Water Flow

I have good ears. I can say that without being boastful because I had nothing to do with creating them. I have little to do with maintaining them. They just kick ass. Other physical components, like my eyes, are bad. But my ears? Awesome. I hear very well.

You can imagine my concern when my left ear became blocked. After a few days of hearing muffled noises, I gave in and called the doc. My right ear was starting to get blocked too. The nurse practitioner could see me. Was that okay? Sure. I had never met her, but I wanted my ears back.

I arrived at the doctor’s (well, nurse practitioner). Below is the dialog. My thoughts are in parentheses:

NP: I see a lot of wax. I’m going to need to wash that out.
Me: Okay.
NP: Have you had this done before?
Me: Yes.
NP: I’m going to have to put hydrogen peroxide in your ears to soften the wax. We’ll keep it in there for five minutes.

NP puts the stuff in my ear. I’m lying on my side, with my right ear against the examining table. My left ear is bubbling. It sounds like a tiny volcano erupting.

NP: Does that hurt?
Me: What? (There’s an eruption on top of my blocked ear. How can you really think I can hear you?)
NP: Does it hurt?
Me: No.

NP has me turn over, pours the liquid, and the eruption starts in my other ear. After another five minutes, she has me sit up and she’s looking in my ear.

NP: Yes, wax. You have very small ear canals. Did your pediatrician tell you that?
Me: I’m sorry?
NP: You have very small ear canals. Did your pediatrician tell you that?
Me: (Did she say pediatrician? Why would she say that? I haven’t seen my pediatrician in 18 years.) No.
NP: That’s one reason why the wax builds up.
Me: (Great)
NP: Okay, let’s wash them out.

NP fills this ear syringe with water. It’s a cross between a handheld air pump and water soaker. She blasts my ear with water, fills it again, and blasts again.

NP: Feel better?
Me: What?
NP: Did that help?
Me: (You just blasted pressurized water into my already clogged ear and you think I can hear again?) No.

NP looks in my ear. She notes that the wax is still there. She blasts six gallons of water into my ears. Nothing doing. She offers to do the hydrogen peroxide eruptions in my ears again if I go to another exam room. She’ll see a patient as my ears erupt. After that, she’ll then try the soaker again. She leaves me in the room.

NP: Do you want the lights on or off?
Me: (Why doesn’t she get it? One ear is against the table and the other is erupting.) What?
NP: Lights. On or off?
Me: It doesn’t matter. (It’s my ears that hurt, not my eyes.)

NP collects me and we return to the auditory water aerobics. Another couple of gallons of water and the wax is out. She examines my ears.

NP: It looks like you have fluid in your ears.
Me: (You think?)
NP: I hope you don’t get swimmer’s ear from all the flushing we just did.
Me: (Me neither.)
NP: I’m going to give you a prescription. You’re still not hearing better are you?
Me: No.

I am not a worldly man. Save for a few Caribbean islands, I’ve not been outside of the U.S. But, I have seen most of this great country and I consider myself well-read. So it was with amazement, serious amazement, that I discovered a sub-culture this past weekend that I never knew existed.

At a wedding reception in upstate New York, I saw white males, young and old, who liked to “fast” dance–and were damn good at it! It was surreal, standing around that dance floor. I felt like I was instead flying above the Amazon Jungle, spotting one of the last native tribes who had heretofore remained unknown to civilization.

From age eight to 55, these males could bust a move. Not only did they keep up with the females, but many were better than the girls and women. The Electric Slide? Easy. “We are family?” Dancing and singing. “Pour some sugar on me?” Same. And then some jungle song that I had never heard but they all knew every move.

I couldn’t help but think of that 80s show Footloose. You remember, a small rural town learns to dance from the city kid who just showed up? A half-hour into this unlikely hit, everyone under 20 is dancing around like dancing was the coolest thing to do. The wedding reception was like that. Footloose had left the evangelical religion subplot in the Midwest and brought the dancing shoes to New York. A mousseless Kevin Bacon had been cloned 10 times over.

Dancing was cool! They really liked it!

But, I was flabbergasted. All those school dances many years ago. All the wedding receptions. Slow dancing was doable. Fast dancing required serious liquor and labeling the result dancing was being damn nice. But, not in rural New York. I stood, watched, and probably gawked, my mind jumping from Footloose to Greg “Fingers” Taylor’s “Some White People Can Dance.”

Amazing. This lost tribe might even be considered impressive.

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Summer’s Closing

Such a strange summer. I have spent much time on the ocean each summer since I was five. We are fortunate to live nice beautiful beaches and coastline. On the water is where I smile widely.

This summer, because of increased prices at marinas and high fuel prices, we kept the boat out of the water. It was smart, but the summer was different.

We did have some water activity. Thankfully, we have a beautiful pool and Dempsey best illustrates the fun.

The Stories

In the last post, I mentioned I’d found a cool site when researching Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock” song.

The site is Songfacts.  I’ve written before about how I like to listen to lyrics of songs and try to get meaning out of the words. Songfacts helps you by explaining why the singer or band wrote the song. For instance, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” was written by Stephen Stills about Judy Collins.

In addition to categorizing by song and singer, the site also lists songs by description. Here are a few categories and songs you’ll find in each one.

Songs Featuring An Accordian–“Kokomo,” The Beach Boys
Songs Inspired By Places–“Graceland,” Paul Simon
Songs Written For A Girl–“Making Memories of Us,” Keith Urban
Songs Used In Movies–“Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” Phil Collins

Find a favorite song and comment about it!

You Pick Your Age

I read Mrs. 4444 blog entry about injuries and what age you would choose to return to if you could. The entry and the comments are good.

My comment was that I would be 18. I don’t usually get into the whole “If I was this age again” (at least not openly :)) jazz and I don’t believe in time travel, but I gave in. 18 would be it. I was in good shape. I was probably in better shape when I was 20, but at 18 things didn’t hurt without a reason.

I always think of being 18 when I hear Bob Seger’s song “Like A Rock.” I love that song. Even when I heard it over and over again in Chevy commercials, I never grew bored with it.

I was eighteen
Didn’t have a care
Working for peanuts
Not a dime to spare
But I was lean and
Solid everywhere
Like a rock

Okay, I had cares, but I was lean. Like a rock. Great song and a good video too.

Thinking only physically, what age would you return to?

When researching this post, I came across a cool site. Check back in a few days.

There are so many marginal sports in the Olympics. Gymnastics, decathlon, basketball, boxing. Then there’s a real sport, women’s beach volleyball. It’s the best sport out there.

Top 10 reasons why women’s beach volleyball rocks:Spike

  1. It’s a spectator sport.
  2. You don’t even need a real beach.
  3. It’s a team sport with a clear individual component.
  4. It’s an opportunity for tall women who despise playing basketball.
  5. It has its own hand signals.
  6. The uniforms must be cheap.
  7. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment.
  8. It’s good exercise.
  9. The matches aren’t too long or too short.
  10. You get to wear sunglasses.

Woman’s beach volleyball. A true Olympic sport.

Photo courtesy of jimmytoering.

Manny Repackaged

It’s kind of old news, but the home-run hitter for the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez, was finally traded. Long overdue.

There’s no taking away Manny’s natural ability to drive the ball. He’s a gifted hitter with tremendous power. His work in left field? Like he was “in left field.”

Manny’s work ethic was terrible. He was a mediocre fielder because he didn’t try. He’d rather be in the Green Monster’s maintenance room talking on his cell phone than trying to prevent a single from becoming a double. He’d never run out a ground ball to first. He would defend his laziness with the excuse that he had didn’t want to get injured by going all out.

Someone–fan, media member, fellow player–coined the phrase “Manny being Manny” one year when Manny started his annual complaining. To me, it meant Manny acted like an idiot because he was allowed to act like an idiot. All those around him rolled their eyes and just waited for his selfish moment of the day to pass, realizing that when it did, his bat would deliver the home runs.

Not surprisingly, Boston fans loved Manny when he was being mildly odd and hitting home runs. The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy called Manny a hitting savant. It seems appropriate. His hitting skills are just so far beyond the rest of his persona. Several weeks ago, however, when Manny suddenly had a knee injury that prevented him from playing, Boston had had enough. Management, tired of his mouth and his knack for shutting it down whenever he was unhappy, traded him to Los Angeles.

Watching Manny over several years, I realized that he’s the anti-role model. He’s such a good hitter that I often thought the ball coming off his bat was a foul, only to see it would end up fair and in the bleachers. Natural talent. Yet, with that talent came no inclination to put in the work. Dogging it down first base line when he knew he’d be thrown out. Such action was inexcusable when I played high school baseball. You’d find yourself doing extra conditioning drills or even worse, sitting on the bench, if you didn’t run hard.

Imagine if Manny did work hard. He’s regularly an all star and already has a reservation at the hall of fame. (It’s all about home runs and batting averages. The fact that Manny is bad in left field doesn’t matter. To be renowned in baseball you have to be a hitter no matter how good you are at your position.) If he worked hard, Manny could be a multidimensional force.

Now he’s off in LA. Hitting the crap out of the ball. For now.

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Big or Small Government?

I think I’ll ease into the whole controversial post thing with this topic.

I’ve seen a few episodes of the show “Tougher in Alaska.” It’s a bit quirky, but I like it. It’s about a guy who goes around Alaska and helps residents do jobs that are, well, tougher in Alaska.

The show I watched inadvertently showed two sides of government. It made me think that what we like in politics is really what we expect from government. Although the show is not political, this episode showed two conflicting political viewpoints.

The entire show had the host working with Alaskan State Troopers. I watched as they visited a guy who lives 32 miles away from the closest neighbor. The trooper and host got to the guy’s house by snowmobile. The last time the trooper had visited, the owner greeted him with a shotgun. Hey, it’s the wild and he doesn’t get a lot of visitors. It was a more cordial greeting this time around, but the graphics and voice over indicated that in the lower 48 states, there is one gun per person. In Alaska, there are 3.5 guns per person. My inference is that guns are not difficult to own up north. The government is not heavily involved in gun control. Small government.

Another segment brought several officers to a seemingly remote village populated by native Alaskans. The municipality had voted to ban alcohol entirely from the village because of the high rate of alcoholism within the village. The troopers were acting on warrant for a man who, while on probation, drank. Big government.

Few rules or many? Big government or small? Does government have to be consistent? Does a small government that grants freedom of speech also have to legalize gambling? Does a large government that offers health care to every citizen also have the ability to make half the cars stay off the roads on a certain day of the week?

What are your expectations?

Another Trip Around the Sun


Yes I’ll make a resolution
That I’ll never make another one
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun
Just enjoy this ride.

-Jimmy Buffett, Trip Around the Sun


Here’s to another trip around the sun.


Photo courtesy of cygnus921.

Built to Please


Nothing earth-shattering here (as if you were expecting it :) ), but the other night as I was using my Ipod, I realized what a great gadget the Ipod is.

A longtime lover of music, I used to make mixes on tapes like so many of us did. However, I was very particular about mine. I wanted all the sound levels to be the same so I’d make sure I didn’t use poorly-recorded songs with well-recorded songs. I hated having to turn the volume up or down when listening to a mix.

I remember one mix that I was making from records. The records didn’t indicate how long each song was. Because I didn’t want to go over 30 minutes (each side of the cassette would hold 30 minutes of tunes), I timed each song with my watch as I listened to them from the records. I think I the eventual mix had only a few seconds of silence on each side.

So, the Ipod is pretty darn neat. I have all my music on it and playlists (a.k.a. mixes) are easy to make. I can easily adjust the loudness of each song. And, I don’t have to worry about keeping the playlist to a certain length of time.

I’m on my second Ipod and got my first about four years ago. I’m not sure why I’m just writing about it now.

One thing I’d like to be able to do is to create a playlist on the go. I’d like to be listening to the Ipod and be able to create a list right there. Maybe that functionality would take away from the simplicity that makes Ipods so nice.

Photo courtesy of edvvc.

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