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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Friday, August 28, 2009

The GD-ZONE Saga - 3 years and 3 blogs!

YES! It's true - it's been three years since I started writing here. I remember it was a hot summer day in 2006. I was excited and somehow anxious in taking this step. However, I was also determined to join the online blogging community - especially the virtual disability community that exists. I shared some personal stuff, my hopes and disappointments. In short, this blog was an important part of my life and a means by which I can relate my experiences as a Maltese disabled person. Okay, put in a pinch of vanity in my blogging pursuit!

But I didn't stop there (am I greedy?) In fact, over the course of the last 2 years, I have also created two new blogs, Cosmos Online and more recently, Zyhil.


As a blogger, I was often worried when I had writer’s block or noticed that the ratings were pretty low. Perhaps I need to work on this, I admit. One way I hope to make this blog more relevant to different readers is to introduce some goodies for future consumption. Here is a short snippet of what I have planned:

BLOG ROUNDUP
In "Blog Roundup", I will take a look at the latest entries found in my blog list found on the left side of this blog. I hope that the number of blogs I will be reviewing increases.

D-INTERVIEW
In "D-Interview", I will be asking a number of questions to disabled people or other non-disabled people involved in the sector.

YOUR VIEW
In "Your View", I will be responding to your emails. This depends on the amount of contributions received, so start writing to Gordon.Cardona@speedymail.org with Your View in the subject line.

Oh, I almost forgot ... I recently created a FaceBook group GD-ZONE. Here you will be able to keep up to date with all the latest post entries on each blog - the best thing is that everyone is invited to discuss any post content ... but please don't forget that I may be quicker to respond if you left a coment or sent an email.

I hope you’ll enjoy these new additions. Also feel free to drop me a line with your feedback and comments on my email address below.

Now off to celebrate ... hey, it appears I ate all the food yesterday ... argh!!!

Best,

Gordon C. Cardona
E: Gordon.Cardona@speedymail.org

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Taking Red Bull by its Horns



France & Denmark have banned it from the country...

RED BULL - slow death ...

Do NOT drink this drink anymore!!

Pay attention; read it all

As a public health safety, please pass on this email to all the contacts in your address book especially those with teenage children and make copies to show to all the people you know.

This drink is SOLD in all the supermarkets IN OUR country and our children ARE CONSUMING IT ON A TRIAL BASIS, IT can be mortal. RED BULL was created to stimulate the brains in people who are subjected to great physical force and in stress coma and never to be consumed like an innocent drink or soda pop.

RED BULL IS the energizer DRINK that is commercialized world-wide with its slogan:'It increases endurance; awakens the concentration capacity and the speed of reaction, offers more energy and improves the mood. All this can be found in a can of

RED BULL , the power drink of the millennium.!

'RED BULL has managed to arrive at almost 100 countries worldwide. The RED BULL logo is targeted at young people and sportsmen, two attractive segments that have been captivated by the stimulus that the drink provides.

It was created by Dietrich Mateschitz, an industrialist of Austrian origin who discovered the drink by chance. It happened during a business trip to Hong Kong , when he was working at a factory that manufactured toothbrushes.

The liquid, based on a formula that contained caffeine and taurine, caused a rage in that country. Imagine the grand success of this drink in Europe where the product still did not exist, besides it was a superb opportunity to become an entrepreneur.

BUT THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS DRINK IS ANOTHER THING:

FRANCE and DENMARK have just prohibited it as a cocktail of death, due to its vitamin components mixed with GLUCURONOLACTONE', a highly dangerous chemical, which was developed by the United States Department of Defense during the sixties to stimulate the moral of the troops based in VIETNAM, which acted like a hallucinogenic drug that calmed the stress of the war.

But their effects in the organism were so devastating, that it was discontinued, because of the high index of cases of migraines, cerebral tumors and diseases of the liver that was evident in the soldiers who consumed it.

And in spite of it, in the can of RED BULL you can still find as one of its components: GLUCURONOLACTONE, categorized medically as a stimulant.

But what it does not say on the can of ,RED BULL are the consequences of its consumption, and that has forced us to place a series of WARNINGS:

1. It is dangerous to take it if you do not engage in physical exercise afterwards, since its energizing function accelerates the heart rate and can cause a sudden attack.

2. You run the risk of undergoing a cerebral hemorrhage, because RED BULL contains components that dilute the blood so that the heart utilizes less energy to pump the blood, and thus be able to deliver physical force with less effort being exerted.

3. It is prohibited to mix RED BULL with alcohol, because the mixture turns the drink into a " Deadly Bomb " that attacks the liver directly, causing the affected area never to regenerate anymore.

4. One of the main components of RED BULL is the B12 vitamin, used in medicine to recover patients who are in a coma; from here the hypertension and the state of excitement which is experienced after taking it, as if you were in a drunken state.
5. The regular consumption of RED BULL triggers off symptoms in the form of a series of irreversible nervous and neuronal diseases.

CONCLUSION:

It is a drink that should be prohibited in the entire orld as when it is mixed with alcohol it creates a TIME BOMB for the human body, mainly between innocent adolescents and adults with little experience.

Received from:
Pauline Mercieca
Co-Ordinator
Agenzija Appogg,
36, St. Luke's Road,
Gwardamangia.
PTA 1318
Telephone No. 21440955/7

MORE INFO Red Bull Wikipedia Article

Red Bul and its Side Effectsl

Dangers of College Red Bull Cocktails

Risks posed by Energy Drinks

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Killing me softly

I’ve been rather unwell lately, which means that I broke my resolution to keep this blog flowing. However, I will make it up to you, dear readers, by presenting you this post. This time round, I will be dealing with the relationship between language and disability.

The topic of language and disability has fascinated me both as a dabbling writer, and as a disabled person. The fact is that we sometimes unknowingly resort to words and phrases that can be considered to be disablist. To illustrate this, I tried to get a couple of disabling terms and use them to write a disablist paragraph. Here it is:

Dear Editor,
I wish to state my dissatisfaction with the way the development board blindly went ahead with its plans. This, in spite of our protests which appear to have fallen on deaf ears. As pointed out in our complaints, this development will serve to further paralyze traffic. I believe that the authorities should see that the project is stopped. I often wonder whether we are being led by feeble minded decision makers.

As you can read from the letter, I can be as disablist as the non-disabled person next door. But really, what you should notice is that language often contains words and phrases that can be disabling or offer us a less than positive image of people who have impairments. Of course, we cannot go to the extreme of banning all words in the English language that cause us the slightest offense. Indeed, the metaphoric uses of impairments to convey particular situations or states of mind tend to enrich the ways in which we express our thoughts. The problem is that most of the times impairment appears in a sentence, a negative quality is usually being invoked.

All the same, the use of disablist language will take long to change. However, this does not mean that change is impossible to achieve. A good example is the decline in the use of racist terms such as ‘nigger’ between the 1960s and 1970s. On the other hand, this exposes another issue related to books written in the past where such terms were acceptable and in the context of historical non-fiction/fiction.

What these two categories have in common is the issue of authenticity. Can you, for example, look through Mark Twain and sift out any racist terms in the new version? Can you write a historical account or work of fiction by avoiding the use of the words people of the time were comfortable with? That is a hard one to solve but I believe that in these cases, an authentic representation of history and how contemporary authors actually wrote is essential – provided that the reader can place the work in its own context or time. Imagine writing an account of the holocaust and excluding the words adopted by the Nazi propaganda machine. It would dilute the horrific events by a significant degree since the Nazi party’s war against its opposition was to dehumanise opponents and uphold the 3rd Reich through words and euphemism.

Indeed, at the time when disabled people were being gassed – followed by Jews, political opponents, homosexuals, etc – language was being used as a weapon of terror and power. Disabled people were ‘lives not living’, Jews ‘stole German jobs , political opponents were traitors, homosexuals were ‘impure’ and so on. The symbolic violence of words turned to real violence. This is the peril of being unaware of the impact disablist language can have – you need to distinguish between the metaphor and the person. And, at times, some words should be avoided altogether (such as feebl minded) because they are too toxic.

Yet, it’s not always that easy for some people to make a distinction between words and people. For example, I remember a few days ago hearing a monk on the radio asking his radio audience – do you want to live like the blind man who always blames others for his mistakes, and who believes he has all the answers? Yes, it was last month. Hopefully, he was referring to spiritual ‘blindness’ but it wasn’t clear if he was condemning sinners or blind people – or blind sinners.

Of course, going back to the disablist letter, I could have expressed the same thoughts without resorting to disablist language, like so:

Dear Editor,
I wish to state my dissatisfaction with the way the development board stubbornly went ahead with its plans. This, in spite of our protests which appear to have been ignored. As pointed out in our complaints, this development will serve to further congest traffic in our streets. I believe that the authorities should see that the project is stopped. I often wonder whether we are being led by incompetent decision makers.

So, there seems to be an alternative. Insulting in the right way...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aporia (3)

I feel that I must conclude this series of posts. Not that I have come to any conclusions on life and death. And I'm still not sure if I can be comfortable with the changes we're witnessing lately. The contradictions of modern Western civilization. It's an age where we insist on the protection of our rights and yet; the rights of others are often ignored or breached. We are happy to espouse the rhetoric of inclusion and equality but cringe when we have to apply these principles into practice.

May be we feel threatened by our differences as a human society, but that is no excuse to trample and even dehumanise people. This has happened in my case as a disabled person. And people still commit the same mistake of thinking that my body is a curse. That my life is a burden on my country. Words that are not spoken but often thought.

The same language of intolerance is invoked in the case of people having African descent. Those who denigrate these people do not admit to their racism but present themselves as patriots, defenders of our national cultural identity. Thus, contradicting the very same cultural principles of respect of other people coming from other cultural backgrounds. What is it - tell me, the cause of this vile intolerance to the other?

Don't they understand that we do not choose where we are born, whether we are male or female, whether we have an impairment, or that we are not always able to choose our life circumstances? Does it make sense to hate people because they are black? Because they happen to be Men or women? Or even because they are disabled? Yet, people do and will probably continue doing so.

Again, we forget that all of us must face death. That we all want to live a happy life. But, again, we may be afraid of change and remain attached to our inflexible worldviews where we know best, or to our desire to protect our 'identity'. Can I be angry at this reality? Would it solve anything?

What I know for sure is that, in view of death, life becomes precious and unique. Yet, it involves a degree of pain and suffering. But no real growth can take place if we are unwilling to face it. For we do not know what there is beyond this life. We don’t have all the answers. Can we afford to stop asking and wish for the ultimate unknown?

THE END

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Aporia [2]

I left you last time with a question that will probably haunt me to the end of my days: Why are we here then?

We are born to this world, naked and in need of care. We move on to our childhood, youth and adulthood, often believing we know all there was to know. Then we have to face old age, with the consequences this brings with it. Possibly disease... or the acquisition of impairment? Changes that cannot be stopped, or can they?

I must have felt like a young 'old' man in my childhood years. I usually got tired easily and mostly enjoyed sedentary activities. Yes, reading, writing and listening to music ... and yes, watching TV and playing on my computer too (!) ... Except for the last two, these were hardly the things boys my age enjoyed doing very much (and computers were still new to Malta at the time).

However, even if it may appear as a 'sad' childhood, the truth was that I was happy and I really liked my lifestyle then. And, in any case, it was the best way I could think of spending my time.

I know that this series of post entries appears to depart from the usual kind of writing on this blog. But it's good to have a change, isn't it?

Perhaps not. We have become too resistant to change. Some are resorting to cosmetic surgery to restore their youthful appearance. Others wish to have assisted suicide legalised because they cannot see themselves living with a progressive chronic condition or after acquiring an impairment. Our instinct is to feel secure and safe. And when we are left to live in the shadow of an unknown future, our fears get the better of us.

But all these alleged 'solutions', only serve to sustain a myth that we can control our bodies and whatever happens to us. A myth that can destroy lives and even close the doors to a future ahead. Instead of taking the time to understand ourselves, we tend to seek easy ways to escape or destroy the ‘problem’ of the uncharted course ahead. But in order to survive, we need to be open to life’s transitions. Embracing change is not about giving up to it but means accepting the facts of life.

It means accepting that life is often what we make of it and that we can only be in charge of our mind while not expecting the world to change to appease us. A person whose body remains forever young is a dead one. And even then, the body will decay.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aporia [1]

I'm concerned about my country. I am worried about the state of the world we live in. But in truth I have always been. Life? It's full of beautiful things, opportunities and even holds the chance of a better future. Yet, it's also full of suffering. Natural disasters, tsunamis, storms, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions... all things we cannot control. Such a contradiction our lives are. Suffering and pain, and then, peace and happiness. Our world, a home, and yet we must leave one day.

Yes, it may seem as a sad truth that we all have to die. But there's no life without death. Growth without decay. One is neither good or bad. But, of course, we remain concerned and anxious when we are reminded - either through the death of a loved one or through a terrible event - of this reality. I am being morbid perhaps, but then, isn't it a certainty we cannot avoid?

Admittedly, I have never stopped thinking about my own mortality since I was six years old. Mind you, it wasn't an obsession or anything and I did have a happy childhood. Yet, early experiences sometimes compel us to delve into issues that, to an outsider, might appear dark and unsettling.

At times when I found myself alone, with my telescope pointed at the night sky, I wondered at the vastness of a silent universe ... Was our life important, and really, was my life of value?

In the darkest hours of our lives, we are made aware of our vulnerability and our fragile natures. When considering the possibility of my own mortality, I wondered whether all the things priests said about heaven or hell were true. I knew that there were other stories that explained life. The Greek had the Underworld and the fields of Elysium. The Egyptians believed in the continuation of an Earthly life provided their bodies were mummified.

And why are we here then?

To be continued...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Horrors of Little Boy

On August 6th, 1945, the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. A simple enough statement but it doesn’t reveal the amount of destruction and devastation left on the many lives that were either lost or scarred forever. The mission in Hiroshima was hailed as a success. Three days after the attack on Hiroshima, the atom bomb, code named ‘little boy’, was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945. This effectively signalled the end of the conflict with Japan, bringing about Japan's unconditional surrender.

Many justifications for the use of ‘little boy’ have been put forward. The war had already been the cause of millions of fatalities, while the oppressive axis regimes had killed off millions more – a good number from their own people. However, the question whether the bomb was the only solution still haunts us to this day. For, whether we like to admit it or not, the people who were most affected by the bomb were innocent civilians going about their daily life.

Only those who were there can tell us what the bombings were like. How they were affected by the infernal landscape that was left. How they were burned by the sudden dose of heavy radiation. How it would affect their health, and their future generations. Only they can tell this story. Yet, it’s easy to judge those who approved such military action. But then again, was dropping the bomb worth it?

I don’t have the answers. If I had lived during the Second World War witnessing days and days of the same suffering, my ideas would have been different. All the same, such decisions reveal the horrifying nature of war which forces us to place survival over respect for other people’s lives. In other words, war dehumanizes us to the point we lose compassion for the other. Undoubtedly, Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have been avoided. But history is now what it is.

All we can do now is to remember those whose lives were lost or blemished following the bombings. And hope, even in our troubled times, that these events don’t happen again. Even if, in truth, most of these decisions are made by those who lead us.

MORE INFORMATION:
Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki