Jun 302016
  • Upon viewing The Breakfast Club and realizing it was made 32 years ago about my generation, Nathan has allowed the possibility that I just might be telling the truth when I tell him I know how it feels to be a teenager.
  • Back on Windows Phone. Windows 10 Mobile, the released version, is finally available for my hardware, and the Instagram client works well. I like having Cortana and my live tiles back, and streaming my music collection from OneDrive has worked nicely so far.
  • A friend and I were discussing over lunch on Monday the related curses of absolute pitch and relative pitch. (He has the former; I have the latter.) We’re unusually bothered when recorded music is played at a not-quite-correct speed, or when an artist plays a song in a different key live. Well, I was reminded of a blessing from the ability this morning. The pitch of my starter was ever-so-slightly lower. I’ll need a battery in 60 to 90 days. That’s a useful early warning.
  • I don’t follow women’s college basketball at all, and I knew who Pat Summitt was. Thank you to a fine coach and person. RIP.
  • My sleep is improving, thank goodness. Routine has helped. Better diet has helped. I still have some way to go. I’ve a feeling evening exercise may be next. If I can’t straighten it out on my own in another month or so, I’ll ask for help.
  • Barely snuck under $300 on the electric bill this past time. We’re doing pretty well this season with this, but I’m still glad the days are already getting shorter.
  • I am finding myself unusually receptive to, and thankful for, the influence of friends with positive attitudes. It is exceptionally well-timed. You know who you are. Thank you!
 Posted by at 11:04 am
Jun 292016

Sitcom and motor oil commercial cutie-pie Leah Remini is working on a series exploring some of Scientology’s less pleasant aspects (particularly its effects on families).

You may recall that Remini was in the news a little while back when she wondered rather vocally what had become of Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Shelly Miscavige has not been seen in public since 2007.

I’ve written about Scientology on BoWilliams.com occasionally (here and here). You don’t have to look very deeply into it to conclude that it’s quite bizarre. The established narrative includes extraterrestrials, a universe far older than any respected theory accounts for, and so forth. It’s basically what you’d think a religion thunk up by a science fiction author would be like. Hmmm.

Remini is to be encouraged in her efforts to shine bright light into the dark corners of Scientology. The Church of Scientology isn’t that big, but it’s well-financed and extremely aggressive with rhetoric, litigation, and actions against its members and detractors. (Go read about Gold Base sometime. Ask yourself if it sounds like the United States.)

 Posted by at 10:16 am
Jun 272016

divingplatformWe found ourselves at Fulin’s last night because of a dinnertime power outage at home. As we ate, they were showing competitive diving—possibly Olympics tryouts—on television. Nathan mentioned that the last time he’d been at a pool with a 10M diving platform, they weren’t letting anyone use it. Apparently this is common now; liability concerns.

But when I was 18 years old, they let any schmuck jump off. (Or dive off, I suppose. I never learned to dive.)

Point Mallard‘s not far, but I haven’t been much. Maybe three times ever? One of those trips, just about 27 years ago as I type, I climbed up there and walked off the end of the 10M platform. I didn’t give it a thought. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t peer over the edge and consider it. I walked calmly from the ladder to the end of the platform and just kept walking.

I don’t remember very much about the trip down except for the sound. The sound was scary, and I hadn’t anticipated it. I learned when I got out that I had hit the water feet first, with my legs about a foot apart.

What I do remember quite vividly is sitting down 12 feet underwater, holding my testicles, and crying.

Kids are so stupid.

I’d been kicked in the nuts before. It hurt. I’d jumped my BMX bicycle over a whoopty-doo and racked myself on that horizontal bar when I landed. It hurt. But I’d never felt anything like this. This was next level.

Fortunately, it occurred to me in time that, severe pain or not, I was going to drown if I didn’t get to the surface. I did, and actually had the foresight to move toward one of the edges as I ascended so I wouldn’t have as far to swim.

Through the laughter last night, I think the boys got the point. Even if there aren’t any 10M platforms lurking, there’s a rock of similar height at Smith Lake that could eventually be tempting.

Boys, don’t do it. If you must, keep your legs together.

 Posted by at 7:15 am
Jun 242016

As hard as I try to evaluate different views equitably, I’ll confess there are a few phrases that make me tune out nearly immediately.

For example, anytime I see someone fretting about people “voting against their own self-interest,” it is invariably a lament against greater self-determination (and therefore liberty). I can’t believe the South opposes Obamacare so consistently. They’re voting against their own self-interest. How could Great Britain’s people think leaving the European Union is a good idea? They’re voting against their own self-interest.

There is an inherent arrogance in the phrase that flirts with outright dismissiveness. Do you see how it leapfrogs any possibility of considered dissent? This is settled. These poor, unfortunate rubes don’t know what they’re doing. I mean, that’s the only explanation for it, isn’t it?

To be fair, most of the time confirmation bias has a lot to do with how these closed-minded views form. So the arrogance and dismissiveness isn’t intentional, but that doesn’t make them any less insidious. People like to nod and clap each other on the back.

We’ll talk about “social justice” sometime soon.

Have a good weekend.

 Posted by at 10:28 am
Jun 232016
  • I have a longstanding policy of keeping Thursday miscellanea posts politics-free, but I don’t think Governor Bentley has enough friends for this to be controversial with my readership. There is a blistering and sadly entertaining article in GQ on him.
  • Couldn’t tell you the last time I watched an NBA game, but I had a lot of fun watching the Cavaliers win the championship.
  • This week I learned that my Fire Phone’s Instagram client, with which I have been pleased, lacks two big capabilities: direct messaging and the ability to post/view images that aren’t square. This kind of problem is likely to become more common as the Fire Appstore ages. However, a quick shop around tells me I’m going to make do for now. I’m happy with the phone otherwise, and I’d like to get something I plan to keep for a while next.
  • Still running Windows 8.1 on this desktop. Need to take care of that soon, or it won’t be free.
  • I went to do a little follow-up on my experience with wet shaving and give the Chisel Shave Club a little more love, but it would appear they’ve folded. Their web site is gone, anyway.
  • I had a conversation about eating raw oysters yesterday. Nathan and I were about two-thirds of the way through a plate of them the first time he tried them, when he abruptly couldn’t eat any more—not because he was grossed out, but because he learned they were alive.
  • Cam Robinson and Hootie Jones getting off legally seems suspect, but so far there are no open arms in Tuscaloosa. This is a good thing. I hope there are game suspensions.
 Posted by at 7:15 am
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