Chiefs struggles continue unabated

It isn’t pretty: the Chiefs are last in the Midwest League Western Division second half standings, were next to last in the first half standings, and overall last with a record of 46-78. This was after 4 years in a row of playoff baseball.

And Saturday and Sunday: social: fun. Game: ugh. Saturday’s game finished 9-2 but it wasn’t that close. It was 9-0 going into the bottom of the 9’th;
Today: 7-3 loss. The Chiefs did tie the game at 1 early (midway) with a nifty 370 foot home run to right field. Then they closed to 4-2 before giving the runs back. And yes, errors didn’t help (bad throw to first off a bunt) and a lackadaisical effort on a fly ball to center left which turned a single into a double (lazy approach to the ball followed by a lob to the infield).

Something is wrong.

Socially it was fun. I took Saturday’s game with Tracy; B went out to dinner with us and then did her own event. Today: Indian buffet lunch at a recently renovated restaurant then the game by myself, though as usual, I talked to fans. There were a few exciting plays (caught a fly leaning into the stands, for one and the catcher made a spectacular throw to stop a steal attempt).

What the world wants from you (this post is for closers! just kidding but…)

Ah. What would I tell my new class of students, IF I didn’t have a real fear of being called on the carpet by my dean…ok…that doesn’t bother me, but the complaints that my speech would generate would cause a lot of work for my colleagues and I really would hate that…

But I’d give a PG version of this speech:

Key idea: “if you want to work here, CLOSE.” Whether you are a nice guy or a good parent matters not at all, IN THIS JOB.

Here is the idea applied in this setting: I am here to teach you mathematics. I’ll evaluate how well you learned the math by your work (tests, projects, etc.) Period. I do not care how woke/not woke you are. I do not care if you are religious nor not, tall, short, fat, skinny, athletic, couch potato, white, black, etc.

If you want to make the grade, you need to do work worthy of that grade. And if you want to learn the material, you have to do the work necessary for YOU to learn the stuff. It doesn’t matter if your genius friend does not have to study. It really doesn’t matter if you are working outside of school. It is like running a marathon: if you don’t do the training, you won’t run your best, no matter the reason for not training properly…your fault OR not.

If this seems harsh or unfair: this is how YOU see things …when you want something.

At the big game: what matters? The kicker has to make the kick, the receiver has to catch the ball, the player make the shot. the batter has to get a hit. Do you really care what that athlete did in their personal life, at the time you are watching the game? Does one make an NFL team because they are a “nice guy?”

You are flying in an airplane. What matters? Do you worry if the pilot is “sufficiently woke?” Nope: they have to be able to fly the plane, period.

You are being operated on. Do you choose a woke surgeon that sucks or a surgeon that might not be woke but is good at doing the operation?

You buy a car: you expect the car to be engineered well and to run well.
You drive across a bridge: you expect the bridge to be engineered properly. As they say: “no partial credit” in engineering.

And that is what it is about, IN MY CLASS. You want the grade? Perform. You want to learn the material? Study at the level you need to. Period.

As an aside: I got to this Alex Baldwin video via here. The idea: people have needs and those who meet those needs are the ones who are popular. So..in a sense, winning matters…that is: be good at something; good enough so that others want you to rub off on them. Thinking that you are a “nice, caring person” really doesn’t matter when it comes to having people drawn to you. It CAN make you feel better about yourself and it can help you keep the companionship you find, but it won’t really help you get that companionship.

The asymmetric polarization of today’s politics and social issues

I don’t know if it is old age creeping in (I am a couple of weeks away from being 60) but I admit that I am dealing with a desire to push back a bit at some of what I am seeing.
I am an old school liberal: gays want to get married? Sure..why not extend the benefits to marriage to same sex couples. Let women compete for jobs that they traditionally did not compete for? Why not: what matters is if the job is done well or not…the sex of the person doing the job should really matter.

But in this day and age: we are expected to go along with stuff that I think is false; e. g. “there are no statistical differences between the brains of men and women” (ok, where does transgenderism come from?) or that transwomen ARE women (sorry..not in sports; sex categories are there to ensure statistical fairness of competition), etc.

And in this environment, we see…Donald Trump elected as President of the United States. Yes, he was beaten in the popular vote, but millions found him at least suitable.

Are these two things related? Very possibly. When there is anger out there, be it over economic matters OR social change, a Trump like character has a better chance:

The key to understanding this dynamic is what is called ‘the toxic triangle.’ The basic idea is that it is not simply the toxic leader that matters. In order to come to power, such leaders need both a core base of followers and an environment that is conducive to their rise to power.

The dynamics of the toxic triangle work as follows. Individuals with dangerous personality disorders are always present in society and are always seeking power. Such individuals are trapped within a narrow range of extreme thoughts, feelings and behaviours that focus on rage, arrogance, self-importance, denigration of others, scapegoating, disregard for the rights of others and a propensity towards cruelty and revenge.

The majority of us who do not have these disorders can, of course, also exhibit the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that characterise dangerous personalities. But we can also exhibit a much wider spectrum of thoughts and behaviours including empathy, cooperation, compromise, curiosity about and compassion towards others, and openness to changing our minds. Under normal circumstances, therefore, toxic individuals find it difficult to attract sufficient support to be elected to power.

The difficulty arises when the context within which we live changes in ways that make us begin to think and feel in the way that toxically disordered individuals think and feel. This can happen when we face acute economic hardship, when profound cultural changes occur with which we personally disagree, when we feel threatened by crime or violence, or when we feel that the political system under which we live has failed us. Under such circumstances, we too can come to feel angry and vindictive, leading us to search for scapegoats on which to focus our disappointment and rage.

When the mood of a sizeable proportion of the population shifts in this way, it creates the conducive environment for toxic leaders to rise to prominence by “capturing the public mood.” Of course, they are not capturing the public mood at all. They have always felt arrogant, angry, vindictive and scornful of others. All that has changed is that a lot of us suddenly agree with them. They are not prophets; they are simply angry hatemongers whose time has come.

And can a such a push back lead some reactionaries to vote for Trump? Check out this Andrew Sullivan article:

Yes, a conservative is worried about the scale and pace of change, its unintended consequences, and its excesses, but he’s still comfortable with change. Nothing is ever fixed. No nation stays the same. Culture mutates and mashes things up. And in America, change has always been a motor engine in a restless continent.

One question conservatives are always asking themselves is whether these changes can be integrated successfully into a new social fabric, so we do not lose cohesion as a nation; another is whether this change is largely being imposed from above by ideological fiat, or whether it’s emerging from below as part of an emerging spontaneous order. That’s why conservatives support marriage equality and reactionaries oppose it; why conservatives support equal opportunity for women and reactionaries fret about it; why conservatives think twice before leaving the E.U., which has been integrated into the British way of life for several decades, and reactionaries want to wrench Britain out of it; or why a conservative might hesitate before junking the entire apparatus of international alliances that the U.S. has built and supported since the 1940s, while a reactionary will just rip it up. All these broader social changes are emergent ones that seem well within our capacities as a society to digest.

But there is a place where conservatives and reactionaries find common cause — and that is when the change occurring is drastic, ideological, imposed by an elite, and without any limiting principle. This is not always easy to distinguish from more organic change — but there is a distinction. On immigration, for example, has the demographic transformation of the U.S. been too swift, too revolutionary, and too indifferent to human nature and history? Or is it simply a new, if challenging, turn in a long, American story of waves of immigrants creating a country that’s an ever-changing kaleidoscope? If you answer “yes” to the first, you’re a reactionary. If “yes” to the second, you’re a liberal. If you say yes to both, you’re a conservative. If you say it’s outrageous and racist even to consider these questions, you’re a card-carrying member of the left.

In a new essay, Anton explains his view of the world: “What happens when transformative efforts bump up against permanent and natural limits? Nature tends to bump back. The Leftist response is always to blame nature; or, to be more specific, to blame men; or to be even more specific, to blame certain men.” To be even more specific, cis white straight men.

But what are “permanent and natural limits” to transformation? Here are a couple: humanity’s deep-seated tribalism and the natural differences between men and women. It seems to me that you can push against these basic features of human nature, you can do all you can to counter the human preference for an in-group over an out-group, you can create a structure where women can have fully equal opportunities — but you will never eradicate these deeper realities.

The left is correct that Americans are racist and sexist; but so are all humans. The question is whether, at this point in time, America has adequately managed to contain, ameliorate, and discourage these deeply human traits. I’d say that by any reasonable standards in history or the contemporary world, America is a miracle of multiracial and multicultural harmony. There’s more to do and accomplish, but the standard should be what’s doable within the framework of human nature, not perfection.

Side note: Sullivan is right, of course. Consider how incidents get discussed in woke circles. If you saw this as basic rudeness from a protester against a US Senator, you are not woke. To be woke you had to know that this was a WHITE MALE taking the microphone from a WOMAN OF COLOR (never mind the protester is a nobody and the lady is a sitting United States Senator.

Sigh…but there is nothing for me on the right; absolutely nothing. I’d have do deny science (e. g. evolution, climate change), swear that supply side economics works (nope) or that some races DO have things stacked against them (e. g. African Americans are often unfairly profiled by law enforcement). Sorry; I can’t believe those lies either; at times it appears that I fit in nowhere:

2016 was the breaking point, or at least a watershed moment, when the vilification of diverse opinion exploded. Trump vs. Hillary forced everything into a binary, and suddenly bipartisanship and moderation became radical positions to take.

Now, you aren’t just voting out of habit or, God forbid, voting for your own interests. Every vote is considered a statement on your personal identity and worth. Your value, who you are, what kind of world you want, whether or not you’re a good person or an evil person…it all boils down to which lever you pull. Damn your reasons. Vote for the ‘right’ person, or else you are a fascist, or a racist, or a globalist, or a communist.

Politically disinterested citizens like me have increasingly been pulled off the sidelines and into this incredibly divisive political climate, unwilling combatants in a battle fought among fiercely partisan tribes. Many are being bullied into involving themselves in the process, because intolerance and shaming have become features of the American life. Thanks in no small part to social media, the simple act of expressing your opinion, or even going so far as to ask questions, has begun to negatively affect lives and destroy people.

You may have once fancied yourself a good progressive, while also having the opinion that there are only two genders. Or you may describe yourself as a staunch conservative, but tend to think racial targeting by police is a problem. Or the cardinal sin: you may have decided to vote for a candidate you felt better represented your concerns.

Upon voicing on social media what you think are fairly normal, moderate views, you find out something you didn’t know — YOU ARE THE ENEMY. And not just the enemy: you’re evil.

After 2016’s chaotic impact on The Culture took hold, each mere opinion or vote became life or death in the fight for the survival of civilization — and you are either for civilization or against it. The trouble is, everyone believes they’re on the ‘right side of history’ and justifies abhorrent behavior in service of that belief. Families are divided. Extremes have become more extreme and shades of gray are shunned. Expressions of nuance are mocked. Anyone moderate with a brain and anything to lose has largely gone silent.

I get it, too. I understand why the silent majority is uneasy. They’re not wrong to worry that sharing their opinion on Facebook could cost them their livelihood.

And there it is.

Some hope? (sore toe)

I wanted to be close to home in the event the storms came (and they did not); so I made a quick stop for water and bathroom and did the second loop; distances were 5.36 and 5.28 miles respectively (1:20/1:19 for 2:39 for 10.64 miles, or 15:01 mpm).

This was faster than yesterday. The toe (next to the big to on my left foot) has an impacted nail; bursting the blister …OUCH.

The body held up well, though it was slow.

Adjusting

In some ways, today’s workout was a bit of a bust. I was way too slow (16:19 mpm walking pace). But it was still 22 miles, and I walked in a hard downpour from roughly 3.5 to 9.5 miles …actually, probably a bit longer. It came down in buckets and once again the streets turned into very shallow streams.

I did see: groundhog, deer (near Affina), a very wet female triathlete, some fast runners, and later a few walkers. I also dodged a train (crossed off the bike path to the road/sidewalk when I saw it coming) and yes, a semi between the Gateway and Riverplex! They were taking down a stage.

I’d love to complain that the rain slowed me down, but the return leg was only about 1 minute faster, and the uphill from Dozer to home was actually slower than the way out (33 vs 31 minutes). It was a tough walk at times, and toward the end I was in the “just get it done” mode. My feet hurt a bit; wonder if it is time to replace these shoes. Ok, I know it is time…I just get attached to shoes that feel all broken in.

This wasn’t my plan; I wanted to do my 20 + a bonus 2-4 but given the rain and the dearth of cyclists on the bike path, I decided to take advantage and do the old “out and back on the Rock Island” vs. Grandview Road.

Not giving up too soon (practice)

I am continuing to write ..I have paper with a deadline of November 1. I am making good progress; the mathematics is essential done. But the write up is a bit strange to me (science format as opposed to the classical mathematics format)

Yesterday: yoga with Ms. V. then a 10K run (1:18 or so). The run started off horribly; I even walked a bit in the first 1/4 mile! Eventually the body warmed up..I told myself “make it to Hooters” (about 3/4 mile or 1.2 km away) and once I did I was able to finish the run easily, though my pace was very slow. It was a pretty day for it. Weight: 189, same as today.

This morning: weights only; rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10; ok), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 175 (wanted more but the left shoulder ..ugh), 3 x 185 (struggled with the last rep), 10 x 165 decline. military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing (that is, two 50 lb. dumbbells, two 40 lb. dumbbells, etc.) rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110.

Goblet squats: 6 x 25, 50, 50, 60. Dead: regular dead 4 x 135 (felt very light but I wanted to see how my back felt), hex bar: 4 x 175 (just a slight tug).
Planks finished the workout.

Then I helped a friend move out; I will miss her terribly.

Inspiration only goes so far…

I watched this prior to going to the gym…

and when I got to the gym…I was reminded, very quickly, that I have my own body. Disclaimer: I once could dead lift 425 but that was in the early 1980’s. That was ironic; I was much stronger and faster when I was an undergraduate student than what I am now. BUT…I do have some of my old exams and math problems that baffled me then are…well “man, I must have been a drooling moron not to get a perfect score on that test” easy for me now. So it goes…

weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, one of 5), military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine. 10 x 135 incline, 7 x 165 decline.

Then to the track (lane 2): 10:15/8:36 (18:52), 1 walk for 3 total.

back to the gym: hex bar deadlifts: 4 x 175, 4 x 195 (all done easily; tug on the left part of my back is all but gone), goblet squats: 6 x 50, 6 x 60
planks (2:30 front, and side plank).

Yeah, I know; back in 2000 I ran a marathon (Indianapolis) in 3:38:12, which is 8:19 a mile. Today, doing ONE mile in 8:36 was challenging. So it goes.

Getting the mix right

I didn’t know whether to run or walk..decided to walk as the marathon I am preparing for will be a walking marathon. So, I did the 8.2 mile “mausoleum, prospect and Gateway with goose loop” course in 2:07; it felt fine but I became distracted and lazy toward the end.

Weight: 188. That is good, but I should be lighter.

Issue: well, what will billionaires get out of supporting Trump; it isn’t as if them paying more taxes will affect their lifestyle:

It’s true that Trump (breaking all his campaign promises) has indeed cut taxes on the wealthy, and will surely cut them further if re-elected. By contrast, whoever the Democrats nominate is likely to raise those taxes if she or he wins the general election, perhaps substantially.

But let’s get real. If you’re a billionaire, you don’t need the extra money. At that level, purchasing power has nothing to do with the quality of life; having a 45,000-square-foot house instead of just 40,000, or flying to one of your multiple other residences in a bigger private jet, won’t make you significantly happier. […]

But it has also been clear since the Obama years that a fair number of the superrich aren’t satisfied with being immensely wealthy; they also want adulation. They expect to be praised as heroic job creators and are enraged at any suggestion that some of their number may have behaved badly, let alone that they may have benefited from a rigged system.

Hence the hatred for even reasonable, pro-market progressives like, say, Elizabeth Warren. It’s not just that these progressives might make billionaires a bit poorer, but that they make them feel small.

Ah, emotion. That might be what is driving things, including the white nationalists. And, why are some so hesitant to condemn the white nationalists?

My guess: if you honestly believe that your lot in life..while it depends, in part, on things like luck and chance, depends MOSTLY about your own agency, then you might get tired of being told that “group X” (not your group) needs help and that you ought to willingly fork over your money to help them. No one likes a mooch in their personal life, and groups that appear to be moochers are not going to be popular.

Note I said “appear to be” because when it comes to ICE raids..where do these occur? Answer: often in factories and work places! That would NOT be where you’d find lazy people.

Another loss: 7-0

Well, it is safe to say that the Chiefs will miss the playoffs this year; they made them 4 years in a row (2015-2018).

Today: 7-0 Lumberkings; one player hit two home runs; the second was a towering shot that went beyond the white picket fence in the berm.

The Chiefs got their first base runner of the game in the 5’th inning. They had 3 total for the game; Lumberkings walked on one; gave up 2 hits and made one error.

I did get my own workout prior to the rain delayed game: weights only.
rotator cuff, pull ups: 5-5-5, 5-5-5, 10, 10, 5, bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, incline: 10 x 135, goblet squats: 6 x 30, 50, 60, military 7 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm, dead lifts (hex bar), 4 x 175, 4 x 195. plank, etc. 2 show off pull ups for B.

The game: I did switch seats late. There were plenty; perhaps 300 there?

Ego…and leaving Gorilla Suits for Gorillas

So, when it comes to dealing with young people…well, the ones that have ambition actually (many..most? do not), at what point is it good to say “well, that is not your destiny; do something else?”

The reality is that few of us have the talent to be truly elite at anything; most of us have to work reasonably hard to be “good.” I remember seeing a case where a player who mostly rode the bench for a 2-10 Big Ten football team really thought he’d get a shot at the NFL. Seriously..and he was coached by someone who knows NFL talent when he sees it, and he had some playing time the year before. Sigh..

Which lead me to remember this:

I bought this book as an undergraduate when I wanted to get stronger. What I didn’t get is that most of these guys were on steroids (yes, Dr. Todd talked about that in the book) and that these guys were outliers; they had natural ability to work with…then they put in the work to become champions.

Most bodies, mine included, do not respond to training in that way. So about the title of this post: Todd talked about steroid abuse and then became a staunch opponent of it. He explained that he saw the damage its abuse caused in the lives of those who used them. And he once wrote (in a column for the Austin American Statesman, I believe) something to the effect “leave gorilla suits for gorillas.”

Of course both he and Jan actively supported the Texas powerlifting club..and Jan once got me to help spot someone doing a 700 lb. squat. (there were 5 of us). I was benching 310 at the time.
They also supported less formal contests, such as a “how many reps can you get with your body weight” (I got 11 reps with 230).

But, I suppose the bottom line is “don’t beat yourself up for not attaining the unattainable” and that applies in many areas of life.

Ego and social media
I’ve enjoyed social media. I like the discussions (at least, sometimes, when they don’t involve math). And yes, I do get ego boosts. When?

1. Sometimes it is fun to see people “meet through me” and go on to become friends…and yes, on occasion, they become friends and one of them blocks me! (LOL)

2. On twitter, I really don’t count “followers” nor do I care about the number. But the WHO follows me does tickle my ego a bit:

a) when someone who has a ton of followers but is somewhat selective on who THEY follow follows me…well…I get the happy face.

These two accounts are followed by a ton of people, but follow relatively fewer accounts themselves.

b) then there is the “famous people”: one is a US Senator and presidential candidate; the other is a former boxing contender who once came within 20 seconds of going the distance with the lineal champion Wladimir Klitchko in a title fight.