Don’t slack on your PT exercises

Last night, shoulder pain kept me awake for a bit. Now this does happen from time to time, but I realized that over the past few weeks, I retreated from 3 times a week with weights to twice a week, and that is when I do my rotator cuff exercises. That isn’t enough. So I have to add these back; morning and evening? I need at least 3 times a week “steady state” else I feel it.

Yesterday: untimed easy run..went out at 10 am to get some sunshine. 5 miles (Cornstalk hill course).

Baby its Cold Outside There has been a mild uproar about some “woke” people not liking this song (“sexist”, date rape, blah blah blah)

Here is the clip (from a movie, I believe). And note at 2:30, the scene switches from the man singing to the woman (to persuade her to stay) to a woman singing to a man to persuade HIM to stay. It is simply about love, wanting your love interest to accept you, dating, etc. Note that neither the woman (in the first 2:30) nor the man (in the second 2:30) seem threatened, intimidated, fearful, etc.

It has gotten to the point where I just tune out the “woke” crowd; I view them like I view the religious nutters.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | social/political, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Judging too hastily

I am getting ready to kick myself out of the door to get in an easy 3-5 miles of “running”. It is 19 F outside so I’ll need a swift kick. And I am limiting myself because..and it is painful to admit this, but if I go too hard or too long, I won’t have as much energy left to get my duties done. It wasn’t always that way but it is that way now.

I had a few internet exchanges and was reading some. And yes, interactions on Facebook and Twitter can be very misleading; when one says something, the context can be lost as well as prior assumptions.

Sometimes, I’ll retweet a point made by someone and add some information as a preemptive attack to anticipated objections. And original tweeter might think that I am critiquing the observation when that wasn’t my intention.

In other cases, I watched two people that I know argue and see them make wildly inaccurate claims about the other person’s character based on the comments that they’ve read.

People often emphasize different things and one person’s defending free speech for a Nazi might be interpreted by someone else as defending the Nazi. Someone might speak out against a policy because of unintended consequences and be accused of disagreeing the intended goals of the policy.

And when people discuss things, they might have different things in mind. When it comes to safety nets, someone might have their habitually mooching relative in mind, whereas someone else (say, a blue collar worker) might have their insulin dependent kids in mind (and that stuff is scandalously expensive).

And so it goes…and we all get angrier.

As for me, I am just “read, then scroll past” more and more. I do most of my commenting on the threads of public personalities or on those who I know very, very well, or in an “interest community” (sports, academics, math).

workout notes: just weights yesterday: pull ups, my final sets were 5- 5 (usual 4 sets of 10 first), bench was 2 sets of 10 x 70 dumbbells, 10 x 135 incline, 7 x 165 decline, military was 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 180 machine, rows, planks, blah blah.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Welcome aboard: liberals vs. conservatives

This :

A new study suggests that the words you use may depend on whether the club secretary’s name is Emily (“a stereotypically White name,” as the study says) or Lakisha (“a stereotypically Black name”). If you’re a white liberal writing to Emily, you might use words like “melancholy” or “euphoric” to describe the mood of the book, whereas you might trade these terms out for the simpler “sad” or “happy” if you’re corresponding with Lakisha.

But if you’re a white conservative, your diction won’t depend on the presumed race of your interlocutor.

This racial and political disparity is among the discoveries made by a pair of social psychologists in a paper forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Psychological Association. Cydney Dupree, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, and Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton, documented what they call a “competence downshift” exhibited by white liberals in interactions with racial minorities, and with black people in particular.


White liberals may unwittingly draw on negative stereotypes, dumbing themselves down in a likely well-meaning, ‘folksy,’ but ultimately patronizing, attempt to connect with the outgroup,” argues the paper, titled “Self-Presentation in Interracial Settings: The Competence Downshift by White Liberals.”

The findings could provide a new arrow in the quiver of those who decry identity politics practiced by liberals, and yet the paper hardly applauds conservatives for their approach, reasoning that they are simply “less motivated to affiliate with racial minorities.” In other words, the paper states, white conservatives “would not bother.”

“It’s somewhat counterintuitive,” said Dupree, who is the lead author and whose research was supported by the National Science Foundation as well as by Princeton’s Joint Degree Program in Social Policy. “The idea that people who are most well intentioned toward racial minorities, the people actually showing up and wanting to forge these connections, they’re the ones who seem to be drawing on stereotypes to do so.”

And so…this article is based on a study; what follows is my interpretation of my (limited) experience.

When one welcomes someone news into a group, what happens if this person is different is some way than others in the group? It appears to me that liberals tend to want to change the norms of the group so as to be more welcoming.

Example: if your workplace was mostly male and you now bring in females, you’ll have to take into account differences (e. g. women get pregnant. Or, in the military, often black people got exempt from daily shaving requirements due to the tendency of short black facial hair to curl in to the skin, thereby causing skin condition.

But the potential problem is that one, in an effort to be too welcoming, one might end up diluting the purpose of the group or even lowering standards…or possibly implying..albeit unintentionally, that the person from a new group isn’t up to the challenge. You see that some in academia.

As an undergraduate, I was expected to just scrape by…which is ironic since I often helped others with their math homework.

On the other hand, conservatives are more likely to say “welcome aboard…now get cracking.”

Making excuses for someone in advance may well degrade that person’s confidence.

Workout notes: weights, then a walk (2 miles). Weights: pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 170, decline: 8 x 165. military: 15 x 55 seated, supported, 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 85 barbell. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm, plank, side plank, headstand.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

And the level of discussion is depressing …

Now of course, the news isn’t all bad. Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) stood up and announced that he would vote against the Farr nomination. Yes, I expect a Republican to nominate a conservative, but there are plenty of principled conservatives out there.

I am going back to the border fiasco. I am still hearing that those who climbed the fence “did nothing wrong”; in fact what they did IS illegal. Yes, this was only a small portion of the “caravan”. Yes, someone in the country illegally can seek asylum. But illegal entry is, well, duh, still illegal. You wouldn’t think this is a nuanced point but ..well, if that is what you hear in your bubble..or what you hear from members of Congress:

Yes, the goal might be legal, but one might be breaking the law to get there..and THAT is what was criminal.

Now my feeling is that they did the right thing by not prosecuting; I am out of my lane here but I think that the prosecuting attorneys have some discretion on what to pursue. I’ll leave that to the pros.

But we really don’t need dishonest or misleading statements from our members of Congress. I’d rather she merely applaud the decision to NOT prosecute.

Workout notes:
Tuesday: weights plus a 4 mile run in 42:07 (bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, incline: 10 x 140, decline 8 x 165, etc. pull ups were 15-15-10-10. rest was the usual routine.
Wednesday: 4 mile walk on the treadmill in 45:45 (8 am meeting)
Thursday: 6 mile walk in 1:10:24; 10K in 1:12:35 (just under a 12 minute pace)

Basketball note: saw a wonderful Women’s game: Bradley held off a spirited challenge by Eastern Illinois 67-64, playing sterling defense in the final minute.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | basketball, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

And twitter and social media depresses me: Border wall fiasco

What is happening at the border wall near Tijuana was a fiasco. Roughly speaking:

Although the number of people at the border was relatively small, the unrest — with migrants attempting to climb fences and run through car lanes to reach the United States, and scenes of mothers and children choking on tear gas — represented a serious escalation of the crisis.

What began Sunday morning as a migrant protest of the slow pace of the U.S. asylum claims process devolved into a chaotic scramble in which hundreds made their way to the border hoping to cross onto U.S. soil. To block that from happening, and as some threw rocks and bottles, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers took the rare step of firing tear gas into Mexico as well as closing all legal vehicle and foot traffic to the San Ysidro border crossing, which U.S. officials say normally has about 100,000 visitors per day.


Although the majority of the group approached and gathered at the fence peacefully, Mexico’s Interior Ministry said that hundreds tried to cross the border in a “violent manner.” Mexican authorities said they would deport anyone who tried to cross illegally.

Before 9 p.m. Eastern time, CBP said the port of entry had reopened.

This lead to an explosion of “OMG, we are tear gassing babies” posts on my social media feed (liberal dominated) with some “ok, we bungled was coming so why didn’t we have a lot of people there, ready to process their asylum claims?” posts. By the way, about asylum claims: this little article quotes an expert (immigration lawyer).

Personally, I have a ton of questions about this, but most of what I see are the “OMG we are gassing babies” vs. “NO OPEN BORDERS: THE CARAVAN STORMED THE BORDER”. A few said “they did nothing wrong” (false).

But now for my own thoughts and questions:

1. I believe that, as a country, we do have some responsibility for the horrible conditions that some of these people are fleeing (e. g. our propping up right wing dictators in our “fight against communism” a long time ago). So, I have a “if you helped break it, you should help repair it” mentality.

2. But this caravan did cross through other countries to get here; if we are so awful, why come here? Yes, I know, first world vs. third world, but why did it become that way?

3. This take:

Now does this mean we have to make accommodations for all who want to come here? I think that good intentions can lead to bad outcomes. We have to be reasonable.

4. About the tear gas: yes, it was used on those trying to get over the border illegally and who threw rocks and other things. I do not know if this was a disproportionate response or not. But if you think so, what should the border patrol have done? (yes, we should not have let the situation get here to begin with but given that it did…)

5. And yes, I can totally see Trump trying to set something like this up for political gain; after all, his deploying troops when he did was a political stunt. But to be fair, this was, at least partially, the result of a long legacy of failed policy and a mess we caused.

6. Personally, I’d be in favor of our trying to make the host countries more hospitable and economically viable…but how to do that?

7. Back to the asylum: I know that Trump claims that he made a deal to keep people on the other side of the border until their claims could be processed.

8. What about Mexico and other countries: it feels weird that we (along with European countries) are held to a different standard than other countries, including other wealthy countries.

Ah, there is so much more and so much I don’t know and haven’t thought of. I’d welcome feedback but I am afraid that all I will get is “you are just like Hitler” or “you are for open borders” bullshit.
Why so many feel so sure about their positions just astonishes me. To me, there are a ton of things to balance.

November 27, 2018 Posted by | social/political, world events | Leave a comment

Pelosi wars.. ugh…

First things first: 58 minutes for 5 miles walking; my weight loss to just around 190 has helped. Dropping 10 more pounds would help even more.

And last night, Bradley basketball won 74-65 over a pesky Jackson State team that would not go away; every time Bradley got a double digit lead, JS hit some 3’s to get right back in it. Bradley’s big guys had good nights (20 and 15 points) and several players had double figures.

Politics: great, now that the Democrats have the House (still more seats to be determined; 7 appear to be up in the air right now), there appears to be a fight over who should be Speaker. Normally, the caucus votes and then the winner of the caucus moves forward to the whole House voting, at which case whoever gets the majority of votes wins. Evidently some want a change where someone needs 218 votes (out of 230-235 or so) to be advanced out of the caucus, a very high standard. That strikes me as nuts.

So we go to the arguments. Much of the anti-Pelosi sentiment appears to be “too old”, “old guard”, “grip on power”, “corporate”, “establishment”, etc. But the pushback, or at least MUCH of it is “sexism, misogyny”, etc. It is a battle between two “woke” factions. At times I wish I believed the trickle down economics bullshit so I could just be a Republican and be done with it.

About Pelosi: sure, the threading of the needle for the ACA was a historic feat; IMHO she’ll go down as one of the great Speakers for that feat. But is her time past? I do not know. Should we groom new leaders? Of course.
But do we need to change at the moment? Well, “would someone else be more effective”, to me, is the ONLY consideration (and yes, there is some debate as to what “more effective” means). No, she is NOT “owed” anything AND “change for the sake of change” is stupid.

We will see how it plays out, but the quality of the discussion is lacking.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | basketball, Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

Liberal outrage, antics, etc.

Mississippi is having a run off between a Democrat and the Republican incumbent. And something has been made of one of her statements:

In a video posted on Twitter over the weekend, Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi is seen complimenting a supporter by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Ok. Now, of course, a racial angle is being made of it but yes, for much of human history, public executions were a popular event, and still are in some parts of the world.

Now had Hyde-Smith been a high ranking official of a public business, she would probably get fired; collectively liberals have money to spend and the threat of economic boycotts carries some punch.
But this is an election in a southern Republican state and liberal outrage could well backfire; after all, much of current Republican appeal, at least to the non-well off, is “sticking it to the libs”.

I really think that much of our power for social issues rests with spending power; this is why many companies are more progressive than the law requires them to be.

Now about those elections: results are still trickling in and the Democrats DID so well. In terms of popular vote, this was an impressive result. In terms of number of seats gained, this isn’t what the Republicans had in their waves, but much of that was because the Democrats in Congress didn’t lose seats they way the Republicans did in 2006, 2008, 1992, etc. So there were fewer pick ups to be had.

And yes, we lost the “star elections”. But I was fully prepared for that and said so.

And yes, we have our kooks. And many liberals love our kooks.

Update: there is another interpretation to the last story I linked to. Oh, it is couched in the usual millennial “woke” bullshit but the thread makes a valid point: (follow the thread).

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Some thoughts on the midterms

Of course, not all of the elections have been settled. There are mail-in ballots to be counted in some states, some races that have gone into recount, etc. And right now we are looking at probably 37 pick ups in the House, and a loss of 2-3 sets (at most) in the Senate (brutal map for us).

Of course, there as been some “well, the Democrats would have done better had they been more…well, like me” remarks out there. And of course, said remarks are mostly nonsense. 🙂

Some progressives won in some places, and lost in others. In some districts, the successful Democrat ran AWAY from the national others, they ran toward it. Much of it depended on what the district is like, the skill of the candidate, the skill of the opponent, etc. And frankly, the type of region had more to do with it than anything else.

And please, enough of this “women are going to do this or that”. Women are not monolithic. In some cases, white women voted MORE conservatively than white men!

Now, I don’t care for all of the bullshit SJW terms in the article that I linked to, but I think the author’s point is a good one. I’d add that there is a disconnect between what a highly educated woman sees as important (say, a lawyer who got passed over for a partnership) and what an uneducated one sees as important. This The Nation article is from 2016 but I think makes a good point.

And I think that there are other factors as well. For example, Stacy Abrams appears (as of the time of my writing this) to have lost a super close election for the governor’s office in Georgia. And frankly, I thought her visuals were terrible; had she looked like say, my US Rep (an African American version) or like, say, Michelle Obama…she might have gotten that extra 1 percent to have won. That is very superficial but so many things can matter in such a close race. And there is some evidence behind the conjecture that the physical appearance of the candidates matters, even for male candidates. Yes, it SHOULDN’T matter. But in a razor tight race…every minor edge or handicap matters.

November 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

2018 midterms and letdowns…

I wrote this on October 30. It aged well.

Yes, Beto’s Texas campaign paid dividends for some in House races, and yes, the Democrats did pull off some upsets in House races and flipped some statehouses. Not every result is in, but we have at least 220 House seats and will realistically pick up 7-10 more.

But some have mentioned that there is sadness, and it isn’t about the “genuine political stars” going down in flames.

Gin and Tacos wrote a post “I know why you’re sad.” And no, that isn’t it for me.

For me, almost every election, I end up voting for people that, well, I’ve worked for much of my life to AVOID being like them. Some of it is serious (e. g. the corrupt Senator from New Jersey), some absurd ( the unqualified but mega-rich governor elect of Illinois) and some of it petty (obese and in debt) Yes, I voted for one of these (though not in the primary) and would have voted for the others, had I lived in those respective states.

I suppose the dirty secret is that I really don’t like many that I’ve made political alliances with. At times, it appears that some who vote the same way that I do celebrate underachievement. Many can be just as sanctimonious as any religious nutter.

But, ultimately..I’ll let a Brit describe how I felt:

Note: I do not pretend it is any better on the other side. And yes, when I complain how the Senate gives way too much power to small states (small in population), I have no desire to listen to someone with a business degree from Bo Diddly Tech “splain” to me that “We are a Republic, not a Democracy”.

Workout notes: glorious but slow 10K run through Bradley park; leaves, hills, morning sunshine.

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics/social, running, social/political | | Leave a comment

Not the club I had intended to join…

Ok…I remember this old song

It was popular when I was a sophomore in high school…and I remember football tryouts. The coach listed the guys who made the VARSITY team…and I was one of two sophomores that made the varsity that year. I saw my name..was elated…and when I walked away, this song went through my head.

THE VARSITY. Big “V”. And I went on to start every game at offensive tackle for a team that went 8-0 and won our league and our playoff game.

And I was IN THE CLUB. So I thought. And that is how I thought that life worked; you worked hard toward a goal so you could join the next club! Oh, there were other “clubs”; e. g. those who took calculus as a senior in high school, etc.

And I carried that basic idea with me …in the military you earned promotions to higher ranks; in academia you got the Ph. D. and published your work to become a mathematician. I figured that if only I were successful enough, I could escape the world of chronic underachievement, etc.

How wrong I was.

I figured that the family of a Ph. D. would consist of Ph. D. people, each kid improving upon what the parents did. And the relatives would all be reasonably well off and professionally successful; no stupid decisions, etc.

How wrong I was.

And no, not every family of a Nobel Laureate consists of future Nobel Laureate; “regression to the mean” is real.

But I did join clubs of sorts. One such was the “club” of first generation educated people; neither of my parents even made it out of junior high (depression era; their youth was a tough time…but as adults they did extremely well for themselves though). Another “club” was those who grew up as military brats (had a parent in the military and therefore moved around a lot.

Yes, I do have some math/academic friends, but these are down to earth friendships, And there are yoga class people, bloggers, and runners/walkers/swimmers.
Now I find that I’ve been embraced by older runners including those who are far faster and more successful than I’ll ever be. There is something to be said about hanging in there even when it is more difficult.

The “clubs” I actually belong to are those of common experiences or common purposes. It really isn’t about “varsity vs. JV”.

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Friends, social/political | Leave a comment