My name is Dr. Michael Brown, aka “Mike the Eyeguy,” and I’m an optometrist who has always loved Disney characters and small, remote planets.
I would never kill Pluto. I may be more of a Goofy Man myself, but I have no interest in dissing Mickey Mouse’s lesser-known pet pooch. Nor have I supported demoting poor little Pluto from the status of noble, outermost outpost planet, guarding the far boundaries of our Solar System from alien invasion, to a mere member among many in the Kuiper belt, a rather shady band of steroid-enhanced asteroids and dwarf planets.
When I finished “The Anatomy of a Broken Bone” two and a half years ago, I was hoping there would never be a Part II. “Here’s hoping our first one will also be our last,” I wrote.
So much for wishes, well-laid plans and good intentions.
Number Three Son is down again. This time with a broken distal left fibula (ankle, essentially) obtained while sledding down a snowy hillside on a trashcan lid in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the annual “Juiced-For-Jesus,” mega-monster youth rally, Winterfest.
The chance to frolic in a few inches of fresh, frozen precipitation was just too much of a temptation for a gang of Southern boys whose experience with the stuff is limited mainly to pictures on the internet and coverage of the Winter Olympics every four years.… Read the rest
“I thank God for how far I came to be here and to have the opportunity. It’s OK. I wouldn’t trade it. If it didn’t hurt this bad, I didn’t care that much, so, yeah, it’s still worth it. I’m glad I got the chance.”
–Nigerian sprinter and former Huntsvillian Olutoyin Augustus after failing to qualify for the semifinals in the women’s 100-meter hurdles
It turns out Margaret Hoelzer isn’t the only athlete with North Alabama ties competing in Beijing.
Toyin Augustus is a Nigerian 100 meter hurdler who prepped at and ran track for Grissom High School (Number One and Three’s alma mater) prior to competing at Penn State.
Also, Julianne Kirchner is a 50 meter freestyle swimmer from the Marshall Islands whose parents grew up in North Alabama and attended UNA.
(UPDATE 8/16: You can read how her race went here).
Why the Marshall Islands? Julianne (age 16) has lived most of her life on Kwajalein Island, and if you’re from Huntsville, you probably know at least one rocket scientist in your circle who has spent some time in that distant atoll.… Read the rest
Marvin was a McDonald’s High School All American, Alabama Mr. Basketball and the main cog in the Grissom High School State Championship basketball team of 1999. He went on to play for Tubby Smith at the University of Kentucky and later transferred to The University of Louisville. There he started 23 games, averaged 10.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots during his senior year for Rick Pitino’s Cardinals.… Read the rest
With temperatures in the triple digits this week, I had a flashback to a scene from a few years ago when our family sought relief from those sunburn blues in the form of a jazz concert at Big Spring Park in Huntsville. Afterwards, the muse struck, and the result was a wee little essay (or is it a beatnik poem?) which was published in The Huntsville Times about a week later:
A simmering sun burns off the last of the July haze and slips beneath the rim of the Von Braun Center.
Over by the Big Spring, the Grissom High School Jazz Band tunes up for its upcoming European tour in front of a hometown crowd.
(H/t to running buddy Joe V. and his big, long lens for the shot of Number One receiving his diploma).
Grissom High mercifully moved 469 grads through the line with machine-like efficiency.
Chaos did start to descend on the affair, though, by the time they got to the “S’s.” As the shout-outs and air horns grew louder and more boisterous, the grads who had received their diplomas returned to their seats and began to blow up the large number of inflatable balls that they had smuggled in beneath their robes.
At first the faculty members tried to confiscate the balls, but after they saw them propagating like rabbits, they finally gave up.… Read the rest
The speaker at last night’s Grissom High Baccalaureate service was entertaining and spot on.
He basically said there were two types of buttons in life. First, there was the EASY button, and he held up just that, one of those from the Staples office supply store commercials. He told the grads that they could always take the path of least resistance, continue life in their high school mindset, and anytime they faced a difficult choice they could just reach down and hit the EASY button and hope for the best.
But, he warned, whatever you do, do NOT press this button!… Read the rest
Yesterday was Senior Sunday at our church. That’s “senior” as in high school, not the over-the-hill, AARP type. There were 26 seniors this year, which, as we say in the South, is a whole big mess of ’em.
They marched down the center aisle of the church, clad in their graduations robes–brown, burgundy, white, red, purple, power blue. This was the start of a new tradition this year. But just barely. It was announced last week that they would wear their robes, and as one might expect, there was a great hue and cry and a week’s worth of high drama.… Read the rest
Johnny, a friend of Number One Son at Grissom High who scored a perfect 2400 on his SAT and a perfect 36 on his ACT, was among 20 students named to the team. Of those, 15 were of Asian or Indian descent. I don’t know precisely how much genetics has to do with that (my guess is quite a bit), but I do know that many of those kids are second generation Americans whose immigrant parents have instilled in them a killer work ethic which makes me and my progeny look like absolute slouches.… Read the rest
With Number One’s high school graduation drawing nigh, we’re going through a season of Last Things: last prom, last high school term paper due, last final exam and, most bittersweet, the last soccer match.
We had played the moment in our fast-forward minds many times. We would be gathered round the Lads in Orange on Saturday, May 12th, 2007 as they hoisted the Alabama 6A High School soccer trophy high above their sweaty heads, champions of the state on an expansive pitch of freshly-trimmed grass in front of an undulating sea of hometown orange and black.
Tulsa Union High School proved to be one Tulsa too many for the Grissom Tigers. We lost a body-bruising 2-1 tussle in the final of the Island Cup Invitational tonight. Union, ranked #1 in the state of Oklahoma, was by far the best squad that we’ve played this year. It took us a while to adjust to a team that was just as quick or even quicker to the ball than we were, and in the beginning they were winning most of the 50-50 balls and pinning our defense on their heels with their aggressive, pressing attack.
But by midway through the first half, we had found our legs and launched a few dangerous forays of our own.… Read the rest
We came away with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Tulsa Memorial High School today in the semifinals of the Island Cup. Like the quarterfinal, we struck early with two quick goals, one of them a work of art–a header off a 40-yard feed from our defensive midfielder. We had several other close chances, and Memorial caught our defense napping with a second half goal which gave them their second wind. But we held fast, and now we face our second Oklahoma team of the day, Tulsa Union, in the final in a couple of hours.
Number One Son and his Grissom High teammates stretch prior to this morning’s match with Gadsden City High School at the Island Cup Invitational in Orange Beach, Alabama.
They must have been plenty loose, because they proceeded to go out and “mercy rule” yet another opponent 10-0. Number One put the finishing touches on that one, scoring his first goal of the season with a nifty shot just inside the left post outside the reach of a diving keeper.
Our afternoon opponent, the Cullman High Bearcuts, proved a tougher challenge. They showed little interest in attacking, opting instead to hunker down with 9-10 field players inside the box at all times in order to keep us out of the net.… Read the rest