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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Autism and Meltdown

canstockphoto13659526.jpgBeing a person with some strong Aspie traits, I just don’t handle stressful situations well.  Fortunately, I don’t totally lose it as the word meltdown infers but I quit acting like an adult and instead am a panicked kid. In autism studies, these episodes are called meltdowns so I will call them that for the purposes of this post.

One of my most prominent stressors is criticism. I am plainly oversensitive. I often perceive my wife’s criticism as calling me a complete idiot. When those situations occur I frequently go into at least some level of meltdown. I start shouting back about how she doesn’t think I can flush a toilet without screwing it up!  Usually, when the episode is over I can evaluate what happened with a more adult view but that doesn’t ameliorate the damage done to both of us by these episodes.

From the studies I have read I know that over time, these types of situations alienate friends and peers. They have also caused marriage problems and even divorce.

My meltdowns for sensory episodes are less frequent as I just don’t allow myself to get caught up in them. Instead, I either avoid the causes or quickly flee the situation.  I don’t like crowds and especially people standing behind me. For that reason, I often shop in the off-hours. My photography helps with crowds.  I tell myself I am there to document the event and therefore manage to control my uneasiness more easily.

I know the severity of my personal meltdowns is much less than others on the spectrum. I am grateful for that and sympathetic to others who are worse than I.

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The Cutting Room Floor

“You are not alone” is one of my Ten Pillars of life. The thought is that no matter what adversities you face, there is always someone who has had them before you and they can help you learn how to cope.

Asking for help is a hard thing to do for many of us. We just don’t want to admit to ourselves that we sometimes struggle through life, let alone broadcast that fact to the world! It takes a brave person to do that. One of those brave people is Michelle over at the Green Study. She recently came out with a heartwrenching post where she told the world about her problems with depression and the history of psychiatric problems in her family.

Here are some of her words in relation to the recent celebrity suicides:

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I constantly struggle with my deafness, my Aspie characteristics and sometimes depression. I thank the Lord that I am not overwhelmed by these things as many are. I feel an inordinate need to show the world that they are not alone. Someone else struggles as you do.  Just knowing that might help them pull back from the edge and seek help.

One of my hardest personal struggles was the period when I went deaf at the age of forty. I knew deafness was coming but I still was totally unprepared. When it did happen my ear doctor basically told me that he couldn’t help me anymore so just go away.  I felt abandoned! I went through months of depression until I finally discovered the organization called ALDA (Assoc. of Late Deafened Adults).  They helped me realize I was not alone.

Thanks, Michelle for letting others know that they are not alone with their problems…

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Good Judgment

Good judgment comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment Will Rogers

canstockphoto29834965.jpgIt’s time I put out a post on the new quote in the header above.  I think experience and wisdom often go hand in hand and as Will says learning from mistakes is a big part of it.  I personally think I can remember more details of the things I got wrong than the things I got right.

Due to my Aspie characteristics, I made a lot of social mistakes. Looking back I can see where opportunities were presented to me that I just wasn’t aware of at the time. People giving me hints that they wanted to have a relationship with me if I would only agree. I was a wimpy kid who simply couldn’t believe that anyone would be interested in me as a person.

Not standing up for myself was another place where I learned from my mistakes. I simply let too many people take advantage of my naivete.  Looking back I can see where I was a pretty gifted guy and quite a few people took credit for things I did. I just didn’t realize at the time it was happening.

My mistakes in the past have taught me the good judgment I now have.  It is not that I can go back and relive those times, but at least I try to use my current good judgment on today’s circumstances.  Maybe this is another example of  “Wisdom is wasted on the elderly”. I don’t know.

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I Am A Writer…

I am once again trying to get you to understand my obsession with writing. Or maybe it is to help me understand myself, I don’t know.  But, here goes.

I am such a writer. It’s not even funny. I’m rarely blocked. If anything, I have more material to write, than I have time to write. That’s been the prevailing theme of my life: So many words, so little time. And some of the words are actually pretty decent. I devote my waking hours to noticing things and thinking about them in ways that few other people do. When other people have read what I had to say, at times they’ve been amazed. If I felt more comfortable about it, I’d brag a bit on that point. But other people’s respectful notice of my ideas puts me off. I can’t help wondering, “Why is this so amazing to them? It’s just common sense?” And I can’t even begin to discuss it all, because I often come off as arrogant or stuck-up or condescending.

via Working towards #Invisible #excellence – Aspie Under Your Radar

2015-08-08_10-15-26.pngThe words above were written by a person like me with significant Aspie traits. They so mirror my feelings as to be almost eerie. At the present time, I have 10 days worth of posts here on RJsCorner that are scheduled for publication and another forty-five drafts waiting to be fleshed out. There are also over a hundred titles in the trash that just didn’t pan out. My usual process is the take thoughts that cross my mind and write a quick title and a few words for future expansion and edification and then let my brain stew them over in the background. I don’t know how I can keep so many things tumbling in my mind at the same time?  Sometimes I get several thoughts a day and a few days go by with nothing but I am rarely blocked.

Why am I obsessed with putting my thoughts on virtual paper? Do my Aspie traits have something to do with it? I imagine they do but I have never really delved into that possibility.  It is just part of me now I when it gets down to it, it really doesn’t matter what the source.

For the most part, I have always been a writer. I would do book reports of all the books I read in my youth. No one saw those reports but me but I just felt I had to consolidate my thoughts after each book read. When I went to college to become an engineer, my writing quickly stopped. Except for technical type reports, written in the third person, engineers just don’t see the need for liberal arts stuff like composition or short stories.  My obsession with writing should have been a clear signal that I was heading into the wrong profession but sadly I was just too unsure of myself in those years to give much validity to my personal thoughts.

I have kept journals throughout my life but it wasn’t until I retired from the corporate world that I took up sharing my thoughts with others.  I had several different blogs starting around 2003. RJsCorner in its first iteration started in 2006 and the present version in 2010.  A couple of the reasons I went public with my writing were to share my experiences and to let others know that whatever they are struggling through in life they are not alone. There are others who have been down the path they are taking who might be able to help them along their journey.

I jokingly say that I want to put all my life’s faults and mistakes out there for others to see so maybe they can learn from me and won’t have to repeat them. 🙂  In my final years, I have finally recognized and conceded that  I am a “weird bird” who sees the world differently than most around me. Instead of hiding that fact, I finally take pride in being the person I am. And that is a good thing for each of us to realize. Just be the person you are…

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I Am A Rock…

2018-04-18_17-23-20.pngSince I was a teenager in the 1960s, one of my favorite musical groups was Simon & Garfunkel. One of their most popular songs was “I am a Rock”. Due to my Aspie traits, I was somewhat of a loner back then so this song just “spoke” to me.  My mother had abandoned me a few years before, so that probably had something to do with it too.

The song is basically about a desire to avoid pain and heartbreak. In order to avoid being hurt by relationships, the subject of the song refuses to make friends or fall in love.  Of course, this approach to life is very isolating and painful in itself. The last two lines are evidence that this way of living is more dreadful than the alternative of being hurt.

It would be several years before I fully understood that no one is an island and no one is especially a rock.  But, it was kind of nice to think that others had gone through what I did during my turbulent teenage years. 🙂

It has been over thirty years since I last heard this song, but I still keep a copy of the lyrics along with many others and read them on a regular basis.

 

 

The Perfect Picture

I have about 20,000 pictures in my personal portfolio. Probably one-third of them could be deleted and not really missed but that is beyond the purpose of this post.  I have a list of about a hundred or so that are 5stars. One of the top ten in that category is shown below.  I entitle it  “Box of Eggs”.  I think my attraction to this picture is because of its symmetry. My Aspie traits are particularly honed to order and symmetry. I found the picture in a Des Moines museum some years ago.

So, for this artsy Saturday, I give you a “Box of Eggs” yet again…

Box of Eggs.jpg

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Patterns

All my life I have been inexplicably attracted to patterns. I  never understood why until one day in the last year or so I discovered that a strong attraction to patterns is one of the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome.  At that time I discovered that I have many others. Now that I have a name for so many of the things I was troubled about in my youth, it gives me a peace that I have been searching for all my life.

Walls, such as this one in Galena Illinois are simply beautiful as far as I am concerned. They, like the lines on my face, show my life’s experiences.  So, for this artsy Saturday, I give you another fascinating facade.

Patterns.jpg

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(WS) Life’s Lessons

slice7.pngBefore I get to the topic at hand on this Weekly Squawk, I need to give you some background. What brought this post on is that my viewer counts here at RJsCorner have been plateaued for a while now and I have been trying to figure out how to get more people to my site. What if I did this… What if I did that…  Most of the “How to get more views” stuff that is online tells me to find a niche to fill and to stick to the subject. But I just don’t have a one-track brain, most of the time I am juggling a dozen thoughts at the same time.  I’m sure there is a psychological term for this condition, but I don’t really care to dive into that idea. At least not for this post.  Like Popeye’s old mantra, I am what I am, and it’s kinda too late to change things now even if I wanted to. 🙂

I guess you could say that my niche is that I have learned some valuable lessons in life due to my somewhat unique circumstances.  So, here is my niche as I see it:

You can learn some valuable life lessons from a 70+ Year Old Deaf Aspie

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What are my qualifiers to claim this mantel? I am definitely 70+ years old.  I have a birth certificate to prove it. I am definitely deaf, I lost my hearing thirty years ago, and I can’t hear a damn thing except for the constant ringing in my ears. I may or may not be an official Aspie (part of the autism spectrum).  I know I have a lot of the typical characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome but have never been officially diagnosed. I have had some say that I shouldn’t tell people I am deaf or that I might be an Aspie as that will drive people away. I kinda think there are enough open-minded folks around that could be attracted by these labels instead of turned off by them. Those are the kind of people I want to attract so I will ignore any conventional wisdom and claim provisional ownership of these labels.

All that being said, I genuinely think you can learn from my personal lessons in life and especially from the mistakes I have made, and looking back I have made a lot of them. At the very least you might get a laugh or two from my approach to life.  I have put together a list of some of the more fundamental lessons I think I have learned. Here they are:

  1. Think for Yourself, Question Everything.
  2. You are not alone.
  3. Adversity builds character.
  4. Embrace Change.
  5. Break down myths that put people in suffocating boxes.
  6. Never Stop Learning or Growing
  7. Live & Let Live.
  8. Be humble, be honest, be committed.
  9. Don’t lose yourself in your fear, worry or anger as it will destroy you.
  10. Treat everyone with respect, even those who don’t treat you likewise.

I’ll be getting into each of these, and many other topics in future “Weekly Squawks” and of course they will almost always be present in the “Morning Cackles.”

I know this is supposed to be a niche, but I can’t help also giving you some things I just think are beautiful, funny, or worth noting.  Some of my life stories will also be on the venue.

But really the meat and potatoes of RJsCorner is the wit and wisdom I spew out in my Daily Cackles. That is where I give you snippets of “my view of the world.”  It is where I have my say. Sometimes it is off-the-wall, sometimes it is common-sense, and yes sometimes it is just weird. 🙂

I hope I have enticed you enough to want to stick around and maybe even more importantly, to share your life lessons here on RJsCorner.

We can all learn from each other if we just listen.

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Going It Alone…

I am told that belonging to a group is one of the most basic needs of humanity. We are social animals and contrary to what many believe we all want to be part of a tribe.  To go out on your own is frightening to many of us.

2017-12-30_09-11-07.pngWe applaud State Sen. Cheri Jahn’s decision to drop her party affiliation and serve out the remainder of her term as an independent.

Voters have seen hyper-partisanship and special interests defeat common sense in Denver for far too long under both Democrats and Republicans. Coloradans deserve independent legislators who can truly put the people first.

Source:  State Sen. Cheri Jahn Declares Independence from Broken Two-Party System – Centrist Project

To me, being alone and self-dependent is part of my core makeup. I’m sure part of this is due to my Aspie traits in that I just don’t socialize well so my alone time is more pleasant than being part of a crowd.   Another reason might be because deafness cuts off communications. I used to often say that “being lonely is being alone and not wanting to be”. I still kinda believe that even though I have not been alone for 30+ years now.

2018-02-18_13-54-22.pngI know being part of a larger group is considered essential especially inside our nation’s beltway. Without it means no plush committee assignments. It also means having to form your own opinion about everything you vote for. In other words, it means the loss of power and that is perhaps the tantamount reason so many people chose to get into the beltway fishbowl.

I have been studying the history of our political systems for a while now and one of the future predictions is that the US will go the way of many European democracies and morph into a multi-party government. With three or more viable parties it is practically impossible for any one party to be able to form a majority government on its own.  That means compromise is inevitable.

In that light, there is talk in Congress about forming an independent caucus but that will take some additional members to become a reality. I personally, and I pray you too, will do what I can to help independent candidates wherever I find them whether they are in your State or not.

A Touch of Austism…

I have previously discovered that I have some characteristics that are identified with Asperger’s Syndrome which is part of the Autism spectrum. As a result, I have been more deeply studying the topic. I don’t call myself an Aspie as I have not been formally diagnosed with that condition but, I am certain  I have common traits with it.

I have recently discovered that there is a LOT of variation in what people say is the definition of autism. Here is a little more about that:

2016-07-18_17-22-29.pngPerhaps we could detach Asperger’s from autism and say that Aspies are different from other autists the way zoologists say that cheetahs are different from leopards. Let us stipulate the obvious: they are different species.

But in my analogy, naming them as different species does not erase the fact that they belong to a broader category called “big cats” or “predatory felines,” and giving Asperger’s a separate name does not erase the fact that there are large areas of overlap with what I call “deeper autism.”

The above was (I repeat) only an analogy. The point intended is to say: we can change our labels and create a more exclusive definition for autism. But the fact remains: the spectrum is broad because it is describing a fundamental reality.

Autism (broadly defined) is much more common than we thought.

Source:  Why is the autistic spectrum so broad and diverse? – Quora

To me, the classifying of autism is in a funk right now. No one knows just how to classify it. There is now a term labeled “Broader Autism Phenotype” (BAP) that describes people who are “sort of ” autistic but still highly functioning. I think that kinda describes me.

I know there are probably some people who have children with severe forms of autism that resent someone who is, for the most part, a fully functioning member of society using the label.  I can relate to that because when I hear that someone is “deaf” I immediately question if they can hear but not fully understand the spoken word. Many with that condition are labeled as “deaf.” when they are really just hearing impaired. There is a world of difference between the two and so I kinda, but really not too much,  resent them saying they are deaf.

Another example might be that someone proclaims they are a cancer survivor when all that entailed was to have a mole removed. To someone who is struggling with lung cancer that is demeaning of their condition.

I don’t know how this will all eventually work out. We can change our labels but as it presently stands autism is a very broad spectrum because it describes a fundamental reality that there are many of us who struggle with life’s social situations.

I will continue to proclaim that I have some Aspie type characteristics but will not call myself an Aspie. I hope I don’t offend those who struggle with this condition much more than I do.