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Archives for August 2005

Disability news - in Russian!

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Wednesday, 31 August 2005

Today on the site, we've been doing our bit for foreign relations by publishing one of our ever-popular Ouch Top Tens - this one lists ten words meaning 'disability' in other languages. So it seems somehow wrong to be posting an entry all about foreign news stories being badly translated into terrible English. However, my argument is that it's funny!!!

The latest target of our amusement is the Russian news service Pravda. One of their current top stories is the incredibly inspiring Disabled sportsman flies an aircraft:

"32-year-old Sergey Burlakov from Taganrog, Russia, is the first man with no arms and no legs who navigated the aircraft . . . However, the word disabled seems inappropriate referred to this man. After losing legs and hands in the car accident Sergey managed to get back to the life at the fullest . . . When about in the middle of the distance he had to change bandages soaked in blood, a woman that was watching the event fainted."

And so it goes on. And on and on. If you want to read more, check out a previous Pravda report on Sergey Burlakov under the equally fantastic headline: Disabled with no Legs and Arms Becomes Man of Planet.

Further back in Pravda's extensive disability archives, you can find this even more unintentionally humorous story: Disabled boy becomes Belarus 100 meter champion:

"A woman from a Russian provincial town delivered a disabled baby-boy because of doctors' mistake. Specialists advised the child should be sent to a special school for hopeless children. The woman declined the offer and made her son a sports champion."

A school for hopeless children?! At least we just call them 'special' schools.

Of course, these stories have probably - well, hopefully - been translated by computer, rather than by a human. And it is wrong to laugh at bad English from abroad, really it is. So a big friendly British hello - and a heartfelt apology - to any Russian Ouch readers out there. *cough*

Blunkett TV drama row

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2005

Channel 4 will be happy that their new satire on the David Blunkett and Kimberly Quinn love affair is making headlines today.

Called A Very Social Secretary, it's due to air as part of the first night of programmes on their new digital spin-off channel, More4, on Monday 10 October.



Bernard Hill as David Blunkett in 'A Very Social Secretary'

Bernard Hill, perhaps best known as Yosser 'gizza job' Hughes from Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Blackstuff (1980), plays the former Home Secretary David Blunkett - the man who very publically proved that blind people can shag, embarrass themselves over a woman, have a child and also screw their lives up just like everyone else. Um, nice one, bruv.

According to mediaguardian.co.uk this afternoon, Blunkett is none too happy about this drama. It says that Blunkett's lawyers have written to the broadcaster, warning that he may take them to court to stop them showing it.



Robert Lindsay as Tony Blair, with Bernard Hill as David Blunkett, in 'A Very Social Secretary'

Though clearly the drama will add to the embarrassment Blunkett has been dealt by the media, he is reportedly concerned about the right to privacy of the child at the centre of the 2004 scandal. When Toby Young and Lloyd Evans' play Who's The Daddy? premiered on the London stage last month, Blunkett's lawyers threatened to halt the play for similar reasons, as it too contained material about the Blunkett/Quinn affair and reported lovechild.

Blunkett is said to have had a telephone conversation with Channel 4 chief Andy Duncan seeking reassurances about the drama's content.

More4 is a channel aimed at over 35s; will air a diet of documentaries, news content, comment, drama and film.

Another pot shot at the politician is due on the London stage soon, in the form of Blunkett: The Musical. The former Home Secretary, resurrected as Work and Pensions Secretary, must be worried that this new wave of public ridicule could again harm his career and hurl water at his post-election return to public life.

Headline of the day

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2005

Flicking through the headlines this morning via Google News, a headline caught my eye which, in six short words, demonstrated both the dreadful puns and the overwhelming sense of pity that are all too often associated with stories concerning disability. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The quiet tragedy of going deaf.

I'm feeling in the mood for some awful, awful disability headlines. If you've spotted any, stick 'em in the comments. Come on, let's all groan together.

Want to be lent out by the 'Living Library'?

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 25 August 2005

So I found this link to a story on The Register entitled Swedish library lends out gay Muslim gypsy, which reports that a public library in Malmo has "taken an unusual step to combat peoples' preconceptions about Muslims, homosexuals, gypsies, animals rights activists" by, um, letting library users 'borrow' real people from those groups for a 45-minute chat in the building's café. A spokesman explained the 'Living Library' project in the following way:

"The Living Library project will enable people to come face-to-face with their prejudices in the hopes of altering their preconceived notions. You sometimes hear people's prejudices and you realise that they are just uninformed."

Which, y'know, is very true, isn't it? As disabled people, we can probably appreciate this more than most.

And then Crippled Monkey got to thinking (which is always a bad idea, frankly). What if a similar project was launched here, and disabled people - as a group that still experiences prejudice and is still misunderstood - were involved? Would you agree to be 'lent out' by a library, and spend three-quarters of an hour in a stranger's company in order to enlighten them about disability? And would that be long enough to explain the Social Model?

I'm not sure. I'm really not sure. I mean, obviously if they paid for the coffees and bought me a couple of nice doughnuts, I'd be tempted. Very tempted, in fact. But what if they 'borrowed' me for 50 minutes or an hour? Which one of us would be charged overdue fees when I was returned to the shelves? And (really worried now), would the librarian insist on stamping me on the forehead every time I was lent out?

I'm thinking about this a little too much, aren't I?

Voices: BSL in the UK

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Vaughan | 00:00 UK time, Wednesday, 24 August 2005

Have you caught any of the trails for the BBC's Voices season? This is a selection of TV and radio programmes running throughout August, presenting a snapshot of the ways we all speak across the British Isles in the early 21st century.



BBC Voices logo

But what about another important language community in the UK: British Sign Language users? Just as with any language, there are considerable regional differences in BSL - and Voices want to know which signs you use.

If you are a regular BSL user, this is your chance to help us increase what is known about BSL variation across the UK by telling us which signs you use or know. Register to take part in the survey by visiting the Language Lab on the Voices website.

Plus, once you've completed the interactive survey, you can read more about the history of BSL and how it's used today on the site's Multilingual Nation pages.

Disabled pet saved!

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Wednesday, 24 August 2005

I know you won't believe me, but I really have been trying to keep my slightly unhealthy addiction to stories about disablet pets under some sort of control - despite the evidence scattered throughout this blog which suggests otherwise. Here, here and here, for instance.

But then I happened to click on the website for Wakefield Today and saw the headline Missing dog found trapped in a ditch. The report tells the heartwarming story of Eddie, a 15-year-old bearded collie-poodle cross breed, who spent a night trapped in a five foot-deep ditch after getting lost. Eddie is deaf and blind following a stroke, and despite his advancing years he obviously wanted to go off exploring. His owner said: "He used to be a bit of a Houdini, escaping all the time, but we thought those days were over and done with".

Crippled Monkey is getting quite emotional. This weblog ain't just all about cynical commentary, y'know. This monkey has a heart too, especially when it comes to fellow members of the animal kingdom. *Sniff*

"Get outta my parking bay!"

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Tuesday, 23 August 2005

And now, part 3,728 in our occasional look at how other countries deal with the problem of non-disabled people illegally parking their cars in disabled bays. All together now: "Grrr!"

In South Africa, they've come up with a sticker scheme at a shopping mall in Pietermaritzburg. The stickers, which will be pasted on the windscreens of repeat offenders, will read: "I park in paraplegic parking bays because I am selfish!" (Monkey can think of other phrases to possibly use, but I suppose they've got to keep it decent and non-sweary, haven't they?) And just in case you're thinking that this all sounds a bit lenient, don't worry - the car's wheels will already have been clamped, and the clamps are only removed once the owner has paid a fine of 500 Rand.

In fact, the only downside about this is the fine itself - 500 South African Rand only converts into a measly 43 quid. Pah!

Meanwhile, on our Ouch! Talk messageboard this morning, Lady_Bracknell posted a link to a story from the US state of Illinois, where drivers illegally parking in disabled spaces could be fined up to $500 - that's a rather more satisfying £278 in our money! - and might lose their license. The new law also applies to drivers who create fake disabled license plates. Woo-hoo! Go Illinois!

If you're reading Ouch from abroad, and went to tell us what fate awaits people who abuse disabled parking bays in your country - the nastier the better, hopefully - then leave a message in the comments.

Was the Piano Man a sham?

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Monday, 22 August 2005

Here on Ouch, we've been following the story of the Piano Man with great interest, from a mental health perspective, ever since it broke back in April. Quick update: the unnamed man, who it was claimed was an excellent pianist after he gave virtuoso performances whilst in psychiatric care, was discovered wandering on Sheppey in Kent. He was taken to hospital, but had not uttered a single word to medical staff in four months. Theories for his condition ranged from a nervous breakdown that had left him unable to speak, post-traumatic stress disorder or autism.

Yet over the weekend, it appears that he was discharged from hospital and returned home to Germany.

Depending on what you believe, The Mirror is today reporting that the whole thing was a sham - that the mysterious Piano Man "used to work with mentally ill patients and is thought to have copied some of their characteristics to fool psychiatric doctors about his own imagined illness". Oh, and he's gay too (although quite what that's got to do anything is beyond Monkey). Furthermore, it seems that the virtuoso piano-playing skills weren't quite so, um, virtuoso - he could only tap one key continuously on the piano in the hospital's chapel (but if that's the case, why was it said in the press that he was of concert pianist standard? How did that happen?)

The local health trust is apparently considering suing him for leading them to waste tens of thousands of pounds on his treatment.

It's worth pointing out that the above details do seem to be just The Mirror's rather sensationalist take on this extraordinary story at the moment. Our own BBC News is currently reporting that the Piano Man has simply been discharged from care "following a marked improvement in his condition", with West Kent NHS and Social Care Trust refusing to comment further due to patient confidentiality.

Whatever the truth is, it's still one curious story.

"Despite being disabled"

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Friday, 19 August 2005

Monkey had an email in his inbox this morning from an organisation wanting us to nominate people for their 'Achievement through Adversity' award. Monkey didn't nominate anyone. Monkey thought it was a weeny bit patronising.

But anyhoo, it got me thinking about adversity and that phrase 'despite his disability' and 'despite her disability' that disabled people loathe so much. To my mind it's only one short skip or jump away from 'despite being alive', and to disabled people a similar concept, though no one would ever use that phrase.

At these times of deep thought I like to turn to Google. As an interesting exercise I tapped in 'despite his disability', and got 2,150,000 results. 'Despite her disability' got me 1,720,000 results. Girls, you win. You're better. Or maybe this means that there simply aren't many pages about girls on the internet.

Interestingly, when you tap 'despite being alive' into Google you get 5,800,000 results. This could be seen as undermining my above argument, but I'm not gonna let that get me down, despite, um, everything.

Take a look at the Google result pages though, they're worth reading.

Erotic images linked to blindness?

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Friday, 19 August 2005

I'm going to have to be very careful about the words I choose to describe the following story. Very careful indeed.

Remember the age-old warning - usually given by your mother - that, er, indulging in rather too much of a certain private activity (oh, don't make me say it, you know what I'm talking about) can make you go blind? Well, it could well be true, as psychologists in the US have discovered. Looking at, um, saucy images - as well as gory ones, interestingly - can induce temporary emotion-induced blindness, albeit for only one-fifth of a second.

So if you're visually impaired and are fed up with the oh-so-funny comments from that bloke in the pub about what you got up to when you were a kid that made you lose your sight, you've now got an answer that should make him shut up once and for all. Just tell him you've got long-term emotion-induced blindness. Or maybe not, eh?

Disabled pets 'reliable': official

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Wednesday, 17 August 2005

This is Crippled Monkey here, continuing to sniff out the all-important, crucial stories in the world of disability - like another heartwarming tale of a disabled pet! (Well, you know how keen I am on these.)

From WLOX-TV: the news for South Mississippi, comes the headline: Wheelchair-Bound Dog Wins National Title. But what national title, I hear you ask. Only Most Reliable Pet, an award given by a company that makes windows and doors! The winner, Lilly, is an English bulldog who "gets around in a special wheelchair", and "she shows people that everyday's a new day and it's more fun if you're happy". So, er, there you have it.

More disabled pets as and when I find them.

Firefox gets more accessible

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Wednesday, 17 August 2005

If you get techno-fear at talk of different web browsers, you might want to look away briefly now.

The Mozilla Firefox browser, which is increasingly being seen as the main competitor to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, is about to get more accessible to people with visual and motor impairments thanks to the donation of 50,000 lines of code (wow, that's a lot of code) from IBM. With this extra technology, Firefox will be better placed to magnify web pages, automatically narrate them, and navigate them better with the use of a keyboard rather than a mouse. All good stuff, and good news for the growing numbers of Firefox users out there.

Fake Oompa-Loompa alert

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Shock horror! We have a fake Oompa-Loompa in our midst!

I was about to ask who would stoop so low as to tell such a lie when I realised that it would sound like a terribly contrived cheap shot. Seriously contrived and pathetic actually. The kind of thing I'd normally snarl at if I read it in my newspaper. God, don't ya have to be so careful these days just in case you offend people? Sheesh, political correctness gone mad if you ask me, innit. And that word 'gay' used to be such a lovely word too ...

Anyhoo, the issue today is that actor Ezzy Dame, a PORG from Nevada USA, has admitted to lying about having been one of Willly Wonka's short factory workers in the 1971 original film.

Ezzy has been pedalling the lie now since the 1980s, in order to bolster his CV. But the lie came tragically crashing down recently when one of the legit Oompa-Loompas from the original Gene Wilder movie, Rusty Goffe, heard about it.

Read the full story in BBC Entertainment news. Then go and read Ouch's Oompa-Loompa FAQ.

I'm sitting here wondering whether or not Rusty Goffe also doubles as Rusty Dusty ... an actor I once saw in a pantomime at the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone circa 1978. I think it may have been Little Red Riding Hood. I also spied him in the BBC's sitcom Are You Being Served. Sorry, Monkey is in a kind of reflective and nostalgic mood today. Monkey remembers too much. Go on, test me. TEST ME! Mind you, you don't need to have a memory any longer, not now that Google exists. Nah, not these days. The world's changing too much. I fear change.

Banks criticised over loans

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Friday, 12 August 2005

Two stories from different parts of the country, but both caught my eye today as they involve banks coming under fire for being irresponsible in giving loans and/or credit cards to disabled people who, it's suggested, were unable to handle the sums involved because of their impairments, and consequently ran up debts. One of the people involved reportedly has bipolar disorder, the other learning difficulties.

Compare and contrast:
Bank criticised over loan to man who gave money away
NatWest helps illiterate man into debt

(Just to reassure you, that's not our wording on the last headline.)

Be interested to hear your thoughts on these stories in the comments, and whether you've heard of anything similar happening to other people.

RNID terrorism hoax

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Friday, 12 August 2005

Here's an extraordinary story. Over a month after the first terrorist attacks on London, the city continues to be on a state of high alert. It's not unusual to find your route being diverted by a security check of some kind. So you can imagine how staff at the RNID's head office in London must have felt when, just four days after the 7 July attacks, they received an answerphone message claiming that a bomb had been planted in their building and was due to go off in just 40 minutes.

According to the story, which has only recently been revealed in the local Islington Gazette in the past couple of days, the message said: "This is al-Qaeda. There's a bomb in your building set to go off at 10am. You may need help". 250 people were evacuated from the building and nearby streets were also cleared, but the call was eventually traced to a 17-year-old in Scotland, who admitted making the call because he was "bored".

Blind people broadcasting

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2005

What is it with blind people and radio?

Wireless for the Blind will have us believe that visually impaired people are entirely satisfied with life if they have a little tranny to listen to. Not so. Blind people like nothing more than to be on the radio! And now that everyone can broadcast via the internet, there's no stopping them. Crippled Monkey now puts forth his evidence:

Exhibit 1: ACB Radio - a fairly global blindie radio network funded by the American Council of the Blind. Find blind presenters talking about issues from lifestyle to tech with many on demand shows too. Plus a whole second radio station stream featuring vanity blind DJs.

Exhibit 2: VIP On Air, from Scotland. Today at 3.00pm you can hear "Grace and Wilson read the best bits from todays supplements". Sadly no one seems to have asked them any questions so their FAQ remains rather empty, bless 'em. But from September they're doing a monthly half hour hook-up with BBC Radio Scotland.

Exhibit 3: Podcasting - Marlaina Lieberg has a regular podcast on her Blindcast website. There's also David Faucheux's Blind Chance. I quite like Byron Lee's podcast too, and dare I mention the BlindKiss podcast?

whitestick.co.uk lists a whole page of blind podcasts, in fact.

I hereby submit my evidence to the court.

Ouch in the papers!

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2005

I, Crippled Monkey, am not the type to brag about my achievements. But look! I made it into The Guardian yesterday! Apparently, I'm "putting in [my] tuppence-worth on disability issues, targeting the world of advertising and television". Well, not just advertising and television - but you knew that already.

Signed Christian ministry training

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Damon Rose Damon Rose | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2005

Deaf people wanting to train for Christian ministry can now join a new course being taught in sign language.

The Revd. Philip Maddock, Adviser for Ministry of and among Deaf People, explained: "This is the first course of its type to be held in the UK. In the past it has been difficult for deaf people to access training in Christian ministry courses, because they have been exclusively taught in the spoken word and deaf people have had to learn through interpreters."

It's all due to kick off in January 2006, and applicants are being advised to book early. Students will need to have a good level of British Sign Language (BSL) to access the course, and to have the support of their church minister or chaplain for their application.

For an application form and a BSL video info pack, email philip.maddock@c-of-e.org.uk.

Accessible gaming - in Croydon!

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Vaughan | 00:00 UK time, Tuesday, 9 August 2005

If you're a gaming fanatic and anywhere near the Croydon area this weekend, get yourself along to the Fairfield Halls on Saturday 13 August for the Classic Gaming Expo UK, because one of the stands is going to feature OneSwitch.org.uk, a group that specialises in accessible gaming. They'll be demonstrating single switch games, head tracker games, audio games, subtitled games and - well, the whole accessible gaming caboodle, frankly. Find out more about some of the games they've got in store for visitors to try out on the day by dropping by their website.

The mention of classic games just provoked a long discussion in the Ouch office about our misspent '80s youth playing on ZX Spectrums and Ataris and all that stuff. Excuse us while we revert to childhood for a while.

Disabled bloggers round-up

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Tuesday, 9 August 2005

Time for another quick scoot round the disability blogosphere courtesy of me, the Crippled Monkey, your trusted internet web-surfing geeky monkey guide type person.

Charlie Swinbourne's blog is called The Scribbler, and he's been running it for a couple of weeks. Charlie's 23 years old, partially deaf, and is a former countrysider now down in the big smoke of That London. He mixes between the hearing and deaf worlds, and his blog is a platform for his writing and also his photography - ah good, we were asking for more photobloggers, remember?

And talking of photoblogs, be sure to check out *beep* *click*, featuring the gorgeous photos of Timothy Griffin, whose weblog TIMMARGH.net we've featured here before (as well as listing it on our blogroll).

Finally, a blog from New York City called Dancing in Place, Written by Still Life, she describes it as "tales after a spinal cord injury" - and it carries the rather great strapline, "If you fall and break your neck, don't come running to me".

I'm sure I don't need to mention it again, but if you're a crip-blogger on the wonderful world wide web, tell us about your site by emailing us at ouch@bbc.co.uk.

Another heartwarming disabled pet story

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Tuesday, 9 August 2005

How can anyone not be immediately drawn to a headline like I Love My Pet: Disabled pet succeeds. Well, I couldn't resist, anyway, even though I thought the story was going to be about a very disablified parrot (succeeds = sucks seeds. Geddit? Oh, never mind). Instead, it's the lovely story of Truman, a 13-year-old dog who, nine years ago, "suffered a spinal injury that left his back legs almost useless" - bless! - and has since used a small cart for movement.

Best of all, though, Truman is on the net! Yes, he has his own website at www.trumanswheels.com, which includes lots of lovely photos of Truman and his cart, or in his new Pet Stroller.

I'm off to talk to Ouch's editor about creating a special disabled pets section on this site. After all, nobody ever said that Ouch was just going to be for disabled people, did they?

Related link: Oh wow. Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow. There's actually a webring of linked sites for Dogs and Cats with Special Needs. Yeah, but what about MONKEYS?!

Ooh, Ouch has changed!

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Monday, 8 August 2005

Yes, not only has the Ouch team moved to yet another new office space in the BBC's lovely grey White City complex over the weekend, but we've been a hive of activity getting loads of exciting new things onto the site! First of all, there's our new messageboard system, offering loads of exciting features. Then there's our new homepage, showing you even more of what's available on yours and everyone's favourite disability webzine. We've got a brighter new logo across the top of the site too, and as if all that weren't enough, you can now download some downright groovy and funky (as I believe the kids say) Ouch screensavers to your PC or Mac.

Hope you like our big Ouch upgrade. As ever, we want to hear your feedback, so drop us a line to ouch@bbc.co.uk, talk to us on the messageboard or, of course, leave a comment after this post.

Are you a photoblogger?

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 4 August 2005

As you probably know by now, we're always on the lookout for the coolest crip blogs around the interwebnet, so we can tell you about them here and add them to our blogroll (which, although it sounds like a word for something you'd keep in your bathroom, is just hip blog speak for your list of favourite weblogs). Keep 'em coming, won't you?

But what about the other side of the blogging craze - photoblogs? Are you a disabled photoblogger, snapping away with your digital camera or mobile and regularly updating your site with the results? Or maybe you're one of the huge numbers of people who have signed up with the photo-sharing service, Flickr? We'd like to feature more photoblogs and Flickr photostreams, so drop us a line at the usual address - ouch@bbc.co.uk - and tell us about yours.

It's true: blind people 'feel' their jeans

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Wednesday, 3 August 2005

What will the weird, wonderful and wacky world of advertising think of next, eh Ouch readers?

Look out for the new advertising campaign from - ahem - a leading jeans manufacturer features a number of visually impaired models telling us how their jeans 'feel'. Lines used include: "I feel I look good", "I have never needed a mirror to know they fit" and, slightly incredulously, "I believe in love at first touch".

So in the next few weeks, if you should spot any visually impaired folks running their hands up and down their denim-covered legs, don't immediately think that there's anything odd going on. Oh no, they've just been influenced by advertising and are taking a moment to, um, feel their jeans. Right. Nice jeans. Mmm. So soft under my fingers.

Canine meeting?

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Monday, 1 August 2005

Crippled Monkey would like to apologise to all Ouch readers for the fact that I find the following headline funny: Hearing Dogs Attend Seminar. Crippled Monkey would like to apologise for getting a hilarious mental image of a bunch of dogs having a meeting - because their deaf and hard of hearing owners came along too, apparently. Crippled Monkey is particularly ashamed of himself, because he's heard all the jokes from non-disabled people thinking they're oh so funny when they tell that one about assistance dogs 'talking' to each other when they meet in the street.

Shame on me. I'm so embarrassed.

Now it's the Tourette's Big Brother

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Monday, 1 August 2005

A few weeks back, here on the blog, we alerted you to a forthcoming Channel 4 'fly on the wall' documentary called The OCD House. Well, the two-part series, now renamed The House of Obsessive Compulsives starts tonight (Monday) at 9.00pm. It follows three people with obsessive-compulsive disorders who agree to live together as part of a ground-breaking experiment, as they seek treatment from a team of therapists.

So, yeah, kind of like Big Brother but without the evictions. Or the pool. Probably. Except, er, not really.

But if you think that's the end of the disability reality series thing, think again. This autumn, ITV are bringing us Teenage Tourette's Camp, which will follow five British kids at a summer camp in Chicago, where they will be "allowed to swear, behave obsessively, act compulsively and enjoy every minute of it".

Hmm. Now call me cynical if you like - oh, go on, most people do - but I have my doubts as to whether this is going to be quite on a par with the two BBC documentaries about John Davidson, which began with John's Not Mad in 1989. This latest offering sounds rather like it's playing on the shock aspects: "Hear people swear! Watch people behave disgracefully! Laugh at the funny kids on the telly!" But since I haven't seen the series yet, I hope I'm proved wrong.

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