and Nebraska and Wisconsin aren’t the powerhouses that they often are. The Illini have a shot at winning 3 of these games, though I think that 1-2 wins from among this group is more likely.

Outside my sphere

1. BYU getting hammered by Michigan surprised me. Part of it might have been the brutal start to their schedule: Nebraska, Boise State (wins), UCLA (narrow loss). But Michigan’s opening loss to Utah isn’t looking so bad right now. Michigan appears to be good again.

2. Utah and UCLA are strong this year. I saw some of Utah’s dominating performance at Oregon, who appears to be rebuilding this year.

3. The Big Twelve is wide open. TCU’s defense appears to be shaky (at best) and I don’t know what to think about Baylor, as their opening schedule has been very weak.

4. Ohio State and Michigan State: overrated. They are good, but IMHO, not 1-2 good. Northwestern: impressive wins against Duke and Stanford, but do they have the depth to be strong at the end of the year? I’ve seen them start strong before, only to fade at the end.

The only thing I can predict with confidence is that I’ll be missing a LOT of picks in my “pick-em” competitions.

September 27, 2015 Posted by | college football, football | 1 Comment

Illinois 27 Middle Tennessee 25: special teams are the difference.

I don’t think this is what Illinois had in mind when they scheduled this game years ago. But what the fans got: an exciting game between equally matched teams.

In a nutshell: MTSU rallied from a 24-12 4’th quarter deficit to lead 25-24 with 4 minutes to go. Illinois drove and hit a 51 yard field goal with 2 minutes to go.


But MTSU drove down the field, only to miss from 43 with 8 seconds to go. Whew!

Total yards were close: 378 to 368 in favor of Illinois. Illinois defended the run very well but gave up a lot of passing yards in the 4’th quarter.

The game started well; the Illini drove it 75 yards..easily…mixing running and passing. It was 7-0 right off the bat and I thought “maybe I underestimated the Illini”.

The defense got a quick stop and the Illini got another drive. But a sack stalled the drive.

The MTSU got the ball and answered with a long drive of their own; they went from their 20 to the Illini 2 mixing running and passing. But they got a bad center exchange (from the pistol formation) which cost them 14 yards, and a big sack forced them back. But they made a 42 yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

Then came an exchange of punts as the defenses took over for a bit; Illinois had another drive but missed a 38 yard field goal.

But the defense got a stop and blocked the punt (up the middle rush) and covered it for a touchdown. And then they stopped MTSU again, but MTSU got a long punt that rolled to the Illinois one.

Next play: the center/quarterback exchange was botched (QB under center)

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt and Illinois Fighting Illini tight end Nathan Echard (39) go after a loose ball in the end zone in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium Saturday September 26, 2015.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette
Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt and Illinois Fighting Illini tight end Nathan Echard (39) go after a loose ball in the end zone in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium Saturday September 26, 2015.

The fullback picked up the ball but couldn’t get it out of the end zone. It was a safety.

Then MTSU got a free kick, got the ball and on the second play, hit a 63 yard touchdown pass. Now it was 14-9.


Illinois was stopped. Then when MTSU got the ball, they started to drive but the Illinois defense got a big sack/fumble and a defensive end ran with the fumble. He was caught and stripped of the ball but recovered his own fumble at the MTSU 11. Illinois couldn’t move it, but got a field goal with a few seconds left. It was 17-12 at the half.

The second half: the Illini defense got a quick stop and Illinois owned the third quarter, in terms of scrimmage play. But on the first drive, the Illini were taken out of field goal range via a sack.

The next drive: the Illini get to the MTSU 4 and have 4’th and 2 to go. But they bring out their running quarterback, call time out, bring out their regular quarterback, time out again, and then end up attempting a pass and failing.

The defense holds, and this time the offense finishes the drive; it is now 24-12 and perhaps there is some breathing room.

But in the 4’th quarter, MTSU turns into a “pass on every down” team. 70+ yards: it is now 24-19.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders wide receiver Ed'Marques Batties (80) spins away from Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Mason Monheim (43) after making a fourth-down, fourth-quarter catch at Memorial Stadium Saturday September 26, 2015.

Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders wide receiver Ed’Marques Batties (80) spins away from Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Mason Monheim (43) after making a fourth-down, fourth-quarter catch at Memorial Stadium Saturday September 26, 2015.

They stop the Illini. Then comes the drive where MTSU takes the lead.

But their two point conversion is stopped; their lead is 25-24 with 4:11 to play.



But then the Illini drive to kick that 51 yard field goal with 2:11 to go, and MTSU got the ball…



And they missed their attempt. But as their coach said after the game: their kicking game is shaky:

Rick Stockstill, on the other hand, didn’t have a lot of confidence that the Blue Raiders (2-2) would get the win with Clark kicking from 43 yards out.

“Not really. I mean we’ve been inconsistent this whole year,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you and say I thought it was he was going to make it.”

Note: they did run the ball from the 29 and threw incomplete from the 26 on third down; I wonder if they should have tried a 4-5 yard play. But that is armchair quarterbacking.

Notes: I had 2 extra tickets in the upper deck:



Better view of the whole field, but I like my regular seats better, so that is where I sat.

September 27, 2015 Posted by | college football, football | | 3 Comments

Prior to the game

Well, isn’t that a hoot: this is my “2 free tickets” game, and I can’t find anyone who even wants to use the ticket my wife isn’t using! Well, at least I have “dates” for the next three games (Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio State)

But I did take advantage of the late start to get in a local 5K run; this is the Tippet 5K that I’ve done several times.

The course is slightly long (3.16-3.18 or so); that makes up for last weekend’s 3.03 “5K”. The weather was perfect; cool and sunny.

Time: 26:54 (I was 16:54 at the turn just past 2 miles) Place: 12 out of 35. Funny how I place higher in races where there are more alumni than students. I felt good though I had no chance at catching my two “faculty” targets; and a young guy and another faculty guy got me at the end.

Here are previous times on the same course. This trend is…troubling. 🙂

October 2011 26:21
April 2012 25:41
October 2012 25:45
May 2013 26:12
September 2014 26:38
September 2015: 26:54

September 26, 2015 Posted by | running, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

How did these guys con these women into helping with their bench press?

Ok, some of these are incline presses. And yes, one should keep one’s hips down (and I do).






I admit that I’ve never tried this. One, I did have a fit, leggy female spot me when I did a single with 290 pounds and she did stand right over my face (and I got it). But that was in 1985.

I did get 200 lb. a couple of weeks ago and I can do a set of 4 with bodyweight (185 lbs).

Well, time for a 5K race and a football game (3 pm)

September 26, 2015 Posted by | weight training | | Leave a comment