Thursday, December 01, 2005

Disability Blogs Roundup, #5

Fa-la-la-la-la... 'Tis the season for a disability blogs roundup. And disability bloggers have some great ideas about gifts and travel, but I'll start with Lady Bracknell's sharp take on "special" advice for disabled shoppers. Gimpy Mumpy is FULL of "gimp gear" gift suggestions lately, like a lightweight red fire extinguisher, the Bust Pillow, the Notepaper Roll Holder, and the totally excellent Shopping-Bag Caddy. But she also has a warning for store personnel in this busy season: Don't hand me anything when I enter your store. Teri Adams at Crip Chronicles just went to an equipment expo, and came back with stories of exploitation--so caveat emptor. As an alternative, Ziggi suggests some handmade, low-tech solutions--if you're handy with a sewing machine, powertools, or duct tape.

Traveling this holiday break? Angry Gimp recommends Matching Houses, a service that facilitates vacation house swaps with accessibility as a priority. Darren Hillock cites a newspaper story that says the airlines have a lot to learn in their handling of wheelchairs (and their owners). Someone who knows: I don't believe most of us can match the travel adventures of Windchime Walker in Beirut, but she's been generous enough to write a lot of blog entries about it (with pictures and powerpoint slideshows, too). "I was in the WC when the announcement came through that we were returning for security reasons--there was an electric wheelchair on board that had not been properly gone over by security. I knew it must be mine. And it was." It's not just chair users who encounter strangeness at the airports; Gimpy Mumpy passes along the warning, "If you have an artificial leg, be prepared for it to be X-rayed separately." (And speaking of inspecting prosthetic legs....) Maybe that's another reason Maz is taking a cruise instead? If you're planning a trip to Chile, Scott Rains suggests the new wheelchair-accessible, multisensory, Braille-labeled nature trail at Lago Penuelas National Park. And don't forget to tip well in your travels.

It couldn't happen today...or could it? Several blogs have caught the story of troubling loopholes in the proposed new EPA guidelines for testing pesticides. Maybe tomorrow: Evan Brustein at Beyond the Ramp wonders, what will happen to high-level competition rules and records when top athletes with prostheses can outperform top able-bodied athletes? (I grew up in a sport--drag racing--where technology was always visibly integrated into, even central to, the competition--maybe that's a model to consider.) Still on the near-future, Mary Johnson applauds the NYTimes story titled The Problem with an Almost-Perfect Genetic World. Ending this glimpse of the near-future on a bright note, Ziggi at Wheelchair Diffusion has assembled some great photos of kids in chairs, playing sports.

Language stuff, as usual: The Ouch! blog reports on a British poll that looks at offensive terms used on television (not for the squeamish, they say). "Crip" isn't "cripple," Mary Johnson explains, but it's still a complicated term, depending on who's using it and to whom they're referring. In a related matter, Shawn at Along the Spectrum had a nice series of entries in November called "Full Disclosure"--bottom line being, in the case of autism, "There’s a lot to gain from full disclosure and anything else has potential for harm."

News from the North Pole--well, or that direction, anyway--the CBC's website has a monthly column called "Disability Matters," with three disabled writers contributing thoughtful essays--check it out. The most recent entry is Helena Katz's commentary on discrimination against blind job applicants. And Marvin of the Laurent Company had a fine trip to Finland in November.

Finally, stocking stuffers from the world of books, music, and movies: David Faucheux recommends The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon; Michael and Jamie Berube liked the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Check out Blogging Bookworms for a rich and varied array of disability-conscious book discussions, including recent entries about Thurber's My Life and Hard Times, William Horwood's Skallagrigg, and H. G. Wells' The Country of the Blind. A South Park DVD is perfect for the Timmy fan in your life (and there are a surprising number of us, it turns out). Angry Gimp is listening to Sigur Ros. And if you get an mp3 player for a gift this season, check out the Blobcast, where David N. Wallace is doing disability commentary as a podcast (the highlight is his mash-up of tech podcaster Cameron Reilly's "rant" with "Winter in Melbourne," on Blobcast #3). Gimpy Mumpy suggests Child's Play as a cool donation opportunity in this season of giving--and if you've spent much time hanging around a children's hospital, you'll see her point.

Happy New Year! Next disability blogs roundup will post in early January 2006. Tips are always welcome, just drop me a note in the comments or at my email address.


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