Knocking the cockiness out of me (NOT sports)

Workout notes: weights, then 4 mile run.

Weights: pull ups (3 sets of 10), rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170 (stronger)
incline press: 10 x 135
pull ups: 2 sets of 10
military press: 3 sets of 10 x 200 seated, machine (100 each arm)
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.

Run: treadmill (rainy and chilly outside): 5.3-5.4 (4 minutes), then up every 2 minutes until 40 (39:40 at 4 miles; 21:35 at 2).
Felt ok; intensity is something I am not used to.

Football I had predicted that Penn State would win 28-17 (spread was 4). It is 32-0 Penn State in the 4’th; I tried to warn people.

Title of the post

It is part of my job to go to college graduations. I’ve noticed that parents appear to be very, very proud of their kids who graduate. I’ve always kind of shrugged…and wondered what the big deal was.

Yes, my undergraduate years did have some heartache, misery and some “dark ages”; January-March was usually sort of gloomy and dark. And yes, I was a “square peg in a round hole”; I am simply not very “military” (though I deeply respect those who are good at it). And yes, I had the two major knee operations; these got me down, at least emotionally and caused me some physical pain. I did recover enough to run a 3:33 marathon and a 5:30 mile though.

But I “knew” that I’d muddle through; it was just a matter of doing “the next right thing”. Hence the graduation was, for me, sort-of a “given”. Even then I wondered why some were jumping up and down and acting like it was a big deal.

I ESPECIALLY thought that way when I got my Ph. D. in mathematics, though I got my nose bloodied by the initial set of comprehensive exams.

But now: well, I understand that many people have “hidden stories” and all sorts of inner demons that they had to overcome, and these demons are not always visible.

My challenges: at least as an undergraduate, they were mostly orthopedic. That was very visible, and I knew what I had to do and I had a good idea that they would eventually go away.

Others have challenges that have more uncertainty.

October 31, 2015 Posted by | running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

News of the irrelevant …

Workout notes: swimming, plus a 3 mile walk to Bradley Park and back (bottom) via Markin. I’ll lift tomorrow.
swim: 500 easy, 500 of 50 drill (fins), 50 free, 5 x 200 on the 4: 3:37, 3:37, 3:37, 3:34, 3:32. This was my best since spring and the start of marathon training, though I’ve done better in the past 2 years or so. It felt ok today. But I’d better do my rotator cuff exercises tomorrow.

Irrelevant: yes, Jim Webb is considering running as an independent. I am not sure if he’ll even draw 1 percent.

Oh, and Gov. Christie “isn’t going anywhere”. True…but not in the way he thinks:


College Football

Illinois at Penn State. Penn State is favored by 4-5 points. Here is what you need to know: 1, 0, 1, 1. That stands for the number of road games won by the Illini since 2011: Indiana (bad team), Purdue (bad team), Northwestern (depleted team). Lions win and probably cover; I call it 28-17 but it might be closer than that. Illinois won at home last year 16-14 on a last second field goal. But two of the Illini wins this year were due to unforced errors on the other team.

Texas at Iowa State: I almost went to this one (opted for an NFL game instead: Rams vs. 49’ers). Texas is favored by 6-6.5 points. UT has gotten blown out on the road this year, but that was by Notre Dame and TCU. Iowa State is nowhere near as good as either. I pick the Horns to win 24-17 or thereabouts.

South Florida at Navy: Navy favored by 7; could be a trap game as USF is not a pushover. Nevertheless the Mids are playing very well; I’ll pick them to win and to meet the spread; say 28-21.

Notre Dame at Temple: ND is favored by 10.5 over undefeated and ranked Temple. Big game; Temple plays well but ND wins by, say, 31-28. ND’s defense is weak.

So to win:

Penn State, Texas, Notre Dame, Navy.

Spread: Navy, Texas (right at a “push”), Penn State and Temple.

October 31, 2015 Posted by | college football, politics, walking | , | Leave a comment

Starting to turn around a bit?

Intellectually, well, I have two very intense courses to prepare for. Numerical analysis: the material is just tough as it is. Life contingencies: well, the stuff is new to me. Calculus 2: we are in the sequence/series section and I know this stuff pretty well.

I have more to say about academia later…let’s just say that a student e-mail got me to thinking about the message our universities (and society, in general) is sending to our students.

Yes, it is only one message. (and no, it was neither rude nor nasty)

Workout notes 10K run, 2 mile walk. But what a workout it was:

Run: 10K on the treadmill (0.5 incline) in 59:58. I started at 5.3 mph and upped the speed by 0.1 mph every 2 minutes until I got to 40 minutes. Note: I got to 3.5 miles in 35 minutes.

Then I lowered the speed to 6.0 mph (10 mpm pace) and upped it every 2 minutes again, until 53:30 or so, at which point I was a 5.5 miles. Then I upped it to 6.7 (8:57 pace) to 6 miles (58:10) then 6.8 the rest of the way.

Then 1 mile walking on the track (4 minutes for the first 1/4 mile; 14:21 for the mile).

Then back to the treadmill where I walked at a 15:xx pace (3.8 mph) and went from 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 on the incline (up 1 every minute); I was feeling it at 10 minutes. And no, I did not use the bars to hold on. Then back down to 2-3-4-5 and increased the speed to finish in 15:20.

I felt challenged but felt really good when I finished.

October 29, 2015 Posted by | education, running, walking | Leave a comment

Republican Debate: so bad, Hillary Clinton’s odds improved overnight!


Via here. Hillary Clinton is 11/13, better than even money. Yes, Rubio’s odds improved too.

Here are the previous odds:

2 days before


2 weeks before


3 weeks earlier


October 29, 2015 Posted by | 2016, politics | , , | Leave a comment

The GOP front-runners


October 29, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

GOP Debate: repackaging deregulation as populism

Ok, the CSNBC moderators called the Republicans out on their crackpot ideas (Rubio’s tax plan, Cruz’s tax plan, Trump’s statements on Zuckerberg) and the Republicans took umbrage.

As far as “substance”, if you can call it that, there was the obligatory dog whistle about cops and the Black Lives Matter movement. Paul brought up the crackpot “audit the Fed” and “gold standard” nonsense; Cruz backed the “audit the Fed” nonsense.

But for me, the most interesting thing was the way that “small government which doesn’t regulate business” was packaged.

In the past, it was that evil government regulation that kept big business from offering us all of those good jobs.

Now: well, businesses and banks have to get big because of big government. And if we only deregulated, well, now the little guy would be able to compete! Watch Fiorina make this argument.

Oh, it is the same package all right, but it is now being marketed as populism.

As far as who did well and who didn’t:

Professional politicians: Rubio, Cruz and Huckabee had good nights.
Outsiders: Trump and Carson held serve. Fiorina: hard to tell. She actually sounded better than the other two, but is she too far down? She went after Hillary Clinton the most aggressively.

Some think that Christie did well. I am not sure.

Personally, I’d pull the plug on Bush, Paul and Kasich …and ok, on Chrstie too.

New Republic has a reasonable summary.

October 29, 2015 Posted by | politics, republicans | , | Leave a comment

chilling out

Workout notes: swim, weights, yoga.
Swim: 500 free, 1000 of: 50 drill (fins), 150 free (hard). Then 3 x 50 free (47-48 each), 50 back. 100 free in 1:41, 50 side, 2 x 25 fly (fins)
The swim felt fine.

Weights: pull ups (4 sets of 10), rotator cuff
Bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 170
10 pull ups (to get to 5 sets of 10)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 (machine)

Yoga: sun salutes, leg lifts, abs, head stand, plow, shoulder stand.

Note: there was some young woman running at what appeared to be a fast pace on the treadmill She was running at 7:13 mpm on the treadmill, and 7:2x on the track.
Yes, that is way faster than I can do now, but even at 40 I ran some half marathons at roughly that pace, though I didn’t look as good as she did.

I’ll admit it; the demise in my physical abilities is bothering me. But my choice: accept it, or quit doing sports. And I won’t do the latter.

Republican Debate Who knows. The establishment candidates are doing so poorly right now. But we are still 2 months (plus) away from the first primary election.

October 28, 2015 Posted by | politics/social, swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

Ugh…that course

Workout notes rainy 8 mile run/walk on the Cornstalk 8 course. I did the “walk the hills” to practice conserving energy. It was slow (13 mpm order, given all the stupid stops to tie the shoes, pull up the shorts, blah, blah, blah) but I finished feeling like I had done nothing, and that is the point. At least for now.

Marathon POSTURE!!!

This was about 2:06 into this video.

Well, I used to be a sort-of-fast walker…no longer.

Football This was taken from the Illinois student section:


Note: this was the “best crowd of the year” and there was an announced 45,000, which seems about right. At this game, students got free tickets.

Politics Primary polling has been volatile; wide swings between polls. I do know that in the betting lines, Sec. Clinton’s odds have improved to better than even money. The Republicans are a mess at the presidential level.


How will 2016 go? My guess: Democrats win the presidency and the Republicans keep Congress. Why?

This theory leads to at least a few major conclusions about American politics. The one Abramowitz and Webster emphasize is that it gives Republicans an enduring advantage in congressional elections. Republicans have long had a geographical advantage in both House and Senate elections because their voters are more spread out than Democratic voters. In the past, Democratic candidate could compete by distancing themselves from the national party and making the election about local issues. But as the country grows more partisan, that’s becoming harder, and the result is that Republicans are likely to be dominant at the congressional level for some time.

Jonathan Chait, meanwhile, pulls some good news for Democrats out of the data. Just as Republicans have a natural advantage at the congressional level, Chait believes Democrats have a natural advantage at the presidential level, where the voters skew younger and less white. And if fear of a Republican president means the Obama coalition persists after Obama, then it’s going to be a long time before Republicans win back the White House.

So, at these “internet candidate forums” I always ask “how will you work with a possibly hostile Congress?” No answer…ever.

October 27, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, marathons, politics, politics/social, running | , | Leave a comment

This was going to happen sooner or later…

Workout notes: swimming and weights.

Swimming: best in a while; 2000 yards. 500 warm up, 5 x 50 drill (fins), 50 free. 8 x 100 on the 2:10: 1:44, 1:46, 1:44; the rest were 1:42-43. Then 100 back, 50 side, 50 fly (fins)

Weights: 4 sets of 10 pull ups, rotator cuff, incline press (10 x 135, 8 x 150, 10 x 140), 10 more pull ups, military: 5 x 95 (barbell), 1 x 95, 8 x 85, 10 x 40 (dumbbell), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110.

Body weight (before: 188, home scale)

Swim note: Jason, who ran a 3:09 marathon, finally has caught up to me in swimming, and in today’s “first 500”, he passed me for the first time. A year ago I lapped him. Then it became “1 length”, then “1/2 length”, then “even”, now he is ahead. I knew that this was coming sooner or later. But that is more about his improving and my, well, hitting a local plateau. And 5 years from now, I’ll be wishing I could swim at my current pace, providing I am fortunate to have a healthy 5 years (I feel good right now, but life offers no guarantees).


Fun: enjoy this “leggings aren’t pants” rant!

Why is academic writing so complex? I got into a discussion about this topic; at times, it is because the subject itself is complex.

Speaking of academia: though this is an Onion article, there is a lot of truth here. Where does appropriate encouragement end “giving false hope” begin?

Iowa Republicans: Jerry Coyne is having fun with this survey on what Iowa Republicans like about Dr. Ben Carson.

I got a taste of them when I attended a McCain rally in October, 2008. In the early part of the rally (before Sen. McCain made his entrance), this went on:

I bit my tongue hard; I wanted to avoid laughing out loud. It was difficult.

October 26, 2015 Posted by | education, politics, swimming, Uncategorized, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

College Football: looking ahead

Workout notes: easy 8.1 mile run/walk in 1:53. Yes, this was slower than some of my “pure walk” times on this course, but the idea was to move forward with a minimum energy. I was ok with it. Note: it was a beautiful day and the Park hasn’t shut off the hills form vehicle traffic yet, hence there were cars everywhere. This is one time where I prefer nastier weather.



Now: 4-3, 1-2 in conference.
Remaining games: at Penn State, at Purdue, Ohio State, at Minnesota, “home” game vs. Northwestern in Chicago.

“Almost impossible to win” game: Ohio State at home.
“likely losses”: Penn State and Northwestern.
“sort of toss-ups”: Purdue and Minnesota.

Fact: 1, 0, 1, 1. These numbers represent the number of road/neutral site wins Illinois has had in the regular season from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. Though as many as 3 wins are possible, I see 0 or 1 wins as being far more likely. I see 5-7 as being the most likely outcome though 6-6 is possible. My call: 5-7.

Texas 3-4.

Games remaining: at Iowa State, Kansas at home, at West Virginia, Texas Tech at home, at Baylor (ouch).

Toss ups: Iowa State, Texas Tech
Likely win: Kansas
Likely loss: West Virginia
Forget about it: Baylor (even without that QB)

Similar situation as Illinois; they have to win the likely win and sweep the toss ups. 5-7 is the most likely with 6-6 being possible. I’ll go with 5-7.



Navy is 5-1 with the following left: South Florida, at Memphis, SMU, at Tulsa, at Houston, Army.

Likely wins: SMU, Tulsa
Toss ups: South Florida, Army (Navy is better, but this is a rivalry game)
Likely losses: Memphis, Houston.

I see 2-3 losses on the horizon so I’d envision 8-4 or a 9-3 final record, followed by a nice bowl game. My guess: 8-4. Maybe a trip is in order? 🙂

Notre Dame


ND is 6-1 but has a challenging schedule ahead:

At No. 22 Temple, at No. 25 Pitt, Wake Forrest, at Boston College, at No. 10 Stanford.

Toss ups: Pitt and Stanford
Likely wins: Temple, Wake Forrest, Boston College

ND could well lose 3 more games, though I think 1-2 losses is more likely, with 1 loss being the most likely outcome. Pitt is usually trouble for them. Still 10-2 or 9-3 is a solid season, and I anticipate a good bowl game for them. Yes, 11-1 is POSSIBLE for this team, but I don’t think that the defense is strong enough to pull that out. I call it 10-2.

October 25, 2015 Posted by | college football, running, walking | | Leave a comment