Documentary Photographer?

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a wordsmith. That is, I am always looking for just the right word for every sentence I write. Most of my posts are written a week or more before you see them. In that week between origination and publication I probably change a dozen words or more to something that better describes what the sentence is about.

Now to get on to the point of this post, whether we like it or not all of us are defined by the labels others give us and even the ones we give ourselves.

A couple of months ago I put out a post describing myself as:

  • Prolific Blogger
  • Nuanced Skeptic
  • Progressive Christian
  • Amateur Documentary Photographer.

I chose each of these words very carefully, but the one I want to spend the rest of this post on is the last one. Just about all the pictures I have taken over the years are of places I have visited. My Flickr feed now has about 50 albums containing many of those places. It gets about 3,000 views a month and I am kind of proud of that fact. But of course, I want more so I wouldn’t mind if you clicked on the above link to check it out yourself. ūüôā

Getting back to the point, it just wasn’t enough to just say I am a photographer, I needed a better label for myself, so I searched for several days until I found the category “documentary photographer”. Now I will admit that most documentary photographers are those folks who run around poking their cameras into politician and other famous people’s faces or are in war scenes documenting the carnage.

I am definitely not one of those but I do spend considerable time and effort to become accomplished at taking pictures of structures and landscape. One of my main purposes for that is to get people interested in visiting the places I have photographed. Most of the historical sites I have visited in the last decade or so are struggling to stay afloat. It just seems that to most people, our history is just “not their thing” anymore. I very much agree with the words of Edmund Burke:

‚ÄúThose who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.‚ÄĚ

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 website.

Being Prepared…

2018-02-05_10-18-29.pngEven though I was never a Boy Scout, I am a person¬†who tries to be¬†prepared for¬†the challenges¬†I will be facing. If¬†I want¬†to¬†discuss a controversial¬†topic¬†I try to¬†study¬†both sides to see where my feelings¬†might reside. “Think For¬†Yourself” is one of my primary mantras¬†in my life. I simply¬†don’t let others¬†tell me what to think. But then again, maybe that is one of the reasons I was never a Boy Scout (ha).

Then I see the current Oval Office occupant who is totally unprepared for the many challenges he faces.  I know he never dreamed he would actually occupy that prime real estate, he was just having fun dissing people. Maybe that is an excuse for being unprepared?  But the even more tragic thing about all of this is that now that he is there he seems doggedly determined to stay unprepared. Of course, his narcissism has something to do with that and his grand illusion of being a perfect genius also contributes to that continued ignorance.

Changing pace a little here with a snippet:

2018-02-05_10-09-37.pngthe real craziness of 2017 is best expressed in terms of constitutional theory. Our Constitution vests the entire executive power in a single individual. No worse joke has been played on the American people than the very fact that tens of thousands of eighth graders have a far better grasp of the Constitution than Donald Trump, even though he swore a sacred oath to ‚Äúpreserve, protect, and defend‚ÄĚ it on January 20, before the record crowds he deluded himself to see assembled before him. That‚Äôs not just political craziness; it‚Äôs truly meshugah in every sense of the term. Just try to imagine a conversation with Jefferson, Madison, either Adams, or Abraham Lincoln‚ÄĒstrong constitutionalists all‚ÄĒon one side of the table, and the current chief executive on the other. That would be crazy, too!

Source: Was 2017 the Craziest Year in U.S. Political History? РPOLITICO Magazine

Unwillingness to even attempt to prepare for the future when¬†millions of lives are at stake by your actions is a deadly sin as far as I am concerned. To me, that is a 25th amendment thing in itself.¬† As my hero, Will Rogers said, “Everyone is ignorant, just on different subjects”.¬† Ignorance is not stupidity unless we refuse to learn. But then again extreme self-imposed ignorance is STUPIDITY!

The underlying reason for his continued ignorance of constitutional matters is his abject refusal to read.  Here is a little about that:

Wolff [Fire and Fury authoer] quotes economic adviser Gary Cohn writing in an email: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs worse than you can imagine. Trump won‚Äôt read anything‚ÄĒnot one-page memos, not the brief policy papers, nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored.‚ÄĚ…

In March, Reuters reported that briefers had strategically placed the president’s name in as many paragraphs of briefing documents as possible so as to attract his fickle attention.

Source:¬†The President Who Doesn’t Read – The Atlantic




In Search Of The Original America

One of the primary threads here at RJsCorner is my InSearchOfAmerica posts. That is where I travel around this great country to find stories and take pictures.¬† The majority of this search has been about our early days as a nation. I recently realized that I am omitting a large part of this search for America’s roots.¬† It actually occurred¬†centuries before the European¬†conquest of America. If I want to discover the real America I have to begin there.

When we read our history books we can easily come to the conclusion that when Christopher Columbus came to America’s shore it was a desolate place just waiting to be conquered. Since history is written by the victors that view was what was taught.¬† But in reality, there were already¬†millions of people calling this land home. Here are some words to realize that history:

Most scholars writing at the end of the 19th century estimated that the pre-Columbian population was as low as 10 million; by the end of the 20th century most scholars gravitated to a middle estimate of around 50 million, with some historians arguing for an estimate of 100 million or more

Source: Population history of indigenous peoples of the Americas РWikipedia

History books give us a several different view¬†on this fact.¬† The prominent recorded view was that native-Americans were not really human because they did not pray to the right god.¬† Others basically said the “indigenous” people, were not real people but savages.¬† We are now finally beginning to understand the utter fallacy of those words.

2018-01-17_10-36-40.pngGetting back to the topic at hand, we know that there were, as shown in the picture above, thriving population centers throughout what we now call America. Many had very sophisticated¬†forms of government and rules for society. And yes, many had deities quite similar to the one Europeans brought with them. What they didn’t have were the weapons to withstand the onslaught that followed.

Since I am about one-eighth Shawnee I am embarrassed that it took until now to recognize these facts.  In reality, America was not discovered in the 15th century but instead invaded.

I need to do some future posts about this. Shame on me for not doing them sooner.

It’s Nice To Know Where You Came From, But…

HavingMySay Banner¬† It’s nice to know where you came from but it is more important to know where you are going and we as a world and especially a country don’t seem to have any idea about our future.

We need to align ourselves with our fellow man.  A good way to start that is to quit thinking that those you disagree with you, particularly in political matters, are the enemy. Instead we should see them as just people like us who happened to have a different view on solutions to our problems.

Now don’t get me wrong here, our history/past is important. ¬†I have spent a large part of my life learning about America’s history. I have visited hundreds of historical places and read hundreds of book about our country and particularly its founding fathers. A big part of this blog is dedicated to history as shown in the InSearchOfAmerica section.

Our personal history known as our heritage is also important to understand how we got to where we are. But, on a priority level our history/past/heritage must take a back burner to where we are headed. Being very brainy here, you can’t change the past or do very little about the present, but we have the ability to change our future if we don’t like the direction it is headed.

I know there are people out there that scream if we give up what we were then we have no heritage. To that I say poppycock.  Sometimes our heritage needs to be forgotten if we are to move into a more peaceful future. One of the examples in this area are that many born-deaf people think that giving a deaf child a cochlear implant which would allow them to hear is child abuse in that it denies them their heritage.

I, for private reasons, have never been very interested in my personal heritage. But if I found own that I was a descendent of a serial killer I think that part of my heritage would quickly be forgotten.

Let’s end this post with ¬†a more lighthearted view of future change, especially world change:

We need to start driving on the same side of the road — It is kind of silly, not to mention dangerous ¬†when one country drives on the left and another drives on the right. ¬†Maybe a good first step is to ¬†drive on the same side of the road. ¬†I know this won’t result in world peace but..

canstockphoto21701079.jpgWe need to start speaking and writing in the same language —¬†I know the Christian and Jewish bibles say God mixed up all our languages because we were starting to get too smart. ¬†That really doesn’t make a lot of sense, particularly in today’s world. ūüôā All our different languages just get in the way of communication effectively with each other. ¬†We as a world need to pick a language and then all agree that everyone must learn to speak that language in xx (you fill in the blank) years.