Category: Huntsville Times Columns

T-minus 24 Hours and Counting

Hmmm, let’s see if I have everything…

1) Overpriced, moderately-racy Valentine’s card, check.

2) Flowers and Walkers Shortbread Cookies, che…oh, I knew I was missing something (mental note: hit Target after work today).

3) Two tickets to Monty Python’s Spamalot…for next weekend…check.

4) Dinner reservations for two…also for next weekend…check.

5) Obligatory rehash of old Valentine’s Day Huntsville Times column and blog posts…check, check, check and check!

That about covers it. Have a great weekend, everyone. And guys, if she really loves you, she still will even if you screw everything up.

Believe me, I know.

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Not The Daily Planet, But Close

Since my Huntsville Times gig ended in December, I’ve been casting about trying to find another rag that might absorb some of my overflowing logorrhea, and it looks like I may have a nibble.

Valley Planet is a local, alternative newspaper that’s been around for a few years now. Like The Nashville Scene to the north and Birmingham Weekly to the south, VP has a little more “edge” than the local daily. It tries to focus more on the local arts scene, music, restaurants, movies, books, and other topics of interest to young, urban hipsters, Boomers with more cash than common sense and aging hippies still clinging to their love beads and Jim Morrison LPs.… Read the rest

Writing Is A Lonely Job

Having tasted some modest success as a columnist last year for The Huntsville Times, my goals for 2009 are to sniff out some more freelance writing opportunities and to become a better practitioner of the craft.

To that end, I plan to continue to write at least one column-quality post per week here (along with whatever other mundane slices of life that strike my fancy), read good quality fiction and nonfiction works and “go back to school” by reading books on writing, most of them the main texts from various writers’ workshops for which I currently have neither the time nor the money.… Read the rest

Revisting Those Top Ten 2008 Anti-Resolutions

Well, it’s the last day of 2008; tis the season for end-of-the-year reviews. Remember those Top Ten Anti-Resolutions that I made back on January 1st? Maybe we ought to check in and see how much regress I made in doing those things “that I know, absolutely without a doubt, I will never, ever do this year…”

1) Serve on another committee. No problemo, 100% failure on this one. That Machiavellian committee experience back in 2007 got that little itch out of my system for decades to come. I fastidiously avoided large rooms with conference tables and PowerPoint projectors or any situation where more than 2-3 people were gathered together gesticulating madly while arguing over petty politics and personal agendas.… Read the rest

Membership Has Its “Privileges”

members-only-logojacket-111507-2.jpgIf you’re among the (*cough*) “elite corps” (aka “The Fusioneers”) that has registered here, you received an email this morning containing a sneak preview of a new blog that I’m rolling out.

It contains the community columns that I wrote this past year for The Huntsville Times, not to mention a “bonus track” from the early years.

Oh, and a few other tidbits, such as a picture of me (kudos to Number One Son for his mad photography and computer animation skillz) and my real name (like it’s so tough to figure out).

You see! Membership really does have its “privileges.”… Read the rest

A Very Special “Kitchen Sink Christmas”

I broke through the Marvin-induced writer’s block last week and managed to turn in my last Huntsville Times community column before the deadline.

It wasn’t easy, though. But I just sat down and forced myself to brainstorm through the dusty annals of Christmases past for that just-perfect Yuletide memory to share in what I envision as a sort of coup de grace of a grand finale.

Come Sunday, check back here and watch me wrap up paganism, death, evolution, guns, whoopee-makin’, spittin’, a balding, 40-year-old man armed with a pitch pipe and an attitude, a Bible-bangin’, red-faced Church Lady (think Dana Carvey in SNL), the, ahem, “fruit of the vine” and a “par-tri-udge, in-uh, pear-treeee” into a neat package and top it off with a big red bow.… Read the rest

The Fish House–The Place Where Dreams Come True

Marvin the Goldfish is like a Timex watch–he just keeps going and going and going…

His spirit I mean. The body itself is still in a sandwich baggy, buried deep in our freezer somewhere between the ground beef and the ice cream. That is, unless Eyegal got him mixed up with the frozen tilapia.

Final arrangements are incomplete, but ongoing. More on that shortly.

You may recall the readers who reached out to us in our time of Marvin-mourning with a very kind offer of a replacement goldfish. Yes, I know, it goes without saying that Marvin is irreplaceable, but it was still awfully nice of them.… Read the rest

Pisces Panegyric Plucks Huntsville’s Heartstrings

Out of all the columns that I’ve written this year for The Huntsville Times, the tribute to Marvin has apparently struck the biggest chord.

One of my patients said his wife cried when she read it. Another reader wrote to me and said “you really outdid yourself this time” and that it was “the best thing you’ve written all year.”

Yesterday I received this email from a reader:

We really enjoyed reading your column and are astounded at the longevity of your fish!

Should you be interested in choosing a free goldfish to replace poor old Marvin, please contact Trevor Cole, owner of Across the Pond (

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Shifting Gears

It was about this time last year that I was a little iffy and burned out on blogging and longing to “shift gears.”

That urge led me to toss my hat in the ring for one of the community columnist positions at The Huntsville Times. As enjoyable as that’s been, the gig will be up soon (I only have one column left to write for December) and these days I find myself asking the question–Now what?

Of course, every wannabe writer dreams of the big bestseller, movie deal, etc, but only a tiny minority actually achieve such lofty heights. For me, that would involve immersing myself in learning the mechanics of writing fiction, research, developing ideas, characters, etc.,… Read the rest

Permit Me A Moment For Marvin, 1995-2008

Marvin the Goldfish spent 13 years swimming itty-bitty laps inside the fish tank on our bathroom counter. That translates to approximately 120 human years; not as old as Methuselah, but long enough to make me wonder what was in those fortified fish flakes he enjoyed so much.

And here’s the rest.

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Requiescat In Pace, Marvin


Marvin died the other day. He was 13 years old. For a goldfish, that’s about 120 in human years.

We knew he wasn’t long for this world, so I took this picture of him just a few days before he “passed on” (for you librul Yankees, that’s Deep Southern for “croaked”). Some of you knew him. In fact, if you’ve ever visited our home and used our hall bathroom, you may have got to know him quite well, and vice versa.

Later this month, I’ll turn 47. A pretty boring, inconspicuous birthday like that doesn’t usher in thoughts of mortality for most people, but for me it’s a different story.… Read the rest

Dad To Son: Eat Right, Study Hard, Vote Well

Dear Number One Son,

By now, I hope you’ve received your absentee ballot for your very first presidential election. It’s your ticket to full-fledged citizenship, so try not to lose it beneath that Mt. Everest-sized laundry pile on your dorm floor.

(click here for the rest)

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For Such A Time As This

“O God, we are in a battle that is raging for the soul of this nation. You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this … Help them, O God, to strengthen our economy, to keep our taxes and spending low … and grant them the privilege of being elected the next president and vice president.”

–Minister leading the “opening prayer” for a McCain/Palin rally in Bethlehem, PA on 10/8/08

Are you serious? I mean, really? Okay, now I see a little more clearly why Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers wanted to keep some distance between religion and politics.… Read the rest