One attitude I cannot stand….

I was discussing something with a colleague. I recounted a conversation I had with an engineer; in the past he had written a letter to the editor “correcting” a science article for, well, citing an adaptive change as an example of evolution. He was under the mistaken impression that evolution was speciation.

Yes, evolution is a change in the frequency distribution of alleles in a population over time. But did he bother to check with an expert (e. g., his biology colleagues) before writing a letter to the editor? Of course not.

I let my disgust show, and my colleague replied “hey he KNOWS that “god is on his side” no need to check.

And THAT is an example of an attitude that I have the highest amount of contempt for. Religious nutters have it. And so do the more extreme social justice warriors.

If you KNOW that you have “RIGHT on your side”, then well, who has need for experts in biology, psychology, statistics, genetics, etc.?

I think that has lead to more “blocks” by me on social media than anything else; my record is 3 blocks off of one thread on my Facebook wall. Yes, they were all liberals.


April 21, 2018 Posted by | ranting, social/political | Leave a comment

Running, lifting, weight and aging …the formula keeps shifting!

Yesterday, in addition to my usual weight workout, I did two sets, count them…TWO sets of goblet squats (do the window sill which gets me a bit past parallel)…with…wait for it…a 53 pound kettlebell (for those who are unfamiliar, that would be awesome..for say, a 90 pound 70 year old woman..but pretty pathetic for a 205 lb. 58 year old male).

And today I was sore! Seriously. Here is what I’ve found:

1. I need more “easy days” between hard workouts else I don’t recover AND
2. My “off season lay-offs” have to be shorter..I lose too damn much, too quickly.

The formulas keep changing on me.

And as far as weight: I gained about 10 lbs (noticed it in July) and haven’t lost it. Why? My guess: I am eating the way I used to when I did more mileage and was younger; now I have the double whammy of fewer miles and a slower metabolism.

But…I am stronger than I’ve been since 2010, and I can still do my 5 sets of 10 pull ups. So, what do I want to be: a lifter who walks and runs, or walker/runner who lifts? I have to choose.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not strong at all; my bench press workouts include a set of 5-7 with 185 OR 4-5 with 190, followed by 8-10 with 170, or 7-9 with 175. That isn’t exactly NFL linebacker strength.
But when I was below 190 lbs, even 2-3 reps with 185 was hard.

Yes, I know, one has to take age into account, but still…the weights don’t care how old you are. Either you can move them or you can’t.

Rumours Tribute Show We went last night; it was good.

One funny thing: the Stevie Nicks character wore a thin white dress …and appeared to have a white leotard underneath which showed up as a full brief panty line. And of course, regardless of what formed that wonderful “parabola”, I liked it. Why?

And that took me back to weightlifting. Way back in 1994, the conference was in Auburn. My buddy and I found a nearby gym and I went there to lift and I was doing multiple reps with 225 (4-5 I think, then again I weighed about 235 in those days). I miss being that strong (ok, that wasn’t that strong). But I remember catching the eye of the females in the gym; she wore some very thin, white spandex shorts with..yep..white briefs underneath.

Ah, when I was handling 300-310, other guys would look.

Now: no one cares what I lift. LOL…I admit that I miss that.

Workout notes: treadmill froggy workout (5 miles) followed by 2 miles of walking on the track in lane 1 (compensated by adding extra distance) 27:44
treadmill: (0.5 incline after .25 miles) 1 mile (4.9-5.2 every .25 miles (11:57), 6.0-6.7 (30:52), 31:49 to get to 5K, walk .1, run to 42:47 for 4 miles, walk .25 miles, run to 54:36 (picked it up last .5). Then the 2 mile walk.

Legs are still sore, but not that bad. My guess: the flat-to-shallow inclines didn’t tax my thighs.

January 20, 2018 Posted by | ranting, running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

And I grow more and more intolerant of…

The Al Franken debacle has sure helped me purge my friends list on Facebook (I’ve blocked a few and made my wall “friends only” again). Now as far as “the issue” goes, I like this take:

Zero tolerance should go hand in hand with two other things: due process and proportionality. As citizens, we need a way to make sense of accusations that does not depend only on what we read or see in the news or on social media.

Due process means a fair, full investigation, with a chance for the accused to respond. And proportionality means that while all forms of inappropriate sexual behavior should be addressed, the response should be based on the nature of the transgressions.

So I brought this up and one of my friends posted some photos that showed Leean Tweeden, one of those who made the first complaints, in some sex shots (thong butt shot, her groping a guitar player, giving sexual hugs to men etc.). He was attacked by someone who brought out the usual stuff (e. g. sexy photos is not permission for sexual abuse ..which I completely agree with but saw as irrelevant here). In the discussion, I mentioned the “staged fake groping” photo of Franken with Leeann Tweeden, (yes, the PHOTO was genuine; his hands are poised to look like he was touching her breasts, but she was wearing a flak jacket at the time) and said that “this is not abuse”.

He responded “all touching without consent is abuse” which, is factually incorrect. (online law dictionary definition here) and pointed out that I have been touched, sans consent..and this case was NOT abuse.

Well, that brought another “SJW” on who said my example was “fantasy” (it wasn’t), doubled down on saying that the first person was right and attacked my friend for “slut shaming”, etc. So I blocked him (and said some impolite things in the process) and when the first SJW person returned and doubled down, blocked him too.

And I blocked someone who “liked” one of the SJW’s statements (I was cranky).

But here is my point: my Facebook wall is my space. If someone wants to engage me with a different opinion, fine. But they have to have at least an elementary command of logic and reason.

If they make a statement “touching without consent is abuse” and I point out that there are instances where I’ve been touched without consent and it was NOT abuse, that makes the original statement logically false. If someone cannot understand that, I don’t want to talk to them about issues.

In the past, I’ve mostly blocked Bible beaters, creationists, and the like. In these times, I am mostly blocking “social justice warriors”.

Oh yes, I blocked a Moore supporter on Twitter too, but that is more SOP for me.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | politics, ranting, social/political | | Leave a comment

Goat Rant 4: how to get me to skip your post/article part 2

Ok, I posted a part I of this. Here is part II:

first, let me make this clear: there is nothing wrong with writing for a specific audience. I do this when I write mathematical articles. So having me scroll past or otherwise ignore what you write might not be a bad thing.

So, I’ll merely give my algorithm for deciding “probably nothing to see here”: I listed titles that turn me off. Now I’ll focus on buzz words.

If an article starts off with buzz words like “misogyny”, “racism”, “patriarchy”, “deep state”, “God”, “Bible”, “family values” “Islamophobia”, etc. I tend to just scroll past.

Reason: these buzz words appear to be associated with religions of a sort, and I am not interested in dogma.

Now I am interested in justice issues. And if you want to make the case that, say, African Americans are treated unfairly in a job applications process, then I am willing to give your evidence a hard look. If you want to make the case that women aren’t given a fair shake in a give profession, then make your argument and provide your evidence. I’ll seriously consider it. And for the record, I HAVE been convinced of these things, many times. But statements such as “it is about the misogyny” might draw applause in some quarters, but little more than a “scroll past” reaction from me.

But I respond to arguments, logic, data and facts, not to bumper stickers.

September 13, 2017 Posted by | ranting, social/political | Leave a comment

“Speaking Truth to Power”…yeah, sure….

I’ve heard this phrase many times. Liberal activists say it. Trump supporters say it.

And I roll my eyes with contempt.

To “speak the truth” one must first “know the truth” and frankly, to many, “the truth” is what “makes sense to them.”

Often, the “truth” is horribly complicated. And so many of these types are so sure of themselves, even though they have no special qualifications nor accomplishments to speak of.

So unless I am reasonably sure that the person knows what they are talking about, I just dismiss them.

workout notes: treadmill run; 5.2-5.6 (2 min) for 10 minutes, then 50 minutes of 2:30 on, 2:30 off (on: 6.7, off: 5.3). I got to 6 miles in 1:00:50 and 10K in 1:03:00. I found out that my having to walk during past versions of these was due to trying to go faster during the “on” sections”. Next time: try the last 4 “on” at 6.8 and go from there.

Later: exercise class.

March 9, 2017 Posted by | ranting, running | Leave a comment

Rant: recognizing the limits of what one knows

I’ll admit that I am an expert in a very narrow slice of mathematics. But I am at least an AU from being an international or even a national caliber expert in that narrow field of mathematics.
And yes, I often read about topics that are not in my area; I enjoy popular books and articles on topics from the various branches of science, economics and the like.

Nevertheless, I also realize that when I read such a book or article, or when I attend a public lecture, I am getting a watered down, simplified treatment of the subject. I lack the context and the prerequisite knowledge to appreciate a presentation aimed at the experts.

And there lies one of my biggest frustrations when it comes to talking to people, either on the internet or in person. There are so many who really can’t detect the difference between expert knowledge and what they read (and perhaps half-digested …if that much) from a popular book. It is THAT level of “lack of humility” that makes some unpleasant conversation companions; I am ok with ignorance. After all, I am ignorant of the vast majority of human knowledge. I think that all of us are.

And, sadly, I see this lack of intellectual humility in political or social issues discussion, especially from the “losing side”. It appears to me that being on the losing side of an election (and I’ve been there, many, many times) brings out the worst in people in several ways.

Example: I had someone try to tell me that Hillary Clinton’s popular vote is “within the margin of error”, when one factors in the caucus states.

Of course, that is a dumb statement for a number of reasons.

1. There is a difference between a vote count and a poll count, even though both have a margin of error (remember Florida in the 2000 general election). The margin of errors in vote count is much smaller than it is for a poll.

2. The margin of error for a poll is 1.96 * \frac{.5}{\sqrt{n}} (assuming a 95 percent confidence interval and a relatively close election; this comes from the normal approximation to the proportion distribution. So as n increases, the confidence interval, and therefore the margin of error, decreases. Note: for more on polls, read this wonderful little article written by a physics professor.

3. Hillary Clinton leads by about 3 million votes, even when one counts the caucus votes. The latter doesn’t add much as there are fewer caucus states, and these tend to be smaller states. Anyhow, she leads about 57-43.

4. The person making the claim appeared to not understand that winning a small state by a very large percentage didn’t make up for winning a bigger state by a smaller margin.

Yes, by knowing that Sanders won a lot of caucus states and that there IS such a thing as margin of error puts this individual into the “above average” category. But this person was clearly ignorant of their own ignorance.

There is another factor in play: I really think that desperation makes one dumber. When one really likes a candidate or a person, or even a sports team, it is tough to accept an unpleasant reality. I’ve become acquainted with the latter as an Illinois football fan (“yeah, we have a shot at being Wisconsin!” Sure.)

Desperation can lead to an abandonment of one’s values. Check out the Republican Chairman’s take on Donald Trump

Oh sure, few would be surprised at Donald Trump’s behavior, and I doubt that a certain type of Republican really cares that much (“hey, what do you expect with Trump anyway?”)

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Personal Issues, political/social, politics, poll, ranting, statistics | , , , | 1 Comment

The lies we tell ourselves..

I had planned to do 6 treadmill miles today, but the day was too pretty to stay indoors.

So I jogged my hilly Cornstalk 8.1 mile course. I didn’t bother to time myself as frankly, I didn’t want to know; but the pace was somewhere in the 11:45-12:00 mpm range. It was a slow but easy “lope”.


It was breezy but perfect running weather.

While I was in Bradley Park, the university track team was doing hill repeats. Yep…they blew past me as if I were merely waddling in place. Wait..that is what I was doing.

Now the reality is that our track team is a strong one; I never was nearly as fast as the men NOR the women; my lifetime PB for the 5K is a hair under 19 minutes and for the 10K: 39:50. That is “young man slow”, compared to serious runners. I last broke 20 minutes for the 5K in 1998. Today’s run: same effort would have been perhaps 1:05 and change.

Now: I am “old man slow” and “old man slow” is slower than “young man slow”. That is really it.


The same goes with the weight room: I never was “strong”; lifetime PB for the bench press was 310, but that was at a much heavier body weight than I am now. At my current bodyweight (or within shouting distance of it), we are talking 260 lbs. Now I do 200 on a good day. That is “young man weak” vs. “old man weak”. 🙂

November 19, 2015 Posted by | ranting, running, whining | | Leave a comment

On the road relatively soon

I slept in as I have a long drive ahead of me both today and tomorrow.

Workout notes weights only. Legs were heavy.

pull ups (hip hikes, Achilles) 3 sets of 10
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 180, 7 x 170 (rotator cuff)
incline press: 10 x 140
pull ups: 2 sets of 10 to finish 5 sets.
military: 10 x 85 standing barbell, 7 x 85 standing barbell, 10 x 40 standing dumbbell.
super set: pull downs: 2 sets of 10 x 160 traditional, 7 x 160 traditional 7 x 85 very low with
3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer Machine rows.

I started to jog on the treadmill but gave up; I figured some light walking around would loosen my legs a bit.

This is a very interesting take on Mike Huckabee’s candidacy:

Huckabee appears to be aware of his liabilities, and is thus angling not only for the evangelical vote, but for the old person vote in general. He’s adopted the view, unfathomable in modern Republican politics, that support programs for the elderly shouldn’t be tampered with, and not just for today’s seniors, but for at least a generation. By doing so he’s violated the GOP’s implicit pact that discourages members from accentuating the tensions between the party’s fiscal priorities and its aging political base. If he makes good on this cynical strategy, he will probably still lose, but his candidacy will have served a valuable and revealing purpose.

Let’s be clear up front that Huckabee’s positioning here is 100 percent cynical. As John McCormack of the neoconservative Weekly Standard reminded us last month, Huckabee was a proponent of the Republican consensus as recently as August 2012, when he wrote on his Facebook page that “Paul Ryan is being demonized for his suggested Medicare reforms. But the alternatives may be scarier.”

Today, Huckabee says he wouldn’t sign legislation codifying Ryan’s Medicare reforms if he were president, and lambasted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s proposal to further raise the Social Security retirement age over time. In Iowa this week, Huckabee told a crowd of supporters, “It is a foolish thing for the government to involuntarily confiscate money from your pockets and paychecks for 50 years, and then suddenly tell you, oh, we were just kidding.”

You might call this a “government hands off of my Medicare” moment. 🙂


And yes, some conservatives are rather upset with him.

I love it. 🙂

Social This is a case in which religious beliefs can cause harm. Someone has something bad happen to them (e. g. they get cancer). Someone, in an attempt to comfort, says “God’s will” or “God has a plan for you” or “Everything happens for a reason” or “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”; to be fair some give a secular version of such sentiment (e. g. they call your ordeal a “journey”.)

You know: sometimes people just have horrible luck and the idea that there is some cosmic puppetmaster calling the shots is just plain stupid.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | 2016, huckabee, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, republicans, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Some sane discussion…

I had posted President Obama’s remarks about Baltimore and applauded him for distinguishing the rioters and looters from the protesters. People should remember that anytime there is a disturbance that leads to a lessening of order, some will take advantage, be they sports rioters, riots and looters during police strikes, looters or just plain morons.

But as far as the plight of the poorer inner city communities (such as Baltimore’s), the evidence is that much of the social pathology is the result of poverty rather than the cause of it.


Of course, this is where I get sore. Conservatives are quick to point out the pathology and often blame…well, who else..for it.

On the other hand, trying to get the rank and file liberal to admit that there IS a social pathology and that, yes, the looting and rioting in those communities are caused by bad people, just as they are in other communities…well good luck with that. Now-a-days if you call a looter a “thug” some delusional individual will call you a racist.

In the above video, the person who spoke just afterword had some good things to say (and yes, the arguments over the word is just a distraction)

To conclude: I think that Kathleen Parker’s remarks are well taken.

May 1, 2015 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, poverty, racism, ranting, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Federal Express: dreadful receiving end customer service

I got home today to find a “sorry, we missed you” tag from Federal Express. At the bottom of the tag was a bar code. They had the address and hours of the pick up location.


1) They attempted delivery at a residence at 2:30 pm on a work day???
2) There was zero indication of
a) who sent the package and
b) who the package was addressed to.

That is important information, no?

3) To try to contact them, you either had to try to sign up on their website or navigate a “one size fits none” artificial intelligence voice activated menu system…they provided no local number to call to talk to a person.

That is how it goes these days: absolutely rotten customer service.

I know that I’ll be less likely to use a business if they use Federal Express to send stuff.

December 3, 2014 Posted by | ranting | , , | Leave a comment