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I’ve been sad all day thinking of Adam Yauch’s passing, which is somewhat abnormal for me since I typically just have the brief shock one feels upon hearing about a death. I didn’t know the guy, and never really closely followed his charities and whatnot. I knew he had cancer but to be honest I had thought he’d beaten it. And why wouldn’t he, he’s amazing, right? So like most Americans in my generation, I started a rotation of songs immediately upon hearing about it, because that’s what one does. And as I was driving today it hit me right about the instant Lando barked back to the opening of Sure Shot that for over 15 years now, thinking of the Beasties has been directly correlated to remembering my group of friends in college who were themselves a version of Beastie Boys (replete with Halloween Intergalactic costuming [I’d pay obscene amounts of money for the pictures that were lost on my hard drive]). Like a date stamp on the albums, I can instantly recall hundreds of memories involving the progression of time from dorm to off-campus housing to marriages and kids. Ryan in particular is closely correlated in my mind, obviously, because he was integral to that group and his date stamp cut off suddenly and unforgivably.

But my lingering sadness is not just for lives cut short, it’s from realizing I’ve always been oddly comforted when escaping into the music of a group that epitomized invincibility, because until Ryan wasn’t invincible, he was, and there’s safety in that being remembered like that. But now even they are proving fallible, and that scares me a little.

Because that makes my nostalgia that much sharper-edged, and that makes me sad.

First let me state that I’m an animal lover. I swear it. I am in fact notorious for taking in strays and was once banned from visiting the pound at K-State.

Now. Having said that, let me just shamefully admit that  I. CAN. NOT. STOP. SNICKERING. AT. THIS. Jessica Simpson’s allure – in any way – continues to mystify me (especially when she begins to speak) and I just can’t stop imagining the scene where she watches it happen with a wide-eyed blank stare. I’m sorry, but that’s straight out of a Christopher Guest movie.

RIP Daisy. Heh.

Hala posted an article about a little boy who was ‘voted off the island’ in his class, and the point of the story is that the five year-old is (soon-to-be) dxd with Aspergers.

[My first reaction was irritation that the reporter spelled Asperger with a ‘b’ in it. Damnit, people. It may sound like ‘burger’, but it’s not. If you can’t spell it properly and don’t know how to use dictionary.com, relearn how to pronounce it as a mnemonic.]

However, the gut reaction for me was not so much the advocacy of disability discrimination – which is real when it comes to disabilities that can create negative reactions, e.g., behavioral issues – but the stunningly STUPID fact that that teacher thought the game(?) would be a good idea for any child. I mean, come on, has she never heard of that brown/blue eyed experiment?

I can’t imagine any teacher pulling a young child to the front of a class and having all his classmates say what they DON’T like about him, and then vote to kick him out of class. Add to that that the child in question has a dx including social difficulties – and had made ONE FRIEND in the class – and she thought to herself that not only was that not cruel, but was in fact altruistic or …wait, my head’s exploding… didactic?

Sweet Mary I can’t even imagine what I would do if someone did that to Jack. As it is I want to shake that teacher until she gets whiplash. And the thing is, part of this is my old debate about special treatment of autism in regards to viewing it as a disability or a neurodiverse thing. I don’t always agree that everything should be kumbaya and unrealistic in learning environments. So maybe with different constraints (Older kids? Couched in a psych lesson?) it could be interesting. Maybe. But it just seems an unnecessary experiment (and, done before), and knowing the extra and long-term damage to this boy in particular is what takes this from stupid to outright malicious.

But the part that makes me saddest of all (again, like Hala) are the comments after the article. Disagree how you will about autism being a factor, but being unsympathetic to a child’s emotional damage is.. wrong. And that’s the base factor here.

I think this is a little too.. cozy for a father/daughter, especially if she’s like, fifteen.

Am I jaded? What do you think?

Really. Other states do it juuuuuust fine.

Malpractice insurance issue

It officially ends!

1. Please, please, please make this true.

2. I don’t know who of you would be familiar with Brad Renfro, but maybe you’d heard he died this week, which is tragic, of course. And what gave me the heebies is that as soon as I read about it, I had the immediate thought that I wasn’t surprised. He did a pretty violent indie film called Bully a few years ago, and I had read that he was volatile during filming. When I saw the movie, his character seemed that much more disturbing b/c I really got the impression he wasn’t even acting – that he was seriously that messed up. So anyway, I’m not sure what the point is in writing this, other than it makes me sad that I subconsciously was waiting for it to happen. I don’t think they’ve released how he died, but I’ll bet a lot of money that it was not natural. RIP, dude.

3. I know I’m behind in changing my song <–. But I dig this group, and it feels like a British version of Jimmy Eat World to me, so it’ll stay there a few more days. Just thought I’d mention it.

4. I saw Juno last night. Jealous? Eh?

Well.. don’t be too much. I was sort of underwhelmed. I thought it was fine, not bad, but not as awesome as I had expected. But maybe that’s not fair to the film, since I was *really* stoked to see it. During the first half I got tired of ticking off the clever lines from the trailer, and the teenspeak (not to mention illogical cheerleader best friend) were pretty caricatured, but there were enough genuine moments to overshadow that. JK Simmons and Allison Janney were great as the parents, and Jason Bateman did a good job breaking my heart as the un-Michael Bluth guy. (Oh, and speaking of breaking my heart, Michael Cera was virtually a non-entity. Sigh.)

But, here’s the craziest part: Jennifer Garner was probably the best part of the movie for me. And that’s HUGE considering for five years I’ve held a grudge against her based solely on a casual comment Jon made when I was 11 months preggers with Jack. Her character wasn’t groundbreaking, but she acted it sincerely, and what could have slid into stereotype was handled carefully and believably. Kudos, Jen. Hmph.

Finally, the main character Juno, played by Ellen Page, has been lauded as the new up-and-coming hipster ingenue (as has Page herself). And based on this movie I’d say.. meh. She was fine. She was cute and obviously smart, so I’ll wait to see something else (besides Hard Candy) to make final judgment.

So that’s it. I still think people should see it. The soundtrack will be fun, and the words to the folksy main song, “You’re a part-time lover and a full-time friend”, have been rolling in my head for hours now..

Happy Friday and have a good weekend everyone!

Read this story on newly-approved testing for Morgellons.

Then google images of it.

Holy crap it’s Aliens -ish.

So then what, the high schoolers would have to give an impassioned speech at the town meeting to have a dance at the local mill?

Gimme a break.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080108/ap_on_fe_st/odd_cussing_ban

So anyone who knows me – or at least has read my thoughts on autism – knows that I have shifted wildly from my initial ideas. I mention this only because I want to acknowledge that I don’t approach this post feeling patronizing or with some sort of authority. Had this exact video come out two years ago I’m not sure what I would have thought.

Anyway, like a perverse addict, I always seem to watch/read news stories about autism, simply because, well, I just do. And most of the time it makes me grumpy, so it’s no surprise that this CNN video segment is no different.

As I was watching it I tried to step back and ask myself why I was irritated. I know the vast majority of people working in autism science have benevolent intentions. I know that I am extremely blessed that Jack is so high-functioning that my life isn’t about searching for a cure. Who knows, maybe if he hadn’t changed as much as he had, I may still think like that, so I don’t hold judgment – I have no right to and I know that.

But this video, which is supposed to be positive and filled with medically-advanced hope, made me sad. The little things in it made me sad. The word normal was used both audibly to describe the little boy (“I never would have thought he was autistic!”) and to delineate the brain scan categories. And that’s just such a negative connotation, whether you consciously realize it or not. Really, think about your first impression when I say atypical versus abnormal. There was an emotional difference, wasn’t there? I know that’s splitting hairs, but when you’re the one pigeonholed you begin to notice these things. Language is powerful.

I am fully supportive of brain scans for conservative reasons. Obviously they are remarkable. But what I’m not kosher with is the idea of routinely and/or blanket scanning all kids – during the single most important time in their neurological development – just to see if their brains look funny. And all of this so they can see if a child needs early intervention, b/c EI is the single biggest factor in “pulling these kids out of the deep, dark hole they’re in”.

I agree that EI rocks. I abhor how it’s described there.

It seems incredibly dramatic to do scans when there are other non-invasive tests to see who qualifies for EI. And to be clear, I know the video isn’t implying other tests should be replaced, I’m just saying I think it’s way overkill with the scans. It’s just unnecessary to me – but that’s probably b/c I’m not comfortable with the idea of assuming we should narrow down anything specifically about autism, when everything about it is already so miasmatic.

And this full-circles to my view that all of this autism research is a slippery slope towards eugenics. And not only eugenics, but a version that is repugnant (if that’s not redundant) in my opinion. It honestly makes my stomach hurt to think that in a creepy Orwellian kind of way, maybe in 15 (5? 2?) years I could choose to abort Jack simply because he carried that predisposition for the dreaded ‘autism’.

Whatever. This is a complicated issue. And this isn’t a rant, really. It’s just that the further along we go, the more I am deeply uncomfortable with the negativity permeating the whole world of autism. I’ve said these things before, but I’ll probably say them again, because this idea of being different, not disabled, needs to be kept in the back of everyone’s minds. I know it’s easy to get lost in politically correct minutiae, but this isn’t a bleeding-heart cause d’jour to me like it’s become in the entertainment business. This is a snowball that is going in a frightening direction and it involves my kid.

That little boy shown was a happy, intelligent, fully functioning kid. So why was he the example when the whole premise of the video was jubilation that we’re closer to a cure?

What does he need cured?

First, we need to have a moment of silence for Dan Fogelberg. DO NOT tease me if you think he was lame. His music is part of a collection that was intrinsic to my childhood and intertwined with my memories. This is my favorite song, “Same Old Lang Syne”:

And, for the second time in a week, I had plans to write about some thoughts I’ve been rolling around, but in pure irony I need to step away from this portal to the outside world and go find a train, feed second breakfasts and switch laundry.

I’m sorry I’ve been sort of cluttered and disjointed lately.

I hate the bloated ego that is Roger Clemens. I should hate Andy Pettitte (or Sosa, Giambi, Mac, whomever) equally, but I seem to save my ire for assholes like Clemens (and Bonds). Unabashedly arrogant and greedy, he thinks his game truly makes him better – than everyone – it’s always seemed.

And since Bonds is finally publicly astericked, I now patiently wait for Clemens.

I realize I’m not a big enough fan to merit outrage. I know too many guys whose opinions deserve to carry much more weight than mine. But my biggest complaint of MLB has *always* been the open disparity (payrolls, gate receipts, even park size) that everyone seems to accept. And when the powered-athleticism that is the dirty push behind the steroid use is so rampant that even our hometown Christian hero Sweeney is rumored to have partaken, I have total disgust for the whole game.

My views are not original. I just don’t have the life-long romanticism that others have and so I feel no shame wanting that man to give back all of his Cy Youngs and the stupid orange Hummer. I’d be ok with a total dissolution of baseball as we know it.

IT’S NOT WORKING.

So news came out this week that involves a tragic homebirth from last year, and I’ve been hesitant to post my thoughts on it. Mostly because the homebirth community in the KC metro area is small and closely guarded; it’s still a felony in MO so it’s a veritable witch hunt and most people have to practice ‘underground’, if you will. I don’t want to harm anyone I know by writing an incriminating post that could be googled. (Really, I’m not being dramatic, we got emails this week telling us to lay low based on this news. I shouldn’t post the word homebirth technically. It’s fucking ridiculous.) But I decided to go ahead because the case was dropped, so those I know can’t be pulled into anything. Still, I’m going to try and be vague because there could still be a civil suit.

The story is that a local couple decided to have a UC (unassisted childbirth) and based on their religion, wouldn’t seek medical help, despite that the baby was breech and ended up stillborn, and the mother developed sepsis and died a month later. The latest news is that there will be no prosecution.

When I was first told of this thing, as it was unfolding, I was repulsed. Apparently the religion they follow is their own, and many of the tenets disturbed me (e.g., they believed if the woman submitted to her husband faithfully, God wouldn’t give them a breech baby – which makes no sense to me whatsoever). I was furious they wouldn’t seek help, even when it became very obvious things were dangerous. Since they were blatantly refusing intervention, I (and others, I’m sure) suggested someone call 911 and turn it over to the state to handle – thus more-or-less exonerating anyone personally from legal involvement. Now, I don’t remember specifically whether 911 was called, but I feel like they came to the door but were turned away – which is wholly within the couple’s civil rights. Also, if you look at the link, you may notice the man’s profession, and I’m curious if/how that complicated things – though I’m in no way insinuating anything.

And really, this whole thing splits me. My instinct is to rip out a vitriolic post because on a personal level I’m horrified. But intellectually, I have to respect their decisions, and that’s hard to separate. I respect that they chose to believe in their idea of God, and thought that God would provide intervention or miracles. I respect their choice to have a homebirth. They were a Bradley couple, so I know they were educated. I’m not always comfortable with UCs, but that’s more personal than philosophical – I still respect that they made the decision they felt was best for them.

But (one of) my main issue(s) with this is their self-righteous moral cherry-picking of technological intervention. If I simplify it, I would proffer that their reason for no medical intervention is because God made us and wouldn’t approve of the current idea of medical advancement interfering with God’s inherent design. Make sense? Fine. But I would also think by that logic that God wouldn’t be kosher with, oh, cars. Or telephones. Or electricity. Yet they were fine with all of that. They recognized how these advancements changed their lives from how they were inherently designed – for better or worse – and still chose them.

And I’m not saying that to follow religion you can’t decide what you believe is a priority. This type of religious hypocrisy (if it’s completely fair to call it that) is everywhere. I just personally have such a hard time believing that God would have wanted that to happen like that. I think it’s kind of illogical to decide what we think God is in control of. It sort of takes away from the idea of omniscience if you think you know for sure what he has a hand in. I guess I think if you’re so dogmatic that you’d let people die when there was so much time to save them, you should be all out and go live in the wilderness. But that’s probably my anger clouding my objectivity.

And this is also where my moderate view of medicine comes in. I’ve been called a hypocrite myself for cherry-picking my standards of needing medical intervention, so I realize that I can’t honestly judge them for their decisions if I want to carry the same rights.

It just sucks. The stain it leaves on all choices involved just sucks. And I have no real profound thoughts here, it’s just something that after a year of being gagged, still makes me sad.

Hellllo! How is everyone? I feel like I’ve been locked in a bunker for the past week. We have survived and are happy to be healthy again. I did eleventynine loads of laundry (half of that in the middle of Saturday night) and I am indeed very thankful for electricity and a working washer. Today I woke up rested, drank some yummy jetfuel – I mean coffee –  and took the kids to the grocery store (where we grooved on the way to “99 Luft Balloons”, giddy to be out in fresh air). Good day so far. The weather is still wacked though, and my allergies and the bugs in the house are totally confused. 70something today before it snows tonight and maybe hits 40° tomorrow? God I love Kansas.

So, in, uh, other news, apparently Neil Diamond just announced Sweet Caroline was written based on a picture of Caroline Kennedy as a young child. Here’s the lyrics in case anyone wants to jump on the same *cough* Lolita *cough* bandwagon I’m thinking:

Where it began, I can’t begin to know when
But then I know it’s growing strong
Oh, wasn’t the spring, whooo
And spring became the summer
Who’d believe you’d come along

Hands, touching hands, reaching out
Touching me, touching you
Oh, sweet Caroline
Good times never seem so good
I’ve been inclined to believe it never would

And now I, I look at the night, whooo
And it don’t seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two, oh
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulder
How can I hurt when holding you

(chorus)

That just seems creepy, is all I’m sayin’. Listen and tell me if you think I’ve become too cynical. I hope I’m wrong; I lurve this song, and Jack likes to substitute ‘Lorelei’ for ‘Caroline’. But I dunno. I just think you shouldn’t talk about touching so much if it’s inspired by a child. What do you all think?

cover300.jpg

(For the record, they approached Jon and he told them he was too busy this year, so they picked Matt Damon instead. )

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