Category: Nostalgia

Blogging–The Wonder Years, Chapter I

Although I started Ocular Fusion in October, 2005, it turns out that my blogging roots go back quite a ways–the fall of 1974 to be precise. That was when Ms. Fine, my 7th grade teacher at Burnt Chimney Elementary School in Wirtz, Virginia, gave us the assignment of keeping a journal. I suppose like all good teachers she wanted us to learn to write well by writing often. Also, I’m sure that she had learned in teacher school that it was good for young people to “explore and express their feelings.” Of course, maybe she was just plain nosey too.… Read the rest

The Rightful Owner

I held my breath and walked through the door as a small bell tingled, announcing my arrival. I’d never set foot inside a pawn shop before, but the place fulfilled my stereotyped expectations. The walls were lined with shelves filled with discarded televisions, stereos, power tools, and once treasured trinkets, many pawned in last-ditch, desperate moves for quick cash.

The pawnbroker sat behind a glass display case lined with cheap handguns and gaudy costume jewelry. He was reading The Decatur Daily and nursing his morning coffee as the smoke from his cigarette curled lazily upward toward the tobacco stained ceiling.… Read the rest

My Favorite Barneyisms

There are many who are weighing in on the passing of Don Knotts, American funnyman whose iconic character of small-town deputy Barney Fife memorialized the earnest efforts of all downtrodden, skinny, bug-eyed low men on the totem pole everywhere who have ever longed to make a difference and be taken seriously.

And of course, many are waxing eloquently, much better than I ever could. Some good tributes can be found here and here. I thought my humble contribution to the cause would be to list some of my favorite “Barneyisms.” I just hope I can get through these without having to take a hit off my asthma inhaler:… Read the rest

Fantasies on Ice

It was a strange scene, one that forced me to stop and do a double-take. There in my living room sat/slouched three red meat and potatoes, football loving, video game playing, Southern white-bread boys with table manners that would make a medieval baron blush, watching, of all things, Olympic ice dancing.

It didn’t take me long to figure out why. “Wait till you see the Americans in second place, Dad. They’re really good,” they said. I think what they meant to say was, “Wait till you see Tanith Belbin skating with ol’ what’s-his-name. She’s HOT!”

My sons, along with millions of other adolescent boys across the globe, had been smitten with the captivating good looks (and yes, she can skate well too) of Canadian-born, recently naturalized U.S.… Read the rest

Starsky and Hutch, Where Are Ye?

I thought this was supposed to be the Torino Olympic Games? If so, then where the heck are Starsky and Hutch and that hot, heavily-muscled car of theirs? Can you imagine what would happen if you let those two compete in the two-man bobsled event? Well, those prissy Europeans wouldn’t be taking up so much room on the medal stands, I can tell you that much!

If you’re like me and you’re a little confused on whether Torino is a car, a golfer or a Canadian city then help can be found at sportswriter Frank Deford’s NPR commentary and this story from NPR’s Alex Chadwick.… Read the rest

Talkin’ ‘Bout Eyegal, Eyegal!

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May.
I guess you’ll say,
What can make me feel this way?
Eyegal (Eyegal, Eyegal)
Talkin’ ’bout Eyegal (Eyegal!)
Ooooh Hoooo.

With apologies to The Temptations, I’d like to do a little talkin’ ’bout my Eyegal in honor of St. Valentine’s Day.

I first spotted Eyegal sitting in the row in front of me in developmental psychology at Harding University in the Fall of 1982. Little did we know then what would develop from that little chance encounter. Although I didn’t ask her out right away, we competed for who would get the highest scores on tests and quizzes (she almost beat me on a couple of occasions) and had lunch a few times at Heritage Cafeteria before she went off to spend a semester in Europe.… Read the rest

What’s On Your Window?

Although you wouldn’t know it from the amount of time I’ve spent recently blogging about my beloved Duke Blue Devils, I actually love soccer as much, if not more, than college hoops. I’m sure you’ll be reading some of my thoughts and observations about real football as I follow my sons’ soccer teams this spring and also as the FIFA World Cup approaches this summer.

I’m also an unabashed, card-carrying “eyeguy.” So imagine my delight when I recently discovered that I could combine two of the great passions in my life and enjoy them simultaneously–sort of like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup or an Oreo cookie .… Read the rest

The Song That Nobody Knows

Even if you’re like me and your New Year’s Eve revelry consisted merely of watching TV as the ball dropped in Times Square and then promptly hitting the sack, chances are you at least heard “the song that nobody knows.” If you rang in the New Year at a party then perhaps you even sang it–or tried to. You see, most people don’t know the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne , or if they do, they typically have no idea what they’re singing. Often people, in the fashion of a mondegreen, sing something like “old lang’s sign,” or else resort to the “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah,” that we all fall back on when we forget (or never knew) the lyrics to a song.… Read the rest

Happy 50th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

If my father had lived to see tomorrow, he would have celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with my mother. His untimely death in 1980 left my mother a fairly young widow, but tomorrow we will celebrate nonetheless–for love transcends all boundaries of time and space, life and death.

My Mom and Dad attended the same high school and both graduated in 1951, but they were only casual acquaintances at the time. In those days, my father was tagged with the ironic nickname “Bonecrusher,” standing as he did at 4’11” his senior year (he grew 7 inches his first year out of school).… Read the rest

Sex in Bedford Falls

Now that I have your attention, I wanted to tell you, in case you haven’t noticed lately, that we have a serious problem with “sex in the city,” and for that matter, in the burbs and backwaters as well. The problem is, we no longer leave anything to the imagination. From peeks under the sheets to prime-time commercials hawking the latest and greatest impotence remedy, it’s all out in the open for curious eyes to see.

The “sexperts” say it’s better to talk about previously taboo topics in cold and clinical terms and to the show sex act in all its technicolor splendor.… Read the rest

Merry Christmas You Wonderful Old FBI!

Our Sunday School class has been watching Frank Capra’s classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life recently and discussing it in the context of scriptures such as Philippians 2:3 and Psalm 90:17. Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey was indeed a man who “considered others better” than himself and who had the unique opportunity to see what difference the “work of his hands” made in the life and times of the people of the fictional town of Bedford Falls, New York. Like Clarence the Angel, we “like that George Bailey”–how could anyone not, right?

Well, it may surprise you that in 1946 when the movie was first released, the movie was unmercifully panned by critics as “too corny” and promptly flopped at the box office (it was not until PBS began re-broadcasting the movie in the 1970s that it finally got its second wind and became a Christmas classic).… Read the rest

Holy Mondegreens

Mondegreen (noun)–a series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or a song lyric, e.g. I led the pigeons to the flag for I pledge allegiance to the flag. —

When I was a child, I sometimes didn’t hear things the way I was supposed to. Of course, this may have been partly due to the heavy ear wax which plagued me back in those days. Like most boys, I had more than my share of the greasy stuff, and every Saturday night my mother would subject me to a weekly ear cleaning. This was performed with a Q-tip moistened with Johnson’s Baby Oil.… Read the rest

Go Ahead, Make It My Day!

Hopefully by now your Thanksgiving bird is safely simmering away in a pan in preparation for the feast–and hopefully you have lived to tell the tale. As this disturbing image shows, turkeys are not the docile, lovable birds commonly depicted in popular literature and movies. No, they are fierce warrior fowl who would just as soon take an eye out with a razor-edged talon than to simply lie down in a pan and wait for everyone around the table to sing a paeon of praise about how juicy and tender this year’s “special guest” looks.

Having grown up in Southwest Virginia near the campus of Virginia Tech, I have known about the existence of these “fighting gobblers” all my life.… Read the rest

O Midget, Where Art Thou?–An Update

In an earlier post, I wrote about how my high school friend Eric Ferguson was using a populist strategy and one of my favorite movies in his effort to defeat incumbent Republican Allen Dudley in the 9th District race for the Virginia House of Delegates. The returns are now in, and despite a hard fought, some would say “muddy,” campaign, Eric came up just short, losing by a mere 1200 votes (53% to 47%).

With FDR and “Giv’em Hell” Harry as his patron saints and Dave “Mudcat” Saunders as his campaign strategist, Eric almost pulled it off. He went negative in a nuclear way in the closing weeks, drawing the attention of the Washington Post and predictions of an upset.… Read the rest

O Midget, Where Art Thou?

In a curious case of life imitating art, my old high school friend Eric Ferguson has decided to borrow a few pages from one of my favorite movies in his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Allen Dudley in the Ninth District race for the Virginia House of Delegates.

It’s an interesting time to be a conservative Democrat in Southwest Virginia. The fine, salt of the earth folks there don’t care much for either Blue State, tree-hugging progressives or button-down, country club Republicans. So, what’s a good conservative Democrat to do? Why you fashion yourself the “Pro Guns, Pro People” candidate and conjure up the ghosts of FDR and “Giv’em Hell” Harry Truman of course!… Read the rest