Tag Archives: Fairness

Hey! Wise Advice for My Butthead Neighbour

I am so irritated I could spit. I wish I was the kinda gal who could chill when people are behaving like total a-holes. It’s one thing if smokers want to kill themselves, go around smelling like ashtrays, become a burden on the health care system which our tax dollars are paying for, make their children sick, loose productivity at work because they are outside caging a smoke…wait, that’s more than one thing…the point is, I only believe minimally in smokers rights, because when their addiction impacts ME and invades my personal space, I have to draw the line! The butthead who recently moved in next door (anorexic-looking twit with a 8-4 job, a stupid boyfriend who makes her squeak when they’re having sex, and a cat that I feel VERY sorry for), might be very quiet tenant (except maybe for all the knocking on her door by people using a ‘secret code’ on the door seven thousand times a night, golly gee, is she selling drugs too?!), but it turns out the common wall we share, transmits her cigarette smoke. Great. I pay an obscene amount of rent money for my haven, my oasis, my mecca of personal space…and I am forced to suck up the result of HER addiction. Hey Butthead! Capital District Health Authority is giving FREE smoking cessation aids if you join their program. Com’n babe. You can do it! Quit killing yourself and that stupid cat of yours, and most of all, stop irritating ME...and then maybe I won’t be so inclined to use all of the 200 watts of speaker power (‘Van Morrison Live’ tonight) to blast out my frustration. The fact that my window must be open during a wacky March blizzard, just so that I don’t croak, seems a little silly. Sigh. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so touchy about the smoking thing tonight, but this morning, I walked by a Metro Transit bus shelter (ironically, it was outside the hospital), and a bunch of QEII hospital employees were using it as a smoking hut. Very nice. Where are you HRM by law enforcement officers?! You guys just blew a $350.00 fine TIMES at least three or four buttheads! If you added up all the potential butthead infractions and collected the fines, maybe we could afford to run this city efficiently. OK, Now I need to put on some music again…let’s see…I really like that John Mayer CD…

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Suspicious Minds

You know that the world’s going to Hades in a hand basket when a sad story, such as the one broadcast all over mainstream media today, leaves people feeling so mixed up. Or is it just me? A woman in Nova Scotia drowned a couple of kittens last summer and got fined $5.00 for it in court today. Yeah, yeah…this initial ‘teaser’ lead bit on the radio leaves you thinking…”You crazy, sadistic b..tch! They should drown YOU”. Then, you hear the sad flip-side of the story; she fed a stray cat, fed it some more (The Cat Came Back is the song that comes to mind- Harry S. Miller 1893), and bing, bang…she’s got one cat+2 kittens… She’s poor, can’t get help from her town’s officials, and decides to euthanize the kitties in a bucket. Groan. Of course, Suspicious Minds (written by Memphis songwriter, Mark James and the last #1 hit for Elvis Presley in 1969- his last) like mine ask, ‘What cat has only two kittens’!? Maybe she lied about THAT too…and actually drowned a litter of 14. Not that it matters much, they’re all dead, regardless. But NOW, the SPCA is crying foul. They want “BIG FINES AND JAIL TIME”! said their head mouthpiece with emotion. My question? Where were you guys when this nutty, albeit well intentioned stray-cat-feeding woman was busy phoning around, trying to find someone to off the felines? Sure, “dangerous precedents are being set”, yada, yada, but NOW you’re worried that everyone is going to think it’s OK to euthanize Fluffo ’cause it’ll only cost five bucks instead of the usual $179.00 at the vet? Sigh. Then, the legal beagle for this woman (gotta be legal aid lawyer) said a bunch of really stupid things (he compared his client’s action against that of the person “who hanged that dog in Point Pleasant Park” …I can do without hearing that sort of thing). It did not endear me to the situation or to this woman…still…she’s poor…she loves the animals…a regular Doctor Doolittle ….who simply done too much. “We’re caught in a trap….”

Voting Day Blues

I have been very hyped about this election. Why?  I have chomped at the bit in anticipation of dramatically and meaningfully casting my inaccessible ballot at the polling station. Let me remind you about the core elements of a democratic vote; secret, independent and verifiable. I have gone on and on, to EVERYONE who will listen and to some who won’t, about the importance of these elements, the sanctity of the electoral process, and how I am denied this right by virtue of inaction on the part of Elections Canada. I am blind, as are hundreds of thousands of other voters. We do not have electronic voting in Canada. We do not have telephone voting. We do not have voting machines at the polls. We do not have Braille ballots. I thought that today I would be pumped and ready to let loose my schpeel at the Presbyterian church where I would be voting. I ran through my dialogue, my diatribe, my kvetching complaint, like a Shakespearean actor preparing for Stratford.

Here’s what really happened. I made it to the church, and found myself outside with a woman in a wheelchair attempting to open a monstrously large door (no automatic opener). I opened it for her, but it was not wide enough. A worker from the poll came and helped to open another door. I commented wryly about Elections Canada and their accessible voting sites. She commiserated. By this point, I had, for some reason, already lost my oomph.  Maybe it’s the time of year, or ‘my time of the month’.  Some one came over as Opal and I walked into the large church basement. The usual useless pointing and “over there” was followed by an arm-grab which I yanked away.  Someone else gave sensible directions to the table I needed.  My ID was requested and checked.  I did NOT give a long-winded lecture on the difficulty blind people have in meeting ID requirements, given that we don’t have driver’s license and many of us have no passport. Some of us choose not to have or use a charitable ID (CNIB) for reasons which are too numerous and complicated for this blog.  I provided my stunning photo ID cards which have a photo of Opal and me posing together (CGDB and the Attorney General of Ontario), but my Guide dog ID cards do not have my address on them, so I added a phone bill. I had considered bringing a Braille bill, but I did not want to be turned away. At this point, the DRO asked if I wanted a Braille template. My interest peaked, as I thought I had discussed this ad nauseum with Silvestre from elections Canada and had confirmed there would be no Braille on the ballot, and to expect the usual flaky template. Now I had no idea what they were offering me.  I asked (just to confuse them) if it was contracted or uncontracted Braille. The had no clue, so I let them off the hook and told them that I knew both, so it did’nt matter.  The DRO put the ballot into the ‘Braille template’ and then came the offer to “come into the voting area with you”. I said I would pass, given that I had this allegedly accessible Braille template in my hand.  Opal and I parked ourselves behind the privacy screen at a little table. I started to read the template. Numbers. Just numbers! I called out, “um, there’s no names here, just numbers”.  The old lady who had grabbed me when I came in, offered to read the names to me. I said that would not do. The DRO guy came over and offered to read them “as they appear in sequence. then you pick the braille number”, he said with full expectation that somehow this would be acceptable to me. I had PLANNED to make a big ‘to-do’, maybe proclaim myself the Rosa Parks of the voting blind, given that I am repeatedly told that blind people ‘have found this acceptable for years’. Instead, I told him “no thanks”, and ” if I can’t read it for myself”…( in a country where government material must be provided in alternate formats by law),  “I’ll have to  spoil my ballot”. He apologised (as everyone always does). I scrawled multiple X’s in allthe holes in my template and ballot and handed it to the old lady. She wisely did not attempt to go into the  insufferably patronizing routine of allowing me to put it in the box, but quickly disposed of it, stuffing it into the ballot box herself.   I walked out, declining someone’s eager offer for me to use the elevator, saying, “my legs are fine, we’ll use the stairs”. I left deflated.   I did not call the media, or my party delegate, or the PM (who doesn’t give a flying f…k anyway), or the queen, or Silvestre at Elections Canada (who I’m guessing was pretty busy today). Instead, I went for my routine blood work and called it a day. I wish I was one of those clever musicians, ’cause I’d be writing a tune tonight…’Voting Day Blues’.

STOP PRESS!!! Megan Leslie, newbie NDP canditate and personal acquaiantance declared winner of Halifax riding! Go get em in Ottawa, kid…and remember your roots…and your blind friends…

Big Al To The Rescue!!!!

Big Al  (AKA ‘Aluion’) is reportedly heading for Canada today. Upon learning about the plight of Blend (Blind) Canadians as they face an inaccessible voting non-machine on Tuesday, Big Al, a resident of Alabama,  boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Nova Scotia at 4 am this morning.  There was some confusion at the bus depot in Mobile, as Big Al dumped a 63- pound  sackful of Canadian coins onto the ticket agent’s counter to pay for his fare. Further disruption  occurred when bus terminal Security spotted him donning an outfit that included hockey equipment and pieces of a 17th century suit of armour.  He claimed that he needed to feel safe and to protect himself while riding the Greyhound, saying, “I can’t be losing my head on this trip”.

Wise Advice summoned Big Al to the Great White North, upon learning that his expertise might bolster the cause of the blind (blend) {See recent comments from Aluion} and lend support to her plan to ‘make a point’ when casting her ballot tomorrow. Big Al has been known to write clever comments and insults on doors in public spaces…in Braille. “He kinda scares me”, said Wise Advice of the southern guru, “Definitely a smart guy, but he must be crazy from listening to several synthesised speech voices on various computers simultaneously”. When asked about her plan to bring public  attention to the inaccessibility of the Canadian Election, WIse Advice said, “Look, I can’t do this alone. If Big Al can fake a Canadian accent, we’ll get him one of those spare ballots floating around to do whatever he chooses with”.

A Blog is a Blog is a Blog…

This is the 173 rd blog I have written. The bean (stats) counter on this page reveals that 13,479 + hits have occurred…and still counting  like Micky D’s keeps track ….”139,000,000,000,001 (bad burgers) served”. Traffic has been low for some blogs and through the roof for others. I am grateful for the interesting assortment of loyal readers and occasional visitors.  I know that some readers occasionally find my opinions harsh, my tone insolent, my satiric wit inappropriate….but I would say this in all seriousness…actually, I think it was Voltaire who said, ” I may not believe in what you say, but I will fight to my death for your right to say it”….

What I do NOT appreciate are misguided comments regarding the content of this blog.  Allow me to explain. It seems an individual is on the receiving end of reading (er, listening to someone read  TO them) SELECT blogs and  select ‘comments’ which I have written in response to  reader comments. That person is ‘disturbed’ by my words. My first thoughts are, (now get this straight ‘reader’/paraphrasing guy!!) you are not reading this yourself. Neither of us knows if you are getting an accurate rendition (verbatim and complete) of what I have written.  Reading is very subjective and interpretive.  Tone, inflection, reading speed, response to punctuation etc are all factors in the process that impact our perception of the text.  You, sadly have no control over that because someone else is reading to you and we don’t know how well they are doing that.  You have apparently not listened to someone read those numerous  blogs I wrote which I know you would find astoundingly interesting, informative, and sympathetic to the human condition.  Assuming that you are getting  an accurate reading of the controversial ones,   my second thought is, GET A GRIP!   Yes, I do have strong opinions about many things…the CNIB for example. That is my right. I have not slandered them. They do a fine job of screwing themselves up.  As for the mayor and my comment about “short guy with a whiny voice”? I talked to him last night. We kibutzed and laughed. He’s OK with me and my blog. He also is grateful that I work so hard for his city without payment…and he IS short and does have a whiny voice. it seems you are the one with a problem. The problem? You are in that horrible, dependant situation of passively receiving bits of my blog via a  third party  because you can not access it independently. Frankly, I think THAT  is more of an issue than the contents of this blog. That aside, I would say that the essence of any communication and voicing of opinion,  lends itself to a contrary or different opinion on the topic by anyone and everyone who hears or reads it.  The minute we open our mouths in the morning and begin saying stuff … ” I don’t like big cities, or Republicans, or Liberals, or the taste of chicken, or the movie last night”, someone else is going to have another opinion. That’s life. You would have enjoyed the blogs I wrote that support your like-minded position….on gay rights, homophobia (see ‘God loves Everyone’)  tips on independent living, fairness to animals and more. Trouble is, nobody’s reading those to you. Hmm. Maybe you should get over to that charitable organization you feel I trash too much and see if they will find you some computer gear so that you can check my blog yourself. If you do not wish to do so, (or they won’t/can’t give you what you need–a more likely scenario), then realize that I usually voice my opinion and temper it by adding something to the effect that others may not share it.  While I may talk ABOUT  the organizations or groups that I am involved with, I do not speak FOR them.  It seems that your ‘reader’ is doing you a selective disservice. I can not write something that will interest or please every reader all of the time, or even half of them. What I do know is, that many people including: guide dog handlers and  puppy-raisers, animal lovers, a jeweler in Australia, an urban planner in the UK, guide dog trainers, a blind guy who applauded my blog on who is suited to having a guide dog,  several authors,  Unitarians, environmentalists, a micro publisher in California, a gay guy somewhere in the world,  a woman in Italy who has a blind friend, a budding film maker, a vacuum cleaner rep, many people who want their bus stops announced, friends, a centre for the blind in the Eastern USA, a small initiative to publish audio books in Africa….all of these people and many more have found something useful in my writing. Others? Some are not happy, but they tend not to comment directly on the blog or to me very much….they just bitch behind my back. The wonderful thing about freedom of speech and the information age, is how the inter-connectedness of the world becomes so evident. This is the end of this discussion my friend…unless your selective ‘reader’ does not pass THIS blog on too.

Opal Goes to a Luncheon at City Hall

Mum says we’re going to a boring luncheon at city hall today. I don’t get it. I LOVE luncheons, especially at city hall where there is always lots of food, even though mum says the food is overpriced plastic crap payed for at the taxpayers expense.  She says we have to go so we can bug the mayor and some city councillors while the going is good…something about a municipal election coming up and they’re falling all over themselves trying to get some votes.  They don’t usually hold this event until springtime, but the mayor (you know, the little guy with a whiny voice?) wants to score political points NOW.  She says we must shmooze with them…work the room before they know what’s hit them.  I don’t get it. Why would HRM council not want to do the right thing in the first place?   She says they could  build me a service dog run (yeah!!!) and improve transit (maybe pay for a voice enunciator on buses to announce stops), and hire some bylaw enforcement officers, and FIRE some dead-weight HRM staff whose salaries suck up the city’s budget which could be better applied elsewhere, and get some funding to provide recreational programs for kids with disabilities, and spend more money on removing physical barriers instead of making ridiculous expenditures like the Chebucto road widening project which destroyed property and trees to allow a few more gas-guzzling SUV’s to squeeze into town, and make the public library services more equitable for the blind who don’t care to use the ‘charitable’ library, and find some balls ( not the kind I like) so they stop caving to the interests of developers who are destroying the city with condo and commercial development in all the wrong places, and….why don’t they just listen to mum in the first place? I think SHE should run for council in the next election. I’d love to run around my new service dog run.

CNIB AGM and ‘Community Meetings’…be there and be heard

The CNIB is having their Annual General Meeting in Toronto on September 27 th, at least that’s what I was told. I could not confirm this on their website…guess they don’t want anyone to know.  The local Nova Scotia/PEI Division is having its ACM (“Annual Community Meeting”) on Wednesday, September 24th. A community meeting is the spin that the local deadheads have put on an AGM which does not present an annual financial report. I can’t seem to get any accurate accounting for what this organization does with its money…er, that would be the money they suck out of innocent people who donate to their financial campaigns…like the horribly tasteless and demeaning e-mail campaign which caused such an uproar recently. No matter.  I have resigned myself to the fact that accountability, consultation  and transparency are not words in the CNIB vocabulary or philosophy. Imagine my delight when the local whiz kid who just won the NDP nomination in Halifax (Megan Leslie) invited me to attend this community meeting with her. I guess she needs an entourage in the guise of a friendly blind friend who can create a potentially good reason to leave (“Opal has a play date in Chicago! Let’s go, Megan!”).  It will be fun, I’m sure to go to this thing and have a sensible ally. The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians was calling for a cross-Canada series of protests at the CNIB offices on the day that CNIB has their AGM (September 27th, I think). Why? Let me count the ways CNIB merits a slap on the wrists;

1- They must be publicly accountable for the tasteless and demeaning e-mail campaign which was the icing on the nutty CNIB cupcake for many blind people this year.

2- The CNIB plans to change their constitution to allow for a sighted CEO/president. I guess little Jim Sanders is going to be going quietly into that good night. I think there must be a stipulation about employing a percentage of staff within CNIB who are blind.

3- The CNIB services across the country have taken a gigantic nosedive.

4- The current philosophy  of this merry band is a little skewed for many of us (not client centered, not service centered, not democratic), and

5- The monopolistic status of this organization that purports to speak on behalf of the blind.

So, if you are remotely interested in the rights of the blind, the nasty decline of services that the CNIB has taken, or the REALLY BAD IDEA of having a non-client as president of the CNIB (or at least a quota that ensures blind staff, and if you are tired about the dismal road that CNIB is travelling,  then get to a CNIB near you and voice your thoughts on it. Call the media! Call you friends and family and ask for their support in protesting on September 27th in Toronto, or at the numerous protests across Canada at CNIB offices planned that day…or you might go to a fake AGM, like the one here in Halifax which they are calling an Annual Community Meeting.