YMCA Track Math: Part II

Slow people who won’t stay on the inside irritate me. But this kills me every time.

The track is 19 laps to a mile. 19. A prime number. It makes it impossible to easily run quarter-miles, half-miles, any interval smaller than a mile. It also doesn’t divide into kilometers. For a numbers guy like me, this is torture.

Additionally, the track is small enough that the inside and outside are significantly different lengths. Is the outer edge 19 to a mile, or the inner edge? Yes, I asked the staff. No, they had no idea. Yes, they looked at me funny.

I am seriously considering driving twenty minutes further to go the next YMCA, whose track is eighteen to a mile, a nice abundant number.

 

YMCA Track Math: Part I

At my local YMCA, slower people are to stay on the inside of the track. There is a clearly posted sign.

I do walk/sprint intervals and need to dodge around folks when I run. The last two sessions the same woman has been briskly walking, sticking to the outside of the track. The first time as I passed her, I turned around, got her attention, and pointed at the sign.

Yesterday she was back, and still on the outside of the track. This time I got her attention and told her, “Please stick to the inside, like the sign says.”

A couple of laps later she got my attention. This gem of a conversation ensued.

Her: I’m sorry, but I just wanted to explain what’s going on. I did see the sign. I try to stay out of the way when you’re coming around

Me: Well ok, but –

Her: I can only get here for a little while. I drop off the kids and have to get to work, there isn’t much time. I do it this way to get as many steps as I can.

Me: I understand, thanks for explaining, as long as you’re aware and moving out when I come around, no big deal.

 

And I put my headphones back on and jogged away. Two seconds later, I realized what I had just heard. She does it to get more steps in!? That doesn’t make any sense at all!

Super Bowl LII Post-Mortem

The Patriots lost to the Eagles last night. Darn shame. As usual, a couple plays here and there made the difference. The Patriots tried a sneaky pass to Tom Brady, it bounced off his fingers. The Eagles tried a sneaky pass to Nick Foles, he caught it for a touchdown. In the end, the better team won. The MVP of the game was really the Eagles front office and coaching staff. They are deep, versatile, aggressive, and smart. The smarts and aggression paid off with 4th down conversions. They deserved it.

And yet — I can’t help but wonder. Would it have been different with Brandin Cooks playing? And Malcolm Butler, why on earth wasn’t he used once? And of course, losing Julian Edelman for the entire season.

Oh well. We’ll get ’em next year. And knowing the Patriots, that’s very likely true!

How to improve the NBA, Part 2

I recently listed a few ways to improve the NBA. Here are a few more.

  1. Get rid of jump balls. Use the possession clock. This has been used in college for a long time and it works. It is fair. It is easy. It is tested. Jump balls which are hard to administer. And the less time players have to drill on jump balls, the more they can focus on basketball skills that matter. This is long overdue.
  2. The referees should be allowed to fraternize with players much more. They have very strict non-contact rules. There’s no reason players can’t have relationships with referees. It’s good for the game for them to know each other. There wouldn’t be so much bad blood between players and referees if they could actually talk to each other outside of the game.
  3. Enough with the suits. Basketball coaches aren’t CEOs. They should be able to dress how they want. One of the best parts of basketball is that you can see the players, and you can see how they express their personalities. That is a feature, not a bug! Coaches should be able to loosen up also.Frank Leyden is what a coach should look like:

    Larry Brown (The modfather):
    Pete Carril:
    John Chaney:

Trump at One Year: Report Card

(This was written two weeks ago, it was somehow lost and been rewritten from memory)

As Trump was taking office, I laid out the crucial things to keep an eye on. There are so many bad things, you need to step back and get a fuller perspective.
(I use Trump and the GOP interchangeably, since many of these trends predate Trump and the GOP has not pushed back on Trump in any meaningful way.)

Existential Threat to Human Existence: Nuclear Annihilation: Grade of C.

Trump has continually escalated the stakes. He’s given North Korea and other countries incentives to continue developing nuclear weapons. He’s undermined NATO. He has destroyed the State Department and dismisses any diplomatic means to achieve ends.
However, the rhetoric is worse than the reality. Particularly on North Korea, outside of the crazy tweets he has been pretty reasonable and continued the same policies of that last several presidents.

Existential Threat to Human Existence: Global Warming: Grade of F.

“On all of Earth, there is only major political party that denies the existence of global warming and the role of humans in it. That is the Republican party of The United States of America.” Nothing has changed in the last year. Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement as expected. He has fully denied the science. Where once he seemed fuzzy on his beliefs, he has hardened into a complete denier.

Trump and the GOP get a F, but America as a whole is doing much better that that. Many states, municipalities, companies and citizen groups have accelerated efforts, essentially ignoring The White House. Many of the trends that were reinforced under Obama continue (for instance the price of solar energy continues to decrease).

All told, the threats to human existence are real, and Trump and the GOP have worsened the odds of our continued existence as a species, but all told, it could be much worse. Yay?

Threats to American Democracy

America under control by a foreign power: D

Despite the overwhelming evidence and common sense, Trump refuses to believe that Russia meddled in the election. His circle is apparently afraid to even raise the topic. You don’t have to believe that Trump is personally allied with the Russians to see the real threat. They tampered in the 2016 election, and Trump would likely not be president without their interference. Their clear goal is to undermine American democracy. They are continuing to tamper, will interfere with the 2018 elections, and there is no real push back of any kind. It is staggering that this treason is allowed, but that’s the GOP at work. They are only saved from flunking because Sessions recused himself and the investigations are continuing.

Corruption of the presidency: F
Trump, his “foundation”, and his family continue to profit personally from the Presidency. Two years ago, the behaviors would have been unspeakable, now it just seems like normal background noise. Here is a fairly random summary of just the last couple weeks.

Interestingly, Trump has consistently said that if Mueller investigates his personal finances (as he of course will), he will fully retaliate. This is consistent with his otherwise bewildering refusal to release his tax information. The only question is whether he resists because he is actually poor or actually a crook.

Partisanship above country: F
Trump himself doesn’t seem to accept that he is the President of all Americans. He is there to serve his base and has no interests in bettering the world for others. In rhetoric and policy he continually goes after anyone not ‘on his team’. Out of many example, nothing stands out as much as the President essentially refusing to help American citizens in Puerto Rico because… because… you fill in the end of that sentence.
The behavior of the Republican Congress and media have been much worse. The framers saw the three branches of government and the press battling against each other in checks and balances. That is no longer how it works. The Republican party is a united front across all branches. A GOP congress supports the GOP President and vice versa. They cheat to get GOP justices (How’s Merrick Garland doing?). They have their own propaganda media operation devoted to their party. The only Republicans speaking out against Trump are the ones who are retiring. Everything bad in this summary is a reflection of a political party that has no morals, has no red line, has no “at long last have you no shame” moment.

Degradation of facts and free-speech: F
Trump is a liar. He is a liar of historic proportions. He has not suffered consequences, he will continue to lie. He will continue to blur the idea of truth as an objective reality apart from partisan interests.
I almost hope Trump does somehow manage to loosen the libel laws, and the next day is sued into poverty.

Overall Grade: D.
One year ago most of the world held it’s breath. A year later, the best you can say is that humanity will probably get through this.

My Latest Favorite Song(s) #18 – from Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy had some pretty good songs on it. Here are two cover versions I particularly like:

Lyle Workman & The Forest Rangers did this very soulful instrumental version of Fortunate Son.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoHDp8BK4JE

Other good covers include Hey, Hey, My, My, Gimme Shelter, Someday Never Comes, and (below) White Buffalo’s version of House of the Rising Sun. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scTqpfL9WMA

Sons of Anarchy.. not the greatest show by a long shot, but one out of every three episodes seemed tighter with better flow and structure. Wonder why?

A S*ithole of a Post

That’s our wacky president!
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” And he added that the United States should admit more people from places like Norway.

Let’s unpack this:
1. He used vile profanity. Not a big deal. Plenty of presidents used salty language. This one is predictably much more coarse. It is not surprising and not important.
2. He thinks we should have more immigrants from prosperous first world countries, countries kinda like us. Not much wrong with that either, or at least it is easily defensible.
3. The people from these countries are not the same as these countries. There is something wrong here. Not everyone from a country represents that country, and Haiti’s poverty corruption and hopelessness shouldn’t condemn any of their people.
4. What is truly sad is the complete and utter lack of empathy. The idea of immigration as something we do for someone else is completely foreign (ha ha) to Trump. Refugees are losers. He genuinely feels that people born in the wrong circumstances brought it upon themselves. He seems utterly confused at the rationale for allowing folks in. It is the complete antithesis of the words on the Statue of Liberty.
The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!

President Trump said (tweeted) later:

The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!

I agree fully. Except the outlandish proposal was from Trump.

Music Quiz #2

There is a thematic flow to this round. It helps to say the questions out loud, hearing the rhythm often makes the answer obvious.

1. How much is one plus one?
2. How much is one plus one plus one?
3. What feeling should you hide away?
4. Will you hide your feelings?
5. What year do I have feeling will be a good one?
6. What year have I been feeling it since?
7. What year did Justine hang down with the freaks and ghouls??
8. No one alive from this year will ever do.
9. What year will I kick it like?
10. What year will I party like tonight? (easy one)
11. What year do we assume control?

1. How much is one plus one?
One and one don’t make two, one and one make one (The Who, Bargain)
I don’t know much about algebra, but I know one plus one equals two (Beyone, 1+1)
One plus one, is one. I know it’s crazy but it’s true (Ace Frehley, One Plus One)
Probably others also…

2. How much is one plus one plus one?
One and one one is three. (Beatles, Come Together)

3. What feeling should you hide away?
Your love. Hey, you’ve got to hide your love away (Beatles)

4. Will you hide your feelings?
No, you won’t because you can’t. I’ve got a feeling, a feeling I can’t hide (Beatles, I’ve Got A Feeling)

5. What year do I have feeling will be a good one?
Got a feeling ’21 is gonna be a good year (The Who, 1921)

6. What year have I been feeling it since?
I been feeling it since 1966 (Portugal. the Man, Feel it Still)

7. What year did Justine hang down with the freaks and ghouls??
1979. Justine never knew the rules, that’s why it happened (Smashing Pumpkins, 1979)

8. No one alive from this year will ever do.
Oh no one left alive in 1985, will ever do (Paul McCartney, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five)

9. What year will I kick it like?
Let me kick it like it’s 1986 now (Portugal. the Man, Feel it Still)

10. What year will I party like tonight? (easy one)
1999 (Prince, 1999)

11. What year do we assume control?
Not stated explicitly in the lyrics, but presumably in 2112 (Rush, 2112)

Show Answers