“Mulder and Scully came right out of my head. A dichotomy. They are the equal parts of my desire to believe in something and my inability to believe in something. My skepticism and my faith.”
–Chris Carter, creator of “The X-Files”
A friend of mine told me recently that I was “altogether too polite” and that I didn’t ask enough “tough questions.” This came as news to my family, especially my sons who, on more than one occasion, have felt the probing, white heat of one of my infamous, late-night interrogation sessions following one of their nights on the town (“Vee have vays of making you talk!”).… Read the rest
Those were the words that Steve Jobs, CEO and creative backbone of Apple, passed on to the graduating class at Stanford University a few years ago.
After hearing of his death last night, I watched that commencement address and those particular words stuck. I went to bed thinking about them, and they were the first words on my mind when I awoke this morning. I’ll take that as a sign that I should write about them.
Asheville, North Carolina and Seattle are on opposite sides of the country, but they share an unusual passion worthy of mention, even praise–pig statuary.
It was about this time last year that I spotted a memorial to an Unknown Pig in downtown Asheville on my way to the Duke v. Alabama game. That encounter launched a bacony reverie that stirred up enough favorable ju-ju for a stunning, 4th quarter come-from-behind victory for the Tide over the the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville the next week.
When it came time to pray, the Stars and Stripes stood limp in the back, left-hand corner of the room, out of sight.
Up front was the processional cross, the center of our attention and standard of the hour. I had to crane my neck nearly one hundred and eighty degrees to spy Old Glory. I didn’t feel sorry for her, though. I knew that before the day was over, she would receive her due–and then some. But at that moment, she was merely an invited guest, one among many.
That was the scene as we prepared for common prayer yesterday at Nativity Episcopal Church in Huntsville.… Read the rest
We had assembled at Coleman Coliseum on the campus of the University of Alabama to watch our children “walk the line” at summer graduation. The killer tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa on April 27th, 2011 had also rudely interrupted the academic careers of many of the May graduates, leaving them all dressed up in cap and gown with no place to go.
Now, even though they had received their hard-earned diplomas in the mail a few weeks prior, many of them had returned, along with their fellow summer graduates, to don their regalia and finish in style. Also in attendance: a mess of mamas and papas and memaws and papaws, all of them thirsty for some much-needed closure and a little pomp and circumstance.… Read the rest
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
Fortunately, nobody had rescinded my diploma. Neither had I landed in one of those fish-out-of-water, “impotence” dreams where the hapless, middle-age man, who has long since forgotten the difference between a sine and cosine, is thrown into an advanced geometry class full of National Merit Scholars.
Loved it; as in it was a steamy Friday evening following another day of triple digit temps in Alabama and we just wanted to be in the AC and not have to think too hard and just sit back and lose ourselves in a fast-paced action story. In this case, one resonating with the early-60s James Bond, “Mad Men” period vibe that scratches my nostalgic itch these days. That kind of “loved it.”
You won’t see this movie among the list of finalists in next year’s Academy Awards, but it fit the bill for such Friday night circumstances and was another enjoyable installment in the X-Men movies series which started in 2000.… 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
This was especially surprising since Brown already has several pans on the stove and umpteen irons in the fire, etc. The et cetera includes gainful employment as a top secret government optometrist, gastroenterologist, urologist, pediatric dentist, world-famous astronomer and planetary assassin, NFL owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, and free agent NFL defensive back who recently lost his job with the Kansas City Chiefs to the new kid on the block, former Tennessee safety Eric Berry, (UPDATE 6/3/11) proprietor of a luxury hotel and creator of the “Hot Brown Sandwich.”… 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
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.