The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In and Out of Step With Jesus

The title of an opinion column in the Birmingham News certainly caught my eye this morning. "Modern Christianity out of step with Jesus' teachings."

Ok, many of us have recognized this for years. Many of us have been driven away from churches or denominations for this reason. Many of us are appalled at the modern "church's" influence on society and politics. Many of us have found Jesus' teachings to be inspirational, along with the teachings of other spiritual leaders, and have learned to use them to guide our lives without the need to be controlled by a man pretending to be God (whether that is what many pastors and priests claim or not).

So this column by Leonard Pitts Jr. was a must read.

Pitts starts out by quoting Rev. Hayes Wicker of (no surprise) First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida, who called same sex marriage a "tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery." Who is more insulted there? American blacks for whom our history is tainted with their sweat and blood, and without whom this country would never have reached the status that it did, or gays whose inequality is championed as being even worse?

Pitts says that remark is in step with much of modern Christianity, and I agree. One does not have to look far to find a preacher demonizing gays; local television one Sunday morning recently had a local church broadcast where a black pastor was sending gays to hell right and left.

Pitts quotes James Lawson, an icon of the civil rights movement, who supports gay rights, "The human rights issue is not a single issue. It is about all humankind. And all humankind has been endowed with certain inalienable rights." Responding to the Wicker quote, Lawson said "Obviously he does not know anything about 250 years of slavery or the 143 years since slavery as the nation has largely failed to deal with the issue of slavery and its consequences...And he knows even less about the gospel of Jesus."

I will continue to quote Lawson. "Much of Christianity in the United States has been more influenced by violence and sexism and racism and greed than by the teachings of Jesus."


Pitts closes with "Lawson is out of step with modern Christianity. Thank God someone is."

OK. But Lawson is not getting the headlines, Jeremiah Wright is. Gee, if we study the teachings of Jesus and begin to apply them to America, we might just realize that Wright's sermons irritate us not because they are so radically anti-American, but because they expose the truth. America is embarrassed by much of its history (as well it should be) and we have a strong desire to ignore that which pains or embarrasses us.

I for one am glad Rev. Wright has begun to explain his statements. Listen and learn, America.

Monday, April 28, 2008


You get 43 men together, and at least one, more likely 3 or 4, will be gay. 43 guys were circling the track at Talledega yesterday. During the multiple caution flags during the final laps I got to wondering, so I visited , the source for all things gay related to NASCAR to get the scoop. So which of these guys is gay?

Jeff Gordon: Wanted to be in second place coming into the finnish at 'Dega, and he was..., but fell back to 19th place ($134,000) when Jamie McMurray started knocking guys out. There have been rumors about Jeff Gordon ever since he started driving the rainbow car (with the colors out of order). If Jeff was gay, NASCAR fans would have one more reason to dis him.

Some people say the tiffs between Jeff and Tony Stewart are little lover's spats. I don't think so.

Carl Edwards: Raked in $125,000 yesterday, by not finishing the race (he lost a tire and hit the wall). Looks like he lost his shirt, too for this ESPN magazine cover (February 2006). This sparked rumors a couple of years ago, but I think it was just wishful thinking among gay NASCAR wannabes.

Kasey Kahne (finished 23 yesterday, $117,000). Jay Mohr might think so, but I don't:

Evan Darling: Never heard of him. Well, he isn't a NASCAR driver, but wants to be. Evan lives in Oakland Park Florida, and wants to race in NASCAR. Here is what he says about being an out race car driver:

"I came out when I was 18 and had to leave home. It was very difficult through the years but I eventually saved enough money working as a mechanic to start racing myself (on a very poor budget!). Most of the people in racing now had alot of family support...something I never had. I am still racing today but it is getting more and more difficult financially as I move up the ranks. There has to be a person or group of people out there that wants to see a gay person doing well on tv in Pro races! I am out and not afraid to tell anyone! Most people don't think I am gay but when they find out I usually keep the people as friends and change their outlook on what a "gay" person is."

Here is his web site and he also has a blog that he doesn't update too often). If you are a gay NASCAR fan give this guy your support.

And visit Good information there about inclusive NASCAR.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bringing Bigotry Back Into Fashion

Larry Langford is becoming more bigoted as time goes by. On Friday he will host his "sackcloth-and-ashes prayer service to save the city's soul," according to John Archibald in his column today.

Less than a year after Birmingham passed a gay inclusive resolution embracing diversity, Langford is having Bishop Eddie Long from Atlanta as a guest. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Long as "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the relgiously based anti-gay movement."

Long's church, New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta, tries to convert gays away from their natural orientation and damns them to hell if they don't (he's the judge, you know).

From one of his sermons, regarding women using marital aids..."God says you deserve death!"

I have read the Bible, and I can't recall that passage anywhere.

But I am very confused about this. Yesterday we recieved a piece of mail about The American Family Outing sponsored by Soulforce, The National Black Justice Coalition, COLAGE and Universal Fellowship of Metrocpolitan Community Chuuches, all gay friendly or gay advocacy organizations. They are hosting "meaningful dialogue" at 6 mega churches across the country. One of the hosts is Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The brochure says "We believe these churches have the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some religious voices against LGBT people and their families."

The group will be in Atlanta May 30-June 1, 2008. Read about it here at Soulforce.

Other pastors hosting events are Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Harry Jackson and Bill Hybels.

OK I get it now. Soulforce is sponsoring dialogue with influential pastors who are either homophobic or homosilent because of their huge influence over spiritual people.

They will seek to change the beliefs and values of people at those churches, I guess. A worthy endevour. Too bad they are not coming to Birmingham.

Might be interesting.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Trendy Gays

It's no secret gays are trendsetters*, and are often the first to embrace new technology. Take Leonardo da Vinci, who drew up plans for flying machines, or Michelangelo, who started that whole "laying on your back for years painting ceilings" thing.

So when it comes to blogging, it's no surprise that 51% of gays who use the internet read blogs regularly, compared to only 36% of heteros, according to a Harris Interactive poll. 27% of gays and 13% of straights have posted comments, and here is one I really like, 21% of gays have written their own blog in the last month, while only 7% of straight people have. Story is here.

*I do not consider myself a trendsetter. I don't have blu-ray, bluetooth, single serving coffee maker, or even an iphone. No Dyson DC-24 vacuum cleaner here. I just don't have time to be trendy...other than finding "relevant and timely information" and posting such here. And there is barely time for that.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Three Topics (Smoking, Vivian Figures and $10,000)

I am working on two group presentations this week, and don't have much time to think. But I want to share three things with you.

Bessemer passed a Smoking Ordinance which should be enforced at this time. However, as a reader let me know, at The Stadium Grill on 4th Avenue smoking is still allowed.

We went to The Stadium Grill on Friday night and had great hamburgers (one of us had an open faced sandwich) and milk shakes. Close to the end of our meal, a customer sitting at the bar and carrying on with employees lit up a tobacco product.

None of the employees, nor the person in charge (who might have been the owner, I don't know) said anything to this man. While he was smoking, four Bessemer policemen came in and sat at a table next to him, where the smoke could not have been missed. They did not say say a thing. Aren't the police supposed to enforce the law?

After a few minutes another customer asked the man to go outside and finish, which the smoker did.

Are the police not aware of the law? These were guys in black police t-shirts and camo pants, with lots of guns and all, not your typical anti-smoking cops, but still, they drove Bessemer Police cars.


State Senator Vivian Figures has announced that she is running for Senate to replace Jeff Sessions. This may not be an easy task, but it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. I wish her much success. Here is an email I recieved from her.

As a lifelong committed Democrat and an Alabama State Senator for the past 11 years, I have announced my candidacy for the United States Senate. I Believe that it is time to give this seat back to the people by putting our children, our seniors and our veterans first, providing affordable health care to all Americans and working for a stable economy.

I have been very active over the past few months speaking to many audiences across this great state spreading my message of inspiration and unity. To win the Democratic nomination on June 3, it is imperative that I have the support of people like you who Believe that Alabama deserves better.

Our polling data shows that my campaign will be successful if we are able to raise the necessary funds to get my message out to the voters via literature, yard signs, advertising and other media. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by May 31, 2008. If you can contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford, we would be most appreciative.

I ask you to Believe with me that together we can make a difference and give Alabama what it deserves, bold, visionary leadership. Please go to and you will be able to donate to my campaign today.

If you, like me, believe Sessions has used his alloted time, please support this effort.


Do you want $10,000? Equality Alabama is giving it away. But you must buy a ticket, and only 400 are being sold. Tickets are $100 (which also will get you 2 seats at dinner). The deadline for buying tickets is tomorrow, and the event is on the 25th. Here is the info: Equality Drawdown Hoedown. You do not have to be present to win.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Corporate America

Last night I decided that today's post would be about corporate America. That is sort of a dirty word, because it brings up images of Exxon, (earlier) Healthsouth, Enron, you know, big ugly corporations, that do big, ugly things that get lots of news.

But what about the friendly corporations that just hurt one person at a time (or hundreds, as in the case of United Airlines. See I am still a little steamy about United, because they promised us vouchers when we suffered through a cancelled flight, a bump from a flight, and a denial of boarding (till they saw the steam coming out of my ears). But the vouchers have yet to arrive. They will be expired before I ever get them.

Then there is Bright House. You know, the cable TV company. I'm sure we can all complain about cable tv, like the paying for HBO In Demand and then having to watch John Adams Part 4 all pixelated and skipping. How nice. Or the Music Choice channels that skip....and skip....and sometimes just quit playing. But try this on.

Go to channel 100 to pay your bill. Go through all the steps, using their (hopefully) secure credit card system, and get a message on the screen that they were unable to accept my payment at this time, try again later. OK. So try again later, go through the same steps. Same message. OK, I will just pay the old fashoined way tomorrow. Well "tomorrow" was yesterday, so I thought, well I will just try the TV service again. So when I "log on" and get to the page that shows my balance, its negative because they actually accepted the two payments I made. What kind of system is that, in this age of technology and this company that wants me to use their phone service and internet cervice and cell service and garbage service and sewer service...well actually the last two I just threw in there, but really they might do better on the sewer than what we got now.

But the corporation that brought all this on is Best Buy. Why do I never learn. They are the same Geeks (Squad) that erased all my documents and pictures from a laptop I took in for repair a few years ago, so why I thought I should buy a new one from them I don't know. Well I do, I guess. Blue is a much better color than red (the Circuit City color). That could be an Auburn thing, I guess, but anyway, I went to them to get a new laptop.

OK, making a long chapter of a story short, it was not ready when promised. That irked me a bit, since I made a special trip over there to pick it up, but a gift card from the manager helped. But today...when I return to get it after waiting 30 one can find it!!!

Seriously, it is gone. So am I still without a computer, without a big chunk of cash, and steaming.

But they tell me I will have a (new and different...same model I mean) laptop tonight. And they better hand me another gift card too.

What is your favorite corporate America story?

Starting tomorrow I begin (really I started last month) in earnest a "new phase." I will be doing an internship at the Department of Agriculture in Montgomery in Ag Security. To learn more about what that means, read my column next week in the Western tribune, or stay tuned on here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bessemer Police Business and David Cook!

So here is what we learned at the Bessemer Neighborhood Association meeting Monday night.

Sgt. Carmicheal from the Community Service Division of the Bessemer Police Department spoke and addressed concerns of those present.

For speeding and recklessness. Sgt. Brooks is over the traffic division, and he said to call him on his cell phone when you see speeding. 205-229-2793. Tell him the location, the make of the car and the tag number if you can get it without endangering yourself. In addition, if they get enough complaints about an area they will do traffic stops or DUI checks which often drive motorists to take different routes.

As for the noise ordinance, which covers not only stereos but screaming motorcycles as well, the ordinance is in force. Decible meters are being acquired (yawn...I've heard this for months, years). To report these, call dispatch at 205-425-2411. (Don't call 911 for noise). Be specific in your report, whether the noise is coming from a house, or a car, describe the car and get the tag, without the person knowing it if possible.

If you don't feel that your call is getting a response (like if you don't see a cop within a few minutes) call again, and ask for the officer over that shift. During the day, Sgt. J. J. Pierson, during the evening, from 2:45 to 10:45, Sgt. Fred Littlepage, and during the night shift, from 10:45 to 6:45 AM, Sgt. Ray Hubbart. Sorry officers if I misspelled you name.

Everyone realizes that a speeding car or a rocking car will be long gone before an officer gets there. But the police might "hunt them down", or keep a watch out for the car that is described. And again, enough compaints from an area will lead to inconvenience, no doubt, but worth it to slow down traffic. Just be sure you have your insurance card and license with you.

We should also realize that the cops can't be everywhere and see everything. So they depend on us to call these things in.

But they should realize that we depend on them as well, like to arrest people who have stolen cars being dis-assembled in their backyards. If they won't arrest that individual, do we really thnk they are going to give a hoot about Nas (otherwise known as Nasir Jones) blaring Ether out of a car:

"Ay, yo, pass me the weed,
Pour my ashes out on these niggas man,
(No doubt)
Ay, y'all faggots, y'all kneel,
And kiss the f***king ring"

It gets worse. But that gives you an idea.

That is the kind of noise we hear as the windows are rattling. It is offensive to people of color, to gay people, to decent people who do not appreciate profanity and slurs being thrust into our dens such that we can not even hear the sweet sounds of American Idle, I mean Idol. And if I really watched and cared and voted, David Cook would get my vote. Randy, Paula and Simon seemed to like him as well.

The Bessemer Police Department holds public safety meetings the first Monday of every month at a different location. These meetings are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend. Heads of divisions are there to answer questions. Crime statistics are given out, with comparisons to previous months. Notification of these meetings has been a problem, sometimes they use flyers, sometimes they are announced in the local papers. The BPD is trying to determine the best way to let people know about the locations. I will try to become aware of these and post them as well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stolen Car Recovered...and Flowers

My neighbor found his car. Nothing is easy, nothing makes sense.

The car was here .

3300 block of Arlington Avenue, where it dead ends. With 10 - 15 other cars around in the backyard. Cars had been stripped of engines and transmissions and the like. He called the police, they came, arrested no one. The homeowner, his wife and son were there, claimed they had no idea how the car got there, in their backyard, with all those other stripped cars.

Word is that this guy used to work at Gary's Tires in Bessemer, was fired for stealing $30,000 worth of tires.

Friend told the cops he didn't want the car towed, he would go home and get a key and drive it home. By the time he got back (it's just a mile away) they had towed the car, against the wishes of the owner, and charged him $140.

My friend wrote this:

The homeowner claims he works on cars at his house for extra money. The officer on scene scolded him for that and also scolded some guys who were burning trash in a barrel behind the house! MY STOLEN CAR WAS ON THIS GUYS PREOPERTY AND THEY DID NOTHING! MY AIR CLEANER HOUSING WAS LYING ON THE GROUND NEXT TO THE CAR, BUT HE HAD NOT TOUCHED IT!!!

It's funny, his son has a car just like mine with the big wheels and such on it!

I feel they should have been arrested for recieving stolen property or something!

The city needs to check the Vin numbers on every car at that house..............I'll bet they are all stolen

Sounds like a good idea to me? The rest of you who have told me their car was stolen might want to go down there, in daylight, with company, and check things out.

At the Bessemer neighborhood Association Meeting last night Sergeant Carmichael of the Bessemer PD spoke about public safety, crime, all the issues of Dartmouth Avenue and more. I will write about that meeting tomorrow, if time allows.

For today, I am just glad Drew got his car back (even damaged) and I hope that the perps get tagged.

And I am glad the temperature didn't freeze the peaches or flowers or tomato plants.

This is another Columbine in the backyard, these just come up and I try to move them around and get a bunch of them growing together.

This antique rose is Zephirine Drouhin, with a wonderful fragrance and no thorns.

Fiery blooms of this native azalea look hot, out of place on this cold morning.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bessemer Crime

I know that crime happens everywhere. I have a friend who lives in one of the communities of North Shelby county whose home was broken in to, and there have been cars stolen or broken in to at the malls of Hoover. But when crime occurs in your own neighborhood it is more than just a statistic.

My neighbor that was almost hit by the speeding vehicle on the wrong side of the road the other day now has had his car stolen from right in front of his house between 1 and 3 Saturday morning.

The car is a cream colored 1984 Olsmobile Delta 88, 4dr with VIN# 1G3AN69YXEX387804 and tag # AS64421. It was last seen, by a witness that night, turning left into one of the housing projects on Dartmouth Avenue.

He left a comment on Disregard of the Law in Bessemer but I am reprinting it here.

I live on Dartmouth and think this is a major issue! My car was stolen Saturday Morning, the window was broken out of our truck and radio stolen less than a month ago and I am the guy who was almost hit by the car! I also think it would be a good idea to install speed breakers evey 500 feet on the Avenues. The streets all have stop signs where they intersect the Avenues, therefore speeding is not really an issue except maybe on 19th street. If you slow these people down they will find a faster way to get where they are going. It will also impeed the big truck traffic! Hopefully they will find the faster way is by following the railroad tracks through the brickyard intersection and then down Carolina Ave to Hwy 150! Decreasing traffic also decreases crime.................IMO!

Speed, noise, litter, theft is becoming a way of life on Dartmouth Avenue. It's hard to be a community promoter who tries to convince people to move into historic Bessemer to help our city recover, when all around us the thugs and hoodlums are contolling the streets.

We were told last week that police patrols would increase. I worked outside almost all day Friday and most of Saturday, and did not see one police car. Are they afraid to come into the area or what? Maybe we will get some answers tonight at the Bessemer Neighborhood Association meeting (7 PM at New Grace Covenant Assembly of God, 830 Briarwood Drive, Bessemer, Al 35020). See you there.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Disregard of the Law in Bessemer, and The Out 50

At the risk of being accused of trying to make everything gay on this blog and in Bessemer (not that it would be a bad thing) by a certain news editor, I offer the following.

Out Magazine has named their 50 most influential Gay Men and Women in America. Guess who is number 1? Barney Frank, the highest ranking elected official (Representative from Mass)? Nope. It's Ellen DeGeneres. Well, she is certainly a fave around here. And while Barney might have some power in congress, he has to fight against a president that vetoes anything substantially progressive, while Ellen reaches millions every day. Barney is number 2.

Strange but true, number three is Anderson Cooper. He was number 2 last year...and he won't even acknowledge he's gay. Nothing wrong with that, but to consistently be ranked so high, you might think there would be a denial if he wasn't. "America's boyfriend," that's what they called him recently when he had the skin cancer removed. As such, and remaining neutral, he can be seen as the "boyfriend" of all of America, male and female. Uh, huh.

Others you may not expect. Jodie Foster, at number 13, is another entertainer who is not comfortably out. That's OK, because everybody...I mean everybody, knows.

Nate Berkus, of Oprah fame, at number 21. Suze Orman number 24. See the rest of the list right here.

In Bessemer, especially on the Southside, there has been an increase in disregard for the law. Speeders, running stop signs, especially along Dartmouth Raceway...uh, Avenue. One neighbor almost had his kids and himself killed yesterday by someone flying down the wrong side of the street.

In addition, stereos are blaring as if there has never been mention of a noise ordinance. And smoking has occured at The Stadium Grill on occasion since the ordinance against smoking passed.

So what is the deal. We are supposed to get increased police patrols but what they really need to do is hide on 19th street and 16th or 17th street and watch. Maybe someone from the police department will be at the upcoming Bessemer Neighborhood Association meeting, which is Monday night (7:00) at New Grace Covenant Assembly of God Church on Briarwood Drive in Bessemer. They could address all of these issues.

And speaking of Dartmouth Avenue, I posed this question last year, and here it is again.

Why can’t the city designate a “truck route” coming from Lipscomb on Dartmouth Avenue, at Carolina Terrace, to Carolina Avenue, all the way to 14th Street or Highway 150?

On this map, where the star is, is the intersection of Carolina Terrace and Dartmouth. (Don’t follow the “brown” line…that was on there when I copied the map. Coming from the Libscomb direction, turn right at the star, continue on to Carolina Avenue, turn left, and go about 4 or 5 blocks to 14th Street (Highway 150).

Doing this would keep those noisy and dangerous trucks off of the residential street Dartmouth Avenue, and send them down the mainly commercial street Carolina. Bus routes would not have to change, and of course emergency vehicles and fire trucks would still use Dartmouth. Earl, are you listening? This is your street. And it is OK to inconvenience truck drivers just a little to increase the quality of life of residents.

Early in the morning, before the buses start running, big trucks come rumbling down Dartmouth. Some day I am going to get out there to identify them, but it's not like you have a lot of time. I mean it's not as if they stop for the red light or anything.

Who lives on Dartmouth? Who thinks this would be a good idea. In my spare time, I might circulate a petition along the street for this.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Protests in San Fran

I am 100% behind the protests being waged as the Olympic torch travels around the world. Here is video of the Golden Gate Bridge incident. I do have questions did these guys get around the security and all to do this. This report says it took them 45 minutes to unfurl the banners.

Tibet is only one of the many reasons to protest against China. Let's see, human trafficking, lead paint on toys, dangerous chemicals in prescription meds and toothpaste, exploitation of workforce, baby killing, Tiananmen Square.

I walked across the GG Bridge once, and I felt a little nervous just looking over the edge. I can't imagine climbing and doing this. I get nervous on a ladder hanging Christmas lights.

About 80 people will carry the torch while it is in San Fran, and one is HIV positive gay Navy Veteran John Caldera. Here is a report.

In this report, the news reporter actually talks by cell phone to one of the protesters, Laurel Sutherlin, as Laurel hangs on the bridge with a flag. No hands, as one is holding the phone and the other is waving to the camera at the request of the reporter to confirm that is who she is talking with.

Now I don't really support boycotting the Olympics. Let the event proceed, but hold protests every day is what I say.

I promised flower pictures so here they are. Sorry it has taken so long. I no longer have use of my laptop, so blogging is not as convenient, nor is editing pictures, but soon I will get a new laptop (notebook I guess is the preferred term these days).

Dogwoods have been in bloom for the last two weeks, but still hanging in there, in spite of all the stormy weather.

Wisteria Lane...not quite, but close.

Irises are continuing to open, different varieties open at different times.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Don Siegelman on 60 Minutes

Scott Pelley interviewed Don Siegelman two days after his release from prison.

Here Scott Pelley answers questions about the story. Unfortunately, you have to listen to a Sprint advertisement first. Siegelman was still in prison when this took place. These videos from CBS embed sort of strange, hope they work.

From Sunday, April 6, 60 Minutes Show, here Siegelman affirms that he did not make a deal with Scrushy.

Here Elmer Harris confrims that there was not bribe (where was he when we needed him?)

Here Siegelman discusses the future. Politics is not in his future, Karl Rove...mission accomplished.

I can only hope that Karl Rove and several others involved in this are obliged to enjoy prison in a worse way than Don Siegelman did.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thomas Beatie...revisited

By far, and I mean really far, this post on Thomas Beatie has brought more visitors to Bessemer Opinions than any previous post. I track those kinds of things, when I have time. Not more comments than other posts, but more visitors. And from countries, literally, around the world. Lots of interest in the story.

There have been some interesting comments, and I am going to copy one of them here, and my response which I also posted as a comment.

A reader had this to say:

I am a heterosexual woman with VERY liberal views on the LGBT community. But this situation is where I draw the line. There is no miracle about Thomas's ability to carry a child she's a woman - that's what we do! Thomas needs to see shrink, she wants to identify as a man but have the rights of a women! WTF?? Stop being greedy either you are or your not. Thomas is trying to play God - defy nature what he is doing is mocking the cycle of life. SHAME ON THEM!!

And here is my response:

I remember in 1978 when Louise Brown was an embryo in a test tube and the news of her successful implantation into the uterus of her natural mother took place. I remember the same types of comments, that Steptoe and the other doctors involved were playing God. Of course, Lesley Brown was the natural parent, so there are differences. No wait, Thomas is the natural parent also. And his baby was not concieved in a test tube, outside of the body.

Now in vitro fertilization is commonplace, and no one, well almost no one, thinks anything of it, except maybe questioning the multiple births that usually take place with these techniques. But is it playing God when we use a woman as a breeding machine to produce a litter? Is that mocking the human cycle of life, and mocking God? After all, the human uterus is not designed to carry 4 or 5 fetuses, yet the fertility it so.

Also common are surrogate pregnancies where a woman carries the fetus of another woman and has the baby and then just gives it up. Is that healthy for the woman (the surrogate)or the baby? Is that playing God?

When Sarah (Sarai) couldn't bear Abraham's (Abram's) child he tried that surragacy thing, sort of, with Hagar. Who was playing God there?

Of couse they had that whole incest, who's your daddy thing going on with Sarah and Abraham having the same father (oh, really?) and rumors about Abimelech being the daddy of Isaac.So unusual pregnancies and relationships did not begin with Thomas Beatie, and they won't end there.

Oh, the flower pictures will have to wait till later in the weekend..

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cheyenne Jackson

Now I really want to see Xanadu. Cheyenne stars as the leading man... struggling artist Sonny Malone in the Olivia Newton John remembrance. He's part Native American and 100% handsome. He spoke about his gayness in The Advocate and his story, of coming out to his family at 19, of getting turned on by Popeye and Brutus bondage at 7, and of being in a loving and understanding relationship for 9 years is nothing but sweet and uplifting.

Of course he went through what we all do, whether we come out at 7 or 19 or 40, but of particular merit is the importance that celebrity or well known role models hold for young gay people. One teenager asked for a picture, and later clutched it as he told his parents he was gay "because it gave him strength." He even loaned the picture to a friend a couple of weeks later when he coming out.

I might even watch the Tony's this year...well, if he's nominated.

At least click on the link and read the first of the article. What he says about Popeye will crack you up.

I probably won't make it to New York to see Xanadu, but I did see this on Thanksgiving Day and did leave the oven unattended for a few minutes:

Here is Cheyenne's web site Cheyenne Jackson

My other connection (yeah right, like that was one) to Xanadu is:

In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfoldingsunny spots of greenery.

The link takes you to the entire poem. I wrote a term paper in high school about Samuel Taylor Coleridge's drug use and how it influenced his poetry.

Nice pictures (of flowers and such) are due Friday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bessemer Development and Bessemer Beauty (and Beyond)

Thanks to Carole for this tip.

The Birmingham Business Journal lists the top business deals of the year and U. S. Pipe's expansion in Bessemer is number two. From Bessemer Opinions May 9, 2007, "Building permits and fees alone will generate $450,000 for the city on the $45 million project. Ray Torok, company president, says, “This is a statement of commitment by U. S. Pipe to the Bessemer Community. No one is going to wake up one morning and worry that U. S. Pipe is leaving Bessemer, and in this day and age, that is no small gift.” Neither is the $116 million total annual economic impact that U. S. Pipe, with its current plant and the new one will generate for the city once it opens."

I am still waiting for more information, but there is supposed to be some degree of green in this development, not the $$$ kind, but rather the environmentally friendly kind. That was my main interest in this story from the beginning. Environmentally friendly economic development of this sort will really help Bessemer in the eyes of the yuppies and guppies that are helping to Bring Bessemer Back.

Number three on the list is Colonial's Tannehill Promenade development. Publix, Target, Ross, J. C. Penney, Premiere 14 Cinema, and probably Logan's, Chik-fil-A and Habenero's are among the businesses soon to open, some as early as this summer.

This development will bring more of the $$$ green to the city. Of course, the city "invested" $14.5 million to the development, including a much debated gift of a cool million to secure the theater, so it will take a while before we recoup our investment.

Another Bessemer development on the list (number 8)is Equity Development Corporation's construction of a 127,500 square foot spec building at its Parkwest Corporate Center. This was phase three of their project.

To have 3 of the top 12 deals of 2007 speaks well of Bessemer. Where it's happenin:

Bessemer also has some of the most colorful gardens in the county. Without fail, Lady Banks Rose is the earliest to bloom. Ours is yellow, but there is a white form available also.

Tulips are still blooming, this white one has a bright yellow center, and must have been planted by Dr. McElroy years ago. Some tulips seem to be pretty good about coming back year after year, other do not.

Orange and pink don't always go together, but tell this monarch butterfly who couldn't resist this azalea blossom.

The following pictures are from the farm in Morgan County. These are peach blossoms.

Sometimes the tiniest flowers are the most beautiful. Simple, common, and walked over by almost everyone who has a yard, are the tiny bluets. Bluets are also called Quaker Ladies. One of my favorite "weeds" since childhood.

Speaking of weeds, even the lawn pesk dandelion is realy beautiful, and in a pasture at sunset, the seed head looks like this.

This is a little pond as sunset approaches. Part of the poperty is in the wetlands program to preserve habitat.

The farm pictures were taken Easter weekend, the others this week in our yard in Bessemer.