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~~~ Time For Another Coffee Break~~~
In Bad Taste
(LEFT) " I READ TO THE DEAF", a rag from a T-shirt eBay store.
If you don't catch the "joke"----
----the wearer comically declares himself brainless, for reading to an audience having no idea of what he's saying.
Our complaint to eBay elicited no response (not that we held our breath for any ---we even envisioned eBay's customer relations dolt wearing this particular shirt, a gift from the seller).
In his classic work, Generation of Vipers, Philip Wylie describes people of the seller's sort, who try to capitalize on the weaknesses of others, as "commercial he-whores".
In 2012, 14,000 schools participated in a contest for a free live concert by the popular singer, Taylor Swift ----the winner determined by Facebook votes.
It was destroyed by an imagebook website, "4chan", known for pranks (some of them extremely distasteful, and even criminal, such as involving child pornography photos).
In an offensive "joke" that ridiculed deaf children, they directed many thousands of their childish followers to vote for the Horace Mann School for the Deaf , which won. The 'joke", if you don't catch it, is that deaf kids can't hear her.
The singer declined the concert and the sponsors disqualified the school.
They headed off a public backlash by buying their way out of this embarrassing matter. The school wound up $60,000 richer. Read about it here in Time magazine:
"Are You Deaf?" -- New Way to Proposition a Woman
Another rag from an eBay seller's store. If you don't know its vulgar meaning, Google "Are you DTF?".
In colloquial speech (snappy barroom talk, etc.) it sounds like, "'Are you deaf?" That's its common, though unintended form. The eBay seller's tag words are DEAF-OFFENSIVE-RUDE-FUNNY-HILARIOUS.
We wonder about the mentality of someone who equates "offensive, rude, and deaf" with "funny and hilarious".
The "I-Love-You" Hand Sign Shape Isn't Original
(RIGHT) This holy fellow in a 19th Century woodcut, is of some religion (maybe Buddhist) and from overseas (perhaps Thailand).
Thus, the Deaf "I-Love-You" hand sign isn't original. If he's a Christian (doubtful), it could represent the Trinity. If a Buddhist ...... sorry, we dunno.
Hey wait ! Maybe he's a witch doctor. That hand sign is one of three known as the El Diablo, the sign of the horned devil, Satan, since historical times. The three versions are below.. The index and pinky fingers represent the horns.
Sound Level 101
Sound is measured in deciBels (dB). Examples:
30 dB-- Lovers whispering sweet nothings
55 dB-- Normal conversation
65 dB-- Timeshare or insurance salesman's pitch
75 dB-- Wall Street unemployment office, 2008 market crash
85 dB-- Your hearing mother, when you were 16 and
came home at 3 AM
93 dB-- World's confirmed snoring record per Guinness, 2011
(Present unconfirmed, 102 dB)
100 dB-- Air raid siren at 100 ft. away, London, 1943
117 dB-- Scream by an 11-month old infant that temporarily deafened its
mother (New England Journal of Medicine)
120 dB-- Threshold of pain and extreme danger to hearing if sustained
130 dB-- No kidding, the immense power of a bat call, but at high
frequency, which humans cannot hear
250 dB-- Last thing heard by a Russian roulette loser
Expression Reading? What's that?
(BELOW) 1901 ad for expression reading, "..simpler, quicker, and more effective" than lipreading. Thus, to replace, not supplement. Huh? We know that dogs, babies, and all of us read facial expressions for an idea of what people are thinking or saying. But for that to replace lipreading, is absurd.
(BTW, if you don't recall the Latin root of "absurd", go back to our Page 4).
Early wall phone with long ear tubes designed to keep the speaker's mouth an ideal distance from the microphone. Not very sanitary. Press to speak. The tubes can swing up and down to adjust to the user's height, and fold down when not in use.
The cut-away view, above (ca 1890) illustrates one lane of the first amplified phone. (It would have opposed lanes ---talk and listen). The "listen" ends are amplified to compensate for power loss (due to wire resistance) over a long distance. For that, the receiver has a bulbous resonating chamber. The dumb clod up there who set it up, left the cable too short and produced this result.
Is this supposed to be De'VIA (Deaf Art)?
The Signed Lincoln Initials Legend
There's a legend that the hands on the Lincoln Memorial statue are signing his initials, A L. Believers point out that the sculptor, Daniel Chester French, had a deaf son and surely knew and used letter signs. Secondly, he created the famous sculpture at Gallaudet U. of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet teaching a child to sign the letter "A". And Lincoln was the one who signed the mandate that created Gallaudet University, 150 years ago.
Some who deny the initials legend say that actually the tight grip of the left hand signifies determination, and the relaxed right hand signifies compassion. That itself is a legend.
Others say they might believe it if Lincoln's "L" was half-way convincingly an L. It certainly was to Leonardo da Vinci. He knew finger spelling from his association with deaf artists. He hid his "LDV" initials in signed letters, in one version of his work, Maddona of the Rocks. This is his "L", in relaxed form to hide it. You'll see it on Page 16. You also see "L"s like that in old woodcuts.
It is unknown if French was aware of this, but he had the same reason to not make it evident.
You can read of this and related matters in the book, The Sistine Secrets. It focuses on gestures, including hand signs, secretly incorporated into artwork for personal reasons of the artist.
See our Page. 16.
Mutterings Over the Crib of a Deaf Child --James Wright
To a Deaf and Dumb Little Girl --Hartley Coleridge
Monologue of a Deaf Man --David Wright
Speechess --Philip Marston
Deaf --Barry O. Higgs
Judge Kroll --Barbara M.Greenberg
Deaf and Dumb --Robert Browning
Deaf School --Ted Hughes
Deaf and Dumb School --Anthony Deelius
Deaf --H.C. Brunner
Deafness --- Richard Ryan
My Deafness --Johnathan Swift
A book with 95 poems by 35 d/Deaf poets over a 200 year span is Deaf American Poetry, edited by John Lee Clark (Gallaudet University Press, 2009).
You'll find some contemporary poems here:
An Erotic and Beautiful Poem is Speechless..........................
............... by the English poet Philip Bourke Marston
(d. 1887). It describes the passion of sexual love between a deaf and mute couple, within their silence and speechlessness.
Excerpt from The Mutes, by Denise Levertov (1979)
Those groans men use
passing a woman on the street..........
to tell her she is female
and their flesh knows it.........
Are they ...........?
Or are they the muffled roaring
of deaf mutes trapped in a building
that is slowly filling with smoke __________________________________________________
From Deaf School, by Ted Hughes (1979)
(Ted Hughes is the former Poet Laureate of England)
Their bodies were like their hands
Nimbler than bodies, like the hammers of a piano,
A puppet agility, a simple mechanical action
A blackness hieroglyph
A stylized lettering
Spelling out approximate signals
While the self looked through,
out of the face of simple concealment
A face not merely deaf, a face in darkness, a face unaware
A face that was simply the front skin of the self
concealed and separate.
This contact with sign language may have been a novel experience for Hughes, as he appears to be startled by it. He seems to say that the signing child is foremost a child apart from everything else
------and clothed with an amazing language of motion.
To a Deaf and Dumb Little Girl, by Hartley Coleridge
("God must be with her in her solitude")
At the time of this poem (lower 19th Century) the prevailing attitude on a child born deaf to hearing parents, was of great misfortune and hopelessness ---as reflected in the distressing sadness of this poem. Only a glimmer of denial and hope shines through in the two concluding lines.
Like a loose island on the wide expanse,
Unconscious floating on the fickle sea,
Herself her all, she lives in privacy;
Her waking life as lonely as a trance,
Doom’d to behold the universal dance,
And never hear the music which expounds
The solemn step, coy slide, the merry bounds.
The vague, mute language of the countenance.
In vain for her I smooth my antic rhyme;
She cannot hear it. All her little being
Concentrated in her solitary seeing--
What can she know of beauty or sublime?
And yet methinks she looks so calm and good,
God must be with her in her solitude!
(Hartley Coleridge, d. 1849, was the eldest son of
Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Charming Inscription on the Tombstone of "Dumb Tom"
Thomas Stokes, described on the stone as deaf and dumb, much respected, eccentric, and known as "Dumb Tom", died at 57 in 1837. He was buried in a churchyard at Staffordshire in England. Apparently, he was a respected and admired member of his hearing community. We like the quaint way a hearing observer is described: "by nature formed, without defect".
What man can pause, and charge the senseless dust
With fraud, or subtlety, or aught unjust?
How few can conscientiously declare
Their acts have been as honorably fair?
No gilded bait, no heart ensnaring meed,
Could bribe poor Stokes to one dishonest deed:
Firm in attachment, to his friends most true--
Though deaf and dumb, he was excelled by few
Go ye, by nature formed, without defect
And copy Tom, and gain as much respect.
Deafness.....for my sister
This morbid poem by the Irish poet Richard Ryan (b. 1946) expresses his sorrow over the deafness of his sister.
It is when I hear Mozart,
some birds, the scraping of wind through pine
she is there.
Sounds crowd round her silence like clay.
It is then I hear the note--
an inkling of the sound of death;
not the mere being without,
but the not knowing, at all . . .
Mutterings Over the Crib of a Deaf Child
by James Wright (d.1980), is by a confused poet sadly trying to envision what a life of deafness will be for the child. He abandons his distressing thoughts to conclude with:
[ I will ] lift him into my arms and sing
Whether he hears my song or not.
You can read it here:
Deaf-Mute In a Pear Tree by P.K. Page (Patricia Kathleen, d. 2010) is a fascinating poem about a deaf man seen harvesting pears in a tree. Everything uncomfortably "deaf" about him (as it appears to the poet), melts away in a kiss the man throws to his wife on the grass below. Read it here:
Jonathan Swift, On His Deafness
Jonathan Swift (d.1745) was a clergyman, politician, and author of satirical prose. He's best known for the children's version of Gulliver's Travels (yes, there's a grown up version, too, a satirical masterpiece). He composed this poem on his sorry situation after losing his hearing later in life.
Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone
To all my friends, a burden grown
No more I hear my church's bell
Then if it rang out for my knell.
At thunder now no more I start
Then at the rumbling of a cart.
And what's incredible, alack !
No more I hear a woman's clack.
[Clack: rapid, continuous talk; prattle]
Here and There Too by Anna Streskova, 1952
On Forty-Second Street, west of Times Square
In the bright white lights of noisy New York
Is a tile floored cafeteria
Where a group of men sit secluded
Over coffee cups stained and empty
Evening upon evening
Speaking with hands.
On the wide avenue of Naclavske Namesti
The main drag of the dim city of Prague
Is a balconied restaurant
Where a like group of men make the language
Those in New York would understand
Though all be strangers in the others’ land.
This may be of interest -----a journal that publishes art and literature by D/deaf and disabled.
Hearing Through the Teeth in the 1960s
Back in 1961 a patent was issued for hearing though the teeth, and was announced in the press with much fanfare. It actually worked (though not via the nerve path claimed) for hearing people and inconclusively for deaf people. An external RF microphone on the user, transmits audio wirelessly to a radio receiver implanted in a false molar (Fig. 3). The electrical audio is then imparted to a viable neighboring tooth, as shown on the right. That tooth contains a rectifier crystal in contact with the endings of the dental nerve. The transmitted impulses then reach the brain, supposedly bypassing the normal hearing system. (If you're dying to know how, it's through branches of the V and VII nerve system, the tympanic plexus, the cephalic vegetative ganglia, and then into the auditory nuclei/cortex ----according to the patent, though this was doubted and the actual path remains unknown).
A public firm was created to capitalize on the discovery. They got a contract from the U.S. Army, envisioning an implatable walkie talkie, but the Army lost interest. The firm was unable to raise the millions required for further research and to commercialize the concept, and closed down in a few years. Trans-dental hearing remains a laboratory curiosity.
This same firm discovered hearing through the skin, or trans-dermally. It was worked on but wound up the same as trans-dental hearing.
Hearing Through the Teeth in the 1880s
This 1880's patent aimed at giving the deaf early use of the telephone . The receiver's diaphragm had a metal extension to be held very lightly between the teeth (Fig. 1). Its vibrations could assumably be sensed as recognizable words.
Did it work?
Dunno, we found it on a website devoted to crackpot inventions (along with the famous automatic hat tipper).
Just below is a general version of the same concept, the Dentaphone.
The mouth part folds for portability.
Hearing Through the Teeth in 1935
In 1879 Richard Rhodes, partially deaf, patented the Audiphone. It used bone conduction through the teeth. It must have worked reasonably well, because it's shown here in use in 1935, over half a century later.
It's like a thin fan, of the size shown to sufficiently amplify the sound. The pouch contains its battery and electrical whatnot.
It's unfortunately not the thing one would be happy to bring to a social function. Well, maybe on a warm day back then before air conditioning, when all the women present were fanning themselves.
Hearing Through the Teeth Now
If you missed the DICA (Dental Integrated Conduction Aid), go back to our P. 1, left column, way down.
A Comedy of Errors in Johannesburg
Meet the "sign interpreter" for speakers at the Nelson Mandela memorial in South Africa. The going rate is $150 per hour. For a cheapie $77 per day they got an unusual terp. "Unusual" in that he apparently can't sign, might be deaf, and has an alleged police rap sheet for suspicion of kidnapping, assault, rape, robbery, burglary, vandalism, and murder.
He didn't even have a proper security clearance. How could this stick of dynamite be allowed so close to world leaders?
He claims to be “a champion of sign language”. His gibberish signing was from "hallucinating due to schizophrenia" ------a medical condition that kept him out of jail for most of his alleged crimes (including murder?).
Over 100 million people worldwide watched him flap his arms.
His native language is Xhosa. It's unknown if he could understand President Obama's English, or even be able to hear (as he claims to be a deaf school graduate). Neither was necessary anyway, since he was signing gibberish.
The organizers didn't even know his name until after the matter fully surfaced. True to the script, the interpreting company that hired him for the event, simply disappeared.
There's more. Deaf people weren't the only ones unable to follow the speeches. The sound system at times was defective. Also, there was a security breakdown as the auditorium filled. Anyone could have walked in with a backpack full of hand grenades.
A few weeks later, our non-signer sneaked out of a hospital's schizophrenia treatment program, to star in a slapstick commercial video for an Israeli advertising firm. (See down below).
Quite a character. We predict that you haven't heard the last of him.
You can see his “sign language” on numerous sites by typing "fake sign interpreter" into your browser, or go here:
You may want to see President Obama's speech in ASL by a real terp, Azora Telford. Well actually in what seems more like PSE (ASL and English syntaxes combined). Go here:
Hey, Wait !!_
Over 100 million worldwide watched the memorial. Some people seriously claim that the terp's gibberish was actually a secret broadcast worldwide in extra-terrestrial sign language. It was meant for ET agents supposedly hidden within worldwide populations. Hmmmmm.
Want To See Another One?
WHAT ??? Saturday Night Live is Back !!
Saturday Night Live is back spoofing, despite the flack they got from the NAD, Marlee Matlin, etc., for spoofing Lydia Callis. This new one is quite funny. We stand on our opinion that it's good publicity for sign language (see our column on the left and our cheers below). Watch the whole thing through this link (watch it full screen with CC turned on):
Some Republican, (who else?) used the incident to create this cheap-shot political cartoon.
Another of the same stuff below.
UPDATE : Our terp is back in the news. Thamsanga Jantjie (that's him) went on leave from the hospital treating him for his schizophrenia, to star in a commercial video, which you can see here:
Well, Maybe It's Not So Funny......
Someone went onto the internet with the comment below, on the ridicule of the SA interpreter (shown here pensive and unhappy). It's worth noting.
"I don't know if you realize how offensive this is. Schizophrenia is a real disease. ....... this whole thing is [being treated as a] comedy, but honestly, until someone close to you suffers from this you won't understand. The mere fact that this man got to be an interpreter for such a big event while living with such a condition is why he will remain a champion to me and anyone who knows somebody with schizophrenia.
It's sad [that the] media headlines [have] poked fun at a serious condition ................. "
After reading that, we may be more kindly disposed to Thomsanqua as we look at him here, relaxed at home.
Aww, Well Maybe He IS an All-the-Way Fake
The following is a comment on the internet by Deborah Cates who is Coordinator of the Sign Language Program at the Iowa School for the Deaf:
"With regard to the claim that the Mandela interpreter was having a schizophrenic episode and that that is the reason for his made-up signs, I direct you to a press release from the Deaf Cognition and Language Laboratory (DCAL) in London. Joanna Atkinson is a deaf clinical psychologist and studies sign language use in schizophrenics, even during an episode when they produce "sign salad". The Mandela interpreter's actions do not look anything like a schizophrenic episode while signing:
Well, whatever, he's still our hero of sorts (see below).
A Tribute to Thomasanqua Jantjie From The Guardian (UK)
"All the crocodile tears of the dignitaries [speaking at the ceremony] were a self-congratulatory exercise, and Jangtjie [the interpreter] translated them into what they effectively were: nonsense. What the world leaders were celebrating was the successful postponement of the true crisis which will explode when poor, black South Africans effectively become a collective political agent. They were the Absent Ones to whom Jantjie was signalling, and his message was: the dignitaries really don't care about you.
Through his fake translation, Jantjie rendered palpable the fake of the entire ceremony."
..............And Another from The Guardian:
This terp has "done Deaf people around the world a hugh service" by focusing on the fact that interpreting is a highly skilled art".
You bet !!
Cheers & Hats off .......
.......to Lydia Callis, Mayor Bloomberg, and Hurricane Sandy........
----to Saturday Night Live, Chelsea Lately, and those other ASL spoofers ..........
------to all the indignant noise from the NAD, Marlee Matlin, and a
host of others...........
------to Thomsanqua Jantjie, the South African "terp", and the
fly-by-night outfit that sneaked him into the memorial service...........
------to the South African service organizer buffoons and to the other involved players..........
-------to The New Yorker, the The Guardian, The Atlantic and the rest of the media, the ET believers, Jeremy Irons (see on left), and all those websites with so much to say on this whole subject.......
..........for generating more favorable public awareness of sign language and sign-interpreting, than these could otherwise get in the next 50 years !!!
Hats off, cheers, and thanks to all of you !!
BTW, a Terp Wants to Talk to You Here:
What !!? Another Comedian?
Meet the Deaf "Japanese Beethoven"
Classical western music is popular in Japan. This "deaf" composer, Mamoru Samuragochi, is famous there as the "Japanese Beethoven" (with sunglasses and a weirdo hairdo to match). One of "his" compositions played at the ice-skating Olympics in Sochi.
It was later discovered that most of his music came from a ghost composer, paid $70,000 for the service. And the ghost said Momuru, who is supposed to be almost completely deaf, isn't deaf at all.
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