Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Signs and Symbols

Yes, there’s been a break from the BIS blog – but no sabbatical was this absence. We’ve been hard at work! We’re happy to say that we’ll be serving more folks than ever, which us great news for the communications access industry.

Yesterday the BIS Facebook page posted an article about Nyle DiMarco, Dancing with The Stars’ newest and first deaf cast member. The story talked about how DiMarco misconstrued a cue from his partner. What’s more interesting is that DiMarco is taking signed cues – but not from sign language.

He and his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, have spent hours on end creating their own sign language for their routines. Furthermore, DiMarco’s twin brother, also deaf, taught him to dance when they were kids!

It’s amazing how many different organizations use symbols to communicate. From an airport runway-man’s use of semaphore, to a baseball coach’s signs to a batter. It’s safe to say that it’s inherent to our way of communicating, and sign language is the avant garde of such quiddity. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Another Wednesday?!?

Happy humpday, y’all. We are crawling across the middle of the week like soldiers in no-man's land. What are your midweek celebrations? Or is there a midweek crisis, splurging on a $30 lunch at the fancy steak place down the street, a metaphorical divorce from your sad salad?

Let us stay the hand of desperate indulgence, and instead mind our work. Here are some tips to staying focused:

Don’t read blogs. Okay, everyone slips up now and then.

Remind yourself that this is your livelihood, a word that contains lively in it, so act accordingly.

A workday is only a matter of time, and what is time but a flat circle? Circles are so EASY.

Okay that’s enough for now. Back to work people!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Return of the Red-eye

Apologies for the absence, friends. BIS has been super busy preparing for work ahead. Yet you can rest assured that this means we are on top of our game.

We know you have to catch up on all those emails, some of which you might’ve let linger into Friday’s dusk, to hide in the night of the coming weekend. That Monday sun is revealing, isn’t it? So get you some red-eye java, and here's a little something to kickstart your day:

In addition to Facebook, check us out on Twitter. We recently posted an article about a lawsuit against Arizona, to assimilate texting into their 9-1-1 calls. It is 2016. Despite the leaps and bounds made in the name of disabilities advocacy, emergency calls should not remain on the backburner. Let’s get this done.  

More coming this week, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New&Improved BIS Blog!

Happy Humpday everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the week. It’s been eventful, with the Super Bowl and the primaries in full force.

Advanced warning to those along the East Coast: El Nino will take a break from its warming trends and bring bitter cold across the eastern third of the US this weekend. So make sure to be prepared.

The results are in! And we still have 96% of the country to go…However many pundits will posit that these early states are more important for how they decide the inertia of the election. We will have to wait and see.

How do you all like your coffee in the morning? BIS likes it immediate and strong with a hearty breakfast, so we can get back to work for you! Send us pictures of your morning coffee on our Facebook page

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Random Thoughts

A few random thoughts for today:

Twitter handle of the week goes to @DominicLuVisi. Check it out, he’s making some cool content.

What does everyone think of Cam Newton’s shirking postgame press conference duties? Send thoughts to us on Twitter @BIS__World! (Yes, that’s two underscores.)

For all our basketball fans out there, did you know that Kobe Bryant was raised largely in Italy? His Italian is fluent, and many people attribute his success to being influenced by a European style of play. Upon moving back to the USA as a teenager, Bryant felt some isolation from his peers. He said this divide fueled his play. So is Bryant the greatest Italian to every play the game? 

Just a reminder to everyone that the New Hampshire primary is tonight! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl 50's National Anthem

Apropos our Monday blogs, we’ll keep it short today – also because many of you might be too full of pizza to read for too long today.

Speaking of pizza, the Super Bowl. Regardless of your allegiance, it’s nice for an NFL icon to get one more ring before it’s all over for him. Do you think he’ll retire? Feel free to respond to us on Twitter for your opinions.

For the deaf community, a familiar face was part of the National Anthem procession. Marlee Matlin, the recent Broadway star in Spring Awakening, interpreted Lady Gaga’s rendition of the National Anthem.

But there was something curious about Matlin’s interpretation – namely, that she was barely on screen, which sort of defeats the purpose of interpretation, doesn’t it?

It’s true that most deaf folks probably had closed captioning functions activated on their televisions during the Anthem. But still, Matlin’s abridged cameos made her interpretation seem far more PR than utilitarian.

People like to see such an esteemed member of deaf culture on such a prominent stage – certainly this is part of the draw. But the appearance of accessibility is in a few ways replacing the true fulfilling of the need. Sign language is almost universally perceived as a beautiful language in motion, but it’s also a language, one that many deaf folks rely entirely on in order to communicate.

So while we give kudos to the Super Bowl for continuing to acknowledge ADA compliance, and in some ways going beyond by providing a live interpreter for the anthem, we look forward to seeing our interpreters just adjacent to the spotlight for all to see. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Basketball Story

One of the first basketball games I ever went to was in Washington, DC. I was about eleven years old, and as a Jewish CODA, this was a big game for me; I was going to see Tamir Goodman, AKA the ‘Jewish Jordan’, play the Model School for the Deaf at Gallaudet University. 

As an eleven-year-old basketball-lover who was going to see one of the country’s best players play an all-deaf team, my senses were captivated – so much that I’d forgotten it was supposed to snow that night, and I might get to miss school the next day. 

One half of the court hosted the Tamir Goodman show. He hoisted shots from distances requiring telescopes to ensure witness. But what would stick with me more was what happened in the years to follow. Not that he devoted his life to his faith, but that he was humble enough to choose something important to him, not others – his faith over basketball. He relinquished a million childhood dreams for something that he knew would last.

On the other side of the court, however, was the Model offense, which usurped Goodman’s throne as attraction-of-the-night. I’d grown up with deaf parents, yet had never seen a deaf basketball team play. So much of basketball involves talking – calling out screens, defenses, plays, etc. Just as with so much in life, communication. But this team seemed to do it just as well, if not better than other teams.

Tamir Goodman could’ve gone to the University of Maryland to play ball, if not for the weekend limitations imposed by his faith, possibly even pro if he’d developed enough (he did go play pro ball in Israel). But it was the Model School for the Deaf that was winning. There was an almost spiritual connection between the players, as if they shared a mind not in spite but perhaps because of their need to communicate tacitly, to intuit, to anticipate.

When I walked outside the Gallaudet gymnasium, it wasn’t snowing. But I didn’t notice.