Being sure and being exasperated

1. Most important issues are very complex, with many layers to them. And often there is no one optimal answer; often the choice is between “less evil” solutions. And there are many factors, some which are missed by some smart people who have thought long and hard about such issues.

Therefore I am surprised…(ok, disgusted) that so many, well, non-experts are so confident in their opinions on such subjects. Yes, I can see rejecting crackpot positions (creationism, anti-vaccination views) but many issues go well beyond “rejecting the crackpot”. And when the issues have any brush with politics, the zealots are the most likely to be uninformed.

2. I do have one advantage: while I tend to associate with liberals, I grew up on Air Force bases and spent some time in the Nuclear Navy. So I had the pleasure of having some brilliant, accomplished conservative friends, and I got to know at least a bit of their frame of reference, even if it is one I do not share.

3. But when I find myself getting exasperated by liberals…well, the conservatives I end up attempting to talk to online,…well, for the most part…tend to be downright awful. In their world: the political process gives slackers, deadbeats and losers too much say in things like tax policy, taxes are theft from the winners to give to the losers, white Christians are the most discriminated against group in the United States, Trump is a “man of the people” and the US is constantly being picked on by other lesser, green-with-envy countries. Black Lives Matter is just police hate and criminal coddling and statistical black underachievement in the economy is mostly the result of bad culture, sloth and bad attitude.

Oh, and science is “junk science” when you talk about climate change and evolution..but to believed when it backs up what they believe. (ok, liberals too, are pretty selective when it comes to accepting science)

And of course, we are a Christian nation, and while some other religious people (Jews) are tolerated, atheists are really heathens who are merely defiant about the One True God. Oh sure, Trump isn’t religious at all…but you know, he is the “broken vessel” in the way that King David was.

Anyhow, there is nothing for me in modern conservatism (Trumpism).


June 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, ranting, social/political | Leave a comment

Confessions of a wimpy lifter…

Ok, an older wimpy lifter.

No, I am not this bad.

But I’ll confess to a few things:

1. I often quit a set when I still have a few reps to squeeze out. Yes, I know this goes against everything I believe in. But here is an example of what usually happens: I was doing decline bench presses.

No, I look nothing like this guy. 🙂

I had 7 reps with 170 and felt that I had a few more in me. But, I also remember tweaking my shoulder a few weeks ago…when I tried to squeeze out those final two reps. So I just set the bar on the rack.

I am at the point where the extra potential gains from an extra rep or two do not offset the potential of having to lay off a month or two due to injury. That is just how it is.

2. I haven’t improved in years. Oh yes, in 2017 I did get up to 7 x 185 in the bench (do 4-5 reps lately) but I had let my weight get up to 205 lbs. That hasn’t changed since, oh, about 2009-2010 or so. I’ve been weak for a long time and it isn’t getting any better. I do hit mini peaks and mini valleys but those are really local.

3. Pull ups: those last couple of reps in each set; probably would not count in a competition..especially on my 4’th a 5’th set of 10. I do NOT swing much though; too afraid to. And yes, the middle finger of my left hand is a bit sore right now, so I used a grip that protects it.

4. I am embarrassed at how weak I am; I try to get to the weight room when there are few people there. Reality: a younger guy who lifts regularly and is within shouting distance of my weight (200 lb or so, though I’ve been as light as the high 180’s), well, they will be a LOT stronger than I am.

5. The weights do not feel any heavier than they once did; it is just that I don’t have enough strength to make the lift. E. G., 200 lb. on the bench feels like it always did; but now I can get it..ONCE as opposed to the 11 times I could get bodyweight when I was in my 20’s. And forget 300-310…that felt heavy to me, but I got it (albeit at a bodyweight of 226). Now I could not even get it off of the rack.
It is as if someone put a straw into my muscles and sucked out all of the muscle and filled it with jello. My height, weight, and even waist size hasn’t changed much but the “filling” has changed.

Workout notes: weights (usual pt and abs, yes, I did plank and yeah, I hated it (2:30)), pull ups: 4 sets of 10, 5-5, incline: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, decline: 7 x 170, military; 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, walk on the track: 2 miles in 27:47 (14:15, 13:32), lane 2, deliberate to modest effort. Did enough to get sweaty.

Baseball: caught a game with Barbara last night; Vickie was there too but did not sit with us.

Early before the Chiefs vs. Snappers.

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Though the Chiefs started out with a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Beliot rallied and just whipped the Chiefs 6-3. Sometimes a team with a worse record whips a team with a better record. The Chiefs started a pitcher that threw a no-hitter a week earlier; he gave up 8 hits and 3 runs this time. Beloit got strong relief pitching.

The game lasted 3:10 and the stands were pretty empty toward the end.

June 13, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Immigration and Asylum: I do not know what to think.

Looks terrible, right? We are “ripping a child from a parents arms!” Well, not quite in this case: the child had a father back in Cuba who still wanted him; his mother had died while trying to escape Cuba.

The photo was from June, 2000.

And so, things aren’t what they might appear to be at first blush.

And the issues: mostly, I have questions rather than answers about what we “should do” as a country.

I do wish we talked about the issues with humane tone, as we see George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan doing here:

They are still human beings.

But what to do, exactly?

Illegal immigrants? I am a “follow the rules’ kind of guy. But practically speaking: there are so many here. It is impractical to round them up and ship them out..and there would be huge human costs and huge costs to our economy. Any solution would have to be a pragmatic one and will probably involve some unfairness to someone.

And I really can’t join forces with some of the “follow the law” types because many of them ARE racists and bigots, though of course, not all of them are.

DACA: yeah, that seems like a good compromise as it sets criteria and rules to be followed. This is one area where I can say “let’s get it done”; I like a solution that has been arrived at.

Asylum and refugees: ok, this one is sticky. No, we can’t be the the world’s catch all. In the case of refugees: sorry, but as far as, say, Syria, the wealthy Middle East countries should bear the brunt. Why us? Asylum: when we talk about, say, gangs and domestic violence: we have gangs. We have domestic violence. Do people leave our countries to escape to other countries? Do other countries accept, say, our domestic violence victims?

Now if that question sounds ridiculous, then are we not admitting that there are some countries that are incapable of solving those problems on their own…”shithole counties” if you will? But who got upset when that phrase was used? Ok, the POTUS should use that phrase, but conceptually, is this point not taken?

Note: I am talking about asylum seekers for domestic violence and gang violence; I understand the concept of war/famine/natural disaster refugees.

But even then it isn’t clear to me.

If someone wants to flee a country…what part did the US play in making that country an unsafe place to live? Did we help install some right wing dictator? Do we let our companies set “Gilded Age” conditions for workers? Did we help destroy that country’s economy or environment? What about climate change related environmental disasters or changes?

So, immigration, refugees, asylum seekers: there are so many issues and our moral responsibility is not always clear to me.

And argument by photos, memes and slogans just doesn’t help me, at all.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

The athletic struggle continues

It seems as if every few years, I hit a sports low…only to rebound a bit…then sink again.

I am having trouble getting out of this particular low; in part it is caused by weight gain. I was 199.1 this morning, before running.

I really want to be 10-15 lbs. lighter but lose no upper body strength. Is that possible?

Today: I started my “Steamboat 15K taper” and did the following:

treadmill: 5 minutes at 5.2, 3 at 5.3, 2 at 5.4 (11:16 mile 1), 5 at 6.1, 5 at 6.2 (21:03 for 2) then 10 at 6.7 (29:56 for 3); walked to 3.1 then walked 2 miles outside.

18:40 for 2 miles was the main set (or about 2.14 in 20 minutes). It was enough.

Yesterday, before yoga class, I tried “shoulder stand” while keeping my legs vertical. That lead to huge cramping in my abdominal muscles. I also need to review crow pose.

Forecast for Saturday: dreadfully hot. Typical Steamboat weather. I can see why this race is dwindling.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | running, yoga | Leave a comment

Our fundamental disconnect

Look at the above photo. People like me see the Obama photo as positive (it is good to get along with the world) and the second one as negative. Trump people see the first photo as weakness; Obama being played by those Europeans and the second one as strength (finally standing up to them).

Now of course, some famous liberals rant. And they get ovations.

But famous conservatives do it too…and also get ovations.

And guess what? No one’s mind has gotten changed.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Monday noon baseball: Chiefs win 1-0

Today was a noon game; this time, it wasn’t one of those “school/daycare” type of games. So the crowd was down, though there were a ton of “seniors” there.

I was there too, wearing the free shirt that they passed out yesterday.

Wearing yesterday's free t-shirt to today's game.

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Goat in the stadium.

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This time, the Chiefs won a tense pitcher’s duel 1-0, getting their lone run in the first inning when a runner scored off of an “off the wall” triple. That was it. Later, the Chiefs were “robbed” of a run when, with two outs and runners on 1’st and 3’rd, a hard line drive which was destined for the outfield hit the runner running between first and second, thereby causing the 3’rd out.

There were some tense moments though. In the 5’th inning, 5he starter, who pitched well, loaded the bases by walking one batter and hitting 2 other batters. But a short ground ball was fielded by the catcher who made the force out at home. Then in the 9’th, the lead off batter was hit by a pitch then, instead of bunting, the second batter hit into a double play. But then a hit and an infield hit made things interesting. But a ground out force out at 3’rd ended the game.

The Chiefs starter allowed 2 of the 7 hits in 5 innings, walked one and hit a couple of batters. Much better pitching than yesterday!


The had old, wheelchair bound people throw out the first pitch. Needless to say, neither old man threw it much past the mound. Some clapped. I could not.

"First pitch". I had mixed reactions to "cheering".

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These are men, not kids. I can see encouraging a kid to keep trying. But, well, there is fine line between being realistic about one’s abilities and being condescending.

Workout notes: Lovely 2 mile walk after the game; I walked to the Riverplex parking lot from the stadium and back.

Before the game: weights: (felt bloated and my left middle finger is sore from Saturday (?)

usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10..trouble with the “palms facing each other grip”, bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, decline: 7 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45 (thick dumbbells), 10 x 180 machine, rows 3 sets of 10 x 110. Usual abs, and yes, plank still sucks (2:30).

June 11, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

My pessimism for 2020

Ok, the midterms aren’t here yet. And yes, I’ve been wrong before. I thought that Clinton would win the primary in 2008 and the general in 2016 and I was actually worried about…Fred Thompson in 2008.

But I have thought about 2020 and do not feel good about it.

Here is one thing:

This is what Hayes is complaining about as “sexist”:

Soros, who said he wants to avoid dividing the party, also refused to pick favorites among the emerging crop of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. But there is one prospective candidate he said he hopes does not get the nod: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

He blames Gillibrand for pushing the resignation of former senator Al Franken “whom I admire,” Soros said, “in order to improve her chances.”

Franken (Minn.) resigned in January after a number of women alleged that he touched them inappropriately. Gillibrand was a leading voice urging her fellow Democrat to quit.

Frankly, I think that Gillibrand would be a terrible candidate; I see her as too extreme:

Matt Damon gave an interview to ABC News last week in which he offered the following observation: “There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Crazy, right?

Minnie Driver, Damon’s co-star in “Good Will Hunting,” thought so. “There is no hierarchy of abuse — that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if a woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for,” she told The Guardian. “You cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other.”

Kirsten Gillibrand agrees: “I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation,” the Democratic senator from New York said at a news conference when asked about calling on Senator Al Franken to resign. “You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable.”

(there was a time when she could distinguish the two, but never mind that)

It was as if we have learned nothing from 2016. There are degrees of bad behavior. Criticism of a female prospective candidate is not inherently sexist (some some types of criticism certainly are).

But I wonder: it appears that the country exist in (one in which rape, sexism, misogyny run rampant) is not the country that most exist in. Check out this Washington Post op-ed (and ask: would a headline of “Why can’t we hate: X” where X is a member of a religion, race, etc. would be acceptable). This article appears to be an attempt to confirm every extreme right wing stereotype about higher education.

Now this article is NOT from a Democratic operative but it is one that the Republicans will almost certainly use to tar us with. And it isn’t attractive to most people, though I suppose it will be cheered in some narrow circles.

Wagging one’s finger and screaming “shut up and listen” might feel good, and you’ll probably get away with it in UU Churches and in liberal arts departments. But it is no way to win an election.

And let’s face it, what sounds horrible to many of us is a selling point with many who voted for Trump.

So no, we aren’t going to win over the true believers, but perhaps we can appeal to some of the “I voted for Trump because I hated HRC” voters who are dismayed by his results.

Side note
This is an example of something that bothers me, but many Trump voters would see as a positive:

If respect from the rest of the world was important to you, you probably did not vote Trump.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

About Trump’s “didn’t you burn Washington” remark to Canada (not quite true, but not crazy)

The remark:

Citing unnamed sources, the cable news network reported that Trudeau asked Trump how he could cite national security as a justification for the tariffs, during a “testy” May 25 phone call.

“Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Trump reportedly retorted.

When asked if Trudeau took it as a joke, CNN’s source said, “To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the U.S. won’t be a laughing matter.”

The president was evidently referring to the Aug. 24, 1814, burning of Washington by British troops. After defeating American troops in Bladensburg, Md., British soldiers invaded the city in the only occupation of Washington in American history. The soldiers burned several federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and White House (then referred to as the Presidential Mansion).

Yes, I know, Canada didn’t become an independent country until 1867.

But..when I visited the Canadian War Museum,(back in 2000), I found what they had about the War of 1812 to be interesting.

For starters, it was a bigger deal for them than it is for us. Next: they spun it as a successful repulsing of an invasion attempt by the United States. (we saw it as resisting British attempts to impound our sailors and to attack settlers).

They (the Museum) also spun the war as a Canadian victory over the United States; hence the burning of Washington by the British is something that they appeared to WANT credit for.

So, while I don’t like Trump, I can see his point (though that was 1814..and irrelevant to today’s situation).

June 11, 2018 Posted by | political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Now that was ugly

I did a brief 4 mile run between rainstorms. It wasn’t much and yes, I had to walk in the first .75 miles. But then I settled down to a steady jog.

Later: saw a Chiefs game. Ugh; the game was delayed by 1 hour due to rain.

Rain delay?

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But the tarp came up and we played.

First pitch, Bandits at Chiefs.

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Many did not show up.


And even Al, the corn who dances when the Chiefs score, lost interest.

We got pounded 9-0; The Bandits (whose record is within 1 game of the Chiefs record) shelled us for 13 hits, including 3 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs, one of which completely over the berm. The Chiefs pitcher also walked 8 batters. Chiefs: 4 hits, 2 walks. It was really no contest; their pitching was a whole lot better than ours today.

Note the shift that the Bandits used against certain left handed batters.

I circled the infielders in yellow.

Still, despite the bad day, the Chiefs are sitting very well for a playoff spot (based on the first half of the season; minor league clubs do this as rosters change with call-ups).

June 11, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running | | Leave a comment

Sticky, sticky

Stayed up too late after last night’s Chiefs game (they beat Quad Cities 5-1 behind some fine pitching and fielding)

Chiefs game; beautiful weather.

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Toward the end of Peoria's 5-1 over Quad Cities.

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So I didn’t get started with my walk until almost 9 am. Temperatures: 70 F, with 81 percent humidity at the start, 82 F with 62 percent humidity at the finish. Needless, my walk wasn’t very fast: 10.4 miles in 2:52 (16:33 pace) but it featured the 10 hills on the two 3 mile out and back segments, then 2 hills on one Cornstalk loop (1.4) and 2 more on a mini .93 mile loop. That is 14 all together. And, to be fair, the hills never felt that bad.

June 9, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment