The Difference Between A Politician And A Soldier?

Rather than keep going back and editing previous posts on the subject, I’m going to keep rewriting new ones, until I get it more right.

Driving by a Confederate battle flag with my black teenage nephew one day, he says “what does it mean?” To which I reply, “it means we’re in The South.” I come from Detroit. I think many people from Detroit would identify with a strong sense of regional pride.

My understanding is that Florida is part of the United States. In our country’s history, there was a period of time where it was also considered part of the Confederate States. The official flag of the Confederate States of America stood for a political ideology. The battle flag stood for a battlefield distinction between American soldiers fighting on one side, or the other. The political flag, no bones about it, stood for some unsavory things. The battle flag stood for American soldiers defending what they saw as their soil.

I’m not going to be the one to dishonour an American soldier who fought on his own soil. Without looking it up, I’d wager very few of the American soldiers who fought under the Battle Flag were slaveholders. If you’re opposed to slavery, maybe you should direct your anger at the political flag. Me, I’m a damn yankee, but I say let the battle flag fly free and proud.

Hearing Things Sharper Than Ever Before

If you’ve ever gotten a new pair of prescription glasses, you probably know that feeling of amazement, looking at the world clearly through a new set of lenses. It’s a wonderful new world, all of a sudden, (or if you’re like a certain friend, a realisation that all of the women he’d been dating looked, well, not what he expected). Regaining your hearing is almost like that, but it’s different in ways I wasn’t expecting.

I know I’ve had some hearing loss since I was a kid. I was the fool standing directly in front of the P.A. at Harpo’s when I was a kid. I plugged my sony walkman headphones into my guitar amplifier when walkman came out. I played it loud enough to make a zit in my ear bleed. I was, in short, a dumbass about my hearing. I was the guy in the noisy bar who just smiled and nodded politely, no matter what you were saying, using visual cues to say something that might or might not have had anything to do with the “conversation” we were “having”.

When I got a job with a federal contractor, was the first time I had quantification of my hearing loss, due to their baseline physical. A baseline physical is a process where a contractor protects itself from being sued: “I lost my hearing due to this job” one might claim, and they’d point to the baseline physical and say, “uh-uh-uh-uh, mister faker, you were deaf when we hired your dumb ass.”

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, I lost probably 80% of my hearing in the left ear due to ear wax. I stood in line at the store watching some kids goofing off, before realising the cashier was repeating herself for probably the third time, asking me a question. So, I set about trying to get rid of the nasty crap in my ear over the course of a couple weeks. As an aside, I noticed there was some advantage to not being able to hear so well. For instance, I didn’t have to win arguments, I could just comfortably ignore them. But overall, the experience was uncomfortable, and slightly frightening. It’s a very isolated feeling to suddenly not be able to hear.

So, I started putting drops of peroxide in my ear, and holding my head sideways for as long as I could handle it. I tried putting olive oil in my ear. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. One night, I got the peroxide to bubble for a while, and thought I was making progress, but when I drained it out, still nothing. Finally, I bought a new bottle of peroxide, thinking the stuff I had was so old that it was no longer effective, and a small bottle of baby oil, another remedy I’d read about. At first, nothing, again. Finally, I overcame my conservation attitude, and ran hot water for a few minutes over the bottles to warm the stuff up. A couple drops of baby oil, followed by a couple drops of peroxide, and when I flushed it out, a couple micrograms of ear wax in the sink! I was on the right track, maybe, at last! The next day, I repeated the hot water over the bottles, drop, drop, drop, and flush out with warm water, and HOLY MOTHER OF!!! A big ugly, yet beautiful to see, gob of that nasty crap sitting in the sink, and… and… and… I COULD HEAR AGAIN!!! A-freaking-mazing!

Like a kid in potty training, I wanted everyone to come look at the crap I’d deposited in the sink! I was so proud, and happy. When I first told someone about it, though, I noticed the sound of my voice. It was uncomfortable. I suddenly noticed the sound of my breathing. When I put a coffee cup on the counter, the sound jumped out at me. I winced when I closed, (slammed?), the garage door behind me. Everything, I mean, everything, was uncomfortably LOUD.

Suddenly, I noticed every sound, in detail that I don’t remember. It was overwhelming. Really, it was too much. Leaf blowers blowing outside, jet airplanes overhead, every little sound was now bombarding my head, and overwhelming my senses.

I decided to go kayaking, since I really couldn’t think of anything else to do that wouldn’t cause sensory overload. Kayaking can be pretty darn boring, in case you’ve never tried paddling a mile or two. Being a holiday, there were motorboats, airplanes, birds, the noise was just as bad. It seemed like I could hear every drop of water from a boat’s bow wave from a hundred yards away. I paddled out to the gulf, and anchored off the shore, and figured I’d just get used to the sound of waves crashing on the shore for a bit. It helped, a little, I guess, just as a way of getting my brain to accept there was a level of noise in the world that I was just going to have to get used to.

So, I read an article talking about how hearing loss affects the brain; not just the psychological effects, such as the feeling of total isolation, but actual physiological effects on the brain. After a day of having my hearing restored, at least to “baseline” levels, I can tell you, having your hearing restored after a few weeks without it is a little disorienting. It’s not like a new pair of glasses, where you put ’em on, and everything’s wonderful. It’s a whole new process of learning not to jump at every sudden noise that you never heard before. At the end of the day, I was physically exhausted, it seems, just from processing all of the new sensory input. It might sound over-dramatic, but I’m really not exaggerating, or if I am, not by much.

Speaking of “baseline”, I’ve long noticed through boring hours of kayaking, that I can hear the wind blowing past the paddle on my right side, but not my left. Even though my left ear seems to be hypersensitive, I still can’t hear that, so I still have some permanent hearing loss.

Marriage, Gays, Abortion

Marriage, Homosexuals, and Abortion

The underpinning of most arguments I’ve heard from homosexuals in favour of having the same status as married couples seems to rest on an assumption of equality of motherhood and fatherhood. While the definition of marriage is male and female, let’s posit that the real purpose of marriage is related to traditional definition of family.

I’m also going to posit that motherhood and fatherhood begins at the moment of conception, which may be a difficult proposition for some to swallow, but it makes the most sense for biological simplicity.

So, under “full equality” that homosexuals call for, motherhood and fatherhood are societally equal, if biologically significantly different. Does the father have equal say in the termination of pregnancy as the mother? Currently, a mother can terminate a pregnancy for any reason, including financial hardship, (the cornerstone of most “low income women” arguments presented by the abortion advocates). If a father determines that a child would be a financial hardship, does he have the same rights, if not to physically terminate the pregnancy; to terminate his legal obligation to the child? I don’t think it works that way, and don’t think it should. In order to have “full equality”, this seems to be a point where society has an obligation to treat motherhood and fatherhood differently, at least in a sane society.

There very well may be some arguments in favour of changing the tax codes as it relates to families and gay couples, but I haven’t heard anything convincing yet. To simply say one commited couple is the same as another, when there are such obvious biological and ethical differences just doesn’t stand up in a way that has convinced me.


I didn’t intend to get graphic with this, but the thought came to me, so here’s a little more.

When a man willingly puts his penis in a woman’s vagina, there is a societal understanding, that he accepts responsibility for whatever happens next. He will be held accountable in the courts if a child is born, regardless on his desire to see a pregnancy through, and the following 18 years of providing for a child through to adulthood. This is a very basic difference in heterosexual versus homosexual behaviour. There is a consequence, which is avoidable, for a period of time, under current law, available to the woman only. The man has no say, once he’s impregnated a woman, in the outcome, a child or a terminated pregnancy. Only the woman, under our system, has this option. I’m not judging the rightness or wrongness by stating this fact. I’m only elucidating, there is a very clear difference between, not only marriage, but heterosexual coupling, and, well, every other combination you can think of. If a woman has many lovers, and becomes pregnant, only the biological father is responsible, under our laws.

I really don’t care much about gays, any more than I care about any other people who might want to do whatever. But since the activists seem to bring this up again and again, I find myself mulling it over, more than I feel the subject deserves. I don’t share the vision of our safe school czars that homosexuality should be a part of our school’s history curriculum. The subject is broader than just what goes on behind closed doors, when there are activists pushing this to be part of mandated school curriculum.

Dear Northerners, Regarding The Battle Flag, Yet Again

Okay, seems not everyone reads my blog, twitter, or whatever, so I’m always amazed when I come across this again and again.

There is an official flag of the Confederate States of America, it looks a lot like the Georgia state flag. If people want to get all bent out of shape over the symbolism of the civil war, the Stars and Bars was the political flag that represented the South in the war.

There is a thing called the Battle Flag, which is what common soldiers fought under in defense of their land. This is the one that Northerners seem to think of as relating to the political values of the South, rather than the Stars and Bars. The Battle Flag was not the flag of the plantation owners, it was the flag our brother soldiers fought under.

I try to have respect, (especially being a Northerner by birth), to those who might have a rightful reason to find the symbolism offensive, (black descendants of slaves), but it’d go a long way toward understanding, if Northerners would show a little respect for their brethren to the South, as well. A lot of people who had nothing to do with slavery died under that battle flag.

Now, go look up the different flags, and the percentage of the population that were slave holders in the South at the time of the Civil War.

Fitting and Alterations (and Measuring, for good measure)

After struggling with hand drafting for a few weeks, I finally tried Leena’s. Here’s some discussion on that as a basic pattern starting point.

Keep hearing about Joyce Murphy’s alteration method from a 2006 article that’s not available…