Category: Southern Culture

All Eyes Are On Alabama, And It Feels So Right

Bama washingtonIf you’re going to stand in line in subfreezing temperatures in order to enter the holy of holies of college basketball, then you’d better know your stuff because every other Cameron Crazie wannabe standing in line with you sure will.

Well, mostly anyway.

When it comes to football, we were a motley crew, united only in our love for Duke basketball. Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Penn State and Rutgers were just a few of the schools represented in our little knot of frozen fandom near the front of the line.

Kid Clemson, the guy in the Tiger hoodie in front of me, was a veritable walking encyclopedia of sports statistics.… Read the rest

Too Big For His Britches

TebowGQLast year this time, I was hoping that he would be long gone by now, but the boy just couldn’t take a hint. You know, that boy: Captain America, Jim Thorpe and Billy Graham all rolled into one.

I was hoping that he would be safely tucked away on the sideline of some 2nd tier NFL team, doing whatever it is that former triple option quarterbacks do in the NFL (Hint: think headset and clipboard). Well, hope can do a lot of things, but it’s not going to stop Tim Tebow when he starts churning those Sequoia Tree trunk-sized legs of his for yet another run up the middle, and it’ll make little difference on 3rd and 5 when he flings a laser-guided cruise missile that comes screaming in, low to the ground, just past the outstretched fingertips of a cornerback and into the hands of a diving teammate.… Read the rest

Just Missed Ole Miss

Gentle Fusioneers, allow me to tell you the story of how I just missed becoming an Ole Miss Rebel.

It was February, 1991 and I was nearing completion of my residency in Nashville. Number One Son had just turned two years old, and Eyegal was very pregnant with Number Two. We barely subsisted on my meager resident’s salary, but we were young and dumb and didn’t know what it was like to have money, so we were happy. Number One has early memories of us pushing him in the stroller through Green Hills Mall, looking in the windows and not buying a single thing.… Read the rest

Jerry Mitchell, MacArthur Fellow 2009

Jerry Boo Mitchell circa 1981Pardon me, but does the goofy-looking nerd in the suspenders and top hat reading Mother Goose look like the type of guy who would strike fear in the hearts of murderous Ku Klux Klansmen?

Um, no, I don’t think so.

And if you had asked any of us who attended Harding University in the early 1980s the same question and what we thought of the future prospects of Jerry “Boo” Mitchell, first-class clown, favorite chapel announcer and author of the somewhat subversive “Fifth Column” which appeared weekly in the school newspaper The Bison, we would have likely laughed and said something like “high school speech teacher,” or “radio talk show host,” anything, really, other than the Civil Rights version of Gabriel Van Helsing.Read the rest

R-a-z-o-r-b-a-c-k-s. Whatever.

razorback postcardIn July, 1970, my father loaded all of us into a blue, 1968 Chevy Impala sedan with newly-mounted, under-the-dash AC and headed west to Cal-ee-forn-i-a; swimming pools, movie stars, and the American Postal Workers Union Annual Convention at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

He decided that since this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we should hit all the highlights. On the itinerary were The Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Yosemite, Sequoia, Vegas, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and the St. Louis Arch. We even ventured off the beaten path and got a few kicks on Route 66 at some kitschy attractions like the Fort Courage Trading Post in Houck, Arizona.Read the rest

My World Is Crimson and Houndstooth

I remember that 1973 butt-whoopin’ like it was yesterday. What I didn’t remember were all the rest that went along with it.

No, I’m not referring to the time I was playing in my mother’s sacrosanct living room and broke her prized vase. The scalding that followed burned bright and hot. She regretted that one, as I recall, checking me later in the afternoon for “marks” and apologizing profusely, probably worried that Dad would get on her for being a little too rough.

I’m talking about the 77-6 smackdown that Bear Bryant’s boys, with their high-octane wishbone offense, laid on Charlie Coffey’s hapless crew of Virginia Tech Fighting Gobblers (aka, “The Hokies”) in October of that year down in Tuscaloosa.… Read the rest

Clarkston 1, Huntsville 0

outcastsunitedEyegal and I had the privilege Sunday night of hearing author Warren St. John (Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer–A Road Trip Into the Heart of Fan Mania) discuss his new book, Outcasts United–A Refugee Team, An American Town.

St. John’s book chronicles a season in the lives of “The Fugees,” a soccer team comprised of teenage boys from around the world who now live in the tiny southern town of Clarkston, Georgia outside Atlanta as a part of a United Nations refugee resettlement program. The central figure in the book is The Fugee’s coach, Luma Mufleh, a young Jordanian woman of privilege and Smith College graduate who, as it turns out, is something of a refugee herself (her father cut her off after she refused to return to Jordan following graduation).… Read the rest

A Drip Off The Old Block

All across the South this week, dozens of new football recruits signed on the dotted line and donned their new lids, sometimes in very elaborate and ham-handed ways (Just kidding. We love ya Dre–Roll Tide!).

Speaking of hams, how ’bout the Vols’ new “wunderkind” HC Lane Kiffin? The guy hasn’t coached a single game in the SEC and he’s already talking trash and accusing his colleagues of cheating? This is going to be soooo much fun!

Number Two Son has completed his own “official visits” and is sitting on and mulling over acceptances from Harding, Lipscomb, Auburn and the University of West Florida.… Read the rest

National Signing Day (College Football, Not the Language Kind)

For hardcore Southerners, National Signing Day in college football ranks right up there with Christmas, Confederate Memorial Day and Mardi Gras on the holiday scale.

It’s the day when 18-year-old player prospects, typically endowed with more brawn than brains, play king for a day by holding nationally-televised press conferences at which they very slooowly look over the collection of ball caps bearing the logos of their various suitor schools until finally they reach–or wait, maybe not!–for The One and plop it on the ol’ noggin, much to the delight of their classmates, coaches, parents, siblings and long string of cousins who have gathered for the big event.… Read the rest

Just Another Saturday Night In Lower Alabama

There’s a football game, people get drunk, somebody wins, somebody loses, words follow, then shoves and fists, and finally somebody gets shot.

Read the rest

Nick Saban Is No Atheist, A’ight?

Yet, for some reason many people think he is. Just Google the phrase “Is Nick Saban an atheist?” and see what site you get. Go ahead, try it.

I first noticed this back around the time he was hired, and even today I get about 15-20 people a month who come to Ocular Fusion that way. Wierd. I mean all you have to do is go to Nick’s MySpace page and you can plainly see that he is “Christian–other.”

I take that to mean that he shows up to some kind of church every now and then, but that the “other” refers to those Sundays when he’s worshiping at The Altar of Previous Game Film Footage.… Read the rest

Joe the Tide Fan

p1_tidetattoo.jpgBy a wide margin, Crimson Tide fans outnumber Auburn fans among my patients. For the most part, they’re not white collar professionals and technical people (i.e., engineers, computer programmers, etc), but instead down-home, salt-of-the-earth farmers and laborers who may not be able to tell you a lot about current affairs or the latest bestseller, but who can recall with great pride and fondness their favorite Bear Bryant story or the precise details of that stunning, last-second win back in 19-whatever.

Many of them are as big as 365 lb (and some change) Bama noseguard Terrence Cody, but not nearly as nimble or quick.… Read the rest

It’s About the Pipes, Stupid


“A full 67 percent of Americans say they’ve seen enough and they don’t want any more presidential debates. The other 33 percent are plumbers who want to hear their name on television.” – Conan O’Brien

McCain front man and pseudo-plumber “Joe” Samuel Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber,” continues to stretch his 15 minutes of fame to the breaking point and beyond.

Apparently, he’s gone all Nashville on us and plans to parlay his recent notoriety and mad music skillz (honed while singing the latest Aaron Tippin tune in the shower) into a recording contract. What a country!

The only question remaining is this: Who will play Joe the Plumber in the made-for-TV movie?… Read the rest