Jan 242012

Alabama’s unemployment rate fell to 8.1% in December.  It was 8.7% one month earlier.  In September, it was 9.8%.

Most of Alabama’s illegal immigration law—widely regarded as the toughest in the country—went into effect on September 29.

It seems “jobs Americans won’t do” might be a rather more diaphanous notion than any of the phrase’s supporters realized, eh?

We’ve got to get over the idea that it’s harmless to allow, and in some cases even actively enable, illegal aliens to access our country’s job market and government benefits essentially unfettered.  The above result startles me in its degree.  Clearly, it does matter—a lot.

Even if you believe it is a legitimate function of government to provide for people without regard for whether the government actually belongs to those people, how is it compassion for us to cut our own throats?  Is that not what we’re doing?

 Posted by at 1:19 pm
Jan 222012

Longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died this morning.  He was 85.

This really should have been an easy post to write.  There is quite a lot to say about Paterno’s extensive contributions to the Penn State community, his commitment to academic excellence, and his coaching accomplishments.

There aren’t many things that could have slapped an eternal “Yeah, but…” on such a legacy, but Jerry Sandusky’s alleged behavior qualifies.

Most of what I’ve read and heard today cautions against defining Paterno’s career by the mistake that ended it, on the basis of what I’ve said above.  People are saying it because they wish it were possible.  I do too.  It isn’t.  Ask Woody Hayes.


 Posted by at 4:44 pm
Jan 212012

So is this what happens now when a mainstream “news” outlet attempts to manufacture controversy, then time its release shamelessly to try to damage a front-running Republican?

Bring it!

Congratulations, Newt.  Keep playing your success with discretion and great things just might happen.

 Posted by at 7:42 pm
Jan 202012

I wrote “rarely senselessly vulgar; frequently slightly tacky” early on in my blog’s life, and it’s still usually what I say when I’m asked to provide a blog description.  I envisioned it mostly as a content warning, though I also liked the transposition of the syllable structure from the first phrase to the second.  I thought it was a clever way to tell you up front that I might say “fuck,” but would try not to do so gratuitously.

Thing is, I don’t say “fuck” much anymore.  I’ve sometimes written of the fact that I’ve never tried to be a different person online than I am in real life, and that I found it difficult not to question the motives of those who did.  I don’t think it’s that.  I think my change from the beginning to now represents an honest evolution in the way I do things, not that I was once pretending and now I’m not (or vice versa).  I’d probably still call BoWilliams.com PG-13, but more for thematic reasons than the occasional profanity.

Still, without question, I’ve always written this blog to adults.  I have only considered children stumbling upon it in terms of a combination of likelihood that they would do so, and relative severity of what they would find if they did, and have always been “societally” comfortable with what I put out there.  Yet now I’m doing a lot of thinking about my own children reading it.  (Thanks to a friend for germinating that seed.)  It gives me great pause.  My boys were 5 and 2 when I started this blog, and I never had a single thought of them reading it.  (In October 2006, had I even any thought of this blog existing in 2012?  Probably not.)

But it does.  And now Nathan is 10.  And though he is still tightly supervised online both at home and school, it won’t be long before he’ll have no trouble finding a free whirl at the web here and there.  You know, it’s not that I can remember ever writing anything here I’m ashamed of.  I just never considered the, say, 12- to 19-year-old version of my own son when writing.  I’ve been through thoughts “out loud” here that I wouldn’t mind my adult son reading, but that might frighten or confuse him as an adolescent.

I’m certainly not so vain to imagine that my son can’t wait to get to an unsupervised terminal just so he can wade through Dad’s thoughts for the past several years.  But this will be here, and at an idle moment, he’ll think of it.  I’m pretty sure I don’t want that, and I’m also pretty sure there’s only one reasonable solution to it.

If you’re my age or close to it, odds are decent an Atari 2600 made a memorable pass through your childhood.  Do you remember when you would play Combat or Air-Sea Battle (or a few others), that the scores would blink on and off with maybe 30 seconds remaining as a warning that the game was about to end?  That motif has stayed with me.  I’ll be in the middle of something—making an omelet, doing the taxes, racing the dark to get the grass cut—and think “oops, the scores just started blinking.  Better wrap this thing.”

I think that—for this BoWilliams.com, in its current instantiation—the scores just started blinking.

 Posted by at 7:45 am
Jan 192012
  • Tripped and fell in the lifeboat.  Now don’t all of you judgmental jackasses feel foolish?  Sheesh.
  • Actually ready to wear my ushanka (which my former colleague B.J. bought me in Russia; thanks man!) this winter, but it hasn’t been anywhere near cold enough yet.  I mean, it’s got to be 15º or so for that, yes?
  • Speaking of hats, I actually have a fedora I like, though it’s intended as a “weather” hat, so it has a huge brim.  Sometimes I think about a smaller one, but even most of them aren’t collapsible, and I like a winter hat to fit in a coat pocket.  (I’d make an exception for the immediately preceding bullet, of course.)
  • I’m considering a new primary ringtone.  This is not a small step for me.  I’ve been using the theme from Twisted Nerve, a la Kill Bill and Death Proof, for several years now.  The only replacement that has any traction with me so far is the opening fanfare from Galaga.  That’s really pretty cool, but I’ll keep thinking.
  • So I need an external hard drive for a project I’m working on.  When I explored price and availability during an idle moment this morning, I discovered that they’ve shot up 50-75% since I last bought one about six months ago.  Apparently this is a result of component supply disruption in Thailand and Japan because of natural disasters, like floods and earthquakes.  The bottom line is that this is a really crappy time to buy a hard drive.
  • Just back from our second Rocket City Bloggers meeting at Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.  We’ve had two marvelous experiences, and I suspect we’re tumbling toward regularity there.
  • I’m having a lot of fun assistant coaching Nathan’s Upward team.  I’m thinking maybe head coach for Aaron next season.
 Posted by at 12:01 am