Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today I am Reminded That While Sheldon Loves Trains, He Does Fly Without Incident

As anyone who reads this blog knows, Mr. GS self-identifies with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He sees so much of himself in that character that he even picks-up some of Sheldon's idiosyncrasies to emulate. Case in point: Sheldon's love of trains.





Honestly I have no problem with Sheldon's love of trains. No really I don't. If it gives Mr. GS a tickle to love trains too, well that's fine with me. In fact, "love of trains" has made the transition into his graduate program in NYC go all the more smoothly. See, Mr. GS has to commute in by train and if Sheldon loves trains then Mr. GS without too much bother can handle the commuter train. Also, interestingly, the para told me that apparently today my son decided that he had to take the subway to class instead of a cab. A subway is a train afterall.

We (his very protective parents)  had been concerned about him taking the subway because of all the sensory issues involved. Plus how much transition was he supposed to go through in such a short period of time?  Commuter train, new school, new people, new regime and the New York City subway system too? Well on ward and upward, or should I say, down into the bowels of Manhattan they went. Mr. GS and the para rode the subway. And yes the subway ride not only went well, Mr. GS loved it. So not bad, not bad at all. Kudos to Mr. GS.

However, the train thing does get a little dicey when we talk about going to visit my mother in Florida. Luckily last year we had frequent flier miles and one thing Mr. GS does understand is to be a little economical. Well sort of...maybe...in some way.... even though I don't really think he understands the value of a dollar. But if we tell him we can economize on something he goes with it. It seems that being frugal saved a character in one of the books he had to read for his Holocaust minor and the thought stuck with him.

Meanwhile in discussing another trip to Florida for over the upcoming Christmas break, the idea of the car-train on Amtrack came up. Again I have nothing against trains, but 24 hours with all of us cramped together in one small compartment is not what I call a  vacation. Heck, the boys have their moments of sibling disillusion in our house and they have their own offices into which to retreat.

So I get this rather silly idea to tweet Bill Prady, one of the creators of The Big Bang Theory. I follow him on twitter and I thought what the heck. So I sent this out:  "son identifies with Sheldon. Now insists on only going by train to Fla from NY. Plz have Sheldon fly w/o incident. Tyvm"

and I immediately received this reply:




I doubt Mr. Prady understood that the son in question is an almost 23 year old graduate STEM student, but you never know considering the show's familiarity with aspergers. All I can say is a big THANK YOU. I had forgotten that Sheldon did fly back and forth without incident to visit his mother in Texas. Now at least I have some ammunition to tell Mr. GS if he thinks about going by rail to Florida. I know for a fact that Sheldon would have flown.


Wish me luck.


Elise

Update: After Mr. Gs returned home from school, I offhandedly mentioned to him about how Sheldon traveled by air to see his mother in Texas. He needed me to explain which episode that was from. But once he remembered he was fine. In fact he responded "good to know."  Looks like I get to fly back and forth from NY to Florida during Christmas...Hoorah.

What is it that People Don't Get About Equal Rights?

The United States of America is unique in the annals of history. We are a nation forged out of disparate groups of people brought together to create a fundamentally different human being. Now don't get me wrong, people from other countries are A.O.K. (well some of them anyway). But Americans have this simple little iconoclastic flair about them that seems to broker family feuds of a rather volcanic kind (witness this past week's kerfuffles). We are anything but monolithic in our outlook and our beliefs. We are anything but a homogenous people. But what has been ignored and glossed over in this recent debate, is answering the question what is the USA all about? The answer is  a simple one: the USA is about our overarching Constitutional belief system and the allegiance we have here towards "equal rights"for all.

The concept of Equal Rights is basically the right of all peoples to be included in society at all levels. Simple enough? Yet what is it about equal rights that gets people's dander up around the world? Even here in the USA people seem to not have gotten the memo about equal rights. When someone is excluded from the mainstream of society due to a minority belief or persuasion that is discrimination. It is the purpose of the US Constitution to give voice to those that would otherwise be shut out of participation in the basic elements of our country.

The concept of equal rights is to protect the minority from the "mob rule" of the majority. Why is it that people cannot see that simply because a law or referendum  is passed does not mean it meets Constitutional or "equal rights" muster? Why is it that people cannot remove themselves from their own prejudices and listen to the voices in their communities that march to a different drummer?

Now what does this have to do with autism and special needs? Plenty. For our children do not fit into the acceptable mold and the mix. They are the minority in a majority neurotypical world. There are still too many out there in the world who view those with invisible disabilities with suspicion. They conflate extreme mental illness with developmental disabilities. They fear our children and us. They fear psychotherapy, its supports and its medications. They see the autistic as a threat to their ordered world. People fear the unknown. Frighteningly too, what people do not understand sadly, they also wish to destroy.

This is why the ruling on DOMA and equal rights is so very important, from a very selfish autism-warrior-parent point of view. The more the Supreme Court of the United States maintains a strong approach to equal rights for all, then our children (and some of us) have a better chance to be included in society as a whole. Our children can fight for their rights as Americans and be seen as equals in society. Entitled to a future and the respect of society for who they happen to be, not maligned for who they are not. Our children can fight for the equal right to marry, work and produce. They cannot be corralled as they once were for no other reason than they were different, and misunderstood.

Once society refused to allow those with special needs into its fabric and deal with who they were simply because they approached life differently. When the Supreme Court raises the specter of equal rights, (these nine persons even though they all do not agree all the time, sometimes in the most ugliest of terms too) insists that there are no "subhumans" in our world. This means then that our children are freer to be who they were meant to be without fear.

Those that think the recent Supreme Court rulings have done something to destroy the fabric of our society, need to remember society is made up of many peoples, many beliefs and many manifestations of happiness. Does it not destroy the fabric of society to alienate and deprive others of their basic rights simply because they are of a minority group? Why is it destructive to think of all human beings as equal?

Put bluntly, it is not destructive to think of all as having and maintaining equal rights and protections. It is not destructive to think of our children, and their future lives. It is important to remember that merely one generation ago, society, once by majority law and referendum, took from people their humanity simply because they were autistic.

Remember "liberty once lost is lost forever." By denying others equal rights, we deny our autistic children a future of freedom as well.


Elise

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Book My Father Kept

I spent this past weekend with my mother going through some of my father's papers. While we threw out so much, my mother said I could keep this book. He had it put aside in a special place to keep it safe:







My father was a veteran of the Korean War and had served his country during the Cold War. Here he is at one of his swearing-ins (my father is the one with his hand raised):



Here he is at another swearing-in with my mother (that's Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female member of SCOTUS, administering the oath of office):



My father's yahrtzeit, remembrance day, is coming up. On the American calendar it is August 15.

Suddenly, I miss him so much.


Elise

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brave New World? Apparently a New Untermenchen Law is on the Way

Cross-posted at Liberty's Spirit

Well lookie here apparently conservatives are none too happy with the fact that a young girl with cystic fibrosis received lungs and is now not going to drown in her own saliva. Fancy that. These same people rail against the fact that her parents went to court to over turn an outdated regulation that the government had no problem leaving in place. A regulation that would have taken over two years to review.  It seems that according to these self-important individuals parents of children with disabilities are supposed to let their children die for the good of society so “more deserving” people can receive transplants. Of course an interesting aside of this argument, or rather the immature aside, is when those that disagree with the self-righteous holier-than-thou-conservatives of the transplant coin (me for instance) are called ignorant, asinine and told to go to hell. I guess people get a little testy when being called out for channeling their inner Josef Mengele. (Read HERE my discussion of an argument I had with a blogger who writes for a well know conservative magazine. To put it mildly, she did not take kindly to me not agreeing with her position.)

The self-same anti-Obamacare adherents, who think that the government has no right to control your life, resent that the girl’s parents went outside the normal regulations and asked a judge to disqualify the offending reg which would have led to her death. Funny how those people who rail against government intrusion into the lives of people, “death panels”  and Obamacare, also think that no one has a right to go against the grain to get rid of offending laws or regulations. Or more to the point, perhaps they think only those who are considered able-bodied both physically and mentally are allowed to pursue life. Hence those who do not have what they consider to be an appropriate, accepted “normal” future or “neurotypical” synapses have no right to life and should just do the world a favor and not exist at all.

Of course a woman could just have had an abortion if the baby has a known disability but those on the right fight virulently against abortion. Perhaps according to the self-righteous-right these untermenchen should be allowed to be born but then not be given life saving surgeries, healthcare, support and above all respect by humanity as a whole?

While the feminist movement still carries “the cross” that it’s a woman’s body and her uterus alone that is important in the abortion decision, (something wholly disproved by modern science as babies are shown to feel pain by the 5th month of gestation) a side effect of abortion has been the dwindling of the visibly disabled population in areas with first-world-medical care. It is well documented that over 98% of all babies diagnosed with down syndrome are aborted.

Read the rest HERE

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

TedX -The Unstoppable Autism-Warrior-Parent Proves the Experts Wrong




Chris Varney is an advocate for children's rights. His advocacy began as a 16-year-old Youth Ambassador for World Vision during which he became active in anti-poverty campaigning. He went on to become National Co-Director of World Vision's youth movement and later, the 2009 Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations. As Youth Representative he put together a book Dear Kevin which helped catalyse many practical outcomes for vulnerable children and youth. For his efforts he has received the 2011 Monash University Student Alumni Award, the 2012 National Award for Youth in Advancing the Legal Rights and Interests of Children and Young People and the 2012 Future Justice Medal.

Visit Chris' website: http://chrisrvarney.com/
Connect with Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/chrisrvarney

TEDxMelbourne brings a diverse group of people together to share ideas, knowledge and inspiration through a series of events throughout the year.

Visit our site: http://tedxmelbourne.com /
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TEDxMelbourne
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View photos on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68383773...

About TEDx, x = independently organized event


In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


*******

As I have always told you, NEVER let anyone tell you your child can't. Tell the naysayers, dooms-people and so-called experts, that the  answer is NOT to tell your child that something is impossible but to find a way to get done what your child needs so they have the future of their choice.

Elise

The Ignorant Cows on The View Support Maher Calling Trig Palin the "R" Word



According to Barbara Walters its OK for Maher to have called Trig Palin names because he regularly picks on Sarah Palin and Palin can fight back. I have never known a descent adult to attack another adult through their children. I also don't know of any mentally stable adult who supports picking on and bullying children, never mind a child with a developmental disability.

Best part was that Walters discusses how her sister, who had developmental issues, was picked on and how bad it made her feel when someone called her sister the "r" word. Yet somehow in her convoluted reasoning,  it was fine and dandy that Maher did it to Trig Palin. She is a revolting hypocrite and a sad excuse for a human being. As a Jew, I am embarrassed that she is Jewish.

This just proves that it is longover due for Barbara Walters to retire.

Whoopi also said that the word "retarded" was made a bad thing by society much akin to the "n" word. That somehow we are too stupid to know whether Maher meant it in a negative way when discussing the Palin child. So apparently according to Whoopi you can use these words as long as you don't mean it in a negative way. Fine. Wonder what she would do if some Tea Party member went up to her and called her the "n" word, but told her that they didn't mean it in a bad way and that it was just society's fault for misconstruing the word. Don't think she would try to rationalize the insult by blaming societal malfeasance.

And lets not forget Whoopi's famous defense of Roman Polanski who had drugged and sodomized a 14 year old girl, saying what he did was not "rape rape." (Yeah she later apologized and clarified her statement, but she said it in the first place and meant every word of it.) And don't forget her revolting defense of Michael Vick  when he tortured and brutalized dogs so that he can enter them in dog fights. She said it was a "black" thing and we "white folks" don't understand what dog fighting means in the black community. HERE

There is a reason I don't watch The View and quite frankly neither should you or any self-respecting person.


Elise


Monday, June 17, 2013

Mr. GS' Senior Thesis Here On Line

I found a service that uploads documents and power point presentations online and then allows you to embed them to your blog or in another presentation. So if you haven't read Mr. GS' senior thesis on the History of Antisemitism in the Arab and Moslem Worlds using my convoluted link back to my wordpress political blog, try reading it from here. It is so much simpler and you can download it , or read it on line by expanding the box.






Sign me out as Proud Momma.

By the way, I picked up his framed College Diploma today too....



 Elise

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Practicality: Transitions, Practice and Eventually a Smile

Next week Mr.GS begins his journey into graduate school. But first we signed him up for a social skills class. The University where he is going has a wonderful aspergers support program and the disability director recommend that we send him to the program. She thought it might help with transitions. After speaking to the people who run the program I agreed. He starts next week. But we first we had a few chores we had to accomplish.

The first step was to send all of Mr.GS' medical information to the disability office. (That medical file I tell you to keep, you will always need that and it should be updated regularly. When they are in k-12 it is important to keep their IEPs in there as well.) That included the psycho-ed testing we did a few years ago, a letter from the neurologist about his seizures and even a letter from the undergraduate college detailing what accommodations he received, especially the para information. I spoke with new director on several occasions and after reviewing the documentation she assured me that sending someone with MR. GS would not be a problem.

Hugh sigh of relief. Mr. GS could need the support, but there is really no law or regulation that require a post-secondary facility to allow you to send someone with your child. She did at first want to emphasize that they don't pay for something like that. I had to assure her I know that we pay for this on our own. I asked if she need his resume. She said no, that the University trusted us. Nice to know. But I explained who the para is and his background anyway. It's important to know that we hire only qualified and very professional people to work with Mr. GS. Its about respect from us to them, that they also know we care about what happens with our son and that we require quality people (including professors) in our son's life.

The next step was to actually go in with Mr. GS to meet the disability director, sign some papers and take a look at the school. Yes, hubby and Mr. GS had taken a tour of the University, however, it seems that the computer science program for graduate students is only at the campus in the City so the trip to the campus near us was a huge huge huge waste of time.

Well..now it gets interesting. We had alot of things to think about when it came to the best way t transition Mr.GS, but most importantly was Mr. GS' safety in New York City. The first thing hubby found was actually something you generally buy for your elderly parents.

(1) We purchased Great Call. A locating and emergency device that Mr. GS could attach to his keys. If Mr. GS loses his phone (or if someone lifts it off him) he still has a way to contact someone for help by pushing the button on the device. By carrying the device there is also a way for someone to figure out where he might be. Of course we always tell him if you get lost or have a problem, find a police officer. Let them know you are in trouble and that you have autism. They will help you. The disability director also suggested that we contact the school's security office to let them know about Mr. GS, his autism and seizures as well.

(2) So  to practice, last week I took Mr. GS on the commuter train. Our behavioralist had already taken him a few times back and forth between towns in our area, so he did know how to buy a train ticket. He did that really well. Better than me actually. We went to the platform and waited. I tried to give him instruction about where to stand and the safety of staying back from the yellow line. This made him very cranky. I know he was just nervous. The more anxious he gets the crankier  he gets. At this moment he was very very very cranky. I let it go. Shortly after he did apologize. He does know when he isn't being pleasant. It's just in the moment he has trouble controlling his anxiety.

We did find empty seats on the train and actually had a pleasant ride into the City. I offered him the window seat so he could look out. I figured it would keep him calm. He was very quiet and very subdued during the ride.

Once in the City, hubby and I decided it would be best to take a cab to the University. I had thought about the subway, but with all the new stimuli, that crowded and sensory overloading place would just add to Mr. GS' anxiety. The subway is an area of transition that is far in the future. Very very very far.

The cab ride was fine. Mr. GS even tried to tell the driver where we were headed. There was traffic and it took a little bit of time. Because of a street closing near the school, the taxi driver let us off around the corner, telling us that the street we wanted was just a few blocks up. Well it wasn't. We did get a little confused and asked two police officers for directions. We did find it in plenty of time. Mr. GS was not smiling and was very very quiet.

It turns out the office we had to go to for the disability accommodations is right across the street from where all his classes will be held. even the social skills course. I made sure to point this out to Mr. GS. He didn't really seem to care very much at that point. The streets were crowded and the entire area was very new. I had never even been to this part of the City myself so I too was unsure of myself.

Meanwhile his school is only a few blocks from the new Freedom Tower. Mr. GS started worrying about terror attacks on the school. I had to tell him that an attack like that won't happen again. That America, and especially NYC is ready for anything right now. But I see a possible obsession that we will need to nip in the bud with this one.

So into the right building we went.

The next step was meeting with the disability director. What a lovely young woman.

(3) But first Mr. GS had to answer some questions about his disability through a computer to in put into the system. I accompanied him into the room and let him answer the questions. Those that he didn't know the answer to he asked me for help. My title by the way is "Supervisor." He would say..."Supervisor, help here."  Not certain when I went from "mom" to "supervisor" but it worked out well.

Then we had the meeting. We got every accommodation we wanted. The director explained the procedures to us for the extra time and how to set up the testing. Basically the same as it was in undergraduate. Just different people to deal with that is all. She also was very happy to have the para on board. I told her he is getting a masters in special ed and could help out the professors if they have a hard time explaining some of the curriculum to Mr. GS. He doesn't have a technology background but there are methodologies that a teacher can employ to teach any subject. Well did her face light up with that. She said the professors are going to be very happy to hear this. Also the classes are very small, maybe 20 students in a class. Very very nice.

She did ask if when we tell the professors that Mr. GS receives XYZ accommodations do we want his disabilities disclosed to the professors. We said of course. First of all, what good is it if the professor doesn't understand what the student is dealing with as far as a learning issue. Also with the seizures and the para accompanying Mr. GS it is better they know its for a physical reason and some social facilitation issues and that is all. I did tell her I was concerned that because of all the ignorant news stories about aspergers that people had the wrong impression about autism. She said they have never had an issue at the college, but that if Mr. GS ever did, he was to march right over to her office and she would take care of it.

Meanwhile Mr. GS had not said one word through the entire conversation. We kept asking him questions and he answered in one word or a little bit of a head shake. He did question his need for the social skills class. But I assured him it would help him get used to the school and it was a good thing. I think his anxiety was ratcheting itself up. I may be wrong but I think I saw one of his little seizures. He said he didn't have one, but I think differently. The doctor is convinced that these micro-seizures are so common for Mr. GS at times he doesn't even recognize them as a "seizure." And so far...no smile.

Not one person in that office, even questioned what I was doing there with Mr. GS. Nor did they have a problem with me being the advocate, facilitator or helicopter parent. This I liked. When school personnel understands how involved parents are in raising a special needs child (even when that child is no longer a child) you have people you can deal with. In fact Mr. GS' adviser told us to make sure that he inputs the information necessary along with the proper permissions so that there will not be any issues of "privacy" when we call the school or help advocate for him. 

From there we went to get Mr. GS his college ID card.

(4) We followed the directions we were given to find the ID office.  We walked into the main building and asked the security guard where to go. It was easy and simple. But still the area is confusing and we were very unsure of ourselves. (I know at this point I was even a little anxious from the day) Mr. GS handed the necessary documents to the youngman behind the ID counter. Sat in the right place and had his picture taken. Mr. GS was handed his ID, with a lanyard so he could wear it around his neck. I asked if he had to wear it that way and the answer of course was no. He just had to take it out to show security everytime he went into a college building but he could keep it in his wallet.

Mr. GS took the ID with the lanyard and put it around his neck. He then smiled a huge smile. Finally. Suddenly he started talking and laughing and enjoying the trip. The only thing I could figure is that with the ID the transition into his graduate program became a reality for him. He felt like he belonged at the school and was part of something again.

We hailed a cab to return to the train station. I asked Mr. GS if he wanted to shop for father' s day presents before we went home, but he said I should go without him another time. I think he had had enough of the day.

I figured out what train we should catch to go home and Mr. GS remembered that there is a terrific food court at the station. So he ordered some Chinese take-out and I bought a salad. We found the train. Sat down and he proceeded to eat his late lunch. (He had been so nervous I couldn't get him to eat before we left the house.)

*****

Hubby and I decided that Mr. GS needs one or two more practice trips into the City before his class begins in two weeks. He should feel assured with the schedule of how things are going to proceed. I know it will take time for him to feel completely comfortable with all the new sensory input. That is going to be the big challenge for him. But that too will happen in time. All he needs to learn is that he can do this and do it successfully. Patience. Comfort. Caring. That is the important things going forward that he will need. Not any different than ever before.



Elise



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Challenging the Self-Righteous Know-it-Alls Among Us

Interesting discussion about the recent case involving the child with CF who was denied a lung transplant because of her age. Apparently over at Commentary Magazine they are not all that pleased with the outcome, read  HERE. Yes I left a comment, and surprisingly they posted it.

Of course then someone responded that wanting a transplant for this girl was not thinking of others, that the family was gaming the system and that this selfishness is what passed for 21st century ethics. I replied that the family is not gaming the system. They were getting their daughter the help she was entitled to. That if they want to sacrifice their child for the benefit of the collective then so be it, but that I was going to fight tooth and nail for my children no matter what the issue. That 21st century ethics means that everyone is considered an equal person and that no one is an undermenchen. Don't know if the reply was posted. Update: as of now(4pm) it has not been.

Instead I had a rather interesting discussion with the post's author on twitter. She, in a petulant and pedantic and rather bratty manner, told me I was ignorant about transplants. Then blocked me because I called her out on her nastiness and self-righteous attitude.

Listen I do know that the author is an Orthodox Jew, so I told her that hashem is not going to look kindly upon her attitude and it might come back to haunt her one day. She said I cursed her and that she was not going to talk to me anymore. I suppose in her mind its OK for her to want to deny children with CF transplants because other more appropriate candidates exist,  but me mentioning in a very round about way that she is being a bitch, well I guess that got her annoyed. Alright, maybe I wasn't that round about it after all. But then again I don't take kindly to people thinking those with special needs are lesser human beings. I did use the word undermenchen, which probably also upset her. OK yeah I used it on purpose. My bad.

Now I never said I know anything beyond what I read about transplants in brochures and in news stories. I do not know anything beyond what I read about how special needs children are routinely denied transplants because they have special needs. But I do know that government regulations can and due lag behind medical reality. I do know that the medical profession also doesn't know everything and is willing to sacrifice innocent people to prove their points.

Somehow the author's idea that simply because a family had not thought of the idea to sue the federal government to change the list protocols before this case means everyone has been happy with the way things were. I told her that as a parent of two special needs boys I know that not everyone has the money to sue and most families probably didn't even think they could.  I bet most were scared of the blowback from the transplant doctors for their child if they did sue. That she never answered.

I also asked her if everyone was so happy with the way things were how come families are now being asked to move onto the adult list? That is when she told me I was ignorant because there was only one list. Very adult of her, wouldn't you say? That is when I told her she was being pedantic and petulant. She also never answered that actual point of why are people asking to redesignate their children either if everyone was oh so happy with the present system.

I also mentioned that the only thing the case did was create an appeals process so families can try to get their children listed as adolescents. She was carrying on as if the judge went and rewrote the entire transplant protocol rules, which he did not. She was carrying on how the entire system has to have everything rewritten and all the protocols and patient information has to be recalculated and the transplant system is about to crash because of what this judge did. She, of course, never answered that question either.

Nope she just blocked me. But then again I remember that I once had a discussion with this author and a tweind about the tweind's newly adopted child. The child had been converted by a conservative rabbi rather than an orthodox rabbi. She told the tweind that means her child isn't really Jewish. I suppose the self-righteous never really do change their attitudes do they?


Elise


Ignorant Bill Maher Calls Trig Palin the "R" Word...Main Stream Media and Leftwing Politicos Silent

It just amazes me how eight years after Sarah Palin became the GOP Vice-Presidential nominee, left-wing haters still cannot control their Palin Derangement Syndrome. Honestly after all these years I haven't figured out why they keep that up anyway. It is time for Leftist-losers to move on and recognize that the VP that won is an intellectually-challenged individual who runs his mouth without any actual thought whatsoever. Moreover it would be one thing if they stuck to picking on Sarah Palin, an adult. In American you have the right to disagree with what others say and can challenge them on any level you want. But somehow these comedian-losers have no one else to pick on but  Palin's son with down syndrome.

I have talked about Bill Maher (along with his left-wing compatriots plus one particular conservative radio-pundit) and his vile use of language to discuss women he disagrees with (here, here). However, the latest ignorance coming out of Maher is to refer to Trig Palin using the "R" word. The really disgusting aspect of this is how the audience at his show laughed. America really needs to grow up.

I have yet to understand how anyone with any functioning brain stem would find picking on a child with a developmental disability to be funny. I don't understand how anyone finds bullying, denigration and dehumanization of another person to be comic fodder. I don't see how these perverted insults  adds to the humanness of the Artistic  community. A community that pridefully announces how they are dedicated to social justice causes. I definitely can't see how it adds to the betterment of humankind.

No I didn't stay silent myself. Yes I sent Maher a tweet:




I don't expect anything worthwhile to come out of Maher about this issue. Cowards who pick on children, especially children with disabilities,  generally run from adult confrontation. It actually takes brain synapses to have an intelligent political conversation. An obvious level of intellect that Maher and those like him lack.

Yes of course Sarah fought back, just like any parent would HERE

But my question is where are all the groups that screamed and yelled when Rush called Fluke a "slut." Where is the #StopMaher movement by the Left? Where is the "Rush-equivalent-movement"  to throw Maher off the air, or for The Palms to cancel his show, by Media Matters and Think Progress? Where is the DNC, that castigated Rush, on Maher's bullying of a small child? I guess if you give 1 million dollars to the President's re-election campaign the self-righteous Left gives you a pass even when you bully and denigrate a helpless, defenseless child with a disability.

Compassionate Left my ass.

Makes you think doesn't it?


Elise

P.S. No I can't stand Rush myself. But I despise hypocrites even more.


There is Only One God

Shema Yisroel Adonai Elohainu Adonai Echad ....Hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is One

Not a traditional version but quite lovely.




Elise

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Video Games-Purpose and Yes, Importance

We always hear from the psychology community how our society is devolving because our young like to play video games. Every time there is a mass shooting or terrible tragedy where there is less than the expected societal me culpa, we are told that its because our young are inured to violence due to video games. They have done studies, tests, programs and many have even based their entire professional careers on the belief that video games are damaging to the human psyche and are making young people evil.

To that I say nonsensical-bullcrap.

It's not only because I know that CM2 considers himself a gamer. He spends every waking moment not studying playing games, discussing games, watching others play games and simply revels in the complexity and the social paradigms found in the video game world. He chats, tweets and IMs about the different genres. What they mean. How some are good, some are bad, some are racist, some are misogynistic etc.

Contrary to lore, Gamers are not social apathetics. In fact part of the joy of game play is the interaction with other gamers. They can slice and dice a game, the story and see the reality of the play down to the littlest detail. These people are highly evolved intellects that manipulate story lines,  thrive on creativity and promote many ideals and virtues.

The issue is not that video games are violent. Quite frankly some are and some are not. The issue is does the person playing the video game know what is real and what is fantasy? Can they leave that world behind when they turn off their machines? Can they differentiate between the rules of game play and the rules of modern society? If at any time these issues become problematic (or addictive), then it is not the game that is at issue, but the mental health of the person involved.

The know-it-all powers that be have decided that certain types of persons prone to dysfunction are drawn to game play. Not so. In fact it is the highly aware and quite functional that seek out a modicum of normalcy if for nothing else to assuage their own discombobulation, as it were.

Comfort in the midst of chaos is how gamers look at game play. The other day at the neurologists office the medical intern asked Mr.GS what he liked to do in his spare time.

"I like to play World of Warcraft," he answered. "There I am a 90 level warrior that can control the world around me. Here in the real world, I am only one person, without any power. Unable to fix anything that is wrong with the world. Here at times I feel helpless. In World of Warcraft at least I can feel like I can do something."

In a sense, Mr. GS is frustrated by his own anonymity/powerlessness. He sees terrible things on TV and has studied the most evil times known to man. He no more could do anything about the Holocaust than he could  do anything about Darfur or about what is happening in Syria. He sees hunger, hate, war, basically every form of man's inhumanity to man and goes inside the make-believe world of game play to escape  the vagaries of the real world for awhile.

And no he doesn't have to become jaded into thinking that the human condition is something to ignore and simply worry about himself for the rest of his life. No he doesn't have to get used to the evils that abound in the world and accept that humanity is not worth worrying about. Let him be frustrated by reality. And let him find an outlet to relieve that frustration.

He knows the difference between real and play. He knows why he enjoys game play. It's a form of therapy.  Playing games doesn't make him, or his brother, unable to cope in the real world. If anything its a way for them to deal with the real world by escaping for awhile. It's better than psycho-therapy for the boys are actually in control every step of the way . It gives Mr.GS a much needed outlet for the fact that one youngman can do nothing beyond his own little sphere of influence.

So I wish everyone would calm down about game play and see it for what it really is. Play time. An escape. Not any different than what we did as children when we played pretend. The difference is that video gaming is just alot more sophisticated than anything we could have ever imagined when we were growing up. Game play is about being part of something that is fun, exciting and outside the bounds of society. It's their rebellion from the pressures of life.

People escape in many ways. Some use drugs. Some use alcohol. Some use shopping. Some fight and abuse others as a way to cope. Some become workaholics, anorexics or completely exit out of society. Unlike those who use addiction to cope, gamers understand reality and are quite good at parsing out the world around them. At least with Gamers they are aware of the real world and when they are playing pretend.

So if the way my boys cope is to play games and pretend to control an otherwise uncontrollable world, so be it. It's not any different than Sheldonopolis. Only in their world, when the city is attacked by Godzilla as mayor of the town they don't tell the people to leave the children and run.




Elise

Friday, June 7, 2013

Channeling the Positive: Find the Positive in Your World

I realized that I needed a #positivetweet day. With so much negativity in the world, I decided that I had to regroup and figure out all the good things I have going on in my life right now. I think that we can get caught up in all the problems and issues out there in human space, especially when we can't individually do anything about any of them. When you harp on all the negative things you cannot control, this leads to sadness and depression. Making all the good in your life disappear. So in honor of #postivetweet day, I have decided to write a #postivepost.


Happiness:

Mr. GS is inordinately happy. I realized the other day that he has been in school continually since he was 5 years old. He has never had nothing to do. Even when he wasn't in school or in ESY he had to go to therapy, doctors and tutors. But today is really different. He sleeps (but of course), eats, watches videos, plays World of Warcraft, eats again, exercises, eats again and then when I remind him of our deal, where he didn't have to get a job before his masters program starts in July,  he does a few chores.

He laughs all the time and tries to hug me (yeah). He has taken to cooking his own pasta and even enjoys the independence associated with being the chef. When I try to correct him about something in the kitchen, he tells me that he's cooking his way....so as long as his way leaves the kitchen in tact, I let him be.


Mind-body-reality:

CM2 is finally getting the hand of the reality of what studying is all about. He had a rocky start to his summer Spanish class, but I remembered an old trick of mine from when he was in high school. Scheduling. He has to write out a schedule everyday to study and figure out what he needs to do.

He was reluctant at first. Thinking he could remember what to do when by memory. But I reminded him that he forgets and gets lost in his live streaming videogame exploring channel Twitch. So as long as his favorite twitch show gets worked into the schedule (which it does), it works out quite well.

I also have him study at the dinningroom table. He wears noise-canceling head phones and all noise is banished from his vicinity. Meanwhile if Mr. GS wants to sit in the near quadrant of his brother he has to also wear noise-canceling headphones to play videos or games on his laptop. Me I am exiled to the basement, or my bedroom, with my laptop and electronic toys.

But you know what. It has worked out. He just got a 96 on his last vocabulary quiz. So I will live the summer in my bedroom as long as this keeps up. I think CM2 also really realized the mind-body-"good grade" connection. It has taken awhile but we may have finally had a breakthrough. Positive thought that this new attitude/acceptance of reality will keep up.


Getting along:

The boys are getting along. Since Mr.GS is so happy and CM2 seems to have figured out studying for now, they are pleased with themselves. I hear less squalling between them. They talk, they discuss, they interact as if they were actually becoming adults...YEAH. As long as they stay away from politics everything is fine.

They even sat and watched The Big Bang Theory together last night. CM2 had gotten a bug up his butt about the portrayal of people with aspergers on that show. He really was annoyed that the producers had made Sheldon out to be clueless as to what was or was not racism.

You see, CM2 prides himself on his mindfulness of others and how others want to be treated. In fact he works hard to be aware of  racial, sexual orientation or gender based discrimination. So he resented terribly the characterization of people with aspergers as ignorant, albeit unintentional, bigoted dolts. But his animus towards BBT seems to have gone away, at least for now....The latest episode the boys were watching dealt with when Sheldon and Howard were fighting over a parking space and how the characters ended up playing naked penis pranks on each other. (If you throw a penis joke in there CM2 does seem to find it hilarious.)


Needlesstosay when the boys are happy we are happy. But as for ourselves:

I had been having some weird palpitations and finally went to my doctor who of course sent me to a cardiologist. Remember February is Heart Disease Awareness month and it is something women need to think about as well as men. Heart disease is the biggest killer of American women. So don't dismiss those aches.

Today the cardiologist (a she) did an echocardiagram of my heart. That is an ultra sound of all the heart chambers. It was really cool watching my heart "beat" up on a screen. The last time I had seen a heart like that was when I was 5 months pregnant with CM2 and we saw his heartbeat on the ultrasound during the amnio. Happily, the heart seems fine. But just to be certain she wants me to do a stress test and then wear a 24-hour heart monitor. She told me that alot of times, palpitations are a characteristic by menopause. But don't just assume that's what the issue is, make sure you find out for certain.

So apparently night sweats is not enough. Now I get to have pounding in my throat as if my heart is gong to jump up into my head too because my hormones can't decide whether they are walking, skipping or running away...(Yes I know its suppose to be "positive post" not snide-smartass-post, but I couldn't help myself with this one, and when you go through menopause you will know exactly what I mean about not being able or not wanting to hold back.)

Now the hubby is happy because since the weather is finally getting warmer, he can take care of all that nasty damage left over from the hurricane last year. He finally rebuilt the back fence and is working on mending the fences in the front of the house. He likes to wood work and paint. It gives him a great sense of accomplishment when he can take care of his own home. In fact, he has finally primed all the paint-needed-spaces in the house and told me he is going to finish the touch-ups all this weekend. The inside of the house is no longer going to look like it is covered in calamine lotion and suffering from chickenpox. YEAH.

The dogs are calm. Even they are content. It must be a good sign. Animals are very perceptive. When we are stressed, they are stressed. Considering my pack merely lays about all day, barely barks and only wants to be fed and play, I would say the family-vibes right now are pretty good.


And above all, the house is quiet right now. So very positively quiet.


Elise



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Danza.....

I do not speak Spanish and have no idea what is actually being said in this song, but I love the beat. It makes me want to dance, which is so important in life. Just let me know if the translation is beyond the typical for this music's genre. From the video it just looks like a bunch of good looking rich guys surrounded by "hot" ladies, something every youngman (and most older ones too) want.



Personally I'll take the yacht and the house myself, no use for the young guys. In reality, until men have been seasoned appropriately they are totally useless. That's just one reason why I'll keep the hubby (I have many more as any reader of this blog would know). But together we could get used to that lifestyle for certain.

Have a fun day.


Elise

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Autism-Meme as Political Insult

Everyone who reads this blog knows that I am not afraid to show my political bent. Not a fan of Obama, democrats, political correctness and cultural relativism. I'm also not a conservative or libertarian either. I am a Constitutionalist. I believe in the US Constitution over and above all other forms of government, politics, religion and realities.

That being said I do not hesitate to point out, mention, discuss, or accuse when someone, no matter their political bent, insults those with disabilities to attempt to make any kind of point. I am an equal opportunity tuchas-kicker. I do not shrink away angry. I let them know that their maligning of my sons is not only disingenuous, its stereotyping/bullying at its worse and ignorant at its best.

Earlier today I happened upon one of the more interesting blogs that I read. I do not hesitate to comment when I think he has gone too far politically. As anyone will tell you I am not shy, at least not on line.

His latest screed was about socialism and its failures, disasters and the incomprehensible blindness of its adherents. Not anything I haven't read or said at times myself. Absolutes in politics don't work, no matter which side of the aisle you sit on. It's why even our most important laws have get-out-of-jail-reasons, even the admonition "Thou shalt not murder."

Well as I was reading his latest diatribe I came across this paragraph:

The Asperger shortcuts to manipulating people that are such a big part of convincing you to try a new soft drink or selling voters on Obama 2012 worked, but getting people to buy your hairspray or vote for your candidate is fundamentally different than changing how they live. The nudges and the data streams may seem sophisticated, but they rely on a Pavlovian view of human beings reacting to impulses in predictable ways. It's good enough for making a dog salivate when a bell is rung or a coed's eyes fill with stars at a Hopey poster, but it doesn't account for anything deeper than that.
Sultan Knish, The Crash of Socialism 2.0

I left a comment to say the least. I told him that his use of autism spectrum disorders is stereotyping an entire group of people that deal with prejudice on a daily basis. That his job is to teach not vilify. That he was promoting ignorance and bullying. That as a religious person he should be ashamed of himself. I told him to print my comment or don't print the comment. Respond in condescending tones about political correctness and leftist politics all he wants. But what he should do is rewrite that paragraph and apologize.

Nope haven't checked back to see what happened. Maybe I will and maybe I won't. I don't think I actually care. I have had many of my comments vilified by fools who think its smart to use the "R" word when I've pointed out how wrong it is. I have been ignored by authors who think its OK to use the autism-meme to show societal-ambiguousness-towards-humanity.

In all the time I spend on the internet there has only been one incidence where someone actually changed their article and apologized to me for what they had written. That was at Israellycool. I suppose one is still better than none. But it does make you think.

The ultimate  irony here is that the blogger in question continually points out the antisemitic nature of so many articles, persons, political philosophies and organizations around the globe. He rails against antisemitism and the stereotypes promoted by some of the world's biggest (and smallest) Israel-and Jew-haters. (Yes I do that too.) But was unable to see how his stereotyping of those with aspergers spreads just as much hatred as racial or religious animus. It amazes me to no end, how people are so incapable of seeing what they dislike in others in themselves.

What I take away from this is simply how sad a place is the world at times and the challenges still out there for my sons and others with autism.  I shouldn't be surprised. Really I shouldn't. I just wonder where have all the intelligent people gone? I expect autism-stereotyping from the uneducated politically unaware, but not from those who pride themselves on their ability to think, discuss and reason. Did intellects, true intellects, ever exist and am I fooling myself into thinking that the boys may not actually have to fight hatred for the rest of their lives?

Whenever I am confronted by the ignorance of the intelligent I always come back to hubby's admonishment about keeping the boys information private to the world. Hubby always warns about the nastiness of the working world. While I know that there are always ways to find out who someone truly happens to be, for the majority of people its not important to go that extra mile to delve into the bowels of the internet. So I do the best I can with keeping their identities secret. And yes, after today, I am glad I listened to hubby yet again.

Ultimately, bigotry is bigotry. There are no excuses for being uneducated in today's day and age. Those who do not recognize their own intellectual shallowness while even trying to excuse their equally vicious perspectives only make this a harsher world for our children. Silence in the face of such ignorance is not an option.

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men...Abraham Lincoln.


Elise

Here is a video that can help begin everyone's education:


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Being the Breadwinner is Not the Epitome of Fatherhood

We have all read and heard about the controversies surrounding the stay-at-home mom versus the working-mom versus the know-it-all-single-woman who thinks she knows everything even though she has never had a longterm relationship, marriage or given birth to any children.(HERE HERE) But now we have a new and rather inane controversy  effecting the male members of our society. Apparently new statistics have come out that for a large portion of households, the women are the major breadwinners.  Watch HERE. This seems to have caused some rather neanderthal heads to explode and accuse society of going to hell in a handbasket. HERE

I do understand that we have 24/7 news channels that need to have new topics to discuss on an hourly basis, but in truth there are real issues around the world to talk about that do not involve some first-world-narcissism. I would suspect that in a large portion of the world, in fact in many American households as well, families are less worried about who brings home the bacon as opposed to them actually being afraid that there will not be any bacon in the house at all.

If you also thought this nonsense ended with the news channels you are wrong. Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here

Sadly what has been lost in the hullabaloo about money and worth in our society is just what exactly is the job of being a father?  What does fatherhood actually entail? What actually makes a male a good father?

Is it the size of the paycheck? If that were so I would submit then, that Bernie Madoff was probably a really good dad, even though he ended up causing such trauma for his family that one of his sons committed suicide. The problem with society and so many of our cultural norms is that we are judged not by the content of our character but by the size of our bank balance and paycheck.

Here, then, is my list of dos for being a good father:

* Actually being available when your child needs you.
* Making certain that whatever your child throws at you you deflect it and come back looking for more.
* Patience, understanding and caring about the human being(s) you helped bring into the world before you care about anything else, especially yourself.
* Compassion, teaching your child to care about others.
* Competence, showing your child that whatever they do, they do to the best of their ability.
* Kindness.
* Respect for women. It is essential that real men teach their sons what it means to be in a respectful, mutually fulfilling relationship.
* Role modeling. Men need to show and teach their sons how to be good, kind and gentle people to those around them.
* Ethics and morals are a major aspect of being a real man. There are rights and wrongs in this world. It is essential that men teach their sons that the stronger you are the more ethical a person you will become.
* Not being condescending towards others.
* Laughing with your child.
* Finding mutual interests, or if there are none, supporting what your child likes to do.
* Hugging your child or crying with them when necessary.
* Caring for your child when they are sick.
* Planning for your child's future.
* Educating your child (through graduate school at least).
* Teaching how to clean a house as well as how to rebuild a car motor.
* Knowing that your child is not an extension of you, a golden adornment, but a person in their own right.
* Teaching the right way to defend their beliefs.
* Modeling honor, and duty.
* Understanding that if your child has issues and/or special needs it makes them no less important and no less a person to be loved.

Now where did I learn what it means to be a good father. Definitely from my own dad and watching the hubby help me raise our two boys as well. Fatherhood, like motherhood, is not an easy gig. It takes time, energy, patience and above all selflessness.

Many lament that the breakdown of the marriage has caused this dearth of fatherhood. But simply because a marriage fails or was never in the works, does not mean a man cannot be a good father. Parenthood is divorced from the adult relationship that brought the child into the world. Adult relationship issues have no bearing, or should have no bearing, on raising the child. This is about responsible parenting, nothing more and definitely nothing less.

Responsibility is also something I teach my own sons. Responsibility in life includes the choices you make. If you choose to have sex and are not ready to be a parent use birth control. If the girl gets pregnant its up to her if you become a father or not. If she chooses fatherhood then your obligation to that child is for the rest of your life. So think before you act and be certain the person you sleep with is someone you would want to be the mother of your children.

In the end, it does not mean a man is less than a man if his wife or the woman in his life earns a bigger paycheck. Sometimes that is the necessary reality that people have to live with, especially since the downturn in the economy. Gender roles and the rules are changing in the world. What should also change is the basis upon which we measure a person's worth in this world. What a person adds to the world "ethically, morally, emotionally and spiritually" is what is most important. Not how much money they earn so they can buy crap.

Remember in the end (who goes to an office, which parent if any stays home with the children, or who is the top breadwinner) you need to figure out what is best for your family and ultimately what makes you both good parents.


Elise

P.S.  Yes, it is a fact that most women who are the breadwinners are in single family homes without male financial support of any kind (deadbeat dads abound). There is no male role model for the children and no positive male influence. But that is also the choice in many cases of the mother and/or an absent father who does not assert his parental role or rights. The effects on the children have been studied and I can say these studies are not encouraging. Sadly it is also a different discussion for another day.