What If You Couldn’t Read This?

Let’s use our imaginations and enter into another dimension, shall we? Upon entrance to this otherworldly dimension, your sense of vision has dulled, been reduced or most likely, has disappeared. After an initial period of severe disorientation (both physical and mental), you begin to realize that survival and accomplishment are a possibility. You lean and depend more heavily on tactile methods of communication and learning. And—because you can still hear, your auditory senses have become a key component to your advancement. There are tools available in this universe that can link you to a wider scope, a means to vanquish, if you will, your chief disability. YES—even in this shadowy dimension of light and dark and blurred image, a type of ‘sight’ can be achieved!


 There’s just one little thing—one detail—one infinitesimal flaw that stands between you and enlightenment. None of the tools work—together. It’s like using traditional tools with metric components; awkward and clumsy. It’s like finding a flathead screwdriver small enough to work with a Phillips-head screw. You get the idea. The technology leads to a point of frustration because it’s just not finished.

Now let’s awake to a very real, current time dimension—Earth today! Millions of blind/vision impaired people around the world function at astounding levels in spite of their challenges. And much technology has been developed and even laws passed to assist in enhancing quality of life. But, there’s just one little thing…

Audio description* is available on many network television shows as well as many current (and upcoming) feature films, but nobody talks about it except maybe those who are directly involved. Why? Because it’s just not finished! Can any vision impaired person readily pick up a remote and dial up his favorite program complete with description? Not unless he’s been trained by a sighted person. What about the interactive audio screen provided by cable/satellite providers instructing how to use said remote if you are vision impaired? I haven’t seen that one, either. Even though mandated by federal law, has the FCC implemented a universal operations code by which accessible media could truly be accessible—something like a simple unified dial-in code (not unlike 911), where useful information can be dispensed clearly and universally? Something that can assist those in New York as well as Compton and Oahu? Uhhh—not yet.

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The dimensions have collided ( as Rod Serling might say)—your imaginary dimension of frustration borne from a small, yet extremely important missing concept and the very real daily frustrations of those who are constantly called ‘inspirational’ for just wanting to function like you do.

I’m reminded of a question some used to ask at the start of the civil rights movement.

“What do those people want?”

The answer? The right tool for the job. They want it finished.



*audio description: Audio Description involves the accessibility of the visual images of theater, television, movies, and other art forms for people who are blind, have low vision, or who are otherwise visually impaired.  It is a narration service (provided at no additional charge to the patron) that attempts to describe what the sighted person takes for granted — those images that a person who is blind or visually impaired formerly could only experience through the whispered asides from a sighted companion.


In Defense Of The ‘Toon!

…It’s time, Planet Earth. Time to stop the madness. It’s time to start the healing by having this much needed discussion. We can’t wait any longer. We need to talk about–cartoons.


In an effort to help humor-challenged adults and young folks who take this social media thing waaaay too far, here are a few basic questions and answers that will help you in your future cartoon viewing. What? You don’t  watch cartoons?? Somehow, you have found a spot in the universe where you are untouched by animated humor? You poor thing, you. There is hope for humanity and humor can still be found in the animated adventures of chickens, pigs, rabbits, wolves, cats, mice, dogs, and people.


Q: What Is A Cartoon?

I guess I could get all clinical and encyclopedic, but for now a good description of a cartoon is: an animated drawing(s) (moving picture, if you will)  that tells a story–sometimes humorously and sometimes with the aid of a voice actor(s) who gives vocal life and personality to the characters.

Q: Are They All Funny?

Some cartoons seek to educate and inform and use humor to do it. Other animated productions shy away from humor altogether to make sure the message isn’t lost. And then there is the hammer upside the head variety where the only message is “Look how funny this dude looks after we drop an anvil on his toe.”

Q: Which Cartoons Are The Best?

It is strictly a matter of taste. Some people absolutely LOATHE violence of any kind, animated or otherwise. Others can’t stop laughing because one character keeps finding new and clever ways to blow up the other character. IMHO–it’s a cartoon, so stupid and absurd are the orders of the day.

There are some characters and characterizations that I like to refer to as ‘live action cartoons’. These are non-animated shorts or features that are outrageously funny (because of dialogue, action or so-bad-their-good special effects) and very well could have been animated.  Not many of these exist today (except on DVD)–times do change. But they are just as funny now as they were 60 years ago and can be mixed right in with the animated stuff. The ‘Our Gang-Little Rascals’ comedies; The Three Stooges; almost anything with a Muppet in it.


For those of you who don’t know where to start in your animation odyssey, you can choose any one of several ways to link up to the lunacy:

Historically–you, Wikipedia and lots of snacks; By studio–Warner Bros, Paramount, MGM, Disney; By Character–Rocky & Bullwinkle, Bus Bunny, Sponge Bob; By Voice Actor–June Foray, Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, Jim Cummins.

I hope this little talk has helped some and enlightened others. Loose the chains, my friends. Seek for stupid humor and you shall find it. Go forth and embrace your inner Acme!