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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's your chance to be interviewed by The Wheelchair Philosopher!

ADA Handicapped Wheelchair Accessible Symbol Signs with Right Arrow - 12x12 Ladies and gentlemen, The Wheelchair Philosopher blog is now seeking interesting people of all abilities to discuss their unique stories of difference and disability with its readers. Do you have a special story to tell about being different than the norm? Is there an unusual job that you do in regard to those living with disabilities or some special difference that you exemplify? do you have a job title, viewpoint or life experience that involves being different?  If so, The Wheelchair Philosopher WANTS YOU!

To tell your story or to set up an interview, email today.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Wheelchair Philosopher presents a Hurricane Irene inspirational YouTube marathon: The big finale

For the finale of this Hurricane Irene Youtube-a-licious video marathon, I picked a video by a young man who describes dreaming of walking after his spinal injury versus dreaming of  being in his wheelchair after a certain cathartic coming to terms with reality. Stop and listen to his comments. How do they resonate with your sense of who you are? Is there a part of you that you have not really and truly accepted as real? OR are you fully at peace with all that you are?

Roll on!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Wheelchair Philosopher presents a Hurricane Irene inspirational YouTube marathon: 'Fun!' Hip Hop

Canadian Hip Hop star, K-os   vows to keep it fun.     

K-os - "Fun" Remix

Roll on and have fun!


The Wheelchair Philosopher presents a Hurricane Irene inspirational YouTube marathon: Chad Vader is Different

There's nobody to exemplify being different like Darth's slightly less apt for evil brother Chad Vader.  How does he eat in that suit? Talk about a physical challenge!

Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager

Roll on!



The Wheelchair Philosopher presents a Hurricane Irene inspirational YouTube marathon: 'On what Teachers Make'

 This is one of my all-time favorite poems.

Taylor Mali - "On What Teachers Make"

Roll on still the storm ends :o) 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

To all my eastcoasters: Hurricane safety tips are a good thing!

Emergency Kit Backpack - Deluxe - 4 Person

Hurricane Safety Tips (Thank you to Susan Mangigian for this via

BEFORE the storm:

MONITOR STREAM AND URBAN STREET FLOODING – For those living in areas that are prone to localized flooding, closely watch small streams and low-lying areas for early flooding. Make sure street storm drains are cleared.
 ·         Secure outside objects.  Hurricane force winds can make outdoor furniture into missiles.
 ·         Make sure you have plenty of fuel and water. 
 ·         IF YOU EXPERIENCE A POWER OUTAGE be prepared with flashlights/ extra batteries/ lanterns, do not use candles
 ·         Have several days supply of food, water and prescription medication for each family member.
 ·         Register yourself or loved ones with the Special Needs Registry at if you or they have difficulty receiving or acting upon emergency instructions.
 ·         Have an emergency kit for you and your pet in case you need to evacuate.
 ·         Sign up to receive free emergency alert information at or texting CHESCO to 411911.


DO NOT WALK THROUGH FLOWING WATER – Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths.  Most of these drownings occur during flash floods.  Flash flood waters move at very fast speeds and can roll boulders, sweep away cars, tear out trees, destroy buildings, and obliterate bridges.  Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off of your feet.  If you MUST walk through a flooded area, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there and solid, even where the water is not flowing.

DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH A FLOODED AREA – More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.  Cars can be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water.  Do not drive around road barriers.  They are there for a reason.  The road or bridge may be washed out or structurally unsound.  If your car becomes trapped in flood-waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.  Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.  TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN

AVOID POWER LINES AND ELECTRICAL WIRES – Electrocution is also a major killer in floods.  Electrical current can travel through water.  Report downed power lines to your utility company or local emergency manager. Always assume a downed wire is a live wire.  The number to PECO is 1-800-841-4141; the number to PPL is 1-800-342-5775.

LOOK BEFORE YOU STEP – After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails.  Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.

BE ALERT FOR GAS LEAKS – Do not turn on electric lights, but use a flashlight to inspect for damage. A spark from the light switch could cause an explosion or fire.   Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area has been aired out. 

CARBON MONOXIDE EXHAUST KILLS – Only use camping stoves, generators or other gasoline-powered machines outdoors.  Fumes from charcoal are especially deadly, so never use indoors.

CLEAN EVERYTHING THAT GETS WET – Flood waters have probably picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and factories.  Spoiled food and flooded medicines and cosmetics are health hazards.  When in doubt, throw them away.

Do NOT call 9-1-1 to report a power outage.  You should call your electric service provider.  The number to 

PECO is 1-800-841-4141; the number to PPL is 1-800-342-5775.

Monitor local weather reports on radio, television and the Internet. 

Check on elderly neighbors and others that experience difficulty in caring for themselves or receiving or acting upon emergency instructions.

Roll on!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dr. Wayne Dyer's nine steps of manifestation resinate with The Wheelchair Philosopher (Updated 8/25/11)

Dr. Dyer
Photo via

The nine principles below illustrate Dr. wayne W. Dyer's nine principles of manifestation for getting that which our most loving of hearts long for: purpose, direction, love, and happiness and the truest joys of life. They show us how to lift ourselves from the all too common doldrums of "I  have a desire to be something,' to "I am something." As you go through the list take a few precious moment to visualize each step as you read it a.

Nine Principles of Manifestation

1. Live from Your Highest Self - "I have a divine ability to manifest and attract all that I need and desire." 

This is not a call to do drugs or to float whimsically out of you body and suddenly obtain that beach house in Miami you've wanted since you and beach house Barbie dreamed of  when you were seven. It means to know you have a reason for existing and you are not an accident, but a conduit for God's or Creation's best work. Find meaning in your life's work and you'll find that even working long hours is a joy.

2. Learn to Trust Your Divine Inner Wisdom - "I trust in myself and in the wisdom that created me." 

Simply put, know yourself and what works the best for you. We all are different in this regard. Some of us are athletes, some doctors and some us are store clerks. Some of us are funnier, while others more serious. But what truly is paramount to success is knowing your strengths and weakness for your strengths give you confidence and your weaknesses keep you humble. It's all about knowing how you can help, but also recognizing when you need help from others.

3. Honor Your Worthiness to Receive - "I deserve to experience divine abundance, for I am a part of God."

Growing up with traditional Christian concepts of being "unworthy of the grace and love of God," this step can be a tricky bit of business to explain. This step is not saying you don't make mistakes or that  you aren't capable of doing wrong. It is to say rather that you are to think of yourself as intended to be in connection with that which made you, (what I call God) like being plugged into electricity moving through existence to serve your specifically gifted purpose.

4. Realize that You Are Not Separate from Your Environment - "I am one with my surroundings, aware of the connective energy between me and my world."

On a basic level, to realize that each thing that exists is part of and connected to a larger whole allows you see purpose and possibly opportunity for growth in each experience, good or bad. Also where direct human interaction is concerned, in India's ancient traditions there is the philosophy that says when you can see yourself in all others, you're no longer able to have true enemies and your anger turns to pity for the person who wishes you harm because you realize that the harm that you once thought only went one way actually goes all ways. In this mode, you'll now have a greater desire to be helpful, kind and the best you can be on all levels because the good you used to want only for you now extends to everyone and everything in some way.

5. Attract to Yourself What You Desire - "The Divine creative power within me brings to me all that I want with happiness, love, and peace."

Jesus in The Gospel of Matthew expresses that the Father desires to give good gifts to his children. You must believe you live from a source of giving, not. lack. Think, "Good things are possible!" and they will likely show up. Please test this theory and write me back.

6. Connect to Your Divinity with Unconditional Love - "I express the energy of unconditional love to all people and all things in my life."

Love big! Don't return negative actions with more, but less. Always try to see the purpose as I said earlier. Love is the opposite of selfishness and the weird paradox of this love thing is that the less you care about the outcome, the more likely you are to receive great things with loving generosity.

7. Detach from the Outcome - "I trust in the universal intelligence that created me to bring my desires to me in just the right way at the perfect time." 

Stop worrying and do your best. Your stress is just a simple test of whether you have the will to succeed. Go forward and believe. If you fail, be adaptive and creative and you will get through almost anything.

8. Acknowledge Your Results with Gratitude and Generosity - "I am deeply thankful for all that I've received, and I enjoy giving to others in the spirit of love and service." 

Think of as many things to be thankful for as you can each day. You'll be be surprised how much more you get out of life when you do this. Express love in some way every day as well and be of service to others.

9. Meditate to the Sound of Creation - "I meditate each day to increase my awareness of the divine power within me. Through meditation, I am able to realize the beauty, grace, and love that directs my life and fulfills my deepest desires."  

This just means notice and become aware of everything more: the sound of a laugh, the look of a bird. But sound specifically takes a deeper concentration to notice and appreciate and I think that what Dr. Dyer's point is all about -- appreciation.

Roll on! 

More from Dr. Wayne Dyer:





Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Wheelchair Philosopher presents three overused 'politically correct' terms

THIS is a physical challenge!
Read the Double Dare  blog post here at

I'm a child of the 1980s and as such, I was born at a veritable mid-point between the American Civil Rights Moment, the death of Disco and the birth of Hip Hop, automated teller machines, the rise of Bill Gates and Microsoft, AIDS awareness and space shuttle science -- science that gave us things like cell phones and Google Earth. Then somehow, someway, in some random particle accelerator or something, we human beings came up with the concept of political correctness or "PC." Toilet paper became "toilet tissue". The exterminator became "pest control". Janitors became "custodians" and strippers became "exotic dancers." Unfortunately, those of us living with disabilities were not spared the egregious agony of the PC world. Here are three terms that one might find generally annoying if  for no other reason than that they are not helping progress civilization toward a more tolerant and understanding world as these terms lead some people to believe

physically/mentally challenged - This is a non-descriptive term and also what's called a "loaded statement" like saying, "I'm the best in the world at what I do," it means nothing because it can mean anything. Are you the best at woodworking, brushing your teeth, serial killing or playing Playstation 3 in the nude? By a similar token, if I say I'm physically challenged, am I physically challeged by not being able to open the plastic force field on my DVD boxed set of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe? Could it be that  I am physically challenged by the literal physical challenge of the classic Nickelodeon game show Double Dare? Or am I mentally challenged by  the IQ test  I just took?  No matter the situation, rarely, if at all, should this language be applied to a disability.

differently abled - Though this one is supposed to replace dis-abled, and while I agree that being defined by what I cannot do is not a very cool thing, once again, this term means crap in a hat nothing. We are all differently abled. Derek Jeter is great at baseball and Bill Gates knows binary code better than a lot of us. So #$%&@$* what?

special needs - Despite the fact that I actually used this term  the other day, I still hate it. It completely takes away from the true special needs we all have. Some of us are hungry right now, some not. Some of us need more or less money than others. Saying a person has special needs is like saying, " I need to pay off my college loan," or "I need a new liver or I will die" -- the latter being quite special to a person  who is on his or her deathbed, wouldn't you say? A disability is indeed a special circumstance which often deals with particular special needs, but for the love of reality, a person's needs are always unique to the time and place and way in which they occur. Everything that exists has a special need for something: The soil needs rain to nourish itself, Tigers need to hunt for food and little Bobby needs new shoes for his growing feet.

So the next time you catch yourself using any of these terms, stop, and know that it's okay to call a disability what it is. My name is Mike. I have Cerebral Palsy and I approve this message!

Roll on!



Monday, August 22, 2011

A man in a wheelchair must take time to stand up and give thanks!

Natura 12x12 Latch Hook Kit: Smiley Face

As of a few days ago, this blog is averaging several hundred views per day and has totaled near 24,000  views on search engines all across cyberland. Whether it's search traffic or actual readership is no matter -- I am grateful! I've also gotten a few new and very interesting comments lately -- most encouraging of which was one from Mary in England who gave a good paragraph's worth of praise and encouragement on StumbleUpon. Thank you to Mary and all of you!

Speaking of gaining hits, buy my gig to get you 350 social media tactics for success here

Roll on!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stay tuned for new exclusive content from The Wheelchair Philosopher!

Coming soon The Wheelchair Philosopher blog will have new exclusive content including interviews and perspectives from those living in and engaged in the world of so-called disability. My goal here is to give you  more content to make you think in ways you may not have thought before and to gain perspectives from people in the worlds of business, philanthropy, recreation, the arts, medicine and even public policy! The Wheelchair Philosopher aims to make you a regular reader, tweeter and "news-feeder" of all things from the people and places that put a new face and light on what it means to either have a disability or to simply be different.

So if you're down with, and up for becoming enlightened about the differently abled, differently thinking, differently achieving and maybe a unique story of life lived in new and evocative ways, come back soon and in the meantime, check out the regular content on this blog (usually six days per week). Until next time, you know what to do... roll on!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Wheelchair Philosopher is now on Twitter!

That's right sports fans, log on to Twitter later today or tomorrow to follow @WCPhilosopher for all your rolling concerns, comments, complaints and conundrums about life's moments  from your favorite "man on a roll!"

Roll on to my Twitter @WCPhilosopher!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Help save an orphanage in Haiti

 Dear Bloggers,

My friend Joanndith is raising funds to save her grandma's orphanage in Haiti.

From the Facebook page: 

Les Enfants de Bethanie (The Children of Bethanie) Orphanage was established in 2006 by ASAEDH (Association D’Aide Aux Enfants D’Haiti or Association Helping the Children of Haiti) to provide room & board, and an education for the orphans of Haiti. Too many young children are deprived of the basic human needs such as food, and shelter, let alone the luxury that education is becoming in Haiti.

With the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, we’ve received requests to take on 1,000+ more children orphaned by this event. Although we have big goals, our resources are few. We now serve close to 60 students and house over a third of them with no outside funding. Our educational staff consists of 9 teachers who give their time and effort to provide these children with a quality education. Unfortunately, due to shortage of funds, we are unable to provide them with regularly/steady pay. Some teachers have gone several months without receiving pay. 

Where your money goes:

$25 - backpack and school supplies for one year for one child
$60 - tuition for one student for one year
$100 - one teacher’s salary for a month
$240 - one year’s worth of 2 nutritious meals a day for one child (also payable in $20/month increments)

For more information or to donate via check or PayPal, go to the new Facebook event for
Les Enfants de Bethanie (The Children of Bethanie) here. Please give whatever is in your heart to give.

Roll charitably.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My 'gleekiness' for Glee in 3D must be postponed for a few days

Glee The 3D Concert Movie (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

After seeing the recent Glee 3D Concert Movie, within ten minutes, I thought it only germane  that I discuss the cult film's apparent themes of ostracization, difference, disability and empowerment through self-acceptance on my blog. In that vein, it is topic that I feel deserves a bit more research and revelation. So I will postpone a full review until further notice.

Here are some videos to hold you over:

Roll on!


Monday, August 15, 2011

The cast of Glee makes being a loser the new cool

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go with my fiancĂ©e Abby to see the new two-week limited engagement Glee 3D Concert Movie (come back tomorrow for my review) and while I didn't think I needed to see the film to understand the loser-loving themes and 21st Century self-actualization, this original song below by the cast of the popular Fox TV series  illustrates in musical form an idea that I continue to champion with every Bill Gates or Oprah story I read -- not withstanding my own experiences -- namely that nerds indeed rule the world in many ways. For no successful people I have ever known became so by being afraid to be who they are.

"Loser Like Me"

Roll on witcha inner "gleek!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Disability advocate Stevie Hopkins of 3ELove promotes tolerance with his unique brand of clothing

Disclaimer: Please be aware that I, Michael LaPenna, have no commercial investment with 3ELove or any of its partners.  This cause is simply one I support as a matter of conscience.

This is a cause I adamantly support! Please join me!

By Stevie Hopkins

Please Forward and Share the love!
20% off everything on our web store.
Use discount code "EVERYWHERE" at checkout
Greetings 3E Lovers!

Roughly two years ago, I decided to abandon my previous lifestyle and follow my heart and try to accomplish my late sister Annie's goals with our social entrepreneurial experiment 3E Love. I remember launching our Facebook page in August of 2009 and printing our first LOVE tees. Reaching 500 fans in a few days was super exciting, then 2,000 in 2 weeks and I was so amped on the possibilities!  I remember our very first customer in California, then Rhode Island, then New Mexico. Our first international customer was in Canada, then United Kingdom, then Sweden, Australia.... The excitement of spreading Annie's symbol and ideals worldwide was remedy for grief, a quick personal fix for my troubles, and ultimately so gratifying to share with others. The rush and satisfaction of it has lasted two years now and has been a wild ride.  I never imagined the places I've been, the people I've met, and the positivity one symbol could inspire. Life is funny sometimes.

In this nostalgia, I decided it was time to share with everyone some exciting numbers and updates, as well as celebrate with you in the form of a probably much too generous weeklong sale (details to follow).

Those of you who were involved in our social experiment early last year probably remember Project Everywhere and our push for Pepsi Refresh's $250,000 grant. We did not have a winning effort in the Pepsi Refresh Contest, but the lofty goals of Project Everywhere carried forward!

For all you newer 3E Lovers and those who need a refresher course, Project Everywhere is our attempt to measure the reach of our social mission to start conversations about acceptance and disability worldwide. I created this benchmark project last year when I decided that it would be really cool to track everywhere in the world where someone has a T-shirt, sticker, bag, button or hoodie, maybe on an interactive map. Although we cannot afford said map, I'm dangerous with a spreadsheet and began tracking as many wheelchair hearts as possible! The long term goals included one in every single state in America for starters, to reach out globally, and eventually have at least one wheelchair heart symbol in EVERY zip code (40,000+!!) and every country!  People with disabilities are everywhere, so shouldn't the International Symbol of Acceptance be too?

Having such a goal reminds me every day that 3E Love is more than a business, more than profit, loss, employment taxes, and cost of goods sold. 3E Love is a global initiative to start conversations and spread a positive message and build a community. Every time someone logs on to our store, clicks around and makes a purchase, it's more than just a transaction -- it's an untraceable number of future joyful and educational interactions that will be triggered. At school, work, the grocery store, dentist's office, in the street - these social transactions take place because of the International Symbol of Acceptance....

And that's awesome! That's why I wake up every day and want to work 100 hours a week. That's why you buy our products and so proudly wear your heart on your sleeve!
So.. Project Everywhere is alive and well and it is my daily motivator. Yesterday, I crunched some numbers and want to share our progress after these short two years.

Project Everywhere Stats as of 8/8/11
Note: based on web store and phone orders only

More than 20,000 clothing items
More than 50,000 temporary tattoos
More than 20,000 buttons
More than 30,000 stickers
Across 19 countries
At least one in EVERY single US State
At least one in 1,643 zipcodes (3.97% nationally)
In our home state of Illinois, at least one in 319 zip codes (20.16% of state).

This is exciting to me, and I wanted to share! It's easier to understand the impact that's been made and what is possible when numbers are laid out. To think that all of this has been accomplished within the community, with just you and me, and what more will be done! One day we will reach our lofty goals with Project Everywhere, and the hopeless, romantic, idealist in me believes that that means the world will be a better place!

So thank you for being a part of this social entrepreneurial movement... now and in the future. Celebrate with me by buying something and sharing with friends and family. Repost this or forward it to others!

Until the end of this week (Sunday at 11:59), enjoy 20% off of absolutely everything on our online store with discount code "EVERYWHERE" at checkout. It's our largest storewide sale yet.

Order online at

We will be launching a lot of new products and services, as well new web sites with fun ways for you to get involved. Your purchases this week will help us get to the next step of our movement. I'm in a good mood, thankful, and super excited for the future.

Thank you 3E Lovers!

Please help spread awareness and tolerance wherever you can and...roll on!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reports Philly Mint employee made one million while making false disability claims

U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA

While each case of disability in America and in the rest of the world may differ from person to person, one Philadelphia Mint employee's claim to not being able to answer phones at a desk due to a debilitating injury recently came under  great suspicion after Mount Laurel, New Jersey's Richard Rufo told supervisors he was too injured to do his job protecting money at the Philadelphia Mint in favor of "protecting" an estimated $1.1 million in gross income and netting estimate profits of 318,000  byselling memorabilia and  novelty items including golf balls, badges, clothes and yes, coins at his company United Safety Supply Co. while he continued to collect $173,000 in Federal aid.

While I don't fault Mr. Rufo for having the initiative and foresight to sell a "kitchen sink-like" number of items reminiscent of the famous Sesame Street segment "One of these things is not like the other," holding out for just over one hundred grand, in what amounts to Federal "really, really sick pay" is a bit avariciously stupid -- like saving up for that Ford Taurus you always wanted while driving your Rolls Royce to your son's elementary school for a parent-teacher conference. Oh,  such wondrously weighted levels of "I want the whole world!" are enough to  make Ms. Varuca Salt of Willy Wonka fame give up her lavish pursuits in favor of a new habit -- the Mother Teresa kind.

Read the original article here.

Roll on!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Wheelchair Philosopher endorses the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

St. Francis Hospital - Long Island, NY
Photo by Laura Cerrano
Laura's blog

I was raised in the Catholic Christian religious tradition, and while I am not in any way a strict fundamentalist, I do feel a powerful and palpable connection to this prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi in the Thirteenth Century. The prayer continues to guide my moral compass in all areas of my life -- especially here at this blog. The Wheelchair Philosopher blog has a distinct purpose to give the help, hope and motivation to people of all walks (and rolls) of life and at all ability levels that I know in my heart that it can. I believe all people have value and can choose to gift themselves to the world with their own unique talents I pray with all others who feel this way that this prayer's message, no matter your spiritual beliefs, is never lost on this blog or you, the reader for your benefit and blessing.

The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Roll on! 

P.S. I have kept this zone which is normally reserved for advertising ad free out of reverence for this prayer's dignity. Thank you.