One of Our Chairs is Missing!

English: Lightning over St-Laurent River by a ...

English: Lightning over St-Laurent River by a stormy night in Quebec. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a dark and stormy night, you’re car’s stopped working and the storm is too severe to even consider walking. What do you do?

For most it is a simple call with their cellphone and help is on it’s way.

There is a certain arm of society that face something like that even on warm Spring days. Consider life in a wheelchair.

English: Controller of electric-powered wheelc...

English: Controller of electric-powered wheelchair Belize. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wheelchairs are intended to be very dependable. Perhaps that explains why a manual wheelchair can cost more than a decent bicycle. However there is more to go wrong in an electric wheelchair. It can be merely an inconvenience for someone in a care facility of some sort, so long as there’s always someone attending.

However the people I know that are in electric “chairs” are not homebodies. They want to get out in the world and that can mean travelling blocks or even miles from home to go shopping, sightseeing, to medical appointments, to visit friends, etc.

English: Wheelchair brake (scissors)

English: Wheelchair brake (scissors) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While some might be able to crawl to someone’s doorstep and ask for health, there are others that do not even have that option. It’s not like they have the option to get out and check the battery cables.

That’s where a cellphone would really come in handy. I’m sure a call or two would bring help if your chair were to fail you and stop operating.

Picture of a Cell Phone

Picture of a Cell Phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know that in many areas, people that are “at risk” or unable to afford one can get a phone with very modest service for emergency calls. Something like that could help many folks who use chairs. But there are also many in chairs that would have problems operating a typical cellphone or smart phone.

I believe there are specialty cellphones with a limited keyboard. I recall one for children that didn’t have a regular numeric keypad, but instead had 6 buttons. Each button was preprogrammed with 6 phone numbers. Perhaps it might be very limiting to have a cellphone that could only dial a half-dozen number — but if you have only one hand you can use and it has only limited function — such a phone could be a godsend.

There are also cellphones with large buttons and basic functions intended for seniors. Not all seniors need them, by any means, but they can be helpful for many.

I believe that some sort of allowance should be made so that those folks requiring an electric wheelchair to function should have a cellphone they can operate for emergency purposes.

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Built-in GPS might be useful, but folks that already have limited privacy might not want there to be a GPS device that could always track them down.

I think we have solutions and some don’t even require any/much special equipment.

While they are at it they can make sure that the chairs have some place to support and hold a cellphone/GPS device so a person could still use it if they had limited dexterity.



That’s Sweet

I don’t really have anything against aspartame. Mind you, if I had children, I probably wouldn’t allow them to drink diet soft-drinks with, or without aspartame unless they were diabetic, and even then in moderation. I’d also want my children to only drink soft-drinks in moderation in any case. (That goes for any artificially sweetened food, even foods sweetened with Stevia or agave syrup.)

English: Diet Coke Products

English: Diet Coke Products (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think “moderation” goes a long way to promoting a healthy life.

However I am one of those small percentage that has a severe reaction to aspartame. It causes a magnitude of increase in my depression to start with, that lasts for days after I have even a half serving of diet pop. It also causes severe headaches that last a day or so as well. More disturbingly, it causes me to get chest pains and for a short while after I would drink a diet pop, causes me to act slightly intoxicated.

Space-filling model of the aspartame molecule,...

Space-filling model of the aspartame molecule, an artificial sweetener. This image shows the zwitterionic form. Colour code (click to show) : Black: Carbon, C : White: Hydrogen, H : Red: Oxygen, O : Blue: Nitrogen, N (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I stopped using the aspartame sweetened products for perhaps 10 years and then when I had chewed on some aspartame sweetened gum, discovered a slightly scarier effect, it caused me to start getting confused.

I would actually be confused as to where I was! That was with just a single piece of chewing gum.

Early on when I first stopped using products with aspartame in them, I discovered that if I were to have unknowingly have a product with aspartame in it, that I would get the effects whether I knew I had aspartame or not. (It was a fruit punch at a public gallery display where someone decided to use diet ginger-ale instead of regular. I couldn’t taste the aspartame sort of berry flavour with the other components of the punch.)

English: Pepsi Cola and Diet Pepsi soda delivery

English: Pepsi Cola and Diet Pepsi soda delivery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, I don’t think most people get such an effect, or at least anywhere near the strength of the effect I get from it.

I was saddened by all the major soft-drinks switching to aspartame as I had found that a cola would really decrease the severity, duration, and frequency of my migraines. Neither coffee nor tea seem to give that positive effect to me. I am not sure why colas are a boon to me in that way.

Unfortunately it isn’t a matter of wanting to lose weight that had me stop drinking sodas. I also was diagnosed with diabetes. :-/ A double whammy so-to-speak. Even being diabetic, an actual regular cola, sweetened with sugar, was better for me than the aspartame sweetened one.

Caffeine-Free Pepsi

Caffeine-Free Pepsi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I didn’t have the reaction, I wouldn’t shun products with aspartame in them. I’m not really against aspartame like some people I know. Though I still think it is a bad idea to use diet products unless you have a medical reason for it.

Now, I hear that some relief might be coming… eventually. Pepsi announced yesterday that they were removing aspartame from there diet Pepsi products! As far as I know that is: Diet Pepsi, Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi. Pepsi is going to be starting to use sucralose and acesulfame potassium sweeteners as of August… in the USA, that is.

Pepsi Plans to Ditch Aspartame (NBCNews); Diet Pepsi to ditch the aspartame (USA Today); Diet Pepsi drops controversial sweetener aspartame after customer concerns about safety (Mail online).

A picture of a Pepsi-truck in Norway

A picture of a Pepsi-truck in Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wished that PepsiCo Canada would do the same thing. It might actually cause this Coke drinker to switch to Pepsi! I can only dream of the relief I would get from my migraines. I figure they’ll change eventually and that Coke might actually follow suit.

In the meantime, I can only have sweet dreams.

Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 3 of 3

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I actually think that we have had a pretty good medical system in Canada. But I think that although the expertise is here, and we have universal access, there are ways where things could be improved.

Have a look at “Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 1 of 3” and Part 2 of 3 if you missed it!

Doctors have many skills and tools for treating those who are suffering from assorted ailments: There medications for all sorts of things, surgical procedures, physical therapy, and so on. There is coverage for these treatments and the diagnostics required… except one area of the human body…

Dental hygienist polishing a patient's teeth

Dental hygienist polishing a patient’s teeth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health care, it seems, ends at the gums,

For reasons I don’t understand teeth and gums are included as part of the human body when it comes to medical coverage. It is possible to purchase additional coverage that would include dentistry. (Optometry can also be covered if you buy the extended coverage. Many companies include this extended coverage as well as paying the basic premiums. However for a large part of the population, dental care charges come out-of-pocket.

Dental care isn’t a matter strictly of cosmetic worth. People need their teeth to chew food with. Infections of teeth can spread to the jaws and other parts of the body. Bad teeth can even be a source of clots that can cause strokes, heart attacks, and pulmonary embolism among other results of thrombosis, or blood clots.

US Navy 050326-N-8629M-012 Dental Technician 2...

US Navy 050326-N-8629M-012 Dental Technician 2nd Class Adrian Murphy, left, assists Lt. Joyce Yang, as she extracts teeth with severe tooth decay at the Kalabahi Hospital in Alor, Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think that dental care would be preventative medicine when it comes to dangers of infection and blood clots. Dental care can be a life saver!

At least here in BC if cancer is detected in the mouth, some procedures are considered dental and not covered.

I think it is sad when people lose teeth due to a lack of dental care, even if they practice good oral hygiene.

Why does medical coverage end at the gums?

US Navy 030502-N-4055P-001 Cmdr. Jerry Torres,...

US Navy 030502-N-4055P-001 Cmdr. Jerry Torres, a dentist attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), injects a patient with anesthetic before repairing a tooth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t think there are very many people who “like” to go to the dentist, but the alternative is rather painful and can be severe health consequences.

We have good universal medical coverage here in Canada, but there are a few holes in it like overtaxed hospitals, a lack of universal pharmaceutical coverage, and a lack of universal dental coverage. There are other leaks in the medical dam as well.

Consider how difficult it is for smaller towns to attract medical professionals, or for many to find a family physician. (a general practitioner) Or, consider what devices like glasses and hearing aides (and their expensive batteries) cost out-of-pocket.

We have it so good in some ways, but there is much room for improvement.

Our system isn’t too bad, but it does have some holes in it. I’ll write about some more holes in the near future.

Look for Part 1 and Part 2



What’s in a Name?

English: Simulation of dyslexic vision

English: Simulation of dyslexic vision (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many learning disorders, the one most talked about is Dyslexia… or as I would like to say, Lysdexia. (Gee, Google/Wikipedia recognize “lysdexia” and refer it to “dyslexia”!) But there are others and actually Dyslexia has a wider spectrum of symptoms than most might realize. Dyslexia is not just about scrambling letters or numbers so that “the” becomes “het” to the dyslexic’s observation. Or sometimes numbers or letters look backward. It doesn’t matter how careful the word is looked at, it comes out scrambled. It happens often enough to become an issue.

(ed. – Please note that this is not a clinical article about learning disorders so there are likely terms used improperly and similar other issues with it.)

Chalk Board

Chalk Board (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For some the disability doesn’t show often, but for others it is crippling toward their education and learning. It slows reading and can make handwriting torture. For some, the issues that come up with handwriting do not bother them if they are working on a keyboard. For others it is just about universal.

There are other sorts of disorders however that people can have that can hamper learning… and other aspects of life.

Consider having a problem with recalling names. Not just what most people have with forgetting a name that they know, but having problems learning that name in the first place. Names and numbers seem to become hazy mirages in the mind.

(ed. – perhaps this is an aspect of Dyslexia?)

English: A university classroom. (Jones Hall a...

English: A university classroom. (Jones Hall at Princeton University.) © 2005 Joseph Barillari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

History class can become a bit of a nightmare when you can’t remember the dates of events or the names of the people and places involved. It can be very frustrating trying to come up with the answers to history questions… “It was a battle that occurred in a place. But it was fundamental in the formation of a country…”

"they still have phone booths in ak"

“they still have phone booths in ak” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Addresses and phone numbers can become a bit of a maze as well. Forgetting the first half of a phone number before hearing the last half can really get irritating. Back in the days of pay phones, if you needed a number and there was no phone book, directory assistance could help locate the number for you, but if you had no paper or pen, and had that sort of problem with remembering numbers, you were lost. The operator couldn’t (wouldn’t?) dial the number for you, and by the time they told you the last 4 digits of the phone number you’d forget the first three digits.

English: Greensleeves Vinyl:War by Wailing Sou...

English: Greensleeves Vinyl:War by Wailing Souls & Rankin Trevor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having a problem with names and titles can really hamper looking up a song you enjoy. How can you find a song if you couldn’t remember the name of the artist, band, or song title? (Now with modern Internet search engines, you can type in just the part of the lyrics you recall and it can find or suggest the title/artist.) How often might you hear a song and want to look it up so you could purchase it yourself, but be at a loss as to how to locate it… it can even be difficult to realize what recording artists you like simply because you can never recall who sang what with which band.

Having pen and paper handy at all times is a solution, but then you still have to organize your notes so you can find what you are looking for.

…but it is most embarrassing to need months or years to actually learn a new friend’s name.

Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 2 of 3

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I actually think that we have had a pretty good medical system in Canada. But I think that although the expertise is here, and we have universal access, there are ways where things could be improved.

Have a look at “Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 1 of 3” if you missed it!

A large part of modern medicine is in the diagnosis of health problems. This might take place with a simple visit to your General Practitioner (GP) or in a walk-in-clinic. It might also involve lab work or probing procedures with or without a visit to a Specialist.


Ritalin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the diagnosis, you’ll go for treatment. That might mean surgery, physiotherapy, or other procedures, but more likely than not you’ll walk out of the Doctor’s office with a prescription for medication to be filled out by a pharmacist. (a druggist or chemist)

The problem is that once you walk out of the Doctor’s office — for most — it is like you aren’t covered for health care at all. Any medication you require has to be paid for by you and some prescriptions, necessary prescriptions, and for that matter over-the-counter medication or on the shelf ones come out of your pocket.

A bottle of brand coated tablets.A bottle of brand coated tablets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people are lucky and have Provincial medical coverage that covers most prescriptions, or you might have extended coverage through where you work. Others who are on a provincial or federal disability income, PWD (some places called “Benefit”), or on income assistance (most places also known as “welfare”) might have most of their prescription medication covered by the government’s medication plans. Some low-income folks like pensioners might have partial coverage — like paying up to a certain fixed figure and afterwards having the government pharmacy coverage kick in.

medication in gelcaps (gelatin capsules) Portu...

medication in gelcaps (gelatin capsules) Português: Diversos tipos de cápsulas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For most people, families with an income, they have to pay the full cost of the medication prescribed to them. For all, the cost of over-the-counter medication or products on the shelves comes out of whatever budget they might have, large or small.

What is the use of a diagnosis if you can’t afford the treatment?

For some, even the price of analgesics (pain killers) like Aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil (Acetic Acid, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen) can add up if you have something like chronic pain. Antihistamines and most “cold medicines” can also add up. Chronic allergies lead to a fairly hefty annual bill. English: National Naval Medical Center, Bethes...

English: National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., (Aug. 19, 2003) — Pharmacist Randal Heller, right, verifies the dosage and medication of a prescription at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Heller checks all prescriptions dispensed at the pharmacy before they are handed over the counter to the patient. Heller is retired as a Commander from the Navy Medical Service Corps. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Seth Rossman. (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Preventative treatment also doesn’t seem to count for coverage. Things like vitamins. First-Aide supplies and various supports and braces aren’t covered for most either, even if physiotherapy might be.

Treatments in hospital are covered, but if a person is being treated outside the hospital, then that same treatment might not be covered. There are some very expensive cancer treatment drugs that don’t have to be administered in a hospital, and even though “Chemo” given in the hospital is covered, the equivalent treatment taken as pills at home isn’t. Even in places where those treatments that can be done at home are covered, they don’t cover additional medications to deal with the side effects of the prescribed treatment. (Things like anti-nausea medication or supplements needed if the medicine depletes vitamin and mineral reserves.)

The SAVI applicator is a multiple catheter bre...

The SAVI applicator is a multiple catheter breast brachytherapy device. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people might needlessly be in hospital because they can’t afford treatment at home.

Some people will get prescriptions for a more potent  medication when a less potent one that is perfectly adequate for their condition is available off the shelf. I know one person who requested prescriptions for the prescription Tylenol 2 (acetaminophen with caffeine and codeine.) when they could get the relief they needed from Tylenol 1 (Same as Tylenol 1 but with less codeine.) or even Extra-Strength Tylenol. (No codeine added.) This was because the Tylenol 2 was covered, but the Tylenol 1 and Extra Strength Tylenol were not covered. This person had chronic pain due to bulging disks in their spine.

At least treatments like surgery are covered… except sometimes. Surgery for cancer in the mouth isn’t covered, and some elective surgery.

I believe that Canada is the only country with universal health care that doesn’t also cover medication. I think we need to catch up with other countries. Soon even the US will have better pharmaceutical coverage than we have.

Our system isn’t too bad, but it does have some holes in it. I’ll write about some more holes in the near future.

Look for Part 1 and Part 3 (Coming on Tuesday)



Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 1 of 3

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I actually think that we have had a pretty good medical system in Canada. But I think that although the expertise is here, and we have universal access, there are ways where things are getting a bit threadbare.

Have a look at “Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 2 of 3” and Part 3 of 3 to come on Tuesday

I personally know of a lot of friends and family who have ended up in a bed or on a gurney in a corridor after being admitted to Emergency, (That is what we call the emergency ward up here in Canada.) I actually experienced this when I had a health emergency a few years back. I spent my first night in a dark service corridor behind “Emergency” on a bed along one wall with perhaps 6-10 others.

Emergency Ward

Emergency Ward (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was already in slight delirium when I got there and the night was an anxious one for me. The odd sounds from the pipes and from delivery trucks down the corridor. (Through sets of doors but so audible.)

I did get moved out of that corridor the next morning…

…and onto a ward. Actually I was at the end of the ward, in the corridor. The end was curtained off so in some ways I had a private room, however, no washroom facility, no access to phone, and rather than an emergency call button, I had a hand-bell to ring for help. I spent 4 or 5 days in that corridor until I had to have surgery. After surgery I did get into a room. Actually it was a nice private room where I was the only occupant. I think that they had a regulation where people coming out of surgery had to be placed into a room.

Hospital Corridor 800I have had a few friends that also ended up in a corridor. In fact one dear friend has been in one for a few days now. I also recall visiting a relative in the cardiac ward and seeing two or three occupied beds in the corridors around the nurses’ station. I recall thinking that they had so little privacy.

Our system isn’t too bad, but it does have some holes in it. I’ll write about some more holes in the near future.

Look for Part 2 and Part 3 to come.


A Crippled Generation? — part 4 of 3

Everywhere I look I see a crippled generation. I don’t mean people with actual physical or mental disabilities, but those people who are crippling themselves. This issue might actually be crippling people.

Continued from “A Crippled Generation? — part 3 of 3
A Crippled Generation? — part 2 of 3
A Crippled Generation? — part 1 of 3

I wrote about how people are essentially handicapping themselves with fashions, technology, and the choices they make. But this “4th” article is about something that not only might affect a person while using it, but also might affect their future.

young-woman-with-cell-phone 2 800I mentioned in part 1 of 3 about smart phones and how the way many use them essentially ties up one hand all the time. There is another issue to do with them, and a once prominent device, the mp3 player, like the iPods.

Many people put in their ear-buds or put on their headphones intent on blocking out the outside world. Some even have noise cancelling headphones to create an excellent environment for listening to their music… or language course, or news channel.

This creates an issue for some where they are oblivious to the things going on around them.

350px-headphones_1Did you know that a young man was actually killed when he was struck by a helicopter that was making a crash landing? Apparently he couldn’t hear it because he was listening to “his tunes”.

That example is a bit extreme, but there have also been people struck by trains, cars, trucks…. I haven’t heard of anyone run down by a submarine though.

There can be two issues, one is having your ears covered or having the ear-buds in the ear and impeding outside sounds from getting in. The other is the volume at which the music is being played. I know from personal experience that if you play music at a modest volume, you can hear what is going on around you.

A stack of the iPods I now own... included are...

A stack of the iPods I now own… included are the 1Gb iPod shuffle (2nd Gen), iPod nano Product(RED) 4Gb (2nd Gen), iPod mini 4Gb, iPod 20Gb (4th Gen), and iPod video 80Gb (5.5 Gen). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I am listening to my iPod, other people can’t hear the music, but very often even from a half-dozen feet away I can hear other folks’ music filtering out of their headphones or ear-buds — sometimes quite loudly. I figure it isn’t so much the ear-buds or headphones causing people to be oblivious to the outside world but the sheer volume… loudness of the music.

They have laws in some places that place some restrictions on the usage of headphones and ear-buds. Here, you can only have one of the two ear-buds in your ear while operating a motor vehicle. I imagine that headphones aren’t allowed.


Very similarly to the issue with personal music players (smart phone or mp3 player) are “boom cars“. These are the vehicles where the driver’s music is played at such a sound level you can hear it from many car-lengths away. Not only is this noise pollution annoying, but for the occupants of the car the results over time is deafening.

Behind the ear aid

Behind the ear aid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mean that playing music that loud in a vehicle or with a personal music player, you are damaging your hearing.

I figure it is quite sad that some of the people who get the greatest enjoyment from music are causing themselves to slowly go deaf.

Taken as a whole, Cell phone in hand, wide temple glasses, hoodie on, pants down to the knees, and high platform shoes, makes for a very crippling ensemble. You can add personal music player and boom cars to that list.  Some would refer to it with this one word:


Here is one more look at the topic. I hope you have had a chance to check out the cartoon: The New Handicap — Wheel Tales of Willow City

The New Handicap

The New Handicap by DWPenner


A Crippled Generation? — part 3 of 3

Everywhere I look I see a crippled generation. I don’t mean people with actual physical or mental disabilities, but those people who are crippling themselves.

Continued from “A Crippled Generation? — part 2 of 3
A Crippled Generation? — part 1 of 3

A postcard (circa 1911) depicting a man and a ...

A postcard (circa 1911) depicting a man and a women dressed in the fashion of the era. Woman wears a hobble skirt, man points to her with his thumb. Caption: The Hobble Skirt “What’s that? It’s the speed-limit skirt!”  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There used to be a garment called a “hobble skirt“. They were long skirts… to the calf at least …that were tight around the knees and produced an effect not unlike hobbles used to keep horses from moving far. They are also used on prisoners so they can’t run.

The days of the hobble skirt are long passed, but both men and women are hobbling themselves.

Men are wearing pants where the waist is worn at the hip or lower and the crotch of the pants is at the knees. I haven’t a clue where this style came from, though suspect Rap or some other genre.

I think they are called saggy pants?

A number of times watching “Cops” and similar shows where police are chasing suspects that are wearing such trousers, the suspect is at an extreme disadvantage. If the pants stay in place it hinders their running, and often the waist slips down. The pants now with the belt around their knees hobbles them. Sometimes even sliding to the ankles and they are running like someone with their pants around their ankles.

A man walking with saggy pants in Paris.

A man walking with saggy pants in Paris. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am personally reminded of the pants for toddlers with extra room for the diaper and snaps between the legs for easier changes. I wonder if the wearers of these saggy rapper pants realize what they look like?

Regardless of whether it is a “style choice” and not a statement of some sort, they sure do a great job of hobbling a person.

Men aren’t the only ones hobbling themselves. I noticed a lot of women who had an odd gait. They just didn’t look like they were walking right. Then I noticed their shoes. Some had very high stiletto heels, others had chunky clog like soles. High Heels 800Regardless they looked almost camel-like as they walked. If they ever had to walk far or fast they’d have to get out of those shoes.

I know some things are fashion trends, but are we really a society that needs to be hobbled?

Actually, I am rather fond of fashion, even high fashion or couture, but on the street rather than at a night-club or fancy dress ball, it seems rather silly and crippling.

Taken as a whole, Cell phone in hand, wide temple glasses, hoodie on, pants down to the knees, and high platform shoes, makes for a very crippling ensemble. Or as some would put it:


This is the end of the three part article. Well… there is one more thing on the subject to come next Tuesday. In the mean-time have a look at a cartoon I did that is related: The New Handicap — Wheel Tales of Willow City

The New Handicap

The New Handicap by DWPenner


A Crippled Generation? — part 2 of 3

Everywhere I look I see a crippled generation. I don’t mean people with actual physical or mental disabilities, but those people who are crippling themselves.

Continued from “A Crippled Generation? — part 1 of 3

eyeglasses on white 800Eyeglasses have been around for centuries. The purpose of course is to improve vision one way or another. (Though for some the purpose is style.) Reading glasses, driving glasses, sunglasses, and just plain eyeglasses have frames that come in many different styles. Over the years new styles have come up and old ones relegated to nostalgia shops.

eyeglasses-166417_1280 1000I’ve noted a disturbing trend in many eyeglass frame. Those are glasses that have very wide “temples”. Temple is the proper term used for the “arms” of the frame.

They look stylish and some even have a purpose. However, they also act like the “blinders” a race horse or draft horse might wear to help them focus on the track/road ahead. It stops the horse from being distracted. Of course the jockey or wagoner/driver has a clear view to the sides. This is unlike the wearers of these fashionable frames.

glasses 01 1000Perhaps the wearer doesn’t like distraction so they can focus on the road ahead or their phone. The frames do play havoc with the peripheral vision. That means you are less likely to notice a person or motor vehicle approaching from the side.

Sunglasses 800There are some sunglasses where the temples help protect the eyes from light entering from the sides. The sunglasses like these most often don’t have solid temples, they have clear sections consisting of the same material the lenses are.

SignsProtection0004_1_SThere are also protective glasses that protect the eyes from debris caused by grinding or other manufacturing sorts of processes. Lab techs might also where glasses with side protection. In those cases they also have transparent temples beside the eyes. These protective pieces of eye-wear are often for times when full lab goggles aren’t considered necessary. People doing sports like racquetball and some other sports also have such protective glasses. Some don’t even have lenses, but have narrow enough openings that a ball can’t enter.

hoodie 03 800Of course that’s not the only way people are putting blinders on…

Hoods are useful, they can keep the Sun or rain off your head; they keep you warm; they can give you a feeling of anonymity; they can help you go incognito. Hoodies are prevalent among today’s youth and young adults.

hoodie 01 800Hoodies have many good things going for them. Of course they also allow you to focus on what is directly ahead of you and allow you to avoid distractions to either side.

Distractions like approaching cars; distractions like people to either side…

Each to their own I guess… but hoodies can act like blinders too.

See part three this coming Saturday. In the mean-time have a look at a cartoon I did that is related: The New Handicap — Wheel Tales of Willow City

The New Handicap

The New Handicap by DWPenner


A Crippled Generation? — part 1 of 3

Everywhere I look I see a crippled generation. I don’t mean people with actual physical or mental disabilities, but those people who are crippling themselves.

young-woman-with-cell-phone 2 800I think that we’ve all seen young people with their smart phone grafted to their hand. They don’t seem to put it down for any reason, even when they are fumbling to accomplish some complicated task with only one hand, a shoulder, their feet — complicated tasks like opening a door.

They remind me of “The Ood” from Dr Who. The “Ood” are a species of aliens always have a sphere in their right hand which translated languages for them. They acted a servants and workers during one time period in the future on various planets. It seemed very odd to me that the Ood would handicap themselves by always having that sphere in one hand.

handicapping smart phone 1 800People in our society don’t need to keep that hand occupied by a smart phone. There are cases, pouches, and many other places to tuck that telephone.

Of course, in part the issue is that these smart phone users simply want to stay in contact with their friends via text messages or talking on that phone. “Texting” actually takes two hands to write messages, though to read them only one.

They also want to be be entertained. So they have music, videos, games and more there in their hands.

living_with_a_cell_phone_08 800What cripples them is that they want to stay in touch and be entertained all the time. I’ve seen a young mother walking across a cross-walk at a fairly busy intersection pushing a stroller, walking a dog, and texting, or simply holding her smart phone. (image is not of that lady) Can you imagine taking care of a toddler and being in control of a dog, all with one hand?

It’s quite sad really. That is especially when there are people who would dearly love to have a second hand they can use, but only have the use of one hand — not because they are holding a phone.

See part two this coming Thursday. In the mean-time have a look at a cartoon I did that is related: The New Handicap — Wheel Tales of Willow City

The New Handicap

The New Handicap by DWPenner