SeroTalk 226: It Happened Again

Download SeroTalk 226: It Happened Again or use the audio player below the show notes to tune in.

On this episode, the audiobook recommendation from Audible comes to us via Laine, who says we must check out The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, which you can download for free at

Disability Talk

Been thinking about getting a pooch have you? Well, here are 5 Reasons Why Guide Dogs Are a Terrible Idea, or are they? Here’s an opposing view claiming all blind people should have a guide dog. Then again, we might be paying too much attention to the subject, at least this person seems to think so. Honestly, it’s hard to get too excited when certain public accommodations still don’t get that bit in the ADA about guide dogs being allowed in public transportation. You did hear about the recent ACB lawsuit against DC taxis didn’t you?

Whether you own a guide dog, or just a dog pet, check out these two fascinating books on dog psychology and training, both available on They are Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson and The Other End of the Leash by Patricia Connell. If you read and find them interesting, or if you have other recommendations for dog psychology books, send us a note.

Who knows. It might be easier to scrap both the dog and the cane and spring for the Dye-Coated Retinal Prosthesis that looks promising for sight restoration. And if it can’t be done, well, Dr. Bell has some bad news, good news, and hard truths on the subject of blindness.

Headlines in Brief

Here were some of the breaking headlines since we lasst got together:

Android flaw puts personal data at risk for millions

Google could make it easy for you to pay bills from Gmail

Google Fiber Plans Experiment With Targeted Ads for Television

Apple Said to Plan Limited, Low-Cost Streaming Service

Netflix Goes Live In Australia And New Zealand, Its First Launches In Asia Pacific

Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s Vessel Launches To The Public

VelaSense: A Life-Changing App for Visually Impaired

Disability Answer Desk Phone Support Expands to 11 Countries

NVDA Remote Access

Phonak ComPilot Product Review

Amazon Prime Music Takes On Pandora With Addition Of “Prime Stations” On iOS

Trade group led by AT&T and Verizon sues FCC to overturn net neutrality

Human Interest

Need to attend a key life moment but can’t actually be there? Father Witnesses Son’s ‘Miracle’ Birth In Virtual Reality From 2,500 Miles Away

And who ever thought it was just the Walking Dead we had to fear in the apocalypse? Steve Wozniak: The Future of AI Is ‘Scary and Very Bad for People’ Scar’r’r’r’r’r’ry!

From the Mailbag

In addition to iReports, here are some e-mails from you guys:

From Brad:

Nice job guy and gals. Love the quick headlines and short commentary on tech stuff, including opinions and concerns of listeners, and also the human interest topics. Great format.

As for cutting the cord. I’m not a TV person for decades now other than the odd occasion. I just don’t find anything worthwhile to watch that is more important than running or growing my business, spending time with my sweetie, or doing outdoor recreational activities.

I refuse to pay huge bucks for cable of which I might watch a couple channels of interest. To tell the truth? I’ll tune into TV shows and movies here on SAMNet when I get an urge to be entertained by Hollywood.

I dumped my land line probably 8-years ago? Savings of over $4,100. I run my business off my cell phone. And yeah, in the event the solar storms torch the magnetic fields and knock out our satellites and cells, I won’t be making business calls just then. The thing is, I doubt my customers will either at that point.

Dumping the land line was painless and put an extra $43 in my pocket each month. The only concern I had at the time was FAX possibilities, but no one uses FAX anymore anyway, and there are cell FAX options or the local convenience store for that matter if it ever came up… It never posed an issue all these years.

I get all the news I need off of sources like NFB Newsline, or other on-line sources as my local paper is not on Newsline, maybe a Twitter feed. There’s plenty of sources out there.

If cutting the cord is a mental wrestling match? My view is, if it’s that much a concern? One must have some valid reasons, try it. If it doesn’t work out? It’s not a permanent decision anyway, they’ll be glad to hook you back up again, possibly at an intro rate even.

Keep up the good work here! I know these podcasts don’t form without behind the scenes work we can take for granted while listening in.


From Jenine:

thanks for the thoughtful discussion of disability portrayal and simulation.

I come from the Independent Living movement, having worked in several IL centers since the 1980’s. I worked with people who had a variety of disabilities and have continued to do so throughout my working life. I’ve come to the following conclusions.

What’s funny to us would be offensive if non-disabled people tried to portray it.

Just as people of different ethnic backgrounds can laugh at themselves or have ingrown stereotypes, so do we as people with disabilities. There were some of us who felt that Christopher Reeve and his public persona of being all about “The cure” rather than living with his condition as it was, became extremely offensive.

After all, weren’t we more than just wanted to be able-bodied? Saying that though to people outside of the community got you some pretty weird looks and lots of accusations of big old chips on your shoulder.

As you all said quite well, simulating a disability and living with it are two very different things.

You can freak people out about blindness by having them go through a simulation. You can also embarrass them and make fun of the very people you are trying to educate about by doing a bad simulation.

Then again, you can set up a simulation not to show what it’s like to be blind or in a wheelchair or deaf, but what it’s like when people do inappropriate things to you when in those states.

I worked in transit for part of my career and seeing up simulations for bus and paratransit drivers was a big deal. Still should be actually. the simulations should show what it feels like when no one responds to your question about your stop, doesn’t totally secure your wheelchair or touches or grabs you to steer you.

Sometimes we make it look too easy.

This is why I think sometimes the mainstream would rather have abel-bodied actors portraying disabled people. It’s purely a theory though. I too would love to hear from actors who are doing actual theater or film where they maybe aren’t always playing the token person with a disability.

Anyone else hear those crickets?

Back to my pet peeve. simulations

I hate-hate-hate Dining in the Dark. It’s not teaching anyone anything but gee, you will get food on you if you try eating without looking before learning how. It just serves to embed those stereotypes of people with disabilities as amazing and being disabled as embarrassing and impossible.

I deal with people at least once a week who are facing all manner of disability for the first time. some are young men and women who served this country and now have astonishing and extremely complex disabling conditions. Some are people losing their sight as older adults. What kick starts them? Experiencing other people like them just doing things, and letting them know that at one point in our journey, we didn’t get it either and were scared, angry and frustrated.

Yes, I do love the term Inspiration Porn to describe some of the silly things I’ve been involved with over the years in the guise of education and awareness. Gee, does that make me a Porn Star? No-no-no!

Oh, and send all that hate mail about Dining in the Dark to me. I know some organizations have used this as a major fund raiser and some people who are blind have participated but I also remember an art exhibit and dining experience like this where people had to fight to keep their guide dogs with them during the experience. Some awareness raising that.


From Ken:

Dear Serotalk Team,

You may want to forward the following information to Jenine. The Samsung Gusto three was favorably reviewed by the NFB AT staff. The URL for the review is here.

When I visited my local Verizon Wireless store to check out the Samsung Gusto three, the Sales person stated that the Gusto three while available was not on general display. The Kyocera DuraXV had replaced the Gusto three as the basic accessible cell phone for display in the Verizon store lineup. The Sales person did activate at least some of the accessibility features. The speech was clear and responsive for what I tested. The problem was that I did not know enough about the phones functions to make a final decision and the voice command key was in a poor location from my perspective.

I have since reviewed the mostly usable PDF manual for the Kyocera DuraXV found on the Verizon Wireless website. Subject to testing the easily detectable speaker key that doubles as a voice command buttton, I plan to buy the Kyocera DuraXV. It is more expensive but it does include GSM network in addition to Verizon’s CDMA network. The URL for the Kyocera DuraXV is here.

Best Regards,

From Lynn:

Hello, Joe, Katie, and Laine.
Thank you all for keeping the Serotalk podcast going. I’ll soon get adjusted to the new voices and style of the show.
I am a professional stage and screen actor who is totally blind. I am also artistic director of a theater company here in Los Angeles. I’m writing to inform you that there are blind and visually impaired actors out here in the world. Some of us are somewhat accomplished though we may not be on mainstream media’s VIP list. I am one such actor. I am an active member of both national performers unions: SAG-AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity Association. The first covers film and television, and the second is for stage actors. There are other visually impaired members in both. There are also quite a few who haven’t yet worked enough to earn membership. Some of this lack of work can be credited to producers and casting directors being short-sighted where it comes to casting performers with disabilities, blind or otherwise. The SAG-AFTRA National Performers With Disabilities Committee and AEA Equal Employment Opportunity Committee are actively advocating to change this. I’ve belonged to both for several years. I will share my industry bio, but I want to first point out several other organizations that include visually impaired actors. Formally known as Theatre By The Blind, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers ( is a New York City company that employs artists with various disabilities. The name, Theatre By The Blind,’ has now been taken up by a company in Los Angeles, CRE Outreach ( which uses blind and sighted actors in its plays. There is a blind theatre company in London called, Extant, that uses blind and visually impaired players, and is run by a blind Artistic Director. Amaryllis Theatre in Philadelphia mounts professional shows sometimes using blind actors. I know of several international companies of blind players, but I’ll just share the oldest one here. The “New Life” Theatrical Company Of The Blind And Visually Impaired was founded in Zagreb, Croatia in 1948. It hosts an international blind theater festival each odd numbered year. The quality of the work can be exceptional. I’ve personally performed there twice and look forward to doing so again.
So that’s my brief introduction to blind actors in the field.


From Beth:

Hey, guys, thanks so much for your comments and those of other users about cutting the cord. The VOIP discussion was very timely, as I was researching that. Keep up the awesome work on all podcasts!


Get in Touch!

Want to connect with our hosts? Tweet us! Katie @holnan, Laine @laine_amoureux, and Joe @ScribblingJoe.

For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please e-mail them to resources (at) serotalk (dot) com, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport!

About Joe Orozco

Joe Orozco is the Communications Director for Serotek Corp. He is also Managing Director for AlphaComm Strategies. When he isn't writing web pages, proposals, and online marketing materials for social and commercial entrepreneurs, he enjoys reading and writing about technology, financial management, and strategic planning. Follow Joe on Twitter @ScribblingJoe
This entry was posted in SeroTalk. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to SeroTalk 226: It Happened Again

  1. Juan Avila says:

    Hi guys,
    Thank you for your good work. A shout out goes to my paisano Joe Orosco, or as we say it: Ohdos-co. and another shoutout to the pretty ladies who make The podcast possible. I liked the comment about how Audible portrays hispanics with a thick accent. I live in California, but when I attended the Louisiana Center for the blind, I received negative feedback from those around me over there, as they weren’t accustomed to being around a Mexican American. I do believe that as being blind and Mexican-American, I am as equal as those who are black, white, Asian and cited.

    On another thought, I enjoy the way you guys present the Podcasts With brief useful information, and thoughts about the articles; and on the same time not get off tangent. I also like how you guys have provided more of the users’ feedback publicly, as a lot of the topics that you present are very sensitive in the blind community. And sometimes need more discussion from several points of view, so that we can all be educated, and feel better about Sensitive issues.
    I could say more, but then I would be publishing a free book online.

    Keep up the good work.


    Juan Avila

  2. Brad says:

    Interesting items again this time crew.

    Glad you didn’t apologize for your dog-gone dog comments Joe. You got people reading with that ear-turnign headline, a marketers trick there. But, you got people to dig in why it is good to have a dog, you sly dog you. Oops, pun intended I guess.

    I found the topic of opting out of restoring sight if given an opportunity pretty interesting. I’ve heard others say that too.

    Me? I’d do it yesterday. There are limits to invasive techniques I’d never do however. But, give me eyeballs, and I’d relearn whatever I needed to. I realize I’ve spent over half my life thus far as a sighted person, so I know that weighs in huge. I might not feel the same when the scale tips toward the other side a bit.

    That said, I don’t go around flinching at every article that talks about hope for us RP folks either, spend my days boo-whooing feeling sorry for myself, or giving up on life today with it’s opportunities and activities just because I have a vision issue.

    I’ve ran the gamut on emotions over many years starting as a fully sighted person all the way to what I guess would be considered light perception. Blurry shapes and hues to either help me with mobility, or pulling an unsuspecting half-sighted joke on me if I allow it. There’s a ton of us out there, and not just RP folks either.

    I understand Joe’s apprehension on losing usable sight, and the disappointment or adjustment needs to follow.

    I remember one particular time years back when RP was more clinically documented than a daily life changing deal for me. My wife and I were all jazzed up about taking up racquetball.

    We were financially strapped as a younger couple with two single-digit aged kids, and this was a big deal for us. We really were jazzed about joining the YMCA and having a weekly date wacking the snot out of each other on the racquet court.

    So, we get on our garb, head to the reserved court, and grip those racquets with GI Joe’s Kung Fu grip… not you Joe, we know you could easily wup up on the real-life GI Joe just by staring him down. Anyway…

    The gentleman I am, I let my wife wack the ball first while half-crouching facing the far end of the court ready to do business.

    All I heard was the whop of her racket, an echo on the wall in front of me, and the ball bouncing around like popcorn in an air popper.

    I didn’t see a freakin’ thing. It never occurred to me at that point, with RP I’d never see a fast moving ball, much less track it.

    With my wife saying, “What’s wrong, why didn’t you hit it?” I had to explain there was no way I was going to be able to do this.

    I felt like crying like a baby with its bottle plucked from its sucking mouth. I felt like I’d let her down, like I let her believe a lie, like I disappointed her; and yet it wasn’t my fault. I was taken in just like she was that this was going to be a new activity for us.

    Rpers have the distinct privilege of fielding many different stages of loss, and we have an excellent opportunity to crawl in a whole and not come out if we so choose.

    But, we also find our strength, resourcefulness, and maybe even get a little hacked off and determined when we’ve had enough of this limited-life bulldung.

    In the end, yes, blindness is a nuisance, well, sometimes more, sometimes there is advantages, but overall a nuisance.

    But we go on, life is good, and we have opportunity to achieve our goals in spite of it and serve hopefully as role models to those who watch us from a distance. Somehow, it all works out if we want it to.

    Good job again this time boy and girls.

Comments are closed.