Breaking Down Myths – Most Deaf People Can Read Lips

From looking at my post counts here at RJsCorner I see that I am pretty much ignoring my number five pillar, breaking down myths. I need to pay more attention to that topic so this post will be about a deaf myth.

It’s true that people who are deaf sometimes can read lips but lipreading is in no way an adequate substitute for hearing. In fact, only 15% of the English language appears on the lips. So in reality, lip reading is nothing more than a guessing game.

In certain circumstances, I do get by with lip reading. For instance, if I am at a grocery store checkout I can lip read “Do you want paper or plastic bags”. But if I was asked “Did you see Dancing with the Stars last night”, I wouldn’t have clue. And then the usual “How are you?”s is easily lip read. In other words, if I can expect what a person is going to say I have a greater chance of lipreading.

Let me give you a little lesson in this. The letters “b”, “m”, and “p” look exactly the same on the lips. The phrase “buy my pie” just looks like the mouth opening and closing three times. I think you get the idea. Many syllables just don’t appear on the lips or tongue.

Let’s get some other obvious things out of the way. It is impossible for a deaf person to read lips in a dark room. It is equally hard to read the lips of someone with a big mustache. Another example is someone who is constantly moving their head, or even unthoughtfully looking away from the lip reader. You’d be surprised how many people don’t realize any of these things greatly hamper what lipreading skills the deaf person might have.

Finally, I want to give you a deep dark secret of most deaf people. We often fake it instead of really trying to understand. Since lip reading is a very tiring thing, sometimes it’s just not worth the effort. In those cases, we usually just nod our heads in agreement, or so the person thinks.

 The final attempt at the lesson for today is don’t expect a deaf person to really know what you are saying just because you move your lips. If you really want to get your message across, try an old fashioned paper & pencil approach. If you are tech savvy pull out your cell phone and fire up a speech to text app. Do whatever is necessary but don’t assume lipreading is the answer.

The Fallacy of Consumer Driven Capitalism

The two major things that drive the US economy are personal consumption and military spending. With this post, I will try to convince you that is a basic problem for us as a country. It thwarts happiness and is a wasteful way to live a life. But the biggest problem is that for too many of us it is the ONLY thing driving our lives. More money, more stuff.


Ironically this is true throughout the economic ladder from the richest of us to the poorest. We think that if we can just get a few more dollars to buy more stuff everything will be better. Most of us have been thoroughly indoctrinated into consumer driving capitalism. For many of us, contrary to what the philosophers say, money can buy happiness, at least temporarily. Or so we believe…

For those on the lower end of the economic spectrum it is another flat screen TV; for those on the upper end, it is a new $50,000 car to replace the two-year-old one we currently have.

Believe it or not, there are other parts of the world that take a very different approach to capitalism. They don’t depend on all of their citizens spending more and more year after year. Instead, much of the profits of their version of capitalism is used for the overall good of the country and its citizens. Those countries have an infinitely better infrastructure.  Potholes and failing bridges are not the norms for them.  Even more importantly they provide health care for all their citizens and security for their senior citizens.  Every statistic taken shows that they are much happier than we are even if they don’t have multiple storage lockers filled with junk.

How do we as a country get out of the “more and more” mentality and into something that makes us happier?  That is the question of the day for me.


Humanism And Jesus…

2018-03-05_15-42-33My conservative Evangelical friends would like me to believe that you can’t be a humanist and also be a follower of Jesus.  From what I have discovered in the last few months, that is categorically false. The two beliefs align very well with one another.

Yes, there are differences in beliefs for different versions of humanism, but since there are over 39,000 versions of Christianity that kind of seems a lame argument to me. I’m sure some humanists are more aesthetic in nature just as there are Christians who basically ignore the teaching of Jesus.

Jesus was about caring for “the least of these”. It was a core part of his nature and teachings.  Show me where the words in the graphic above are contrary to that? I have always been uncomfortable with the anti-science nature of many versions of Christianity. That, and the political one are the reasons I no longer call myself a Christian.  To me, those folks who reject science are simply too stuck to a few limited words in the Bible that they take far too literally.

It seems that in my old age I am just not much of a joiner so I no longer call myself a Christian and I probably won’t call myself a humanist either but I do agree with much of their philosophy. I definitely don’t call myself a Republican or a Democrat for that matter, both are now stained beyond recognition.