Cocoons

I managed to get through twenty years of my work life without cubicles. But then it had to happen. When my job was moved from Indiana to New Jersey in 1996 I went with it. I really didn’t have a choice as I needed four more years of a full pension, so off I went.

Our new facilities there used to be a large warehouse previously occupied by the Manhattan Bagel Company, (by the way I ❤️ Manhattan bagels). For us, the empty warehouse was filled with cubicles to make offices for about 250 engineers and all their toys. Before the day I was introduced to this type of office space I had heard quite a bit of negative comments, so I was prepared for the worst.

Oddly enough, I loved the configuration! With just a few feet of moving to make everything within reach of my chair. The cube walls were about five feet high with about 60 square feet of floor space. The lighting about fifteen feet above provided just the right amount of light. Since I was deaf, I was not affected by the noises around me as my hearing friends were. Since my Aspie traits allowed me to totally focus on the job in front of me, the isolation was a big plus.

Before my beloved cube I always shared office/lab with at least a couple of other engineers usually pretty close by. This was a radical change. Hours would go by without any interruptions. I was able to become totally immersed into my work.

When I retired and moved into a 1927 farmhouse, my office / man cave was an 8 x 12 foot room. It wouldn’t be long before it was fashioned into a cubicle like space I had left behind. I gave my wife the larger room for her hobbies and gladly took the smaller one.

I guess there is just something personally comforting to me having my space wrapped around me. If I could talk my wife into it I’m sure I would now be living in a 400 square foot “tiny house” instead of the 2500 square foot one I have inhabited for almost twenty years now.

Since I left the workplace I know the trend now is to just have one large open floorspace and a large table for everyone to work from. I can’t imagine working under those conditions. The distractions would be intolerable to me.

I guess this is just another part of my life where I am pretty different from most others. I feel as-snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug when I am in my cocoon.

Taking Offense… Being Too Sensitive

I see where Elizabeth Warren has now apologized for saying that she has Native American roots? Her DNA test proved that she has ancestors who were Native American so what’s the problem?

Well, it seems that some Native American tribes take offense to her; they are saying a bloodline is not the same as tribal membership. I can understand that but I don’t think she ever claimed to be a tribal member. Does it means that I can’t be proud of my Native American roots because I personally am not a member of an established tribe, I think that takes away much more than it might contribute to the conversation. I think the critics are being too sensitive.

On a personal level, I don’t claim to be part of the Deaf Culture but I most assuredly claim to be deaf. It is true that I don’t have any exposure to deaf organizations and I certainly don’t claim that. Is it offensive for me to proclaim I am deaf but not be associated with Deaf Culture? Is it child abuse to do something to allow a deaf child to hear? Some in the Deaf Culture believe so. They say that we would be denying the child his deaf culture. I think the critics are being too sensitive.

I have Aspie traits but have never been officially diagnosed to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Is that offensive to those who have been clinically diagnosed? I hope not, but I can imagine that to be in at least some cases. It is estimated that more than ninety percent of people with Aspie traits have never sought treatment or diagnosis for those traits. In spite of the negative view of autism, I am proud to claim that I am a unique individual who copes pretty well and even deem my Aspie traits to be more positive than negative.

Getting back to the point of this post, I see where Kamala Harris is now apologizing for some of the things that made her a successful prosecutor. It seems she threatened a homeless person with jail time because of a truancy issue. Never mind that tactic is used thousands of times a day by prosecutors in order to get people to obey the law and therefore not have to move against them legally. She was doing it for the good for the person. I think the critics are being too sensitive.

And now there is the Virginia Governor who appeared “black face” in a drinking party almost forty years ago and was unfortunate enough to get his picture taken next to a guy in a KKK hood. Yes, that was a stupid thing to do but does it ameliorate everything he has accomplished since that day. What happened to the idea of forgiveness?

I think that we just might be destroying the Democratic party for the sake of sometimes over-sensitiveness. If one mistake, even if it was commonplace in the past, prevents you from becoming a public servant who is left to serve? We all live in glass houses.

Just because the Republican Party has become the party condoning lies, contempt, and seemingly without any moral values doesn’t mean that the Democrats have to go in the exact opposite direction. I think the critics are being too sensitive.

The History of Autism

I know the title above is rather ambitious for a single blog post, but I do want to give you an idea of how it came about and how some of the statistics might be deceiving. I have been studying this topic for a few weeks now and thought I knew enough to put out a continuous series of posts on the subject, but as my snippet on This N’ That Sunday mentioned I just didn’t know how much I didn’t know. So, I am going to put out bits and pieces of what I have been learning as I go along. After all, a blog is not supposed to be novel length but instead snippet of info.

To the layman, it seems that “Autism” just came on the scene in the late 1980s. Before that is was almost unknown by the general public. In reality, the term itself was coined in 1908  to describe a subset of schizophrenic patients who were especially withdrawn and self-absorbed.

Hans Asperger brought it to the forefront in the field of psychiatry in 1944 when he describes a “milder” form of autism now known as Asperger’s Syndrome. The cases he reported were all boys who were highly intelligent but had trouble with social interactions and sometimes specific obsessive interests.

After World War II there was a lot of psychoanalytic work done on autism where researchers looked solely at the negative impact on life experiences.  At that time Autism was not considered biological or genetic. In 1980 “Infantile autism” is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for the first time; the condition is also officially separated from childhood schizophrenia.

It was not until 1988 when the movie Rain Man is released which stars Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant that Autism became widely known to the general public. At that time Asperger’s Syndrome was not included in the DSM category.

Finally, in 2013, The DSM-5 folds all subcategories of the condition into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer considered a separate condition. I have some strong feelings about that but I will leave them to another post. ASD is defined by two categories: 1) Impaired social communication and/or interaction. 2) Restricted and/or repetitive behaviors.

Some say folding Asperger’s into the DSM category was a mistake since it is significantly different when it comes to life experiences from much of the rest of the autism spectrum. More on that in a near future post.

Footnote: The source for much of this history is from the Parents.com website.

This N’ That Sunday- About Amazon (and other such things)

I saw an article in the New York Times recently about how a new orthopedic clinic contacted Amazon to find out who bought knee-braces in their area. After paying a fee Amazon sent that info along with names and addresses of the customers. The new clinic then sent mail to just that select group instead of flooding the area with their advertisements. I guess some would consider that an invasion of privacy but I kind of see it as smart advertising and saving a forest of trees.

What do you think? Is Amazon abusing their customers?


I’m a car guy, or at least I enjoy watching TV shows about cars. One of my favorite new shows is “Full Custom Garage”. It is about a very creative guy who doesn’t have all the fancy tools of so many other shows but manages to make beautify creations with very basic tools. The satellite channel he is on used to be called “Velocity” but just recently it was re-named “Motor Trend”.

I think the owner of the channel got a new CEO recently and he had to justify his million dollar contract by renaming the channel. The trouble with this is that on my satellite listing it is tagged MTHD. Is it just me but when I see those initials I think “Meth Head”? I will keep watching it but I will never describe myself as a meth head! 🙂


In_Depth Report Coming Soon…

For the last couple of weeks, I have been working on an In-Depth report on the subject of Autism. I was hoping it would be ready for tomorrow but it just needs more work so I will put it off at least another week. The title is The Positive Side of Autism.  It is about my study of autism concentrating primarily on adults and in particular Asperger’s part of the spectrum. I suspect the title is upsetting to some, especially those who have children with the most severe forms of autism, but there is a positive side for this condition that needs to be explained. The vast majority of work in autism is with children. Since what is now defined as autism has been around for centuries or more we need to know about it at the adult level. That is where perhaps, 98% of the total autism population exists.

Celebration

I will be putting out my 3500th post here at RJsCorner this week! If you don’t believe me, just click on the Archive Calendar on the right side of this and every post. 🙂 I didn’t know I had it in me. This is my 10th year on the corner, but it seems like yesterday!!

Help me celebrate and I hope you keep coming back for more.

Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges is an art museum in Bentonville Arkansas created by the Walton Foundation. It gets 3 million visitors a year and is free admissions.  It is a celebration of American artists including significant contributions from Native Americans.

For this Artsy Saturday, I want to give you some photos of the buildings themselves. They are works of art and deserve their own accolades.  If you visit the musuem I suggest you do so during a weekday. The crowds on the weekends are almost insufferable, at least to a guy with some Aspie traits. 🤣

I Need More Balance…

Hdr Nov10I need more balance in my life and especially in my blogging. Part of my base character that is associated with my Asperger’s traits is I tend to become obsessively focused on something and everything else just falls by the wayside.  The day-to-day insanity coming from the Oval Office along with the now weekly mass killings is putting me over the edge.  I have to force myself to greatly diminish my attention to these subjects.

To do that I am now going to try to broaden the scope of coverage here at RJsCorner. As you can see from the header above I plan on giving my attention to seven different areas, one day at a time. Another change is that I am bringing back my photo activity back to RJsCorner.  After 3+ months of attempting to move it off to a dedicated site, it is clear that there just isn’t enough interest for it to stand alone.

Here are the topics for each day of the week:

Monday – Government/Politics

Monday is reserved for “Inside The Beltway” issues. You likely know where I come from on these issues. 

Tuesday – This Land Is Your Land

This topic will primarily encompass a photo journal of my travels across America.

Wednesday – Having My Say

This one is a potpourri of topics that just don’t fit anywhere else but I have something to say about it.  Some of that will include stories from my life, some about my lessons learned, and some just about things I have been thinking about or just plain bug me.

Thursday – American Heroes

The principal person in this category is Will Rogers. I already have an abundance of posts of Will’s quotes in the archives. Jefferson and other founding fathers will also be prominent here. Many current day people who inspire me in one area or another will also share this space.  

Friday – Why?? (Question Everything)

I have lived with the “why” word all my life. Many seem to outgrow it after childhood but not me.  Questioning Everything is at my core! I am just not one to accept “that is the way it is..” and this category will illustrate that. A big part of Friday posts will be busting long-established myths.

Saturday – Artsy/Creative/Surreal

This category is where my creativity and craziness is unleashed on you. 🙂 

Sunday – God/Religion/Spiritual

After my rather intense spiritual studies of about a decade ago, I have come to have I have come to develop several different views on this broad subject matter.  

I don’t necessarily plan on posting every day here but I will stick this agenda schedule for when I do post. I hope you like the new directions for RJsCorner. If you have any ideas for new topics and such let me know. I welcome any input you might want to provide and look forward to delving into my more complete view of the world with you.

What If Someone Better Comes Along?

The2018-09-08_12-54-07.png title above is a very interesting one for me.  Due to my self-diagnosed Aspie traits, my social skills have never been anything approaching normal. I just don’t think in the venue as most everyone else does it seems.  Clicking with almost any female was a non-starter for me. I tried it on several attempts but I usually never got very far. So, it totally surprised me when my now wife of 32 years showed an interest in me. I never dreamed I would have a serious relationship let alone get married.

I imagine that those more socially prone have asked themselves the above question in the title on more than one occasion. At least I hope they have.  One basic problem is that too many of us settle for what is in front of us instead of waiting for something better to come along and that results in over half of us divorcing and usually making the same mistakes all over again the second and third time. 🙂  Instead of the question above, too many of us probably ask the reverse, “what if no one else comes along?”

Outside of the relationship venue, I personally have settled for what was in front of me far too many times in my life. I regret not having admitted that I was in the wrong profession early on in my career.  Instead, I clung to the financial security that my job was providing. It was not until the last fourth of my work life that I finally got into something that I really enjoyed doing.  Because I thought nothing better would come along I spent 20+ years of my life in a job I got little enjoyment from. Don’t make that same mistake…

 

(WS) Autism In The Elderly?

 

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When I got a recent comment from one of my regular viewers I realized it was time for another post about Autism. This one is about senior citizens who are autistic but are generally undiagnosed.  A recognized statistics is that there are over a million of us that are autistic in the Baby Boomer generation alone.

Even if those million were suddenly officially diagnosed to be autistic it is very doubtful that any but a small percentage of them would even accept that fact.  It is kind of like another area that I am familiar with and that is hearing impairment. Only about one in five seniors who have hearing difficulties seek help.  They just insist that all of a sudden everyone started mumbling.

In that same vein, too many in our boomer generation see autism in any form as being a disgraceful thing that is to be locked in the closet, and for the most severe cases that was the general rule for our generation. Sadly, that is a totally misconceived notion that I want to try to put a small dent in with this meager post.

Autism is not a dreaded disease but instead is really just a way that a significant portion of the population see and react to the world.  Their perceptions in some ways make them unique and special.

I admit that I am just beginning to learn the intricacies of the autism spectrum so I have a lot to learn.  For that reason, I can’t really address the spectrum idea with any degree of knowledge. But, what I have studied is a condition called Asperger Syndrome so I will concentrate on that anomaly for the purposes of this post.

Here is what the Autism Speaks organization says about Aspergers:

Asperger syndrome was generally considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum. Affected children and adults have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Motor development may be delayed, leading to clumsiness or uncoordinated motor movements. Compared with those affected by other forms of ASD, however, those with Asperger syndrome do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development. Some even demonstrate precocious vocabulary – often in a highly specialized field of interest.

The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger syndrome. However, they are seldom all present in any one individual and vary widely in degree:

• limited or inappropriate social interactions
• “robotic” or repetitive speech
• challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
• tendency to discuss self rather than others
• inability to understand social/emotional issues or nonliteral phrases
• lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
• obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
• one-sided conversations
• awkward movements and/or mannerisms

Many in the Baby Boomer generation readily admit that they have always had several of the traits of Aspergers. The causes of those characteristics were labeled as just being: shy, timid, introvert.  Many say that they have problems with making eye contact or trouble with conversations/small talk that others seem to readily accomplish.

Some, who are much more knowledgeable than I have put together a list of possible undiagnosed Aspies in the celebrity world today.

  • James Taylor – Age 70
  • Dan Aykroyd – Age 65
  • Vladimir Putin – age 65
  • Susan Boyle – age 57
  • Isaac Asimov – died at age 72
  • Daryl Hannah – age 55
  • Bill Gates – age 62
  • Abraham Lincoln – died at age 56
  • Robin Williams – died at age 63
  • Bob Dylan – age 76

A good portion of this list is Baby Boomers. I would be proud to be included in this influential list with them. They, because of their Aspie traits are very creative people who speak their minds.  Aspergers is not something to be ashamed of but instead just describes some fundamental characteristics of our personalities that make us different from others. If you want to see more details on why these people are either confirmed or likely Aspies click here.

Before I close this topic, I want to delve a little more into the general topic of autism.

From Autism Speaks — Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

In the end, what does in matter if seniors deny the possibility that they are Aspies? In most cases, there is likely no harm. But it is also known that these traits become more significant as we age and lose some of our inhibitions so maybe this information in the hands of our caregivers would be valuable.

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