May baseball?

The Chiefs beat the Beloit Snappers 7-6 on a somewhat chilly day; I ended up putting on an extra sweatshirt in the final 2 innings.

The first photo shows a new Chiefs player; it is an official Chiefs photo. I added an arrow to show where we sit. It was kids day and a “senior special” Sunday (5 dollar tickets for 55 and up). There were a LOT of kids there.

What was unusual is that there were three 3-run innings; 2 for the Chiefs.

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Workout notes: this morning, easy 3 mile walk after weights:

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 4 x 185, incline: 10 x 145. military: seated, supported, 20 x 50 dumbbell, standing: 2 sets of 10 x 45. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer.
goblet squats: 5 x (25, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch 10 yoga leg lifts, 3 sets of moving bridges. Headstand: tough to get up but I made it after the third try.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | baseball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Almost felt like a training walk…

I did this 15.46 mile walk plus a .73 loop (Bradley to Glenwood, back of Bradley Hall, past the basketball arena, Main, cooper) and the segments were:

Out: 1:48:30, back: 1:47:23 (3:35:54 for 15.46) and then 10:10 for the .73 mile loop. The pace was “deliberate” but not “race”. Ok, perfect temperatures, somewhat breezy, but overall, a perfect day to walk. And yesterday, I only jogged an easy 4 miles (46 minutes) on the treadmill. 13:58 mpm for the 15.46, 3:46:04 for the 16.19 miles. (13:58).

Yes, I’ve done better but this is the best in a very long time.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | walking | Leave a comment

My own “triggers” (of knee jerk responses)

I’ve often chuckled about “trigger warnings” and snowflakey things in academia. But I have my own “triggers” which, well, set off an illogical knee jerk reaction in me. NO, I don’t need to be “warned” or protected from them. An NO, this is not the same as what is meant by the way the word is usually used (say, a war veteran being told that a science demonstration will have a loud “boom”).

1. Buzz words. When I am deciding if I want to click on the link to read an article, I look at the headline and the words. And yeah, there are certain words and phrases that trigger a “scroll past” or “look elsewhere” reaction in me.

Among those: “how scientists find that The Bible was right about….” or “privilege”, “patriarchy”, “deep state”, “misogyny”, “cultural appropriation” etc.

What gets me skeptical are titles such as “What if everything you knew about X is wrong”, or “what you don’t know about Y”.

2. People themselves. I admit this (to my shame): when I see a person about my age (or within a few years) who is obese and moving with great difficulty, I feel an automatic contempt. That, of course, is illogical as I know nothing about the history of the person (e. g., they could have had a stroke, injury, heart attack or other unfortunate physical problem) and the fact that I haven’t as yet is mostly due to genetics and good luck more than anything else. I’ve done nothing to merit “good luck” though I do practice decent health and lifestyle habits. Still, those “healthy habits” only tilt the odds in your favor; there are NO guarantees.

So I try to use my mind to get past that. But I can see where the concept of a “cursed person” comes from and why ancient people might ascribe such a condition to having angered a deity, spirit or whatever.

Workout notes; thunderstorm (which cancelled a baseball game) so I did 4 miles of “running” on my home treadmill in 46 minutes.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | Personal Issues, running, social/political | Leave a comment

College baseball thoughts (and rain)

46 F and drizzly …which was an improvement from the weather earlier in the day. Forget the lovely day we had the day before; start was delayed by 75 minutes.

The stadium was pretty empty with a few in the upper parts, under the overhang. I had on my rain pants and bombproof rain coat and was reasonably comfortable. That is weird for May baseball.

Oh yes, I also had on a thermal shirt, sweat shirt, fleece lined jeans, and water resistant boots too.

Bradley won the teeth-chattering contest 7-2 via 2 runs in the first and 5 runs in the 6’th (at which they lead 7-0); Southern Illinois hurt themselves with 4 errors. The Bradley starting pitcher did very well, getting a shutout for the first 7 innings before loading the bases in the 8’th (no outs). The first reliever had a tough time of it, getting one out prior to walking in two runs. But the next reliever retired the side without further damage.

That is one thing about college baseball: a 7-0 lead in college ball isn’t as safe as a 7-0 lead in professional baseball, due to specialty pitchers, aluminum bats, and the fielding not being quite as sharp.

Why I like it: I’ve rediscovered my love of baseball; I did play up to 2 years of pony league. But I’ve reached a point in my life where I enjoy watching others do what I could not. I’ll give but one example: when I played first base, I remember going after a pop-up. I ran, and ran and ran and ran…seemingly forever..and got to it. I had reached…the grassy part of the infield after all that running.

On the other hand, several times, the Bradley firstbaseman has caught flies that were, say, about 1/3 of the way from the bag to the fence and made it look “relaxed and easy”.

And don’t even talk about hitting; I could hit (barely) some of the younger, mediocre high school pitchers but forget about the good ones. But these guys: no problem.

And, while I enjoy watching the games and seeing the students play, I can also see the difference between the “low A” Chiefs and college ball. There are a couple of levels (“short season”, “rookie leagues”) in between.

Good stuff..I am looking forward to today’s game, weather permitting.

Workout notes: after 3 miles with Barbara last night,

I decided NOT to run though I did some goblet squats, which ARE getting easier.

weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (which felt good) 5 sets of 10, bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 140, military: 20 x 50 dumbbell, seated, supported, 2 sets of 10 x 45, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer Machine rows. Abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 3 sets of 10 moving bridge, headstand (very tough to get into yesterday…but got it)

Goblet squats: 5 x 25, 25, 45, 45, 50, 55, 65, 70

Bodyweight: 199.5 prior…after a ton of coffee, to be fair. I am going to have to drop 10 lbs. if I want do do well at a fall marathon.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | baseball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Lynnor Special training run and Bradley baseball…

I made this into a meme…saying “OMG, you can’t be serious” when I saw my time (1:41:57). It was, by 5 minutes, my slowest time “as a runner”. NOW, I am wondering: “can I even do that time”?

But a friend issued a challenge to stay up with her, and so I am training. Today, in weather conditions VERY similar to last year’s race (72 F 61 percent at the start, 76, 50 percent at the end) I slugged out a 1:49:08 training run on a hilly course, about 30 seconds faster than 2 weeks ago. 47:24, 31:26, 14:21, 15:55 (47:24, 47:22). I didn’t feel that bad at the start, but I was totally without speed, even trying to move on the downhills. I was relieved that I finished upright, but that was about it.

Then I caught a Bradley vs. Southern Illinois baseball game (11 am start, due to a Chiefs game tonight).

SIU won 8-3; they had a 3-0 lead when Bradley got 3 runs in the 3’rd, off of a home run (to start, hit, walk and triple). SIU had 2 home runs as well. SIU got 3 more runs in the 6’th and 2 more in the 8’th to put the game away. Bradley hurt themselves with 2 errors and a couple of baserunning errors (embarrassing pick off, trying to get an extra base that just wasn’t there). But SIU did get 12 hits (BU got 9).

May 18, 2017 Posted by | baseball, running | , | Leave a comment

Removal of Trump from office: yes, there is a downside

First of all, I have no training in law; I do not know (for sure) whether Trump did anything impeachable or not. It appears to me that he violated his oath of office in at least 3 areas: violation of the emoluments clause, obstruction of justice (trying to hinder the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia during the election) and his grotesquely reckless giving “beyond top secret” information to Russia (though he DOES have the power to do so).

I have read that while the Constitution says “High crimes and misdemeanors” as the standard,

Fifth, this may well be a violation of the President’s oath of office. Questions of criminality aside, we turn to the far more significant issues: If the President gave this information away through carelessness or neglect, he has arguably breached his oath of office. As Quinta and Ben have elaborated on in some detail, in taking the oath President Trump swore to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” to the best of his ability. It’s very hard to argue that carelessly giving away highly sensitive material to an adversary foreign power constitutes a faithful execution of the office of President.

Violating the oath of office does not require violating a criminal statute. If the President decided to write the nuclear codes on a sticky note on his desk and then took a photo of it and tweeted it, he would not technically have violated any criminal law–just as he hasn’t here. He has the constitutional authority to dictate that the safeguarding of nuclear materials shall be done through sticky notes in plain sight and tweeted, even the authority to declassify the codes outright. Yet, we would all understand this degree of negligence to be a gross violation of his oath of office.

And yes, I find this convincing.

The downside: the biggest one for me is that if Trump leaves office before his term is up (whatever reason) then:

1. He is going to be replaced by a conservative, and almost certainly, one with a lot more political skill. That is, the Republicans will still control both chambers of Congress and the executive AND have someone who is better situated in getting their agenda passed.

2. The replacement will have a good shot at reelection and

3. The Republicans in Congress can play the “we placed patriotism over party” card and probably better positioned to retain their seats.

So there are political minefields here. BUT, right now, I am worried about disaster and would trade Trump for some conservative who is more emotionally stable and rational, even if it hurts us politically.

I still see impeachment as a longshot though:

And yet, outside the inner circle of Republicans with access to the commander-in-chief, Trump’s popularity remains respectable, even solid. The conservative base is largely unaware of the constant revelations of Trump’s gross incompetence, or has been trained to ignore them as propaganda emanating from the administration’s enemies in the deep state or the liberal media. In red America, Trump remains a hero at best, and a competent, normal president at worst.

Recognizing competence is not a strength of red America. Remember that Trump was elected by people who see Trump as themselves, had they been born into money. And many of them probably sincerely believe that THEY could do a competent job as president.

Workout notes weights, 2 mile run, 3 mile walk.
weights: rotator cuff, 5 x 10 pull ups, incline presses: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, 3 x 160 (strict hips), military: 20 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 2 sets of 10 x 45, rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 200. headstand.

run: 20 minutes (2.08) 10:38 mile 1, 19:16 mile 2 (6.7 at 8 minutes then up by .1 ever .25 miles)
walk: 5K Bradley Park course (easy)

May 17, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Why talking to “the opposition” is so unpleasant ….

Ok, I read this vox article which tries to makes this a “both sides” type of thing:

If you ever thought, “You couldn’t pay me to listen to Sean Hannity / Rachael Maddow / insert any television pundit you violently disagree with here” — you are not alone.

A study, recently published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, essentially tested this very question.

Two hundred participants were presented with two options. They could either read and answer questions about an opinion they agreed with — the topic was same-sex marriage — or read the opposing viewpoint.

Here’s the catch: If the participants chose to read the opinion they agreed with, they were entered into a raffle pool to earn $7. If they selected to read opposing opinion, they had a chance to win $10.

You’d think everyone would want to win more money, right?

No. […]

Frimer also tested people’s knowledge of the opposing side. Largely, the partisans were unfamiliar with their viewpoints. So it’s not the case that people are avoiding learning about the other side because they’re already familiar. What’s going on here is “motivated ignorance,” as Matt Motyl, one of the study co-authors calls it.

The last paragraph: I’d love to see how this study measured that. Here is why: at least on Facebook, I really DO know what the other side is going to say, at least the yahoos and sad sacks that I see. Now, I’d LOVE to see what an intelligent, informed conservative thinks, but I rarely see such conservatives on social media. I just see a collection of dummies or those who, while smart enough to have professional success, use all of their thinking power “on the job” and give little effort to understanding the facts behind the issues of the day; what you get from them is basically “knee jerk, bumper sticker” quality stuff, sans the spelling and grammatical errors.

So, I am not interested when they try to tell me that the Bible is a reliable guide to science (or history, or much anything else for that matter, save perhaps some insight to what people of that time thought). I am not interested in hearing that Obama was Muslim born in Kenya or that Benghazi or Fast and Furious was an impeachable offense, or that the ACA was a government takeover of our health care system.

These imbeciles might KNOW what we should do in Korea, but don’t even know where it is!

But truth be told, there are liberals I’d rather not talk to either. These are the type that scream about “cultural appropriation“, safe spaces, trigger warnings and the like.

Yeah, most of us (myself included) are mistaken about a lot of things, but the subset of intellectual average (or worse) people who are SURE that they are right and sanctimonious to the point where their positions are dogma are the worst ones to deal with, and I’d rather not engage with them on my free time.

May 16, 2017 Posted by | social/political | Leave a comment

Critiquing Trump: big deals, usual critiques and silliness

Yes, this is a big deal. In a meeting with Russian officials, Trump blurted out highly sensitive information, which we now know was obtained from Israel.

Yes, this is a big deal. Not only might this get a source killed, it might make Israel less likely to share stuff with us, and it might make our own intelligence people less likely to tell POTUS what they know.

But even worse (if that is possible), is that our Republican political leadership is unwilling to do anything about it, since they feel that they can get their precious tax cuts if DJT remains in office with at least a little bit of credibility.

Paul Krugman has a good tweetstorm on that topic:

But will this matter to the rank and file Republican? Sadly: probably not, or at least “not much”; they will see this as the usual “back and forth” that goes on with any president.

I remember that I went through something like this at the governor level: yes, I voted for Blagojevich a second time. Yes, I heard the dissension but around here, and I even backed his primary opponent to the point of giving him money. And the Republicans lie and overblow things so much that I didn’t believe them, at least at first. Then I began to have doubts, but was told by one “sort of party insider” that people were angry at him because they didn’t get the expected patronage.

It turns out that the Republicans were actually telling the truth!!! That is one vote that I wish I had back.

Happily, the Democratic legislature did the right thing and impeached him.

So what to make of Trump? Note, I am limiting myself to stuff he does AFTER becoming president; Russian interference in our election (along with possible collusion) is a different matter.

First there is the silly stuff. I don’t care how he likes his steak, how many scoops of ice cream he has, that he is fat, or that he doesn’t have a dog.

Then there is the usual partisan stuff, when he does Republican things, I am not going to like them. But elections do have consequences. I’ll speak my mind but this is the normal partisan push-back.

Next: any President has to make decisions and those will be critiqued. An example of this was Trump’s decision to bomb that Syrian airfield. I saw that as a rather futile gesture that really had no impact but I can see many Presidents doing this. But these decisions will always attract scrutiny. And some of what he tries won’t work out. Yes, Obama had a few policy misses too, but these were hardly “unfit for office” stuff, no matter how much the morons on Facebook and Twitter scream.

Then there is the “he isn’t behaving in a Presidential manner” stuff. I think that this is important, but not to the degree “we have reason to remove this man from office” important. I do not like the way he criticizes private citizens; I think that he sets a very poor example in this area. No president in my memory did anything like this. This is ugly, but, well, a large minority of people (not even a plurality!) voted for this or at least did not see it as disqualifying.

Finally, there is the “unfit for office” stuff: these are his sneering at the emoluments clause (profiting from his office), his nepotism and now, this impulsive giving out highly sensitive intelligence because he wants to show off, and his attempts to interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation. Yes, I see Trump as unfit for office.

May 16, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

One challenge of being an older “runner wannabe”…

I thought that I might try to do 8 miles-to 15K. When I got to 2.5 miles, I found myself shuffling at a 12 minute pace and realized it was not going to work. So I switched to running all of the uphill and downhill parts and walking the flats and finished just over 5 miles in 1:07-1:08 (delay at a light). And the workout became fun! Oh, it didn’t do that much for me, but the point was to “save it for another day”; I probably haven’t fully recovered from Sunday’s tough 14 mile walk at 14:30 mpm. Oh, that isn’t a fast walking time, but it was challenging for me, at this time.

I am simply too heavy right now (too close to 200 lbs) and, well, what worked for me in the past 4-5 years doesn’t work now. I need more recovery days; it is probably time to bring back swimming as cross training.

And I think that I’ve reached the point where I have to choose. I ran run or walk, but perhaps not both. What I mean: I can run enough to, say, do the occasional 5K at 27:xx but if I wish to train enough to have a good shot at walking a sub 6 hour marathon, I need to focus on walking and maybe have a few training runs (and an occasional 5K race) scattered here and there. I have to choose. And to be honest, right now, walking feels much more natural.

And that is the challenge for me: for a long period of time, one formula “worked”. Now the “best formula for me”, at least when it comes to running or walking, appears to change every couple of years or so. What worked in 2012-2013 no longer works.

May 16, 2017 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

We will always talk past one another

Interesting. I see things like this:

Or read articles like this one (about conflating affordable health care with personal responsibility)

Or even articles like this one (saying that our growing economic inequality is making us more and more like a 3’rd world country).

And often, my conservative friends and I agree on the facts. Seriously. The issues are:

1. Ok, who is to blame for this? Yes, that is an important question (*) thought that might sound strange.

2. Ok, what is the best way forward toward resolving this problem?

It appears to me that, in general, conservatives assign more agency to the individual. For example: are people behaving responsibly, or are they, say, just going around and making women pregnant without having any means of supporting a kid? Yes, that DOES happen:

Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

Note: this article is from a “bleeding heart” perspective; it goes on to attempt to absolve such “fathers” of their behavior.

Poor health? It is undeniably true that, at least statistically speaking, much of our poor health comes from terrible habits (overeating smoking, etc.).

So, our conservative friends tend to trace many of our social problems to defects in human behavior rather than as something that society bears direct responsibility for.

And you know what? I don’t see our conservative friends as being completely wrong or as being crazy.

Why do I remain a liberal? For one, there is evidence that demand side economics works (stimulation at the bottom of the economy indeed trickles up) and well planned public aid at the bottom of the economy can reduce the chances of ending up on it later in life.

Another reason is that, statistically speaking, pathological social behavior tends to follow poverty rather than be the cause of it. Some evidence for this theory: look at what has happened within some previously non-poor groups.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I think that people don’t have agency or bear some personal responsibility. I still exercise and carry out my professional duties, and my degrees were not handed to me. I worked for them (while enjoying, yes, taxpayer funded subsidies which I want others to have access to as well).

But those born in harsh socio-economic circumstances have a much, much smaller margin of error and effort only goes so far.

Think of it this way: I could probably improve my running my losing, say, 30 lbs. and running more and running harder. But there is NOTHING I could do to become competitive. My effort can move the needle, but only so much.

And it is my opinion that those born into the bottom can only escape with an enormous amount of effort, and those who do are probably those with an almost an outlier amount of talent.
Of course, it happens, but right now, it is my opinion that it is, for structural reasons, an event whose probably is too low to be considered “fair and just”.

Sure, some who have no excuse fail anyway. There will always some of these. And given a level playing field, some will always do a whole lot better than others. I accept that.
But I don’t see the playing field as being level.

(*) if you disagree that “blame” is not important, ask yourself this: two people need a new liver to be able to live. One is a typical person who got an unfortunate disease. Another is someone who suffered internal injuries while they were attempting a robbery. Who gets priority?

workout notes: weights then an easy 3 mile walk outside (too pretty not to)
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170 (empty gym, no spotters..had to stay conservative), incline: 10 x 135, military: 20 x 50 dumbbell, seated, supported, 2 sets of 10 x 45 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer machine.
Abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving bridges. Headstand (relatively easy today).
And goblet squats (between upper body stuff): 5 x (25, 25, 45, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70). These ARE getting easier.

May 15, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment