Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Brilliance of Autism

Try to remember back when you were first getting the world in order in your mind. Remember how you learned to write, to draw, to read? Or how you got positional prepositions down?

Probably through watching someone and imitating them. You saw THEM put something in a box, you put it in a box. They showed you it, you did it. You saw them write the letter A and followed it up with a scribbly, freestyle impression of your own.

Now, what if you weren't able to imitate?

There's scientific evidence showing autistic kids have a problem in the 'mirror neuron' area of the brain. This area fires when watching someone do something, even if the something isn't actively imitated. But in autistic kids, it only fires IF they imitate it.

This is one reason autistic kids may not pick up on things that are second nature to others. How would you explain 'blue' to a blind person? They aren't able to implant that image in their brains. With autistic kids, things they may have absorbed through watching others doesn't set in. This also explains why so many autistics can't understand emotional expression - it doesn't connect with them, sliding through the brain.

Now, imagine putting together concepts like 'in', blue, the letter A and so many others simply by doing it yourself, not by getting it from your environment. For comparison, imagine putting together a computer from scratch with an instruction manual written in a language you don't understand and only a few pictures to guide you.

This also explains why the usual teaching methods have limited success with autistic kids. And why everything an autistic kid picks up should be impressive.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Return of SNS!

Republicans Offer Bill to Add 11th Commandment to Original 10

Other Commandments to be considered as well

from Satire News Service

Today, the Republicans offered a bill to add Ronald Reagan's '11th Commandment' - "Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill Of a Fellow Republican" to all 10 Commandments icons in the United States today. "The time seemed right," stated sponsor Bill C.N'ohevil, "what with the Alberto Gonzales hearing and all. It appears some people need a reminder of how important it is. I'd like to see it everywhere, from schools to tattoos."

While the bill has little chance of passing, it has great support from the White House. Bush has pledged to use all of his remaining political capital to push the bill, already preparing a 'Snowflake' rally for the bill and giving speeches about how 9/11 fell on the 11th for a wake-up call. Bush's wholehearted support is expected to make one unnamed Democrat pause for exactly one second before voting against the bill, although political experts have stated should Bush edge up to a 35% approval rating that time may double.

Cheney's offer of a hunting expedition to raise awareness of the bill was turned down due to a shortage of bright orange, bulletproof hunter's vests.

"We, as a nation, have forgotten this critical enjoinment, and the effects are devastating," stated a press release from the RNC. "Remember, if you can't trust the Republicans not to let you slide, who can you trust?" The bill has also been praised by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the Fox News Channel as well, who formed the PAC 'Gipper's Rule - Our Utterly Precious Idea, Ever So'. The Republican GROUPIES plan to mention the bill every chance they get.

Should this bill capture the public's attention, N'ohevil has other add-ons ready to go. "I would like to see another one that mentions how important loyalty is over all - call it the Meirs Amendment. One that states thou shalt not trust the media unless it agrees with you. And of course one that states excess in the pursuit of ideology is a virtue, not a vice."

A random thought

I've seen some articles on teaching the Bible as a form of literature/history in public school classes; showing its effect on thought, writing, and so on. A Bible literacy class, where students learn about the Bible but don't worship it in the process.

Of course, some people get worried that the course will turn into a religious class, where Christianity is praised and urged on the kids, rather than the Bible being studied separately from religion. (Of course there are some people who protest the class b/c it isn't so proselytizing, but these people seem to get upset when math books don't say "2+2=4, because Jesus died for you," so onwards.)

While reading a story about this, I thought, "Why not just hire an atheist or an agnostic to teach the Bible literacy class?" It probably wouldn't be a cure-all. but they certainly wouldn't try to convert anyone to Christianity.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


An eloquent and heartbreaking truth.


Since I stopped blogging, Google came in and took over Blogger. Now that I'm back, I've been fiddling with their add-ons and stuff, and have added some new things. Hope you like them - any suggestions?

Yes, It's Me.

Almost a year, huh? My, you look good. Did you lose weight? Work out? You look better - been taking vitamins?

Me? What's been up with me? Why, how nice of you to ask. Would you like to take a seat, have a drink maybe?

Well, as I said way back when, I had a case of blogger burnout. I mean, come on, given some of the brain dead things going on out there in the swamp of politics, you think I had a lack of material? It just didn't seem important, or as I said way back before Hereos even premiered, I felt other people said it better. And all the other reasons back then were true as well.

But there was another reason, one that made the listed ones the thin layer of frosting on the cake.

My son was officially diagnosed autistic.

I'm not saying that's the only reason I stopped posting. We had suspected it for some time so the news wasn't out of a clear blue sky. But after that, quite often, blogging just didn't seem all too important.

He's high level, so we are very lucky there. The major issue we have is his lack of verbalness, since we often have to try and guess what he wants or needs and he can't tell us specifically how he feels, leading to many guesses about IF he's sick and HOW he's sick and HOW sick he is. There are other issues, of course, and I'll start posting about them as well in addition to my thoughts on all the other non important things. have you been?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Believing Their Own Press Clippings

We've all seen it happen. One team, obviously stronger, better talented, faster, stronger and favored by some amount like three touchdowns walks onto a field of another team that really shouldn't even be in the same sport with them.

And reenacting Cinderella, the weaker team beats the stronger. Sometimes it's after a long fought game where the stronger team can never pull ahead, sometimes the stronger team completely falls apart when the weaker team refuses to roll over and play dead. But the weaker team wins, making the hearts of its fans happy, giving hope to underdogs and those who pull for them, and making bookies everywhere gasp in dismay.

I say the stronger team was 'reading their own press clippings', the ones that had extolled and praised, the ones that had made no mention of any weaknesses or chances of failing, the ones that had frankly suggested the weaker team mail a formal submission and save everyone the trouble. They believed the hype and reality killed them.

I'm sure you can see where this is going by now.

Bush has said he doesn't read too much news and relies on others to tell him what's going on. The people he relies on seem to have a near complete belief in their own superiority, and any evidence of trouble (reality) is explained away by that favorite uber-demon, The Liberal Mass Media. Why, it can't be right, look who printed it!

So like the favored team, reality gets a last laugh. It's just like a politician going out to give a pep talk:

"I know there have been reports that my campaign is running out of money, far behind, disorganized, that my main workers are quitting, that it's going to be revealed that in my youth I was a gay Communist NAMBLA member. I tell you it's not true, none of it! We have plenty of money! We are catching up! We have a plan to move forward, we have helpers aplenty, and there is no such information out there!"

A rousing speech follows. When the candidate goes off stage, his few remaining workers grab him, and say "What are we going to do?"

And he looks at them in confusion. "About what? We have plenty of money, we are catching up..."

After a long break

Well, here I am. After four months, you would hope things have gotten better. (With my writing or the world, you pick.) So let's ask:

Do you feel better off than you did four months ago?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Stirrings of life...

Posts may be resuming have been warned...

Friday, June 02, 2006

For your consideration...

We have a new nominee in the category of 'cherry picking quotes'. I had always figured the leaders in this race - Drudge, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh - would be well-nigh impossible to beat. However, one plucky little newcomer has made a Hell of an effort to get ranked with the Big Boys of Bullsh*t, and I can only stand in awe of their entry.

Here's the deal. In an apparent effort to make conservatives 'hip' and 'down wid it', National Review has posted a list of the 50 greatest conservative rock songs. Now, gentle readers, be honest...when you think rock and roll, you don't generally think of Reagan, Fukiyama, Buckley, or Will. (You may think of the current Bush, but only as a subject...) There are some conservative artists - Ted Nugent comes to mind - but rock n' roll itself, or its songs, really isn't. (With the eminently exceptable Right Brothers, who've done nothing more than place talking points in rhythm.) Country, of course, given the outcry that came about when the Dixie Chicks said they were ashamed of President Bush. But rock?

Well, a little thing like reality wasn't about to stop the NR! No, with the assistance of careful selections of verses, 50 songs were found that were judged to be conservative. Their standards were, "The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values." (Skepticism of government is a conservative idea? Did I miss NR's condemnation of Bush's actions ANYWHERE?) So, what did they feel were good matches?

Songs like "Sympathy for the Devil", "Revolution", and "Right Here, Right Now". "The Battle of Evermore" and "Janie's Got A Gun". "Godzilla" and "Wake Up Little Susie".

Sure, you may be thinking the same thing I was. "The Hell?" But think of the songs they missed!

"I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" - clearly an ode to capitalism, baby! "I'd like to buy the world a Coke"...they didn't say 'like to have the government promise everyone a Coke and tax the upper class to get them!"

"American Idiot", by Green Day - "Don't want to be an American Idiot" - a blast at the liberal public education system. "One nation controlled by the media" - liberal media! How much more conservative can you get, for Pete's sake?

"Mother", by Danzig - "Mother, tell your children not to come my way." - a call for good old stay at home mothers involved in their kid's lives!

"Beautiful People", Marilyn Manson - In what other words could a call for churchgoing be phrased but: "The beautiful people, the beautiful people/It's all relative to the size of your steeple"

"The Hand That Feeds", Nine Inch Nails - "Will you bite the hand that feeds you?" Do I need to spell it out? Welfare reform now!

"Somebody's Watching Me", Rockwell - Hey, this guy survived a little surveillance! Quit yer bitchin'!

"Fine Line Between Pleasure and Pain", The Divinyls - Who's to say some of the people being abused didn't like it, huh?

"The Real Slim Shady", Eminem - Okay, this one may be a little hard to shoehorn in.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Free Will? Nah...

What's disturbing about many so-called experts is how fragile their reasoning is. There are people out there proclaiming their theories, ideas, plans are firm as concrete when they're as weak as the minds of the people who swallow the audio excrement pumped out by the so-called leaders.

"Well, it SOUNDS good!"

Here's an example.

How weak is the argument, "God won't let the Earth burn up?" It's so frakkin' weak that it's an old joke!

This completely ignores the whole free will deal - if we're Hell bent and determined to destroy the Earth, God isn't preempting The Sopranos/C.S.I. and Grey's Anatomy with An Inconvenient Truth. He/She isn't going to change the litter we throw away into roses and trees in a sweet-smelling puff of smoke, Ip isn't going to make a giant thermometer emblazoned with WWJD? (and if there is ever a Second Coming, Jesus is gonna sue someone for copyright infringement) pop up in the sky showing just how much we've overheated the Earth. Ain't gonna happen.

Keeping in the religious vein, it's almost miraculous in a negative sense just how craven and egotistic that "reason" is.

At one and the same time, it states "We are so important to God that we will be saved from our mistakes!" and "God will save us since we can't do it ourselves." We're so stupid in our importance God will HAVE to save us!

I've seen better arguments floating in alphabet soup.

Though it DOES say a lot about some religious righties out there. They've been Chosen - and they are unanimous in this.

Back, for now...

Yes, yes, it's been a while. But see, the check got lost in the mail after the dog ate my homework, and the car ran out of gas just as the train went by and the tires went flat, and it was Daylight Savings Time but there was a power outage so I missed the alarm while rushing my son to the doctor...

Hell, pick an excuse, okay? All I can say is I'm suffering from a form of blogger burnout. It's hard to get motivated to write for several reasons:

I'm a little lazy.
Many of the other blogs over there on my blogroll say things better and more intelligently than I, so I feel like the guy in the back of the room chanting "hear hear!" and not having anything much to add.
Real life intrusions.
Too many books to read.
Mental exhaustion - I mean, what else can I say about Fred Phelps and his psychologically incestuous Lonely Brain Cell band?
Defending the indefensible: the abovementioned Phelps still has the right to protest, and I don't support various acts to ban his forms. The 1st Amendment had no exception for Leviticus groupies. But damn, defending him is like having to cultivate a huge mountain of cowflop in the midst of a beautiful garden. (then again, isn't that a form of nobility, defending something you personally oppose allowed under something you personally favor? 'cause, frik, I think I deserve some form of a legal-ese Purple Heart here.)
Bush. Do I need to say more?

So I've been exhausted, physically and mentally...not that there's much there to be exhausted with in either case, really. But it's the truth.

So, here I am for now. Enjoy!