Minnesota 40 Illinois 17: Illini Defense deserved better

Let me make this clear: The Gophers do have a better team this year and clearly deserved to win this game. No argument about that from me.

But when one sees “Minnesota 40”, I can’t blame someone from thinking “oh, another putrid performance by the Illini defense.” And yes, the Gophers did run for 171 yards, but they only had 283 total yards.

Just look at the length of their scoring drives:

9 yards, touchdown (the Illini fumbled in the backfield with no one around them on their first play from scrimmage; it appeared to be a botched hand off…no defender in the backfield).

20 yards, touchdown (the Illini fumbled a punt; the Gophers scored on the first play)

49 yards, touchdown (short punt from the Illini after a 3 and out)

70 yards, touchdown (ok, that one is on the defense)


5 yards, field goal (sack and strip by the Gopher defense)

10 yards, touchdown (Illini turn it over on downs at their own 10)

26 points came by the defense or on drives of 20 yards or less! The Illni defense did not play that poorly.

The problem, this game, was the mistakes, 2 which were unforced and one was a coach’s decision late in the game.

Still, it was 21-14 going into the 4’th quarter and the offense, for all of their miscues, did put together two nifty drives; they especially looked good on their first touchdown drive. The line opened big holes and the true freshman quarterback hit a great play action pass to put them in scoring position.

Overall, it was the mistakes, and I think that part of it is that the Illini are simply too thin to absorb injury losses.

There is a video of the highlights at the end.

But here is what I really want to talk about:

With 5 minutes to go, Illinois had kicked a field goal (healthy 53 yard kick too) to cut the lead from 33-14 to 33-17; it is now a “two touchdown with two 2-point conversions” game. An onside kick failed, but the Gophers attempt to run out the clock (back up quarterback) and the Illini use their time outs to get the ball back at their own 10.

They go nowhere and with 4:38 to go, it is 4’th and 10 at the Illini 10.

I thought that they might punt; instead they go for it and fail. 2 plays later, the Gophers score again to push it to 40-17, which is how it ends.

I really hoped that they would punt but I suppose Coach Smith decided to gamble for the win, even though it was a long shot.

Was that the right call?

I remember the Texas vs. Oklahoma game in 1985. There was just over a minute left in the game and Texas was down 14-7. Texas was deep in their own territory and it was 4’th and long. Texas punted to keep the score down.

Now, that game WAS different; Texas was to finish 8-4 (bowl loss) and Oklahoma 11-1 (national championship). Oklahoma smothered Texas that day; Texas had 70 yards of offense….TOTAL. TOTAL; not a misprint. And in this game, Illinois did have three scoring drives; they did move the ball well at times.

Still, I winced at the final score; the Illini defense played better than that.


Here are a couple of my photos. Note: the announced crowd was 40,000; some arrived late due to tailgating. It was homecoming weekend. My good friend Tracy went with me and it was a lot of fun; she is great company.








October 30, 2016 Posted by | college football, football | , | Leave a comment

Weiner’s computer, e-mails and the vote

Yes, the Clinton campaign is calling for the FBI director to make the information available. And no, the “investigation is not being reopened.”

If you are curious as to what the fuss was about to begin with, this is a nice summary (from September).

But how will this affect the election? Well, no one really knows and the polls will take a few days to catch up. But I do note that the betting lines have stabilized to Clinton being a 1/3 to 1/4 favorite.


This is where the betting lines were in 2012:

Screen shot 2012-10-29 at 9.28.23 PM

Electoral Vote:


Election Projection


So, even in the betting lines (which did react to the news, Clinton is a somewhat heavier favorite than Obama was with this much time to go.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

I look like what I am…


Yesterday I went to the Minnesota vs. Illinois football game. I’ll comment more on that in my next post.

The above photo shows me (on the left) with my friend Tracy. I sure enjoyed myself.

But when I see myself, I see an old man. It is weird. When I see this photo and someone tells me “this guy “runs” at about 11-11:30 mpm in training”, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. I LOOK like someone who does that.
If you tell me that this guy would struggle to get 3-5 reps with 185 in the bench press (hips down, dammit!), I’d say “I expect that”.

But when the above actually happens, I am still surprised. Sometimes aging is tough to accept. I have a sense of humor about it though.

On today’s 5 mile run (glorious, simply glorious running weather) a faster runner called out to me as he was getting ready to pass me “Ollie, I am about to pass you on your left”. He may have been doing, oh, 7-7:30 mpm? I laughed and said “how do you know that I am not going to beat you today?”…and he chuckled a bit…and disappeared into the distance.

Workout notes:
Yesterday: 4 mile walk in Bradley Park.
Today: weights then a 5 mile run; actually 5.3 miles in 58:56 (just over 1 minute faster on the way back; behind the Riverplex, around the gooseloop and to Rose hill intersection in the cemetery.

Weights: rotator cuff, a few free squats, pull ups (15-10-10-10-5), bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 170, incline press: 10 x 135, military: 8 x 50 standing, 10 x 45, 10 x 45 (dumbbells), 3 sets of 10 x 50 rows, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges, headstand.

It was all good and I am grateful that I can do it at all. Still my lack of performance bothers me…at times.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Friends, running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Anthony Weiner’s e-mails and the Clinton campaign

Yes, the FBI director said that they were looking at e-mails that they found on Anthony Weiner’s computer to see if they contained classified information. That is pretty much it. But that did have an effect on the election odds. The odds had stabilized to between 1/6 and 1/7; now they are 1/3 to 1/4:


I don’t see this affecting things very much, one way or another, though it will take a few days to see if this has any effect on the polls.

Clinton does NOT have the commanding lead that Obama had in 2008, but she is well ahead of where Obama was in 2012.

October 29, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

I used to be good at math!

I admit that I love those stupid little “Facebook quizzes” (“who loves you”? “who are your best friends”, etc.) So I did one that said “who are your bodyguards”. The answer returned my wife and Carmen, who has become perhaps my favorite “Facebook friend”. That is fine, except both are physically small, middle aged to elderly ladies.

I joked: “I need to make bigger, stronger friends.”

Then I thought about it: if you look at my *current friends*, I am bigger and stronger than, well, almost all of them (maybe 1-2 exceptions). And as you can see from my workout below, I am not that strong (bench press is 200 pounds; I weigh 190 and am 57 years old).

Then I remembered that I used to have bigger stronger friends…when *I* was bigger and stronger (lifetime PB on the bench press was 310 lbs). So while I am considerably weaker now, I am stronger relative to the “company that I keep”. It is easy to figure out why: most of my current friends are either not athletic or they mostly run and walk long distances. In the old days, I hung around more strong people.

And that principle lead me to think about graduate school. I did reasonably well as an undergraduate mathematics major; I was usually one of the best ones in the upper division math classes. But when I got to my Ph. D. program at the University of Texas, well, I felt like a drooling idiot. I was one of the worst ones in each class I took, and don’t even mention the professors, all who were national class in their respective fields. I remember lamenting “I used to be good at math” and I got knowing nods from the other graduate students.

And so it goes. It is kind of like the last marathon I finished: once again I was almost dead last (not quite) but when I start thinking I am dreadfully slow…I watch people my age trying to navigate the stairs at a football stadium. Then I don’t feel so bad.


Workout notes: weights plus a 5K walk in West Peoria. Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, went well), incline bench presses (10 x 135, 7 x 150, 10 x 135), military presses (dumbbell): 6 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm dumbbell. Head stand, yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 10), twist crunch (2 sets of 12) and many, many “free squats” attempting to keep good posture. Those ARE getting easier.

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Friends, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Hey, my eyes are down here!

Workout notes: treadmill 4 mile run; tried to warm up a little bit quicker but my first attempts at 6.7 mph (1:30, 2, then 5 minutes) were a bit ragged. I was at mile 2 in 21:06 or so; I finally got to 6.7 again at 24 minutes into it and was able to throw in 6.8, 6.9 and 7 at the end. Total time: 38:36 for 4 miles…then some free squats.

Run notes: I have a feisty friend who (teasingly?) admonishes me to not check out her butt; when she passes me she turns and says “eyes up…my eyes are up here”. So seeing this yoga photo made me chuckle..and I made this meme:


October 26, 2016 Posted by | big butts, Friends, running, spandex, yoga | Leave a comment

It is Trump’s Party and the GOP will cry if it wants to…

Well, things are looking terrible for Trump. This article explains why the Fivethirtyeight model gives Trump more of a chance than most other models (and is more or less in line with the betting lines). But I HAD to link to a popular article that mentioned “t-distribution”. 🙂

And so the Republicans start questioning themselves. But hey, let’s face it: the kind of crap that National Review and the wealthy donor class was pushing was never really popular enough to help a party win an election; who really is going to expend effort and sacrifice to help billionaires pay less tax? And so the Republicans just made stuff up, though they put it behind the veneer of think tanks and the like. And they told their base to “not trust” those “no common sense” academics and scientists who warned that cutting taxes at the top really did the economy no good at all and that climate change IS real and worthy of serious solutions. |

Oh hell, remember all of them telling their base not to trust the polls and the statisticians that Obama was well on his way to winning in 2012?

Ok, to be fair, the SFBs at NPR were also babbling about a “razor tight” election though it was nothing of the sort, as we tried to tell them PRIOR to election day.

So now, of course, then Trump tells HIS lies, the Republican establishment tries to counter it with..well, expert opinion, the very type of opinion the base was told to dismiss!

So yes, the modern GOP IS the party of Trump. The monkeys really are running the zoo.

I’d love to say that the rotten-to-the-core Republican party is on its death bed. But thanks to a Congressional system that gives an outrageous amount of overrepresentation to our rural population (many reasons: gerrymandering, clustering, a Senate that gives Wyoming the same number of Senators as California), they will live on, at least in Congress.

But in terms of the executive level, they are finished …in their current form. Maybe the Eisenhower Republicans will come back?

Workout notes: yesterday: 4 mile run (untimed; glorious weather; modified Cornstalk Classic); today 4 mile walk on the same course after weights.
Weights: rotator cuff, few weightless squats, pull ups (5 sets of 10< bench press: 4 x 185, 7 x 170, incline press: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell): 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported; trouble getting under it at first, 10 x 200 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell, head stand, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, moving half bridge.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republican party, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Saturday Night Live skit makes a profound point about some Trump supporters

Yes, I am backing Hillary Clinton for many reasons; I see her is smart, well informed, tough and highly qualified. Yes, I oppose Donald Trump for many reasons; the most important one is that I find him to be unqualified; a rank amateur for THIS particular job. To me, a big part of being the President of the United States is knowing how to work with Congress and state governments, knowing about the “give and take”, knowing when to twist arms and when to compromise.

But Mr. Trump does have widespread support from different types of people, though probably not enough support to win. Hillary Clinton is a heavy favorite. But that is beside the point.

I would say that I can understand why some affluent people support him, but, I really can’t…at least if they have stock.

But what about poor working class white people: what do THEY see in him? Oh sure, he isn’t “politically correct”, but, well,..remember that Trump looked down on Mitt Romney as not having enough money.

So, if he would insinuate that Mitt Romney is a loser

What in the hell do they think that Donald Trump thinks about them?

And so we have this funny skit where a working class Trump supporter (played by Tom Hanks) plays “Black Jeopardy” and finds…well, just watch:

Working class people, regardless of color, have quite a few issue in common. Yes, there are important differences (e. g. how they are treated by police).

Why such people would view Donald Trump as caring about them I’ll never understand.

October 24, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

FCS football can be fun: Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State

Workout notes: Yesterday, weights then an easy 4 mile walk along the Illinois River. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (reasonably good), bench presses were weak: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 170, 7 x 155. Incline: 7 x 135.
military presses: 10 x 45 (2 sets) 10 x 40. Rows: 3 sets of 10 with last two 45/25 on each side. Abs: 2 sets of twist crunch yoga leg lifts and then headstand.

This morning: my usual route from the Heights Tower to the Forest Park Nature Center, 1:14 lower loop, 28 minutes for the spur back. Lots of leaves but good footing; pace was deliberate.

Along the way I chatted briefly with someone who was at last night’s Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State football game, a mom with her 15 year old son and some scavenger hunters. Total time was 2:30, about 10 minutes slower than the usual.

When I finish this, I’ll finish off some paperwork for my job.

Well, you didn’t expect me to miss the chance to see a football game, did you? When I saw that North Dakota State (winners of the last FIVE FCS national championships in a row) was visiting, I took the 90 minute (each way) trip to Macomb to watch the game.

I got there way early; it actually takes about 80 minutes and parking is plentiful…and there is a free lot right next to the stadium:


And tickets: 10 dollars for general admission and 15 for reserved; actually though I bought a reserved ticket, I moved to general admission so I could use the top row for its backrest and for standing. Even the top row seats are equal to prime seats at a Big Ten game. The concessions were more “hot dogs and chips” stuff so those with special dietary needs to take stuff in or tailgate (and there was a large, active, festive tailgate area). They had nice game programs which were free!


The post sunset sky was lovely; it was a perfect, crisp night for college football.


The teams walk from locker rooms which were about 100 yards away from the field.


As far as the FCS level: the teams don’t have the depth to complete, say, a Big Ten schedule. But their starters are excellent; just ask Northern Illinois (lost to Western Illinois), Northwestern (lost to Illinois State) or Iowa (lost to North Dakota State). My guess is that at least a couple of players I saw have a shot of playing on Sundays.

The game itself: it started off well for NDSU: they got a stop and then on their opening possession, drove it 60+ yards for a touchdown. It looked way too easy.


They used a mix of formations including a two tight end “pistol” package, the I and the conventional spread.

WIU countered with a drive and a field goal; they used a clock burning “run the clock down before running a play” scheme. NDSU got a touchdown and, on their next possession, threw an interception. WIU converted it to another field goal and it was 14-6.

NDSU ran an excellent 2 minute drill to score its third TD before the end of the half; WIU got the ball with 45 seconds to go and drove it close enough to get a field goal attempt, which was blocked. So it was 21-6 at the half.

I noticed that the WIU secondary made some fine open field tackles to prevent long touchdown runs; I wondered if NDSU would blow it open in the second half.

WIU actually controlled play the rest of the game, but mistakes cost them dearly.

WIU got a stop and then made a nice drive to cut the lead to 21-13; it appeared to me that momentum was shifting.

Then came the first of 2 key plays. WIU intercepted the ball and ran it back inside the NDSU 5 yard line. But a late hit on WIU pushed them back to the 20…the NDSU defense held and then blocked the field goal attempt.

WIU got the ball back and got first and goal at the 8. A pass made it to the 1 (I thought the runner was going to score, but he was turned back by a hard tackle. The next two plays from the 1 were stuffed, but NDSU was offside on 4’th down, so WIU got another chance. The runner fumbled the ball just prior to entering the end zone and NDSU recovered.

Still, WIU wasn’t finished; they stopped NDSU (who botched a field goal on a bad hold), threw another interception, but got the ball back again.

But at the end they were on their own end of the field with 40 seconds to go and no time outs; a final interception finished them off.

It was a great game to watch and extra exciting if you were a fan of either team (I was cheering for Western Illinois)


October 23, 2016 Posted by | college football, football, hiking, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s grope comments and female’s experiences

A good sign: I went out for 5K on a cool, crisp morning. During the first mile I had to talk myself out of doing 4 or 5 miles. But, when I got to mile 2, I was glad I was only doing 5K, so I still have some recovering to do. But it was a very pleasant jog.

Politics: the “nasty woman” comment that Trump made sparked memes, sayings, etc. I took one meme’s logo and added words to it:


Much to my delight, my favorite FB friend liked it.

Trump’s groping comments I’ve discussed those. And I directed people to Jerry Coyne’s website where he asked female readers to weigh in as to whether they’ve been violated. At least three wrote comments and I strongly suspect a 4’th one did. I knew about one of the stories before hand.

I had a couple of reactions:

1. I was ready to get “high and mighty” because I’ve never done any “Trump stuff” (ever) and, as an adult, I didn’t to any unsolicited touching. OR so I thought until I read the accounts of two women who worked at strip club type places (one wrote about it on my Facebook page). Then …yes, while in the Navy, we did make port calls and a few times I did go to bars with bar girls; they did sit on our laps; we did pat their butts, etc. No, no Trump stuff. And I suppose some consent was there; one time I went to a bar for the second time and one of the bar girls ran up to me saying “KING KONG!”; evidently I was a good customer (though I don’t recall spending that much).

I suppose that there WAS consent of a sort, but I don’t feel good about it.

The other reactions: some of the women who told their story are friends of mine; one is a “sort of ex” friend (“friends” as in “do stuff with” friends). I was struck by the fact that these women always seemed friendly with me; sometimes even a little bit “flirty” (and yes, it is a two way street). That just surprises me a bit, but I am woefully ignorant in this area.

October 21, 2016 Posted by | running, social/political | 1 Comment