Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday Morning Tea & News Roundup

Having a good day so far. Worked late last night, woke up early this morning. Grabbed a minute with my laptop and a nearby wireless to bring you:

  • Washington, D.C.: Works by Deaf filmmakers wanted for film festival. Hmmm, I might be able to finish something by then...
  • Deaf People Cause Drama:
    Police are investigating after two deaf football fans complained they lip-read on television a Premiership star racially abusing another player.
    The fans claimed to have seen a Liverpool player use racist language against a Manchester United footballer at last month's Premiership match.
    I love it!
  • Gallaudet suffers series of robberies: From Bobby Cox, at Deaf DC (soon to be added to my blogroll):
    Gallaudet University is located on Florida Avenue in Northeast. When I first visited D.C. in 1997, an earnest young man described Gallaudet this way: "It's an Oreo! You have the mixed, predominantly black population around the University and a creamy mass of white, deaf people in the middle!"
    Yes, but 20 years ago we marched with Martin Luther King's banner. I appreciate the thought, but it might be more related to poverty than race, you know? I wonder about that, and about this article increasing racial tension where there need be none. Adam Stone also on Deaf DC had a commenter, Nick, report:
    The university had to change their approach by running a study, using their own money to buy properties for renovation to bring in businesses and to get people to move back in the city from the surburbs. The university used this approach to sell to prospective students by saying “You can be part of this civic engagement.”
    Exactly. Gally students could be part of the solution. I know some sororities and fraternities on campus have done community actions - maybe this is a call to follow their example. What do you think?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Can you do it?

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

I'm just pissed they don't tell me WHICH one I got wrong.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Deaf in the City: No Pity Edition

I think this may become a regular feature. Every once in a while there is some news story with some sad pitiful deaf figure. "I can't add because I'm deaf!" "I can't shower!" "My ability to eat bacon has been severely crippled!"

Today's no pity edition: Nita Lampers.

The last one, I think, was Foxy Brown.

Well, Nita, I'm glad you're dealing with your pain somehow, but the Gallaudet Women's Basketball Team might have been a better place for you. The point isn't to spend your life struggling against ignorance. The point is to do what you love to do.

Thursday morning news and coffee roundup

Tomorrow's payday. Thank you, Goddess! Joey needs a new pair of shoes. Have my eye on two Kenneth Coles I saw across the street. Ah, the pain of lusty shoe need.

Couldn't sleep, so: television. Watching more of the Winter Olympics this year than I have for like ages. Then switched channels to BBC-A; the BBC World News FINALLY has captioning! I'd given up checking, but I really like the way they present the news - it's a little slower, no opinions, just facts, sometimes a little "potential logical conclusion." Plus, british people.

Right now Iraq, unreported in the US, has become extremely violent. Sunni mosques have been bombed. America has been blamed. We've been focusing on the furor of having 8 American ports sold to the United Arab Emirates; both are extremely important, since the more the US supports Iran, the more the Iraqis are going to get upset.

There's also something about the largest robbery in the history of Great Britain - a potential 40 million quid! A gang raided a security depot. It's very 40's.

So I know you're waiting for Deaf news:
I guess any publicity is good publicity dept.: Hip Hop Anansi, run by one of my former dance teachers and a really awesome guy, Fred Beam, got a lukewarm review in the WaPo. Two things. First, in the byline, it says "by" twice - By by Celia Ward. So, Fred? Ignore these dipshits; they can't even use grammar check. The other thing? Seriously, any publicity is good, and the WaPo goes everywhere.

Church gets paid off: A while back we reported about the controversy over Riverside Deaf Church. Well, it seems they got what they wanted. I'm not a religious person, but church is replacing the Deaf club across America; Deaf churches popping up everywhere, and services will probably be localized around them.
Touching or... touching?: Utah School for the Deaf and Blind continues operating despite furor over allegations of abuse by a teacher named Shasky. None of these articles report whether the teacher is Deaf or hearing - does anyone know? Over 90% of abuse done to Deaf children is done by hearing people. However, if the teacher is Deaf, then why does she have to argue that she was using "Deaf-approved techniques?"

Link of the day: Michael Berube's blog. One of the smartest, coolest men I've ever read.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

we have been blessed

Just click. I mean it. Just click.

News and Links Wednesday

Even if it's all bullshit, telling people you're really controversial eventually sinks in. Right, Ridor? Our boy got mentioned in the Argus Leader along with about.com's Jamie Berke and Mike McConnell. Well done to our Deaf writers!

I'm kind of a little on hiatus as I connect with defBef. Going through a lot of personal shit these days; relationship and work and family... she's awesomely supportive. I think she should call zuercher PixieBoy though. He's so cute and delicate and small; when I'm in my macho phase I wanna dress in black and put on sunglasses and go all Bodyguard on him.

Working on a new screenplay and just finished the revisions to EB. We've decided to put it off till May; I just have too much going on, and the other principals involved are also too busy in March. Need to select a date soon then get going on that.

Still have yet to find warm weather in which to ride Le Bike.

In Other News: There have been a "mini-tribe" of three deaf families "discovered" in Saudi Arabia. (One wonders what the newspaper reporter thought - did the Deaf people not know they were there before the newspaper told them?) They apparently severely need help educating their families as their children are illiterate. But my - we're talking about 21 children by my count - there's no sign that these people use any sort of Signed language.
More language thoughts: The story of this family is sad, but not uncommon. Kid becomes deaf, family does whatever they can to save the child's hearing (in their minds: the child. remember that) but once the mechanical stuff is done, they don't have time to learn sign language. (from here it's speculation but not much.) Kid grows up. Becomes more estranged from family. Eventually points out all the mechanical shit they attached to him doesn't work. Takes it off. Becomes more estranged. They don't understand why he wants to spend all his time in the "deaf world" (it seems like a world for them, because they never bothered to walk in it.) Eventually parent and child know nothing about each other.
Yeah, it sucks that they have to work full-time. I'm not placing guilt on the family. But other countries have dealt with this by giving families work credits. We should advocate for that shit.
Cool links:

OK, enough for now. Have a good Wednesday.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Anyone going to the UK?

My friend Tyron Woolf is in a production of Grease in the UK, to raise money for Deaf children in Gambia... Tyron is from a very cool family. His cousin visited me here in the States. He's done a lot of these fundraising shows - I believe in the last one he was a (cute) nun in the Deaf Sound of Music! If anyone plans to be in London on May 20th, check this out! (Wish I could go!)

P.S. Let's send some good luck to Sonny James, a Deaf activist who just started a new job teaching. Those who can, teach.

Gays and Deafs

Should we unite? This has been on my mind a lot. The Deaf community owes a lot to the Gay community; many Gay men and lesbians have worked hard to become ASL terps in the US. Right now with civil liberties under attack by a pretty drippy excuse for a government (no matter which way you look at it) life is going to be harder for every minority, including, yes, Deaf people and gays/lesbians.

Pam Spaulding has a great post on the Democrat's seeming abandonment of gay people. Yes, abandonment; I can't describe it with any other word. We design their clothing, write their speeches, fight alongside them for civil rights, but when the clutch hits, they drop us from their agenda. I expect this from crappy opportunist Republicans.

Deaf people and gays both get kicked in the ass for much of the same reasons. Our behavior is bad (we should be speaking.) Gay people are bad (they should be boinking people they don't want to.) Our bodies are wrong and need surgery or genetic engineering. Technology and therapy are applied to both groups. Deaf people were prevented from marrying each other; back then it threatened humanity. Now Gay marriage supposedly threatens the entire institution of marriage (but spreading Democracy to other countries only strengthens it.)

Just a few thoughts.

One of these things is not like the others...

Let's play the game! What do this and this have in common with this? And I find it sad that this man's last name is Cogswell; does anyone know if he's related to Alice Cogswell? I doubt it but you never in the Deaf world, where up is down, tea is coffee, yes is a nasal twitch...

Still waiting for clement weather for bike riding.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday Morning coffee & news roundup

Hope everyone's enjoying the snow! Too cold for me to sleep well.

Now, what do my teacher friends think of this?
New Initiative to improve Deaf/Family communication
I admire the idea:
When Lorna Davidson-Connelly hears a student object to a day off from school, she doesn't take it lightly.

As a counselor for deaf and other hearing-impaired students, Davidson-Connelly said the unusual complaint could be a signal that the student's family has difficulty communicating with the child at home.

''I can't tell you how many times my students will say, ''We don't want vacation to happen, we don't like weekends," she said. ''They don't like it because they don't have anybody to communicate with."

Thanks for noticing. The execution of this idea is another story:
The $75,000 grant will enable the Northeast Regional Center of Gallaudet University at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill to expand its Shared Reading program into online video instruction statewide.

The program is designed to help parents and teachers like Davidson-Connelly.

The grant will use real-time teaching over videophone by deaf tutors to teach parents the basics of sign language so they can read to their deaf children, said Kathy Vesey, executive director of the center.

I don't think you can learn sign languages over videophones. 3-D doesn't translate well to 2-D, and the non-manual elements of sign languages don't translate at all.
Secondly, this is freaky.

Thirdly, a hat tip to my friend Clark Denmark whose wonderful family was supportive when I lived in England. He seems to have started a discussion about D/deaf people and medical services.

Finally, a sad note. In my news hunting I found the following letter, and said "There but for grace go I." I've seen Deaf people physically and mentally hurt by the stupid, obstinate refusal to use sign language. Some have been consigned to mental hospitals. My mother, thank the Lord Dark and Lady Bright, had no issues about me going to a school for Deaf children. She was part of the hippie gen and thought sign language was cool, y'know? And despite the dire opinions of doctors and nurses and laywers and teachers, I still use my voice. Far too much for some! I quote the letter in full:

Deaf person seeks peers
Chico Enterprise-Record

When my 44-year-old daughter was growing up in the '60s, '70s and '80s, "they" -- the government, schools, the deaf-in-denial and the ignorant bureaucrats -- decided deaf children should not ever learn American sign language but should be mainstreamed into regular schools and learn to speak. So, my daughter is now able to speak, but she can't hear. She fits nowhere.

When she was growing up, and as recently as three years ago, I took her to speech therapy, had her hearing tested (it's deteriorating), had her fitted for different kinds of hearing aids and inquired everywhere I could to find her help.

I took her to the university and Butte College. They do not teach sign language for deaf people or know of anyplace that does. The Nor Cal Center for the Deaf is no longer in Chico, but they too only taught sign language for people who wanted to be interpreters, not to teach the deaf to communicate. My daughter is lost. Her physical and mental health is declining because of the stress she's had to live with for so long. She has no friends.

My question is, can you help her? Do you know where she can learn American sign language for the deaf, and be with her own peer group. Her emotional and physical health is of great concern. She needs to know American sign language -- and other deaf people. Please help us.

-- Marti Lorber Hicks, Chico

The letter raises two valid points. One is that there's no place to help these adults adjust to being Deaf people. The other, as my friend Michael just demonstrasted, is that hearing is unlikely to remain at the same level all your life. By the time you hit your 30's and 40's, the residual hearing you have may go - leaving you no choice but an implant, if you want it. At this time of life it's so difficult to learn ASL, maybe even impossible with the kind of stress the mother describes her daughter as having. If they even have any sanity left. Terry Pratchett says we only truly find ourselves through other people.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday morning: deafboy in the city edition

Funny. The W. paged me last night; he'd watched a video about deaf and hearing culture clashes in his class at the Sign Language Center. It affected him deeply; he didn't realize how much this had affected our miscommunications. I stifled the impulse to tell him I told him so; the fact is, when you're in a relationship with a hearing person, it's the biggest mistake in the world to become his "teacher of Deaf culture" or "teacher of ASL." That makes YOU responsible for HIS behavior towards you... because instead of dealing with whatever the situation is, the hearing person can then say, "Well, you didn't tell me about that." Or, worse, when contempt rears its ugly head: "You're just using your deafness as an excuse." Who'd want to bring that kind of comment into a relationship?

That being said, I'm lucky: not quite seven months yet, and the W. has already paid for sign language classes and is learning about Deaf culture - unheard of in my 26 years. And I'm grateful to the Sign Language Center - Hi Alan! Hi Brian! - for including info about Deaf Culture in their course.

Quick news bits: A sort of "Big River" type incident is taking place in Hawaii, where students from the Hawai'i Center for the Deaf and Blind have put on a play together with local hearing students. I love the interpreted statements by one of the students, who wants to work in film. So do we all, young deafie, so do we all.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Monday Morning: coffee and news roundup

In the CNR we check out the latest news tidbits involving Deaf people, not including the ones about the miracle of hearing. Often Deaf people are portrayed as pretty sad clowns and pathetic figures in the news; the reality is usually quite different.

More highways, less churches: With the decline of the Deaf Club I've noticed the rise of the Deaf Church both as a meeting place and a place of worship (although the truth is any time Deaf people get together in groups of three or more the place they're in AUTOMATICALLY turns into Chat Land.) Apparently Cavalry Deaf Church has been razed to make room for highways:

A church that has served the deaf community for half a century in Riverside is fighting for survival more than two years after Caltrans evicted the congregation and razed its sanctuary to make way for new ramps on Interstate 215.

Calvary Deaf Church, which rents space at another church, has alleged in Superior Court that Caltrans violated state law requiring that places of worship be fully replaced when condemned for public works projects. A trial is set for Feb. 27.

Apparently Caltrans also promised to protect and preserve pews and equipment inside the church but allowed them to be destroyed by vandals. At first glance it seems like a typical story: Deaf people getting pushed aside for progress. But really, how many highways does LA need?

Yes, but no: the W. will flip to hear that Fulton School for the Deaf in his hometown of Durban, South Africa, has elected its first Deaf deputy principal! Why is this important?
Durban teacher Ingrid Parkin has become the first Deaf deputy principal of a school in the history of education in the developing world.

Parkin, 33, has taken over the management post at the Fulton School for the Deaf in Gillitts, where she has been teaching for the past nine years.

And the pupils are delighted as they feel that for the first time someone in a management position understands what it is like to be Deaf and that they are represented at the top level.

That's the Yes. What's the no? No, this is not the first time in the developing world a Deaf person has been in a management position in a school, though it may be the first time in the history of South Africa. We've got examples all over the country, and in my own school - MSSD - I experienced two: Cindy Bailes and K.J. There's also France, where Massieu worked as Sicard's assistant, and rumors of schools run entirely by Deaf monks who trained royalty all over Europe in the sixteenth century. Then there was the deaf-blind monk, Sanzan Tani, who wrote his wisdom on the hands and wrists of young seekers of wisdom. Deaf people have always been the true managers of Deaf schools, because all their non-signing hearing paper-pusher counterparts could do with the kids would be to wave them into corners. On a side note, this woman is the wife of Olympic swimmer-and winner-Terence Parkin. So we're talking about a damn cool family here. Go guys!

Deaf Peddlers get into New York Newsday:
On a train from Brooklyn to Manhattan, a bearded Pancho Tiriado, 47, mumbles and gestures frantically with his hands. Tiriado is deaf and has trouble speaking. His long, dirty fingers clutch a frayed piece of paper with some Bible verses and some words he cannot speak: "Can you spare change. Deaf and Homeless."

On the back is a suggested donation: $1.00 or 50 cents.

One guy gave him a $1.50. Another handed over a $2 lotto ticket.

I wonder if this guy had anything to do with the scandal a few years ago where some criminals took control of a group of Deaf Mexicans and forced them to peddle for money? If so, it is a sad statement that the City did nothing to help these people.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Going through pretty much a life convulsion right now. From discovering that I orgasm mentally when behind a camera, and (obviously) want to continue doing that at an insane rate, to (finally!) getting the Dahon I've been wanting for ages, everything's kind of up in the air. So: sorry about the delay in posting.

Readers Report!: It seems people actually read this blog. So, I'm wondering, who are you? What are you about? Why are you here? Post a comment and share!

News: Pam's House Blend has been keeping up with information regarding the murderer Jacob Robida who went into a Massachussetts gay bar and killed two men with a hatchet and a gun, injuring one other. UPDATE: He finally got captured today. He's so young, you know? But his room is already covered with anti-semitic crap, anti-everything crap. The writing on his blog is terrible. I try to quell my anger by thinking, what must have happened to this boy to turn him into what he is? But crimes like these are increasing around the country as poverty increases due to the Bush deministration. People are scared of the future and looking for someone to blame. And they always go for those who stand out. This stuff scares me shitless.