Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
You are probably wondering, what does Einstein and Gates have to do with my son or myself. Nothing on first blush as Einstein developed the Theory of Relativity and Gates is the founder of Microsoft. There are two reasons I picked these two gentleman: One, they are well known in both their fields and society as a whole, and two, they both had/have Asperger's Disorder. That is not to say I compare any of my kin or myself to the capabilities of either of those two great men at all, but that Asperger’s is something that some famous and successful people have had and it is not some rare disorder that relegates people to the freak show.
What of it you say? It's an interesting disorder, and my 13-year-old son had been formally diagnosed with it in 1999. I also have a three-year-old daughter that has it as well. Out of five children I have, two definitely have it, and the others show variations on a theme, but seem to function better than the bookends, my three and 13 year olds.
You may be asking, what is Asperger’s Disorder? I provided a link above, but I will give a little detail here:
In General, people with AD have problems with:
• Socializing with Others
• Intense preoccupation with one or two topics
• Repetitive routines, behaviors and movements
• Speech and Language
• Motor Skills
• Sensitivity to sensations of sound, light or touch
More specifically, to break down the above into finer detail:
• Prefers to be by themselves
• Unaware how his/her comments or behaviors affect others
• Does not seem influenced by peer pressure, fads, trends, or pop culture
• Inability to interact with peers
• Lack of desire to interact with peers
• Poor appreciation of social cues and body language
• Limited facial expressions
• Socially inappropriate responses
• Seems uninterested in what others have to say in conversation
• Does not ask others questions or their opinion
• Makes limited eye contact
• Limited use of hand or body gestures
• Does not look others in the eye
• Impressive long term memory for facts
• Seems almost obsessed with a particular topic
• Expects other to understand what he/she thinks without telling them
• Does not ask for clarification when confused
• Cannot imagine what others are thinking
• Cannot interpret other’s intentions
• Does not understand how other people feel
• Extreme reaction to minor upsets
• Fails to modify emotional expression to match the situation
• Feelings are all or none
• Cannot read emotions of people’s faces
Intense preoccupation with one or two topics
• Fanatical about his/her interest
• Seems obsessed with interest
• Talks incessantly about his/her interest
• Little Interests in other topics
• Pursues advanced knowledge about his/her interest
• Shows off knowledge in almost encyclopedic manner
Repetitive routines, behaviors and movements
• Sticks to rigid routine
• Difficulty being flexible
• Imposes routine on others
• Needs excessive reassurance when change takes place
• Upset by changes in routine
• Repetitive and senseless body movements
• Seems not to understand how to play/work with others
• Does not know unspoken rules
• Often prefers to play/work by him/herself
• Uses playmates as objects
• Intense reaction if things do not go his/her way
• Controlling of playmates
• Difficulty sharing
• Lacks imaginative play
Speech and Language
• Interprets things literally
• Does not understand figures of speech or metaphors
• Has an unusual tone of voice
• Talks in an overly precise manner
• Uses advanced vocabulary
• Odd Rhythm
• Peculiar voice characteristics
• Poor coordination
• Poor ball play
• Odd gait when walking or running
• Poor handwriting
Sensitivity to sensations of sound, light or touch
• Overly reactive to sounds
• Overly reactive to lights
• Overly reactive fabrics
• Overly reactive to textures
The thing to remember is that AD is an disorder in the autistic spectrum and thus it’s not quantitatively exact as to whether or not someone has AD or not particularly that someone has to have every symptom listed above, but needless to say it would be in the gross majority that present themselves to some degree. Both my children that have been diagnosed have some differences, but more similarities. My son did not speak a word until he was four years old. My three year old can sing and talk some sentences, but most things are words and phrases.
So you are saying, what of it that The Right Guy’s two children have been diagnosed with AD? What I find interesting are the familial connections. Contrary to popular hysteria, I do not believe that AD is caused by thimersol in vaccines. In my case I can definitely see a family history that indicates a genetic link. There are behaviors that both my kids have done that the youngest could not have learned from her brother, as he hasn’t done them since he was small and she was yet to be born. The other thing is that I have family members that have exhibited AD symptoms. My father’s older brother (I would even say their father as well), my father, my brother and myself have all exhibited many of these symptoms. It wasn’t until I started reading The Asperger’s Answerbook, by Susan Ashley Ph.D, that the concept of familial connections really sunk in with me.
You may be asking, why now? Why talk about it now? Well, because I feel like it, and I feel that since armed with some knowledge, coupled with circumstances, I feel I needed to say something. I can tell you that in my dad’s day there were absolutely no resources for people with AD. Kids with AD probably dropped out of school, never married, and lived relatively solitary lives (even being married with children, I often feel lonely and solitary). My dad did not marry until he was 33 and my uncle never did. I myself was 32 and my brother was 36. In my day, schools did not have special education other than for those that were mentally retarded, and they were sent to the Rose Marie Kennedy Center. In some ways I consider myself fortunate that I went to a parochial school where it wasn’t as socially competitive as public school. In some ways that is bad because what I didn’t experience right off I got to experience in ninth grade when I transitioned to public school. Even then, in 1977, no one really knew what AD was or what to do with it. In fact, it wasn’t formally classified until 1994. The good news is that for people like my kids, there are programs in school that will help them with socialization skills, as well as academically.
Still, my fear is that while my kids may have a somewhat normal life, is that they will not be happy and at least better adjusted than I am. It does pain me to think they will go through some of the same social issues I did and continue to go through. All I can tell you is that I don’t have to watch the X-files to know what it is like to feel like an alien. It’s one thing not to fit in and another to realize it and even yet another degree to not be able to (or want to) learn as quickly or permanently social rules and unwritten rules that govern human interaction, particularly when it comes to being employed. I have always screwed that up and it has had a direct negative effect in my careers. In my father’s day, the expectations were different. Interpersonal interaction was secondary to getting the job done. The other thing is my dad and uncle worked at jobs where they did not have to interact with a lot of people. For people with AD, today’s work world is much more tortuous because of the alleged necessity for any position to require people to be a “team player”, and have “good communication skills”. Because of these social deficits, people with AD have been relegated to positions that are usually below their mental capacity and in some cases from attaining comparable success in a particular position. On top of this, this, they have a much higher incidence of depression, probably due to the social issues. Below are listed some issues people with AD have with work:
• Finding work at level of education/ability
• Keeping a job long term
• Getting along with co-workers
• Sensory overload
• Coping with the unpredictable
• Learning the unwritten rules of the job
• Failing to ask for help or clarification
• Socially inappropriate behavior
• Misinterpreting others words/actions
• Easily frustrated
• Time management
• Presenting well in interview
• Inability to work in a group
• Need for excessively precise expectations
• Poor organization
• Difficulty remembering verbal instructions
A lot of these issues are familiar to me. While I would like to do better, at the age of 46, I consider myself pretty much done. All I will accomplish is what some would call sandbagging, thereby holding on for the end as it were, which isn’t a bad thing I guess, but disappointing nonetheless. My wish here is that if you suspect that someone you know might have AD, try not to judge too harshly and it might do you well to get a book like my wife got. It will give some strategies in dealing with it, and it will also give insight as to what AD is. While I am no Einstein or Gates, I’d still like to do better than dad did, god rest his soul. Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result. May be I should give it a rest. At some point, you have to say fuck it.
Ashley, S. (2007) The Asperger Answerbook. Soucebooks, Inc, Napervile, Il
Thank you for reading this blog.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
This past year was a tough one in many ways, enlightening and transforming in others, and frustrating all the same. In the beginning of the year, we lost my Dad. He was born 1925 in Westbury NY, the 6th child of seven to Italian immigrants (Italian was dad's first language, but that is another story). Dad left high school to join the Army Air Corps at the age of 18. He was a tail gunner (E-6) in a B-17 and flew 35 missions over Germany as part of the 8th Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 bronze service stars. After the war, he worked for the County of Nassau as a Greenskeeper and did that job for 39 years. He married my mom in 1958, and had two sons as well as two stepdaughters. Dad was a quiet and reserved guy. He rarely drank, never got into trouble, and lived a respectable life. He was my father and a great dad. I will miss my Saturday morning phone conversations with my Dad, his counsel, and his love. He was preceded in death by his wife, and is survived by his sons and stepdaughters, 14 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Either Harry Reid is the stupidest cock-sucker that ever walked the planet or he think everyone else is. This arrogant hag of Nevadan shit couldn't find his ass with a map, compass, GPS, a roadmap and with his wife pointing at it. Where do we get this assholes? Our country is so fucked when our leaders piss in our ears and tell us it's raining. George Washington would have taken this jerk outside blown his brains out. He is such an asshole that only Dennis Miller can fully excoriate him:
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Pat was blamed for Bush losing, will Palin suffer the same fate? Nether deserved that fate, both Pat was thrown under the bus and the country club scum republicans will try the same with Palin. Pat was probably the best man never to win the republican nomination in my lifetime, and may be longer. It's too bad we settle for milquetoasts and mountebanks. It seems it's more rare to get the best, to get genuine people in the office. Below is Palin's speech for the last convention. Thanks to RS McCain for the inspiration.
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How long will it be before Chad Myers gets fired under a protest for not believing in the man caused global warming religion? If you think Islam is unforgiving of heresy, they have nothing on the left wing nut jobs that promulgate man caused global warming in order to further socialism. He's lucky Ted is not in charge anymore. Thanks to JR.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Thank you for reading this blog.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The incomparable John Batchelor with Simon Constable renders his analysis of the current economy.
Thank you for reading this blog.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
For anybody who still believed in it, the Mumbai shootings exposed the myth of “gun control”. India had some of the strictest firearms laws in the world, going back to the Indian Arms Act of 1878, by which Britain had sought to prevent a recurrence of the Indian Mutiny.
The guns used in last week’s Bombay massacre were all “prohibited weapons” under Indian law, just as they are in Britain. In this country we have seen the irrelevance of such bans (handgun crime, for instance, doubled here within five years of the prohibition of legal pistol ownership), but the largely drug-related nature of most extreme violence here has left most of us with a sheltered awareness of the threat. We have not yet faced a determined and broad-based attack.
The Mumbai massacre also exposed the myth that arming the police force guarantees security. Sebastian D’Souza, a picture editor on the Mumbai Mirror who took some of the dramatic pictures of the assault on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, was angered to find India’s armed police taking cover and apparently failing to engage the gunmen.
In Britain we might recall the prolonged failure of armed police to contain the Hungerford killer, whose rampage lasted more than four hours, and who in the end shot himself. In Dunblane, too, it was the killer who ended his own life: even at best, police response is almost always belated when gunmen are on the loose. One might think, too, of the McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, California, in 1984, where the Swat team waited for their leader (who was held up in a traffic jam) while 21 unarmed diners were murdered.
Rhetoric about standing firm against terrorists aside, in Britain we have no more legal deterrent to prevent an armed assault than did the people of Mumbai, and individually we would be just as helpless as victims. The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago.
In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.
Today we are probably more shocked at the idea of so many ordinary Londoners carrying guns in the street than we are at the idea of an armed robbery. But the world of Conan Doyle’s Dr Watson, pocketing his revolver before he walked the London streets, was real. The arming of the populace guaranteed rather than disturbed the peace.
That armed England existed within living memory; but it is now so alien to our expectations that it has become a foreign country. Our image of an armed society is conditioned instead by America: or by what we imagine we know about America. It is a skewed image, because (despite the Second Amendment) until recently in much of the US it has been illegal to bear arms outside the home or workplace; and therefore only people willing to defy the law have carried weapons.
In the past two decades the enactment of “right to carry” legislation in the majority of states, and the issue of permits for the carrying of concealed firearms to citizens of good repute, has brought a radical change. Opponents of the right to bear arms predicted that right to carry would cause blood to flow in the streets, but the reverse has been true: violent crime in America has plummeted.
There are exceptions: Virginia Tech, the site of the 2007 massacre of 32 people, was one local “gun-free zone” that forbade the bearing of arms even to those with a licence to carry.
In Britain we are not yet ready to recall the final liberty of the subject listed by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England as underpinning all others: “The right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” We would still not be ready to do so were the Mumbai massacre to happen in London tomorrow.
“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India,” Mahatma Gandhi said, “history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” The Mumbai massacre is a bitter postscript to Gandhi’s comment. D’Souza now laments his own helplessness in the face of the killers: “I only wish I had had a gun rather than a camera.”
Thank you for reading this blog.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Not only do they want to raise the state tax on gasoline, add additional taxes on fuel, raise tolls and raise registration fees, they also want to charge a half a cent per mile driven. For those that cannot do math, that's $50 for every 10,000 miles driven. Many states including my own have floated the idea, and it's just one more example of the government fleecing people out of their earned capital because they cannot operate within their means. That would be like me going into my boss and putting a gun to her heard and demanding a raise and getting it because I have too much debt. If individuals have to live within their means, why isn't the government required to operate within their means? Americans have become so feckless that they accept this indentured servitude. Our forefathers went to war with England for independence for far less than we put up with. We've become a rather bootless and inept people, haven't we?