Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

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by Treadmarkz

Hey everyone. You haven’t seen me around for a while now. but I am focusing on my new venture which I told you about a while back “Rolling With Vishnu”. You can find a few new posts about my disability and how it relates to my spiritual quest, sprinkled in on rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com. My most recent post has to do with how my disability has affected my practice of meditation.

Couple of Links To Peruse

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by Treadmarkz

Just stopping in to drop a couple of links to my other blog. Normally I would keep the two blogs separate because of the wide gulf in subject matter. But these two posts, while related to my spiritual life, also have a lot to do with disabilities. So you may be interested. Have a look:

 

The Greatest Disability in the World

Yoga At the Pharmacy

What is Santorum REALLY Saying About His Feelings Toward Disabled Children?

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by Treadmarkz

Prenatal testing encourages abortions? I don’t know, Rick Santorum, I think you’re a bit off the mark on this one. I think, first and foremost, it gives parents-to-be the opportunity to know what they are up against when their baby comes if he or she does have a disability. It gives them the opportunity to plan financially and prepare themselves emotionally for all that is going to be required of them to give the baby the best life they can provide.

And second, I think that by saying prenatal testing encourages abortions, Santorum is showing us his true feelings toward people with disabilities. I believe him when he says he is 100% anti-abortion. But to suggest that when a parent finds out their child will be disabled that they should for some reason want to terminate the pregnancy, well, that tells me something about Santorum’s mindset, to tell you the truth.

Liberals who consider themselves “pro-choice” are not “anti-life”. They are not going around looking for a reason to have an abortion. That seems to be what Santorum is trying to suggest here. But it doesn’t add up.

Leaving Treadmarkz in the Astral Plane

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by Treadmarkz,

Greetings! Alright folks, I appreciate your support, and the comments I’ve received from you on the issue’s I’ve raised thus far. And I will continue to write on this blog, hopefully venturing into new uncharted waters on topics relating to disabilities.

But this blog is unable to contain another topic which I really want to write about. So I want to let you know I have expanded to another blog, rollingwithVishnu.wordpress.com  in which I will wax philosophical. Its a bit deeper, more esoteric, WAY less sarcastic, but hopefully just as meaningful.

I understand that to many of my readers, it will not be for you, and I respect that. If so, I hope you will continue to follow and contribute to treadmarkz.wordpress.com and appreciate it for what it is.. Thanks, and take care of yourselves.

Go and Watch “Avatar”

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by Treadmarkz

Like I said in the title of this posting, go and watch James Cameron’s new movie, Avatar if you haven’t already. It is not ALL hype. Not all. It is a great movie, with some mind bending scenes, colors, action, etc. Not the most groundbreaking screenplay or overall plot, and there is certainly a lot of non-very-well-veiled anti-war propaganda. But all things considered the movie is great. And it’s not racist, despite what some people are saying. I don’t know how some people jump to that conclusion whenever a movie involves civilizations of a different color (The Na’vi, who are blue). If anything the movie is taking a stand against one of its own characters who considers the Na’vi to be inferior because of their non-European-like culture.

I will try not to spoil anything, but you can see from the preview that a man in a wheelchair, Jake, walks again by becoming one of the Na’vi, right? Well, okay, seeing him become an avatar and walk on two legs for the first time since becoming disabled, and talking about it with my wife on the way home from the movie, it FORCED ME to admit that while I don’t pine away to be able to walk, if I did one day find myself able to, I ADMIT that I would react the same way this man did. By running. And like him, I’d probably keep running for a while.

When I first saw the preview, I thought the movie might have something to do with the Hindu avatars of God (Krishna, Vishnu, etc) because they are always portrayed with blue skin. But it has nothing to do with that, except that in Hinduism, avatars are said to come to help humanity when we need to be reminded why we are here, OR we are being overcome by evil forces, which is just what the character Jake ends up doing for the Na’vi. But they are all blue themselves, so the reference gets lost.

Anyway, go see the movie and let me know what you thought. Or if you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought.

You Are Your Disabled Brother’s Keeper, Too, Sometimes Even More So

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by Treadmarkz

Well, unfortunately the appalling case of Brian Sterner did not teach us anything about how to treat each other, especially those who need their fellow man most to look after them.

Click HERE to read the story of Ed Rivera, a man with cerebral palsy, who has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, who was left on a bus in freezing temperatures over night. What’s worse, the driver admitted to knowing that she was leaving him there! Now who’s got the mental capacity of a two-year-old?

But hey, she left him there so she would not be late for church. Hmm. You know, this reminds me of something I recently read in a book about meditation. In a chapter which focused on religious meditation, the author discussed the relation between faith/prayer and good works/deeds. I forget the wording exactly but the point was that if one is deeply engrossed in meditating on God, and during this meditation he is disturbed by the sound of a fellow man in need of help, he stops the meditation and helps the man.

Just a little tip for the bus driver.

Furious Male Liberal Defends Sarah Palin AND Her Baby

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by Treadmarkz

I am not a fan of Sarah Palin’s political views overall, but ever since her introduction as McCain’s running mate at the RNC, she has been taking a lot of crap because she had her baby son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, at the convention. Because of this, I can no longer remain silent on the issue. A few things are being said in the media about her little guy’s appearance on the National Stage that are really getting me steamed.

1. That having him at the convention was a political stunt to demonstrate how “pro-life” she is. Just because 80% of women who find out their unborn baby has Down Syndrome have an abortion according to this story does not mean that keeping your baby makes you any more of a saint than anyone else. After all, it is your baby we are talking about, not an everyday inconvenience that one chooses how to dispose of. I think Palin had her baby at the convention because he is a part of her family and she was introducing herself, and her family, to the country. Case closed.

2. By making the above into such a big time news story, the media made it seem as though not having an abortion in a similar situation would be noteworthy, somehow. Following through with a pregnancy which you know will result in a child with a disability is not a pro-life thing, it’s not a Christian thing, it’s not a Republican or Conservative thing. It is about love, and we all have that in us somewhere. Even us God damned baby killer pagan liberal Democrats!

3. One doctor went so far as to express concern that Palin’s example will lead other expectant mothers NOT to abort when the expected child is found to have a disability! What the Hell? Look, I have spina bifida, I know what a handful my disability was as a child, but there is always HELP one can gain through doctors (if they know what they are talking about), family members, the community, etcetera. And this is not even an issue of taking away people’s CHOICE. It is an issue of giving a baby with a disadvantage a CHANCE.

This doctor is worried that the mothers of fetuses with Down Syndrome will not be prepared to take care of the child. Well, I doubt very much that my own mother grew up training all her life to have a baby with spina bifida. Mothers who have children with disabilities find ways to cope with the circumstances they are given, and they do so out of love, the greatest power in the world. The greatest human quality. And Sarah Palin is a human being.

All of the negative attitudes toward Palin having this baby will reinforce the misconception that having a child with a disability is beyond the average human being. It encourages abortion of “imperfect” children. I am not going to get into the pro-life/choice argument because it’s a dead end as far as I can see. I am just using my own life experience here. I am pro-chance, my friends. Making her out to be either a saint or simply irresponsible will only serve the point of view that the chance to life should not be given so freely.

And quite frankly these attitudes have me really concerned coming from fellow liberals. Do they realize they are reinforcing every stereotype that conservatives have toward them and hold to be so repugnant? No wonder Barack Obama is losing so many supporters, even though he has absolutely nothing to do with this.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Episode V: Let’s Get Biblical…Biblical: Jerusalem, 30 A.D.

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by Treadmarkz

The four-wheeled rambler and his time machine with hand controls has just landed in the year 30 A.D. in the town of Jerusalem. And man are things different here! And okay, things are not altogether as bad as I said they would be before I came – “a time before there were any comforts whatsoever for the afflicted” I believe is what I said. That is not completely true. In fact, one of the first things I found on my journey of discovery through Jerusalem in 30 A.D. was a colonnade (series of stone pillars holding up a roof, with rows of stalls with beds where people with various afflictions and disabilities convalesced. I guess you could say it was somewhere in between a hospital (which, yeah, they should have had) and a “home” (which in today’s Western world is only for the “criminally insane”, not the physically disabled.)

So it wasn’t all bad of course. In fact, when I went to speak to the inhabitants of the colonnades (fluent in first century Aramaic as I am) I found that the common belief system regarding disabilities is totally different in the 21st century from what it was then. For example, the belief that the disability was given to the person by God. This seems to have been prevalent among the disabled including the blind and deaf,f and others in the first century, and still is today, but the theory behind it has changed drastically.

Today you hear a lot of different stories on this issue. Some believe it, some think they were given their disability as a gift, some say God allowed the devil to work on them, as retribution for something their parents did, or they were injured as retribution for something they did themselves. They had drifted that far away from God that the devil had that power over them.

Around this time, 30 A.D., Jesus was preaching that “It was not that (the disabled person) has sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Some people still believe in this. Some people think it is too cheery, and overly “inspirational”, an image which disabled people often despise. Take it for what it is.

I met a man in the colonnades with wilted and twisted limbs, who said to me “my power is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses”. I think that same phrase would later make it into the Bible somewhere, and it’s a good piece of wisdom. What does it mean? I think it means that physical strength and “beauty” will not get you everything. Those who do not have it may find other modes of strength which are more valuable.

But this is not a Bible study. So I rolled onward, into the streets, where I met 1st century equivalent of the disabled homeless Vietnam veteran and his “will work for food” sign. The leper. Lepers were a different case altogether. When I went anywhere near one of these unfortunate people, hordes of townfolk would shout at me to stay away. Why? Because everyone in the 1st century knows that people get leprosy for disobeying God, and wherever roams a leper, roams also the devil. Duh!, right?

Ah, but we’ve found a contradiction, and the four-wheeled rambler loves digging up historical and ideological contradictions! You never heard of anyone getting spina bifida for disobeying God back in the first century. Just the lepers! It’s less of a disability and more of a malady, but it is a disabling affliction, nonetheless. Now its the disabled who the new age Christians will tell you are disabled as a result of some sin somewhere along the line. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. There aren’t too many lepers running around today, except in Africa, and Southern Asia. But even though they had their share of compassionate advocates in Jerusalem in 30 A.D., they encounter less discrimination and fear overall than they did 2000 years ago.

My, how things have come full circle.

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode V Preview

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by Treadmarkz,

The four-wheeled rambler has seen enough of the 20th Century. In the next installment of “A Time Machine with Hand Controls”, we are going to zoom through time before the ADA, before the Paralympics, before the wheelchair existed, before many many many politically correct words for the disabled came and went, back to the year 30 A.D., in the “Holy Land.”

Come with me, from the 21st century, a time full of headlines and talk of people’s rights being infringed upon, to a time before there were any comforts whatsoever for the afflicted.

It’s gonna be fun!

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode I – The Middle Ages

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by Treadmarkz

Announcing a new segment here at treadmarkz.wordpress.com…”A Time Machine with Hand Controls” in which I explore living conditions for the disabled throughout history.

I have written about my thoughts on what my life may have been like had I grown up on a farm and not in a small town, and exploring that possibility has lead me to want to explore another dimension.

Time.

What kid hasn’t wondered what his/her life would be like if they’d been born in another time? My favorite place and time period is Europe in the Middle Ages (between the years 500 roughly, to about 1300-something, when brains became important again in Europe.

I love to read about the Middle Ages. The wars, the struggles for survival, and even the schmaltzy fictitious legends of knights in shining armor. But living in it? First off, without the use of my legs I would have been useless in the Wars for the Holy Sepulchre (the Crusades) unless I was able to come up with a way to hold fast in the saddle while wielding a sword and fighting off “infidels”.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the law of the land was feudalism, which means you were “allowed” to work the land in exchange for protection from your lord (usually some fat guy who got someone to do all his fighting for him). Incidentally this is where the modern term “landlord” comes from.

There was no place to buy your food unless you wanted to travel miles to the nearest market place. If not, you were to grow and raise and graze your own food. Traversing the land to get to said market would be a chore in and of itself for someone without use of their legs, as their was no Quickie wheelchairs in the Middle Ages. There is record of wheelchairs being used in China in the sixth century but in Europe not until well after the Middle Ages and even then their use was restricted to the Royals. And anyway, a wheelchair certainly would have done little good for a disabled peasant who worked the fields.

Most European-based surnames are rooted in the trade of those in the Middle Ages who were lucky enough to be self-sufficient and not to be dependent on a lord. Tanner, Smith, Shoemaker, and Miller are all examples that come to mind.

But let’s be honest. Technology did not allow the disabled the freedom we enjoy today. There was no ADA protecting the rights of the disabled in the work force. And there was no social security. Most disabled people scraped a living together however they could, and this was hard, as other folk saw them as witches or bad omens, the blind often seen as some kind of oracle with inner vision that the rest of us did not possess. Again, stereotypes can be used to one’s advantage! Much in the same way that the eight-limbed girl from India has been recently doted on as a reincarnated Vishnu. Can you blame them for running with it? I would!

In closing, it has come to my attention that in the Middle Ages, everyone had the middle name of “the” – Alfred the Great, Harold the Bold, Henry the Unready, Philip the Goofy. Whatever. Well, I would be Forrest the Lame, of course. But I digress.