E. Messily writes: I recently partnered with a Montana nonprofit called Conservatory ASL Northwest to create a program called Montana Family ASL, designed to provide support, resources, encouragement, etc for families who have deaf children and are struggling to access sign language instruction & services. This program is a response to the pandemic, but even without a pandemic, Montana is a huge, rural state and many families are isolated in places without any nearby deaf communities.
The best way for a deaf child to acquire language is to have regular interactions with fluent signing adults and other children. But right now, and for some families always, this isn't feasible.
Montana Family ASL is a coaching program for parents and other caregivers (grandparents, older siblings, babysitters...). Families register, and we send them a box of toys and activities. Then we meet online, weekly, for 6 weeks, to do a crash course in How to Learn ASL Online and How to Support Your Child's ASL While You Learn It.
The pilot session, which is running right now, is going really well. Parents are enthusiastic, children are communicating more, families are having fun together, and young children are getting at least a greater-than-zero amount of language exposure. Look how cute!
We want to expand this program to more families and reach more rural families with deaf children- in Montana, and eventually wherever needed. We have several larger grants in process, but as we grow, individual donors are holding the program together. I/we/everyone would be extremely grateful for your support!
Conservatory ASL Northwest is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and donations are tax-deductible. (The federal ID number is 83-3489128). Online donations can be made through our Facebook page or on the website, or make checks out to Conservatory ASL Northwest (MTFASL) and send them to
Conservatory ASL Northwest
1513 2nd Ave N
Great Falls, MT 59401
Thank you so much!
Heebie's take: Done!
This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Back in 1992, there were seven strangers picked to live in a house, and I was 14 years old and intensely interested to find out what happened when they stopped being friends...and started being real.
Then 29 years passed and those people - who I have surprisingly individual memories of - are having a reunion. The trailer at the link provides the exact right amount of information to satisfy my curiosity of what became of them.
I remember when Facebook came out, my feeling was that it was CliffsNotes for high school reunions. It seemed to provide the exact right amount of update for people that I knew - what they look like, roughly how they spend their time. It was exactly what I might have gone to a high school reunion to find out. I enjoy these sorts of mini-epilogues to people, especially without actually having to talk to the people.
I was jogging today, and tripped on the edge of some cement, and went down hard on my knee and elbow, with enough momentum that I kept tumbling and had that disoriented "So now I'm sprawled on my side?" sense of self.
I have reasonable balance and coordination, and I am the biggest pansy about anything faintly physically risky, which means I haven't eaten it hard like that, or really had much in the way of unexpected injuries, as an adult. (It probably helps that I'm almost never trying to get around on icy sidewalks, as well.) I tend more towards the dorky overuse injuries and disuse injuries. Ie "Ow, my shoulders caved in as I slumped over my computer and decomposed too fully."
Anyway: it's really impressive how hard one can fall. That is my point here, that when adults fall, they can really carry a lot of force and do a lot of damage. I appreciate this very tangibly right now.
(I'm not actually hurt. I bruised my elbow in a way that traveled down my fingers, and I iced it for a while, and that helped quite a lot. I mostly just ruminate on my injuries like a tender butterfly.)
So I guess we're all contractually obligated to post something reflecting the year anniversary of the shit hitting the fan?
When it comes to vaccines, I know the modus operandi around here is to feel that shots-in-arms is the most important thing, and not to become overly petty about who gets them in which order. But in practice, I find myself getting exactly overly petty, as I hear more and more stories of UMC people who I know in real life to have stay-at-home accommodations and no extra health considerations, and yet are jumping ahead in line to get their vaccine.
Also at the moment, I'm super angry that Abbott killed the mask mandate (and reopened everything fully). I don't understand why the obvious answer isn't for him to open up all the businesses 100% and yet keep masks in place. Like, how is that not in his own best interests? I'm very worried that the next announcement will be that schools can't require masks, either.
Matty Y. takes on the excesses of lefty race ideology. I appreciate what he's doing here. The Okun and Jones thing he mentions was being passed around at work, and I felt like I had to push back Very Carefully, which is fine, but I appreciate that he's trying to open up some space so that pushing back doesn't automatically get your racist ass damned to hell. But revolutions are hard to stop.
I'm curious, do y'all run into any of this in your own lives?
I think this is interesting: for states looking to gerrymander their districts for the next ten years, it's not obvious which voter data to use.
Traditionally, state legislators and political mapmakers rely heavily on recent election results for clues about how communities will vote in the future -- baselines they use to gerrymander advantageous districts for their party. But the whiplash in Trump-era elections make drawing conclusions from those results more complicated this year. And both parties' strategists know that if they make bad bets, drawing districts based on elections that were driven more by Trump's singular personality than by trends that will persist until 2030, those mistakes could swing control of the House against them over the next decade.
In other words, the partisan breakdown in 2020 with Trump on the ballot is really different than 2018 without Trump on the ballot. So do you rig things for off-years, like 2022, without Trump, or do you assume things will go forward like the presidential election? It is very tempting for me to fatalistically conclude that since the gerrymandering from the last census was so wildly successful, it's a fait accompli that it will be exacerbated with precision. But life is generally a mess. I should remember that.
(Also, may we take a tiny moment to enjoy the circular firing squad of Trump setting up a revenge-PAC to take down his Republican enemies?)
I guess we could talk about this mess at Smith? This is the resignation letter by the employee who made a bunch of videos (that you could not pay me enough money to watch) exposing the anti-white racism at Smith.
For example, in August 2018, just days before I was to present a library orientation program into which I had poured a tremendous amount of time and effort, and which had previously been approved by my supervisors, I was told that I could not proceed with the planned program. Because it was going to be done in rap form and "because you are white," as my supervisor told me, that could be viewed as "cultural appropriation." My supervisor made clear he did not object to a rap in general, nor to the idea of using music to convey orientation information to students. The problem was my skin color.
One of the songs that gets stuck, tic-like, in my head and then I riff on it relentlessly is a Library Rap that the kids get shown in school, which starts "Hey! My name is Melville Dewey! Nice to meetcha, how you doing! If you need info, you know where to go, go to the library!"
So this is what I'm imagining of Shaw. Anyway, Smith's president responds. The whole thing is just exhausting to contemplate.