September 30, 2009

Joke about the European Union.

About Autism

Tina and I noted Connor had stopped talking very early on. We, at first, dismissed this as kids being different. As time moved forward it became more and more apparent that he just was not typical. We noticed the time of his "shut down" was around his immunization. Several reports came out showing parents had come to a similar conclusion.

We joined in a law suit that was put on hold by the white house. Part of the qualification came from the batch numbers from the immunization shots. We qualified. There is a certain degree of horror that comes from being a "good parent" and hurting your child.

There have been several studies that show no relationship between Thimerosal and Autism. So it is safe and we might all be conspiracy nuts, yet today, all routinely recommended licensed pediatric vaccines currently being manufactured for the U.S. market are either thimerosal-free or contain markedly reduced amounts of thimerosal.

Since 2000, we’ve learned several key lessons about autism:

The epidemic of autism is real, and it not a merely a product of better diagnosis.

A study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute on California autism rates found that less than 1/10th of the increased number of reported autism cases could be attributed to the inclusion of milder cases of autism (so called “diagnostic expansion”), and less than 1/25th could be attributed to earlier age of diagnosis. (see “Hertz-Picciotto Jan2009 – The Rise in Autism and the Role of Age at Diagnosis”)

Latest indications are that perhaps 6-7% of autism cases are purely genetic, meaning that the child has autism solely because of the genes inherited from the parents (if they have these genes, then they have autism).

Analysis of the Autism Genome Project Consortium findings concludes that the largest autism-genetic study to date found no association other than one slightly-associative one that would have been expected to be found by statistical chance.

OSOTEN "Original Source of the Estimated Number describes how the widely-reported 10-15% number of autism cases from genetic causes can be traced back to an estimate by a single group of researchers that did not have valid supporting data for their assertion. It asserts that the real number is probably around 6-7%.

There is a greater risk of autism for children born to families with certain family medical histories (Brimacombe M, Ming X, Parikh A. Familial risk factors in autism. JChild Neurol. 2007; 22:000-000), indicating that certain sub-groups are particularly susceptible to autism. 1 in 7 children born to families with thyroid disorders develop autism

Many studies indicate that children with autism are less able to excrete toxins. For example, children with autism are less able to excrete mercury via hair and thus have lower levels of mercury in their hair versus a control group. (Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children Holmes AS, Blaxill MF, Haley BE. Int J Toxicol. 2003 Jul-Aug; 22(4):277-85)

Autism is a whole-body condition, not merely one affecting the brain. Children with autism have multiple organs with adverse health issues, typically including the gastrointestinal tract and endocrine system. Clinical research indicates that children with autism share serious underlying metabolic imbalances

Auto-antibodies and impaired immune system function, Methylation disorders, Low glutathione levels, High metal toxicity, Mitochondrial dysfunction, Thyroid dysfunction, Demylenation,
MBP “Myelin Basic Protein” antibodies, Gastrointestinal disease, Seizure disorders, Chronic neuroinflammation, Chronic bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, Disordered serum chemistries, Altered metabolic profiles, Impaired brain connectivity, Gastrointestinal abnormalities including impaired digestion.

September 28, 2009

Astounding Engimatic Happy Kid FTW!

My youngest, Connor, is a bright happy kid. He is gentle kind, enjoys the world around him. He is also language delayed autistic. So going the the dentist is very different for him. It requires him to be fully sedated. Get that? Under via IV drip for the duration of his dentist trip.

Sedation frightens the hell out of me, because I know how many things can go wrong. Now his dentist is very good and has an impeccable track record, in all ways he is a professional and damn near peerless in his skills. Still intellectualize all you want, my darling baby boy is going to be fed drugs until unconscious. It just does not sit right, and probably never will.

This is one of the few times I recognize a burden with Autism. Something that would normally require a "be brave kid" instead is Draconian. Due to some evil well meaning pre-school teachers he still cannot abide his hair being cut for as long as needed. Having them clear out the barber shop so you can restrain your kid while the understanding barber does his job is taxing, humiliating and can be viewed as cruel.

Still with diligence and modeling we have gotten him to the point were he will allow the hair cutting to a reasonable point.

The last go around they tried to induce a dream like state. No go. Then they tried Gas. No go. Then they did an IV. I have never seen someone fight against going under like he did. Seriously his will power blew me away.

He spent the next 24 hours lethargic and vomiting. I felt unevenly, because I knew this needed to be done, yet my heart broke seeing him in this situation. He had a follow-up and after the long trial of his first go around he was able to open his mouth and let them work. His legs nervously moved and his hands were on either side of his face.

Flash forward, today. Connor is going in for cleaning, x-rays and possibly drilling. I REALLY am feeling the angst. He just does not comprehend what is going on and it has to be justifiably frightening and confusing.

I really expected the worse. Lo and behold he did not need sedation. He was willing to allow them to do their job, they let him hold and look at the instruments and with mirrors observe the procedure. They were even able to get him to laugh here and there. I'm dumbfounded.

Somehow he was able to put together in his mind that this was uncomfortable but important. Imagine, if you will, the difficulty in explaining what someone is going to work in your mouth with a hook scraping your teeth? Futher, say you have to use a HIGHLY limited vocabulary and the person has no experience to draw comparisons too. Somewhere in that skull lurks a highly deductive, brilliant mind.

The Bruce!

My IM (instant messenger) sits fairly dormant, it is far from a networking social tool. It is more quick access to my wife and kids and vice versa. I like it that way.

Lo and behold Robert (my childhood chum) IM'd me last week with a proposal; meet for Dinner in the PNW (pacific north west). Good Stuff! Life long friends are the blessing of my life. Growing up in post 50's So Cal Suburbs was, in retrospect, ideal for being a kid.

I joined cub scouts and boy scouts and Met Robbie and Robert. We have been friends ever since. Even though decisions made have moved us to various places on the continent, two facts allowed us to re-establish contact. The first being we are Computer mavin's, the second is we enjoy gaming as a pretext for socializing. Over the last 16 years or so face to face meetings have been few and far between, so RBG's (Robert) proposal was enthusiastically accepted.

A few caveats were included, this may not occur and the timing may require flexibility. As Tina and I are most familiar with eateries along the I5 Oregon corridor I opted to hammer down the details. A quick chat with my better half afforded us maximum flexibility and a call to my sibling produced locations for the epicurious. The Taprock (pictured on the blog entry below) is a grand log cabin affair that is drenched in the best of Oregon. Even the sidewalk mimics a stream of copper salmon, various statues grace the grounds, Elk, Bear. It is perched along the bank and there is a warmth to even the cavernous interior. The staff is efficient but seemingly neophyte in confidence. It is a new restaurant, so you can give allowances. The double Decks overlook the Rogue river in a tranquil setting, the far side has a park with plenty of green and trees, which gives the effect that you are indeed in the country. The river itself makes small wet sounds that you need to be quiet to hear. The setting was a simple iron table with less then plush chairs.

RBG was able to confirm his sojourn into our realm and agreed with time and date. All systems ready for launch T-minus... Flash forward about a week and we head south in our conveyance towards the foggy town of Grants Pass, home of my Sister and various questionable civic organizations. We arrived early and scouted around a bit and was a bit surprised\worried that RBG had not arrived. The hostess confirmed she had received a phone call from someone lost. Next a cell phone call confirmed he was pulling into the drive. Curiously with a car from Idaho...

We got a place on the deck overlooking the river and got some pictures. Ordered food and set about several years worth of conversation, family, work, life, liberty, happiness (or said pursuit). The waiter was easily confused which provided me with some enjoyment. The food was good and the company was excellent. There is a degree of comfort that takes some time to develop, you are never quite sure where hidden bombshells or tripwires are, conversationally, that might lead to awkward pauses or worse the decision to become offended. When you have been around someone for 40 plus years, on and off. The foundation is pretty much solid and acceptance and tolerance is a given. Add to that 1/2 a lifetime of memories and commonality, you just "get along famously".

And so we did.

The dinner ended all to soon and Tina and I forced Robert into an after dinner death march, over the river and through the woods, through town as well. As time ticked on parental duty kicked in and it was time to depart. A bit of salesmanship could mean a few more catch-ups. So I hope he lands the contract for several reasons.

On a mixed note, I fully intended on getting the bill, but the expense account won over my frugal nature.

September 24, 2009


Submitted for you approval, above is the edifice that houses the Taprock Grill restaurant in Grants Pass Oregon. It sits along the Rouge River and includes dual stacked decks for your dinning pleasure.

The service was a bit spotty. It took an odd amount of time between delivery of beverages. The menus offers a nice variety and the food was good fare. My fries were not crisp (the second bunch was perfect). The appetizer plate was served quickly, was perfect heat and came with various sauces. Good stuff.

More on the company in next posting.

September 23, 2009

The beginning of a school year is an appropriate time to question how our schools propose to teach our children.

Today's educators, observing widespread self-doubt and despair among the young, believe that the way to get a student to learn is to inflate his self-image. They believe that the curriculum should be designed, in the words of a resolution from the National Education Association, to "foster positive self-esteem."

There is indeed a lack of self-esteem among our students. The real tragedy, though, is that the educators' irrational view of "positive self-esteem" not only prevents a solution to this problem--but is itself the very cause.

Educators believe that self-esteem can be achieved by simply encouraging a child to "feel good" about himself. They continually exhort students to praise themselves--to praise themselves causelessly--by such means as chanting in class: "I am me and I am enough."

The objective reality of the child's life--the choices he makes, the thinking he engages in, the effort he exerts, the actions he takes--is disregarded. As one guidebook on self-esteem explains: "Children have the right to feel good about themselves exactly as they are. . . . A child's value is unconditional. Nothing the child does, says or chooses can change it."

Genuine self-esteem, however, consists not of causeless feelings, but of certain knowledge about yourself. It rests on the conviction that you--by your choices, effort and actions--have made yourself into the kind of person able to deal with reality. It is the conviction--based on the evidence of your own volitional functioning--that you are fundamentally able to succeed in life and, therefore, are deserving of that success.

Since it is only through rational thought and action that one develops the ability to cope with reality, self-esteem results from an individual's commitment to reason. A rational, productive person will possess self-esteem; a drug-addicted bum will not.

But in the view of our Dewey-inspired educators, logic is a "straitjacket." Students are taught by "progressive" educators that there are no rigid principles in life, and that emotion, not reason, is one's link to reality. Thus, if a child is somehow made to feel good about himself, he is good--irrespective of whether there exists any objective basis for that conclusion.

Of course this approach cannot work. A child who makes bad choices--who does not think but drifts in class, who shuts down his mind at the first sign of difficulty, who heads for the mall instead of exerting the effort that learning requires--will not acquire self-esteem. Constantly getting the answers wrong in class and feeling bewildered by the world outside, such a child experiences only uncertainty, helplessness and self-doubt.

How then will educators make him "feel good" about himself? By attempting to obliterate any facts that lead him to a negative estimate of himself. Accordingly, they teach him that there are never any wrong answers.

This is what gives rise to such nightmarish phenomena as inventive spelling, whereby a fourth-grader who spells "favorite" as "fffifit" is lauded by the teacher for expressing a "creative feeling." This viewpoint infects even the most objective of disciplines, mathematics. One educator explains the root of a girl's errors in mathematics: "She was trying to get these problems right. The alternative was to get them wrong. . . . So this is a situation within the win-lose world in which there's no way the child can feel good about the assignment."

Erase the concept of truth--these educators maintain--and a child will never discover that he is thinking or acting wrongly. If he is taught that anything he does is right because he feels it, he will always "feel good" about himself. For this reason a Minnesota Education Association's guide to self-esteem tells students: "Express your beliefs . . . as your point of view--not as the 'truth.'"

Today's child lacks self-esteem precisely because modern educators encourage him to dispense with his mind, and to indulge his feelings. Self-doubt is the inevitable result, as the child realizes that he lacks the tool by which to comprehend reality.

Yet, to solve the problem they themselves have created, educators propose to continue the same anti-reason, emotionalist approach to teaching.

There is certainly a crisis of self-esteem among America's students. But don't look to the modern pushers of pseudo self-esteem for the remedy. Their ideas are the disease.

thanks to Dr. Ghate

September 22, 2009

languorous living

There are little things you can do that make things "work better." For instance, setting up the coffee maker the night before. Somehow this act is long and drawn out in the AM. Also, putting my clothing for the work day in the same spot. Getting a routine down in the morning so you get all the important stuff done in short order. Having a key rack and a place for your wallet\purse what have you, that you actually use. Making sure your vehicle is ready to go for the morning. Taking the last few minutes of your work day to compile a list of what to start on the next morning. Using a weekly dinner menu with a coordinated shopping list, so you have what you need on hand for X number of dinners. Go through your bills and stage them so you can pay them on time.

All great stuff! Now DOING THIS and CONTINUING forward! Aye, theres the rub!

Recent surgery has precluded me from doing certain projects that I was intending on doing. Now that I am just starting to be able to walk longer and ride the bike, I feel like I am behind. This too shall pass. Last week I added a morning workout routine to my day. Push ups, curls, shrugs, rows. Nothing intense (a recent self inflicted injury taught me that), a slow progression taking my time. Rebuilding this body if you will.

So I started the Coffee Maker setup at night routine this week. And I am determined to do the weekly accounting weekly! During the typing of this missive I realize I am limiting day to day ambiguity. Providing some structure, order among the chaos, controlling that which I can so to be ready for that I cannot.

Probably just pomp and posturing, still... It has a certain satisfaction when you wake up to fresh coffee.

September 21, 2009

Fat Head

I'm nearing the 200 pound mark. Which means I weigh less now then when I got married. I had not really thought about the fatty tissue below the scalp. I guess it is obvious, but I was a fat headed guy.

Let me 'splain!

I like hats, I have a really nice Fedora, Fisherman, Russian hunter, Cowboy and a Pork Pie Hat.
I really do not like base ball caps, although I do have and wear them as well.

I wear my Fedora and fisherman's during summer walks to work. The cowboy and Russian during the rain or winter (respectively). Some time ago I found the cowboy and pork pie had shrunk. That is to say, they were smaller from my perspective. So I put them up on a shelf and went on about my business. What I did not realize was my head had grown.

So last week when I knocked the Pork Pie down from its perch I tried it on, only to find it fits wonderfully. This might explain why my river sandal straps do not tighten up enough. I think I should break out my old roller hockey skates...

September 17, 2009

Hear that noise? Its the sun setting...

Libraries are the only free access to information. There is a wealth of knowledge sitting on shelves waiting to be read. Libraries actually share books across this nation. It might be a matter of waiting but you can read anything in print you want. It is a remarkable repository.

It is also something that may be going away. Is this society evolving? Poorly executed Government? or just a lack of need for a centralized repository?

There are quite a few reasons that closures happen. The Washington library has a couple weeks off to make the budget, While Philadelphia is looking a bit more bleak.

Has the notion and concept of Library outlived its want or usefulness? Or is it something else.

The library that I am employed by was set up under a federal grant that was supposed to have ended but was given an extension. This was to make up for local revenue due to the gutting of our timber industry.

The library budget does not have a dollar figure. That is to say it operates with any given amount. Over the last few years. We have "suffered" budget cuts of 10%, 10%, with a planned cut of 20%, and 35%. For a total of 75% in cuts from the county. With out additional revenue there will be little to no public libraries in the county.

Some cities will continue on in some form. Maybe that is how it should be. I don't know.

As conservative as I am I still see a need for public parks, health and safety inspections, fire and police service. I am approaching a crossroads on Libraries...

September 16, 2009

You might just be....

If you shout out that our president lies, you might just be a racist.

If you criticize our president, you might just be a racist.

If you listen to conservative talk radio, you might just be a racist.

If you watch Fox News, you might just be a racist.

If you suggest our president is racist, you might just be a racist.

If you are against the government takeover of health care, you might just be a racist.

I have no doubt that somewhere in the great country there are people who feel that ethnic origins make one superior, thus make another inferior. I further realize that genetics, environment, hard work and access to better education, can make a person "superior" in certain area's.

The term racism is now being bandied about as a tactic rather then fact. I believe it is now the liberal synonym to socialism. In other words both are being misused and thus redefined.

Can someone make a racist statement and not be a racist? Can a defined racist comment be rendered "non-racist" due to the commenter's ethnic origin?

Are there acceptable forms of discrimination? Are there acceptable forms of intolerance?

I'm getting really sick and tired of everyone being accused of racism, I hope everyone else is starting to feel the same.

September 15, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic

What do you do when the School bus arrives? For years my kids made it out the door and to the bus with little to no assistance. Yes, on a rare occasion or two they missed.

Connor rides the Short bus, litterally. It comes to the driveway and honks in the morning. Connor requires quite a bit of assistance to get ready for school. If left alone he would be playing in his PJ's when the bus pulled up. I ponder if he would go to school in his nightclothes...

Again, when the bus brings him home we would have someone to greet him. Time passes and kids in collage cannot adjust their schedule. In a few years they will be out in the world, leaving this little detail of life in the hands of Tina and myself.

There is no solution without repercussions. Ideally, Connor would get up, get dressed, make his lunch and busy himself until the bus came. He would leave the house locked up and go off to school. Afterwards he would get off the bus, get inside the house and eat a snack and have some "Me time".

Both Tina and I leave for work before the bus comes. I plan on altering my schedual, if something occurs at work or I change jobs this could become more difficult. Tina can get home before Connor. Her job location and travel time makes little margin of error.

The kids are still at home and they have been working with Connor getting himself off the bus and into the house. Having him do this with no one home gives me angst.

September 14, 2009

Chemical imbalance

t is a bit cloudy, not enough to rain. Summer is ending, the kids are starting to gear up for Collage. Connor is at his new Jr. High School. We are trying to figure out how to work our schedual so I can get him on the bus and Tina can get him off the bus. At the same time we are working so he can get himself off the bus and into the house on his own. The idea is at some point we may be unable to get home before the bus and he would be able to go inside and be okay.

Diana is heading back on her own at collage. She came a long way from last year. She has a better feel for Collage and knows some people. She found a nice catholic church she can attend. Her studies are going well and her association with the Ford Foundation is great. I am glad she had a summer off. Not to many of those left. Trevor just needs to realize what he needs to do to be successful. He KNOWS what needs doing, he just has not made that tiny step of deeds over words.

My job is unsure, the unemployment here is near 10%. There was a job posting that I could actually do, funny thing is there is now, no record of the job listed in the e-mail. The company says they decided to hold off on filling the position, so they pulled the ad. *sigh*

My diet is still going but mentally I keep wondering, am I there yet? Breaking below 200 lbs would be nice and could happen as soon as this week. I was doing more exercise, then I had surgury with a dang long recovery. Seems every couple of days I strain the stitches and end up bleeding again. So the wanting to exercise and not being able too is irksome.

It would be so nice to get some bills paid down, get some more into savings. Ah well.

The charlatan fourth estate

Source material.

Anyone who does more then just watch the nightly news has noticed that there has been a dynamic shift away from "News" to more "Info-Tainment".

CNN with its 24\7 coverage had to fill up time in such a manner that people would watch. Sure they did have the Challenger footage and Baby Jessica, but it was the first Gulf War in 1991 that really made CNN shine. You figure it must have looked like a good idea because FOX news channel launched October 1996, followed by MSNBC on July 1996.

So now you have competition for advertising dollars, which means people having said station playing. Add to that the Internet where you not only get access to various news agencies, you also get eyewitness accounts, and fact checkers (and some kooks).

We have gone, in short order, from Network control of information to non-centralized non-control. I can read a story on MSNBC, google search and find more info that either confirms or refutes the story.

Currently we have lots of opinions shoved into the facts of a news cast. Spun this way and that way in order to "Shape" the news rather then inform. Some would say it has always been this way, just look at Walter Winchell or Hearst. The current polling is showing there is a low trust for various news outlets.

The Van Jones story is really telling. Here you have someone appointed by The President of the United states, with very controversial beliefs and statements. It was only covered by FOX until he resigned claiming he was smeared, by his own statements on video. Many of the folks around my office were wondering who Mr. Jones was and why he resigned.

So what can you do? Newspapers, Magazines, NPR, Broadcast and Cable news outlets all are more opinion padded facts then anything else.

I am hoping that people voting with their feet will start some change. The most bias of Newspapers are on the brink of collapse. Maybe they will consider it a good business move to provide factual news rather then party line.

September 13, 2009

America's Dim Bulbs

Original link:

Europe's ban on the incandescent light bulb began phasing in this month, and the U.S. will soon follow. Is Thomas Edison to blame for global warming? And why are we exporting green jobs?

When the warm-mongers assemble in Copenhagen this December to hammer out a successor to the failed Kyoto Protocol, no doubt their work to save the earth from the carbon dioxide that gives it life will take place under the eerie light thrown off by compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) mandated by the European Union to fight climate change.

The bulbs are more expensive, costing up to six times as much as an equivalent incandescent bulb. But they're said to be more economical in the long run because they supposedly use up to 80% less energy than old-style bulbs and don't burn out as quickly.

The change will be gradual. The clear 60-watt bulb will be allowed to be sold until at least September 2011 and clear 40-watt bulbs until 2012. In Germany there's a run on Edison's creation, with sales of incandescents up 34%. Is a black market in bulbs in the offing?

The Telegraph newspaper reports that European officials are conceding CFLs are not as bright an idea as first advertised.

An 11-watt CFL is advertised as being the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent. Officials in Brussels responsible for the ban admit that this is "not true" and that such claims are "exaggerated."

Tests conducted by London's Telegraph found that using a single lamp to illuminate a room, an 11-watt CFL produced only 58% of the illumination of an "equivalent" 60-watt incandescent — even after a 10-minute warm-up that consumers have found necessary for a CFL to reach its full brightness.

The European Commission advises consumers of the environmental hazards posed by CFLs. If one breaks, you're advised to air out rooms and avoid using vacuum cleaners to prevent exposure to mercury in the bulbs. You can't just throw out an old bulb. It must be properly thrown out, lest your bedroom or family room become a Superfund toxic waste site.

Mercury is considered by environmentalists to be among the most toxic of toxic substances and, yes, it is dangerous if ingested or handled over time. We've been warned that high concentrations in fish are dangerous to pregnant women. We've been told mercury in vaccines causes autism.

So now it's safe in fragile light bulbs?

September 12, 2009

Publisher apologizes for Sen. Kennedy memorial prayer

A little while ago I bemoand the scandelous "funeral mass" of Ted Kennedy. As a Catholic I was disturbed by some of the going's on. I was not alone. The Catholic news agency presented this missive today. This, at least to me, is a better showing of what the Church should be.

Chicago, Ill., Sep 12, 2009 / 07:05 am (CNA).- Liturgy Training Publications, the Chicago-based publisher associated with the Archdiocese of Chicago, has apologized for distributing a controversial prayer that praised the late pro-abortion Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as one who had promoted peace, justice, equality and liberty.

The prayer was made available for use at Sunday Masses after the prominent Catholic senator’s death on August 25.

The original prayer, posted through the publisher’s downloadable Prayer of the Faithful resource, read: “For those who have given their lives to service to their country, promoting values of peace, justice, equality, and liberty; especially, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, that he may find his eternal reward in the arms of God . . . . We pray.”

Pro-life Catholics such as the 87-year-old priest and blogger Fr. John Malloy complained about the prayer, citing the late senator’s ardent support for abortion in the latter half of his political career.

Liturgy Training Publications Director John A. Thomas wrote to Fr. Malloy and others to apologize for the “extremely poor use of words” in the prayer.

He explained that the prayer had been adapted from the text for “Prayers on the Inauguration of a Public Official.” Calling the source text a “poor choice,” he said that the prayer is future-oriented and not intended as a reflection on “the quality of the life of a person.”

“This was not considered enough when adapted. As adapted for the Prayer of the Faithful, the text inappropriately presents a sense of support for the positions and actions taken by the late Senator by those who wrote it or pray it.”

He said the editors did not intend to show support for Sen. Kennedy’s positions.

“I apologize for our failure in judgment and poor selection of words used in the prayer. I pray that we do better in the future,” his letter concluded.

A spokeswoman at Liturgy Training Publications confirmed for CNA that Thomas had sent out the letter, which has been published on several websites.

Responding to the apology, Fr. Malloy explained his reaction to the prayer and commented that Sen. Kennedy “certainly didn't promote liberty for the unborn, or equality and justice. And that's what I found offensive."

"I think we pray for everyone who's dead, our enemies, we pray for them, but we don't extol them," he continued.

Fr. Malloy told ChicagoCatholicNews he has “great respect” for the publisher and said he believes their apology is sincere. "

September 07, 2009

Infectiousness of Sheer Joy

Our Sunday in Portland did not go to plan, which is okay. Connor, as it turns out, loves riding on trains, but not tunnels. We had planned to go to OMSI, which is a wonderful museum along the waterfront. As we got off the freeway we noticed the OVERFLOW parking was OVERFLOWING.

This meant large crowds (bad for Connor) and long waits for hands on exhibits (very frustrating for Connor). So we figured on heading to Washington Park via the Max from Lloyd center. This gave us a chance to get the Greek fast food anyways. A few rides up and down the escalator and some felafel's later we started heading to the train. Connor turns and asks "Train but No tunnel?" We told him "One tunnel" . This caused him to Balk at the train ride all together.

As Tina and I were still plum tuckered out from our previous day excursion we just laid the cards on the table. "Train with tunnel or Hotel?" Connor pondered and stated "Hotel" So, we acquiesced.

At the Hotel he got into his swim trunks and proceeded to have a great time alone in the pool. I napped as Tina read the paper poolside. When the room sundry exchange person came knocking and waking me about an hour later, I exchanged places with Tina. We just jelled around the room. Watched Shrek on HBO (one of Connors favorite films, ask him to recite the muffin man sequence with Diana sometime).

Nearby the hotel is a family fun center, that has tubes, mini-golf, lazer tag, go carts and bumper boats. While Tina got her rest time in Connor and I walked over. It was your chuck-e-cheese type atmosphere with assortment of weekend parents, grandparents, singles, Parent parents and kids, kids, kids and kids. Bells, noises and lights made me guide the boy to the play tubes. Shoes and socks off he vanished into the kid plumbing.

They had some self serving magazines to peruse telling about all the wonderful events you are going to miss over the next couple of months. There is a frog hopper ride that looked kind of lame to me, but Connor wanted to try it out. So I had to hunt down were you get the tickets from. Finally I located a bored teen worker who was not chatting up someone and got directions. That took us outside, and seeing as how I did not want to plunk down wads of cash I opted for a quick tour to see what one ride Connor wanted. He seemed interested in the go carts. Then he saw the bungee trampoline, and that's all she wrote...

So he got into line I bought a ticket. When I came back I confirmed he wanted to go on this. It was a long wait as each kid got a jump session of random length depending on the distraction level of the attendant, who also manned the rock climbing wall.

Most of the kids had the $40.00 wrist bands and could go on whatever ride suited their pleasure as many times as they wanted. This made the duration of any one attraction less important.

Finally Connor's turn came up. As the attendant needed some information about weight etc. I intervened and explained he was autistic. The kid stated "no problem" a little too quickly.

The device in question consists of a modified rock climbing harness with swivels on each side. These are hooked to various bungee cords depending upon the "riders" weight. These are attacked to two wide apart masts that with a cable that pulls the bungees taught. Underneath the rider is an inflatable trampoline device, like a giant inner-tube with a dense weave nylon stretched over the surface. The attendant paid closer attention to Connor, who made a few tentative jumps before launching himself skyward with more enthusiasm.

For some reason, he threw his hands wide and yelled "FREEDOM" at the top of his lungs, at the apex of the next several jumps. This caused the ride operator to smile, then grin, then laugh, then double over.

From that point forward the sheer joy that is Connor made the kids day. You do not see many of the teen workers at this establishment smile much. Other then the pasted on one required by management.

September 03, 2009

Singapore Health something to ponder

Singapore spends a third of what the U.S. does on health care (as a percentage of GDP) yet has better health indicators. Of course, much of this may be attributable to lifestyle differences rather than a superior health care system. Nevertheless, the Singapore system has some very interesting characteristics:

  • There are mandatory health savings accounts: “Individuals pre-save for medical expenses through mandatory deductions from their paychecks and employer contributions… Only approved categories of medical treatment can be paid for by deducting one’s Medi-save account, for oneself, grandparents, parents, spouse or children: consultations with private practitioners for minor ailments must be paid from out-of-pocket cash…”
  • “The private health care system competes with the public health care, which helps contain prices in both directions. Private medical insurance is also available.”
  • Private health care providers are required to publish price lists to encourage comparison shopping.
  • The government pays for “basic health care services… subject to tight expenditure control.” Bottom line: The government pays 80% of “basic public health care services.”
  • Government plays a big role with contagious disease, and adds some paternalism on top: “Preventing diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tobacco-related illnesses by ensuring good health conditions takes a high priority.”
  • The government provides optional low-cost catastrophic health insurance, plus a safety net “subject to stringent means-testing.”
  • Almost all care is subject to significant co-pays. Instituting co-pays is an important means to control cost.
So a proven system, not socialist or fascist.

Amazingly humans

The human body is amazing. There is no limit to potential. I recall reading a story about the first four minute mile run by Roger Bannister. It was considered beyond the reach of a human being.

That reads very odd now. Considering the record is nearing the 3 minute 40 second mark. Imagine somehow 1954 you would have someone like Hicham El Guerrouj running against Roger Bannister and he finishes almost 20 seconds faster?

There appears to be constant underestimation of the human ability.

Or is there?

If you look at one time anomalies as the norm you can get a skewed view of what is possible. Vesna Vulovic fell 6.3 miles after a bomb went off in a plane. She was found in a coma with a fractured skull, two broken legs, and three broken vertebrae. Many years later she made a full recovery and then decided to continue her career as a flight attendant!

More common is the ability for a person to recover or adapt from injury. With the proper skill you can move organs from one body to another, rebuild a person from horrible conditions.

There are some amazing things that happen every day that defy logic and what we think we know. I kind of like that.

September 02, 2009

Obamafood (Its a Right)

Let us say that people think food is far too expensive. Food is a right, I mean, you can't go without food. So lets say Obama came along and said, "ObamaFood can drive down what your spending on food. Make sure you get what food you want, when you want it and that there's no discrimination. Nobody's will eat better than you do and you're going to eat no better than anybody else."

The Obama administration says they can cut the cost of food. They will say that they're going to drive down the profits of the greedy farmers, they're going to drive down the profits of the greedy shipping industry, and then they're going to attack the food stores, the grocery stores that sell at too large a profit.

Speaker Pelosi would call food stores, grocery stores immoral! And to keep them all honest, Obama then would create real competition with a public option for you to buy food from. The government will be in the business of distributing and getting to you food at an affordable price.

**I posted this on Shoo's blog, RBG liked it so, I figured I would re-post it. Original concept from Rush L.**

September 01, 2009

The Joy of Being Connor

You can tell when Connor is up, there is the slamming of the door to his room followed (usually) by the bathroom. I am not sure why he closes them as loudly as he does, conventional methods of countering this behavior have not been very productive, as we cannot address the issue instantly after it occurs.

Next he will head out into the back yard to A. pick blackberries or B. jump on the trampoline. It is not uncommon for him to cap his days with jumping. Next he will either get a bowl of cereal or request pancakes or waffles from his groggy parents (who's room is next to the door out back).

I have rarely seen him without a smile in the morning. He still likes to cuddle, enjoys hugs and frequently has an idea of something fun to participate with. The degree of "fun" you will experience with a given Connor activity is questionable. However, the fun is greatly enhanced by any observation of the wondrous joy said event causes Connor.

He has such joy in his heart, a twinkle in his eye and a sing-song humm about him. This is a constant.

The oft mentioned observation by people is "He sure is a happy kid"

Photo via Tina's Blog and the Department of Redundancy Dept, for repitition.