Olympics and useful BS (nonsense)…

Yes, I’ve watched some Olympic action (in particular, boxing, swimming, gymnastics, court volleyball). I remember watching these when I was a teenager…and watching NFL games and thinking: “wow, with some work, that COULD BE ME.” I still remember using my Exergym rope exerciser while watching NFL games on the black and white television in my bedroom.


This was on the weekend; I used my high school universal gym during the week, as well as running the steps, running the track, doing agility drills on my own, etc.


I remember when I was on the JV: our games were on Wednesday night. On Sunday evening, after the NFL game, I’d go to the track and do 2 miles, reasonably hard (13:30-14:00 was my time, as a 220 lb. offensive tackle).

No one was going to outwork me! My motto was “you can do anything if you want it badly enough and are willing to work hard enough.”

That, of course, is complete and total bullshit.

The reality is: “if you see someone on TV because they are good enough to warrant TV coverage, that will NEVER be you…unless you are one of those “1 in 1000” outliers.

I eventually found what I was best at (mathematics) and even that, I was nowhere good enough to be, say, a MIT professor. Getting the Ph. D. and getting a few new results published was about my talent level; it is a bit like the 2:25 (male) marathon runner who dreams of sneaking into the Olympic Trials, though he knows that he has essential zero chance of making the team, or the baseball player who peaks out at playing, say, A or AA ball. It is still damned good, but not “TV good”.

So, would I have been happier (and better off) had I known that early in life? It is hard to say.

On one hand, I would have been more relaxed. On the other hand:

1. I grew to love lifting weights and running because I did these things to get ready for football. I enjoy these activities to this day; my first weight room workout was in 1972!
2. I can sympathize with the student who, say, is enrolled in engineering but doesn’t have the talent for it. I can explain that there are other rewarding paths to a college degree and that humans tend to have different talents.

And yes, I am getting ready to go lift, work on my math paper, watch some more Olympics, and see yet another class A baseball game this weekend.

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Olympics, Personal Issues | , | Leave a comment

The “hot” winter Olympic games…

This showed up on my Facebook wall:

There are claims Russia will offer a cold welcome to the world at the Winter Olympics, but these images of some of the country’s leading competitors suggests otherwise.
Until now, disputes about homophobia, world leaders refusing to attend, and mega-security at Sochi have overshadowed the preparations for the £31 billion Games.
The pictures showing the host team dressed to impress are going wild on the Moscow web with one site boasting: ‘Russian sportswomen are the best campaigners for our team in Sochi.’

Hmmm, yes, I like looking at the women athletes. Many guys like the figure skaters. I am more of a speed skater:


Or skier:


type of guy; the big butt does it for me!

But, the sex appear stuff is being taken to a different level. Check out the article that I linked to: (in each case, surf to the link to see the larger photo)



Wow…now we know what is under all that spandex……

And it isn’t only the Russians:

(this is downhill skier Julia Mancuso)

Well, I suppose that world class athletes are confident people, and in the women, that confidence applies to their sex appeal. And at their age and at their level of athletic fitness, they look as good out of the spandex as they look in it. And hey, this means big money for them!

February 8, 2014 Posted by | big butts, Olympic Spandex, Olympics, spandex | , | Leave a comment

Spandex Butts that Tell a Story….actually three stories.

Workout notes Ok, no spandex butts here. I did sleep in until 7:30 (late for me) because I was up late watching the men’s 50K racewalk. More on that later. Then I caught a couple of boxing matches prior to getting out there.

My walk: 2:17 for 10.1 miles; I did the Cornstalk 8 mile course (two 3 mile out and backs on the hills) in 1:48 and finished with a flat 2.1 mile “out and back” down Moss in 28:30. It was cool and overcast….very pleasant and not much traffic. It wasn’t much but it was better than zero. While I was heading out two university cross country runners (male) just blew right past me; I may have well been standing still.

So, what about the stories?

Story One
This ad popped up on Daily Kos:

Hmmm; the data mining software must have picked up that I am a male that likes to run. I wonder if the fact that this is a butt-shot (panty lines too) is a coincidence. Of course, she is probably at least 20-25 years younger than I and I probably couldn’t stay with her anyway.

Even if I were single, the women I would aim for would have a bigger ass and a whole lot more lumps, bumps and cellulite. It isn’t as if my middle is a six-pack; my middle has the consistency of a Shar Pei dog.

Story Two

Yep, here is another cute spandex butt. But the story here is the message. At this time in my life, this message is FALSE, FALSE, FALSE.

It wasn’t always so. I remember ballooning up to 320 pounds. I reduced to 230 pounds and started to “run” again; it took me 24 minutes to “run” 2 miles (3.2 km). Yes, now-a-days, I frequently walk that distance faster than that (though it is an effort) and I remembered how it felt when I worked from 24 minutes to 12:45 (as a runner).

But that message is simply false for me now. When I do a 5K race these-a-days, I tell myself “ok, you’ve run from 24:35 to 26:10 on your “normal” days, so pace yourself”. But deep down I think that I am going to “finally shake this malaise off” and pop off a 22 or a 23 minute 5K. You know what? It isn’t going to happen…at least not this year and probably never. My mind still says (19-20) but my body says “no”. The reality is that my accumulated injuries has put me in a position to where I have to limit my training.

But…I can still train some…and I can still run and many people my age can’t.

Now about the Olympics
Here is story three
I watched the women’s 20K race walk. (you can see it here) I can say that the women AVERAGED 42:30 per 10k….WALKING. The race itself: watch, or at least watch the last 5 minutes (say from 40 minutes on the video onward). I didn’t have a clue as to who would win until the last 100 meters or so.

What does it have to do with spandex butts? No, not this (which I DID enjoy)

Not this either (note the yellow warning paddle being issued)

But rather this one:

Notice anything?

And this one:

and though this isn’t a butt shot:

In the last two photos, at least one walker is getting lapped (laps are 2 km long, or 1.25 miles long). Can you guess which one it is?
In the first of these three, neither walker is a medal contender.

The story here: at this level of walking (or running for that matter), only the skeleton-skinny athletes have a chance; being close to “normally slender” puts you at an insurmountable disadvantage.

Oh yes, there was a men’s 50K walk as well, which I also enjoyed (3:36 was the winning time!). You can see that here.

Racewalking commentary
First of all, I know that this is a demanding sport. Its future in the Olympics: though I don’t know the ins and outs of international athletics, I’d say that as an event in “athletics” (track-and-field) I’d say that its future is secure because China and Russia do well at it. Those are two large, powerful countries that have influence.

But the United States will never be good at it (our lone 50K walker finished TWENTY EIGHT MINUTES behind the winner). That is a bit like our top marathoner finishing 16.5 minutes behind the winner…or finishing in about 2:25. Note: our top marathoner actually finished in 4’th place overall. My point: we probably shouldn’t even send racewalkers to the Olympics as we are not competitive.

I don’t see that changing. For one, race walking is NOT an NCAA Division I sport. So where would the talent come from? It won’t really catch on with spectators either. Why? Well, I remember one comment from the race; the main announcer said that he couldn’t see the difference in technique between the winner and one of his early chasers (someone who won a silver medal in the 20K walk). His opponent got DQ’ed; two of his red cards were for “bent knee” violations. I had to slow it down to a still to even get a hint of what was going on; it turns out that the DQ’ed walker WAS locking his knee…but doing so just a tiny bit late. Only a top race walk judge or expert would have caught that. The difference was too subtle for the casual fan to catch.

Another thing: the technique is too difficult for the average fitness person to master; only those who have some natural flexibility and who are willing to do hours of technique work have a chance. So there simply won’t be large fan base from “casual” race walkers; this is unlike the marathon where thousands of 4-5-6 hour marathon “runners” have at least a little interest in the competitive sport.

Sure, *I* like it, but I am a failed master’s racewalker who has an appreciation of what is going on, and I’ve always loved to walk.

(winning a half marathon powerwalk in 2003; time was 2:17; the previous year an Olympic caliber walker won it in 1:41)

August 12, 2012 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, obesity, Olympic Spandex, Olympics, racewalking, running, spandex, sports, walking | 1 Comment

Joplin, MO on the way home (August, 2012) and….

I’ll work out when I get home.
The drive down: I’ve never had a drive to Texas go so smoothly; even the I-35 stretch from Dallas to Austin was smooth! The Karma got me on the way back; we had one accident ahead of us and two long lines on US 75 due to construction (in northern Texas). But we had no thunderstorms this time.



A few hours ago Fareed Zakaria apologized publicly for passing off New Yorker writer Jill Lepore’s work as his own in an essay he wrote for Time magazine. Not to put too fine a point on it, Zakaria committed egregious plagiarism, as Alexander Abad-Santos of the Atlantic Wire reported.

But the offense does not end there. Zakaria is a trustee of Yale, which takes a very dim view of plagiarism and suspends or expels students who commit anything like what he has committed here. If the Yale Corporation were to apply to itself the standards it expects its faculty and students to meet, Zakaria would have to take a leave or resign.

Worse still: Lepore, whom Zakaria wronged by misappropriating her work, is herself a Yale PhD. If anyone knows what it means to steal another scholar’s work, it’s Zakaria, who holds a PhD from Harvard.

Mr. Zakaria was one of my favorite pundits who seemed to be able to combine scholarly knowledge with practicality. I am saddened by this.

NBC boxing commentators: asked to move away from the ring:

Olympic boxing’s governing body said it had asked London Games’ organisers to tell American broadcaster NBC to cease its ringside commentary at the boxing arena on Friday because they were disrupting officials.

NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp, was the only broadcaster allowed to commentate from the ringside floor and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) said they disturbed officials sitting next to them throughout the competition.

It recommended to the London organising committee (LOCOG) that NBC’s commentary team leave their position. They were offered a space with the other media but decided to leave instead, AIBA said.

“NBC commentators were offered a booth in the media tribune like other broadcasters because they were very disturbing for AIBA officials – even during bouts they were not broadcasting – being located at the edge of the Field of Play,” an AIBA spokesman said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“They claimed that since no boxers from the USA were still in the running, they didn’t want to stay anyway.”

My guess: the announcers were scathing (and truthful).

Olympic 50K walk
I’ll have to see this when I get home. Yes, it is a quirky event. And, while I hope that it doesn’t get dropped, I hope that we cease sending a team until we become more competitive. Seriously: our top finisher was TWENTY EIGHT MINUTES behind the winner. Come on. Would we send a 2:30 marathon runner to the men’s marathon???? (ok, we couldn’t as such a time wouldn’t meet the B standard).

I am not ragging on our walker; he is a dedicated athlete who is far, far more successful than I’ll ever be. But this is the Olympics and we are not supposed to be a 3’rd world athletic power.

The Republicans are running the “Back to the Gilded Age” ticket; Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s VP pick.

Ryan’s economic plan is a fraud which makes ridiculous assumptions.

Note: there is one lie circulating around liberal circles: that is that the Ryan plan will somehow hurt current old people (with regards to Medicare). The Ryan plan doesn’t affect the Medicare of those currently over 55 years of age. It still sucks though (it is a voucher plan that assumes that medical costs only go up according to inflation; a wildly incorrect assumption)…but yes, Medicare does need some sort of reform.

August 11, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, Olympics, politics, social/political, travel | Leave a comment

Austin, TX, day one (August 2012)

Workout notes a very quick workout in the hotel weight room. Humbling: there was this guy who looked smaller than I and older, and he was handling more weight on each exercise that I was. 😦

The treadmills were taken; I should have woken up earlier and gone to the trail. I’ll do that tomorrow.

Vasily Alekseyev won the super heavyweight Olympic weightlifting competition in 1972 and again in 1976.
In 1976, he got 185 kg in the snatch and 255 kg in the clean and jerk (440 kg).
This year, the winner (Behdad SALIMIKORDASIABI, Iran) got 208 in the snatch and 247 kg in the clean and jerk (455 kg).

In other words, the super heavyweights were cleaning and jerking more weight 36 years ago. Difference: drug testing. 🙂


1. We visited the Texas Memorial Museum which is mostly about natural history. They had a place for comments and then they showed a notebook binder full of them. The number of creationists making negative comments was, well, depressing. But perhaps there is room for hope.

When I was a kid, I accepted creationism. Oh, I knew that the scientists believed something called “evolution” but in my mind, they HAD to because, well, being scientists, they had to look for the natural causes of things and had to dismiss magic and supernatural stuff. I figured that “God would understand” in the end.

I didn’t accept evolution myself because, while I saw the (misleading) drawings showing the progression of early hominoids to humans, I didn’t understand HOW the animals changed to begin with. Didn’t “rabbits give birth to rabbits”? When I was exposed to mutations and to the idea that a few mutations were beneficial (with regards to reproductive success), I was hooked. But that came later, after intellectual maturity and after exposure.

2. Ego
One of the advantages of the internet is that I get to follow those who have had the sort of success that I envy (Nobel Prize winners, professional sports champions, etc.). And yes, they have achieved at levels that I will never see; mostly this was a mixture of talent and hard, focused work. But what I’ve noticed is that even these people have personal lives that are, well, in many cases, are just like mine.

I remember reading about Paul Krugman complaining about people going into the “no cell phone” cars on the train and, well, talking on their cell phones there. Somehow, I thought (naively) that people would somehow behave better around people like him.

I noticed that even elite athletes and scientists love attention and work to cultivate it.
I’ve noticed that many famous people do things like have affairs; it isn’t that the lack sex; evidently they are turned on that so many find them desirable.

I have to remember that the high achievers are still human.

3. I’ve traveled quite a bit lately; I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 weeks in various 3-4 star hotels (thanks Hotwire!). No, these aren’t the places where Mitt stays but they are a step up from where I am used to. Still, my best deal ever was 42 dollars a night for 2 adults and a kid at the Marriott (St. Louis, downtown).

But I am looking forward to getting back and settling down to work on the ideas that I want to work on.

August 8, 2012 Posted by | creationism, evolution, Navel Staring, Olympics, travel, weight training, workouts | 1 Comment

More Olympic Beach Volleyball….

Do you like these photos?

See a whole bunch of these here.

August 6, 2012 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, Olympic Spandex, Olympics, spandex | Leave a comment

Cicada Walk

I slept in a bit and didn’t start walking until 8:30 am. I walked the lunch course plus two 3 mile Cornstalk out-and-backs. There was some traffic but not that much. The cicadas (perennial ones) were singing their hearts out.

Speaking of athletics: here is a biochemistry professor’s discussion of latic acid and endurance.



Note: I am watching Olympic boxing on television; I am shocked that the referees got a call right.
Well, the judges just made a questionable call…again in a Satoshi Shimizu fight. This time I thought that is opponent Mohamed Ouadahi (from Algeria) won…but the score was 17-15 and his opponent got a 2 point penalty. But then again, this was an opinion and not gross incompetence.

I just watched a good fight between BETERBIEV from Russia and Usyk of the Ukraine. Usyk won though I had Beterbiev winning on my card. Interestingly, Usyk nailed Beterbiev with a body shot that resulted in an 8 count (like a knockdown) but then….got a warning from the referee? The action in the ring was pretty good though.

The Perlata (Argentina) vs. Pulev (Bulgaria) match was good; somehow Pulev got the decision though Perlata nailed him with repeated bodyshots in the last round. I had Perlata winning…go figure.

Now we had ANOTHER crappy decision….

Another note: The boxing association overturned a verdict against American Errol Spence; his Indian opponent held him repeatedly and wasn’t called for it. Spence advances to the next round and has an excellent chance at a medal.

August 5, 2012 Posted by | boxing, Olympics, training, walking | Leave a comment

Olympic Contest: beach volleyball vs. track and field


(photoshopped version here)

Oh goodness; heptathlon vs. beach volleyball. Whew…..

Ultimately…….I need more data. 🙂

August 3, 2012 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, Olympic Spandex, Olympics, spandex, sports | 2 Comments

Who is winning this fight?

From here

Magomed Abdulhamidov was knocked down SIX times by Satoshi Shimizu in the last round alone, but was never given a single count. He was only told to get up. After the fight, he had to be helped to the dressing area. Yet he was “given” the victory.

Fortunately the Japanese team filed a protest and the protest was correctly upheld; Shimizu should have been given a knock-out win after the third knock down.

Frankly, I think that the referee should have stopped the fight after the second knock-down, but what the heck.
See the above link for more photos.

There are more videos and stories here.

In other action, Joseph Diaz fought well against World Champion Lazaro Alvarez but lost a decision that I thought was too wide; the judges gave Alvarez a 4 point win in round 2 that I just didn’t see. I can see Alvarez getting the decision, but this was a grueling, competitive fight.

There were a couple of other questionable decisions:

Iran’s Ali Mazaheri cried foul when the heavyweight was disqualified after being warned three times for persistent holding against Cuban Jose Larduet Gomez despite leading by two points going into the second round.

I really didn’t see much that warranted Mazaheri getting DQ’ed.

Then: superheavyweight Joshua Anthony was given a decision against Cuban Erislandy Savon that I didn’t quite understand. Anthony was head by 2 points going into the final round which Savon won by one point; on my card Savon won the last 2 rounds by 3-4 punches each.

Also in the super heavyweights, Zhang Zhilei of China knocked out Johan Linde of Australia with a huge right hook to the head. Zhilei can hit.

August 2, 2012 Posted by | boxing, Olympics | Leave a comment

Hey Dummies: while you were in line to eat greasy chicken…..

I was watching the US Olympic volleyball team whip the Chinese…

I got the better end of that deal…and cleaner arteries too. 🙂

August 1, 2012 Posted by | obesity, Olympics, religion, republicans | Leave a comment