A Room of Her Own: Another NonProfit that Bit the Dust or Sold Out

Have you heard of A Room of Her Own? If you are a writer, I bet you have! This is a nonprofit organization that once held retreats for women. They held them almost year-round and that I know, these retreats were free for participants, that is free room and board and workshops were also free.

I recall seeing the application, which stated that to be selected you had to send in samples by a particular deadline. They chose both experienced a less experienced writers. I knew people who had been to AROHO. You could stay there for varying amounts of time, the application stated. I almost applied.

I think they lost their funding, maybe after 2013, but I am not sure exactly what happened. Now it seems they’ve rationalized away their new “online” format claiming it is “better.” However, it doesn’t seem much better to me.

Now, they claim, they are “all inclusive.” They urge anyone to join. Anyone? Can any spammer and advertiser join, too? They also claim they “personalize” their responses, but they actually send members an auto-generated form letter (and say so). They also publish an “anthology” containing “hundreds” of members’ works.

Have you ever been published in an anthology among “hundreds” of authors? You probably get my point.

What happened to this great nonprofit? Is it the same thing that happens to so many of them? A nose dive airy fairy empty promises and meaningless idealism.

Association bias: What happens when an administrator gets in trouble?

Here is the article I am discussing:

http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-br-montville-school-administrators-fight-club-state-police-arrest-20180419-story.html

Do you hear the biases in some of the statements made by coworkers of the administrators who are under arrest? “I’ve known him for years. This is unbelievable…” etc. We know the person. “Such a nice guy.” Or, perhaps, “He’s just like me.”

Many people don’t like hearing that someone who doesn’t fit the “criminal” profile actually is a crook. It jars many people to the core because it goes against everything they’ve been taught. They learned that crooks “look” bad, they talk bad, they act bad, they take drugs and talk back to cops. They are gang members who keep night hours and talk in secret code, and whenever we see them, the entire scene before us, including the ground or floor underneath, is slanted sideways.  While of course it’s a camera trick to scare us, we wonder how their stolen money, coins and all, doesn’t go flying off their tables as they count it, while they cackle through the night. Let’s not forget, too, that in their closets they keep a stash of Kryptonite. Just in case.

Now those are the “bad guys.” Certainly not an assistant principal. Of course not. A teacher or admin could not possibly do wrong. They are The Authority.

Apparently this was at the heart of the problem. From the looks of things this sub was getting away with this for a very long time before anything was done. It looks like they knew. Firing him and shoving it under the rug was not okay. Something more needed to be done. Why the silence?

What do you guys think? Looks like they were covering each others’ butts at the expense of the children they were pretending to protect.

 

Dear Boston Globe, Quit Splitting

Dear Boston Globe, Okay, someone killed a cop. A guy with a criminal history killed a cop. And now you are making like the guy was the Devil and the cop was no less than Jesus himself. Who is guilty of black-and-white thinking here? I am not trying to be disrespectful of the cop who died. I’m just trying to make shades of gray here because life is not all good or all bad. A cop usually does his job, or we hope so, but cops are not picture-perfect angels on high. They’re human. A person who kills a cop is also human.

Now the Globe states that the guy that killed the cop “chose” his life of violence. I wonder why the Globe says this since I can’t see anywhere that Globe journalists can read people’s minds.

I can’t imagine that Lantanowich had anything but a crappy life, a terrible childhood, and maybe a very tough adolescence also. Maybe he was driven to violence. Maybe he saw no other solution. Maybe he would have had a chance, but no one gave him that chance. Maybe he asked for compassion and understanding, but no one was there. Maybe he was called delinquent from day one. Some people never have a chance.  The Globe doesn’t know, and we don’t know, either, do we?

I didn’t even read the Globe article because I couldn’t stand reading the preview. All those years we patients were accused over and over of “splitting.” The black-and-white thinking we displayed was created by none other than the System itself. We can all do ourselves a favor and get the hell away from the System, and end the brainwashing once and for all. The last thing I want to see is something like this. No, there are no angels, no devils.

 

RIP David Buckel. Is his point as lost on you as it is on me?

I suppose you folks heard about David Buckel, the attorney who worked tirelessly for Lamda Legal for gay marriage. He was seen as a hero in that respect. After he won many important cases, he went on to work for the environment, tackling fossil fuel pollution. Looks like last week he set himself on fire and killed himself. He did this as an act of protest. Apparently he felt ineffective trying to stop Big Oil, like what he and others were doing was simply not enough, that the world was not changing fast enough.

We activists know the frustration very well. I ask…Is this a reason to kill yourself? Really?

I believe he thought that killing himself was going to make a splash. A huge statement. Have you ever felt that by dying you would make a huge splash and people would finally, finally hear you? Yep, I bet you’ve been there, perhaps in another context, but maybe. Maybe when you were an adolescent you felt unheard, and you felt that you’d be noticed more at your funeral! “Oh, that’s who she was! Gee, that’s so sad….” Pathetic, I know, but people love it when we die.

Humans love a gory death scene. We writers know this too, so we usually include one of those, that and a sex scene thrown in because death and sex sell books. We ensure to add an extra dispensable character so that we have one that we can now kill off by the end of the book! We make sure to draw out these deaths in proper torturous manner with all the ugly gore to excite any reader.

Now writers know that death attracts attention. Journalists know this, too, so if there’s a traffic accident, they’ll put that one up on the front page. Alert! Alert! FATAL accident….And that’ll  get them a lot of clicks. Everyone wants to read about who, exactly, croaked. Fascinating.

Buckel knew this damn well. What fool burned himself to death. So he knew what he was doing. Did he get his point across? I am not sure if he succeeded in that.

When I felt ineffective in my life, I don’t remember being a highly effective attorney, nor, in fact, a highly effective anything. I don’t remember, at that moment, succeeding at anything. I remember I couldn’t get anyone to hear me out over anything. I couldn’t get anyone to pick up the phone even. I had no one to talk to. I think that right then, that my death most likely would have screamed louder than my life was screaming, at that time. What I didn’t consider was that things could possibly change.

I don’t honestly know if Buckel’s parting message will stick around. I suspect what will happen will be that we’ll remember his life as an attorney and remember him setting himself on fire and just shake our heads and not want to think about that too much. We shall see.

Uh oh…Is a blood test for depression on the horizon?

I saw in my email today that there is now a blood test for depression. Oh and you’d better ask your doc about it! How about just asking yourself if you’re depressed, since you might get a more accurate answer…..

I went and investigated. I don’t think we have much to worry about. One is “on the way.” “We might have a blood test.” And the usual…”Blood tests are used to rule out real diseases!”

So there you have it. If you have hypothyroidism, you can find out with a blood test. If you have kidney disease, a blood test will show you that, too, or if you have anemia that might show up. I hope you are not diabetic. You might be a mess if you have all of that at once, plus vitamin deficiencies, liver disease, and hypoglycemia. What else shall we add to the mix? Go out and have a few drinks before you see the doc to make it interesting at least. Hope he can find a vein. If he can’t, go home and drink some more, then go back and tell him how depressed you are. That might answer the depression question so much easier without a complicated blood test.

I flagged reviews on Glassdoor

I received two similar-looking job offers via email. I knew the first was bogus so I ignored it. The second came a few weeks later, yesterday, in fact. This is how I knew it was either a scam job or an outfit trying to steal information from people that poses as employment:

First of all, the email address was not person@company.com. It was not a corporate email account. The email contained conjugation errors and the general sloppiness you might see as if it were written by a non-native English-speaker. The name of the person sounded Indian or possibly another country near there, which doesn’t mean anything. However, this was supposedly a form letter. You’d figure if the company was US-based they’d have the means to proofread their form letters. I didn’t have much reason to trace the IP since I had enough evidence already that this was fraudulent. The salary appeared to be overblown as were the supposed “benefits.” The email stated that this was a remote customer service position.

This time, since I was fed up, I decided to look up the company on one of those review sites. The popular ones are Indeed and Glassdoor. I believe I found the company on Glassdoor. I was surprised they were listed at all. Not only that but there were over 50 reviews. They had an average of five stars!

I started reading. I realized almost right away that these reviews were fraudulent. All of them. No cons? That’s right, no cons. No complaints, this is the ideal job. Oddly, not one contained specifics about the job. “Great company culture.” “Great place to learn.” Yep, as far as I could read, they were all faked.

Some even had the typical errors that a person might make if their native language isn’t English. I flagged one of these reviews (no point in flagging all of them!) and sent a message to Glassdoor.

I stated that as a person who had been caught in an employment scam, I don’t want to see others scammed as I was. I pointed out why I believed these were faked reviews and the suspicious-looking email I received.

After I clicked OK or SEND (whichever) I got an auto-response stating that they would get back to me in a few days.

Eyeglasses as Disability Metaphor

In the United States, if your eyeglasses properly correct your vision, you are not legally blind. This is spelled out in the USA definition of what blindness is. I remember years ago I knew folks who were “vain” and refused to wear eyeglasses because they believed their eyeglasses impaired their good looks. Still, even though they were unable to see very well when they were flashing around their pretty faces, they were not legally blind under the USA definition of blindness by any means. Did you know anyone like that? Bet you did. I knew older folks, too, both men and women, who resisted getting reading glasses, delayed this for a long time, mainly because their jobs or lifestyles did not require much reading. They could still drive and still function fine. They raised kids, socialized, did all sorts of things.

Now when it came to driving, what happened? Those vain folks had to wear glasses when they took the eye test. If they were wise, they wore their glasses while driving. They knew if they did not, there very well could be consequences since there would be a notation on their license, “Requires corrective lenses.” They knew.

I know of incidents where people got caught not wearing them. Generally this occurred when they were stopped for other reasons and the cop saw them with no glasses on nor contact lenses. Yes, you could get fined. You could even have your license suspended.

Wearing glasses is an accommodation for what would be a disability for many people. If we did not have eyeglasses, many of us would be stuck seeing a blurry world. Eyeglasses are known to be extremely safe for the user, and if prescribed correctly, also an effective  and time-tested treatment. Eyeglasses have to be checked periodically, and sometimes, updated. This could be costly. Getting an exam and replacement glasses may, or may not, be covered by “insurance.” Therefore, eyeglasses sometimes become an economic issue as well as an accommodation for a possible disability.

Blindness, as defined in the United States, that I know of, has been defined both by the Commission for the Blind and by the ADA and is covered in policies set by the Commission and more recently, set by the ADA.

What happens if you cannot afford glasses? This is a widespread issue among people on public assistance. I believe it is far more of an issue than the government is aware of. What happens is that people then become disabled by poverty. However, they very well most likely do not fit the ADA nor Commission’s definitions of blindness. But I ask….Can you see?

I’m not the only poor person who cannot see. Years ago, my issue was inability to afford glasses more than the cataracts. Replacing my glasses, at the time, would have improved my life tremendously, but I didn’t have the money to do this. This was in fact a disability under the United Nations, since poverty alone restricted my ability to obtain the necessary accommodation. Poverty is not a disability under the ADA. I have since discovered also that Eyes For the Needy does not always cover eyeglasses over -10 diopters.

To illustrate how poverty influenced my life, at one point, my eyeglasses frames were falling apart but I was forced to continue wearing them. The lenses were so badly scratched that no one could see through them. After that, due to insurance non-coverage, I was forced to wear eyeglasses that were the incorrect strength by a number of diopters. I could not see and everything was blurry. I wore these to the job I was fired from. I could not get them replaced in time.

I had a pair of glasses that were close to the right strength but alas, because they were so cheaply made, the lenses would not stay in and continued to pop out.

All of this was due to economics. I challenge anyone to define it as disability under the ADA. However, by all means, under UN definition, poverty, for me, meant I was unable to acquire the accommodation I needed.

As of now I am still unsure if a cataract operation is going to be covered.  Medicare told me their insane and confusing policy that you get the surgery, and THEN they tell you the good, or bad, news. They change these policies also. I am very scared to get one…or rather….two.

Flu bug just won’t go away

It is warm out and I am shivering cold. I was out with Puzzle and I saw many others enjoying the warm day. I felt embarrassed to have to wear winter gloves. I was still chilled. I came back in quickly and have now raised the heat insanely high. Good thing I do not have “stingy landlord.” Or like the place I had before, when I ended up depending on the neighbors to decide when the heat would be on…or off. I hope that opening the windows helps a little. The fever seems to be back but it is not bad and I have many wads of tissues sitting here on my desk and more wads right by my bed from last night.

As patients we were sometimes even denied tissues. I remember that. Or if we asked for them we got called “crybabies.” We never got to ask for more heat. Forget that. We might get a blanket, with the insulting questioning, “Are you going to harm yourself with it?” (no, I am FREEZING!) but if we complained we were told we were “disordered.” “You want a blanket? That’s Ed talking.”

Another way to say, “Hey, the unit has run out of blankets.” Why were they never honest and always blamed some fictional Devil-character instead?

There is nothing like cuddling up with my dog. Nothing. We wrap ourselves in one big quilted blanket from Goodwill and stay that way for a while.

More bad advice

Here is some really bad advice by yet one more naive and ignorant person. I can’t believe CreditCards.com published this.

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/sally-herigstad-disabled-broke-owes-credit-cards-1294.php

I can’t comment because doing so requires a Facebook account.

If you earn money on the side, you have to report your income. If you work full-time it’s very serious if you don’t report. If you get caught (many do) you can get nailed for disability fraud. This is a criminal offense.

If you report, you will likely lose part of your benefits including SSI and any medical insurance you had. The commenters are right that anyone genuinely disabled does require medical care. Where’s that supposed to come from? I know a few people who had to buy crutches and wheelchairs off of Craigslist. Truth is, if you are severely mobility-affected you actually have to be fitted for a wheelchair. They are custom made. Some people need surgery, too.

And also, if you can indeed work full-time since when are you LEGALLY disabled? Get off of the payments altogether! But I suspect the writer of this article has no clue. She thinks that “typing” will get you a job. Nope. If that was true I would be very wealthy. What century does she live in?

I do know a few who work part-time, at high-paying jobs that they could easily support themselves on, and still collect payments. I kinda don’t get that. I suspect they identify as disabled just for the extra 600 a month “bonus money.” Yes, it stinks. It stinks for the rest of us who can’t find work.