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Attitudes and triggering the liberals…

So Trump pardoned Dinesh Dzouza (who violated campaign finance law). This might be a message to those caught in Mueller’s cross hairs, and yet another way to “trigger the libs”. Every time we foam at the mouth, he wins.

Trump is the troll in chief (11 minute MSNBC video; well worth watching).

The upshot: their goal is to draw our scorn, thereby making their base happy with them. And getting scorn from us is easier than, say, passing a bill and signing it into law.

And speaking of scorn: there is scorn for Kaepernick and Barr. But the actions (respectful protest vs. racist tweet) are very different and have different standards of decency. This is a well written article about that, and it is written by a conservative!

And seriously, the NFL protests are really the best kind: peaceful, non destructive and non-intrusive. But yet, many whites are outraged. There really is no protest that they’d approve of.

Speaking of football: I read this quote by Vince Lombardi in a book:

I want to say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to be tolerant of a society who has sympathy only for the misfit, only for the maladjusted, only for the criminal, and only for the loser.

Then paraphrased stuff was added. Well, the longer quote (with more context) is this:

None of us is born equal, in spite of everything they say about it – we are born only in certain inalienable rights. But we are born rather unequal. However, I want to say that the talented are no more responsible for their birthright than the underprivileged are and the measurement of each man should be what each does and I want to say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to be tolerant of a society who has sympathy only for the misfit, only for the maladjusted, only for the criminal, and only for the loser. I think we should have sympathy for them, certainly. I think we should help them, certainly. But I think it is also the time in this country to cheer for, to stand up for, to slap on the back the doer, the achiever, a man who recognizes a problem and does something about it, the winner.

It sounds different, doesn’t it?

More Politics The 2016 polls were reasonably accurate, by historical standards. It is just that many models didn’t emphasize how small Clinton’s lead was in key states.

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June 2, 2018 Posted by | football, politics, politics/social, poll, social/political, statistics | | Leave a comment

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:

January

February

March


April

May

June


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

July

August

September

October

November

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


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

Social
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 | | Leave a comment

49’ers give the Bears the boot 15-14, but a fun time anyway.

I am probably the world’s worst football fan. This year, my NFL teams have lost every game I’ve watched in person. But the scores were 20-17, 23-16, 20-16 and 15-14. And yes, I enjoyed each because I like hard hitting, well executed rock-em, sock-em football.

This time, Lynn was my “victim” (as she was for the Bears vs. Packers).

The game: The 49’ers scored on their first drive (field goal) and took a 3-0 lead; they were to fail to score exactly 3 times: twice on punts (and gave up one touchdown on a punt return and one “called back” long return) and gave up one interception (which was spectacular)

Otherwise: while the Bears did score a touchdown that was set up by the interception (nice TD pass in the back of the end zone), the 49’ers rolled over the Bears outgaining them 388-147 (ok, the punt return skewed that a bit) and possessed the ball 38:47 to 21:13. Basically they would run on first down, not make much, same on second down, and then hit a medium pass over the middle to keep the sticks moving.

It was 14-9 at the half but the 49’ers kept driving and driving and eating up clock. They had only 3 drives in the second half and two ended in field goals; the first drive was 8:19 long. The final drive ate up 5 minutes and ended with 4 seconds left in the game.

A key play was a long pass completion on 3’rd down with 2 minutes to go; though the Bears still lead 14-12, fans started to leave! I’ve never seen that before.

Part of the drama was the 49’er kicker was cut by the Bears at the end of the 2015 season.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks a game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Chicago. The 49ers won 15-14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Socially: Lynn and I went to Mercat restaurant after the game and sampled stuff. That was a lot of fun: eating sampler plates and chit-chatting away. We always have good conversation. The walk through the park before and after the game was fun as well; we visited the Logan Statue in the park beforehand.

My photos:

Great company!

The skyline from the Logan statue.

The entrance

Early action.

TOUCHDOWN BEARS (2n’d quarter, set up by the interception)

Late action. This is the start of the game winning drive: SF 8 to the Chicago 4; key play was a 33 yard pass with just over 2 minutes to go. Then the Bears had to start to use time outs.

After dinner in the Mercat, we walked back to the car and saw the supermoon. This shot does not do it justice.

What a wonderful experience, even if “my” team lost.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | Leave a comment

Football weekend: Illini overwhelmed by Northwestern, Colts can’t finish vs. Titans.

It was another “double” football weekend: this time I got a college game on Saturday and a NFL game on Sunday.

(Northwestern Student Newspaper)

Illinois got overwhelmed by Northwestern 42-7. But the Illini came out and played hard and were actually up 7-0. They stopped NW’s first drive, drove it for a touchdown (quarterback keep did the damage), and then got a spectacular interception to stop NW on drive 2; I thought “hey, maybe…”

But reality took over: the next 3 quarters saw NW put up 14 and the Illini 0: still it was only 14-7 at the half. A strip sack recover pushed it to 21-7 in the 3’rd and then a pretty 79 yard run (to the Illini 1) followed by a TD plunge put the last nail in the coffin. The last quarter saw more dominance and the game ended with NW inside the Illini 10 (after another interception and return); they handed the ball off to a defensive tackle for the final 2 plays of the game.

I feel bad for the players; they really are trying but our best players are young, and even most of the young ones (not all) are those who might play in, say, Conference USA. We do have a few that will probably develop into front line Big Ten players though; we need to add to those via recruiting. I’d say that we are 2 seasons away from reaching, say, 6-6.

Northwestern at Illinois highlights:

Illini good plays:

My photos:

Fall foliage as the Illini band parades by (shot from the upper deck)

Barbara and I took Jacob. It was cool before the sun went down, then it became cold.

Pregame: Illinois band.

Shot from the press box: it was kind of empty. If you look at the left hand 30 yard line and then move up to the entrance just below the upper deck overhang then move right a tiny bit: there we are!

Early action.

Pretty sunset..as the sun went down on the Illini’s chances in this game.

It was very sparse toward the end. Few stayed the entire time.

Titans at Colts

Via: ESPN

Here, early on, it was a battle of field goals; the Titans got the first two, and then the Colts. Interceptions kept the game close; the Colts got a TD to take a 13-6 lead.

Second half, the Colts got the ball and kept it for 9 minutes and kicked a field goal; it was now 16-6 and looking good.

But the momentum shifted when the Colts fumbled a bad pitchout in their own end of the field; that set up a Titan touchdown. Then a 70 plus drive by the Titans put them in the lead 20-16 and, though it was only a 4 point lead, the Colts became punchless. That is how it ended.

Titans at Colts highlights:

My photos:

This ramp leads toward the Verizon entrance at Lucas Oil Stadium. A year ago, Barbara entered this ramp (not thinking anything about it) and was allowed in. I tried to enter and was told to go around the corner (perhaps 100-200 more yards) and go up the steps. I was puzzled..and the person at the entrance said that this entrance was for club seat ticket holders and for the “elderly and handicapped!” (he let Barbara through but not me).

I almost collapsed from laughter …and every since Barbara has taken the ramp and left me to trudge to the steps.

So, this time, I gave Barbara a hard time and this is how she responded…

Jacob, his roommate Bryan and Babs read for the game.

The roof was open (first game there when it was); I was worried that I might be underdressed. But it was warmer in the stands that I thought it would be.

Yes, I bought a Colts stocking cap.

The Colts enter the field.

That is one large flag.

There were quite a few empty seats early: (not usually the case at Lucas)

It was only 20-16 with 2:50, but the Colts have not finished games all season long. The fans were gone though, in my mind, the game’s outcome was still in doubt.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

A bizarre Illinois State vs. North Dakota State game

When I saw that North Dakota State (seeded 2 in the FCS playoffs) was coming to play Illinois State, I wanted to go. NDSU had won 5 of the 6 past FCS National Championships and Illinois State has been a playoff team for several years in a row, making it to the finals in 2015. But this year, they were 6-5 going into this game and needed a win to make the play offs.

They didn’t get it; they lost 20-7 in a game that saw them have some chances. Oh, NDSU is better but..for this game, ISU made it interesting but made some key mistakes that cost them dearly.

But what I will remember is the weather: first it was a cold, driving rain (Mat and I were ready for it). Then..and I was unaware (ISU was prepared) came the sleet then came blowing, driving snow..all in the first half! It snowed for half of the second half and then the weather got a bit better.

But back to the game: NDSU drove the ball well (mostly on running but, when they got close to the red zone, got sacked. NDSU punted from the 32 (or so). Remember, it was raining hard; field position would be a factor. They got another drive but the same thing happened; they got close, got sacked, had to punt. So that was the first quarter (NDSU ran and ate up clock). Total yards were about 80-20, but it was 0-0.

Then the defenses more or less took over in the second quarter (as the sleet, then snow came) and the mercifully quick first half ended 0-0.

The second half: Illinois State stalled and had to punt into a stiff wind on a snowy field. The defense got a stop..but a roughing the punter penalty gave NDSU new life and they scored off of running.

Next possession; ISU gets intercepted and the defender made a highlight worthy run back to set up the NDSU offense. They punch it in but miss the point; 13-0. I figure it is over.

Not much happens on the snow covered field until the it stops snowing. Finally, with the wind, the ISU offense mixes up some running (had some minor success) with passing and drives for a touchdown. It is 13-7 and ISU starts to use time outs to get the ball back. But two quarter back keeps; the second one works up the middle..the qb was caught from behind, fumbled but NDSU recovers at the 1. They punch it in..and ISU’s game attempt to get back in runs out of steam with just over 1 minute to go in NDSU territory.

Still, it was an interesting ball game between an elite FCS team and a good FCS team.

Mat and I were ready.

Early action.

Then came the snow during the second quarter. They did open up Redbird arena for fans who wanted to watch on TV.

Half time was eerie.

NDSU played better in the 3’rd quarter and built their game winning lead.

Offenses traded touchdown drives in the 4’th quarter, but NDSU had their lead.

Professional photos: (more here)

Jabril Cox of North Dakota State intercepts an Illinois State pass during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

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

November 20, 2017 Posted by | college football, football | , | Leave a comment

And I drag Lynn to a Bears vs. Packers game…

Ok it was dry for the walk over but rained during the game. Still, a poncho kept us dry and we were bundled up.

The game: The Packers won 23-16, though thanks to a botched snap/hold on a late field goal attempt, the Bears got the ball back with 1 minute to go and had a shot to tie it.

A key moment came in the 2’nd quarter (2:30 into the video; score was 10-3 Packers) when the Bears receiver made an excellent run after catch and dived for the end zone. He was ruled out at the 2 (first and goal at the 2) but the Bears challenged the call, claiming that he hit the pylon with the ball before going out of bounds.

Call was reviewed..and showed that he lost control of the ball just prior to hitting the pylon. Hence the ball went out of bounds in the endzone..”touchback” and the Packers ball at the 20 versus the Bears having it at the 2.

Overall, the Packers got just enough offense with their backup quaterback and a receiver running as running back. And they sacked the Bears quarterback several times.

An action shot via the Bears Instagram account:

kickoff. Yes, there were empty seats.

We were about where the arrow is: 2n’d row of the upper deck (442, row 2). GREAT seats..the best I’ve had in Soldier Field so far. This shot was retweeted by EmptySeatsGalore on Twitter. Shot by @RobDemovsky:

Some action.

More action

Some shots of the stands…it was rainy.

Yes, there were some unsold seats up in the upper corner of the upper deck:

Lynn and I in our ponchos.

Lynn and I before going in..it wasn’t raining as yet.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

Indiana 24, Illinois 14: an awesome first play of the second half.

Ok, at the end of the first half, it was 14-0, Indiana. They hod out gained the Illini 266-72, but mistakes and a dropped “potential pick 6” kept the score down.

Then came the second half.

Wow…14-7 and for the rest of the period, Illinois appeared to sort-of control play.

Indiana got a field goal but Illinois answered.

Look at this one handed catch:

And the touchdown to cut it to 17-14.

But Indiana rallied to get an insurance TD and two turnovers (fumble, interception) sealed the deal.

How the game went: early, the Illini defender fell down leaving the Indiana receiver wide open. The ball hit him in the hands..and he dropped it. It was that kind of game.

Note: the Illinois quarterback was sacked 7 times.

Most of my photos are of the bands; Indiana brought theirs (and a few fans…there weren’t many fans there)

Yes, technically, I am in the photo, on the left side, 32 yard line or so, right under the overhang of the upper deck.

Late arriving crowd; it did get a bit more filled than this…

Armed Forces medley by both bands at the same time.

Cold, discouraged fans leave with 4 minutes to go after Illinois turns it over.

It was Big Ten Football weather.

Before the game: the Illini Band marching to the game.

Oh yes, I did 4 treadmill miles (running) in 45:30 prior to the game.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, running, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

The NFL protests: disappointment

When I first saw the NFL protests I was hopeful. After all, the NFL fan base is very diverse and I thought that we might finally get some meaningful discussion between different types of people. Yes, I knew that a large subgroup of fans would be upset; there is a reason the NFL does the “canned showy patriotism” stuff.

But, alas no such luck.

Even among some who believe in freedom of speech: they claimed that an employer has a right to enforce PR actions of their employees (I agree with this) but then go on to say that the protests are deeply unpopular with “NFL fans”.

This misses a key fact: not all NFL fans feel the same way.

No, I am not talking about liberals like me; I know that I am in the minority.

I am talking about the large African American fan base; the NFL needs them too..and can’t afford to alienate them. That is probably the main reason you haven’t seen a major crackdown, aside from the Cowboy’s owner (who even agreed to a compromise “kneeling before the anthem and joined the players in doing that).

In short: same old stuff; people refuse to look beyond their own statistically small bubble.

Here is one poll which shows that the country is split.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political | | Leave a comment

Trip to Iowa vs. Ohio State: wow!

My friend Tracy is an Ohio State graduate (Woody Hayes days). She wanted to see Ohio State play this year and when I saw that they were going to be playing at Iowa, I got tickets.

(tip: I paid face value for end zone tickets via the school; row 31 of section 215. I could have gotten sideline seats for the same price (with fees) the week of the game via the secondary market)

I’ll post my photos below. The game: it ended 55-24, Iowa; I sure did not expect that. It was a combination of big plays (4 interceptions by the Iowa defense, including a one-handed interception at the Iowa one; see the highlights at 10:50, a big trick play (polecat) off of a field goal formation (see 7:30 of the video) and domination of the line of scrimmage. Iowa running backs had huge holes to run through for most of the game.

It started with a pick 6 on the first play of the game. But 2 minutes later, Ohio State completed an easy long drive; receivers were wide open on almost every play. So, I settled in for a shoot out at 7-7. And so it went; the teams matched drives, field goals and touchdowns until Iowa took the lead at 24-17. With 1:4x to go, Ohio State started their drive, only to throw their second interception. Iowa cashed in with a last second touchdown to take a 31-17 lead into the half; both teams had a ton of yards.

So I figured it was still a competitive game.

Second half: Ohio State kicked off; pinned Iowa inside their own 10 and kept them bottled up. But the Iowa defense stopped them and wouldn’t let OSU take advantage of their field position. Then with 6 minutes to go, Iowa mounted a drive, mixing running and passing; that made it 38-17 and OSU was in trouble.

Another stop and Iowa was driving again and scored just into the 4’th quarter to make it 45-17. Another interception set up a field goal to make it 48-17.

Then Ohio State tried to rally; an interception (one handed) ended an OSU drive at the Iowa 1. A bizarre call (fake punt with 4’th and 9 at the Iowa 12) was stopped and gave Ohio State a touchdown. But an onside kick failed, and Iowa completed the rout with another drive (running up the middle) to complete the scoring at 55-24.

Now about the trip:

Tracy and me on the Hawkeye Express train from a remote lot to the stadium (15 dollars each way; kind of fun..and yes, this was an honest train on train track)

Tracy and me at the stadium; note that Iowa fans get there early.

The “hospital wave” between the first and second quarter.

Ohio State participated in the wave.

Early action

Toward the end of the game; the empties you see in the opposite end zone were where some Ohio State fans were.

Bedlam. Fans storm the field.

Yes, I got in a 4 mile Bradley Park run prior to making the trip. I got in a 15 mile walk this morning too.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, Friends, running, travel, walking | Leave a comment