My 2018 in Review

Photos only; I’ve done this in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I’ve arranged these in approximate chronological order.

Note: I’ll mention today’s mundane 5 mile walk. It was done in drizzly, chilly (40’s) conditions. I would have been worse. I could have been better. but it was ok. Miles: 1803. 4.94 miles per day. Yes, I had a minor annoyance. That was typical of the year; just enough to complain about, but nothing major..good enough. 2018 was “good enough.” Not outstanding, not terrible, but good enough.













December 31, 2018 Posted by | family, Friends, running, walking | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Motivation still low…

But I did walk another 10.4 miles in 2:53 in cold weather (20’s..but sunny) and I wore sweatpants and too many tops.

I did the W. Peoria course to B. park and did the out and back up Cornstalk hill (part of the 5 course), one loop plus one mini dog park loop then back home in the usual way. Just steady…16:30-16:40 pace; could not walk fast but..didn’t have the mind set. Right now my workouts are directionless and aimless. Weight: right at 191 (plus/minus 2 pounds or so)..too heavy for my age.

I don’t want to talk too much either, other than watching some liberals gush over Ocasio-Cortez shows how Sarah Palin was so popular. There is some romantic attraction toward the naive outsider who will walk in and SHAKE THINGS UP (even if they don’t know what the hell they are doing). You know…guts, balls, “get ‘er done”, Dirty Harry, etc.

Yeah, I know; she really isn’t any dumber than the icon who..well, said ketchup was a vegetable, thought that trees caused air pollution and claimed to have been there when concentration camp inmates were liberated.

But my much attention paid to her and she hasn’t done a thing (other than win an election in a very blue district)

Oh well, I did claim that I was fascinated by this whole thing and I can’t help but follow.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking | Leave a comment

I was going to…

go on and on about….well, social stuff that isn’t going to change. But I did watch some TV football..and I did see the Bradley women defeat Chicago State 89-59 in a game where everyone played at least 8 minutes.

Workout notes: Friday: weights at the River plex: pull ups, (15-10-10-10-5-5), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, bench: 5 x 165, decline: 5 x 165, military: 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 45, 10 x 40, rows: 2 sets machine, 1 set 10 x 60 dumbbell. plank, headstand, checked out spandex, etc.

ran 2 miles on the track (20:50 or so)

Today: unmotivated but went to the Heights tower and ran out from the tower to the red 5K turn around (34:30) then back to the blue turn around in Peoria heights: 10:38 at 1+, 20:30 at 2, 29:50 at 3 (caught two cuties), 1:06 to the blue 5k, then walked on the trail back. Call it 7?

It was high 20’s and cloudy..still not that bad out there and I actually felt GOOD during the run. Not sure what was wrong. 🙂

December 30, 2018 Posted by | basketball, running | , | Leave a comment


5 mile walk…forgot that the university gym opens at 12 for the next few days.

Still the walk was fine..even enjoyable. But I am not training and feel a bit sluggish.

Last night I watched TCU beat Cal 10-7 in a game that saw 8 interceptions in regulation, 1 in overtime, and TCU’s sports information director getting an unsportsmanlike call on the Frogs that could have easily cost them the game.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | college football, walking | Leave a comment

Mitch McConnell’s The Long Game: manager of Team Republican

IF you are a sports fan (NFL, NBA, MLB, or some other team sport) think about what happens when you cheer for your team: do you honestly think that the world will be a better place if your team wins? Honestly, that just isn’t a concern during the game, is it? You want your team to win, and you want your coach to coach to win and your players to play to win. That’s it.

And so, I turn to Senator Mitch McConnell’s book The Long Game. (New York Times review is here)

Yes, there is the obligatory attempts to humanize him (and some of it IS funny…for example, the story about then President Elect Bush during his inauguration asking him where his podium was; McConnell didn’t know for sure..but when the podium rose through the floor at the appropriate time, McConnell gave a cool nod as if he knew all along…)

You learn about his attempts to play baseball (flamed out before high school), and that he likes chicken enchiladas and sports cars. But over and over again, you hear about his love of professional baseball and the Louisville Cardinal football and basketball teams. That is a recurring theme. And, when you think about it, it is very telling.

What you do NOT hear about, at least in detail, is policy. Oh, there is the usual “The ACA bill is horrible”, “McCain-Feingold is horrible”, “Obama talks down to people”, “Obama is a far left politician”, etc., but it is very shallow boilerplate…Sarah Palin caliber stuff. The exception is the discussion of First Amendment issues as it related to the attempted flag burning amendment and to campaign finance reform. The discussion of why he supported sanctions on the apartheid South African government was also interesting.

But you’ll see no detailed discussion of foreign policy, supply side economics, conservative interpretation of law or anything like that. There was next to no mention of religion either.

And very tellingly, there is no discussion of how he wanted to make people’s lives better, or even enable them to live better lives.

The vast majority of the book was about two things:

1. His personal ambition. He made no bones about wanting to warrant a better office, attain membership on better committees, and to attain leadership positions..oh yes..and get elected.
2. His legislative victories; you can almost feel the gloating over his clever filibuster or clever use of the Senate rules to kill legislation he didn’t like or to attain the goals he wanted..and to get members of his team elected.

Moral and logical consistency were not issues for him. He decried Harry Reid’s “destruction of the Senate” (by using the rules to advance legislation) while dancing on the 50 yard line the times he did the same thing.
He decried Al Gore’s Senate theatrics and then described his own. He decried “show votes” (voting on something that the other chamber will not pass or that the President will veto) but then, IN THE NEXT LINE, admitting that he took them.

Hypocrisy does not bother him. Ridicule, so he says, does not bother him (he asks cartoonists for signed copies of cartoons that lampoon him)..though he did dress down Al Franken for making faces while he spoke in the Senate.

What matters to him is WINNING, period..he wants Team Republican to win. Now this might mean taking incremental victories here and there, even if it means getting attacked by “WE WANT IT ALL, NOW” activists (yes, Democrats have to deal with this too). Set things up…get better field position. Hence the title: The Long Game.

And winning (in terms of Team Republican) means winning votes, winning elections..and winning, on a personal level, means advancing. And he does offer quite a bit of insight here (e. g. the way to win a position is to run unopposed, and the way to do that is to lock up key support, early). And he planned, planned and planned some more. Hence the title: The Long Game.

Early in life, he took on jobs so as to better position himself for political opportunities in the future…evidently it wasn’t to serve constituencies. Hence the title: The Long Game.

Still, I was surprised at how little he talked about policy, either the philosophy of it or how it makes people’s lives better.

This tweet really gets it:

Claire McCaskill: “[McConnell] is a very, very political leader. This isn’t somebody who is sitting around at night figuring out how he can move the needle on really important policy issues. This is someone who is figuring out how he can win elections.”

And that brings me to his discussion of President Barack Obama (called “Professor Obama”, as if that were an insult). Here and there he did praise him; he complimented his campaign, and how well he spoke about the TARP issues (called it “masterful”, without notes).

But he claimed that Obama spoke down to people in private, just like he does in public.

That claim got me scratching my head at first; one of the things I liked about Obama is that he didn’t insult me when he spoke. But after thinking about the praise that McConnell had for Joe Biden..and why he praised him, I think I got it.

Obama IS a policy heavyweight and is a pragmatist ..a problem solver. He sees a need in society and goes about trying to get that need met or that problem fixed; whether the solution is a traditionally conservative one or a liberal one doesn’t really matter to him. He is a thinker.

McConnell is NOT a thinker and is utterly disinterested in talking about the Laffer curve, what the data says about supply side economics, when a stimulus works or what the economists say the size should be, etc. So if Obama tries to explain to him why current Republican positions are really crank economics, McConnell is not only disinterested, he is insulted. It is a bit like trying to explain scientific evolution to a dyed-in-the-wool religious nutter creationist. It is a colossal waste of time..and comes across as arrogant and insulting. He’d much rather hear: “ok, this is what I want..and I know this is what you want. What can you live with?” without all of the attempts to change one’s philosophy.

So, you had the classical “thinker” vs. “wheeler/dealer” mismatch. And there is something else.

McConnell worked long and hard to turn his talents (and yes, he has them) into personal success…he just had a Gollum like focus on being the MAJORITY LEADER. And here comes a young freshman Senator onto the scene and just blows past him as if he was standing still. And he has to know that Obama will go down in history as one of the most loved politicians where he will be remembered by mostly political junkies and as an answer to trivia questions: “which Senator lead the most filibusters?”, etc.

That HAS to sting. 🙂

And there is this (which McConnell bellows was taken out of context)

Yes, Senator McConnell. You had a lot of victories. But you lost the World Series, and President Obama won. 🙂

December 26, 2018 Posted by | books, politics, Republican, republican party, republican senate minority leader, republicans, republicans politics | Leave a comment

Bradley and Colts provide weekend excitement…

Saturday afternoon: Bradley took on Southeast Louisiana State; a team that won it’s league last year and made the NIT but is 2-8 vs. D-1 competition this season and only rated 314 in the Sagarin. BU is 166 and 7-5.
And early on, SE Louisiana raced out to a 24-16 lead with 6:41 to go in the half, with all 24 points coming from 3 point shots. BU played better defense and lead 28-27. But the second half was a struggled and SELa lead 60-55 with 2:37 to go. But that was to be all of their points; BU hit a 3 point shot (open look) with 6 seconds left in the game to pull it out 63-60.

It was an ugly win against a not-so-hot team BUT right now, any D-1 win is good.

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Southeast Louisiana at Bradley.

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Winning shot with 8 seconds to go.

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Then came the Giants at the Colts. Given that the Colts needed to win to make the playoffs (to have a chance), this really started out ugly with the Giants knocking the Colts all over the field. 2 long drives; the first featured sweeps, short passes, misdirection gave the Giants their first touchdown, and the second featured a spectacular bomb.

A Colt drive was thwarted by a bad attempt to throw the ball away (interception) but the Colts finally got one touchdown drive to cut the lead to 14-7. The Giants drove it again and ended up with a field goal to take a 17-7 lead into the half.

The Colts got a stop, made a drive to cut the lead to 17-14. But the Giants truck back to make it 24-14 and it was looking a bit bleak.

But the Colts responded, mixing the plays well and it was 24-21 going into the fourth quarter.

The Giants were not done yet though. They drove to the Colt 7 with 3’rd and 2..but were stopped cold and had to settle for a field was only 27-21 with 9:20 to go. The teams exchanged punts but the colts punt pinned NY on its own 4 and the defense held.

Then came the winning drive that ended with 55 seconds in the game; it was now 28-27 and the defense got an interception after NY had picked up a first down; this ended the game.

So this season: 2 Bears games, 3 Colts, all wins, all but one competitive games.

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Player introductions.

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Giants strike first.

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4th quarter: Giants up 24-21.

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Down 27-21, Colt D needs a stop!

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December 26, 2018 Posted by | basketball, football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

Workout catch up

Of interest only to me.

December 22 (Saturday) 10 mile walk (9.96 or thereabouts) in 2:36; my new course downtown, to the goose loop, etc.
December 23 (Sunday) hotel treadmill: 5K run in 29:45 (29:00 3 miles) for 3 miles; 20:15 at mile 2.
December 24 (Monday) weights in Riverplex (S. O.’s procedure…over lunch) Weight: 189.1 (before) usual rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench: 3 sets of 10 x 70 dumbbell, rows: 10 x 70, 10 x 70, 10 x 60, military (machine) 10 90, 10 x 110, 7 x 160.. had to finish quickly.
December 25 (Tuesday): 5.1 walk in 1:19 (Bradley Cornstalk hill course) Kind of sore.

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Merry Christmas! 😘

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Christmas Eve dinner.

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Glad that hassle is over with.

December 26, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues, running, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Since when? How about: since forever: nonsense on twitter and social media

Frequently, I’ll read posts like “since when do we make athletes get haircuts before they can compete” or “since when are Christians indifferent to the suffering of others” and my response is “well, since it all started?”

Here is the worst (from a few years ago)

Note: in that alleged golden age: racial minorities were legally discriminated against, gays were in the closet, state agencies openly pushed their religion onto the people, etc.

Please: in the “before the official founding of the United States” age, Christians burned witches. Afterwards, Christians lynched, owned slaves, and helped exterminate populations of native peoples. Before that time: think of auto-de-fes, inquisitions and the like.

It seems as if people pine for the “good old days” which, frankly, never existed.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | social/political | | Leave a comment

How do the D’s move forward?

Ok, the Democrats won the House and are moving forward toward 2020. But what will they do, as a party?

Now I know that many (myself included) do not like Ann Coulter. But she does have a point; in current times the Democrats are basically a lose confederation of groups that, to be frank, do not like each other. And currently, the “Bernie/Never Bernie” wars are raging, at least on social media.

And Clair McCaskill has some interesting thinks to say, at least about being a “red state” Democrat. Yes, she does recount complaints from, yes, rural white males that the Democrats, at least at the national level, do not care about them.

If your temptation is to say “so what”..I’d remind you that, at least in some states, the difference between winning and losing a purple state like Pennsylvania can be the margin of loss in such rural areas. Sometimes, getting beat 65-35 instead of getting beat 80-20 can make the difference between winning and losing such a state; President Obama was good about getting votes in such areas. And as far as red state Senators: remember that we can’t have a Senate majority without them and being in the majority means that we can set the agenda, determine what comes to the floor for a vote, etc.

OF COURSE, it is unfair that our Senate set up gives such people disproportionate power but alas, that is where we are.

It is quite the needle to thread for Democrats.

By the way, Sen. McCaskill has some other things to say…some things to noisy “know it all” activists and some things to the rest of us. She suggests that we pay more attention to Democrats who won in formerly red areas than to more liberal Democrats who won upsets in bright blue areas and went on to win the general. I tend to agree.

Workout notes: leisurely paced weight workout (went well) but no run..too tired. rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, strong), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (good), incline: 10 x 140, decline: 10 x 160 military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 45 standing, 3 sets of 10 x 50 (each arm) rows, plank, headstand, etc. Weight: 192.1 before.

I really noticed the difference..when I rested more between sets.

December 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

Not quite a wet walk

High 16 mpm pace (perhaps faster at times?) through a convoluted W. Peoria course; 1:40 worth of walking …sometimes I just like to do a “purposeful” meandering walk where I walk at a deliberate pace, but am not bound by one course or another.

Today was such a day. Had a nice lunch with Tracy and that was about it.

Back to…well, not much for a few days.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Friends, walking | Leave a comment