Saturday, May 30, 2009


The old geezer surrounded by Javier, Alejandro and their Personal Assistants. In the background are partying students.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lawn Order

From today's NYT:

"On May 20, 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of "Freedom Riders" in Montgomery, Ala., prompting the federal government to send in United States marshals to restore order."

It's interesting that things were excessively "orderly" before the Freedom Rides started. The African-Americans "knew their place" and all was right with the honky world. 

I wonder if an ADAPT action could evoke such responses, either by the bigots, who are mostly non-violent in their opposition to accessibility for PWD, or by the enforcers of ADA who to date have done little except pay lip service to DRM issues?

When will the environment (and the Web for that matter) become fully accessible to everyone/everything/everywhere always?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Madrid, my love

On MY Plaza Mayor yesterday there were hundreds of stamp/coin displayers, presumably hawking their wares to the assembled philatelists/numismatists.

I don't practice (or even really understand) collection as one's favorite undertaking, but although I have no place for philately I revel in the appurtenances of philatelism - these folks share a real passion for finding a stamp missing from their collections and spend hours poring through well worn volumes of carefully catalogued bits of colored paper, many of which have already been used for postage.

There's just something that warms my heart about people who will dress up in traditional Madrid garb and march by the hundreds to my Plaza to commune with one another and let the world know "we are here".


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quality of Life/Death

Much is written about "quality of life", e.g. as a prerequisite for having available the myriad of life support systems and personal assistance we ALL require to survive.

Certain so-called ethicists assume responsibility for deciding which members of our multi-diverse species is allowed to be furnished these systems from the resources of the commons.

When we attend any gathering most of us need (or at least want) to have seating available.

Venues for conferences, dining, meetings of all sorts henceforth are assumed to have, as an inherent part of their equipage various forms of chairs/stools.

This is considered as a "right" - an entitlement for simply being human.

To those of us using wheel chairs, the furnishing of such items could well be thought of as "special accommodation" because, after all, we bring our own chairs - why should we be paying from the commons for millions of chairs used by those who don't bring their own?

Often we think of those with "crippling diseases" as pitiable objects without entitlements.

A diagnosis of polio instantly puts one into a world that is often feared ("if I couldn't run any more I'd rather be dead").

Then there's FDR who actually successfully hid the fact that he was almost always in a wheel chair else his "quality of life" would have been judged sub-par, but in fact he had one of the great "qualities of life" lives ever!

He also achieved a remarkable near-sainthood which is a "quality of death" even though he may not have gotten to experience that part.

Just like FDR, we are all "entitled" and being kept alive (as we all are by others) is a foremost entitltement.

The next time you hear someone complain about the enormous cost of keeping me alive (already hundreds of thousands of dollars just in the last few years), tell them how such efforts take almost none of the resources of our commons and it was better that "me and FDR" got "special accommodation".


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Three Generations

3 Generations
3 generations of "science"

Professor Pepe, innovator Vint and the Old Geezer at celebration honoring Vint's investiture with honorary doctorate.

As I globetrotted on Crusade MMIX, I looked like some kind of spirit-person floating about various venues, voicing optimism.

Trying to generate a "Council of Elders" is hard work, but somebody's got to do it.


Monday, May 4, 2009


One of the main frustrations I'm experiencing during travel planning is the inability to have access to the same data that I could get if I went, e.g. to the ticket window in Amsterdam's Central Station. I feel sure that if I walked up to the ticket help window and asked for the fare on a train from Amsterdam to Madrid, they could/would (?) simply look it up. But I can't do that on the Web. 

Instead I get a message advising me to buy a eurail pass.

This, coupled with the insane pricing structure under which I am forced to buy a round-trip ticket on the airline because it's about a third of the price of a one-way ticket has me questioning just how effective is our access to these systems.

It reminds me of a situation many years ago when the wholesale price of just about anything was a closely guarded secret - presumably for fear that if a retail customer knew what it was she would be very dissatisfied with the profit system.