Something of a social/political change

You’ve probably heard about the “intolerant left”. That usually applies to people on college campuses, students, liberal arts professors and the like. But until relatively recently, the mainstream rank-and-file Democrats have wanted their lawmakers to reach compromises whereas the Republicans have stressed “our way or the highway”.

Well, a combination of Trump, The Turtle and noxious right wing media have lead to a change of attitude:

You know: if you keep reaching out only to get your hand bitten off (as Obama did) and to have the Republicans act so horribly, well, there are consequences.

And yes, there has always been an intolerant right wing…

(and no, I do not like it)

The results of this Pew Poll are interesting. Though there is certainly a correlation between belief in a type of deity and belonging to a religion, there ARE atheist Catholics and believing “none of the aboves” and “atheists who accept some sort of higher power”. A lot of belonging to a religion is ..well…social.

Workout notes

Kind of tired; last night: I went to the 5:30 core strength class instead of the 6:30 yoga class (Ms. V. put us through a good ab routine).

This morning: swim (low intensity): 500 free, 250 of fly drill/fly (fins), 250 of free/back, 250 of breast/free, 250 of side/free (last 50 side), 250 of 3g/free (fins) 250 pull then 100, 50 back, 50 free (strained in vain to keep up with Jason)

weight: 199.1 before, 197.5 after.

Then running: 2 miles of .25 froggy: 5.1-5.8, then 1 mile at 5.8 (10:20 pace), retreat to 5.1-5.4 (43:50 at 4 miles), last mile in 10:35 (54:25 for 5). No foot pain. Not that hard; not in the mood to push.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, swimming | , , , , | Leave a comment

Up..then down…

Weight: 198.5 before swimming, 196.9 after. The swim: slow; 500 free, 250 of drill/swim, 250 of 25 fist, 25 free (with breaks), 250 of 25 fly drill, 25 fly (fins), 250 of 25 breast, 25 free, 250 of 25 free, 25 back, 250 pull, 4 x 50 free (tried to stay with was useless)

The run: 56:40 for 5 (34:17); did 5.1-5.5 every 5 minutes, then back down to 5.1-5.4, etc. I wanted to quit after 2 miles; not out of breath but bored and uninterested and unwilling to hurt. changing the pace kept me interested. Foot: some ache at 3.5, off and on the rest of the way. It is not 100 percent but still much better.

Touching: I got this from the Bradley Baseball team:

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Thanks Bradley Baseball!

A post shared by Ollie Nanyes (@ollienanyes) on

So, I’ll just say it: if you like sports, look beyond the mega crowd things. No, the baseball is NOT professional level, but it still very good and entertaining.
BTW, here is an excellent article about the various levels of minor league ball..and this clears up some questions I had. It also explains why I’ve seen some guys just crush the radar gun at the A level (90-100 mph at times) and yet not be quite ready for major league ball. At the pro level, the guys can hit the blistering fast balls if they know they are coming; the polished pitchers have to keep the batters off guard with a plan, change ups, moving pitches, etc.

BTW, I played at pony level, and I could hit bad high school level pitching. I couldn’t touch the better high school pitchers though.

April 24, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running, swimming | , , | Leave a comment

Formulas and blank slates

In discussions about human performance, there appears to be some notion among many that talent for every endeavor is spread equally among every population group.

That just is not true; think of Samoans in football (56 times more likely to play in the NFL than the average American), the Kalenjin tribe in Kenya in distance running, or even the Bajau in underwater diving. The frequency distribution of alleles can vary between groups of people.

I thought about the above when I read this article which talks about how African American dominance in football and basketball is NOT a good thing for African Americans.

Yes, it is entirely possible that genetics plays a role; it is possible that there is a higher percentage of genetic outliers for basketball and football among African Americans (as there are among Samoans). Of course, social factors have to play a role too; witness the DECLINE of African Americans in major league baseball(related note: at a college baseball game, I was startled to see that Chicago State’s team was predominately white; CS is a historically black college with 70 percent black students).

But that was a digression from the main thrust of the article in question which was roughly this: when black people look “for a way up” in life, they are apt to see mostly black NFL and NBA teams (as well as top college teams) and think “oh, that is what we do well” and focus on that. But the reality that only a small percentage of people from ANY group will stand a chance of being a D1 scholarship athlete and a very, very tiny percentage stand a chance of a professional sports career.

The reality is that, even for black people, the probability of becoming an engineer, accountant, lawyer, college professor, teacher, computer programmer, business owner, military officer, CEO, (etc.) is several orders of magnitude higher. THAT is the way up for all but a tiny handful of genetic outliers. On that message, the article is right on point!

Workout notes: 2200 swim, then a 5 mile treadmill run..I actually felt good.
swim: 250 free (sluggish), 5 x 50 drill/swim (fins; need to get some new ones), 5 x 100 IM with free instead of fly, then 10 x 100 (pull, free, pull, free, fins, pull, free, pull, free, pull), 100 fly practice with fins, 100 free.

run: 5 minute froggy 5.1-5.8, then final mile 6.2-6.5 (33:10, 43:38, 53:21). I actually felt..good? This wasn’t that hard. My guess: I did a very easy 5K walk after weights the day before instead of a run. The damned formula keeps changing on me as I age! By the time I figure it changes again!

Weight: 198.8 before swimming, 197.4 after.

Pain: weird jaw soreness (left side).

April 20, 2018 Posted by | education, running, science, swimming | , , , | Leave a comment

Getting passed by…

Well, I have gotten a few tasks done. I did notice that I had a bit less energy than I anticipated; in the pool I could not stay with Jason, even for a short while.

swim: 250 free, 250 drill/swim (fins), 5 x 100 (25 fist, 75 free) on the 2:10 (about 1:55 each), 4 x 100 IM (with the fly this time), 6 x 100 pull, 100 free, 100 fins, 100 free with Jason.
run: 5.1-5.5 (every mile; goosed it slightly in mile 5) 56:38. I had all sorts of grand plans of (sub 10 mpm for the final 2 miles, etc.) but was grateful just to finish 5 miles; very mild discomfort in the foot in the final mile.

Commentary: I am on the Illinois Valley Striders Facebook page, and the moderators fill it with “you can do it”, “push past the fear”, “you can do more than you think you can” stuff. That really drives home how out of touch I am.

With me: it is mostly about “dialing back” expectations! It is about managing the little aches and pains, adjusting to how my body feels on a given day, and perhaps doing a bit more (within reason!) on good days, and settle for “just doing it at all” on the tougher days. I keep thinking that there will be that one workout where my body will say: “oh, just kidding, here are your 6:30 mpm miles back” but … it hasn’t happened yet.

And that means, at least for me at the moment, a decent training pace in running is 11:30 mpm, 10 mpm is “brisk” and 9 mpm is an OMG pace. Walking: 14 is moving, 15 is brisk, 16-17 is “deliberate”. That is just how it is. Of course, part of the reason is that I have to mix up activities: 2 yoga, 2 swim, 1 bike, 2-3 walking, 3 runs, 3 weight lifting sessions per week. I don’t do any one thing enough to get significantly better at it, but I am avoiding the doctor’s office too.

Oh well, back to checking to see if my exam is correctly written.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | running, swimming, whining | , | Leave a comment

Not quite with it…here is what I think is going on…

I’ve felt off during my past 2 workouts.

This morning: 2200 yard swim, (2 km), 3 mile run, 2 mile walk (mostly outside). The run: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 for each mile but didn’t enjoy 5.4 mph, so I just stopped, walked .25 miles, then 1.75 miles outside in the wonderful weather.

The swim: 500 free, 250 of drill/swim (fins), 250 of fist/free, 5 x 100 IM (free in place of fly), 200 pull, 200 fins, 200 swim, 100 swim. 200.4 before, 198.8 after the swim.

Yesterday: weights plus 4 miles of walking (3 on the track was at 15:00 mpm). I had tried to run..but didn’t like it.

Weights: usual PT, usual abs afterward, 5-5-5, 5-5-5, 10, 10 pull ups (good), military: 2 sets of 10 x 50 standing, (dumbbell), 20 x 40, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer. bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 155, 5 x 155 (careful and conservative to protect the shoulder), 2 sets of 10 x 140 Hammer incline press. The shoulder is healing.

Later: yoga; Vickie did more of a traditional class I remember.

I had told her that I thought she had “gotten soft”. 🙂

What is going on with me: for the past couple of days, I’ve felt achy..a bit tired but not extremely so. Digestion is not smooth. Old injuries hurt just a tiny bit.
I wonder if I have a mini-bug OR if Tuesday’s run was, well, tough for me. I remember doing a similar run on Thursday of last week and then struggling in Saturday’s run.

April 12, 2018 Posted by | running, swimming, walking, yoga | , , , | Leave a comment

Believing the worst about those you hate..

First in the news: yes, the FBI raided the office of one of Trump’s lawyers. No: you do not have attorney-client privilege if you are trying to use a lawyer to commit a crime or cover it up.

This is old news, but I saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall:

There are a couple of things wrong here. One: not all of us would consider one unkind mocking a disqualifying event “on the spot”, though, IF true, it is a bad thing. This isn’t the same level, but remember Obama apologizing for making that “Special Olympics” remark (about how bad of bowler he is)?

But, more importantly, there is quite a bit of evidence that Trump uses this mannerism to mock *everyone* he wants to mock.

So, I really believe he was just mocking a reporter.

Now if you want to say that mocking people in this manner isn’t “presidential” behavior, well, I might agree with you.

I think the lesson here is that I (and many others) really want to believe the worst about those we dislike. Therefore, I must approach all “did you see what Trump just did” stories with a bit of skepticism.

Note: I really do not believe that Trump will be removed from office; I see that as a very remote possibility. And it probably isn’t helpful for Democrats to run “on impeachment”..especially those who are running in Republican held states and Congressional Districts.

But I do think things like this MIGHT help us beat him when he runs for reelection.

Personal and workout stuff (TMI)

For the past couple of days, I have not felt “Right”; lower GI while, not bad, I ache more than normal (joints, old injuries) and last night, after yoga, my right knee was somewhat unstable (too much kneeling in class?) The stomach stuff: probably our campus tragedy …that really, really bothered me. It still does..I just felt dejected .

Yesterday: weights and bike. Weights: usual PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (slow), military press: 10 x 50, 10 x 50, 15 x 45 (all standing), rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 200. bench press: dumbbell: 2 sets of 10 x 40 (full motion). incline press: Hammer: 10 x 90, 10 x 140 (45 + 25). full ab set (2:30 plank). Then 34:40 for 10 miles on the bike. Evening: yoga.

Today: swim: 250 (slow, off), 250 (better), 5 x 25 fist, 25 free, 5 x 25 drill, 25 free (fins), 3 x (100 free, 100 pull), 4 x 100 modified IM (free instead of fly), 100 pull, 50 free, 50 side.
run: 10 min: 5.1, 5.2, 5 min: 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6..up to 44:50 (4 miles), then 6.1-6.4 (every .25 miles) for 54:32

Note: this morning, my heel hurt a bit..was fine on the run for the first 30-35 minutes, then “there” for “faster” (less glacial) paced running.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | bicycling, running, social/political, swimming, weight training, yoga | , , , , | Leave a comment

Statistical Illiteracy

One of things I am most amused by are approval ratings polls. If you follow the social media of Trump haters (I do not approve of him as president), you’ll hear that his ratings are dropping..always dropping…

But Trump supporters will crow about his ratings…going up and you’ll even hear stuff like this from Trump himself:

Here is what they are linking to:

Yep, he popped above Obama …THIS POLL. Note how the TownHall screen shot managed to put that box right over the recent polls.

But what about those other polls?

Real Clear Politics polling average; (41.8 as of this writing) (40.6 approval as of this writing)

Trump vs. Obama in the Fivethirtyeight average

What is going on:

Even an average of polls shows some “fluctuation”; the polls go up and down with time, even when the trend is steady. This is due to randomness of sampling and perhaps some sample error. So, if in one poll, Trump is 38 in one poll and 40 in the next, his supporters say “Trump is gaining in the polls”. But then if he goes to 37 in the next one, Trump opponents cry “he is dropping like a rock!”

If you hang around Trump opponents, you hear only about the drops, and if you hang around supporters, he hear only about the gains.

Sam Wang got it right:

Reality: Trump is at about 41 percent approval (low for an economy in this shape) and there will be a few minor fluctuations in either direction that don’t mean much, if anything.

Workout notes; sore shoulder special swim: 250 free, 250 fins, 250 pull, 250 free, 250 free/back, 250 breast/free, 100 fins drill/swim, 100 free, 100 drill/swim, 100 swim, 100 pull, 100 swim 50 side, 50 swim. Just got it in; protected the shoulder.

treadmill run: 5 minute froggy to get to 44:50 for 4 miles, then walking (17 mpm, 16 mpm, 14 mpm, 13:30 ) to get to 59:40 for 5 miles. Foot did ok until the faster walking. Still ok.

April 3, 2018 Posted by | political/social, running, statistics, swimming | , , , , | Leave a comment

My discomfort with the reaction to the kids marching

I want to make it clear that I like that the kids are getting involved and hope it extends to..well..actual voting.

But the reaction to it…ugh. On one hand, you are having people praising their eloquence in the in their public speech..and we are urged to take them seriously.

But when what they say is critiqued…”oh, they are just kids!”

Ahem: being taken seriously involves being critiqued, sometimes harshly.

On the other hand, you have those who dismiss them as “just kids..they eat Tide Pods”…but then ..go on to critique them harshly and issue vicious personal attacks.

If they are “just kids, not to be taken seriously”, then don’t attack. You can’t have it both ways!

And yes, I know, I am on their side, issue wise, while I am very aware that mass shooting is a very unlikely cause of death in that, or any age group (though regular non-mass homicide is now the second leading cause of death in that group) automobile accidents kill more than homicides) .

Workout notes swim, then treadmill for 2 mile run (23:00), 2 mile walk (27:12). The heel was ok; hurt just a bit during the “faster” walk phase.

swim: 500 free, 5 x 25 free, 25 back, 5 x 25 breast, 25 free, 200 side, 200 of drill/swim, 200 of fist/free, 200 pull, 100 swim, 100 pull, 100 swim, 100 pull. This was a “swimming so I can remember how to” workout.

Weight: 198.6 before swimming 196.8 afterward. Yeah, one sweats when one swims.

March 30, 2018 Posted by | political/social, running, social/political, swimming, walking | , | Leave a comment

Turning the corner?

Well, no baseball for me…4 Bradley games cancelled in a row! Oh well..

I have some tasks to perform. I am amused by the Stormy interview though, especially given our FLOTUS (is there really much difference between them?) And yeah, of course, right on cue, some liberals are claiming that she is a serious businesswoman, that she shouldn’t be shamed for being a porn star, etc. When we get tribal, well, the difference between “the sides” becomes the flavor of the kool-aid.

One task I performed: I took a survey about my teaching. My current courses: a business major math course (things like present value for annuities calculation, supply/demand equilibrium, etc.) and a complex variables class. I was asked all sort of questions about whether my students were being exposed to different cultures, encouraged to be more diverse, etc. Dammit: I want the students to be able to do the frigging math! Grrr…I really wonder if some conservative critiques of college education have some merit. There really isn’t an “inclusive” way to calculate the present value of a monthly annuity with a 5 percent nominal interest rate.

Workout notes swimming, then 4 miles of running. The heel limited me slightly as I was walking TO the gym (but oh-so-slightly) and the swim loosened it up.

swim: 2200 yards, 250 free, 250 fist/free, 250 of free/back, 250 of breast/back, then 5 x (100 swim, 100 pull, and every other swim 100 started with 25 of drill). Then 200 in 3:35, and Jason just SMOKED me during this segment.

run: treadmill, slight discomfort at first but ok; my conditioning limited me much more than my heel: 11:50, 22:55, 33:38, 43:50. last mile: 5.7, 5.8, 6.0, 6.2/6.3. Best run in a while (yes, I suck that badly)

199.8 before the swim (and after breakfast and gallons of coffee), 198.0 after the swim.

March 27, 2018 Posted by | running, social/political, swimming | , , | Leave a comment

BU baseball, accountability, etc.

Last night: Bradley Baseball played its home opener (they are having a good season so far). They beat Chicago State (a team that has won a few games and been competitive in others) 16-1; the BU starter struck out 9 over 5 innings and allowed 1 hit; the game was called after 7 innings due to the score.

Though college baseball is high level and a lot of fun to watch, I did notice that some of the outfield hits would have been “outs” at a Chiefs game; at that level (“low” A), the fielders are a bit faster and get a better jump on the ball.

And that is something about sports: there is performance. If one cannot practice due to life problems, illness, or whatever, one’s performance will suffer and there will be consequences, even if the circumstances are not the fault of the individual player.

On the other hand, in the classroom, all too often students see their grade as some sort of “sign of virtue” (they tried therefore they deserve…) or a “commodity” that I have and that they want rather than a score of how they did and how much they know. Time and time again, students have told me “this is hard for me” or “I’ve got so much going on and I need this grade” as if those statements should have an effect on the grade they are assigned. They do not; I use a spreadsheet and take the names off (split screen view) ..and once in a while, I am surprised that a student gets assigned the grade that they got.

A grade can be very much like a finishing time: you run and there it is. You can’t argue that the clock keeper should spot you a few seconds because “you need it” or “you tried hard”.

Workout notes: swim, then a run/walk. The foot was a bit sorer today;

swim: 250 warm up (bad), 5 x 50 fist/drill, 500 (chased Jason; kept within one body length), 100 back, 100 breast, 4 x 100 IM (bad), 200 swim/drill, 200 (3:40), 100 (1:50), 50, 50 c/d
run: had to quit .25 miles into it..but the foot loosened up and then 2 miles in 22:50. Foot was starting to “work” so I stopped, went to the track and walked 2 miles (16 laps, lane one, plus the straight away) in 28:45. Foot felt great afterward.

I did limp just a bit coming home (at least at first).

March 23, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running, social/political, swimming, walking | , , , | Leave a comment