It is election day. Here are some final poll predictions. I thought it would be interesting is see how close these predictions will be to real thing.
And the Senate:
Thought people should see this and make sure you vote tomorrow.
NBC news had a report on how halloween had become a big business. Apparently, despite the protest of many (anybody remember that fraud Mike Warnke?) the pagan holiday is here to stay, and I say great. I've alway liked halloween, but it does seem that it has changed some.
All in all though I enjoyed the kids. It brought back good memories. What a fun holiday! It is nice to see kids and parents walking the streets, knocking on doors and seeing neighbors they won't see again until next all hallow's eve. I will miss them.
There will be an interesting symposium tonight at the Hoover Public Library Theater. Best of all, it is free. The topic will be stem cell research and the panelist include scientists, philosophers and a local pastor.
The event is called:
At the Intersection of Science and Faith: Issues in stem cell research
Hoover Public Library Theater
7 PM, Thursday, October 26
Tomorrow is the Third Saturday in October, a traditional, though not consistent date, between the Deep South's most traditional football rivals. It is a date, that has, in recent years, prompted me to submit an annual plea to the faithful followers of the Crimson Tide to answer the call to celebrate the game and to cast aside revisionist history that demotes this game to a second tier behind other in state rivalries.
Because recent history in Alabama football has been turbulent to say the least, I was forced to utilize various metaphors and literary techniques that sought to promote an emotive response by those who have been oppressed by an tyranny of orange. One year, I simply asked that fans exercise a prophetic hope by purchasing a cigar that would become the spoils of the victor. Another year, I appealed to Condaleeza Rice, and the year that American's were reporting to war, I announced that Alabama fan's were reporting to their duty against the Knoxville jihadists.
When I think about each of those treatises, I recognize that the game was not the only influence on my thinking, clearly I was shaped by external factors, such as the weather, the records and rankings of the teams, or the geo-political climate.
This year is no different. But now I find myself, on the eve of possible apocalypse, still having no real inspiration, no real clarity of thought. The reality is that my week has sucked and the weather has mocked my adversities spewing forth its rain and clouds and cold. Tomorrow, I must face the sports beast that continually haunts me with the burden of responsibilities weighing upon me and the stress of running out time plaguing me.
Ah, time, that precious, ephemeral commodity. With time, comes deadlines, those insatiable points of accountability, always demanding and never grateful. This week is a preaching week for me and "time" always becomes more egregious on those weeks. In less than 48 hours, I must stand before my community of faith and attempt to lead them in a theological reflection of anthropology. I am not ready and I am running out of time. How am I to figure out what I believe regarding the nature of humanity in two short days, much less craft those thoughts into a 20 minute homily accessible to those who have not wrestled as much with such issues? How am I do it when I know that several hours of my Saturday will be stolen something as inhumane as that orange hue that will hang over Knoxville like a radioactive cloud?
This pressure is compounded with the nagging questions that surround a theological exploration of humanity. Questions such as original sin, free will and the implication and meanings of Imago Dei. You see it is just all so confusing.
How do you legitimately doubt original sin, when you see the debauchery that is "ut." Much of original sin is based on the understanding that a state of falleness is passed on genetically, one generation to another. Can anyone doubt that the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was anything other than an orange, sending the world into a state of lostness. And that the genetic line of sin has been kept at it most pure by a group of volunteers willing to stay within their own family tree.
This can not be free will. Surely this is the result of something sinister, some type of demonic compulsion. How can one speak a word of hope to their congregation, in light of such evil automatons?
And if part of the concept of Imago Dei (the image of God) conveys a sense of rationality? How does one explain anything that is tennessee? How can one rationally marvel at the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, knowing that really that is noting more than a sulphuric excrement rising from the pit that is knoxville.
The reality is that I am running out of time to find answers to those questions. But while I am running out of time, I am not out of hope. Hope that a third Saturday gives way to a third Sunday. That death will give way to new life, that work will yield itself to a Sabbath rest. As one famous preacher once said, "It's Friday now, but Sunday is a coming!" That well know refrain spoken as the season of Lent gave way to Eastertide.
It does seem appropriate, does it not, that this is the season of Halloween with its ghoulish orange and frightening possibilities. But we must not be afraid, but rather continue to work, watch and pray, that "time" while it may appear ominous, will actually yield victory. That come Saturday evening, we can finally relax in confident hope that the orange of this evil season will be washed away in a crimson flood, that will takes away all the sin of the world, or at least in east tennessee.
The Birmingham News has reported that the City of Bessemer have finished annexing land which will open up the doors for construction to begin on the largest retail project that Southwest Jefferson County has seen in my lifetime. The project will be developed by Colonial Properties which has pulled off several of these type projects in the area.
I am excited for a few reasons, but that is coupled with a feeling of loss. Clearly, this is going to be a boom for the area. McCalla, Hueytown, Bessemer have largely been ignored by the larger B'ham community particularly after the steel industry collapsed. I heard one study once say that the area was underserved by 70%. That seems high to me, but clearly everyone I know gets tired of having to drive to Hoover for anything beyond groceries and dollar store merchandise.
This development will be less than a mile from my home, so the convenience of having a store like Target and Home Depot will be nice. This will also boost property values as well. Property here like anywhere has increased, but it has leveled (flattened) this past year. The addition of this type of retail will boost property values, and if the schools continue to improve, the potential for this area is very high. So I see good times for this strategic area in Birmingham. McCalla will become more and more a known and viable location.
I do however, grieve the loss of some of its charm. A drive down Eastern Valley road in the spring is magical. Less than a mile from the interstate, you will see rolling pastures with majestic horses grazing on the hillside. The mystery of woods that once was a center of activity during the Civil War as iron was blasted at the furnaces of Tannehill. The good people of the area, while not exempt from their own demons, have a firmer perspective on life in my opinion. Not so much caught up in the materialism that plagues other areas of B'ham, they are a proud people but not conforming people. They experience a contentment that belies the prosperity of other more affluent communities.
But those great traits will be tested in the years ahead. The consumeristic hegemony that will accompany Colonial's work will tempt the non-conformity of a community, and destroy some of the beauty that developers can not create. I grieve that the struggle for the soul of McCalla will be a costly one. One in which we all will experience progress and loss.
I have always contended that that everyone has a financial plan, call it a default plan. The problem is that most have never thought about those default settings. Some however do think about their plan and then make decisions accordingly. If you need proof that perhaps an objective professional might can help, check out Timothy Bowers financial plan.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A man who couldn't find steady work came up with a plan to make it through the next few years until he could collect Social Security: He robbed a bank, then handed the money to a guard and waited for police.
On Wednesday, Timothy J. Bowers told a judge a three-year prison sentence would suit him, and the judge obliged.
"At my age, the jobs available to me are minimum-wage jobs. There is age discrimination out there," Bowers, who turns 63 in a few weeks, told Judge Angela White.
The judge told him: "It's unfortunate you feel this is the only way to deal with the situation."
Bowers said he had been able to find only odd jobs after the drug wholesaler he made deliveries for closed in 2003. He walked to a bank and handed a teller a note demanding cash in an envelope. The teller gave him four $20 bills and pushed a silent alarm.
Bowers handed the money to a security guard standing in the lobby and told him it was his day to be a hero.
He pleaded guilty to robbery, and a court-ordered psychological exam found him competent.
"It's a pretty sad story when someone feels that's their only alternative," said defense attorney Jeremy W. Dodgion, who described Bowers as "a charming old man."
Prosecutors had considered arguing against putting Bowers in prison at taxpayer expense, but they worried he would do something more reckless to be put behind bars.
"It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan," prosecutor Dan Cable said.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
I spoke to a local rotary chapter last week, in rural Alabama. The folks were great and welcoming and I got to visit an area that I had not been before. I spoke on "How to get behind: Guaranteed ways to lose your money." The presentation went okay, but I have been thinking about stupid things people do with their money. Here is a list of a few: