Archive for February, 2009

>Words in Other Languages

February 28, 2009

>If you live around Birmingham and subscribe to the B’ham News and wonder WTF is going on then read the comments at the end of yesterday’s post. A small amount of light was shed.

If you listened to the song I posted yesterday you might have noticed some French words spoken at the end.

Ce soir, disons chez moi
Enfin je compte de toi
Je te drague la rose mystique
Tu l’arrose mystique?
Ha, vas-y
C’est mon monde de soleil…

Loosely translated, by Google translator, it says:

Tonight, let me in
Finally I count on you
I’ll drag the mystic rose
You water the mystique?
Ha, go ahead
This is my world of sun …

However, Yahoo’s Babel Fish translator comes up with this:

This evening, let us say at home
Finally I count of you
I pick you up the mystical pink
You l’ sprinkles mystical?
Ha, go ahead
C’ is my sun world…

The point is, not all translations are equal, but isn’t it handy to have a free online service like that.

Anyone who speaks French can translate the lyrics and tell us what it really says.

>Ramblings and Peter Doherty

February 27, 2009

>“You should feel lucky to have gotten Wednesday’s paper.”

That’s what the woman at the Birmingham News told me when I called for the second time today and told her, like I told the other woman at 6:30, that the paper I pulled out of the plastic sleeve this morning was Wednesday’s paper. (Today being Friday).

Then she said they have had “thousands and thousands” of calls and it seems “most of our calls are from the Bessemer area.

But the entire week has been screwy. Tuesday, we received two papers, about an hour apart, both current for that day.

Wednesday we received no paper, and I could not get through to complain (maybe they had “thousands and thousands” of calls that day too).

Yesterday we got the right paper.

Today we didn’t get a paper. Oh, wait, I mean we got Wednesday’s paper. Surely they aren’t trying to make up for me not getting a paper on Wednesday by delivering it today. Old news is not good news.

So, I am about to go out and get a paper, somewhere, if I can find one.

Anyway, yesterday I was in Baldwin county touring the new DHR building with other members of the Public Building Authority and the Director of our DHR here in Bessemer. It’s a wonderful facility, and important to us because we have hired the same architect to build our facility.

Other Stuff

With his new exit strategy for Iraq President Obama has painted himself out of a corner. Sure, there’s some grumbling from Democrats who want a quick end to the war, but most Democrats realize we can’t just pick up and leave. Now he’s got support from Republicans too, so there aren’t likely to be complaints on down the road. The plan gives commanders flexibility and three more months to draw down, and leaves more troops than many hoped for, but hey, at least it’s a plan, and least it has a goal, and at least it will get our troops out of there.

I just heard a thud out front. 9:05 and the paper has arrived. Let’s see. Yes, it’s today’s! I’m going to go enjoy the pitter patter of rain and a late cup of coffee and the paper.

While I’m doing that, here’s the new video from Peter Doherty.

“Last of the English Roses” features guys playing football (soccer, really) on a playground, and a (gasp) guy on guy kiss at the end.

Not surprising from Peter, who’s pretty gay if past interviews mean anything. Gee, he seems like a character from my book…45 years ago. Well, the songs kind of catchy, anyway.

>A Busy Thursday, An Uplifting Story

February 25, 2009

>Thursday is a real busy day, so I am actually writing this on Wednesday. I hope nothing superbly interesting happens overnight; I would hate to miss an opportunity to post an opinion on something.

Be sure and read my Western Tribune column that follows this post.

Speaking of opinions, I find it very interesting that many of those who comment repeatedly return to post negative comments on my opinions. That’s OK, unless they break the rules. But here is what gets me. Some seem to despise this blog, so why do they keep coming back? Are they closet liberals, and coming to Bessemer Opinions is as close as they can get, what with its anonymity and all. They are particularly negative toward anything gay, to that point that I am becoming very suspicious. You know, the Ted Haggard, Mark Foley sort of thing.

And what I find most interesting is that these right wing conservative readers never (and never is a long time) leave positive comments on the things I write that no one could argue with. What does that tell you? Take for instance the following article. (Maybe this gentle prod will get them reacting in a more positive way. If not, I have access to a cattle prod, which is not so gentle.)

Anyway, not all of you get the West News in the Birmingham News, so I wanted to share a chat that Anne Ruisi had with David Cornelison, a staff nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Princeton Baptist Medical Center. You can read the entire interview at the link, but here is the part that I liked.

What is most memorable about your career?

Where do I start? I remember a teenager I took care of who was in a wreck on graduation night. Bless his heart, he was on a ventilator and had lines (tubes) in him. I know he was in SICU most of the summer, at least eight weeks.

One day, we start pulling the lines out and he was breathing on own. It was a beautiful day outside and I said, `How about we make a trip?’ I took him to the first-floor patio. I helped him out of the (wheel)chair. I told him, `Buddy, you got five weeks of summer left. Isn’t it time you go home?’

He was out three weeks later. A month or two later, he came back to thank us. You can’t put a price on that.

Nurses. You gotta love ’em.

>Western Tribune column February 25, 2009

February 25, 2009

>Bessemer needs stimulus in leadership

One online dictionary offers the following definition: Stimulus – noun: something that incites to action or exertion or quickens action, feeling, thought, etc.

Bessemer needs a different kind of stimulus. I don’t mean the kind the president is offering, although that would help too. No, I’m talking about a stimulus of leadership.

City Hall sits in the center of town. Soon it may be in the center of a ghost town, other than the County Courthouse and the numerous law offices that accompany it.

The leaders at City Hall seem to be stimulating their neighbors to leave.

Instead, they need to be stimulating the Presbyterians to stay and more redevelopment for downtown, not less.

First Presbyterian Church, which sits at the same intersection, has plans to vacate its property and move out to Eastern Valley Road. I guess they don’t understand that downtown Bessemer has needs, maybe more so, than the areas outside of town.

We’ve seen what happens to abandoned churches in our area of Bessemer. The former Broken Vessel Church, formerly South Highland Baptist, has gone from being a landmark example of historic architecture to an empty shell after being abandoned twice in the last few years.

Fortunately an individual has plans for that building which would benefit the entire community. Let’s hope her dream is realized.

Next door to City Hall sits another building, the owner of which is abandoning plans to re-develop after what he says is the city’s failure to follow through with CDBG funds that were promised.

Not all of downtown is in a slump, however. The new County Courthouse will soon be complete. Unfortunately, the building has all the personality of a cardboard box. When compared to the historic buildings that were torn down to build it, it just seems utilitarian.

Just a couple of blocks away sits a pile of brick and rubble. Soon this will be cleaned up. Really. A new State DHR building for the Bessemer Cutoff area will be built. The Public Building Authority has chosen an architect that assures us the building will fit in with the style of the city. And I think they understand that our style was established before the new Courthouse was built.

We welcome the federal stimulus, but those of us interested in downtown development would also welcome being incited to action by our local leaders as well.

>Lent, Good News and the Speech

February 25, 2009

>Are you giving up anything for Lent?

I thought about giving up blogging, but obviously I reconsidered.

Good news: The Washington Post has granted me permission to use the five articles from 1965 that my book is based on, in the book itself. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it, and it means I can move forward. I couldn’t complete my editing until I knew exactly what I could use. I also have permission from the estate of Martin Luther King Jr to use one of his speeches. That costs a pretty penny as well. Both of those things are important to the story, though, so its worth the cost.

My observations regarding the President’s speech last night.

Supreme court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seemed very surprised and uplifted by the warm reception she got. That was nice to see.

As President Barack Obama walked in, he stopped and spoke with several people, including Richard Shelby. I wonder what they chatted about. I thought I saw Shelby mouth the words “birth certificate” but I’m not sure. I am pretty sure that I saw Obama respond with “I haven’t seen yours either.”

The lines from the speech that made me grab a pen and write were these.

Dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself. It’s quitting on your country.

That gives teachers, principals, guidance counselors and parents fresh ammunition in the fight to keep kids in school. Make some posters and hang them in the schools today.

MSNBC had this approval graph at the bottom of the screen, cleverly divided into a red line line for McCain voters and a blue line for Obama voters. Both lines stayed at the top of the chart, indicating viewers liked what they heard.

I think they need sensors in the seats of representatives and senators. That way we could see exactly how bi-partisan the standing up was. It was difficult to tell sometimes, because there are so many democrats that they spilled over onto the republican side of the room.

Little known fact. The seats are not assigned. The senators and representatives who want good seats, and a few seconds of TV time as the president is entering, get there early and save their seats. Some where there as early as 8 in the morning, they said. Shelby had a good seat.

The speech got rave reviews. A CNN poll showed that 68% of people who watched the speech had a very positive response and 24 had a somewhat positive response. 92% positive? Pretty darn good, I’d say.

The same can’t be said for the Republican response by Louisiana Gov Bobby Jindal. Did he even listen to the president’s speech? I referred to Republican governors as out of touch yesterday, and this just proves it. Keith and Rachel and Chris sum it up here. Rachel Maddow, speechless? Wow.

>Happy Mardi Gras!!!

February 24, 2009

>It’s Fat Tuesday and we should all be down in New Orleans (Or Mobile if you like things a little more tame) celebrating. Right now I would be standing along the ZULU parade route on St. Charles waiting. The parade never starts on time, of course, which means the Rex Parade will be late also. Watch them live today here.

Maybe next year…sigh. Anyway, Mardi Gras is a great distraction…

…from things like a governor who feels he’s not being Republican enough and after meeting with the other out of touch governors decides Alabama doesn’t need to help those who are out of work so he’s going to reject $66 million in stimulus funds.

“The decision means thousands of out-of-work Alabamians who may have qualified
for the expanded benefits, such as people who worked part-time, will continue to be blocked from collecting unemployment.”

And Mardi Gras could distract…

…from a Senator who still feels the need to question our president’s legitimacy. It’s sad enough that a Cullman resident would even pose the question, but senator Shelby should have just refused to comment.

Alabama Republicans…finding new ways to embarrass us every chance they get.

Yes…Mardi Gras could be distracting…

>Oscars…Go Dustin! Go Sean!

February 23, 2009

>Hollywood was all a-glitter last night as the 81st Academy Awards took place.

The small oscar party that Glenn Shadix attended was here in our den. His Oscar Predictions were right on the money, missing only the Foreign Language film, but that’s understandable.

As expected “Slumdog Millionaire” won Best Picture along with seven other awards. If you have not seen this movie, you need to.

But I’ve been told I am predictable. (Isn’t everyone, when it comes down to it?)

So let’s talk Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black.

First Dustin. No comment is needed, as he said exactly what needed to be said in his acceptance speech for his Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Milk.”

“To all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told
that they
are less than by their churches, by the government, or
by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and
that no matter what anyone tell you God does love you and that very soon I
promise you you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of
ours…thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk.”

Sean Penn won Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk.

“You commie, homo-loving sons of guns. I did not expect this but I wanted to
be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me often.”

Yeah, well, this win and that performance atones for a wealth of sins, Sean.

There’s a lot more I could say about last nights Academy Awards. Maybe later.

>A Farm Work Day

February 21, 2009

>A Winter Work Day on the Farm

Yesterday was just about perfect for a February work day.

Gardening on a farm (and at home) is a year round deal. This garden will be huge this year, you might can tell from this photo. Here onions and cabbage and collards are being planted. Summer will see fresh potatoes, squash, watermelons, broccoli, tomatoes, okra, peppers, beans and more.

The main project of the day was laying this walkway from the porch to the road.

The “women folk” are spending their cold winter days quilting. There’s no comfort like that of a homemade quilt.

This Pecan tree got a trim. Bobby’s cutting that little limb growing up in the middle of the tree (not the big branch). We have 2 gallons of pecans from this year’s crop in the freezer, just sitting until time to make pecan cobblers, pies, pralines, sweet potato casseroles, and such.

After the work was done, we enjoyed homemade vegetable soup (from last summer’s canning) and a fresh peach cobbler (also from last summer’s canning), along with some barbecue pork and pintos.

There are always flowers of some sort blooming,for instance, these daffodils.

Farm life in North Alabama is not quite Green Acres, but Park Avenue? Hmmm. I’d do fine in either place.


February 20, 2009

>Follow me.

No, I’m really not getting sucked in. But did you know that the founders of Twitter (Evan Williams and Biz Stone) rejected a $500 million takeover from Facebook. $500 million!!!

They brag that Twitter had the first pictures of the Miracle on the Hudson landing. Well OK, but someone could also post a picture of an alien spaceship landing in Trussville on Twitter, and who would know if it is real news or not. For those who wait another 5 minutes to see news break on CNN or even Fox, isn’t it worth it to know that the news is real. Most of the time.

Enough about that.

Alabama mainline Presbyterians (Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley) have voted 77-75 to drop language that requires clergy to “abide by fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness.”


173 regional groups like that will vote this year on the issue. Passage by a majority would allow local presbyteries more leeway in ordaining clergy.

This might allow gay clergy who are in committed relationships to be ordained. After all, the clause being debated was added to target gays (in 1997).

So far the national vote is 39-24 against changing the language.


Interesting concepts from today’s Dear Abby column.

From Abby: some churches feel so strongly about separating the legal aspect of marriage from the religious that they have voted to only “bless unions,” and their clergy no longer sign marriage licenses.

From Rev. M. N. R. in New York: Several couples I know have married without the paperwork because they regard the alternative the same as sitting at a segregated lunch counter, and they are unwilling to support segregation.

From Rebecca in Sunnydale, Calif: When the Bible was written, did they have marriage licenses then?

From God is our Witness in Colorado: Nowhere in the bible does a servant of God ask permission from the government to marry…And while there are references to “what God has joined together,” there is no similar praise for what Caesar has blessed.

This 9 minute video explains a lot. And I knew there was a reason I like David Cook.

>If this were Twitter

February 19, 2009

>If this blog were twitter my posts might look like this. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters.

Based on yesterday’s emails and blog history people are more concerned about waste water than Jesus’ teachings on homosexuality.

Emails from various elected officials run 2 to 1 in support of my column.

Emails from environmental advocates run 100% in support of my column.

Food World in Bessemer is closing, but will anyone notice?

Get ready for lots more foreclosures in Jefferson County, our delinquency rate is 13.5% compared to national average of 9%.

Jefferson county delegation approved bill to allow county manager in Jefferson!!!

Jeffco has $636 million due Friday, seeks extension. Bankruptcy dammit. I can’t get extension after extension on my debts.

Stimulus plan to help winterize homes. How do you get on that list?

Pope shares with Pelosi his anti-abortion rhetoric. OK, so how about comprehensive birth control and contraception!

Linda Nelson says Bayless should not run against Abbott. I sort of wondered myself, hasn’t she done a good job?

Burris needs to resign. Burris needs to resign. Burris needs to resign.

AG Eric Holder says the U.S. is “essentially a nation of cowards” on race discussions. Amen, bro.

Now, I don’t Twitter, but I have friends that do. I am trying very hard not to get drawn into that well of uselessness. Not when I can do the same thing on Facebook for free (Twitter is also free). I mean, I might would use Twitter if I didn’t keep hearing Rick Sanchez on CNN talk about it. They have viewer’s Twitter comments crawling across the screen…who cares?

Don’t let this happen to you!