blueollie

Adjusting to fair changes that you don’t like

This is a metaphor that uses a university gym experience to make a point.

Way long time ago, I used to love to get to the gym as soon as it opened; the primary reason is that I got my workout in before an unexpected demand of the day could take it away. But the second reason is that it was empty and relatively quiet.

But then came the university ROTC group…

Still…noisier but for the most part, I could avoid them.

Now we have groups of young “workout bros” coming in. They are NOT rude ..they use the equipment properly, etc. But dammit my solitude is gone, and once in a while, I need to adjust my plan because a bench or piece of equipment is being used.

And yes, most of the experienced ones are…well, much stronger than I am (as they *should* be ..being that there is 38-40 year difference in age)

But..this is *fair* change that is, well, not actually inconvenient for me (I still get my full workout in) but..slightly less pleasant.

But there is NOTHING unfair about this change..NOTHING. I was never entitled to an empty gym just for me.

And yet, I feel resentful…a little bit.

I kind of wonder if similar happened when so many voted for Trump. They saw changes in society…not necessarily *unfair* changes but changes that made people’s worlds a bit less pleasant..and a bit of this resentment lead to “ok, I’ll make their heads explode by voting Trump.”

Life marches on. And yes, my strength, speed and endurance continues to decline. Entropy sucks.

Body Yes, I spent some time with a woman yesterday, and I left with a small bruise and a scratch on my back. Yes, there was physical contact..from partner yoga.

In one case, my arm got bruised from a rough grab..and the scratch came from my teacher’s toenails in “dancing dogs.” (errant foot placement). I noticed the bruise when I did pull ups.

Dancing Dogs

Assisted Bow

Workout notes: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 165, decline: 10 x 165, military: 8 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing, 3 sets of 10 x 50 rows (dumbbell), plank, headstand, then 8.3 miles on the Expresso Bike (love it..fun)…took me 34 minutes (best time for others was 18…damn I am slow).

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Friends, social/political, weight training, yoga | Leave a comment

Green New Deals and all that

Yes, I back some sort of “Green New Deal” which means a massive effort to achieve energy independence, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. Yes, right now, the Democrats have only the House and without a victor in 2020 (Senate and Executive) and either a filibuster proof majority OR without getting rid of the obstructionist dinosaurs, a GND will remain a dream.

And of course, on policy, it should be made by scientists, engineers, public planners, economists and yes, politicians who know how to cut deals at several levels. IMHO, nuclear will have to be included (new generation stuff)

What is out now is a mere outline of a plan.

As for the other stuff: no, it isn’t “intersectionality” but:

And no, this isn’t going to get passed between now and 2020. But it is something to platform on, especially in the primary.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Yes, sometimes you do have to settle

Every winter I ask myself “why” I live in Peoria, IL. The answer is, of course, is “employment.” When I interviewed for jobs, the offer I liked best was from Bradley U: department, academic reputation, etc. So I accepted cold winters and a decaying rust belt town to get something I wanted.

The same happens in politics, a lot.

Now, after this was tweeted, came the following series of revelations. In other words, if he resigned ..well…things might not be any better.

No wonder why Nancy Pelosi was so artful in her response:

She never called on him to resign. “Do the right thing” is NOT “resign”.

Now I am not picking on Mr. Blow; many, many seem to want to have the luxury of taking their ball and going home if they don’t get everything they want.

Whoever I back in the 2020 election will be someone that I disagree with on a few issues. That’s a given.

Workout notes Weights and a very cold walk. I finished my weight routine early: rotator cuff, 5 x 10 pull ups, 10 x 135, 3 x 185 bench, 10 x 135 incline, 10 x 50, 45, 40 standing military, 3 sets of 10 x 110 row, planks (2:30), then I noticed I had enough time to walk outside..so that is what I did.

February 8, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Democratic sausage making

Yeah, 30 years ago, I’d be right with those guys. 🙂

And no, she isn’t some deadbeat in her personal life, as some right wingers claim. Now what she becomes, who knows. She does have political skill and is an excellent communicator. What she does with that: who knows.

Politics: very messy. I’ve spoken a bit about the situation in Virginia. The Republican who would be governor had the top 3 stepped down: went to VMI when it was still segregated and, yes, oversaw the production of a yearbook that had racist stuff in it. Why this would surprise anyone just astonishes me; what would one expect from a university that didn’t even admit blacks until the following school year (August, 1968)?

So…maybe it is better that governor and co. NOT resign?

There are other things irritating me. Some Democrats are attacking Neomi Rao (nominee to fill the judgeship that Kavanaugh vacated to go to the Supreme Court). Yes, as an undergradate, she wrote some mean things (as this friendly article admits). But here is one of the things that Kamala Harris attacked her for. (pdf file) The gist: if two students are drunk and have sex, why is the male liable and the woman not liable? And is it not a good idea to not get drunk to begin with (drunk to the point where you cannot protect yourself). OF COURSE, being drunk doesn’t mean that people have license to rape you..or do other things to you (e. g. steal your money…as has happened). But giving a safety tip does, in no way, excuse the criminal if you become victim of a crime.

I just get sick of it all, at times.

Workout notes: yoga, 1 mile treadmill (11:30), 5.33 on the track (40 laps, lane 3) in 55:48; 8 lap times: 11:46, 11:39, 11:27, 10:46, 10:08 (miles: first mile was just over 11, final was 9:30 so each lap time was about 40 seconds slower than the mile split).

Weight: 194.

Basketball notes: yes, on Saturday, I watched the men lose at home to Southern Illinois, despite being up by 10 points at the half.

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Tip off. Decent crowd, but not packed.

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Go Braves! Southern Illinois at Bradley.

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Tense ending.

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BU had its chances but got out worked down the stretch. They did win impressively on Wednesday evening though (at Evansville)

February 8, 2019 Posted by | basketball, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Past sins, black face, offensive stuff

We’ve seen public figures being pressured to resign due to incidents where they did offensive things in the past. So, what constitutes something that should lead to resignation?

Clearly, this sort of thing calls for resignation:

Thursday morning, Michael Ertel, appointed Secretary of State by Gov. Ron DeSantis weeks earlier, testified before a House committee about the several lawsuits filed over the 2018 election.

By mid-afternoon, Ertel turned in his resignation, after photos emerged of him posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim in blackface at a private Halloween party 14 years ago, two months after 1,800 people were killed by the massive storm. […]

The photo was taken in 2005, eight months after Ertel was appointed Seminole County supervisor of elections and two months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

Here, an official mocked black hurricane victims.

On the other hand, this is completely different:

The third-ranking elected official in Virginia, Attorney General Mark R. Herring, acknowledged Wednesday that he had worn blackface at a party as an undergraduate student, deepening a crisis that has engulfed the state’s Democratic leadership. […]

Although speculation about Mr. Herring’s history with blackface had coursed through the Capitol this week, it was not until Wednesday morning that he met with the Legislative Black Caucus to inform them. He then issued a statement that described how, as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia in 1980, he had dressed as the rapper Kurtis Blow.

By Mr. Herring’s account, he and friends “dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup” for a party, and that it was a one-time occurrence.

He was NOT an official; was an undergraduate student, and did not do this to mock anyone.

My point: we ought to use some judgement: when did it happen, and what were they doing at the time? And what WAS the culture at that time?

A policy that condemns public figures who have had “any association” with blackface would thin out the supply of reputable public figures rather quickly. Comics and movie stars would be the first to get “canceled.” Jimmy Fallon did blackface to impersonate Chris Rock; Jimmy Kimmel did it to impersonate Karl Malone and Oprah Winfrey; SNL’s Fred Armisen did it to impersonate President Obama; Ashton Kutcher did brownface to depict a stereotypical Indian man in a Popchips commercial; Robert Downey Jr. wore blackface in Tropic Thunder; Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson, who play “Mac” and “Dee” on the critically acclaimed sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, have both donned blackface in the show.

And there’s no reason to stop at the living. As demonstrated in a recent New York Times op-ed, “‘Mary Poppins’ and a Nanny’s Shameful Flirting with Blackface,” the grave provides no protection from the professionally offended class. To that end, perhaps we should posthumously repudiate Judy Garland (of Wizard of Oz fame), Gene Wilder (of Willy Wonka fame), and Shirley Temple (of Shirley Temple’s Storybook fame), all of whom did blackface.

Is this offensive?

How about this?

I know that times have certainly changed. No, I never used blackface. But is entirely possible that I went to an event/party where someone did…it just wouldn’t have registered with me; I was not aware of it so many years ago.

In fact, I used to have Confederate flags (the battle flag) on my bedroom wall; this was high school through the first few years of college (I’d come home on leave); the reason is that my high school was the Travis High Rebels and we used that flag for our sporting events; it was on our uniform, etc. At the time, I saw it as “school spirit”, period.

And think about other issues: can you imagine this song coming out today?

Sorry, do not include me on the “zero tolerance” train (at least, retroactively). There is so much that was mainstream in our past that we now (correctly) see as offensive in this era.

Many, myself included, were blind to things that would be obvious now.

February 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, racism, social/political | 2 Comments

SOTU: bleah.

Workout notes: yesterday, yoga with Ms. V. and 6 miles of running (1:03:50), 2 of walking. Run: 11:20, 22:18, 32:50, 52:48 then just enough to get 6. Walk was outside. I was pleasantly surprised. Weight: 194.0
Today: weights; rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10..went well), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, decline: 8 x 160, military: 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 40 standing, 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell rows, 10 x 110 machine row. Then came the walk: 5K in 46:15 (or so), 3.9 for 15 min (0-4), 1 mile at 5 (4.1, 4.2) then 1 mile going down 4-3-2-1

SOTU: Trump did give a shout out to the white clad women in Congress, and he did the usual bit of feel good stuff (who is against curing childhood cancer?) but much of it was like a Trump rally (USA USA!) border wall, “we’d probably be at war with North Korea if I weren’t elected”, warned of escalating the arms race, etc.

Here is one (of many) fact checks. No surprises here.

I did come away depressed. On policy, there is zero on the Republican side for me.

On tone, there isn’t much on the current Democratic side for me. You can’t expect to get results with sanctimonious finger wagging and you have to give people a reason to listen to you.

I really do not feel at home with the Democrats either ..though I see them as being “mostly right on policy” (e. g. higher marginal tax rates, stimulating the economy from the bottom, public investment, health care, etc.)

As far as the Democratic response: well, I am sure that the progressives loved it. But image matters. And yes, I really do not believe that an obese, gap toothed person is a good visual image…and the personal debt is very troubling to me…though perhaps I am behind the times.

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Our racist past (and Northam)

The discovery of Gov. Northam’s racist photo on his Medical School yearbook page (1984) (one man in black face, the other in a KKK costume) has lead to some intense discussion.

I will put something about my own past at the end of this post.

Of course, some leading Democratic contenders (Warren, Booker, Harris) have called on him to resign as did the Virginia Democratic Party. Pelosi hedged her bets:

Notice: “do the right thing” rather than simply “resign”, as many others have said directly. This way, she can say “I never asked him to resign”, as others have:

Now if seems strange that something that happened 35 years ago should cause so much anger now:

In short, African Americans are an essential part of the Democratic coalition. They are not a part of the Republican coalition; in fact, some of the baser appeals the Republicans make to those who resent public aid going to black people or resent black people questioning the impartiality of law enforcement.

Here are other interesting takes:

(links to threads)

And this comment:

Personally, I think that he will have to resign, though he hasn’t admitted it to himself as yet.

Now about my own past

Yes, I have done things that I am ashamed of, though blackface and KKK costumes aren’t part of that.

But I will talk about the atmosphere when I grew up. Yes, there was some racism on the Air Force Bases that I grew up on, BUT because the schools I went to were mixed race as were the teams I played on, I can honestly say that racism wasn’t a problem for me *at that time* in my life. But when I moved to Austin, Texas (not quite the silicon valley that it is now) and went to a lower middle class high school, the racism was very prevalent there. The n-word was tossed around on the playing field…and in the hallways. Kids tended to segregate…and yes, the black kids cut the lunch line and there were sometimes fights. Administration did NOTHING. It was a pretty sorry atmosphere even though the school was 55 percent Mexican American…many Latinos didn’t like blacks either.

So what about the Navy and the Naval Academy? Yes, there, the authorities gave us civil rights training, did the appropriate amount of finger wagging, but there was a more subtle undercurrent of racism there. It wasn’t “n-word” mostly, or at least all of the time….you see, that was too “uncouth”. It was more of the smugly told racist jokes that didn’t use the obvious n-words. And it was things like I am about to describe:

I had a friend and roommate (for a semester) who was from rural Alabama. He admitted that he didn’t like blacks (privately). But how others reacted to him: it was more like a “hey, what do you expect from a dumb white hick from Alabama..it is just how they are..” sort of thing with the rest of us (mostly white people). He WAS academically deficient ..a type of “rural white affirmative action” if you will..and couldn’t handle the academics, even though the rest of us tried to help him out.

I remember one time…we were at the dining table where they served us “family style”: pans of food were set on the table and passed around. It was ok to ask another table if you could have any left overs in the pan. One time a black guy with a stereotypical black accent asked if he could have some of that leftover fried chicken. We let him ..but immediately all of us turned to look at the Alabama guy because we KNEW that would set him off…and we were giggling and laughing…”you know that will set off that dumb hick!” sort of way.

One time I expressed a bit of disgust about his racial attitudes (to another friend) and was told “remember where he came from…did you see him in Chemistry, working with a black lab partner..they were getting along. People can change…”

Anyhow…there you have it. Racism, at that time, was pretty freely expressed in “private company.” That was true in certain circles in the Navy as well…and yes, even in the officer ranks (though I did not see it in the officer ranks in the Nuclear Navy). The time period I was talking about was from 1977-1985.

It was a different time, and things have improved..or so I would think, based on my own experience…though it could just be the company that I presently keep.

I do want to comment on one other thing:

Yes…having an honest conversation on race IS all but impossible due to people (mostly white liberals) being so eager to pounce with moral superiority. In fact, there are honestly held beliefs that, I think, CAN be challenged in an intellectually honest manner. I talked about that some here.

Workout notes: today, 6 mile run walk on the treadmill in 1:11
Yesterday 7 mile ride on an indoor bike, weights: usual PT, abs, planks, etc. pull ups: 10-10-10-10-5-10, (yes 55 total), 10 x 135, 3 x 185 bench, 10 x 135 incline, 8 x 165 decline, 10 x 50 standing military, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 40 standing, 3 sets of 10 x 50 one arm rows, then the planks/bike ride.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Bad arguments for a correct conclusion

One of the things I’ve seen that makes me cringe: someone making an absolutely awful argument for..well, some policy that I want to see enacted or against something that..well, that I oppose.

One example: the owner of Starbucks is thinking about running for President as an independent who is both socially liberal and economically conservative (e. g. low taxes on the wealthy).

Yes, I respect his business accomplishments. But I’ve seen this time and time again: someone who is brilliant (and I am sure that he is) really hasn’t put their brain power to the issues of the day; running a government is very, very different than running a business. For one thing: debt is very different for a government than for a private entity (also here), and governments pay down the debt by growing the economy so that the debt is a smaller and smaller part of the GDP.

But if one spends all their time at work..how much time is there left over for doing hard thinking about other issues? Often I’ve found very successful people to be very uninformed on issues that do not involve their field.

And, let’s face it: businesses ought to be run like businesses…other things shouldn’t be run like businesses.

So, I oppose his candidacy. But..some of the opposition to his candidacy is of: “his “qualifications is that he is a white male.” as if THAT is what made him successful. Sigh…if being a white male were enough, there would be millions of ultra successful people. 🙂

Cartoons: There was a time when wealthy people felt an obligation to society:

Yes, ironically, someone posted a clip to show that this meant that “Keynesians are stupid” but..not really…I think it shows the opposite. A higher marginal tax rate encourages the wealthy to keep working rather than take it easy and make more investments. And stimulation at the bottom of the economy ensures that demand remains high… the “long hours for little pay” is what trickle down has given us now…

Snow: more of it today; BU did a great job of keeping the walkways clear.

Workout notes: 5 more treadmill miles (walking: 1:02:20)

February 1, 2019 Posted by | economics, economy, Peoria/local, political/social, politics, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

An honest conversation about bigotry? Sure…

I am paying attention to Kamala Harris as I am interested in her candidacy. I still want to see what Corey Booker and Amy Klobuchar do too…though even if all three end up running, I might well still support Harris. Immediate appeal to me: she appears to be an intellectual, “personal responsibility” Democrat.

So I am paying attention to what she says, and this tweet caught my eye:

Ah, speak “that truth”. But what exactly is “truth”? Sometimes the mere mention of accurate statistics leads to cries of “racism.” This is what can go wrong:

People need some space to express honestly held beliefs even if said beliefs are inaccurate. And I believe this:

1.People are hard wired to reason inductively (go by what they see)
2. Our country is very diverse with many different types of settings (southern, northern, eastern, rural, urban, suburban, small town) and our experiences might be mostly in one type of community
3. “Common sense” is often woefully inadequate to give a proper assessment; it is limited to the experiences of the individual and to the mental/intellectual/knowledge of the individual.
4. People, at least some, CAN change their mind if they are open to it and are given a logical argument and facts. But finger wagging (“if you believe this you are a horrible bigot” or “if you believe this you are delusional”) does not change anyone’s mind. Too often people appear to try to “shame” the other person into going along with what they THINK is right.
5. Humans are highly imperfect beings and any group, if it is large enough, will have their share of bores, idiots, slackers and criminals. ANY sufficiently large group. And if you have some bias against said group, it is all so tempting to draw inferences that back up what you already “feel.”

January 30, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Aptitude and cold weather

This post will be all over the place.

Right now, journalists are being laid off and there is some sort of “twitter campaign” to tweet #learntocode at them.

Don’t get me wrong; I think that learning to code is a good thing. But to get good enough to earn a living…well…

You know..not only do you have to study and work at it, you also, well, need some aptitude as well. It is a bit like saying: “well, if you want to get rich, take up basketball and make an NBA team.” Yeah, I know; becoming an NBA player requires far more “outlier” level talent that becoming a run of the mill computer programmer, but you get my drift. Not everyone has the aptitude for it.

And that leads me to a comment I read; a well known blogger said that he is “walking away from tenure” at a university in a location that he doesn’t like ..but then had trouble finding another academic job; he remarked

despite what the job market in this profession thinks I’m actually a really fuckin’ good teacher.

Well, guess what: evidently other professors in your profession also think very highly of themselves; you are far from unique in that regard. The competition for such positions is brutal.

I remember entering the job market in 1991, right as the old Soviet Union was breaking up and first rate mathematical talent from those universities flooded the market. That knocked everyone down a few notches; the “would be R-1 tenure track” talent got knocked down to the non-R1, would be post-docs got knocked down.

So, though it was 7 F (February, 1991) when I interviewed at my current job and I knew that this university was located in a decaying rust-belt town…I took it..it was the best offer I had (other places in more pleasant locations were not as nice of a place to teach and research).

So, here I am..and once again, we are getting creamed by the weather. Yes, climate change is real. Much of the globe is burning up.

But guess where that purple splotch is? Yep…and yes, it is colder here (Peoria, IL) than it is in Anchorage Alaska, or even Fairbanks Alaska. Isn’t that something>

Yes, that sinusoidal jet stream pattern, caused by a weak polar vortex…caused by lessening polar ice…is what is allowing that still very cold arctic air to cream us. And so we will get some bitterly cold weather ..reminiscent of my winter in the Dakotas in 1969-1970.

Oh baby it is cold outside…and she is underdressed.

Workout notes: weights and a 6.3 mile bikeride on a “fun” program. Weight: 193
pull ups, rotator cuff, bench 10 x 135, 2 x 185, incline: 10 x 140, decline: 8 x 165 military: 10 x 50 stand, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 45, rows 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm, planks, etc.

Then the bike ride.

January 29, 2019 Posted by | Peoria, social/political, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment