Slip sliding in the snow and ice…

Yeah, I am indeed sick (ill). That “scratchy throat” was what I feared it was. I have some mild body aches, fatigue and a minor cough.

But I feel better when I move and so I went out for a short, gentle walk (about 4 miles, or 6.4 km); I walked to Bradley Park via the university and Parkside. Yes, the gated off pavement is mostly coated with packed snow and ice, some of which was very slippery. I almost went down once but did not.

Still, it was ok to walk and I felt better about getting outside.

Though the snow missed us (this time) it is still cold, even by “Illinois in February” standards. But my mood has not gone south as it has in past years, even though I’ve stayed on the treadmill, indoor track, weight room and pool.

Part of the reason, I think, is that my wife is vacationing in Vietnam and Cambodia. Hence I can curse winter all I want (along with the ice, the tons of laundry, the time spent bundling up, peeling off layers, etc.). Part of is that I am spared the “blended family drama/BS”. And part of the reason is that I can just make the little decisions as to what to do without compensating for someone else’s limitations (e. g. parking .35 miles away from the basketball arena on a night when it was 4 F; I can walk fast enough to not be bothered by the cold.)

But, on the other hand, I am a little bit “out of sorts” as well; there is no denying that.

Yes, I know: I served in the military and deployed for months at a time, and I came from a military family. My dad did two 1 year long isolated tours: one in Korea and one in Vietnam (during the war). I get it.

Nevertheless, I am sputtering oh-so-slightly, the way that an engine that needs oil does.

February 21, 2015 Posted by | Illinois, illness, Personal Issues | | Leave a comment

Yucky snow….:-P

Today: right around freezing…rain which changed to heavy snow. It isn’t that cold right now but the roads are very sloppy.

So, I’ll blog for a while then walk to the university gym (if it is open) at 9 am; lift and use the treadmill.

Right now, I am listening to an old Fleetwood Mac album Mirage.

Science and the public
Yes, scientists and “the public” at large disagree on many key issues. Of course, the scientists are right, except for one issue. The scientists seem to think that better science education will narrow the divide. But I disagree for two reasons.

1. Religion is still a huge factor in determining what people think.

2. Science is hard and frankly many (most?) people simply don’t have the ability to master it or at least obtain an “educated layperson’s knowledge” of it. Accepting something that sounds counter-intuitive seems like going against “common sense” and it takes some intellectual ability to distinguish between what is nonsense and what is…well…true.

I know that I have that trouble with regards to things like “learning disabilities”: what is quackery and what is solid? Of course this area will be difficult for a while as it isn’t as if we can open up people’s brains and examine them.

What isn’t difficult to accept is that vaccines work. Sure, the uninitiated might read a list of ingredients and say “yuck”, but the fact is that some preventible diseases are coming back and some are fighting back. It has gotten to the point that some doctors won’t see “anti-vaccine” patients:

With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice in his waiting room and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won’t get them vaccinated.

“Parents who choose not to give measles shots, they’re not just putting their kids at risk, but they’re also putting other kids at risk — especially kids in my waiting room,” the Los Angeles pediatrician said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by a small number of doctors who in recent years have “fired” patients who continue to believe debunked research linking vaccines to autism. They hope the strategy will lead parents to change their minds; if that fails, they hope it will at least reduce the risk to other children in the office.

The tough-love approach — which comes amid the nation’s second-biggest measles outbreak in at least 15 years, with at least 98 cases reported since last month — raises questions about doctors’ ethical responsibilities. Most of the measles cases have been traced directly or indirectly to Disneyland in Southern California.

I haven’t thought this through, though part of me wants to cheer this.

I admit that I am disgusted by this “hey, I am a MOM therefore I know best” attitude that I sometimes hear. Hey, aren’t there moms in 3’rd world countries which have high child mortality rates? Weren’t there moms 100 years ago when the childhood mortality rate was roughly 50 percent?

In *some* quarters, there is quite a bit of anger over the basketball team’s demise:

Losing to last-place Drake, at home, is yet another colossal disaster for the Bradley men’s basketball team.

Last week, I was tempted to write a letter alluding to the fact that I, and many of my friends and acquaintances, no longer even care about Bradley basketball. But, after this latest debacle, I, and others, now have attitudes much closer to furious than to apathy.

The utter ineptitude of the people responsible for this once proud program is staggering; President Joanne Glasser, athletic director Michael Cross, and head coach Geno Ford have all had a hand in ravaging the Bradley men’s basketball program. Together, they have wrought destruction upon Bradley basketball, embarrassed the city of Peoria and made Bradley athletics a laughingstock within the Missouri Valley Conference and throughout the region. Plus, they haveshamelessly increased ticket prices, alienated countless fans and driven away loyal supporters in droves. […]

Click on the link to read the rest, if you are interested. Note: the team, minus three suspended players, lost to Indiana State on the road yesterday. But they played very hard, which was good to see. And the women won two road games in a row, albeit against the two last place teams. Each time, they came up with key defensive stops down the stretch.

Now you might ask “what does it matter?” And, well, what can I say? I enjoy following the teams but that is really it. I show up whether they are 5-25 or 25-5; in some sense I am the worst possible kind of fan. I go “awww” if they lose and “yay!” if they win. I admit that I get a type of entertainment watching the drama on the fan boards.

Some BU fans are upset that the previous coach (who was a top BU player and lead BU to one Sweet 16) was fired. His current team (California-Davis) is doing well.

Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 7.59.34 AM

They drew 5317 fans for their 81-78 win over Cal-Poly. They are 16-4.

In all honesty, I reluctantly agree with the university’s decision on this coach.

Now about that Super Bowl
Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 7.11.24 AM

Yeah, I’ll watch the game BECAUSE I AM A FOOTBALL FAN and these really are the best two teams in the NFL, as far as I am concerned. I watched the Patriots a bit back when I lived in Connecticut in 1983-1984. They played in Foxboro Stadium (sometimes called Sullivan Stadium) which was very plain; not at all like the new jewels.

February 1, 2015 Posted by | basketball, Illinois, NFL, politics, politics/social, science, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Snow shovel porn


Yeah, we got 5.9 inches of snow.

One of my women friends (a runner) mentioned that she was going to shovel. Now THAT, to me, is porn…nothing sexier than a woman who shovels snow. I HATE that stuff.



A woman shovels snow in Minneapolis



January 6, 2015 Posted by | Illinois, Peoria | , , | Leave a comment

My life as a new IL-17 Republican: toward November 4

I got a couple of mailers; one was from Bobby Schilling and one was a letter signed by several “prominent” Republicans (Aaron Schock was one) saying how bad Cheri Bustos is and how great Bobby Schilling is.

It wasn’t as bad as the stuff I got in 2012.

But it was still bad.

This also reminded me of the stuff conservatives pulled in 2004 (I cannot say that the Republican party did this):


I find it interesting that they are trying to rely on deception and suppressing the vote.

I suppose they can justify the latter by saying that “it is better if only the “worthy” vote” and the former….trying to trick not-so-informed people into thinking that your candidate is a Democrat….hmmm…not sure as how I would justify that. Why wouldn’t you brag about how super-duper conservative your Tea Party nutjob is?

I am no fan of Cheri Bustos as she is a Blue Dog in what should be a more progressive district. But Bobby Schilling is a 14’th Century regressive and a dishonest campaigner.

She remains a modest favorite to win reelection.

IL-governor: toss up. Nate Silver has Quinn up by 1 but the election well within the “toss up” range. Same for Election Projection. Though Dick Durbin is comfortably ahead in his US Senate Race, the overall balance: Republicans will probably end up with 51-53 seats, depending on how the post November 4 run-offs go.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Move over lowlifes! I am now a REGISTERED REPUBLICAN!!!!

Ok you slackers, moochers, evolutionists, Keynesian economists and other deadbeats: you had better watch out when you come here. I am now a REGISTERED REPUBLICAN!!!!!!

Personal Responsibility! No more welfare! (tax breaks for the filthy rich job creators are ok).

My vote: I voted for Bruce Rauner for governor. Why? Well…..bootstraps, rich people are the smartest people and all of that ….

(my guess: in the general election he won’t listen to anyone else and end up getting beat)

Now to go run…

March 18, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Illinois, political humor, politics | | Leave a comment

IL-Governor’s race (primary)

We have a primary election in 6 days; there isn’t much happening on the Democratic side so, as is allowed in Illinois, I might take a Republican ballot.

So, our Republicans have a 4 way race going on to see who will get the honor of losing to Gov. Pat Quinn in November.

Here is the state of the race as of last weekend:

The Illinois Republican governor’s race is tightening, with Bruce Rauner leading and Kirk Dillard surging as the candidates head into the final days of the campaign trying to peel away support from rivals and recruit undecided voters into their camp.

A new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows Rauner, the wealthy first-time candidate from Winnetka at 36 percent support — down 4 percentage points from a month ago amid a blitz of labor union-backed TV ads attacking his business dealings as a venture capitalist.

But Dillard, a state senator from Hinsdale with the backing of major public employee unions, has emerged as the new chief alternative to Rauner. The poll showed Dillard at 23 percent, doubling his support since last month, especially among Downstate voters.

Dillard’s gains came as state Sen. Bill Brady and Treasurer Dan Rutherford lost support in recent weeks. Brady was at 18 percent, down from 20 percent in early February. Rutherford, who was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former employee last month, was at 9 percent — a 4-percentage-point drop from the last poll.

Note: in a previous debate, Rutherford sounded the best to me but Republican moderates usually don’t do so well with the Republican base. Brady lost a hotly contested race against Gov. Quinn in the previous election (2010).

The nature of the attacks on Rauner are interesting. One PAC (Illinois Freedom) is going after him. They are attacking his nursing home related businesses:

Via Illinois Freedom:

Hasn’t Bruce Rauner’s business done enough damage? Check the facts:

From 1981-2012, Rauner Has Served As Managing Director, Senior Principal, And Chairman Of GTCR [Bloomberg Profile]

2004: Trans HealthCare Press Release Identified TransHealthcare As “A GTCR Portfolio Company.” [Trans HealthCare Press Release, 6/2/04]
GTCR Co-Founded Trans Healthcare Inc. In 1998. [GTCR Press Release, 12/5/2002]

2013: A Florida Man Was Awarded A Verdict Of $1.2 Billion In A Suit Against Trans Health After His Mother, Arlene Townsend, Died In The Nursing Home. [Christian Post, 7/24/13]
Attorneys Presented Evidence That Townsend Suffered 18 Falls In Her 6 Years At The Home- Suffering A Broken Hip That Went Undiagnosed For A Week As Well As Severe Infections, Chronic Stomach Pains With Fecal Impaction, Skin Tears, Malnutrition And Dehydration Before Dying At The Age Of 69. [WTSP, 7/25/13]

2012: Jury Awarded $200 Million To Family Of Elvira Nunziata Who Fell Down A Flight Of Stairs In Her Wheelchair And Died At A Home Managed By Trans Health—No One Noticed Her Absence For An Hour And She Died Shortly After Paramedics Arrived. [Tampa Bay Times, 1/13/12]

2010: A Jury Awarded A $114 Million Dollar Verdict To The Family Of Juanita Jackson Who Died After Staying At A Nursing Home Managed By Trans Health Care; The Woman “Was Hurt After Falling Down And Received Other Injuries From Pressure Sores, Overmedication, Malnourishment, And Dehydration.” [The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), 7/21/10]

2010: A Widow Was Awarded A $900 Million Verdict Against Trans Health Care After Her Husband Joseph Webb “Suffered Pressure Sores And Infections That Required Surgeries, Including An Above-The-Knee Amputation Of His Right Leg.” [Gainesville Sun, 2/12/10]

They also go after him by “guilt by association” attacks:

The Dillard campaign is also attacking him….for being….too rich and not caring about the poor? (remember: this is a REPUBLICAN primary)

He is too rich to understand us? (remember: this is a REPUBLICAN primary)

This ad: probably more effective, as it links him with Democrats and influence peddling:

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Illinois, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics | , , | Leave a comment

If you don’t like the current weather, wait 10 minutes…


Ah, a 40 degree drop plus snow. :-P

But it is supposed to be up to the high 40’s/low 50’s by the end of the week. Go figure.

March 11, 2014 Posted by | Illinois, Peoria, Peoria/local | | Leave a comment

Not my imagination…

Yes, it is colder and more snowy than normal in Illinois this year.

February 15, 2014 Posted by | Illinois, Peoria | | Leave a comment

Republican: my GOP opponent is too rich to understand you!


Our streets: neighborhood streets are basically compressed snow/ice; the plows merely put the looser snow on the sidewalks. Sidewalks along main street are buried…I mean completely unwalkable. This has to be the least pedestrian friendly city I’ve seen. The university has its walks clear at least.

Workout notes: weights: rotator cuff (full set), hip hikes, Achilles, NO ABS (get them tomorrow)
pull ups: 10+5, 4 sets of 10
dumbbell super set: 3 sets of: 12 x 50 military (supported, seated), 10 x 25 upright row, 10 x 65 bent over row, 10 x 70 bench
superset: curls and pull downs: 10 x 160 pull down (3 sets), dumbbell curl 10 x 30 (2 sets), pulley 10 x 57.5 (one set)

Then swimming (early):
400 warm up (slow)
400 drill/swim (fins), 4 x 25 front, 25 swim, 2 x 25 side kick, 25 swim, 2 x 25 3g, 25 swim
400 in 8 x 50 on the 1:10 (53-55)
100 in 1:52
2 x 100 IM on 3 (2:30 each)

It went fine; I don’t want to hurt my rotator cuff. NO paddles, NO pulling. :-)

Illinois politics
Kirk Dillard ran this ad against Bruce Rauner (the front runner)

What do we have here? We have a REPUBLICAN calling another REPUBLICAN “too rich”????? Seriously? Why that is CLASS WARFARE!!!! (ROTFLMAO !!!!!)

February 7, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Illinois, swimming, weight training, whining | , , | Leave a comment

Different start and a couple of thoughts…Good Old Days and Bill Nye’s debate

Today, I woke up, checked some e-mail and yes, did some math. That might be a way to start my Tuesday/Thursday when I start to teach late: get up, start my duties and THEN break for a run/walk as I’ll take in a few moments.

It will be indoors, again:


Our neighborhood streets are solid compressed snow and ice.

What is going on: the jet stream is still either over us or below us and that arctic air mass is just parked over us.

What I am working on: it is somewhat technical. But imagine you want to find solve f(x) = 0 where the solution is impossible to solve “in closed form” (e. g. solve it like you did in algebra class). There are numerical techniques that you can use a computer for. If you’ve had calculus, you might recognize Newton’s method where if x_{n} is an approximation to the solution, x_{n+1} = x_n -\frac{f(x_n)}{f'(x_n)} where f'(x) is the derivative of f. Never mind that; the point is that one generates a series of approximations to the solution (provided certain conditions are met): x_1, x_2, x_3, .....x_n, x_{n+1}, .... which are hopefully getting closer to the desired solution. If you met the correct “starting requirements” and the solution exists, this sequence of numbers WILL get close to your desired solution.

One problem though: “how many times do you have to do this?” is an important question. One reason: the computer can’t store every number exactly; hence there is round off error, and that error grows with each calculation.
So, if it is the case where each approximation x_n has error inherently built in, it might be possible (if certain conditions are met) to take your series of approximations and manipulate them so that the larger “inherent errors” subtract off and one gets close to the solution in a fewer number of steps. One adds calculation early (adding round off error) to save many more calculations later (greatly reducing round off error).

One such process is called the Aitken Delta-squared process and that is what I was working on.

Two thoughts

Thought one: the Good Old Days:

A Facebook Friend (Rachel Portnoy Bradley) had this to say:

Okay, I’m just going to say this once more: No, I don’t miss the days when gas was 15 cents a gallon, and your curfew was “when the street lights came on,” and kids were more afraid of their parents than of the cops…..
Because back then, women, minorities, gays, and other marginalized people had even fewer rights than they have now. Crime is not really significantly worse now than it was then. It’s just than when a man beats his wife to a pulp, he can be convicted and jailed for it now, whereas back then, it was just seen as a domestic issue and no business of anyone else. People are still killing other people. People are still loving other people. People are still dying of curable diseases. People are still committing random acts of kindness.
And what a lot of conservatives don’t like to admit, but what the facts support, is that even the white, male, heterosexual population is better off when non-whites, females, gays, and any marginalized segments of society gain strength and power. Power is a renewable resource, increasing for the whole when it increases for a part; not a finite, limited supply.
In general, more of us are better off than we were 20, 40 years ago. I wouldn’t trade my penny candy memories for gas-guzzling over-poluting cars and institutionalized misogyny, not ever.

She is right, of course. I think that when we remember the past, we remember the good but not the bad. And change is NEVER all good; for example we live longer (most of us anyway) but that means there are more elderly who live long enough to lose their minds through dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

What was curious though was one of the replies she got (she is religious and has religious friends):

In matters of the flesh, it certainly does seem things are better than they were.

But in matters of the Spirit, we are not better off, we are worse off and it is deteriorating from there.

We are abandoning God. That is never a sign that things are “better”, no matter the outward appearance that they are.

That leads to the next point. There are those who use religion to better their own lives in the hear-and-now, but to all too many, there is an inherent virtue to accepting some woo-woo supernatural claim (THEIR claim, of course) and rejecting it is a type of evil.

I can’t have an intellectual discussion with someone who is that delusional.

Which leads me to discuss the Bill Nye “The Science Guy” (educator) versus Ken Ham (owner of the creation museum).

I might watch the debate later

There are two schools of thought:

1. Bill Nye didn’t understand that this was an exercise in politics: hence he lost by merely showing up.

2. Bill Nye won the day by presenting some science to people who don’t see a lot of it. Maybe, just maybe, he planted a seed of science that might later germinate in a young mind.

Ok, there is a third, less popular school of thought: show up and insult the creationist as a charlatan. Here, the scientist started off by making some blunt accusations against the creationist and then offered the creationist a chance to electrocute himself:

Prior to the debate, I was in camp 1, but after the debate (which I didn’t watch), I thought ….well…remembered as a kid I once believed that superstitious nonsense….maybe? Then again, I kind of “evolved” out of it by basically living among more educated people. I have deep respect for those who manage to find their way out while staying in the same environment.

Ok, time to get it….

February 6, 2014 Posted by | creationism, evolution, Illinois, mathematics, politics/social, religion, science, social/political | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 674 other followers