What are we doing to our students?

There is some truth to this. It appears, at times, that we want to shield our students from any sort of discomfort whatsoever. Now of course, there are limits; after all, there is a difference between encouraging someone to, say jump in the pool and learn to swim..and just letting them drown.

In sports: run too much and you get injured. But stay within you comfort zone at all times means “no gains.”

And yes, civility has to be taught as well. But this coddling the students from ideas…oh my.

Check out the responses! Oh my….I wonder if there is a non-colonial way of solving y'' + y =e^t, y(0) = 1, y'(0) = 2 .

Workout notes: yesterday, weights only; pull ups: 15-10-10-10-10 (55), rotator cuff, bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, incline: 10 x 140, decline: 8 x 165, military: dumbbell 6 x 50 standing (ugly), 10 x 45 standing, barbell 10 x 85, machine: 10 x 180, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110, plank (sucks), side plank, headstand. weight: 191.6 before.

today: untimed 10K run (Cornstalk 5.1 plus 1.25 lower loop); great weather.

October 30, 2018 Posted by | free speech, running, social/political, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Grim football day but otherwise…

First things first: yesterday I drove Barbara to the airport for her to start her “slightly longer than 2 week” trip to the Middle East. I have 3 “bachelor weekends” and will probably catch at least 2 football games in those weekends and maybe a 4 mile race. There is an outside chance that I get a 3’rd game. I also had dinner with Tracy at Jerusalem Restaurant; it was fun watching her speak Hebrew with the owner.

And I had a decent run in cool weather; only 4.5 miles but it included a 1.4 mile warm up and 2.5 miles as follows: 11:17/11:11 22:29 (50 seconds slower than in 2016) This was “two loops of lower Bradley Park. I’d like to get this under 21 minutes; I’ll probably need to lose more weight to reach that goal. I am now at 191-193 lbs. and while that wasn’t a bad weight for me, say, 20-30 years ago, I no longer have as much muscle mass. I really should aim for the high 170’s.

College football I had predicted wins for Maryland, Notre Dame and Texas, though I had a bad feeling about the Texas game. Perhaps I should have honored that feeling? But the ESPN computer rated the game as a toss up and, on paper, UT appeared to have the better team. It WAS close but OSU hung on so I went 2-1 straight up.

Spread: stupidly, I changed my mind and picked the Illini to cover, based on Maryland’s offensive numbers. The only thing offensive was the Illini defense…63 points and 712 total yards to a team that got shut out and had 115 yards of total offense the week before! (ok, they were playing at Iowa). I went 0-3 vs. the spread this week. Last week I went 2-0 straight up, and 1-1 vs. the spread (damned Illini).

Season: 23-8 straight up, 13-16-1 vs. the spread..many of those losses were the Illini not covering (+18 MD, +25 WI, +10 Purdue). Even the line doesn’t recognize how terrible the Illini have become. Evidently I haven’t accepted it either.

Now about yesterday’s action: I caught the Illinois State game: they hosted South Dakota State. The computer showed most of the section (where I sat) as being full, but my guess is that they saved some for same day sales. Throughout the same there were 5 people in a row that sat 20 people. Still, there WAS a good crowd for “family day” (though many were NOT football fans) and both teams were top 10 in the FCS. And the action started quickly; the Jackrabbits scored in just over a minute via a 68 yard pass off of play action (defender bit on the run). Opening play: Redbirds hit an 81 yard TD pass off of a crossing route and with just over 1:30 gone it was 7-7.

The defenses controlled things for most of the rest of the half, though SDSU reached inside the 5 only to be thwarted via a 3’d down interception (one of the few bad passes their impressive QB threw all day).

But then came the unfortunate finish to the first half: there were just 5 minutes to go and a Jackrabbit punt had pinned the Redbirds at their own 11. They tried a swing pass and the receiver tried to circle back into the backfield as it was well covered. He fumbled and the Jackrabbits recovered inside the 5. They punched it in.

Next series the Redbirds fumbled the t-formation snap (under center) and the Jackrabbits cashed in, again. It was now 21-7 and the Jackrabbits forced a punt and used their time outs. Then they nailed a long bomb touchdown pass in which the defender, in single coverage, fell down (and injured his shoulder in the process). It was now 28-7 and a last second ISU drive ended in a missed field goal (to prove large later)

In the second half, ISU switched quarterbacks which appeared to help some (and they started to run more), but not right away. ISU threw an interception, exchanged punts, then a drive off a short field put SDSU up 35-7 well into the 3’rd quarter. ISU was to outscore SDSU 21-3 the rest of the way to lose 38-28 but, to be fair, two of the final touchdowns appeared to be “garbage time” touchdowns.

ISU ended up outgaining SDSU 445-390 but could not overcome that disastrous final 5 minutes of the first half. The Jackrabbits were very impressive.

My photos:


We had an Army helicopter fly-over (NOT my photo)

Seats they claimed that mine was the only one left in my section (when I bought them). Doesn’t appear that way, does it?

Action: (here is the first ISU fumble and SDSU about to cash in)

Later: SDSU fans still there though.

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Teams trade TDs. 35-14 Jackrabbits with 11:50 to go.

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On the way home, I got to listen to Illinois getting CREAMED by Maryland; I caught most of the second half on TV prior to picking up Tracy. It was 56-19 before the Illini got a couple of garbage time touchdowns..and gave up one too. Final: 63-33 Maryland. The Illini gave up 63 points and 712 yards of offense to a team that got 0 points with 115 yards of TOTAL offense against Iowa the week before.

Sorry, though the Illini have 3 wins this year after only 2 last year, one of those wins was due to playing an absolutely dreadful Rutgers team who has regressed from last year. In Big Ten play, aside from the 38-17 win over Rutgers, the Illini have lost 63-24, 46-7, 49-20 and 63-33. Last year, aside from the finishing 42-7 loss to Northwestern, the Illini were more competitive than that. I wonder if Coach Smith knows how to reach college players. I STILL think he was a good NFL coach, but coaching up elite, mature athletes is different than coaching up 2-3 star college kids.

I think that too many Illini fans, myself included, put too much stock in a close loss to USF (which is a good but not great “group of 5” team). I was NOT one of those who was impressed that the Illini lead Penn State 24-21 with 10 minutes to go in the 3’rd..I could NOT discount Penn State’s 42-0 finish (my wife warned me that the finish better reflected reality than the start).

October 28, 2018 Posted by | college football, football, Friends, running | , | Leave a comment

Civility, Political Correctness, etc.

I was going to focus on an issue but I want to express my disgust at the bombs sent to the Clintons, the Obamas, and others. To me, this is similar to the deadlier incident where an unhinged lunatic shot some Republican members of Congress.

Yes, Trump’s rhetoric disgusts me. But the shooter was not a Trump supporter. I continue to believe the idiots who do these sort of things are unhinged outliers and have little to do with the rank and file American of any political persuasion.

Being offended:

The Fort Worth Telegram apologized for running this cartoon.

Ok, I chuckled when I saw this. Why? I thought about it. Yes, I do have genuine sympathy for the discrimination that various groups suffer. But..this cartoons a non-black who passed herself off as black, a white lady playing up some (genuine) Native American heritage (yes, I have German heritage in my background, but you couldn’t tell it by looking, and no one identifies me as German).

And damn times it appears that some who really do not belong to some genuinely oppressed group pretend to..and some make ridiculous demands (e. g. opposing the “vagina monologues because “not all women have vaginas”, etc.)

Yes, I know that transgenderism is genuine and not “playing girlie”.

But I suppose on another level, the cartoon did get me to think a bit. And I do find this “quest to be outraged” to be tiring.

But there are voices of reason out there.

Is PC-ness helping Trump?
No doubt that Trump is a demagogue..and his trying to stoke fears over a “immigrant caravan” that is still more that 1000 miles away is absurd.

But ….well, Trump’s approval has inched UPWARD throughout 2018.

Trump vs. Obama, via

Workout notes: 5 mile run on the treadmill. I had stomach trouble and had to stop after 3 (32:32) but got back on for 2 more (18:22; 9:39/8:43) and it felt fine.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Back from Colts vs. Bills…

First things first: back in the saddle, workout wise. 41:52 for a 4 mile treadmill run; tried to run the final mile sub 9 but gave up 37 minutes and slowed it down a bit.

Yesterday, we went to the Colts vs. Bills; it was one sides 37-5; the Colts lead 24-0 at the half. A second half drive by the Bills cut the lead to 24-3, and an errant snap gave the Bills a safety. But overall, the Colts ran the ball very will running it for 220 yards.

Initially the teams traded punts (2 Bills, 1 Colts but then a long drive which went into the 2’nd quarter gave the Colts a 6-0 lead (kicker missed 2 extra points). The Bills responded with a nice drive but lost a fumble. 3 passes and a 2 point conversion put the Colts up 14-0. A third drive put the Colts up 21-0; then an interception set up a Colts field goal just before the half.

The Bills were to turn it over 3 more times in the second half; sack fumble, interception and an unlucky “off the tip” interception. That was 5 turn overs for the Bills.

Our seats were in section 424: not bad but they were on the aisle seats…and this row could only be entered from one side. So the lower rows of this section: I do NOT recommend that. Still, I enjoyed myself.

Barbara and Lynn were great company. Afterward: Saigon restaurant for Vietnamese food.

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Lucas. Bills at Colts!

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Barbara and Lynn

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A few empty seats.

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October 23, 2018 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL, running | | Leave a comment

Bad arguments drive me crazy…

One thing that causes me persistent heartburn are those statistically invalid arguments, often made by those who either do know better or should know better.

It is one thing to, say, pass a statistics class, or even properly use statistics to analyze data. It is a different thing to make statistical thinking as part of one’s every day thought process.

Here are some examples:

1. “X is 60 years old and ran a 3:10 marathon. So what is your excuse?”
The fallacy: X is almost certainly an outlier. Example: a 61 year old lady ran a 3:12 at this year’s Chicago marathon. It was Joan Benoit, who has an Olympic gold medal and has a PR of 2:22.
My response: “Y is your age and ran a 2:05. What is your excuse?”

2. “It is “racist” or “classist” to use the ACT for college admissions (or placement). The HS GPA is a better predictor.
The fallacy: just because one measure *might* be a better predictor doesn’t mean that several measures, taken together, aren’t better predictors than any single measure taken alone. After all, NFL teams measure several things (speed, strength, speed through a cone course, etc.)

3. “X achieved great things and there were naysayers saying that they couldn’t.”
Fallacy: most of the time, the naysayers are right. Most do not achieve elite results, by definition. Related: “hey they laughed at Einstein” (well, not really, he got 4 papers published in a top notch physics journal while still a graduate student that no one ever heard of..I don’t think that is getting “laughed at” but whatever.

4. “The deficit/debt is X dollars..that is more than it has ever been, etc.” Duh. We are a growing country. That is why debt and deficits are measured in terms of GDP. Newsflash: a million dollar deficit might be a lot for a small town, but it is nothing for an entire country, due to the relative size of the economies.

5. “Polls..ha, ha, ha, ha…they predicted Hillary would surely win!” Uh, no. Yes, a couple of models based on polls had her as a heavy favorite. BUT, not all of them, and these were MODELS. Nate Silver game Trump a 34 percent chance (roughly the probability of a below average NBA player missing a free shot). And the predictions were pretty spot on in terms of national vote; they were all just a bit off in a few key states..and off in the same direction.

My own “lower confidence interval” had Trump with 266 EV, 4 short of what he would have needed.

6. “Hey, these athletes get paid a huge amount of money to play a game whereas people who do more important work are paid far less..”
Fallacy: entertainers (athletes, actors, musicians) tend to be either “strike it HUGE” or “amateur” with not much inbetween. Put another way: being 95’th percentile in math probably means that you can earn a nice living as an engineer. Being 95’th percentile at sports means..well, maybe getting playing time at a D-3 program..if you are lucky. Only the most outrageous outliers make it as a professional athlete.

October 20, 2018 Posted by | social/political, statistics | | Leave a comment

Football and Volleyball thoughts

Last night: I saw Bradley Volleyball keep their third place position in the Missouri Valley with a 3-1 win over Missouri State.

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Bradley vs. Missouri State. Good crowd.

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They had a nice crowd and some vocal student support.

This morning: after my slow walk, I watched Illinois give up 545 total yards (357 on the ground) while being limited 300 yards to Wisconsin in 49-20 loss. There was one bright spot however:

That was 80 of the yards that the good guys had.

Of interest were two things:

1. The quarterback. The Illini have a 5’th year senior transfer who is a decent runner and does a decent job on the read option. Then they have a freshman who doesn’t run as well but is a better passer, and the Illini also have 3 credible, Big Ten caliber running backs (good ground attack in every game but the Purdue game, including 210 yards today). Should the Illini promote the freshman to the starting role? I am not saying that the freshman is a better quarterback but he might give this particular team a better chance to win right now.

2. In the 3’rd, the Illini were down 42-17 early in the 4’th and had 4’th and 3 at the Wisconsin 8. The coach elected a field goal (which was good). Some (many? most?) thought the Illini should have went for the first down. Personally, I think the offense needed to be rewarded with a confidence builder. Not that it would have mattered that much.

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HOUSED! 8️⃣0️⃣ Yards. #ILLINI

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Workout notes: Friday: untimed 5 mile walk. Saturday: 10 mile walk..unusually slow. I walked to the ball field and then to the dam and then back; perhaps I went a bit further than I had anticipated. But it was slow.

October 20, 2018 Posted by | college football, football, walking | , | Leave a comment

I felt good…what is wrong?

Workout notes first weights: pull ups were 5-5-5, 5-5-5, 10, 10. rotator cuff, etc. bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, decline: 10 x 165, military: standing dumbbell: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine. Then headstand, 2:30 plank, side plank, etc.

Then running on the treadmill..didn’t feel good at first but 5.3-5.4, increased speed to 20 minutes,then 6.7 to mile 2, then 6.8-6.9-7.0-7.1 (8:38 mile, 29:54 for 3, 30:42 for 3.11) then walk/jog to 3.3, then run to 41:02 for 4 miles. I actually felt…good?

I think that recovery is coming along nicely.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | running, weight training | Leave a comment

We get distracted so easily

I now see why many Republicans have warmed to Trump. It goes something like this:

1. Famous woman says something negative about Trump (often accurate or deserved)
2. Liberals cheer said her “strong, tough”, etc.
3. Trump tweets insult (“fat cow”, “horseface”, “pig”, etc.)
4. Liberals’ heads explode: OMG, that Trump attacked a WOMAN…HOW DARE HIM.
5. All the while, The Turtle (aka Sen. Mitch McConnell works to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, etc, all to “pay for” the upper end tax cuts.

The Trump circus distracts and the Republicans get to achieve (or come closer to achieving) their long term goals: dismantling entitlements (promised benefits that are paid for by payroll taxes) and safety nets for the less fortunate (and yes, a small percentage of the safety net money ends up in the pockets of slackers, idiots and chronic underachievers).

What’s in it for those who won’t benefit from the upper end tax cuts? Well, Trump insults people that they don’t like!

Oh sure, sometimes Trump insults people that I don’t like, but I want a President, not a “Troll in Chief”.

Workout notes: glorious 5 mile walk to watch the sun rise.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | politics/social, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton’s “me too” comments (re: Bill). Correct, but bad politics.

Well, at least Hillary Clinton has retired from the political arena. Some are up in arms about what she said about Bill Clinton’s affair and its relation to “me too”.

Frankly: I think she is correct and …what she said would be bad politics, ..ok, is bad politics..provided she still cares about such things.

Yes, Bill Clinton did wrong; he DID have authority and was obligated to resist a sexual advance, flirtation, overtures, whatever.

Yes, he was, in my eyes, guilty of sexual misconduct.

BUT…in my opinion, if “me too” is to have any meaning at all, it has to be about people (ok, women) getting unwanted sexual advances.

If the woman (or the subordinate employee) is an adult and initiates the advance, or sends signals, etc., then while there still might be sexual misconduct, it is no longer “me too”.

I really do not think it is too much to say “if you don’t want the man to respond to you sexually, do not make a sexual overture.”

Of course, much of the “me too” crowd will reject what I said. So be it.

But Hillary Clinton’s “correct” answer wasn’t well received by the liberal base…and anyone with political savvy could easily predict that.

Workout notes:
Yesterday: weights only. rotator cuff, pull ups (15-15-10-10), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military: 2 sets of 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. abs: 2:30 plank, headstand, side plank. Today: 3 mile run: 11 minutes for 1 mile (could not sustain 6.7 mph at 10 min), 22:15 for 17 laps (lane 2) of the track: 10:40/ tired, 2 mile walk outside.
Weight: 190.5 before. But I am still “in the recovery phase>”

October 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Still recovering

Yes, I have friends that can do a hell of a lot more running and walking than I can. But over the past few weeks:

23 September: walking marathon
29 September: 5K running race
6 October: 5K running race
7 October: half marathon walk (all out)

And that has left me a bit heavy legged. Even today, my 10 mile walk, while mostly pleasant, was work. Not hard work, but a modest amount of work and my legs got moderately heavy. That should not be after only 10 miles..hence I am still “recovering”>

College football:
My predictions:

Last week I picked ND, Texas, Purdue and Temple to win (4-0), ND, Illinois, Baylor and Temple to cover 1-2-1
So for the season: 19-7 straight up, 12-12-1 against the spread.

Now what about Illinois?

Ugh..that was embarrassing, and this post, more or less, describes what I am feeling.

Spin it any way you want. But the last 3 Big Ten home games ended: 42-7 (Northwestern), 63-24 (Penn State), 46-7 (Purdue)

This season, the defense gave up:

453 yards and 24 points to Kent State (1-6 Mac Team)
361 yards to 2-4 Western Illinois (FCS team that Illinois State beat 33-16)
626 yards to USF (ok, they are 6-0 but non power 5)
591 yards to Penn State (ok, they are good)
386 yards to Rutgers (1-6, horrible team that lost 42-13 to Buffalo and 55-14 to Kansas)
611 yards to Purdue (3-3) including 404 in the FIRST HALF.

And while the team had ran the ball well up to this game, Purdue loaded the box with 8 defenders and dared the Illini to throw. Then blitz on passing downs. Our offense has been well scouted and other teams now know what to do.

And our depth is shallow..this is a bad thing when you play in the Big Ten meat grinder. This may well get uglier.

Oh well…I am not sure if there IS an exit from this quicksand.

October 15, 2018 Posted by | college football, walking | | Leave a comment