Saturday Football Open Thread, Week Three

Well, Mike’s USF Bulls fell to Rutgers on Thursday night 23 – 13, although in their defense they’d had a short week after a spectacular win over Nevada last Saturday.  Last night’s Washington State/UNLV game was predictable, 35 – 27.  Oklahoma has a bye this week, so you can spend all the time in your yard that you like, okie!  It should be another great weekend for both football and outdoor fun, so what’s going on in the stadia:

Western Michigan is playing Minnesota (line: UMinn, spread 1.0)  Really?  I find it difficult to believe that the Broncos are likely to keep it that close, especially after losing to Illinois in Week One 24 – 7.  But maybe they’ll surprise me.  [Update: Minnesota wins 28 – 23]  So the Broncos did better than I thought they would!

Arkansas State is at Nebraska (line: Nebraska, spread 23)  Don’t know much about either team, other than Fairlington Blade is a life-long Nebraska fan, poor soul.  Go, Huskers!  [Update: Nebraska wins 42 – 13]

Cal at ohio state university (line: osu, spread 17.0)  Please, please, please, Golden Bears!!  Come through for me this weekend!!  [Update: osu wins 35 – 28, dang it.  They clearly used #RomneyStrength]

Virginia is at Georgia Tech (line: GT, spread 10.5)  This game has been a toss-up the last three meetings, so anything goes. . . but for yello’s sake, I hope GT wins.  [Update: GT uses real #RomneyStrength to win 56 – 20.  What a game, yello!!]

Boston College is playing at Northwestern (line: Northwestern, spread 4.5)  Hey–didn’t Jack Ryan go to BC?  Go Eagles!  [Update:  Northwestern 22 – 13]

UMass is in The Big House (line: UMich, spread 45.5)  Some games just shouldn’t be played.  Or scheduled in the first place.  [Update: UMich 63 – 13  Beat the spread and everything]

Navy at Penn State (line: PSU, spread 8.5)  Here’s hoping O’Brien gets his first win.  Heaven knows the players could use it, and please let the kicker make a FG this week. . . [Update: PSU takes this one 36 – 7]

Stony Brook vs Syracuse (no details available at posting time)  This strikes me as one of those football games in which many of us haven’t  heard of half of the teams.  Got any insight for us, Scott?  [Update: Syracuse, 28 – 17]

USC is playing Stanford (boy, Lulu, you picked a bad week to tell me these were your two teams!  line: USC, spread 8.0)  Go Trojan Cardinal!  (And that sounds like a colorful condom or something!)  [Update: Stanford wins in an upset, 21 – 14]

Utah State is at Wisconsin (line: UW, spread 14.0)  I think they’re being overly kind to USU after their win over Utah last week.  They’ve had their big win for the season, the Badgers will probably romp.  [Update:  UW holds USU scoreless in the second half and wins 16 – 14.  USU far exceeded my expectations, and it looks like UW lived “up” to Mark’s.]

Texas will crush Ole Miss (line: UT, spread 10.0)  Mark (no pun intended) my words, UT is going to blow the spread away.  [Update: UT blows the spread away 66 – 31.  *coughmarkcough*]

BYU at Utah (line: BYU, spread 3.5)  Go, Utes!  ‘Nough said.  [Update: Utah wins 24 – 21]

S. Carolina State is at Arizona (no details available at posting time)  C’mon ‘Cats, prove McWing wrong (again)!!  [Update:  Arizona also utilizes #RomneyStrength and smushes SCS 56 – 0.  Three wins in a row, McWing!]

And the mac daddy game this week (as far as I’m concerned, anyway):

Notre Dame at MSU (line: MSU, spread 6.0)  MSU is going for its 16th home victory in a row.  Go State!  8:00 pm edt on ABC.  [Update: Meh.  The Irish win 20 – 3.  MSU played like a third-rate high school team; the O-line was non-existent, the QB was throwing uncatchable passes, when he did throw catchable ones the receivers dropped them. . . horrible, horrible game.  Sigh.]

P.S.  Kevin!  Great to see you–and even better to see you posting!  Who’s your team(s) that I should add to the mix?

Diet and Exercise

On the anniversary post, I was asked for “diet tips” and exercise tips in the comments. So . . . here they are. YMMV.

Situps are a lot easier when you’ve lost 70 lbs. If you can do them at home, in the bed in the morning or whenever when you can grab a minute, you’ll find you can increase the weight you can pull on the crunch machine at the gym. That’s been my experience at least. And having less time to go to the gym, finding times where I can do plain body weight exercises has been a life saver.

Toe lifts can be done almost anywhere, at almost any time. Maybe you can’t run on the treadmill or go for a walk, but toe lifts can help with a lot of those muscles, and you can reach your maximum exertion quickly. There’s always time for toe lifts.

Pushups work a lot of major muscle groups at the same time (proceed with caution if you’ve got back issues). You can do them in all sorts of places. The goal I’ve got is 100 pushups a day. Eventually, 100 in an hour, in sets of 25. I cannot yet complete a full set of 25, but it’s amazing how many muscle groups are improved by developing strength with plank pushups. Haven’t got to a 100 a day, but I’m halfway there (I’ve topped 50, though I still don’t do that every day). But when I started, I was doing sets of 5 and not getting to more than 20 on a good day. It’s just very slow going.

Diet: don’t eat much. Some people go vegan, do Paleo, do Atkins. Everybody has a reason why there way works and radical calorie restriction does not . . . but radical calorie restriction actually does work. At least, it has for me. All I’m doing. Just not eating very much, but trying to get sufficient nutrition to remain healthy. I focus on calories and quantity, and don’t worry much about nutritional value, or whether there is protein or wheat or saturated fats in what I’m eating. I just don’t eat much. And I eat more of fruits and vegetables, if they are part of the meal.

The motivation game is the issue. That’s trickier. I just always keep in mind that the food will be there next week, next month, next year. I don’t have to eat it now. I also keep in mind that the way the brain works (and the reason I was fat in the first place) is that overeating trains the brain to always ask for more. Dopamine receptors go down and dopamine releases go up. So I always think about that, when I’m downstairs, and it’s late, and I’m thinking of snacking. It took three months of very light eating (most of the time) to retrain my brain to stop acting like I was starving because I wasn’t eating second breakfast. Do I want to lose that? I do not. So I skip the late night snack.

Best time of my life, I weighed around 180. I think about that, too. Not that it’s a causal relationship, but it certainly can’t hurt to recreate what components of that time that I can. I think about how I had felt trapped and miserable in high school (when I was fat, out of shape), and how that had seemed to stretch out for decades rather than a few short years. Then how much and how dramatically so much in my life improved during my college years, and just how awesome they were. There were lots of reasons for that, of course, but being slim and fit certainly helped.

And as the quality of my life deteriorated after college in many important ways, I was putting on weight. Hmmmm. Does make a man ponder.

But the improvements in my life, back in the distant past, didn’t happen right away when the needle on the scale first dipped below 180. So I need to maintain, and then judge how things are in my life generally a year from now and two and three years from now. So I keep that in mind as well.

The other bit as regards motivation is spending time (now that I am much skinnier, and generally more fit) enjoying it. Dressing well, admiring myself in the mirror, jumping down the last five or six stairs and landing lightly on my feet. Running a mile on the treadmill, and reflecting on how that would have probably killed me 9 months ago. Thinking about the difference in squeezing through tight spaces or running out to my car or riding rides at the fair. The quality of all these experiences are dramatically better. Do I need to eat dessert that badly?

The answer is no.

Plus, it’s fun, at 43, to be physically fit and attractive. I get looks from, and flirted with by, women half my age. I got the flustered oh-my-gosh-this-an-attractive-man reaction from my daughter’s dance teacher last night, a reaction that I got very familiar with in college. It’s a reaction you only get from women (if you are a man) when they knew you before, and you show up suddenly transformed, for them. They’ve watched you move (abruptly, in their experience, because they have not see you for awhile) from asexual blob of generic humanity to a fit and attractive man radiating strength. It’s not flirting, but it’s an unmistakeable “Wow!” reaction. And one you never get when you’re overweight and out of shape, and not one you get when you move in the other direction. “Wow, you’ve gotten fat!” is a completely different experience.

We’re going on a cruise in November. I weigh now what I weighed when I went to London in college (best trip of my life, for many reasons). I haven’t been this skinny or fit on a nice vacation in 20 years. That’s exciting. I’m going to buy a new suit for the trip, the kind of dress suit that looks great on thin, fit people. And I’m going to look awesome in it. Would I want to spoil that with a cheeseburger (and then another, and then another) or snacks and sugared soft drinks all day long? No, no, I would not. Would it be nice to lose another 5 or 10 lbs before the trip begins? Yes, yes it would. Can I see myself running half-a-mile on a treadmill on the cruise ship each morning? Yes, yes I can. And I couldn’t do that without having done the ground work, or maintaining it. So . . . that’s what I focus on. Because that’s what’s working for me, right now.

A great deal of it is where I keep my mind. Hopefully, I won’t be back here a year from now reporting I’ve gained 50 lbs! I’ve lost weight (I topped out at 300 lbs in high school, bottomed out at 150 lbs 2.5 years later). I got down to 225 before a trip to Mexico in 2008, then shot back up to 270 in 6 months. But I weighed in at 185 lbs this morning. I haven’t weighed that since early 1990.

Now, if I could only will away the perma-flab that comes from having weighed 300 lbs in high school and 270 lbs a year ago. But perma-flab was a problem even at 150 lbs in college, it’s not the kind of thing you fix without surgery. And, at 43, I think I’ll pass on cosmetic surgery. Because I still look drop-dead gorgeous in a suit. 😉

I’m not sure any of this will be beneficial to anybody else. But it’s working for me, for now. And that’s my story.

Or, my story, so far.

Bits & Pieces (Friday Morning Open Mic)

Mitt Romney is looking like a better candidate all the time.

For everyone who ever wondered where the heck some of Superman’s powers came from in Superman II:

Seriously? Super-Kiss? The ability to pull the S off his chest and make it a big cellophane wrapper? And the bad guys “finger beams”? Where are Kryptonian “finger-beams” in the Superman canon?

Susan Solomon chats up stem cells at TED. She brings up Vioxx, a longstanding pharmaceutical bugaboo of mine. Vioxx, for many users, was a miracle drug. For a significant minority of users, it killed them. So, instead of changing the prescription and treatment model, they recalled the drug and took it off the market. Apparently, researching drugs with stem cell cultures could allow us to identify where certain people would be helped and others would die with the use of a drug. That would be a good thing, I would think.


Is Obesity the Greatest Threat To Our National Security? It’s not a good thing, I know. I’ve recently lost 70 lbs myself, and it’s better being thin than fat, all things considered. But I’m not sure I’ve improved our national security by doing so a single iota. I believe this may be hyperbole.

At least we know the Obama’s aren’t pandering to the fat vote. Although I’m not sure that’s politically smart, given how many of them there are.

Do tax cuts for the rich help the economy? Some say no.


Is romance and lots of support and loving and no expectation of anything in return? Not according to Athol Kay on his blog (Married Man Sex Life), and not according to his multitudes of readers, and advice seekers, on the forums of said blog. It can be eye opening, yet I’ve found my experience dovetails with much of what I read.

Being a jerk doesn’t necessarily lead to a great marriage, but being nice and sweet and supportive (at least, for the guy) definitely doesn’t lead there, either. If you’re a hyper-supportive beta-male (like me), you might think it’s just your situation, but apparently it’s played out again and again and again in marriages across the world:

Boy meets girl, boy and girl get married, guy is super-supportive and tries to be romantic and sweet, girl loses attraction, sex practically vanishes. Girl tells boy he needs to be more supportive and nicer and possibly richer and also more obedient and then she will find him more attractive. Boy tries to comply, girl becomes more distant, more nagging, more shrewish, less affectionate, sex disappears completely.

Then, if you read the stories, girl, as often as not, takes her love to town, cuckolds her husband, and then when her adultery is finally discovered, blames him and tries to arrange it so she can have her cake and eat it too (exciting lover and poor beta-husband’s wallet). I haven’t exactly experienced that, but it’s pretty clear lots of guys do. Don’t go searching for Talk About Marriage unless you want to be deeply, deeply depressed.

The answer? Guys need to be men, the captains of their ship, and step up to the plate and have some balls. Turns out, neither Oprah nor Doctor Phil, and not even John Gray (although I devoured his stuff in my late 20s, early 30s, with pretty much zero benefit) have the right advice for men. The right advice turns out to be: man up, and don’t put up with bullshit. Who knew?

Don’t even get me started on the Manosphere. They definitely don’t like the womyn much, or our feminized culture.


I meant to post this yesterday in celebration of ATiM’s anniversary. However, life gets in the way. Since I did not, I get to share this experience:

Coming back from my daughter’s dance class last, I went through a DUI checkpoint that was like nothing I’d ever seen. They randomly picked a stretch of road about a block long, shut off two lanes on either side so all traffic had to be funneled through one lane. There were about 20 officers in the road, about 50 or 60 on the sides, some of them probably technicians or other support people. Along one side there were five or six cruisers with their bars lit, on the other side there were about 25. Going through it, they checked my tags, asked me where I was going, checked my license (checked the cup holders, natch, looking for open containers), and made sure I and my little girl were properly seat-belted.

They were polite as could be, but it was an odd experience. I can’t imagine the open container and seat belt citations could possible pay for a quarter of the expense of such a large operation. There was too much time for seeing the enormity of the stake out and actually getting there for folks not to have plenty of opportunity to put their seat belts on and hide any open containers; they’d have to be actively drunk, and seriously so, to get caught. I heard officers complaining that they’d checked over 40 cars and got nothing. Then I heard another say he saw an open container, but the guy had zoomed on out and gotten away. Nearly 30 cruisers, bars lit, and no one sitting by to chase down a fleeing violator.

Very strange.

Morning Report 9/14/12

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1456.8 6.4 0.44%
Eurostoxx Index 2592.6 49.3 1.94%
Oil (WTI) 99.66 1.3 1.37%
LIBOR 0.385 -0.004 -0.90%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 78.9 -0.366 -0.46%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.82% 0.10%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 193.7 0.3  


Welcome to the world of QEU (QE Unlimited). Markets worldwide rocketed on the Fed’s decision and the rally continues this morning. Commodities have a bid, while bonds and down a point and MBS are flat, continuing the divergence that began on the announcement. 

In economic data, the Consumer Price Index (which became officially irrelevant yesterday) came in at +.6% and retail sales data came in a little better than expected, though higher gas prices may have been driving that number. The dollar continued to weaken against the euro.

The Fed’s announcement had opposite effects on Treasuries and MBS.  Treasuries sold off 2 points on the announcement, while MBS gained a point. While Treasuries did recoup some of their losses, MBS went out at the highs of the day. This puts the 30 year Fixed Best-Ex rate somewhere between 3 3/8% and 3 1/2%. The NY Fed has the particulars on the MBS purchases.

Former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh told CNBC that the Fed’s action reflects deep concerns that the economy is at stall speed or worse. He also noted that the iPhone 5 would have more of an effect on the economy than QE.  Someone else made the same point, and took it further by saying if you believe that incremental consumer spending is good for the economy then you must support the New Deal II. 

The FHFA is developing a new securitization platform as a way to let other lenders compete with Fan and Fred in the secondary market and to reduce the GSEs role in the mortgage markets overall.

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