Let's clean out the notebook ...• I am glad Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith has given more clarification into the laws concerning electronic bingo, but I am even happier Jefferson County has …
Let's clean out the notebook ...
• I am glad Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith has given more clarification into the laws concerning electronic bingo, but I am even happier Jefferson County has finally decided to take action. They looked a little late to the game on the whole matter, to where officials there are going to be tarnished for a while, much as Walker County was tarnished a decade ago.
Again, officials are being honest: If people want it that bad, they can convince legislators to pass a new law; otherwise, the law has to be enforced. From what I can see, the best chance in this session is a traditional paper lottery, like one going to a convenience store to buy the ticket when they cross the state line. When he was governor, Don Siegelman failed to convince voters of the merit, but that was then. I am not personally for it, but it is clear the mood of the public is not as it once was concerning alcohol and gambling. I wouldn't doubt one day we will have it all, including electronic bingo. I'm resigned to it.
Frankly - and you will find Coca-Cola, skim milk, water and juice in my refrigerator, thank you - I am still shocked no one has made the attempt to get the whole of Walker County wet by submitting signatures to the probate judge to get a referendum, although that hasn't happened in surrounding communities, either. The thinking may be that those voters are older and more conservative, but I would bet it would happen. Economic developers would probably fall over themselves with joy if it happened.
• I'm no expert on black holes ... or science in general. I got into the scientific theory of thinking in school, but was not much beyond that. Although space travel did interest me to some extent. Man going into space and to the moon remains a great achievement in history that we now seem to take with a grain of salt.
So it is amazing, with all the other bad news thrashing about on this blue marble, that scientists on Wednesday announced that a photo had been taken of a black hole. Finding one once would have been a shock, but photographing one is one of those achievements we should stop and admire what God has allowed us to see or do. We have essentially seen one of the "the light-sucking monsters of the universe," as the Associated Press put it, a mysteriously-created hole so dense where light itself cannot pass the gravitational pull, and where there is no return once reached. It is one of the great mysteries of God that we know so little of.
According to the Associated Press, the image was taken over four days when the weather had to be almost perfect across the globe. The AP said nothing less than that it "helps confirm Einstein's general relativity theory and that a century ago Einstein had predicted the symmetrical shape that scientists just photographed." Some scientists are even suggesting the achievement could be worthy of a Nobel Prize.
So even that from God which we cannot understand takes a headline now and then, and the human race can marvel we have been allowed to travel another major step in our journey, reminding us, too, of how small we really are under the eyes of God.
• You may have noticed the group being formed in Carbon Hill to do advocacy and education on autism in the area and the state, called R.U.L.E. Autism Family. The spokeswoman, Autum Hargett of Carbon Hill (really between there and Nauvoo), struck me as a very intelligent, well-spoken advocate, and it impressed me they have already mounted one seminar sponsored by a local auto dealership. Anyone interested in the subject, I would take the group as quite sincerely and probably capable in their motives, as I could see this at least being a regionally successful group for Walker and the surrounding counties. One can contact the group and Hargett on Facebook.
• It appears a number of people in Carbon Hill were very upset about the loss of Bobby Frost, which, I fear, is one of those deaths that falls under the radar because one has lived past his era. But apparently he was a football coach and principal who affected many people in Carbon Hill in the 1970s and 1980s, and many people there are giving brief mentions on Facebook to note his passing.
• I will note that the Eagle is continuing to discuss how we can improve on social media, and we are also beginning to pay more attention to Twitter, where the sports team has been more active in recent years. So you may want to pay more attention to us, using @DailyMtEagle. We are still working out improvements on Facebook. Again, be patient as we ease into this.
• The pollen eased up some in recent days, which gave me some relief, but I noticed the levels have skyrocketed again this week in the Jasper area. I pretty much stayed in this past weekend, took a couple of showers a day for the steam. (My humidifier died after 15 minutes, but a $20 device at CVS showed me the humidity levels in the apartment were not bad anyway, so shower steam and Mucinex have helped clear my chest.) I felt awful last week, but this week it is just lack of energy from the meds. I sleep better, though, than I have in ages - it's waking up to get out of bed that's the problem.
• While parked in my chair this weekend, I caught up on my reading, save for church and quick errands, and at least cut down on the coughing. One of the joys of that is that I finally started "Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star - The War Years, 1940-1946" by Gary Giddins, who finally has written the follow up to his 2001 book, "Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams - The Early Years, 1903-1940," which won several awards.
Standout after four chapters: Bing wanted a divorce in 1940 as he didn't know how to handle his alcoholic wife, Dixie, but was talked out of it by a priest and maybe his mother - and perhaps a memo pointing out that despite the huge money he raked in, his gambling and struggling horse racing enterprises, plus his government tax bill, were straining him financially. Alimony would not have helped. (I saw in a documentary this weekend that Giddins participated in that Crosby eventually had to shed some of the racing business after the war, although he stayed married until his wife's death from cancer a decade later. He still was financially successful in later years, as I took it.)
• Lawyers in the area might be interested to know the CIS insurance business in Hamilton bought the impressive Fite, Davis, Adkinson (and etc.) law building on Military Street; it sounds like the remnants of the firm will be with the Atkinson firm in Winfield. They preserved former Alabama House Speaker Rankin Fite's old, small law office building from the courthouse square in the back, but now are looking to get rid of it. The city wouldn't take it, as it would cost $50,000 or such to move and maintain it. A number of Fite's artifacts can now be found hanging at the Journal Record office in Hamilton.
• As for as some other recommendations, I finally saw Mary Poppins Returns. No, it is not the original, but is still interesting as it has a real villain and has a little darker edge. But in the end, it is optimistic, positive, and clean, which is rare for a movie now. The songs are good and charming if not all that memorable (although the Oscar-nominated song will lead you to tears if you've lost a loved one; it is the best). The numbers are staged wonderfully, and, yes, Dick Van Dyke got up and danced on a desk without CGI. Really great film overall, with a marvelous cast.
By the way, if you are into historical documentaries, "Reconstruction" on PBS this week was quite good, with the second part coming next Tuesday. It is a good overview of how the country tried to deal with the South and former slaves after the Civil War, and how it eventually failed due to social norms and political pressures.