Category: Southern Culture

The Da Vinci Nap–A Review (Sort of)

Da-Vinci-Man.jpgI wasn’t going to go see that movie this past weekend. I’m just not a bandwagon kind of guy. I’ve studied a little (well, actually a lot) of church history on my own, and when I read the book a couple of years ago, I laughed out loud at the bogus story line.

But then through a weird set of circumstances, I came about two free tickets, so off Eyegal and I went to follow the herd. I figured that it must have been God’s will.

But here’s the truth: I fell asleep. Not once, but twice (I think Eyegal might have punched me the second time thinking that I was about to snore).… Read the rest

Calling All Angels

“Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms the child.”

–from a memorial plaque at Goshen United Methodist Church, Piedmont, Alabama

She emerged from the church ruins–split beams and shattered bricks, bits and pieces of altar and broken pew, palm leaves and dust-covered hymnals–all strewn about like Lincoln logs carelessly dumped by a child. Her left eye was nearly swollen shut, and she moved clumsily through the rubble, still dazed and unbelieving. In her right hand she clutched a palm frond like the one she had waved the day before in commemoration of Jesus’ arrival. But Jesus had not come–only a strong, swirling wind, a falling sky and the bewildering fog and acrid aroma of senseless death.… Read the rest

Making it Right

Those of us who live in Alabama have cringed recently at the spate of church burnings in our state over the past month. We know full well that such news draws the wrong kind of attention to the Yellowhammer State and stirs up ugly memories from our racially-tinged past. Although authorities felt that the recent incidents were not racially-motivated hate crimes, their investigation focused mostly on rural residents who might have special knowledge of the backroads and backwoods where the church burnings took place. In other words, they were looking for stereotypical, Alabama “rednecks.”

However, yesterday’s arrest of three upper-middle class Birmingham area college students caught everyone–victims, authorities, family members, teachers and classmates–by surprise.… Read the rest

My Favorite Barneyisms

There are many who are weighing in on the passing of Don Knotts, American funnyman whose iconic character of small-town deputy Barney Fife memorialized the earnest efforts of all downtrodden, skinny, bug-eyed low men on the totem pole everywhere who have ever longed to make a difference and be taken seriously.

And of course, many are waxing eloquently, much better than I ever could. Some good tributes can be found here and here. I thought my humble contribution to the cause would be to list some of my favorite “Barneyisms.” I just hope I can get through these without having to take a hit off my asthma inhaler:… Read the rest

Alabama 6, Harvard 2

Most people would pick the Alabama Crimson Tide over the Harvard Crimson in a football game without giving it a second thought. But how many would ever think that the Tide would top Harvard in a battle of brains?

Well, surprise, the USA TODAY’S 2006 All-USA College Academic Team was announced this week and the final score was Alabama 6, Harvard 2. Alabama has placed more students on the team than any other school in the nation three out of the past four years and over that period of time has produced a total of 20 honorees, a figure which also leads all schools.… Read the rest

Basketball and Bobsleds

The “J.J. Meter” has been humming as of late. In last night’s 93-70 win over Wake Forest, Duke’s J.J. Redick scored 33 points (his fourth 30 plus game in a row, a Duke record) and went 4 for 7 from beyond the arc to pass former UVa player Curtis Staples’ 413 career treys and become the new NCAA career 3 point marksman. Redick is currently second on the Duke career points list behind his assistant coach Johnny Dawkins and fourth on the ACC list. He now trails all-time leading ACC career scorer Dickie Hemric by 60 points with 5 games remaining in the regular season.… Read the rest

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

I’m always amused by the search strings that lead some to land on Ocular Fusion. There have been some post-worthy ones in the past, but this one takes the cake. Both yesterday and this morning, several visitors Googled “school closings for the blizzard of 06,” and when they followed the link of the #1 hit, lo and behold, they landed here!

In what can only be described as a cruel and ironic twist of fate, apparently there have been several of my fellow citizens who are seeking critical survival information in the blizzard-bound Northeast and have landed on my site only to get some Alabama hayseed prattling on about bread and milk runs at the local grocery store.… Read the rest

The Great Blizzard of ’06

As you can see from the picture of my street taken just a few minutes ago, things are pretty rough in Huntsville this morning. The Great Blizzard of ’06 which we all feared is upon us. Things are shut down pretty tight–good thing I was able to beat off that little 80-year-old lady for that last loaf of bread at Target yesterday. As for the 5-year-old boy whom I tackled for that gallon of milk, well, life is tough and hardly fair and he might as well learn it sooner rather than later.

Since I am considered “necessary personnel,” I will attempt the treacherous drive to work through this blinding blizzard–just hope I don’t suffer from “white-out.”… Read the rest

A Word Fitly Spoken

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

Huntsville resident and author Homer Hickam, Jr. (Rocket Boys, The Coalwood Way) spoke yesterday at the public memorial for the West Virginia coal miners killed in the recent explosion at the Sago Mine. His words “fitly spoken” will no doubt be cherished in the years to come by the family and friends of the fallen miners. The following is an excerpt:

“There are no better men than coal miners. The American economy rests on the back of our coal miners. We could not prosper without them.”

Read the rest

A Coal Miner’s Son

Dr. Ernie Bowling is a fine optometrist and one of my best friends in the world. He is also a coal miner’s son. Like his father and grandfather before him, Ernie headed to the coal mines after high school probably convinced that he would spend the rest of his life breathing lungfuls of black dust and wandering the dimly-lit, coal-filled catacombs carved deep into the hills of West Virginia and Alabama. He labored in the mines for several years, and once he even spent time serving under the stern and watchful eye of a famous foreman, Homer Hickam, Sr.–father of Homer, Jr.Read the rest

Thoughts on Lessons and Carols

Several of us Church of Christ folks snuck over to the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Huntsville last night for A Festival Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest churches in Huntsville and has an interesting piece of history attached to it. During the Civil War, the Union Army occupied Huntsville and began commandeering area churches to use as stables for their horses. One Union officer was sent with a detail to Church of the Nativity for that purpose. However, when he saw the words “Reverence My Sanctuary” (still seen today) above the front entrance, he had second thoughts and gave orders to his troops that the church was to remain untouched.… Read the rest

A Gulf Coast Thanksgiving

I figured there would be some inspiring tales emanating from the Gulf Coast this holiday season. The citizens of Waveland, Mississippi lost nearly everything to Katrina, but as you can read from this USA Today article, their spirits were trampled but not broken.

Unlike many of us who have never experienced such upheaval, the good folks there have learned to do without many modern conveniences but are thankful nonetheless for the basics–food, shelter, hot water and the companionship and love of friends and family. Things are looking up as you can tell from the article, and the fact that Wal-Mart is back on the scene, adapting to the situation and meeting the needs of their customers in new and unique ways, is further indication that “normalcy” is making a slow, but sure comeback.… Read the rest

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

O Midget, Where Art Thou?

In a curious case of life imitating art, my old high school friend Eric Ferguson has decided to borrow a few pages from one of my favorite movies in his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Allen Dudley in the Ninth District race for the Virginia House of Delegates.

It’s an interesting time to be a conservative Democrat in Southwest Virginia. The fine, salt of the earth folks there don’t care much for either Blue State, tree-hugging progressives or button-down, country club Republicans. So, what’s a good conservative Democrat to do? Why you fashion yourself the “Pro Guns, Pro People” candidate and conjure up the ghosts of FDR and “Giv’em Hell” Harry Truman of course!… Read the rest