And the Laplace Transform offends…

This Friday, we start Laplace Transforms in differential equations. By “Laplace Transforms”, we mean the usual simplified Laplace Transform we teach to beginning differential equations students; we do not know what a Lebesgue or a Stieltjes integral is.

That reminded me of what happened in my first differential equations course, back in the fall of 1978. I was sitting next to Vince and the instructor wrote the following on the board:

That, of course, is the gamma function (think of it as a way to extend the factorial function into a continuous function on the reals, though there is a more general version). If you must know, for positive real numbers, \Gamma(x) = \int^{\infty}_0 t^{x-1} e^{-t} dt . This is a convergent improper integral for x > 0

Never mind that.

Vince said “box of x, what is box?” I replied “that is the gamma function, Vince”.

“Box…what’s box? They are just making stuff up! They are making it up as they go along!” Vince was just so offended by the gamma function!

Anyway, that is a memory that made me chuckle; and yes, Vince ended up passing the course.

Workout notes: Not sure what was wrong; my nose is runny and I had a tough time breathing in the gym as the pace got harder (heat? dehydration? allergies?) So my planned 10 minute warm up, 10 x (2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3) workout became 10 minute warm up, 6 x (2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3) followed by a 5 minute walk, then enough running to get me to 6.1 miles in 1:05, and 1:44 more of walking to get me to 10K in 1:06:44.

I call that a “rescue of a workout”; for me, a 10K training run at under 11 minutes per mile is a valid training run, and I did get some pace changes.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Friends, humor, running | , | Leave a comment

Tough loss for Illinois State

What is a safe lead in basketball? Answer: a “win”. Illinois State stated with very hot 3 point shooting (5 of 7) and took a 33-15 lead with 4:07 to go in the first half and lead 36-23 at the half.

In the second half, Central Florida started to attack the basket more but ISU still lead 52-42 with just under 11 minutes to go.

Still, the UCF guards penetrated and their 7′ 6″ center (not a misprint) seemed to be more comfortable. So while ISU made all 8 of their free throws, UCF made 14-18 and that proved to be the key difference: more attempts from the line.

UCF took the lead for the first time with 1:41 to go (61-60) and used great defense (some good blocked shots) to hold the lead. But with 4 seconds to go, ISU drew a foul and calmly made both free throws to lead 62-61.

On the ensuing play, the UCF guard drew a foul (a force out) with 1.3 seconds to go and made both free throws (madhouse atmosphere) which sealed the win.

It was a terrific basketball game and a great atmosphere; I just wish ISU had gotten one more stop so we could have had a Wednesday game vs. Illinois (who won at home later that evening).

Socially, it was fun for us to go with Vickie and Harry.

Some game action:

Couple selfie:

Our group:

Vickie sizing up the offerings at the concession stand.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | basketball, Friends | , | Leave a comment

Pitts: What if we just don’t like each other…

Today’s article by Leonard Pitts starts off as follows:

So this driver is stopped at an intersection. A pedestrian is dawdling in the crosswalk. Driver leans out the window and yells, “Get out of the street, you damned liberal!”

It’s been years since I read that in a magazine. I can’t remember if it was a true story, though I think it was. But even if only apocryphal, the picture it paints of American acrimony in the post-millennial years is true beyond mere facts.

As such, it leaves me questioning the likely impact of two recent well-intentioned pleas for ideological outreach. Joan Blades, co-founder of the liberal activist group, wrote an essay for The Christian Science Monitor, asking progressives to stretch beyond their left-wing comfort zones and “love thy neighbor.” And New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof warned the left against a tendency to “otherize” Donald Trump voters.

I’ve got no real argument with Kristof or Blades. It’s a noble gesture they’re making. It occurs to me, though, that none of this addresses a question that has come to seem obvious:

What if the problem is simply that we just don’t like each other?

As I’ve said often, our acrimony is not political. It’s not about tax rates, government regulation or even abortion rights. No, this is elemental. This is about the city versus the country, higher education versus a mistrust thereof, Christian fundamentalism versus secular humanism. And it is about social change versus status quo.

I recommend reading the rest.

That got me to thinking about some things I’ve seen and read.

1. Some time ago, a friend (fellow liberal) posted a photo of an old-to-middle-aged white guy with a restored antique 3-wheel vehicle …and talked about him being “a douche” though her only contact with him was, well that photo. Later I asked my wife if she had seen the photo….and she replied “of the creepy guy”?

2. I thought about my own reaction when I saw some elderly (ok, not THAT much older than I) men with a Trump hat or a Trump shirt. Yes, I felt a snarling contempt. I noted that I was in much, much better condition than they were…then I recalled I know some Trump voters who are my age (or slightly older) who can run and walk circles around me; in one case, his 100 mile walk pace would be a decent marathon walk pace for me.

But, yeah, I am as tribal as anyone else, though my “tribe” really isn’t purely political.

I have Republican friends, and by that I mean there are Republicans that I happily socialize with; one is a frequent, welcome dinner companion. I look forward to spending time with her.

BUT: she is secular, pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-science and very knowledgeable. She believes in public investment and knows that there is a time for a government to spend and at time for austerity (“basic macro”, she says). We have some disagreements on the degree to which businesses should be regulated and taxed. But we agree on quite a bit, especially on social values. Ok, ok, we disagree on some things too. 🙂

Then I think: what about the baseball and football games I attend? Almost every single time, I end up in a conversation with a fan about the game; I always enjoy these. And I can assure you, statistically speaking, at least some (most?) of those said fans vote differently than I do. But for the purposes of the game, we are in the same “tribe” (football or baseball fans)

I don’t know; maybe public events are a good way to bring different kinds of people together? After all, there really isn’t a black/white/conservative/liberal way to discuss the action in a football game.

Same thing with running races: I KNOW that many of my running/walking friends have different politics than I do. But our experiences..our way of encouraging each other to bring out the best in each other really isn’t partisan.

Workout notes
weights then a 4 mile walk (28:00 first 2, 26:41 second 2: 54:41 for 4).

Weights: rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10…very careful in the “recovery” motion to protect my arm.
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 8 x 170 (very conservative)
incline press: 10 x 135
military presses: standing, 10 x 50 dumbbell, 6 x 50 standing dumbbell, 10 x 45
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
squats: lots of free squats, then 3 x 5 with 45, 2 x 50 goblet, 2 x 60 goblet
leg presses: 10 x 250
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts
headstand: ok, but was distracted getting into it.

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Friends, political/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Cactus Classic, 2017 version

I’ve only attempted this race once before. That time I signed up for the marathon and bailed/DNFed half way; I did take a 15 mile version for the first 13.4 mile loop.

This time, I wasn’t even tempted to sign up for the marathon; I did not have the long run/walk background necessary for success. But when I saw the potential for dry conditions, I thought “why not; it is a pretty course and will get me about a 3 hour run/walk” …and that is what happened.

The day could not have been much better; a few degrees below freezing at the start and to freezing at the end (of my half), dry …just a pretty day.

And there were old trail friends here, many who I have not seen in a long time. My knees just do not permit comfortable trail running in bad conditions, hence I have become more of a road person. But today: great.

And, Mamma T (and her (new?) friend) and Jennifer (who suffers next to me in exercise class) was there too. Oh hell, though I like a good run/hike in most circumstances, there are times when I’ll do a race that I am not really prepared for because I am in the mood to socialize. And that is a good thing.

Oh, the race. I started back in the pack and, as things settled, I moved in a very loose group of 5 runners or so, one of who was to finish the marathon (and Julie’s second loop was only 30 minutes or so slower than the first…great pacing for this course).

I let Mary go..she was moving swiftly and she too did very well in the full marathon.

I was figuring on a 15 minute per mile average pace as the sand was dry and quite deep for much of the course (about ankle deep, and soft). I tried, as did others, to run on the part with grass. I seemed to be averaging about a 13 minute pace for the first few parts (1:06 for the 5 mile aid station, 2 hours for for the 9 mile, 2:30 for the 11 mile station.

But I never really knew where I was on the course; it was well marked but I didn’t have a good feel of when to start a “finishing kick”; so I mostly tried to keep within sight of Jason and a couple of ladies (one tall and close to my age, one shorter and younger).

I lost to Jason about 5 minutes and finished 1-2 minutes ahead of the ladies in 3:02 (40 out of 55 finishers; winning time was 1:34, which is my old road PR).

Though I wanted to finish 3 minutes faster, well, I didn’t completely embarrass myself and never got grouchy; the race ended while it was still fun.

March 12, 2017 Posted by | Friends, running | Leave a comment

Harsh reality for men…


I have a collection of “joke memes” on Facebook; actually several collections. This series is called “You’ve been dissed” and it mostly reflects my long, sorry, awkward attempts at dating “oh so long ago”. (I’ve been married for close to 21 years now, and 7 years to someone else prior to that).

I can’t speak for women. But for me, two of the most devastating things we can be told by “potential eligibles” is that:

1. We are losers of no consequence (low paying, low prestige job, or none at all…”invisible”) and
2. We are “safe”; there is no danger that we are going to be found attractive (hence the pain of being “friend zoned”).

Again, I am talking about single men. Because I am married, being in some woman’s “safe list” merely opens up the possibility of making another friend, which for someone in my position, is a great thing. I always love friends (of either sex) to run with, go to games, etc.

Workout notes: weights plus a nice 2 mile treadmill run.

The run: 10 minutes of 2 minute “Froggy” (5.2 mph, increase by .1 mph every 2 minute) then 6.7-7.1 mph for the second 10 minutes (2:30-2:30-2:30-1:30-1). 11 minutes for the first mile, 8:40 for the second. I felt very good and lose when I finished!

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (difficult at first), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 9 x 170, incline press: 10 x 135 (hips down and locked down), military: 7 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45 (dumbbells, standing), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine, military (machine): 10 x 90 (each arm)

Headstand was ok. I did some yoga half bridge and then tried a full bridge: I got off of the ground just a bit, but I don’t have enough back arch; I need to work on that.

And yes, last night: good exercise class, but I found out that I cannot hula-hoop! Seriously; I have to work on that. I need more hip/waist flexibility.

March 2, 2017 Posted by | Friends, running, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

Social Anxiety and winter…

Winter has revisited us after a long, welcome hiatus. Ok, ok, I know that global warming is bad for the planet but it did feel good for a few days. So I’ll take it to the treadmill in the public gym this morning. The roads aren’t bad but I am not in the mood to bundle up this morning.

I was a bit startled to see this post on my Facebook feed last night.


Ok, I read the article.

It was especially interesting to me because there was someone who seemed to respond to my “is anyone here interested in this event…” posts and even invited me once….but then, let’s just say that only 1 out of 4 materialized. The last straw was when they were in the parking lot just when I got there (on time) and texted that they were leaving due to “social anxiety”.

I was angry enough to block them on social media for several months though we had corresponded regularly before that. Fortunately, I did have (and still do have) a circle of very reliable friends to do stuff with.

But, over time I learned more about these sorts of personality (quirks? disorders? ) traits and I think that there are good work-arounds.

For one, I developed online friendships with others and then realized that I had no idea what these people are like in real life; in particular it is highly likely that I never meet my “Facebook fav” in person as she lives about 2000 miles away. So why does geographic proximity preclude such a relationship?

The other thing: for “one on one” outings, the other person freaking out and cancelling really, well not “ruining” an event, can sure put a major damper on it. I am the type that goes anyway…

On the other hand, a group event where one is going to go with several other people is a nice solution; if the one with SA falters there are many others that one can enjoy: “sure, you are invited and I’ll be delighted if you can make it” or perhaps something low key (like a local baseball game) where I was going to go by myself anyway “hey, I’ll be there and if you show, that will be an extra (unexpected) treat and if you don’t, no hard feelings.”

And as to the individual that I talked about: we talk from time to time on social media again; part of what happened was I made an error when I signed on to Instagram for the first time (it listed recommendations and I “accepted all”; when I saw that this person had been requested I was unable to withdraw the request as they had set up “permission required.”

So it worked out well on many levels.

Now, off to the gym.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Friends | | Leave a comment

Social media and who you talk to…

Social media is a weird thing. This tweet, which I retweeted, generated quit a bit of discussion:

Ok, it was one conservative and 4 liberals. But that isn’t what struck me as odd.

There were 4 ultra athletes on the thread, including 3 of us who have finished a 100 mile footrace in less than 24 hours (Rob (walker) and Frederick (runner)) are way, way better at it than I am/was.

And there were two lawyers, two Bradley graduates (and one Bradley professor who has 33 hours of BU academic credit), and at least two STEM field types.

By the way, Linda’s point was correct; she was talking about the Dakota access pipeline and that pipe is mostly built; very few jobs at stake (in terms of actually MAKING the pipeline).

Workout notes 14:30 mpm 4 mile “Cornstalk classic” walk then leg weights: 6 sets of 6 squats (25, 4 x 45, 2 x 50 dumbbell goblet) set of 10 leg presses with 230. And yes, it is starting to get easier; the time is soon coming (I hope) where I’ll actually develop some leg/butt strength?

February 24, 2017 Posted by | energy, Friends, social/political | Leave a comment

Songs and people…

I am in a bit of a weird mood (a good mood, but weird). I wonder: do other people associate songs certain people? I do. I won’t say who I associate with what as I don’t want to embarrass anyone. Some of these songs remind me of more than one person.

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Friends | | Leave a comment

Peoria Democrats Presidents Day Dinner 2017 version

It was the usual; good food, nice company, VERY sectarian prayer (have any of these pastors ever heard of the word “ecumenical”?), Cheri Bustos was the main speaker and she filled us in as to what is going on in Washington. She alerted us to the fact that Trump won IL-17 (Obama won it easily).

Socially, it went much better for me than last year, though I did socialize a bit more with others already at the dinner.

This time, Tracy was available and Larry met us there.


The largest crowd ever: almost 500. Open seating was in the back.

There was a lot of fried chicken there. Yeah, this photo was a bit blurry.


Maria got this one of me.


Here I am with Tracy.


I won the flower place setting in the raffle.


Here is Larry and Tracy together.


Oh, I did work out in the morning: 6 miles easy and some “no weight” squats.

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, Friends, IL-17, Peoria, Peoria/local, running | | Leave a comment

Basketball: 2 out of 3 this weekend

Well, the Bradley Women lost to Wichita State 76-69; the free throw shooting did not help. They were 13-15; we were 16-24. It was 38-34 at the half; note that Bradley started out with a 10-2 lead. Wichita also shot 50 percent from 3 point range; that is way too high of a percentage. Yes, they were mostly open looks.

Bradley trailed by 10…but then rallied to cut it to 2 points…but missed a layup! (somewhat contested though). Wichita seemed to take control after that.

But I have gotten spoiled given that BU has won 4 home games in a row. They are much improved from last year and are a pleasure to watch.


Of interest is that they handed out stuff to make sandwiches with as you walked into the arena. Then at half time, they had you make your sandwich. I gave mine away to a younger man (higher metabolism).



Workout notes: I didn’t sleep well last night; too giddy from a wonderful Saturday. The weights went ok:

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, strong), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (slightly weak), 7 x 170 (weak), 10 x 135 incline press, rows: 3 sets of 10 with different machines. Military: 7 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 40 all standing dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine (strict) Usual abs: 2 sets of twist crunch (12), 2 sets of 10 leg lifts, head stand (reasonably good).

Then I went outside to walk (beautiful day): I did the out and back to Bass Pro (5 miles) then had to rest; I was very, very thirsty and had a slight headache. I drank, then did another 3 to get 8 miles (8.2 really).


February 20, 2017 Posted by | basketball, Friends, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment