How Soccer Is Like Sex

The opening match of World Cup 2010 is underway, and in a desperate attempt to bring “The Beautiful Game” to the attention of my more unwashed American readers, I played the sex card and came up with a splashy, tabloid headline.

So tell me, did it work?

Four years ago, I tried my best to explain to one of my All-American, baseball-loving friends “Why the World Cup Matters.”

The following quote from that post is a true today as it was then:

It’s an acquired taste, and when it comes to taste, most Americans don’t have very much.

The rarity of the goals is what makes them special.

Read the rest

A Tale of Two Schools: A Review of the 2010 Christian Scholars’ Conference

People look at you kind of strange when you tell them that you shelled out good money to attend something called a “Christian Scholars’ Conference” and that you actually enjoyed it. Reactions can range from “What’s a guy like you doing in a place like that?” to “Well, la-de-da!” But believe me, after a long season of Tim James political TV ads and rootin’ tootin’ “Ag Commish” wannabe viral videos, I was ready for a little more “la-de-da” in my life.

You know Eyegal and me–liberal arts geeks to the core. An itch like that doesn’t always get scratched sufficiently in a high tech town like Huntsville, Alabama.… Read the rest

Life In Zeta Theta Theta (ZΘΘ) House

School’s out for summer, and that means fraternity life at the Zeta Theta Theta (ZΘΘ) House is in full swing. Personally, I have no problem believing we humans share 99% of our DNA with the apes.

Rush Week in the primate cage is what you get when you throw together 17, 19 and 21 year-old territorial, testosterone-saturated brothers who aren’t used to sharing the same living space. They screech, pound their chests, burp, practice various olfactory assault techniques on innocent passersby, trash the kitchen and endlessly debate the age-old question, “Who da man?”

So far, they haven’t flung any dung at each other, but it’s only early June.… Read the rest

Bama Fans Storm State Capital in Montgomery

In the most stunning political turn since Fort Sumter, University of Alabama football fans have ringed the State Capital Building in Montgomery with a barricade of RVs and double-wide mobile homes in an attempt to seize control of the state government.

They are demanding that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James cease and desist from his campaign and that Governor Bob Riley establish a new executive office, Beloved Athletic Ruler (B’AR), which would be co-equal with Governor and occupied by Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban.  Riley, an Alabama alumnus, is reported to be seriously considering the ultimatum.

The movement began suddenly this past week after James, an Auburn grad, allegedly made intemperate and ill-advised remarks regarding Saban in which he questioned the coach’s maternal bloodline and threatened to reduce his salary or even outright “fahr his a**!”… Read the rest

Raising Arizona One Dale Peterson and Two Tim Jameses

Dear AZ,

Nice try, but no cigarro.

We know you’re a little sore because “L” comes before “R” in the alphabet. And you probably felt a little trampled upon when we drove an armada of Crimson, elephant-festooned RVs with horns that blare “Yea, Alabama,” not once, but twice, through your state in early January on our way to the Rose Bowl and back (Roll Tide!).

But did you really think you could captivate the attention of the entire country with your so-called “controversial” new immigration law? You call that “controversial?” You call yourself “conservative?” Do the names “George Wallace” and “Bull Connor” ring a bell with you people?… Read the rest

You Are Now Free To Move About The Country

As she thumbed through our passports with her practiced fingers and keyed the necessary data into her computer at Miami International Airport, the pleasant, Hispanic U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer was all smiles, the perfect blend of professionalism and “Welcome Home, Cherished and Valued Citizen” hospitality.

I was looking directly at her when she came to my name and her face suddenly darkened. She knitted her brow and tapped a few more times on her keyboard, double-checking, perhaps hoping to stem the flow of bad news that was appearing on her screen. Then she gave it to me, straight between the eyes.… Read the rest

Alabama Casera Dulce?

I don’t always speak Spanish, but when I do, I prefer having Jose Rafael Rodriguez (aka, my translator “Danny”) somewhere in the immediate vicinity. I am neither the most interesting man in the world, nor the most bilingual.

I tried to memorize enough Spanish eye care phrases to get by on my recent trip to Guatemala, but despite my best efforts and intentions, I found myself leaning hard on Danny. I would usually start out the day doing a passable job-abre sus ojos (“open your eyes”), mira arriba (“look up”) –but as things got hot and busier and I became increasingly fatigued, I started to mangle my rote phrases more and more.… Read the rest

Good “Gettin’ Around” Vision

“What do you want me to do for you,” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

–Mark 10: 51

Like Blind Bartimaeus, all Marta wanted was to be able to see. She was no whiny yuppie who would be satisfied with nothing less than 20/20 post-LASIK. She just wanted good enough.

Good enough to see the faces of her family, especially the grandchildren. Good enough to take in the vibrant green of the Guatemalan countryside and the eye-catching reds, blues, oranges and yellows of the local marketplace where her friends would gather to sell their handcrafted wares.… Read the rest

Covert Warriors

The barista turned and cocked her ear, recognizing the familiar footfalls—one human, male, one canine, sex undetermined. She was the tip of the caffeinated spear and took pride in knowing her regulars, including each one’s drink, stride length and cadence.

The usual? Grande cappuccino?

Ha, you’ve got me nailed. Better make it a venti. Long night ahead.

She mixed the concoction quickly and handed the cup to the cashier. Hope you enjoy it, sir.

Thanks, smells great. He took a quick sip. Mmm, awesome.

She liked the sound of his voice.Read the rest

Señor García’s One-Stop Shopping

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

–Matthew 7:3-5

I once had a war hero sitting in my exam chair who had survived all manner of jungle ambushes but was dying from an inoperable brain tumor.… Read the rest

NCAA To Rescind Duke’s National Title

In response to a Rasmussen poll indicating that 95% of the American people responded “Hell yeah!” to the question “Wuz we robbed?,” the NCAA this morning will make the highly unusual move of rescinding the Duke men’s basketball team’s 2010 National Championship.

A 9:00 AM press conference is set to begin in front of Butler University’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, site of the legendary 1954 Indiana high school state championship which featured fascist/communist South Bend Central High vs. All-American, God-loving, patriotic lil’ ol’ Milan AND the setting for the climactic scene of the movie Hoosiers.

Get it?

But rather than awarding the title outright to Butler, early indications are that NCAA officials will instead do a “Take Two!”… Read the rest

Former Duke Greats To Officiate Title Game

In a rather anticlimactic move, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee announced this morning (off the record, of course) that the officiating crew for tonight’s title game between the fascist (or communist if you prefer) Duke Blue Devils and the clean-cut, All-American kids from Hickory High Butler University will consist of former Duke greats Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill.

“Might as well go ahead and say it out loud,” an unnamed NCAA source wearing a Duke coaches polo said. “Everybody knows we stack the deck for the Devils, anyway, although we kinda dropped the ball on that from 2001 until now.”… Read the rest

The Devil’s Hour Be Damned

My earliest memory is of waking up around 3:00 AM demanding my bottle. My mother, desperate for sleep, stumbled into my room, leaned over the edge of the crib with half-closed eyes staring down at me, and handed me one.

It was full of Coke, not milk. I grabbed the bottle and eagerly started to suck its sugary teat. Minutes later, I was back to sleep, and so was she.

I’m pretty sure my mother didn’t read about that little trick anywhere in Dr. Spock. She was “winging it,” as they say. What would I want if I awoke crying at 3:00 AM?Read the rest

Doyouseemenastrees? Reflections on Mark 8:22-25

(This is Part 2 of a series on our recent trip to Clinica Ezell in Montellano, Guatemala. Part 1 can be found here. The following are remarks that I delivered to the HTI Eye/Ortho Team on March 17, 2010 during evening devotional).

First off, thank you Cameron for having my back tonight. He loaned me his Bible after I forgot mine.  I didn’t want to stand up here and scroll through my Bible app on my iPhone–I thought that would look, uh, “unprofessional” (pointing to my Bama ball cap and scrubs).

I just want to clear up one more thing before I get started.… Read the rest

Dmitri, You Stop That RIGHT NOW!

Gentle Fusioneers–

If you’re trying to read the comments on my blog you may have noticed you can’t. In fact, you can’t leave one either for that matter.

You can thank Dmitri for that. He’s one of the imaginary Russians that I race toward the end of my long runs (and always beat, BTW–USA!, USA!, USA!). But in real life he’s a spammer. A good one, too.

This time he left a piece of…well, you know what he left, that apparently corrupted my database. Rest assured, your five years worth of comments are still there, careening through the interwebs, floating in the virtual ether, and as soon as I can figure out to to retrieve them, they will appear again.… Read the rest