Author: Michael Brown

A Pox on Both Their Houses

Do you live in Alabama and desire a nice drive with congestion-free traffic, a good tee time or a short line at Wal-Mart? Then come the 3rd Saturday of each November–the day that Alabama stands still–venture out to recreate or run your errands during the annual Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn and you’ll have free run of the “Yellowhammer State.”

Iron Bowl weekend is now history, and Big Al is crying in his beer while Aubie is strutting tall and talking trash after Auburn’s 28-18 thrashing (it wasn’t as close as the score indicated) of the Crimson Tide on Saturday.… Read the rest

The Heartbreak of Presbyopia

As I type these words, my personal chronometer is starting its annual rotation–“44 years”–and the words on my computer screen are crystal clear. No haloes, no fuzz, no fuss. Through the miracle of modern optics, I’ve fooled my brain into thinking that it’s 1984 again, when my limbs were limber and my eyes as sharp as an eagle’s. All is quiet on the Old Age Front. Quiet, that is, as long as I keep my head completely still and my eyes perfectly centered through the sweet spots of my birthday present–a brand spanking new pair of progressive addition, “no-line” bifocals.… Read the rest

Why Narnia Matters

Haven’t you heard? “Aslan is on the move!”

Unless you’ve been in a sensory deprivation chamber over the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt heard about the upcoming screen adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. With the movie set to premiere on December 9th, the excitement and expectations accompanying this release are reminiscent of the pre-Passion days of early 2004 which were characterized by a flurry of media coverage, both postive and negative.

In the past week, media attention has focused on the life of C.S.… Read the rest

Bad Eye Joke #1

Mr. Smith was on his death bed and knocking at the Pearly Gates. He called his son to his bedside and made one final request.

In a raspy voice, he asked, “Son, I’ll be gone soon, but before I go, there’s one of the Great Questions of Life that I must have answered. Please go get Dr. Jones.”

His son looked at his father in confusion; Dr. Jones was the town optometrist, the last person in the world, it seemed, who could do his father any good. But the son was eager to fulfill his father’s dying wish, so off he went to fetch Dr.… Read the rest

Where Honorable Men Feared to Tread

Last week’s horrific al-Qaeda bombings in Jordan are the most recent in their ongoing strategy of terrifying those who only remotely support US interests, even if it means killing fellow Muslims. The latest attack was especially egregious in it’s cowardice and inhumanity, as a wedding in full swing was rudely interrupted by two uninvited guests wearing explosive-laden vests. The two were, ironically, a husband and wife team. The wife’s bomb failed to detonate, but the husband succeeded, killing 57 members of the wedding party, including the fathers of both the bride and the bridegroom, and injuring over 90 more.… Read the rest

A Veterans Day Special–“My Very Dear Sarah”

When I first heard those words, “Dear Sarah,” I was chasing my young first born son around our Nashville apartment trying to diaper the boy before he could do any further damage. The light from our TV cast an eerie glow in our small, darkened living room as a new PBS series on the American Civil War by a young filmmaker, Ken Burns, played in the backgound.

Suddenly, the scratch of a lone fiddle commenced, and soon the beautiful and haunting strains of Ashokan Farewell filled the room. Paul Roebling, with his resonant voice, began: “Dear Sarah,” and what followed were some of the most beautiful and soaring words that I had ever heard spoken in the English language.… 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

What Happens in Pensacola, Doesn’t Stay in Pensacola

Number One son and I made a mad dash south on I-65 Friday afternoon. Destination: Pensacola, Florida. Reason: a season-ending soccer tournament whose name I don’t care to mention for reasons soon-to-be-apparent.

I’ve always enjoyed our little confabs in the car during soccer trips, although I’m not sure that the feeling has always been mutual. Since I gave each of the boys “The Talk” on a soccer trip, it’s a running joke in our family that time alone in the car with Dad invariably means some new words of wisdom regarding sex and/or girls. This is not quite fair, however, as we have also covered other important topics, such as how to politely address fellow drivers who cut us off in traffic and how to talk on the phone, read a road map and fiddle with the CD player while traveling at 70mph (ok, maybe an occasional 75mph when going down a hill).… Read the rest

Bleeding Blue Devil Blue, Part II

As I consider how I came to bleed Blue Devil Blue, it occurs to me that it was about much more than basketball, although that’s where it started.

Growing up in Southwest Virginia in the 1970s, it was a rite of passage to develop a reliable jump shot because you never knew when a pick-up game would break out on some dusty, country court near you. In those days you didn’t run down to Wal-Mart for a prefabricated, adjustable, pop-up goal. My Dad fashioned mine from wood the old-fashioned way–very slowly, by hand–and set it at the regulation 10 feet.

At first, I was so small that my only hope of making a basket was to stand directly beneath the goal and fling the ball upward in a desperate Rick Barry-style underhand heave.… Read the rest

Bleeding Blue Devil Blue, Part I

At the stroke of twelve on a crisp mid-October night, madness ensues–the fanatical screams of blue-blooded partisans comingle with the metronomic thump of leather on a freshly waxed hardwood floor…

College hoops is in the air and just in the nick of time, babyyyy! Having endured the most boring World Series in recent memory (told you so) and the inauspicious debut of the “new” NHL, many are restless for a more adventurous journey in sport. The road to the 2006 Final Four will be long and arduous, ending in April in Indianapolis in what will surely be (because it always is) the most closely contested and nailbiting finish to any sport in America.… Read the rest

What’s So Bad About Being Fast?

Fisher DeBerry, head football coach at the US Air Force Academy has gone and done it again. First there was that little “I Belong to Team Jesus” banner hanging in his office that got him into hot water. Now he’s enduring the gauntlet of the national media after making what many judge to be the racially insensitive remark that African American athletes can “run very well.”

He said this on Tuesday in the wake of his team’s 48-10 loss to TCU and has been paying for it ever since with several rounds of apologies and clarifications. He has now been officially reprimanded by the Air Force Academy Superintendent, but it does appear that he will keep his job.… Read the rest

Interview With a Christ Child

Lestat must be spinning in his coffin right about now. His creator, author Anne Rice, has driven a stake through his heart and turned away from her trademark chronicles of angst-ridden vampires wandering the earth in search of redemption. Having rediscovered her Christian faith, she now turns her attention and writing prowess toward the Redeemer himself.

Rice’s new novel, the first in a forthcoming trilogy on the life of Christ, is set for release November 1st and is entitled Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Her subject is the 7-year-old Jesus as he relates in his own words the struggle to balance the usual travails of childhood with a growing awareness that he’s “just a little different” than the other kids on the block.… Read the rest

Looking Like Larry

Since that fateful day that I began baring my innermost soul in Ocular Fusion, the reader need only refer to my rambling, incoherent posts and personal blog profile to uncover some of the more sordid details of my life.

One personal feature that is not apparent, however, is what I look like. I figured at first that keeping my face concealed would add a sort of J.D. Salinger style mystique that would be good for business. But an incident at work last week convinced me that, for better or worse, I need to uveil my mug to the world.

I look like Larry.… Read the rest