My 2017 in review

This is my 2017 in review. I did this for 2015 and again in 2016.

Of note: my daughter graduated college (her accomplishment, not mine) and I completed my first year at a new rank. Athletically the year was a bit of a bust (no 5K under 27 minutes, only one marathon or beyond finish, best bench press was 200 lbs.) but I was active throughout and I did take some local trips. Of most note: I had a good time with friends, a “tl;dr” collage is here:







I am getting lapped by Jason (1:01:22)






Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor


December 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, college football, football, Friends, NFL, Peoria, running, travel, walking, yoga | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bradley Basketball (men and women) close 2017 with a bang.

My only lament is that there wasn’t a 4 hour difference between the tip off time of the Bradley women at Illinois State and the Bradley men at home vs. Northern Iowa.

Both teams took care of business impressively. The women blew away Illinois state 62-42 and the men won 72-53, powered by 64 percent shooting from the 3 point line. Note: Northern Iowa actually lead 33-32 at the half (which was close; back and forth).

Good shooting and stout defense put it away. And so:

Last game selfie of 2017.

Early action

Actually, a better than average crowd, by recent standards.

Inside joke here.

This is what they used to do to us.

Workout notes: 12:30 early mile, then 4 in 49:20 (walking) on the treadmill. Too slippery outside.

December 31, 2017 Posted by | basketball, walking | | Leave a comment

Trump’s support is still strong in this town….

Mike Smith fired up the coffeepot in this 1940’s vintage diner in the rustbelt town of Noonecares. Noonecares was once home to an active steel mill and a coal fired energy plant, both of which are long since shuttered.

“I think that Trump is one of the hardest working presidents”, Smith said, “if only the media would get off of his back. He isn’t out there playing golf like Obama.”

Joe Jones was laid off when the mill closed 2 decades ago: “well, ok, perhaps the mill won’t open again, but it would be nice to have this town running again; Trump is working to make that happen”, Jones said. Jones went on: “We need to focus on the hard working Americans and get them off of the culture of dependency”, noting that the 384 dollars a month he receives in welfare doesn’t go as far as it once did. “Right now, the only jobs we have are the ones at Dollar General and Walmart”.

Paul Thompson is a regular; he was also laid off and found work at that Walmart: “yes, making America great again means getting rid of that entitlement mentality”, Thompson said. “But I sure hope that Trump doesn’t take away Medicaid ..but I support him anyway”. He just got back from breakfast at a nearby hotel where his girlfriend works as a cleaning lady: “yep, she sneaks me in for the free guest breakfast”, he said.

“Had Hilary won, she’d be in hot water over her selling all of our uranium to the Russians”, Thompson said. “What is all of this stuff about Trump and the Russians anyway? No Russian made me vote for Trump!”

December 31, 2017 Posted by | political humor, politics | | Leave a comment

Just a bit off and out of sorts.

Weight: 207 before, with shorts and shoes. Got to come down from that.

I’ve been on a trip and was emotionally out of sorts..and a bit tired (lots of driving, by my standards).

So the weight workout was a bit off.

rotator cuff (extra here)
pull ups: 10, 5-5, 10, 5-5, 10 (still, these were tough)
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 10 x 165
incline: 10 x 135
military (dumbbell, standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
rows (machine) 3 sets of 10 x 110

walking: started at 4.0 (0.5 incline) to 1 mile (4.1, 4.2) then at 4.2 mph: .4 miles increasing incline every .1 miles, .6 miles at 5, 2.0 to 2.5 increased elevation again, 2.5 to 3.5 at 5, 3.5 to 4.0 at 4. 57:20 then some cool down to 1 hour (4.12)

Gym was sparsely populated.

Main point: when I am tried or just “out of sorts”, it is best to dial back expectations.

December 30, 2017 Posted by | walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Anger: fear in disguise?

I just got back from a trip that, well, was somewhat stressful, even though:
1) I was in no danger
2) I wasn’t in physical pain nor discomfort
3) I was in no danger of losing employment
4) I did not have to expend exceptional effort nor money.

So, what gives? For most of the time, I was with 3 other people: one elderly but mentally competent (highly so, in fact), one mentally retarded younger adult (30’s) who is fine physically and one person who was, well, very eccentric in his early days (and blew some nice opportunities) who is now physically disabled (barely ambulatory) and has mental/emotional challenges as well.

I was not used to that; I was in a position where I did most of the physical helping with the older person (the younger person could not figure out what to do).

And I found myself getting angry (but biting my tongue) but..why?

Ok, part of it is that this is my vacation time and well, I’d rather do other things.

But…I suppose that while I am reasonably healthy for my age (I am 58 but can still do sets of 10-15 pull ups and finish 50K walks) and yes, my commitment to physical fitness made me *able* to do this…

I am just one unfortunate brain injury, or stroke..away from being just like those unfortunates…no amount of virtuous behavior can guarantee me that I won’t be the one using a walker or needing physical assistance.

What I learned I recalled seeing a liberal meme about our capitalistic society “throwing away” those who weren’t economically viable. That really isn’t true; the two incapacitated individuals were living a safe life thanks to social safety nets (meals on wheels, Medicaid, group homes for the intellectually disabled, etc.).

Their lives aren’t what I’d want, but they have shelter, enough to eat, medical attention, etc.

So…I think the issue is with our “working poor”; those are able to work but, for one reason or another, cannot earn enough to have an economically dignified existence. This might also apply to the “able to work but can’t find work” unfortunates.

We have gaps and cracks that the able bodied/able minded fall through.

December 30, 2017 Posted by | Navel Staring, social/political | Leave a comment

Back in Peoria

Drive: ok from Kentucky to the Indiana/Illinois State line.
Sucked from the state line to Peoria; rural parts were ok but Bloomington and Peoria sucked.

Time in Kentucky: ah…more later. The people I spent time with: elderly but mentally fit, elderly, physically incapacitated and mentally unfit, and physically fit but mentally limited.
Not what I am used to.

I did get to watch the Navy vs. Virginia Military Bowl. Navy played great!

More later.

Home: shoveled; going to be frigid tonight.


The drive

First morning: 4.3 miles on a dark, cold trail

Second morning: 4.3 run on the same trail

Briskets! (and Colts hat)

Haircut. The lady who cut my hair “liked” my Instagram photo.

Eastern Kentucky: I went there because they had a small Barns and Nobel bookshop.

Nothing to add to this one.

Workout notes:

Wednesday: 4 mile walk on a bike path. 4 plus really. It was part of the Artisan Bike Path.
Thursday: 4 mile “run” on the same path.
Friday: 2 mile treadmill run in 21:22 (second mile was 9:22; increasing pace)

December 30, 2017 Posted by | family, running, travel, walking | Leave a comment


Workout notes: lifted, ran 16 laps in the second outermost lane in the Riverplex (22:25).
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 5 x 185, incline: 10 x 135, military: 3 sets of 10 x 45 standing dumbbells, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.

Pretty empty in the Riverplex

Drive: some snow leaving Indianapolis. Pre dinner: an adventure of sorts. I am not used to being the only physically strong and mentally capable one in a group; I couldn’t afford to lapse into my usual absentminded state.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | running, travel, weight training | Leave a comment

Christmas 2017

Home after a (mostly) fun trip to Chicago. I say “mostly” because the “hour longer than usual” drive there was nerve wracking.

This was from this morning.

It is cold and I am about to go on a “3 night” trip that I am not looking forward to.

Workout notes: 4 mile run on the hotel treadmill, which had the “stop” button at a place where my arm swing kept causing me to hit mile .7 and again at mile 1.7
Finally, I managed 2 miles in 21:35 to get 4.4 total..a decent enough workout.

December 26, 2017 Posted by | running, travel | Leave a comment

Browns give, Bears happily receive, win 20-3

Game highlights:

So, as far as the snowy game itself: total yards were close, 258-253 Bears, though the Bears went into a “run out the clock” shell in the 4’th quarter with a 20-3 lead. But the key stat was turnovers: 3-0, with the Browns losing 1 fumble in the end zone and throwing 1 interceptions, one in the end zone. There was also a key penalty where it appeared that the Browns ran in an interception for a touchdown, but one of their linemen lined up offside!

(via: Bears Instagram account)

The Bears stopped the Browns then had a nice drive for a touchdown; a botched snap/hold threw off the timing for the extra point, which was blocked.

In the second quarter, the Browns were thwarted on one drive with an interception in the end zone. But they eventually got the ball back with just over 30 seconds on the clock and had a nice drive for a 48 yard field goal, which BARELY cleared the bar.

A key turning point happened in the 3’rd quarter. The Bears threw an interception which was run back for an apparent touchdown, but one of the Browns linemen lined up offside. The Bears took advantage and drove for a touchdwon, using screen passes and a nice 16 yard run.

The Bears took advantage of a good punt return to set up another touchdown drive (again, lots of passes to the running back) and had a 20-3 lead.

Still in the 3’rd, the Browns drove and hit a medium pass; the receiver slipped down near the 10 but wasn’t touched down. He got back up and ran inside the 4, where he was stripped of the ball while going down, and the Bears recovered.

That basically took most of the wind out the Browns’ sails; the 4’th quarter saw the Bears mostly burning clock and one more Browns interception.

I was worried about getting there. Roads were terrible, and there were a couple of accidents on the southbound lanes of I-55. But, though the trip took 1 hour longer than normal, we ended up in our parking area by 11:15 and made it in time for the National Anthem and kickoff.

Afterward, we ate some Indian food (stayed at the Essex Inn…a good idea)

There was steady, light snow, but temperature wise, my feet got cold an my hands did, at times. I will get some warm boots for next football season; my boots are waterproof but not insulated; even double wool socks didn’t keep my feet warm. The rest of me: fine.

December 25, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | 1 Comment

What Happened by Hillary Clinton: my take

The tl;dr take:

1. This won’t change your mind about Hillary Clinton. If you despised her before, you’ll feel the same way after the book. If you loved her before, you’ll still love her. If you thought “ok, decent policy wonk but not really charismatic”, well, you’ll leave this book with the same opinion.

2. I was disappointed: I expected it to be more of “I should have opened X field offices in Pennsylvania and spent Y in ads in Wisconsin” and perhaps a bit more introspection. There was some introspection, but it was scattered throughout. On the other hand, I did learn that what sort of breakfast egg dishes she likes, that she likes an occasional hamburger, that she likes kids, that Justice Ginsberg does planks twice a week and yes, that she (Hillary Clinton) wears yoga pants. Seriously (page 19 for the yoga pants mention)

3. I’d say that about 2/3 of the book is worth reading. The best section is the one called Frustration, which features the 5 chapters Country Roads, Those Damn Emails, “Trolls, Bots, Fake News and Real Russians”, Election Night, Why. I was expecting most of the book to be like this section. It did give a nice summary of the issues of e-mails, Russian meddling, how the press handled things and some of the prevailing headwinds. The chapter “Sweating the Details” in the section “Sisterhood” is good too. And she flat out admitted that much of the country simply does not like her.

4. I’d say that she is finished running for elective office; she really did burn some bridges and say a few things sans a politician’s filter. Here is a beauty: (page 276; she is describing people in Appalachia)

But anger and resentment do run deep. As Appalachian natives such as author J. D. Vance have pointed out, a culture of grievance, victimhood, and scapegoating has taken root as traditional values of self-reliance and hard work have withered. There’s a tendency toward seeing every problem as someone else’s fault, whether it’s Obama, liberal elites in the big cities,
undocumented immigrants taking jobs, minorities soaking up government assistance–or me.

5. And yes, about the “basket of deplorables” remark: she admits that it was a political mistake to make that statement, but she stands by the actual logic of the statement (about half of the Trump supporters fall into that category). Actually, I do too, but it is an interesting statement to least from a politician not named “Trump”.

6. Oh yes, she really doesn’t like Trump. She does take shots at Sanders, Comey, the press, etc. But she really doesn’t like Trump.

7. Above all, this book is, without apology, aimed mostly at women; I’d say at educated, upper middle class women.

More detail: the book is not a linear time progression. It starts out describing the inauguration and her decision to attend (later to go home and put on a fleece top and yoga pants). Chronologically, it skips around quite a bit.

Much of the early part of the book is a bit like NBC’s Olympic coverage: human interest stuff (what she eats, when she wakes up, day to day stuff…kids, grand kids, relations between her staff, etc.).

She does get onto issues, including Black Lives Matter, Mothers of the Movement (black victims of gun violence), Police (yes, she talks about the massacre of police officers), climate change, and the lead in the Flint water supply (and wonders if advocating for poor blacks in Flint cost her votes in Michigan). She also talks about NATO and some of the complexities of foreign policy.

She does have some beefs though:

1. Press coverage. They seemed to be fixated on her e-mail problems (way overblown) and that ate up much of her press coverage; it hurt her ability to talk about issues. It also blotted out coverage about other things, such as he bus tour. She also pointed out that Trump appeared to send the press a “new rabbit to chase” almost daily; that appeared to keep the press from drilling down on his honest to goodness issues.

2. Russian interference: she goes into this in detail; the main issue is not only did they hack into the DNC and into her Podesta’s e-mails, but they also strategically planted fake news and gamed the social media and search engine algorithms so that these stories appeared on the feeds of likely undecided voters living in battleground states.

3. Bernie Sanders: she took shots at his unrealistic “we could have this or that” claims and ridiculed the idea that if we could somehow just get the PACs out of business, his proposals would be popular NATIONWIDE; he seemed to disregard regional differences in attitudes. She resented the implication that she was somehow crooked.

4. She flat out admit that the history of “Clinton scandals” (mostly untrue) dogged her and made people ready to believe new “non-scandals” about her. And on page 399

Moreover I have come to terms with the fact that a lot of people–millions and millions of people, decided they just didn’t like me.


5. Introspection: she said that she should have not used the line “we are going to put a lot of coal miners out of work” even though it was quoted out of context.

Here are her full remarks, with the most relevant parts in bold:

Look, we have serious economic problems in many parts of our country. And Roland is absolutely right. Instead of dividing people the way Donald Trump does, let’s reunite around policies that will bring jobs and opportunities to all these underserved poor communities.

So for example, I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?

And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.

Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.

So whether it’s coal country or Indian country or poor urban areas, there is a lot of poverty in America. We have gone backwards. We were moving in the right direction. In the ’90s, more people were lifted out of poverty than any time in recent history.

Because of the terrible economic policies of the Bush administration, President Obama was left with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and people fell back into poverty because they lost jobs, they lost homes, they lost opportunities, and hope.

So I am passionate about this, which is why I have put forward specific plans about how we incentivize more jobs, more investment in poor communities, and put people to work.

She did discuss her “basket of deplorables” remark on page 413 and noted that she wasn’t talking about all Trump supporters but “about half of them”. She then goes on to provide data (from polls) regarding the attitudes of Trump supporters to back up her claim of accuracy!

She does not pull punches about those who overlooked some of Trump’s ugly statements either.

Getting back to introspection: she acknowledges that perhaps, when listening to angry voters, she jumped straight to proposed solutions instead of listening to the venting to assure the voter that she “got” and “felt” the depth of their anger and pain …first.

6. Resentments: I’ve discussed her stated, well resentments about some of Trump’s supporters. She also took shots at “my way or the highway” activists, shots at those who attempted to “disrupt” her rallies (she made a point to put the word in italics (page 203). About the woman’s marches: she approved of them but wondered where that passion was during the election itself and why some did not vote. She resented Sander’s bumper sticker depth of policy, the press, the timing of the Comey letter (which probably DID cost her the election), the Electoral College and…

7. Being a woman: I’d say that the underlying thread of her book is about being a female and the disadvantages that brings from sexism (e. g. her being a female is one reason to be against her), misogyny (on page 114-115 she explains the difference between the two). She complains about the extra time a woman (in the public eye) has to spend on make up. And yes, she acknowledges that she lost the white women’s vote and especially the non-college educated white woman’s vote.

8. Yes, she discusses race and thinks that she did suffer some backlash from those who resented having a black president for 8 years.

9. She did discuss campaign strategy just a bit and pushed back on the narrative that she didn’t campaign enough in the former “blue wall” rust belt states.

Clearly, there is much more in the book than what I said, but hopefully, you’ll get a sense of whether you want to read it or not.

Update: here is a fact check of her book (it comes out pretty well) She also mentions a Facebook meme that I not only saw but passed around (Bernie and the pony) and a Facebook group that I belonged to (Pantsuit Nation).

December 24, 2017 Posted by | 2016, books, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, social/political | | 1 Comment