Good intentions…bad results …

I read yet another editorial that calls for “abolishing requiring the SAT/ACT for college admissions” (which, to be sure, isn’t the same as placement into a program)

I know that the issue is worth talking about but one thing: what might work for one university might not work for another.

Yes, there are some elite universities that turn away thousands of students who CAN do the work. (example: Admiral Nimitz, of WW2 fame, was rejected by West Point but did well at Annapolis)

BUT that is certainly not the case at many (most?) universities. And when one looks at high school transcripts, seeing a student got a grade of A in, say, high school calculus does not really say that much either; I’ve seen many such students fail to place into freshman calculus ..and even struggle greatly in a pre-calculus class! Variation between high schools and grade inflation really make it difficult to screen based on high school transcripts alone.

And, eventually, some high schools develop reputations of sending underprepared students to college…so a student from such a school might well suffer from their school being “profiled” as low quality. So, an entrance exam score could well mitigate that effect.

So, my preferred method of affirmative action would be to take student backgrounds into account, as well as college entrance scores, at least for an institution like mine.

Workout notes: easy outer loop hike yesterday (3 miles), 2 mile walk after weights today.

I did my standard PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups, decline: 10 x 135, 7 x 175, incline: 10 x 140, military (2 sets of 10 x 50 standing dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine, 3 sets of 3 x 210 Hammer rows).

Usual abs; 2:30 of plank still was uncomfortable.


May 23, 2018 Posted by | hiking, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Taking nothing for granted

Yesterday started well enough; my walk was slow but ok (16:10 mpm)

3:01 for this course. Too slow but what the heck.

I even got 2 innings of baseball (Chiefs won in 11 innings)

Lots of elbow room. Was it something I said?

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The day ended with everyone being ok (nothing life threatening, or even long term life degrading) but it isn’t how I would have chosen to spend the day.

But it makes me more grateful for the many times when I DO have choices on how I spend my day..that really is “most of the time”.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

I was going to talk about “victimhood culture”

and yes, it is still a thing, on college campuses and, well, off of them too.

But, we had another mass shooting at a school, this one in Santa Fe, Texas which is in Galveston County (Trump 60-35 in 2016) and which is in TX-14, which is represented by Randy Webber who has a grade of A from the NRA.

Nothing will be done, aside from empty platitudes, “thoughts and prayers” and the locals saying that we need to turn to Jesus, or something. Yes, there were armed guards at this school.

So, the kids are going to flock to the polls and make the NRA pay? Uh, perhaps not.

Workout notes
I walked 4 miles total; 2 to and from Dozer Park. I also lifted: usual PT, usual abs (and yes, plank sucks: 2:30)
pull ups (5 sets of 10, good), bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (no spotter), 6 x 175 decline, 10 x 140 incline, 2 sets of 10 x 50 standing dumbbell military, 10 x 45, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer rows.

Weight: 200.6 before lifting (after breakfast), 199.6 after. hovering right at 200, save a dehydrated day or two.

May 18, 2018 Posted by | social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Sadness of Twitter; joy of a game…

Staycation day 3: workout, Chiefs game, a lovely lunch and then yoga class tonight. Love it.

But first about Twitter: there was a tweet from a pundit that talked about Trump “sinking”.
He really isn’t:

I added the smoothed green line to show the general trend. Not much to see here; it dipped a little and rose a little; right now it is between 42-44 percent, depending on which poll aggregate you use.

The above is from Fivethirtyeight (they weight the polls differently, according to accuracy, partisan bias, etc.)

And yes, on the whole, Trump ranks lower than Obama at the same point in their respective administrations:

So, that is clear enough? Well, no…I added that Trump was inching up but “still low” and some Trump supporter attempted to correct me by relying on the Rasmussen poll; the “most accurate” he says (not so fast; though it did have the most accurate “last national poll prior to the election” if one disregards margin of error and disregards how scattered they were in the previous days prior to the election)

And he really “got me” when he gave me a screen shot of the Real Clear Politics aggregate of the various states…one which called the close states ….toss ups (and did give Wisconsin a “lean Clinton”).
Clearly he does not understand what “toss up” means..never mind knowing what “stochastic” means.

And so it goes with Twitter discussions: people who don’t know what they are talking about decide to “educate” you. So I just up and blocked him; I am not going to waste my time with such people, even if they aren’t as nasty as others.

But on the other side of things: you see things like “Trump is sinking”, “blue wave” (unlikely…MAYBE we eek out a win in one chamber), etc.

I think that, when it comes to politics, I’ll just refrain from engaging and focus on reading articles.

The joy of a game

The Peoria Chiefs once again jumped on the relief pitching of the Clinton Lumberkings and rallied from 5-1 down in the top of the 8’th to win 7-5. The Clinton starter kept the Chiefs at bay and allowed 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 6 in 5 innings. But they went to a reliever in the 6’th (evidently his number of pitches were up) and the first reliever did fine for 2 innings. But the second one came in at the bottom of the 8’th and it was batting practice for the Chiefs: they got 6 runs off 2 walks and 5 hits as the Chiefs batted around.

Once again, it was a kid’s matinee and once again, Vickie was fun company.

Second kids matinee game. Vickie is on the left.

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And I got photobombed by Homer, the Chiefs mascot.

The work
Yes, I walked the 2 miles to the game and got a ride back from Vickie.

Weights: rotator cuff, pt, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (good), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 155, decline: 8 x 170, military: 10 x 50 standing, 2 sets of 10 x 45 (note: I could not swing the 55’s into position in the seated, supported)
Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

usual abs, and yeah, the 2:30 plank sucked, as usual. It always does.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | baseball, Friends, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Peoria Race for the Cure decline (but with a silver lining)

This weekend’s Peoria Komen Race for the Cure had just over 5500 participants, including 216 in the “time run” division. I remember back in 2012, there were 201 men running and over 840 females; in fact, I “won” an age group award in the 50-54 male division but would not have placed in the same age group among the women! (reason: the larger female division attracted good runners; most of the men were people like me).

This Peoria Journal Star article from 2015 has a nice timeline of the Peoria race:

1986: The first Race for the Cure outside of Dallas is in Peoria, established by the Junior League of Peoria. The first Peoria race had 1,275 entrants raising $20,000.


1995: Peoria Race for the Cure registration reaches a record number of 15,000 on the race’s 10th year.

(personal note: someone I know wore shiny purple spandex leggings to this…with clear as a bell “V” shaped VPLs….with the most feeble “my long shirt will cover this…(nope)” excuse. 🙂


2001: Record number of participants with 27,547. For the first time, one of the race co-chairs also runs the race, Jo Bertolino.


2005: Peoria’s Race for the Cure opens to both men and women. Peoria was the last site to allow men to participate in the Race for the Cure. The first year for Kids for the Cure.

My note: in these years, the men started several minutes behind the women..


In 2010: there were still 18,000. There were 824 timed runners.

In 2013, the men and women started together. I missed having the women to catch.

But the numbers have fallen off…and evidently that has not just been here. Some really resented men being included, but remember that there were still 18000 participants in 2010..5 years after men had been included. My guess is that the 2012 rift (where funding was cut off to Planned Parenthood) was a major factor; this hurt them with liberal women and reversing the decision angered some conservative women.. This further put their spending under a microscope …and how much “cure” is there in their spending?

As for me: well, I still like the race (and even prefer a less crowded course, which is the silver lining for me) and so fell on the “participate” side of skepticism. But in terms of size and scope, it clearly isn’t what it once was.

Workout notes my legs were a bit heavy from this weekend so my walk was an easy 2 miler. But first came weights: leisurely pace. shoulder pt:

pull ups: 2 sets of 5-5-5-5, 1 set of 10 (these went well today; the 4 sets of 5 with brief rests are challenging)
bench press: the physics profs were there so I had a spotter: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 1 x 195, 1 x 200, 4 x 185
decline: 10 x 170
incline: 10 x 135
military: failed with 55 dumbbell seated, 10 x 50 dumbbell standing, 2 sets of 10 x 45
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer
abs: usual twist crunch (50, 24), moving bridge, yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 10), headstand (easy), planks: 2:30 (sucked), side.
Then came the walk.

Lifting is just plain weird. The weights do not feel heavier than they did 20-30 years ago; I merely lack the strength to make the lift. It is as if my muscle has been replaced by jello. I talked to a former Bradley athlete who is in his late 80’s and he had some interesting observations. One was that his MIND has slowed down..and his mind is very much involved in his athletic movements.

Mine really isn’t; in terms of kinesthetic intelligence, I am “special needs”. I often have no idea what my body is doing..only a mental video of what I *think* it is doing…and that video often does not match reality. I had a a terrible time when I was growing up.

I remember once embarrassing my dad at a baseball game; I was at bat, hit a pop fly and fell down in the batter’s box when I tried to run to first. I got back up but was thrown out (they dropped the fly..hey it was Little League). Dad came up to me in the dugout and said that he would pull me from the team if I couldn’t do any better than that. Yes, he was man enough to apologize to me later in the day. But the fact remains my body is easily confused; that is one reason that I am a dreadful trail runner; if someone is with me in, say, a road 5K, they will probably crush me in a trail race (if they have any experience at all).

Oh..that was a digression. But the point is that an athlete ages a bit differently than the rest of us as his/her mind is very much a part of their sport, and the mind declines with age.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | running, social/political, spandex, walking, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Mother’s Day walk

10.6 course (no goose loop), 15:20 pace…all ok with me (2:42).

Along the way, I saw a charming goose family and did NOT get dive bombed by red wing black birds.

Goose family along the Illinois River

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Yes, it is Mother’s Day.

She spoke Spanish fluently (it was her first language) and helped the Clinton Campaign out in 2008. 2016 would have been heart breaking for her.

She started me on math; she always told me that EVERYTHING involved mathematics and that if I learned it, I could do anything. I remember her cutting up paper to teach me how to add fractions (common denominator) well before I got to first grade.

She was also a realist; when she saw a class graduation photo, she felt a twinge of anguish for some of the pain the young people were going to face.

And there is a sort of long winded story I want to tell.

Way back in 1974, I started for the Yokota High football team as a sophomore ..the only one to start (and only 1 of 2 on the team). We dominated league play and finished undefeated; we shut out our final 4 opponents and had only one game closer than 20 points. So we filled up the “post season all conference team” with “first team” and “honorable mention”. Exactly ONE starter on our team did NOT get post season honors. Guess who?

Frankly, I was hurt and bitter at the time; I saw those I whipped on the field getting those honors. Now there was a good reason; they wanted to spread them some and I was only a sophomore. But I was an immature 15 year old.

Now we were all given a nice black and white team photo..which I neglected to pick up. The coach seemed surprised that I was indifferent to it. My mom told me to pick it up and take care of it…”there will come a time when you’ll look back and think “wasn’t I in good shape…then?” ”

It turns out that she was least in principle. I didn’t hit my physical peak until I was in my early to mid 20’s (in terms of lifting and running” and mid to late 40’s in terms of extreme endurance sports (5K swim, 100 mile walk). But yes, I DO look back on my life and think…”dang, was that really me?”

One other mom story I was a pretty self righteous little shit (ok, one that weighed 200-220 lbs) and my mom caught me saying derogatory things about prostitutes. She tried to explain that I really wasn’t fit to make such harsh judgments..and she knew how to talk to me. She assigned me to read The World of Suzie Wong by Richard give me some insight into a type of life that I never knew firsthand. It helped.

And so, I will continue to miss my mom’s company, our long talks and her wisdom about the ups and downs of life.

May 13, 2018 Posted by | books, family, walking | | Leave a comment

I think that some disgust is normal…

First: a note about why academia is under some ridicule. This incident, while not that important in and of itself, is seen as representative of what is going on today:

A female student at Cornell University stripped down to her underwear—twice—before presenting her senior thesis to professors and other students.

The student was attempting to strike a blow against the patriarchy, repudiating her media arts professor’s advice to dress up for the presentation. Yet I can’t help but wonder: On what planet is this not a violation of Title IX, the federal anti-harassment statute that so many college administrators cite when cracking down on problematic, sexually charged behavior?

The student, Letitia Chai, was practicing her presentation in class while wearing cutoff jean shorts. That outfit, The Cornell Daily Sun reports, drew a rebuke from professor Rebekah Maggor, who asked, “Is that really what you would wear?”

“I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress,” Maggor later clarified in an email to the Sun. “I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.” Indeed, the syllabus warns students to “dress appropriately for the persona” they plan to present.

Hmmm, so we have a professor who seems apologetic about suggesting appropriate attire for a presentation and a young woman who strips down to her underwear to “fight the patriarchy”?

By the way, I’ve been to quite a few student presentations. They almost always wear nice clothes.

And now to a more serious matter: public policy. Paul Krugman constantly attacks Republicans for their attitude about social safety nets; in this case, their attack on SNAP:

But however petty Trump’s motives, this is a big deal from the other side. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that new work requirements plus other restrictions proposed by House Republicans would end up denying or reducing nutritional aid to around two million people, mostly in families with children.

Why would anyone want to do that? The thing is, it’s not just Trump: Conservative hatred for food stamps is pervasive. What’s behind it?

The more respectable, supposedly intellectual side of conservative opinion portrays food stamps as reducing incentives by making life too pleasant for the poor. As Paul Ryan put it, SNAP and other programs create a “hammock” that “lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.”

But this is a problem that exists only in the right’s imagination. Able-bodied SNAP recipients who should be working but aren’t are very hard to find: A vast majority of the program’s beneficiaries either are working — but at unstable jobs that pay low wages — or are children, elderly, disabled or essential family caregivers.

Oh, and there’s strong evidence that children in low-income families that receive food stamps become more productive and healthier adults, which means that the program is actually good for long-run economic growth.

Krugman points out that the program really isn’t that expensive; it is the very act of helping “losers” that burns them:

In the end, I don’t believe there’s any policy justification for the attack on food stamps: It’s not about the incentives, and it’s not about the money. And even the racial animus that traditionally underlies attacks on U.S. social programs has receded partially into the background.

No, this is about petty cruelty turned into a principle of government. It’s about privileged people who look at the less fortunate and don’t think, “There but for the grace of God go I”; they just see a bunch of losers. They don’t want to help the less fortunate; in fact, they get angry at the very idea of public aid that makes those losers a bit less miserable.

So, IF this is true, why is it true? Well, there are certainly stupid, unpleasant people getting public aid:

But is this most of them? Realistically: probably not. But I can say this:

1. Disgust at freeloaders is probably innate; my guess is that this probably stems from human evolution; after all we spent tens to hundreds of thousands of years barely eking out an existence; a freeloader could well damage our clan or tribe in a serious way.

2. We also evolved to reason inductively; we go by what we see and extend it. Example: most of the people I know either grew up around me or around family members; by definition we had roughly the same opportunities. In come cases, we had the same parents. And the ones who ended up mostly dependent on public aid are the ones who made stupid decisions after stupid decisions and EXPECTED other family members to bail them out..over and over and over again. They were all “don’t tell me what to do” when they were about to something stupid and irresponsible, but when the consequences came, they had their hands out..over and over again.

This was the old Ant and Grasshopper:

One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

“Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.

Now, it really isn’t as simple as all that..that much is true. Accidents happen, illnesses happen, lay offs happen, businesses go bankrupt and mistreat workers, and people get abused by others. And yes, some are born into situations where they have less opportunity from the get-go and zero margin of error; no one to give them that lower interest loan to tide them over, etc. Anecdotes are not data (until you have a LOT of them anyway).

So, ultimately, I agree with Krugman’s point and support such programs…all the while having some disgust toward the slackers and the idiots, some of who will be helped by such programs. It is impossible to have a program that only benefits the “virtuous poor”. The benefits of these programs outweigh the downsides.

Workout notes Ooops on the food choices: 203.6 was what I weighed before lifting…but yesterday I ate “high bloat” foods. Still..I like to be below 200.

usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10: these went ok), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 175 (got lazy), 10 x 135 incline, 8 x 165 decline, military: 10 x 50, 15 x 45, 20 x 40 dumbbell, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, usual abs, 2:30 of plank sucked. 2.1 mile walk at just under 16 mpm

Tomorrow I race my first 5K since last October or so..first race of any kind since last December. Foot will be time will be ghastly.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | education, political/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment


My jaw aches just a bit due to crown preparation. It isn’t too bad though.

Yesterday’s workout: weights (usual pt, pull ups (5 x 10, rough), 10 x 135, 6 x 150 incline, 7 x 165 decline, military 10 x 50 dumbbell, 15 x 45 dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer rows, usual abs; 2:30 of plank sucked. Then 16 laps of the track in 28:07 plus one more lap.

Today: 10K course (6.3 miles) in 1:15; just a shuffle after breakfast. I need start focusing on beating Lynnor!

May 11, 2018 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

How they see us…

This is a reasonably accurate view of how many Republicans view us. So I will discuss these, one by one. And yes, I will be speaking for myself. And yes, one each of these points, save perhaps the last one (no, abortion is NOT murder) and the one about “persecuting Christians” (no sane American wants anything resembling “persecution”) you will find at least a few liberals that the points apply to..and yes, some really do not believe in prisons, at all.

Let illegals in: this one is interesting. If you dig deep enough, it is certain INDUSTRIES that want illegal immigrants; they can get away of paying their workers less AND being a bit harsher. What you are seeing from liberals is that we want a realistic solution for those who are already here; you just aren’t going to bus them all back. And many of us take..yep..Ronald Reagan positions.

Remember that Republicans used to speak THIS way:

Yes, there are a few “people have the right to go anywhere in the world they want to go, regardless of borders” liberals; you can find them. But they aren’t mainstream.

Let criminals out Yes, there are a few (very few) who believe in no prisons at all. But what most of us want is more equitable criminal justice (e. g. not jailing people for years over marijuana, more even sentencing, more leeway for judges to use individual judgment in cases, etc. But we don’t want dangerous criminals in our neighborhoods any more than Republicans do.

coddle the lazy Ok, this might have a bit of truth in it for more (but by no means all) liberals. There are many who make excuses for any behavior (like this). But many of us take a somewhat more nuanced view.

First of all, there are people who genuinely need it (even conservatives accept this). And there is a balances between making the program usable and efficient and putting in so many “catch the slackers” checks that the programs either become unusable or more expensive than necessary (e. g. drug tests for welfare).

There is also research which shows that some types of welfare (for kids) leads to kids being LESS likely to need it when they become adults. It also provides some “bottom up” stimulus to the economy.

So…I see it as a nuanced situation with benefits and some potential harms (yes, dependency is real)

And yes, some who are now perpetually dependent have a lifetime of stupid, irresponsible decisions. Of course, most who have ever used welfare are not chronically dependent on it.

persecute Christians Ok, while it is true that many liberals do not accept that any religion should dictate what the rest of us should do, to think that there is anything above a crackpot level of support for a genuine persecution of Christians is absurd. And no, saying that others shouldn’t be a captive audience to your prayers at a public event is hardly “persecution” Calling creationism a discredited crackpot theory is not persecution.

demonize police officers Ok, you can find a few liberals who do. Yes, there have been outrageous chants directed at police at some BLM rallies. But what MOST of us want is more equitable law enforcement: for people to not be singled out because of their race. You’d think that wanting people to be judged for what THEY actually do rather than what some who might share a skin tone with them do is, well, a deeply conservative idea.

Here is a REPUBLICAN talking about the matter; I think that he gets it right.

let boys in Girl’s bathrooms This is so new, and yes, when there is an underdog group that is being attacked, liberals tend to rally around. But this is a seriously complicated issue. And we have to ask ourselves: why do we want sex specific bathrooms? Once we can answer that question, then we can move further.

And yes, IMHO, something like bathrooms are different than, say, locker rooms..many biological females would not be comfortable seeing “transwomen with male genitals”.

tolerate and accept radial Islam This is where there is a mixture of dishonesty and misunderstanding on both sides. Yes, many liberals are too reluctant to call out the excesses of Islamic states and the noxious, bigoted, and religiously approved actions from some Muslim communities around the world. And some of the ones to call liberals to task over this are, well, other liberals.

On the other hand, I’d assume that most US Muslims are here because they want a society where there IS freedom. And, no Republicans: my saying that US Muslims should have the same rights to build mosques that Christians have to build churches does not mean that I support ISIS. PS: US conservatives have a great deal more in common with conservative Muslims than I do…women’s rights, gay rights, etc.

advocate for the murder of the unborn As long as you conflate abortion with murder, we may as well not even talk. To conflate the two is absurd.

Workout notes weights and a fun 2 mile walk.

weights: usual PT, pull ups (4 sets of 10, one 5-5, these were rough), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 175, incline: 10 x 135, military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 standing dumbbell, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, usual PT, 2:30 of plank still sucked…evening: yoga with Ms. V was especially good.

May 8, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Embracing Reality

This is an appropriate topic given that I gave my last final of the academic year; of course the reality is that I now have to grade them. 🙂

Political reality If you followed my Twitter and Facebook feed, you’d guess that Trump’s ratings are in the tank and that he is going down soon. But his actual ratings, while not good..ok, they are still bad, given where the economy is…are UP..not down.

Real Clear Politics 44.4 as opposed to the 37-38 they were in December 2017.

Fivethirtyeight 42.1, as opposed to the 36-37 they were in December. That is about 6 points below where Obama’s were at a similar period..though Obama’s numbers were taken when the economy was barely starting to recover.

Walking Walking weather was downright glorious this morning…I couldn’t have ordered better weather. I used “Map My Walk” to measure what I thought was a 5.2 mile course…to find it was 5.2 miles.

I averaged 14:15 mpm walking on a sort of hilly course. I was pleased as this was faster than recent walks (and I wasn’t really pushing it that hard; I was being “deliberate”)..and my feet did not hurt!

But the reality: I averaged about that pace back in 2004..during my 24 hour walk (23:40 for 100 miles). Sigh…

Peoria Chiefs: I caught last night’s 12-3 victory over the South Bend Cubs. I saw a couple of home runs, a “clear the bases” double with bases loaded, etc.

My yoga teacher paid me a visit and watched 2-3 innings with me:

Guess who? That is Vickie ( my yoga teacher) and me. I am on the right.

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Here is the other one.

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Jedi Homer.

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Norm and Al are back!

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South Bend Cubs at Peoria Chiefs: Cubs vs. Cardinals, A style.

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It was a fun evening.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking | , , | Leave a comment