“Now Therefore Be It Resolved…”

S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting

Every year as I attend the National and various state conventions of the National Federation of the Blind I hear these words within each resolution that the organization considers. Around this time of year, I, like you, hear various discussions about those dreaded New Years resolutions. Dreaded because, as so many remind us, most resolutions will be made on one day with all the fervor and passion we have within us and, as soon as the new year begins, we shall fail to carry out a single one.

Why is that. Many pundits will tell us their own views on this question. Lots of them, many motivation experts, psychologists and others will even have correct answers as to why we do not follow through on our commitments. So yes, here I am with my observations which I hope will help and enlighten you a bit. I am sure much of what I will say may be familiar, but hopefully I will present my thoughts in a way that may stick with some of you more than what you have heard before. Besides, I have some challenges for you which I will present later.

I think the answer begins with a real incentive or lack of it. So, you make a resolution, but why should you carry it out? Where is the substantive motivation that would drive you to follow through? Most people have lofty goals like those I heard on New Years eve when Karen and I went to dinner at our local country club. We go there every year because we can walk to the club from our house and thus we don’t have to drive. After dinner a DJ set up ready to help us dance the night away, but first he went around the room and asked each person to tell their resolutions. I heard the usual things like “I am going to have a better life”, “I am going to lose weight”, “I’m going to make more friends” and my favorite “I am going to make 2020 better than 2019”. No way any of these resolutions will last. Do you know why?

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Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings – Michael Hingson and Roselle

I am a collector of classic radio shows from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.  If you are not familiar with the genre, it’s the entertainment that was in wide use before the invention of television.  Old-time radio is especially fun because it forces you to use your imagination unlike television which usually spells out everything.  I also enjoy old movies, especially at Christmas time.

Last week I listened to a radio dramatization of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” inspiring me to seek out the movie version.  In one scene, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney cannot sleep and find themselves alone together in the middle of the night talking about their reasons why they aren’t sleeping. Bing tells Rosemary that his way to fall asleep is to count his blessings instead of sheep, and then as happens in these movies he sings a song to her entitled “Count your Blessings.”

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Lessons of September 11, 2001

michael and roselle hugging
Michael Hingson and Roselle – Remember

We are about to observe the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center, the pentagon and the thwarted attack resulting in an aircraft crash in Shanksville Pennsylvania. Today I had my first phone interview about my experiences from that day with Mike Ramsey, news director of KFMO Radio. You may hear the interview here,

I have been thinking a lot this year about that day and possibly more than usual I have been pondering what lessons we should take away from the events of September 11, 2001. I speak often about the takeaway lessons from 18 years ago, and I want to share some of my thoughts with you.

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The Right To Live In The World

Businessman putting a card with text Job offer in the pocket
Businessman putting a card with text Job offer in the pocket

Today I received a notice that I was tagged in a Facebook post from @bettyFord concerning a job posting for the @UniversityArkansas. The job is entitled Access Coordinator. The job description in part says, “The Access Coordinator will facilitate access to the academic programs, services, activities, and facilities of the institution for students with disabilities.”

This job sounds innocuous enough. The university wants someone to help, in various ways, to provide and coordinate services for students with disabilities throughout the university. However, if one reads further in the job description they would find this: “Employee is required to have close visual acuity to perform an activity such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing a computer terminal; extensive reading; and/or visual inspection at distances close to the eyes.”.

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2019 National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind Review

NFB Logo
NFB Logo

I want to reach out and tell you of my experiences at the recent 2019 National convention of the National Federation of the Blind. For me it was a great opportunity to again be part of the @Aira experience and to be with over 3,300 blind people to discuss the issues facing blind and low vision people today.

I had the chance to catch up with many friends and colleagues. One of my relatively new favorite friends is @EricBurton. I met Eric last year through Aira. For years, after losing his eyesight Eric sat on a couch believing that his life was a thing of the past. When he discovered #Aira everything changed.

It is a beautiful thing to see Eric blossom and evolve into a productive and quite incredible testimony to the fact that, as Mark Riccobono the president of the National Federation of the Blind says, “Blindness is not what holds you back”.  Check out Eric’s web site at http://www.elburton.com. He is an inspiration to us all.

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Aira Three Million Minute Milestone Celebration – March Madness

Dear Friends & Family of Aira,

michael hingson wearing Aira glasses

In celebration of our three million-minute milestone, we’re running a promotion where you can get three months of Aira absolutely free. This is an exclusive offer for new users, and Friends & Family of Aira (that’s you!). Sign up for the Intro Plan today, pay for the first month, and we’ll cover the cost of the next three consecutive months.

That’s $29 for four months of on-demand access to our certified agents.

To sign up using this promo, call our toll free number at 1-800-835-1934 and make sure you mention “March Madness”. But you better be quick, we’re only running this offer until March 31, 2019! This offer is only valid if you have a free Aira account and have never paid for a monthly plan before.

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Blind Americans Protest Refusal of Entertainment Industry to Cast Them

Baltimore, Maryland (March 12, 2019): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, issued the following statement today from its President, Mark Riccobono, regarding the portrayal of blind characters and specifically the forthcoming CW television series “In the Dark”:

“The entertainment industry has produced dozens of movies and TV shows portraying blind characters, usually offensively or inaccurately, and not even one of them has featured a blind actor in a recurring lead role. If blind people are included, they play supporting roles, and sometimes there is a single blind writer or consultant. If organizations like the National Federation of the Blind are consulted at all, the consultation occurs after production, and the producers seek validation rather than collaboration. The forthcoming midseason replacement series ‘In the Dark’ is no different. Its producers sought to justify their exclusion of a blind actor from the leading role in a session full of excuses at a recent conference.

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It’s Louis Braille Birthday Today!

Louis Braille Birthday
Louis Braille Birthday

HAPPY JANUARY 4th! Today represents the birth of one of the most amazing and monumental inventors in modern history. The invention of this individual single-handedly has made a positive difference in the lives of tens of millions of people around the world.

You are probably wondering, who is this guy talking about? I can’t think of anybody famous born this day. Whether you know who I’m talking about or not, today really is an important, life-changing day for many people.

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Do More Foundation

Do More Foundation Logo

A Further Way Aira is beginning to work to address the issue of the cost of its service comes through the formation of a nonprofit organization called the Do More foundation. Recently I have been asked to accept the position of donor relations within the foundation to help it secure funding. Our initial effort will be to secure funds to help cities and other public facilities establish Aira access within their borders. It would be great, for example, if any blind person could go visit any city public building and travel independently to any office with Aira and not have to pay for the service because the service was subsidized by the city with the help of the Do More foundation. How about visiting public libraries? How about visiting city parks or even going to the county fair and having full access to Aira? These are all the immediate kinds of things we will be working to make happen with the help of the foundation. You can learn more about the foundation by visiting http://domore.io. Continue reading

Aira & Aira Access

Aira
 
I am saving the best new open window for last. In March 2015 I received an email from Larry Bock, a gentleman who said that he was representing a company called Aira tech Corp. As he explained it, Aira was a new company that had developed a unique and innovative product for blind people. The product consisted of smart glasses with a high resolution live streaming camera built into them, an app that would run on any smart phone and live agents around the country. Continue reading