You Are Not A Tree…

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Too many of us lament that we can’t get jobs where we were born and raised. That seems especially true of the poorest areas of the country including Appalachia. Jobs just aren’t very plentiful there. The deep South is another example.  It would be nice is all areas of the country were full of gainful employment. But given our foundations in almost pure capitalism that will never happen.

On a side note, it is kinda ironic that the States that rail the most against socialism vote primarily with the GOP and are the ones that have the most citizens who depend on social programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and such.  I know education levels enter into it but why don’t more of those folks just move to where there are more economic opportunities?  I have pondered that question for longer than I care to remember.

It does bug me to hear people complaining about this or that, especially when they could do something it.  Many times it really doesn’t take that much effort. I think that the major issue is their dogged resistance to change.  I and many others welcome the uncertainty associated with change as just part of progress, but others seem to be deathly afraid of it.

If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree

I couldn’t have said it better.

Vote Independent … But Maybe Not This Time

2018-07-20_11-14-38.pngI am very serious about trying to wrestle control of our political processes from the two dominant parties. I am convinced that they are just too entwined in battling each other to be focusing on what is good for those who they represent. Adding another political party is critical to changing things.  BUT, maybe not this time around.

There is one thing that should drive everything else in the political sphere in the coming election and that is to prevent #CO3 from doing any more damage to the democracies of the world. To do that Congress must be delivered to a party opposed to his madness.  I would love to think that there are enough independents running for office to do that but I am for this election very skeptical of that possibility.

So, for the coming elections, I will be voting Democratic. There just seems to be no one in the Republican party who has the courage to stand up to the executive branch. They all are deathly afraid that the fringe who put the extreme narcissist in office might turn against them out if they voice a contrary opinion to #CO3.  The only Republicans who are brave enough are the ones that are not running for re-election or are dying.

So, I will be taking off my third party hat temporarily to effect immediate change in the direction our country is headed.  Maybe it is too little too late but I have to try.

 

The One Thing I Hate The Most…

2018-07-24_18-52-45.pngI am proudly a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. His words are the very foundation for my spiritual life.  But, don’t read that as to mean that I am religious. I have for the most part given up that quest. All this so far leads into the point of the post but is not the topic.

In the last two years,  #CO3 has elevated ridicule to a higher level than anyone I have ever known. No one wants to be ridiculed, especially me. I simply lose any sense of reality when someone mocks me or ridicules my beliefs. Disagree ok, but not ridicule.

Most tragically that same trait has spread throughout his followers. More and more are in-your-face ranters showing total disrespect for anyone who thinks differently than they do. Is civility disappearing from the American landscape? Being an optimist I say, yes it has at least temporarily. Does it have a chance to rise like a phoenix in the coming years? It does if we wish it to.

2018-07-24_18-50-50.pngSadly it seems the Golden Rule is been destroyed for political gain championed by an extreme narcissist. And, the existing church, due to their alignment with him, is also being destroyed.  To the 75% of us who are Democrats and Independents, the word “Evanglical” is becoming as despised as the word “Liberal” is to the 25% of those who are seemingly chucking the Golden Rule.

Without a common bond, what will hold our society together? I hope that question is foremost on each of our minds this coming November.

 

 

Rock Concerts

This is a post about my first and last venture to a rock concert, or whatever they might call them nowadays. When I got an advance ticket to the Madison Regatta recently it asked me if I also wanted a ticket to the rock concert being promoted by another entity. I have never been to a music fest so, even though I am deaf, I decided “what the heck”.

2018-07-18_09-05-01.pngEven though I was a teenager of the 1960s in the Woodstock era, I have never been to a rock concert. I was just too busy trying to pay and graduate from college to have the time or money to go to one.  Yeah, I did manage to see my favorite folk music heroes “Bob Dylan”, “Peter, Paul, and Mary”, and “Simon & Garfunkel” but that was in the college music hall.

Getting back to my rock concert story, by the time the concert started, I was getting pretty tired and ready to return to my campsite but decided to at least spend a few minutes looking at the current band performing. My first impression was that most of the people were had grey hair. I didn’t expect that. 🙂  Here are some pictures:

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The drummer sure did look like he was high, but I guess he is supposed to look like that. When I went up front to take these pics I could feel the music hitting my torso. BOOM, BOOM,BOOM. I don’t know if that was an unexpected bucket list item or not, but I don’t plan on going to another one. 🙂

About Our Personal Mortality…

My father was one of those people who could not deal with his own mortality.  When a discussion was about death issues, he would say “this is too gruesome” and leave the room. He just didn’t want to think about it.

I, on the other hand, have no qualms about discussing my own death. In fact, I am ready to accept it as each day comes and passes. That doesn’t mean that I welcome death, I would like to have a long and fruitful life still ahead of me, but if that doesn’t happen then so be it. I just don’t need to fret about it.

canstockphoto3200467.jpgIn the last year or so I have lived my life with a one-day-at-a-time philosophy. During my morning shower, I always thank the Lord for yesterday and the day just starting. I don’t worry too much about the future anymore. Presently to me, the future means tomorrow but I do still allow myself to dream about days sometimes way beyond tomorrow.

I also no longer worry about the past or the many mistakes I made along the way.  You can’t do anything about them so I have finally accepted that worrying about them is useless. What matters to me now is that I live each day with the possibility of it being my last. To me, that concept is not morbid instead it is freeing as it forces me to enjoy all the time I have left.

Dad, like his father and grandfather, died in his 78th year. If that is the case for me then I have about 2,300 beautiful days on this earth to enjoy yet.  I plan on cherishing each one 🙂

 

(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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The Hardest Years…

I suppose the title of this post has different meanings to different people.  From recent comments, it is used to describe the “post-truth” era that many seem to think we are in.  To many, the hardest years are the ones that they are currently living in.  Being a history guy I have a longer view than that.  But this is not at all what this post is about. 🙂

These are the first words from a quote from Helen Hays shown below

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I couldn’t agree more. At the tender age of ten, I had just taken up a Jack London book entitled “White Fang”. That was my first serious look at the world beyond my front door.  It opened up a world I had never imagined.  Due to circumstances, I was pretty mature for a ten-year-old.  My narcissistic mother had just abandoned me, my younger brother, and my dad for greener pastures.  I didn’t really know what was going on but imagined it was my fault. I knew my life was going to be quite different than it had been.

canstockphoto8329344.jpgBetween ten and seventy were episodes that challenged me. I struggled to pay my own way through college by working forty hours a week in addition to a near full course load. I knew my social skills were lacking but I never realized the extent until years later.  I would become deaf at the age of forty and was laid off at the age of fifty-four.  Thankfully I had saved enough money and had enough years of employment to earn a significant pension.

It was not until the age of seventy that I finally decided that my hardest years were behind me. Social status no longer meant anything if it ever did. I simply didn’t care what others thought of me. The age of seventy was indeed at the end of my hard years.

Thanks, Helen for helping me realize that fact.

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I Don’t Want To…

I don’t want to be united with people who think Trump is a good person

2018-07-08_09-23-38.pngThe words above came from a comment to the Facebook posting that centered around the picture here.  It got me to thinking about my personal attitude about those who think Trump is a good person.  I just returned from a uRV trip to see the Madison Regatta in southern Indiana. On my route there I stopped at a small town restaurant for lunch. When I opened the door I was greeted with a large screen TV with Fox News glaring at me! To make matters worse several of the patrons were wearing the now familiar red hats with the MAGA logo. I was very tempted to just turn around and walk out but I realized this was probably the only dining option available in the area.

I’m sure by many other standards most of these folks are good people, but does that ameliorate their political and moral stands? Can I look past that to see their goodness? The short answer to that is “I don’t know?” That stand just seems to tarnish everything else.  I know fear is what drives many of them. They see “their way of life” changing and are willing to grab on to ANYTHING to prevent that from happening. Morality and Truth are two of those causalities.

This is one of those times when I kinda wished I could hear again.  I would love to have heard some of the stories at the tables around me. I could only imagine that some of those stories are about all those people who are invading their world. But then again, maybe they were just chitchatting about their daily lives.

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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Why White Evangelicals…

It is a well-publicised fact that 81% of white evangelicals voted to put the current occupant in the Oval Office. On that subject, I ran across this interesting book entitled Believe Me. It is written by one of the 19% who voted the other way.  Here is a small segment of an interview with the author:

2018-07-05_18-44-44.pngFinally, you dedicate your book to the 19 percent of white evangelicals who did not vote for Trump. What do you want to say to them with this book?

I dedicate the book to the 19 percent not because they’re my primary audience, but because they seem to have seen through Trump. They’ve made a decision that Trump is not good — not just for the nation, but also for the church. So I hope the book might provide some history and arguments that the 19 percent can offer to their evangelical friends who did vote for Donald Trump and are having second thoughts, or are at least open to further evidence and dialogue. But my main audience, I think, is those evangelicals who voted for Trump who are open to reason and evidence and historical arguments that may suggest electing Trump was a bad idea.

via Why White Evangelicals Voted for Trump: Fear, Power, and Nostalgia – Red Letter Christians

My basic premise here at RJsCorner that those who put #CO3 in office primarily did so because of fear of the unknown. While I was a member of an evangelical church not that long ago, I certainly saw that fear in a number of eyes. They are afraid of what is happening to their beloved country club. Due to pride and vanity, I doubt if they will ever admit the error of putting, at best, a totally unqualified person in the highest office in the land. It seems that they would rather go down in flames instead.

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Sometimes Necessary, But Never Celebrated…

I am a pro-life person in all regards. I totally believe that human life is sacred in all regards. One of the ironic things about some people is that while they detest some forms of the taking of human life, mainly fetuses, they celebrate killing in too many other circumstances. I am pro-life in all regards.

2018-07-01_17-04-02.pngWe in the USA just seem to be a very belligerent people if you ask me.  We teach our children at a very young age that killing another person is just part of life.   They are bad guys who need to be exterminated. We indoctrinate them with video games and movie and TV shows that celebrate violence. We are a country primarily identified by the wars we have entangled ourselves in.  I don’t celebrate Memorial Day but I do mourn those killed by our government who sent them into one unnecessary conflict after another. They always say that the young soldiers who are sacrificed are giving us our freedom, but there is no war in my lifetime that I see worth the cost of a single human life.  I am pro-life in all regards.

2018-07-01_17-04-32.pngYes, maybe in some circumstances, as in the case of WW II,  killing is necessary but it should never be celebrated. The last thing we should want our children and grandchildren to be when they grow up is a pawn in hands of those who see war as the only answer in far too many circumstances.  I am pro-life in all regards…

 

If you want to see evidence of how we think about killing from the rest of the world, just compare our TV shows to those on BBC. The difference in the level of violence is overwhelming.

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Bullets Or The Ballot Box…

2018-01-24_15-52-48I believe that I live in a country that is just as flawed, but in different ways, as most others in the world today.  One of the most serious flaws is that we have an inordinate love of our guns. Our culture is primarily centered around violence. We are four percent of the world’s population, yet own almost fifty percent of the world’s guns.

But there is one characteristic of this country that leaves me with hope and pride and a feeling that we can survive just about anything that the world throws at us.  That characteristic is that we as a nation of people settle our differences at the ballot box instead of with bullets.

I know in the middle of our three hundred year existence that we managed to kill a half million of ourselves over the idea that one human being can own another.  Thankfully that war ended on the moral side of things and even more so that it is the only time we have taken up guns against each other.  We are pretty unique in that regard and all you have to do to see that is look at the history of just about any other country.

Resolving our conflicts with our ballot instead of bullets does result in two and four year periods where we have to put up with our serious mistakes. This is one of those periods. We will start remedying that mistake this coming November and finally drive the unstable narcissist out of office in twenty-four months after that.

Yes, I am extremely proud that we settle our major differences with our ballots instead of with our bullets. That fact alone makes me proud to call myself an American.

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Madison Regatta

I took a uRV trip to Madison Indiana for the annual Madison Regatta this past weekend. This is the first time I have been there so it was on my bucket list.  I am generally not a powerboat racing fan but it was neat to see these guys go 100+ mph across the water. If you want to see more pics, check out my Flickr Album.

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Autism & Sensory Sensitivity

2016-07-18_17-26-54.pngIt has been a while since I put out a post about Autism concentrating primarily on Aspbergers’ Syndrome. This post will be about sensory sensitivity.  Of course, that means being sensitive to sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell and is often a symptom of Autism.

I continue to discover new traits in my life that point me to Aspbergers. This one came from a billboard that I saw several times a month while traveling back and forth from my small town to a larger one with more services and medical options.

Let’s go through the list with my stories:

Sight –  I am a late riser in the winter months and an early riser the rest of the year.  The reason for that is two-fold. One is that I have too much to do around this 3-acre homestead to spend extra cool hours in the morning in bed. 😉 The other one, more relative to this post, is that I can’t sleep in a room filled with any significant amount of light. My eyelids just don’t filter out much light it seems. I am very sensitive to bright and flashing lights. Even TV flashes cause me to wake up from a nap.

Touch – Creases in my bed sheets are a cause of my frequent sleep interruptions.  I am an Apple watch guy now, and it tells me I am an extremely restless sleeper. Another touch sensitivity is that after about six months of use, I have to replace my bath towels as they just get too scratchy.  I could add a few more to the list but I think you get the idea.

Taste & Smell – These are two biggies for me. There are things that just make me wacky in the taste and smell area. I just can’t understand how anyone can put mouthwashes like Listerine in their mouth. The taste and smell are utterly intolerable to me. But something that is even worse is the smell of mint in any form! Whenever I get even a whiff of mint I pretty quickly abandon the area.

It seems that all the oral hygiene manufacturers think that adding mint to their products is a bare necessity! For that reason, I have to special order many toiletry items so they are mint free. If I had a choice between sitting next to a cigarette or even a cigar smoker, or a gum chewer, I would without a doubt chose the smoker. Mint just drives me up a wall.

Sound is usually included in sensory sensitivity but since I am totally deaf I am at least free from that one. 🙂

I recognize that for many on the Autism spectrum these types of things cause a panic meltdown. I am thankful that for me my reaction is not quite as severe.

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Wanting It All NOW!!

2018-05-21_08-21-30.pngOne thing that seems to be pretty prevalent in American life today is that everyone wants what it took my generation years to get, NOW.  They simply don’t want to wait until they have earned enough, or become wise enough for it to happen. I know our world is going faster now but sometimes you just need to mellow a little longer before you get what you want.

I see on the cable show House Hunters where twenty-some-year-olds are looking for 3000+ square feet homes and just won’t settle for less. They say they are going to have maybe two kids so that is the minimum they will accept. In the 1950s my two brothers and I along with Mom and Dad lived very comfortably in a 20 x 50 ft home. We considered ourselves very much in the middle class.

One of the reasons some people think they can afford it all now is the near-zero interest home loans now available. My first purchased home was obtained with a mortgage rate about eight times higher and it had to be accompanied by a 20% downpayment. I was 38 years old before that happened. One of the common complaints now among later generations is that Baby Boomer mortgaged our country so that future generations have to pay for our extravagances. There is some truth to that but by the same token, we are paying for their very low-interest loans by getting next to nothing for our saved wealth.

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