Thursday, March 30, 2006

thursday morning coffee and granola

Sorry no posts yesterday; I ended up doing pornographic drawings. Anyone wanna see?

Sign poetry: Swarthmore College was recently host to Peter Cook's Flying Words, a travelling ASL poet. I've never seen him or his show, but Swarthmore is brother to Haverford College where I got my BA. Seems the show went well, but I'm not sure about this part:
We rarely stop to think about deaf communities, however. According to Napoli, “deaf people are disproportionately impoverished.” Their literacy level is low, she said, and as a society we have not done well for their education. Therefore, she said, it is important for her personally to take social action.

Many members of Napoli’s first-year seminar, Language and Deafness, which deals with social issues relating to the deaf community, were at the performance. Anne-Marie Frassica ’09 thought that “it was an important performance in that it bridged the hearing community with the deaf community.” This was exemplified in the easy dialogue between the deaf Cook and the hearing Jones. In many cases their roles, for the hearers in the audience, were inextricable from each other. Jones’s spoken words needed Cook’s sign and pantomime, and for the hearers, vice versa. “The hearing community is often out of touch with the deaf community. It is hard to see what ASL literature is,” Frassica said.

I guess it's SORT OF TRUE... but the perspective is wrong. How about "Deaf people have not traditionally received equal education but have been campaigning for improvements so therefore it is important to support their efforts?" Like we're real people, not charity cases, and like we've been fighting for it all along.

And no, Frassica. It's EASY to see what an ASL literature is (tongue-in-cheek.) It's a visual language. It's hard to see what it's about, sometimes, depending on the skill and quality of the poet. But then defBef is much better at sign poetry than I. I stick with Shakespeare, until I'm as confident with my hands as I am with Prismacolor.

Not that I do so badly signing these days - I think I'm a lot better than I was when I first arrived at MSSD (peep knows what I'm talking about!) and didn't have any ASL whatsoever, only the detritus of Signed Exact English which I was "taught" by well-meaning Special Education teachers growing up (did anyone ELSE hate the Little Yellow Bus?) Took me four years and a couple of drunken nights in a club in London to "flip over" from SEE's insidious portrayal of signed languages as codes and see ASL for a real language. Of course I had NOT ONE ASL CLASS whatsoever in MSSD, although I was offered speech classes. I'm not even sure ASL classes were available in my time. Woulda been nice. Maybe if I'd seen ASL poetry at 13, I would have caught on a lot quicker.

As it was, it took Rae Johnson taking me outside of class and having a quiet talk with me to even make me give up certain very annoying SEE habits.
And she was an English teacher. But I guess that makes sense if you think in terms of respect for language.

Anyone else have weird How I Learned ASL stories?

Off to work.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

tuesday night wine and cheese

Check out the cojones on terminal_boy:
He's been known to get drunk and attack people who haven't done anything to him. Invariably, this gets him in fights that he can't win.

He goes off on benders and no one can find him for days. Once, while he was on one of these, part of his house flooded and his family had to go stay with relatives. He hasn't bothered to clean up that part of the house yet. It has been seven months now.

When any of his friends question his choices he loudly declares that either they are "with him or against him" and calls them cowards. When someone in the family questions him, he tells them that they are ungrateful and obviously don't care as much about the family as he does.

Ironically, he's the first guy to stand up in church on Sunday. He sings the loudest, even as his breath stinks of booze.

Just had a fun night with Breenie catching up. Shared that I will finally be joining her in the world of aunt/unclehood! It was good to confide about experiences at work and just be funny and relax for ten minutes. Breen has the ability to make people feel at ease... easy on the eyes too, with her new eye-tools.

Also of interest today was my obsession with Hurricane Glenda, which you can read about at Dr. Jeff Masters' Blog; this monster Cat 5 hurricane is weakening now, but haven't there been quite a few of these around Australia lately? Yep, I'm a secret weatherundergrounder; these people are really intelligent and explain a lot of things. Not that it makes me feel safer with monster hypercanes rampaging around the world. But hey, I'm paranoid about everything else... *wink*

I have a vacation coming up. Yes, i finally decided to take a vacation. Trying to decide where to go: Vermont? DC? Florida? Stay home and not move from my bed for two weeks? Ahhhh, decisions...

News * Coffee Tuesdays @ DITC

Ugandan Deaf people have been protesting they want their news with interpreters:

THE Uganda National Association for the Deaf (UNAD) has protested the failure by the Uganda Broadcasting corporation-TV to provide for a sign language interpreter during its news bulletins.

UNAD director Alex Ndeezi yesterday said since its inception, UBC-TV had denied the deaf important information in news that used to be provided by the defunct Uganda Television (UTV).

Ndeezi said the absence of sign interpreters at UBC-TV and other public places such as courts, hospitals and schools was a gross violation of their human rights.

Deaf television has exploded worldwide. Vee-Tv in England (vee is a deaf word like Pah! in the UK; it means sort of like "brilliant!" "wonderful!") has exploded; so has DeafTV in Denmark. Any other expamples of strong Deaf TV programmes? Current ones, please - not going to find a link to new episodes of Deaf Mosaic! :)

In other news - a review of the work of Deaf artist John Brewster. Also, politics: Andrew Card's left his office. From reading, Andy was one of the New Conservatives twenty or so years ago who came to power with Reagan. I'm not sorry to see him go.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

post 250

So here's my question - any favorite posts or memorable ones from people who've read this blog over the last two years or so? Thinking of setting up a Best Surdus Bollocks list...

Today quite nice. Went to see the Wal last night and this morning for a longish walk looking through the shops of the city. Bought a black duvet cover from a store on 17th st. and 1st Ave. Made brownies for Dad; my sister announced her pregnancy yesterday, so we're gonna celebrate in a bit.

Wrote a bit more on the script today. Think I may get to the final bits tonight.

I wonder what it means to my sister, being pregnant.

Friday, March 24, 2006

deaf in the city: news and coffee fridays

Not much going on on the news front. I'm still hunting for information about that group of Deaf people who stormed a medical complex to fight for sign language interpreter rights. I did find another article from Indymedia:

The Deaf & Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights (DDBCHR), a grassroots advocacy group based in North Olmsted, Ohio organized yesterday's protest. In the same way that civil rights groups held sit-ins at restaurants in the 1950's &60's to draw attention to the discrimination faced by African-Americans, DDBCHR's sit-in action yesterday hoped to bring attention to the fact that many doctors still refuse to provide sign language interpreters for Deaf and Deaf-Blind patients despite the fact they are required to do so by law.

Over the last year the group sent information to over 100 randomly selected doctors in Northeast Ohio about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and asked them to sign an agreement form stating the doctor would provide interpreters as required by law. One doctor DDBCHR contacted four times about signing the ADA Agreement was Dr. Solymos. This doctor, however, never responded to the group's request. So DDBCHR members decided to bring their request in person to Dr Solymos' office.

When the group arrived at the doctor's office with signs and banners displaying their demands, DDBCHR President, Ray Seal approached the front desk to ask to speak to the doctor but none of the staff opened the glass window to find out what he wanted. DDBCHR members then made a statement to the press about their demands and why they had come to protest.

"Our basic rights to communication and to healthcare are being violated" Sarah Messina, an 83-year old Deaf leader explained. "Every doctor takes a vow to 'do no harm'" but when a doctor refuses to provide interpreters for a Deaf or Deaf-Blind patient, serious harm or even death can result from miscommunication."

Then I realized I'd heard of DDBCHR before: when they were involved with the March For Our Lives.

This is not a small issue. In New York, an individual will likely not be able to get an interpreter at a private medical provider. I wonder how it is for other states... but generally, we get referred to places like Beth Israel Medical Center, with their own interpreting staff, or we suffer excrucitating waits around the city. In old documents about ADA rights, it's claimed that we have the right to interpreters at private medical practicioners; however, now there's all sorts of talk about it being too much of a burden on Poor Doctor Brown! (Even though we are the sick ones...)

Or we go ahead, try to handle the communication ourselves, and either come away only half- or ill-informed - which is one of the reasons Deaf people go to the doctor more than hearing people, I think.

Which is why I would like to suggest our government fund a project to train and release a bunch of HealthAlert Parrots to help Deaf people in situations involving fire, disease, and laundry.

Oh god, I'd LOVE a parrot doing my laundry....

all you need is, radio gaga!

And now I do what I never thought I would do.... *turns around, puts on black trenchcoat with matching floppy hat, gloves, etc, turns back* now we turn to RidorLive for our horror story of the week...
How nice is this?

In Bay Area, the radio stations, Wild 94.9 and 104.1 Hawk, has picked up the news about the death of Tara McAvoy and poked fun at Deaf people in general. They went on to say that they are interested to hear what we have to say then imitated the fake sounds and all that. It was very abrasive, rude and offensive.

I agree. The world is different now. We have blogs. We have Deaf blogs. Let us use our community for good. Counter their poop! Ridor tells us how:
If you wanted to get in touch with Wild 94.9, here is the number:

I highly suggest to call in and blast them to smithereens, 415 975 5555, but the person who made the comments at WiLD 94.9 was Rick Delgado. His direct number is (415) 538-5940.

As for 104.1 HAWK, here is the information:

Mailing address is: KHKK-FM, 1581 Cummins Dr #135
Modesto, CA 95358
Fax Nbr: 209 572 0540

Well, like always, hearing people will make fun of us. This is one of MANY reasons why Deaf people do not TRUST hearies at all. Friends, sure. But that close? To quote Clarkie would have said in the first place, “Seeya Later!” The truth is that they failed us on many things in life, why should we give them another chance after one?

Thank you, Ridor, for not subjecting us to another bo---ring lame-ass made-up story about life in Virginia with the chickens and the sheep and the cows, oh the cows... sorry! You know I love you! You know that, right? Right? Right?

P.S. I can name at least ONE hearing person who hasn't failed me yet... handsome silly devil that he is..

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

tomato news!

My good friends Paula and Tomato got interviewed by the Guardian, a UK paper, in an unusually cool and positive article:

This is how Paula Garfield, artistic director of the London-based theatre company Deafinitely Theatre, felt when she was expecting her baby daughter, Molly. "When I was pregnant I did hope the baby would be deaf. Obviously, I would have loved a hearing baby equally, but inside, I really hoped she would be deaf like me."

For Garfield and her partner Tomato Lichy, an artist and writer, the diagnosis that Molly was profoundly deaf was a cause for joy rather than sadness. "When the doctor told us she was deaf I really wanted to smile, but I felt I shouldn't because the medical staff obviously thought deafness was a problem. Once we got home we celebrated though."

So, why? The answer, Lichy argues, lies in language. "Being deaf is not about being disabled, or medically incomplete - it's about being part of a linguistic minority. We're proud, not of the medical aspect of deafness, but of the language we use and the community we live in. We're delighted that that is something our daughter can share as she grows up."

What do you all think? I've known Tomato longer than Paula; we've gone on protests like this one together. Have seen her work through Deafinitely Theatre and it's very interesting.

And yes, I will approve comments now that Ridor has explained to bimbo-me how to do it :)

Tooth surgery went successfully - and my dentist signed! More on that later.

*blushes crimson*

Ridor just explained to me I have to APPROVE comments.

I'm an idiot.

See what I mean? Pride, fall, etc?

News and Deaf Culture Thoughts Tuesdays

Ouch. Bad tooth pain today - off to the dentist. But before I take my fated trip down the hallowed halls wherein was invented the Dental Damn, Fixodent, and Donna Dentista The Tooth Fairy, some thoughts on today:

Deaf man sentenced in prison affair: Something to consider. I've noticed a lot of Deaf people when they are in hospitals or prisons get into a serious amount of trouble with other residents and ward staff. Most of the time it seems to be that people are trying to talk to them. Now, when hearing people try to talk to Deaf people, they don't do the normal things like make eye contact, tap you on the shoulder, rest at a comfortable viewing distance. They prefer to try spitting in your ears or eyes. I'm not sure why. Maybe there's some sort of Morse spit code. I suppose I've always thought people who invent an entire code based on tapping noises which they themselves admit are annoying, just can't be quite sane.

So you're sick, depressed, in hospital or prison. And this guy or girl comes up to you and spits in your eye. When you look at them, offended, they try spitting in your ear. At this point your dignity is entirely outraged.

At this point it is necessary to remind oneself that when someone talks to one, that person is likely going to talk about a very different subject than that which one is currently musing over... so the Deaf guy in the hospital who just microwaved something probably isn't going to understand the hearing guy who wants to use the microwave. He's standing there, a little tense, maybe very tense; he wants this situation over. He wants to eat his food. But there's this guy in front of him spitting in his eyes and ears and any move could be the wrong one. And finally the hearing guy gets sick of waiting and starts to move to go to the microwave.

A tense Deaf person WOULD take that as a move to attack, especially if the Hearing person, frustrated, added facial expressions and rolling eyes as it became clear that this retard didn't understand nothin'.

That's why I'm in social services... and that's why I chose not to reply to that bitch Ridor mentioned on his webpage. That bitch wrote a long essay about how she believes Deaf people have no common sense - starting with Tara McAvoy's death and expanding to include everything from SSI to personal ambition in a long-drawn-out, patronizing, and totally uninformed rant which, due to Ridor's link to her (scroll down to "crazy woman") got a lot more attention than it should. I hadn't seen anything like it since the day when at the age of 16 I saw a prominent Deaf actress in the Lincoln Center implore people to save Deaf individuals from the welfare drain.

I'm sorry, but I refuse to link directly to that bitch. She obviously knows shit, child of privilege that she is - in all ways. I spit on her and her ilk. People like her do not understand what, for example, a lifetime of true psychological damage to an individual can do. I was lucky enough to have parents who tried to understand me - and, I admit, maybe not as much as they could have, but after a lifetime we've overcome our differences as Deaf and hearing parents and child and reached understanding with each other. This lets me see the world as it is. This is why I do the work I do. Most Deaf people don't have this privilege. Of the 90% of Deaf people born to Hearing parents, how many really get to communicate with them?

What that bitch sees is through a rose-colored glass... and the danger with seeing things behind glass, rose or not, is that when it breaks the glass goes into your eyes. You either come out from behind the glass or you run the risk of seeing things the wrong color for the rest of your life - or never seeing them at all, if that glass goes into your eyes. Beth suggested I reply to that bitch on her website; I chose not to. I wish I could write her some sort of statement, based on a lifetime of cultural studies and literature, to open up the box of this her soul and make her realize how high the seat is from which she sees those she languidly calls ants. How high, and how protected. It's easy to be that bitch when you're on the tall side of the wall.

But I haven't found anything that can break through pride. Maybe one day she'll go through some of the experiences friends of mine have gone through which put them in a place where they're grateful for the support of public welfare. Being beaten until they're in a coma, for example, or being molested by their families, or being locked in a closet and then a mental institution for most of their lives, because they are Deaf, being rejected from their families and homes, being isolated and made a target in mainstreaming programs, being prevented from joining various programs, being told they can't be in the army, the police, be firemen, be astronauts, be president, having to go to classes and be put at the same level as people with severe mental disabilities, having to ride the little magical yellow bus without the kind lady teacher on it, watching the bus matron beat the crap out of the poor kid with Down's syndrome who would never be able to report it and whose parents are probably crack addicts and wouldn't do anything ANYWAY -

And none of that is anything to the weight of the big old feeling that the hearing people are all smarter than you, can do anything better and faster than you (or are lying about it but there's more than them and that's pretty much IT), the feeling that no matter how good you get (and here I really am talking to that bitch), it'll always be your head first on the chopping block. It'll always be you who loses your freedom first. (This is why Deaf Studies is so important: it helps you understand that you're not inferior. Just a downtrodden mass. It lets you know you can fight back.) You will always be the first to lose, because They can afford your discomfort more easily than your involvement. When They come for you nobody will speak up. That has a lot more to do with the social conditions in the Deaf community which that bitch complains about than laziness. (Lazy was what they called the slaves when they dropped dead in the fields, and what they still call all those who get on welfare, as if there were no such thing as unemployment and labor discrimination, as if women weren't once forbidden to work or get paid.)

My father went through that experience as a Puerto Rican who looks even more Italian than I do. I went through it as a Deaf man. My grandmother went through it as the child of refugees from religious oppression in Syria. From my family I know discrimination and the associated depression and despair have nothing to do with simply being deaf or being Deaf: it has to do with being in a place where people in power want them and their children to continue being people in power. Because my family understood that, they helped me understand how to deal with it.

That bitch is in a place of power and safety now. We all have our moments of pride. I had mine. I thought I was better than some Deaf people. I knew how to write and read really well. But once it became clear to me my knowledge was limited to my own spheres, I fell. Proud and smug in my knowledge and my ability with the pen, I fell flat on my face. I had to learn that there were many other people with different types of skills who would always be better than I. So will all those who base their lives on pride. The question is whether you can get back up from the pain of your fall and, as Bernice Johnson Reagon put it, coalesce with each other to form a coalition with everyone and let go of the pride that falsely separates you from other people. Because the truth is, in the end, my Deaf brothers and sisters may be all I got. Gay men and women feel the same way. So do Latinos, Native Americans... I dream of expanding that to include all people who face different kinds and shades of oppression but for now, getting more than one person to agree on that, and getting Deaf people to agree to stop blaming each other for reacting to terrible situations in our lives, would be good enough. And a good place to start might be with that bitch's mouth. Because the more we put each other down and cut each other off, the less chance we have to make an impact for real change. If change is what they really want. If they look around them and realize how uncomfortable it can be, being so high up and so alone.

Yeah, there's those who take advantage of the welfare system. I haven't met too many of them yet, because in New York there's no way in hell you can survive on SSI without being in a residential program which means you need help taking care of yourself anyway. Those I know who are on welfare, are trying like hell to get off, yes, even those without education or the patronizing "psychological sophistication." Sounds a bit like those black welfare queens Republicans talk about all the time who don't seem to exist. Almost every Deaf person I know depended on SSI at one time or another. I've had to counsel friends who feel tremendous guilt about it and don't want anyone to know. I don't think anyone should. The fact that discrimination is built into the system, should not affect anyone's pride. The fact that there is a safety valve in the system - SSI - to keep people from totally imploding under the pressure of the world - should not be a big dark secret. It shouldn't be comfortable, entirely... but it shouldn't be a big old source of shame.

Now if that person is giving into despair and apathy, that's another story. But even then, the answer should be: that person needs help. Not: I'm much better than them. None of us know what lies in the caves of tomorrow. We barely understand the caves of today.

Just my two cents. Feel free to comment. And since I used the word bitch so much, a free fun link.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

even people of the eye can be deceived...

Check this out! Can you tell the difference at all?

Having terrible tooth pain today so may need to go to the dentist and get those caps checked... NOT happy. Dentists are evil creatures from the planet Dent. They worship their god, Arthur Dent (thus their motto: Deliverius, Dentus Arturus!) For this reason they like to say What? What? a lot and ask for tea.

And even if they weren't pissy little foreign-planeters... they're just weird.

Monday, March 20, 2006

No pity, no nothing?

Jamie Berke of, the great comprehensive website which has a ton of Deaf resources, has this to say about the No Pity bits:
Actually, It is a Typical Deaf Experience
The Deaf in the City blog has started a semi-regular feature, the "No Pity" edition, in which blogger Joseph focuses on news articles about deaf people who seem to feel sorry for themselves. In this blog post, he links to a news article about a deaf woman who had social challenges growing up. I read the article and her experience is actually quite typical of deaf people who grew up decades ago. My own experience was like that.

Yeah, but I haven't seen you whine about it or use your pain and suffering to get attention. I had social challenges growing up. So does pretty much any minority. But almost weekly some story about how horrible it is being deaf pops up in the news and I'm sick of it.

I grew up in a mainstreamed school. At the age of five I had other students bang my head on the ground to get whatever was blocking my hearing, out of my head. At the age of nine on the first day of class my math teacher decided Deaf people shouldn't be taking math. I wasn't allowed to be involved in after school activities until I got to a Deaf school. And god forbid I get a certified interpreter.

But I hate people complaining about it just to get pity, or reporters writing stories to pull at people's heart strings. If an individual wants to share experiences with other Deafies to gain strength and understanding that is one thing-is great and very important. But these are just "human interest" stories to make people go "Oh how terrible" and it's hard to see how they benefit Deaf or hearing people. Hearing people usually just wind up thinking our lives are worse than they really are.

What do you think? Thanks to Jamie Berke for beginning this discussion.

Deaf in the City: No Pity Edition

Today's No Pity is directed at Roger Daltrey of the Who. In conjunction with the release of his new music CD Daltrey is talking about his work-related hearing loss:
Daltrey said: "If I'm playing anything at home, it's probably classical, mainly because I haven't got much hearing left.

"What I have got left, I want to keep." Daltrey is currently busy recording The Who's first studio album in 14 years with the only other surviving member, Pete Townshend.

Anyone wanna bet he's hoping for the "pity buy?" Not from DITC.

Exhausted today-last night was not conducive to sleep. Woke up around 2 and couldn't return to sleep. Sparkly Spanker was awake and working busily on her eyeBook (the deaf version muahahahahaha!) Managed to catch a bit of Embedded on IFC. I love IFC, the Comedy Channel, Lifetime, TLC... addict!

Sunday late-night Deaf Culture edition

OK, so it's just love poetry. But it's cultural love poetry.

On Leaving

Let not my heart fall-quite so low;
My love, be well till I return;
Hours still pass, clockwork, slow-
their value not ours to spend
loss draining fever from brows,
medicine to tighten throats,
cool fire healing. Apart, we learn
Love's a fluid which oils Time
Time a key by which Love turns.

edited: "key" used to be "spoon." Thought key was better.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Protests in Ohio

It seems those pesky Deaf people are at it again, fighting for their rights:
Two dozen activists who say doctors are unlawfully refusing interpreters for deaf patients staged a protest in a medical office building Thursday, trying at one point to push past police to confront a physician who refused to meet with the group.

The Deaf and Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights, an advocacy group based in North Olmsted, targeted Dr. Kornelia Solymos, a family doctor who they say repeatedly declined to sign an agreement to provide interpreters.

Deaf patients and their advocates say that without interpreters, it is difficult to understand instructions from doctors. They note in particular the risk for medication mistakes. "The doctor assumes we know what they're saying, and we don't," one activist said through an interpreter.

Anyone know people involved in this? Would love to contact them.

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day News and Coffee Roundup

I'm not Irish but my boyfriend is.... and although this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York will not permit diversity in their march, it's an old truth that the Irish themselves have long been much more accepting, and Ireland has some of the most liberal laws in the world.

First, for today some Irish stuff:
Second, some blog links. Tara McAvoy has become a big thing in the blogosphere, with everyone pushing an agenda. Adam seems to think the important thing is to point out that hearing people also get hit by trains. Allison wants to avoid turning the poor girl into the Deaf version of Terri Schiavo. Mike as usual attacks other Deaf people. Ridor still hasn't corrected his wrong spelling of her name.

Gotta love the deaf world, same as the hearing world....

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Is one of my heroes - a very controversial figure. She's been working in New Orleans. Check out her writings and how she thinks about things in a non-religious, earth-friendly context. Very inspiring!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Text-Message Story spreads

CNN finally reported on the passing of Tara McAvoy-and like I said this morning, they think she was distracted by pager.

Ridor said "where's her common sense?" A lot of people are upset about his statement. I'm not: he's right, just kind of coarse about it. I haven't met one person Deaf or hearing who doesn't get totally taken out of this world when paging someone or being paged! I have "guided" friends through traffic in the past when they become entranced by the little glowing screen. As an example of blackberry addiction, I'd like to share a story about Ridor. I think he forgets himself!

I remember one time he came to me freaking and thinking his pager had broken-it took me a while to calm him down. He was gesturing and going "I tried taking the battery out, I tried turning it off and on, I tried the reset thing..." I calmed him down so I could take a look at it, and, you know, figure out what the problem was - everything seemed to be working. I decided to go ahead and email his blackberry address, everything came through. I explained to him and he ignored me! He kept saying "No, it's broken, why didn't I get any messages from anyone? Why? For so long?" The answer was really obvious to me so I had my "duhhhhh stupid man" look on my face. "Because nobody paged you! Nobody wants to talk to you! You're not popular! Sorry!" The look on his face was so FUCKING funny (satisfied, beth?) The point is he was so addicted to his blackberry that he slept with it, ate with it, peed with it...

I agree it should be common sense to look around and not get totally distracted by the conversation in our hands (or by them.) But they have become so important and so dominant of our lives that now we are experiencing Cell Phone Syndrome. This is exactly what happens to hearing drivers with their cell phones. They become totally distracted and have car accidents or (if walking) bump into things and walk into traffic. So yeah, it should be common sense for all of us. Maybe it's just true that our technology has outpaced our common sense.

OK, this story, yeah, freaked me out. This was a senseless occurrence and it could happen to anyone. The Wal and I are both grieving for this woman and promising to be careful to each other and (in a gentle, unannoying way) remind our friends to be careful. That's the important thing.

Anyone wanna go?

Check this out - it looks cool. I'd love to go up north and check it out, especially the Sharon Dupor artwork. I tried contacting her once to discuss purchasing a print or something but she never responded - if anyone has contact information for this wonderful artist PLEASE email me.

You may notice some extra text between links and on the top underneath "Deaf in the City." One of the places I got the name "surdus" for my home on the web was from the old days when pretty much any Deaf man or woman who achieved anything was named Surdus, Mudo, Muet, Sordillo... I guess it was racist as calling an African fighter Johnny Black, for the hearing people. But in a way calling my website Surdus connects me to those Deaf people who fought tooth and nail with the hearing "world" (o how I hate that phrase: as if it isn't our world, too!)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Walking While Paging

UPDATE:It seems that the current theory is that Tara McAvoy died while messaging family and friends: here's my take. Used to a certain distance from the tracks, she walked confidently a foot away from their width, sending messages to family and friends, feeling or sensing the horns but not realizing there was a snowplow so the width was three feet greater than usual and so intent on arranging to meet her family that she did not bother to look.

I can see myself in that picture. Can you? And are any of those messages *really* so important that they can't wait until you get to the other side and relative (minus the chances of getting stabbed or harassed) safety? I feel so terrible for her family.

I think five years ago I would have shrugged at this article. Two years ago I would have been freaked. Now I hunt for ways to survive. I don't always like how life is changing me. Maybe none of us do. Oh, some things are better. I can remember much longer poems than when I was a kid. And I know more about math so I don't have to rely on luck ALL the time with my bank accounts (this is why I never became a programmer.)

Right after this I paged Wal that he better promise me he won't bb in the street. NO MORE! (insert dramatic chest pounding pause) He paged me back saying "At least I can hear the traffic. You better promise ME you'll stand back in safety." Cheeky sod.

Ah. This world is forbidding.

Remembering DPN:

David Evans has written a great essay about the Deaf President Now protests. Go read.


Miss Deaf Texas killed by train
Associated Press

Austin, Tex. — The reigning Miss Deaf Texas died Monday afternoon after being struck by a train, officials said.

Tara McAvoy, 18, was walking near railway tracks when she was struck by a Union Pacific train, authorities said. A witness told Austin television station KTBC the train sounded its horn right up until the accident occurred.

Does anyone know anything about this? I mean, it's just, the hearing people may look at this and accept it without question, but just because she's Deaf doesn't mean she wouldn't feel the rumbling of the train, you know. And she just stood there? I can feel the subway going by from a block away. And you can feel the sound waves, see the animals back off... Maybe I'm in denial. I didn't know her, but this is terrible.

If there is more to this and nobody investigates, it will be a national tragedy. My heart goes out to the family and friends of this young Deaf woman. She was a Gallaudet student and member of the girl's basketball team in 2005. I believe she may have been a student at my alma mater, too.

But seriously - I hope there's a full investigation. She deserves at least that much.

Things have improved with the W. and I am very happy. Heart thudding in chest, etc. Now if I can just manage to find a really cheap house in the country... for getaways, you understand, I'm not leaving New York food permanently no matter what negative things my friend erfo says about it... big thanks to her and General Jen for being supportive babes.

In other news, Deaf people yet again lead the way to a new understanding of humanity:
Certain basic characteristics of grammar present in all languages are built into the workings of the human brain, US researchers have claimed.

By studying the gesture communication of deaf children who where never taught a conventional sign, spoken or written language, researchers at the University of Rochester found examples for some of the same rules of grammar every other language uses.

I had heard that most of the Nicaraguan Sign Language was ASL and they really picked it up from a travelling Deaf person and took off. Is this an urban myth of the Deaf community? Anyone who can comment on this feel free - I really wanna know!

Lucky; I wish I was in Bristol again:

NORTH West Vision (NWV) has given £70,000 of grants to a variety of projects in Cumbria, including a scheme for disabled and deaf film making talent.

The money has come from the Heritage, Access to Film and Audience Development programme. It will help screen films for audiences in rural communities and assist with rescuing and preserving moving images, as well as support Kendal’s international film festival.

Are there any film scholarships for Deaf people in the US? I don't think so - the biggest scholarship distributor I've heard of has to be the A.G. Bell association, which I feel weird about. Spot why?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Deaf Culture Sundays: Preaching to the Converted

The following was written in response to a diary by Melvin on DailyKos in which he talks about the disappearance of stars from an ever-more-electrical night sky... kind of turned from a comment into a deaf culture lightview... hope y'all like.

I'm more sensitive to light than most.

Perhaps all Deaf people are; we use light instead of sound for notification, and often our lives can revolve around light, from the first light of the morning which can be either the sun or our alarm clock (or, if we're lucky, the sun and alarm are the same thing;) to the lights which litter our days: the lights of our doorbells and fire alarms and videophones and iPods and Blackberries (which we had back when they were just Wyndtell pagers) and Sidekicks and Treos. Blue and white and green, they illuminate movie theaters as message storms glow and fade when we flock together to see limited showings of good films; some Deaf people complain about the impoliteness of people checking messages during a movie, and they're right: but when the movie starts it looks like a futuristic city underneath me, so part of me grins.

Deaf friends have said they like having the television going on in the background, a visual noise they can pay some attention to which guides the attention they can give.

We communicate by light, in the end. The original telephone was supposed to be a device to "cure" Deaf people; Alexander Bell's mother, a deaf woman, and his wife were his convenient experimental victims. The failure to examine their lives is a failure of Deaf feminism. In comparison the lives of Deaf children in the Paris school have been examined and the torture they underwent written of in the history "When the Mind Hears" by Harlan Lane - yet these two women, who've never been given voice in history, underwent the ministrations of a madman who later proposed the sterilization and isolation of all Deaf individuals and banned the use of sign language as a means of communication - no need to discuss it as an art! Our version came a hundred years later; with TDDs, invented by a Deaf physicist back in the 60's (NOTE TO GALLAUDET: PLEASE CHANGE NAME OF THIS FILE TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN POOO.html) we communicate over telephone lines by various beeps which our machines translate to show letters in green lights almost always dribbling left to right (or in some models, right to left; amazing the importance of these options, in this modern world.) We use the blinking of two small red lights, and their frequency, to ascertain whether the phone is ringing when we call and if the battery is going to conk out just before we give the relay interpreter (who can't seem to understand the concept of chinese food and keeps asking ME, hello, I'm Deaf, how to pronounce General Tso's Chicken) the last bit of our address.

We often startle easily because, although there are plenty of exceptions to this, many Deaf people become quite sensitive to vibration and position and the motion of light. Deaf artists were Leonardo da Vinci's teachers; Deaf mimes were in Chaplin's films and society and I believe he even prized the company a Deaf woman who worked for his family as cook.

Not that her life shouldn't have as much light on it as anyone else's. And he left her, didn't he, when he went to Switzerland, the victim of a cruel McCarthyism.

People like to assume Deaf people can't talk at night, we who use the language of vision and light. Indeed in England, with its clouds of star-defeating London soup, the Deaf became known as the "lamppost people" for quite a long time, since Deaf people of that age and place would circle these circles of light and use British Sign Language to each other (or perhaps what's known as Gay Sign Variant.) But until recently with the invention of this "moon" and these "stars" we signed thick trails of moonlight in the dark, and life was a little more romantic for us, in our own way. The city lights are pretty, don't get me wrong. But electricity has its own color, and it can't stand not being the center of attention. Sometimes the stars in someone's eyes give light enough.

Note: I wrote the Granville Redmond biography up there today, with help from various sources. It's barebones but trying to do more deaf individuals' biographies. Here's a couple paintings by Granville:

That's the Matin d'Hiver which was accepted at the Paris Salon and currently resides at the California School for the Deaf.

That's another painting of Redmond's entitled Flowers Under the Oaks.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

saturday morning news and OJ roundup

What? Tropicana's healthier than caffeine....

First, something disgusting:

Click on the picture to see the article, then come back here - This poor woman has fought for a long time to become a teacher. And this is what these redneck, provincial bastards told her:
Snyder ordered Burns to enroll in a speech therapy course, and then present a lesson plan by August 2005 to a council of education professors who would decide if she "was able to enunciate well enough to be a teacher," the suit states. If she failed the presentation test, she would be switched to a noncertified degree track.

Folks, this is more than unfair. This is just monstrously discriminative. I wonder if any Deaf advocacy groups are on this case? I realize she's probably hard-of-hearing, not deaf or culturally Deaf, but this is the kind of case which would legally affect Deaf people everywhere if it goes against her. Can you imagine being told you can't teach unless you can speak to someone else's standards? It's a really bad precedent, legally, and could eventually be used to get rid of Deaf people teaching ASL in hearing schools, too.
Plus, the truth is, I don't even think this is really about her deafness: I think this is a power play. All they have to do is create more and more hurdles for her. They don't even have to see her performance in the classroom. It's like the old days when women were forced to do impossible tasks if they wanted jobs.
Something more positive:

This is from Ireland and shows that people are waking up.
There's some other news stories out there - most seem related to a cut in funding for National Theatre of the Deaf I heard about last year. Anyone know about that?
And now something pretty: me. Of course. Grin! New picture of me as a Guido:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tuesday Morning Coffee and Kos

Lovely Bavarian Blend today.

Posted a diary about gay marriage at Daily Kos. Check it out - curious what you think! I'm planning another diary to tie this issue into the greater issues facing all people - disabled, women, minorities; this is sort of a stage one.

blogwhored: Pam's House Blend, with coffee goddess Pam, helped critique the above diary and has now chosen to suggest my writing for reading with daily brew... thanks Pam!

Friday, March 03, 2006

this is just so cool

From P Z Myers' Pharyngula, a great scienceblog:
Spiders can get a bit kinky, too. This species, Xysticus cristatus, has a solution to the problem of hungry ladies: they practice Japanese rope bondage. The male has wrapped the female in webbing to keep her under control while he dives under her belly to do the deed.

Pictures behind the link - go! And for when you come back:
Deaf Kama Sutra #33: the Grasping Spider:

When the Deaf lover wishes to awaken his sleeping partner, he forms his hands into spiders, gently tickling his partner's body, all the while unfolding himself around that body like webbing until finally, like two spider-lovers, clasped his hands each around his lover's...

deaf in the city: not much pity edition

Today's No-Pity brings us Mark Gravolin. I had to laugh out loud at the title of this article from Australia: Mr. Gravolin has to make a deaf-defying run!
First, deaf-defying? I'm imagining him running down the street middle finger extended. Second, ears, legs, running, what's he defying here? Maybe his balance was affected too.

Still, he's working with Deaf Access Victoria, so regardless of how he's painted, he must be a bit more than deaf-defying.

One more: Australia... go read this GORY article about deaf children waiting for cochlear implants. Folks, it's a prime example of how parents get hoodwinked by greedy doctors. There's great reasons to get cochlear implants for some people - but not all. See the below:
Robyn King, mother of 1 year old James, diagnosed 2 days after birth, described her plight in being unable to communicate with James and the year-long delay before his scheduled CI operation in July.

Robyn said "we went to the supermarket yesterday and all he did was squeal the whole time; we're walking around the supermarket, a real high pitched squeal, and that's all he does and everyone just turns around and looks at you. There's no vocal speech there at all, they say he can't even hear himself screaming."

James is almost one year old. He has no language development whatsoever. This is a tragic missed opportunity. If the medical profession had given Robyn and James access to New Zealand Sign Language, Robyn and James would be able to communicate with one another while they are waiting for their CI operation.

The deaf child needs access to language at the earliest possible opportunity. Sign language can be taught to the deaf child before oral language. International studies have demonstrated that babies who learnt sign language before learning to speak show a 12-point difference in their IQ to babies who did not learn sign language.[2]

It is currently fashionable to teach hearing babies to sign, but to deny deaf babies any language development until they are fitted with CI.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

snowing by the bricks on a city evening

Wikipedia has claimed my soul.

I put my hands on my computer and slip into the random article link with a feeling of great relaxation.

Neal Stephenson wrote in his novel The Diamond Age of a great computer, artificially intelligent, shaped into the form of a book called the Primer in which was contained all knowledge that could be accessed when ready. Diane Duane's Young Wizards series contains books - and laptops - with much the same thing, written in a Speech which all living beings can understand.

I've found my Primer. It's sooo cool. And I've already contributed to some entries - here, for example. More to come! Fun fun...

Thursday Noon: healthy lunch and ponder edition

Talked with defBef lately about the implications of this quote, from Joanna Russ' book "What Are We Fighting For?" In this quote Russ talks about the difference in body language between various groups of people:
When White women's tilted heads mean (to the women) something like "I am listening to you seriously, taking the whole conversation seriously, and my answer will be thoughtful and serious" while to White men the same posture means something like I am deferring to you/I am insecure/I am not an authority, there will be trouble. When White Northwest Pacific people keep in touch by what are (I assume) to them companionable silences, while Eastern European Jewish Americans (like me), who keep in touch verbally, interpret silences as social catastrophes that must be filled by talk (or a plea of shy people to please, please not let anyone hear how socially inadequate they are), the latter will desperately keep on talking, never having received the signals to stop that they recognize, i.e., repeated interruptions, and the former, never having received the signals to begin talking, which is silence of a certain duration (I still can't tell how long the silence is supposed to last and I lived there for years), will dazedly wonder how to shut the intruder up.

So you see how hearing people from all places around the globe each have their own "body language" patterns which are kind of prerequisites to communication.

Deaf people have these patterns too. With Deaf people you cannot get too close - we like to be able to see each other signing, which means the face and chest area, and we like to make sure we have room to communicate. I have seen people in hospitals try to speak to Deaf people by getting as close as possible to them and SHOUTING. By doing this they violate the Deaf person's sense of space, make them more irritable, and exacerbate what may already be a difficult situation for the Deaf person.

I've also noticed Deaf people use/avoid using eye contact to communicate whether they are in the mood to talk. A Deaf man with his head down or eyes averted is saying "I do not want to talk, leave me alone." A hearing person might not be using those cues, but might see the Deaf person's eye aversion as rude.

What rules do you see which are cultural and govern Deaf people's communication? I don't have a list, this is just some thoughts.

*update:* Just saw Oscar Ocuto's blog on DeafDC: does anyone think this particular issue has anything to do with Oscar's experience on the red line? Did the mis-matched body language and eye contact issue between Oscar and this guy affect how they were feeling?