And I drag Mat to the Bears vs. 49’ers game

How does a math professor afford “Media Deck” seats in Soldier field? Well, having an outdoor December game between 2-9 and 1-10 teams helps.

As far as the seats: row 1. Loved that. Now the bathroom at the end (section 244) is too small..and the concourse is crowded. So, next time I’d go to the middle sections to get to the bathroom. Other than that: excellent.

Now the game: the Bears won 26-6, though the first half didn’t look so promising. The 49’ers controlled play…but only managed two field goals. One came on a drive. The other was set up by a partially blocked punt which was returned to the Bear 4 yard line. But the returner though he had scored and …in celebrating what he thought was a touchdown, did a snow angel in the endzone. That resulted in a 15 yard penalty which ..lead to a field goal.

So with just over 2 minutes left in the half, the Bears had the ball at their own 20. They tried two running plays with limited success..and the 49’ers called time out, hoping to get the ball back.

So the Bears completed a pass for the first down..and which point momentum shifted. The Bears found that their backup quarterback COULD pass in this weather and he started to hit passes. That moved the Bears sharply to the 12 yard line, and a pass interference penalty put the ball at the 49’er 1 with just over 30 seconds to go. The Bears ran it in and took a 7-6 lead at the half.

The Bears dominated the second half, mixing running and passing. The drove for 2 touchdowns and established a 21-6 lead going into the 4’th quarter.

A nice field goal pushed it to 24-6; and then a good punt pinned the 49’ers deep (at their own 2), and a quarterback sack for a safety pushed the final margin to 26-6.

So, the Bears won 3 games this season, and I was there for 2 of those victories! In fact, I’ve yet to witness the opposing team score a touchdown on the Bears.

I never got that cold; in fact, during the game, I never had to put on my extra coat.


The Media Deck concourse has heat lamps overhead. If you sit in rows 11-12, these might keep you a little bit warm.


The Bears take the field.


Early action.


Field goal 49’ers.


Bears in scoring position in the third quarter.


Touchdown Bears!


The cold fans braving the elements.


The red arrow marks where we are.

December 6, 2016 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | Leave a comment

Colts 24, Titans 17; fast start and hanging on…

Last year, my “double” was a 28-3 Illinois loss to Ohio State followed by the Bears crushing the Rams 37-13. I’ve had one other “double” weekend: Texas upsetting Oklahoma 28-24 followed by the Cowboys getting pasted by the 49’ers 31-13 the next day. That was back in 1989, I believe.

This year, I followed Illinois 28-0 loss to Iowa with watching the Colts vs. the Titans. The Colts managed a 24-17 win.

It started great; the Colts scored touchdowns on their first three possessions; the second saw the Colts execute a flea flicker; they had both a deep and a check-off receiver wide open and so they threw it underneath.
And so it was 21-0 in the second quarter and the Colts were driving…again. But their very reliable kicker missed a 42 yard field goal and momentum shifted; they got a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7.

Second half: the Colts had to punt a couple of times right away, and the Titans, lead by their quarterback, managed to score 10 points to cut the lead to 21-17. The Colts finally managed one drive to cut it to 24-17, and thwarted one final drive. Then with 2:2x left, the Colts got one first down which iced the game.

One of Barbara’s game photos.


The flag prior the start.


First play.


The larger of the two massive windows.


November 22, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Chicago Bears vs. Lions trip

Well, the trip to Chicago was more uneventful that I had anticipated. We went up the night before just to enjoy some relaxation.

The hotel (Hyatt and McCormick Place) was really about 1 mile away from the stadium, and most of the walk was along bike path type surfaces.

We took this before Barbara saw our seats…



Here she was contemplating “acrimonious divorce”.


But hey, there was a great view.


The crowd was somewhat late arriving, but it did fill up pretty well.

As far as the game itself: The Bears did control action during the first half but really had only 7 points to show for it. The Bears defense shut down the Lions effectively, allowing only one 50 yard field goal and coming up with an “almost pick 6” at the end to stop a Lion drive (busted route).

Second half: the Lions opened up with drive that took almost 8 minutes of the 3’rd quarter. They got first and goal at the 5 and ran it to inside the 1. But…the Bears goal line defense made two key run stops, stopping them for no gain and then a 2 yard loss.


So the Lions had to kick a field goal and it was 7-6. Then the Bears hit a 64 yard pass to set up a short touchdown pass; it was now 14-6.

Another drive set up a field goal to make it 17-6, and the Bears came up with another interception inside of 4 minutes to go. Bears running made the Lions use up time outs.

But the Lions hit a big 80 yard punt return for a touchdown with 1:50 to play and followed it with a 2 point conversion, but the Lions had no time outs left. The Bears recovered the onside kick and went into “victory formation” to seal their first win of the year.



October 4, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | 1 Comment

Slacking on the back exercises

Given: double header in baseball, then a tone of computer workout without teaching classes (I stand during class) plus not doing my back exercises = “restless night” where I had trouble finding the right position.

I did..I got up early and walked this route (6.28) in 1:33:44 (14:55 pace; deliberate pace but not “fast”…obviously.🙂 )


Lesson learned.


One thing about the Kaepernick “controversy”: I’ve learned to spell his name.


Ironically, the group of people who applauds Trump for saying that our country has gone down hill and needs to be “Made Great Again” doesn’t seem to support Colin Kaepernick’s not standing for the National Anthem.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has become a public intellectual since his playing days, has a good take on this here.

So, what to make of this “protest”?

1. It is silent, non-violent and non-disruptive. And yet there is a problem?🙂
2. Trump supporters appear to want a return to 1950’s social values (no more “press 1 for English” and “get THEM off of welfare!” and quit coddling “THEM” when they commit all of those crimes) while those supporting Kaepernick’s “protest” (such as it is) want more equity (e. g. on how law enforcement treats people of different races). So both groups perceive shortcomings, albeit very different ones.
3. Christine Weick, a religious fundamentalist activist (an extreme one) supports denouncing our country for it not being “godly enough”….and says:

The controversy over the football player sitting out the national anthem, actually has me thinking the same.
I can argue that we are no longer a ‘nation under God’.
Even at this point, I wonder what god with all the pagan images associated with that slogan!
As believers, are we to show no allegiance to anyone or anything other than God Himself?
I say BRAVO! He wants a change in this nation as I do.
Maybe we should be thinking twice about honoring a God hating government.
Look at the pic closely. I think I fits well.

4. Ironically, Colin Kaepernick might well get cut…for football reasons (size of his contract is not warranted by his performance or what he can do for his team, right now). I can imagine the reaction….but hey, if he saved even a small amount of the money he made, he is set for life anyway.

Ironically, I’ve seen him play in person, several times (vs. the Rams). I first saw him on TV when he played for Nevada; his team lost to Notre Dame 35-0. That wasn’t a big surprise given the difference in talent on the teams at that time. But he didn’t show me much…but it wasn’t as if his teammates were on a level of the Notre Dame players. So, his talents remained hidden to average fans like me, though I suppose the professional scouts knew what to look for.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | injury, NFL, social/political, walking | , | Leave a comment

Watching live sports: makes me know less about them (in a way)

I filled out a NCAA men’s basketball bracket this year; and I ended up with exactly one team in the final four. My results were terrible!

What is going on: if you scroll through my blog you can see that I watched Bradley; I have season tickets for both the men’s and women’s teams and I make games faithfully. So I got interested in this team. When I did watch a game on television or on ESPN3, it was usually a Bradley road game OR another Missouri Valley Conference game. So I knew that Wichita State sometimes fades in the conference tournament and that Evansville and Northern Iowa were hot going into MVC play.

BUT: though the MVC did win its first round games (and the play-in game), the MVC is not a national powerhouse conference. So I knew next to nothing about the ACC, Pac-10, Big-12, and even the Big-10 (though I knew that Illinois was struggling). So when it came time to fill out a bracket, I mostly went by “higher seed”, with poor results.

The true basketball fan probably watched a variety of games from the power conferences and knew much more than I did.

Something similar happens with football: I have season tickets for the University of Illinois. But an Illinois game means a 90 minute drive there, game, 90 minute drive back. A real football fan watches two games during that stretch. Then when I watch a game on TV, it is usually the Illinois road game or another Big Ten game; again, I know very little about what is going on in the SEC, Pac 10 or other conference (I sometimes catch the Texas, Notre Dame and Navy game). So I might know a little more about NCAA football as there are fewer teams to keep track of, I know less about the game overall than I did before I started to watch football in person.

Something similar happened with me during my NFL game binge last year.

March 30, 2016 Posted by | basketball, football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

NFL Decision: Colts!

I can’t remember what team used to play in St. Louis. But for 2016:


Lucas Oil Stadium: Barbara will be willing to go to a few, and Tracy likes Andrew Luck so she might go to a few games too, if I give her enough notice.

Yeah, it is a bit further each way, but not excessively so.

February 17, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Those who need to try harder…

Workout notes: first, I weighed 190.0 prior to swimming (a LOT of coffee beforehand) and 187.5 afterward. Yes, I ate too much meat last night.
Swim: I had slightly sore shoulders last night. But 3100 yards was no problem:
500 easy, then: 5 x 100 alt fist/free on 2:10 (1:48-1:52), 5 x 100 25 catch up, 75 free on 2:10 (1:50ish), 5 x 100 alt. drill, free (front, 3g), 5 x 100 (25 fly, 75 free) on 2:10 (1:55 each).
Then 200 back, 100 side, then 100 pull, 100 free, 100 pull.

Run: riverplex track, 32 laps of the outer lane in 39:52 (10:49, 10:09, 10:02, 8:51). At the advertised 7 1/3 laps to the mile, this was 9:14 pace with miles being 9:55, 9:18, 9:12, 8:12.
There was an older guy in lane 3 who wouldn’t let me pass him; he picked it up every time and mostly stayed just a step ahead of me. I think it was fun for both of us; I gave him a “I’ve got 1 lap to go” warning at the end.

Jerry Coyne weighs in on why the study of literature appears to be waning. This sort of dovetails into Steven Pinker’s claim that literature may have helped make society less violent by allowing us to empathize with others.

US Sailors: caught and released by Iran. Yes, I like a President who bends over backwards to avoid a violent response.

Trying harder I’ve kept up with the St. Louis losing the Rams back to Los Angeles story. There was some anger and self pity as well as sober self-reflection.

One view I am reading is “wow, ST. Louis went out of its way to try to keep the Rams; Oakland and San Diego did nothing and yet they still have their teams. That doesn’t make sense”.

Well, it might. San Diego and Oakland are probably better markets; Oakland for being in the Bay Area and Sand Diego is a more prosperous region. True, the Rams sold out when they were good, and the crowds grew sparse as the team got worse. But compare this to, say, the almost always mediocre Bears. Their tickets were always more in demand, even when the team stunk. It is a much bigger market.

Of course, there is the caveat that there was a reason the Rams left Los Angeles to begin with. I remember making a game in 1984; the Rams were a playoff team that featured 2000+ yard running back Erick Dickerson. And yet tickets were plentiful and I had a whole row of seats to myself; the announced attendance was 47,800. A losing Rams team got more than that in St. Louis.

But evidently they see potential.

January 13, 2016 Posted by | Barack Obama, education, NFL, politics, politics/social, running, swimming | Leave a comment

7 F and kicking myself back into it…

I am drinking coffee and getting ready to go to the gym, (7 F outside!) and gradually working myself back into the semester mode. I do have a few projects to do before classes start and a couple to get some more momentum on.

Preworkout: I’ve upped swimming rapidly and my shoulders are feeling it. I need to cut back a bit today (say, 2200 yards instead of 3100)

NFL Last season I binged on NFL games, making the final 5 Rams home games, 2 Colts games and 1 Chiefs game. Needless to say, I won’t be making nearly as many next season, though I do want to make the Colts vs. Bears game, and probably mix a few Bears games with some Colts games. I tend to make these later in the season (October onward) due to my fall marathon (Quad Cities? Air Force? Peoria? Des Moines?) I think that I might want to make one trip to Arrowhead too, or possibly to Lambeau as I’ve always wanted to see a game there.

I was really hoping that we’d get the Chargers or Raiders, but, being brutally honest, I don’t see St. Louis as being an NFL city. Baseball is doing well there.

Politics: the State of the Union speech sort of revved up my juices and now, we get on with the campaign. A reasonable fact check of the speech can be found here. My beef with the “fact check”: I think it is entirely fair to start counting job losses/gains from the point at which his polices passed; no one solves anything by taking the oath of office.

As far as the 2016 race” Yes, there has been some tightening in the polls for the Democratic nomination.

Though Clinton remains the favorite, her odds have dropped from 8/11 to 10/11 (lower the number, the better the odds); she is still slightly better than even money. Sanders finally appears on the board albeit as a 10-1 shot, and Trump is now tied with Rubio, which is his best showing. The Democrats remain the favored party.

Personally, I am a modestly enthusiastic Clinton supporter; I think that she is smart, accomplished and level headed. But if Sanders pulls off the upset (and it would be a large one), I’ll support him in the general with no reservations.

I am much more interested in the Republican race; I really don’t know what will happen there. On one hand, I am somewhat surprised that Trump is doing as well as he is at this time and surprised that Bush appears to be floundering so badly. We’ll see; I don’t have a good feel for this one.

My in real life friends Counting those people that I am good enough friends to do stuff with:

my latest football watching party (Barbara, me, Tracy) all support Clinton. My other football going work friend also reluctantly supports her; many of my work friends are of the “any Democrat will do” variety.
One of our dinner companions is a corporate Republican and supports Fiorina (she isn’t doing so hot); not sure if she will vote Trump if he wins.
A couple of my other good friends (and likely event companions) are Sanders supporters; one even wants to work for his campaign.

I agree with people like Reich and, yes, Sanders, that the system IS rigged for the extremely wealthy and that regulations are set up so that big finance can take risks with other people’s money and suffer no consequences. However rhetoric won’t solve the problem and I honestly think that Clinton is more likely to get at least some action on this issue. I am a person who thinks that 1/3 of a loaf is better than a noisy, failed attempt at the whole loaf.

January 13, 2016 Posted by | NFL, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

What makes us good also drives others crazy

Workout notes I made a mistake and didn’t notice that there would be no 11-1 pm swim at the university.
I did get in a nice weight workout and a walk though.

Weights: rotator cuff
pull ups: 15-10-10-10-5
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 9 x 170
incline: 10 x 135
military: 2 sets of 12 x 50 dumbbells, seated, supported, 10 x 40
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.
Abs: 3 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, moving bridge recoveries, headstand.

Walk: 26:47 for 2 miles (lane 2 track; 13:40/13:07) then 28:40 for 2 miles on the treadmill, going 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7 elevation 3 times plus some more 2-3-4-5-6-7: 4 miles total.

Post: Vontaze Burfict was suspended for 3 games next season. He is a Cincinnati Bengals linebacker. Though he was a star at Arizona State (I was him play against Illinois in 2011), he was not drafted due to teams being scared away by his instability.

And the playoff game against the Steelers showed that. One one hand he was all over the field, making plays that only he could make. And with 1:4x left in the game, Bengals up by 1 and the Steelers with the ball, he made a fantastic interception to all but seal the game.

But the Bengals fumbled it away, and on the ensuing Steeler drive, Burfict drew a 15 yard penalty for a head to head hit on a pass play, well after the ball had passed the receiver. That, plus another 15 yard penalty on the aftermath (against a Bengal defensive back) gave the Steelers 30 extra yards with 18 seconds to go and didn’t cost the Steelers any time. The Steelers won the game with a field goal.

In short, Burfict basically won the game (if it weren’t for the fumble) and lost the game, all within the last 1:45 or so.

His “devil may care” attitude makes him a great, athletic player….and costs his team key penalties.

What a great metaphor for our character defects!

One of mine is that I tend to obsess. Socially, and in other cases, I don’t know when to back off.

This makes me difficult to be around and difficult to live with..and at times, difficult to be friends with.
But my being obsessive helped me lose and keep off 140 pounds …though it may have helped me gain the weight to begin with.
My being obsessive makes me a bore at times. But that is also what got me the Ph. D. in math, despite having subpar talent. It got me 101 miles of walking in under 24 hours despite having no athletic ability.

I might workout too much. But many guys my age look like Jabba The Hut..I do not.

It helps me solve math problems and publish math articles….I keep at the problem …sometimes for too long. But I also have a trouble getting unproductive ideas and thoughts out of my head.

January 12, 2016 Posted by | NFL, Personal Issues, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

The nicest butt and favorite NFL team…


There is a saying that I found on the internet. To paraphrase: “there are a lot of nice butts to look at. But the nicest one is the one that you get to touch”.
I am a bit that way with NFL teams too. My favorite team is the one I get to watch. The Rams have announced that they have applied to relocate to Los Angeles (as has San Diego and Oakland). Now I don’t know what will happen (will the league allow it, or will a new team come in…like say Jacksonville?) but it sure appears as if I’ll have no St. Louis team to watch in the Jones Dome next year:


Oh well…NFL is a business, period. It will be time to follow someone else. The Colts are 48 minutes further away. The Bears: roughly the same distance as St. Louis, but there is more traffic in that direction (bigger city). And, I tend to make later season games (October and beyond) due to my fall marathon and my spouse doesn’t do cold weather games outdoors.


Of course, some of these games might be solo as an NFL game from where I live is a 7-7 time commitment …though perhaps…depending on if one of my friends is in town at this time…or


Ah, it is a long way off and who knows what will happen.

Time for basketball season.🙂

January 5, 2016 Posted by | big butts, Friends, NFL | , , , | Leave a comment