Wednesday, April 26, 2006

msb-0016 Safety first.

Feedback goes first so:

Thank you Christina. Like you say: "I have MS. It doesn't have me."

I am reading your blog right now. Its a "clock sponge."

I'll take your comment about well written blogs as a high compliment indeed.

Yours' certainly is. "Poésie" is a state of soul. Your writings may not be poetry but they certainly are "de la poésie".

Safe journey.


As I stumble around my condo, I am reminded of "Elmer the Safety Elephant."

Many of the hazards we face are of our own making.

Not finding a way to integrate safety into our decor is our own fault.

I'm not talking about those ugly wall mounted knurled aluminium poles and bars which we can find in almost any hospital toilet, but any kind of architectural element which can serve to steady a person with uncertain gait.

I'm reminded of the chair rails which ran around my old house on Melrose street in Montreal.

They divided the wall horizontally at chair back height and had lots of sections vertically.

I'm remembering them because, while they had been a pain in the butt to wall paper, in between all those vertical risers that weren't the width of the rolls we were hanging and required a lot of careful cutting and trimming, they would have been great to have along the walls of the condo over here.

A smooth, unified drywall has two big disadvantages:
  • One, they're so smooth there is no place to hold onto for support.
  • Two, they get finger and hand prints, so you hate to touch them.
My door jambs require frequent cleaning because unsteadiness is an inevitable effect of MS.

Its hard to remain perfectly vertical.

It takes coordination that we usually lose as the disease progresses, along with our ability to maintain our balance.

Its rarely an inner ear problem. It is instead a matter of coordinating all of our muscles to act in concert to maintain our upright bipedal gait as we try to move ourselves from one spot to another.

We can thank the Bahaus school of design for introducing these, uh, innovations to North America in the 1920s and '30s.

We can further thank the American home builders for seizing on the cost reductions, so quickly that its now rare to find an appartment without such spare decoration.

Bare walls were turned into a selling point; they became a feature instead of a detraction.

They certainly came into vogue after the second world war, when there was such a rush to build up the suburbs, to get everybody driving, and to move everybody out of the 'dirty, grimy cities' and out onto their own ranch-type-style tract houses.

Robert Moses was king. He built the city and the suburbs of New York city, destroying great swathes of it for highways and paving it all as he went.

And his example was followed by Moses' wannnabees in all metroplitan centers across the planet.

Downtown Kansas City, Misouri was practically deserted when I lived there; with skyscrapers built in the thirties standing empty in the center of town. Empty!

When I wanted to go shopping, I had to rent a car and drive miles to the malls.

What's good for GM is good for the country; right?

Never mind that there have been countless plays, movies, songs and psychology books written about how bad an idea it was to rip the trolley tracks, like they literally did in LA, and go quietly nuts in the 'burbs.

Just drop another of mother's little helpers, drive off the the mall in a land boat and consume your way to happiness.

Now that oil is hovering around the seventy dollar a barrel mark since we're having to compete with the rest of the world for every drop; every car is too big, too gas guzzling; every commute is too far, too long.

And every innovation in communication technology is making such senseless, restless motion all the more unnecessary.

We're now faced with having to abandon the suburbs; because we've gotten older, or maybe just wiser, and the effort of maintaining the suburban lifestyle, with its alienation, its loneliness and its remoteness, just isn't worth the commute.

I love living cheek by jowl with Manhattan, New York City.

Around Journal Square or downtown in Jersey City are nice places to live, work and play. Its only improving as people rediscover it.

By the time the new World Trade Center tower is standing, it should be great.


I've got to come up with a closer, a way to separate the content from the ads that will follow the show (I told you some thing was happening ... and I'm working out something with the National MS Society to put "pro-bono" ads their national events and updates at the end of these shows.

I've got to do some smooth talking to figure out a way to run regional ads in a way that doesn't break the non-existent budget.)

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