For the few folks who may still trawl around these parts on occasion, we interrupt this self-imposed summer sabbath to bring you what is, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively unimportant message.
Number One Son is back from his adventures in Boston, so all three are home. The house is a little crowded, noisy and smelly, like a men’s locker room. We even have guys walking around in nothing but boxers, sometimes just towels wrapped around their waists, all boisterous and cocky, like they’ve just won the Super Bowl. It’s very authentic.
At times it becomes an epic, Darwinian struggle for square footage, the kind of internecine war you might see depicted on the Discovery Channel.… Read the rest
I’ve never been afraid to embarrass my sons with my bungled attempts at humor and middle age antics–I consider it part of the job description of being a “Dad.” But truth be told, whenever I do something they think is cool, it thrills me to no end. But please don’t tell them that, because that would ruin everything.
For instance, my recent acquisition of a taste for (and reputation for listening to) rap music. Well, not all rap music, but one song in particular–“Huntsville International” by the local rap group, G-Side.
Here’s how a mortuary-white, hopelessly off-beat, middle age, pointy-headed pseudo-intellectual got turned on to a piece of hip-hop:
I’ve a long-time fan of the magazine Oxford American, which is sort of a distinctly Southern version of The New Yorker or The Atlantic.… Read the rest
I was an immaculately-groomed half-pint in September 1968 as I stood by the road in front of our brick rural rancher waiting for Bus #18 to usher me into the next 12 years of mandatory public school education. A book bag in one hand, a G.I. Joe lunchbox in the other, I was escorted by my older sister, a worldly-wise 5th grader who was under orders to watch my back.
I heard the bus before I could see it. It had another stop about a quarter mile down the road, at the foot of a low-grade hill. I listened as its diesel engine geared down, brakes squealing, and then there was a pause that seemed to last forever as my neighbors boarded.… Read the rest
In the aftermath of the tornadoes in Alabama, armies of Good Samaritans have rushed to our aid with a million good deeds. Taking up their various instruments of mercy, they have come to attention as the Master Conductor has waved his wand, and the resultant symphony of compassion has been sweet, soothing music to our ears.
But they say “no good deed goes unpunished.” “They” are right.
When cell phone service returned to near normal two days after the storm struck, I downloaded my email and saw that a local church was offering an 8:00 AM communion service followed by an opportunity to go into the tornado-stricken areas around Harvest north of town and help out.… Read the rest
Last Friday, the most powerful man in the world and his wife were walking through the debris-strewn streets of Tuscaloosa, Alabama when they came upon two university students picking through the remains of what had formerly been their apartment. Looking up, the students’ eyes widened in surprise as they struggled to mentally digest this extraordinary development.
President Obama stuck out his hand in greeting, and the two students quickly gathered themselves, took off their gloves which were coated with a patina of dust and fiberglass, and held out their own in return. In doing so, they touched the hand that only hours before had been lifted in command, setting into motion events that reaped their own powerful whirlwind in a far distant land.… Read the rest
It was another morning at Clinica Ezell in Montellano, Guatemala, and another case of mistaken identity.
There had been a lot of that going around that week. Since I was doing all the preoperative exams, I had spent the most time with the patients. Many of them thought I was the Big Tamale, the Chief Gringo–The Top Gun. Once they were sedated and lying under the operating microscope waiting for their cataracts to be removed, Dr. C was merely the Upside-Down Man behind the mask.
In reality I was Goose to Dr. C’s Maverick, monitoring a million different things and make sure young Mav was constantly exposed to a “target-rich environment.”… Read the rest
It is approximately 1,436 miles as the plane flies from Huntsville, Alabama to Clinica Ezell in Guatemala, but “Señor Gruñon” was making me feel right at home.
I had once again traveled the road to Montellano, Guatemala to participate in an eye surgery medical mission (Code name: “Operación de Ojos Claros) in conjunction with health professionals representing Health Talents International and a team of students from Lipscomb University, the University of Alabama and the University of West Florida.
I was scooting across the poorly-lit, humid waiting room on a stool which reminded me of a shopping cart with one, misdirected rogue wheel and browsing for the biggest, ripest cataracts in all the land, the kind that literally block out the sun like a noonday eclipse.… Read the rest
And now that I have your attention, allow me to explain (you bunch of sickos!).
I’m not talking about Sigmund Freud’s infamous Oedipus complex. I’m talking about that annual rite of passage known as theSports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue which has landed in mailboxes across this great land of opportunity each February for decades, about the time pitchers and catchers report, and the ensuing tug-of-war between those great sentinels of chastity and virtue, Moms, and those eager students of human anatomy, their sons.
I received my first Sports Illustrated subscription in 1974 in sixth grade–for the articles, of course. Talk about perfect timing!… Read the rest
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
I am sending out this dispatch from Ground Zero of The End of Days, Huntsville, Alabama.
Although I have yet to whip out the measuring stick, there appears to be about 8 inches of snow on my patio. To top it all, tonight Auburn plays for the national championship in college football. It appears the Mayans were almost right, just off by a year.
I’ve slid off icy roads twice in my life. In each case it was around Christmas time and my mother was involved.
The first time was shortly after Christmas 1977. She and I were driving to Roanoke in a blue, 1972 Chevy Impala sedan, heavy as an elephant, but rear wheel drive. Most likely we were aiming to exchange some presents or burn up some gift cash at a post-Christmas sale.
I had my learner’s permit, and we had just covered “steering into the skid” in my driver’s ed lecture. I was eager to convert all that theory to some practical experience on the fresh veneer of slick, blue ice which covered the roads around our house and glistened invitingly in the mid-morning winter sun.… Read the rest
Recently a Church of Christ friend of mine wrote to me and said that he was considering attending an Episcopal Church Christmas Eve service and that he was a little intimidated by the prospect of having to walk forward and take communion. Could I help out?
Oh yes. Yes I can. Glad you asked.
First off, let me say this: Dude’s got guts. Most Church of Christers I know have never even set foot inside another church except for weddings and funerals. Some may have been taught that “they’re it” and if there’s nobody else out there, why bother? Or even if they don’t believe that, they still feel as if they might be betraying their parents or now deceased relatives by even associating with other “religious people” Christians in an actual spiritual context, as opposed to something more secular and therefore safer like, say, a NASCAR race at Talledega or a football game in Tuscaloosa.… Read the rest
Eyegal said it in passing just as the Duke v. Bradley game was set to tip off last night. It was one of those comments designed not so much to inform as to query, and I recognized it as such. I was preoccupied with Duke point guard Kyrie Irving who was sitting out the game with a toe ailment and the effects that would have on my beloved Dukies’ offense to pay it much mind. But I suppose I paid it enough since I did answer back, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s always this blog post.
“We’re starting to get some Christmas cards,” she called out from the kitchen.… Read the rest
“Name them one by one,” the song says. So here goes:
1. I’m running, not far or fast, but pain-free for the first time in quite a while. I’ve shifted my foot strike from my heel, which is where it’s been since fourth grade, to my forefoot. “Barefooting” as it’s sometimes called. I don’t exactly run barefoot on asphalt (ouch!), but I do use a “minimalist” training shoe, the Nike Free. This is supposed to be more “natural,” the way you were meant to run back in the day when your survival meant eluding a predator such as a saber-toothed tiger or that annoying herd of mastodons that lived over in the next valley.… Read the rest